Friday, November 11, 2016

Everything has Changed. Nothing has Changed.

We should not be frightened: what we admire does not die. Nor be delighted: neither does what we detest. --Nicolás Gómez Dávila

I awoke this morning thinking about this curiously airy state of mind since last Tuesday's election. It's too important merely to enjoy. Rather, we need to stand back from it and observe it -- be in it but not of it, you might say. Let us not mimic the unseemly emotional incontinence of the left when their savior healed the planet back in 2008.

Now that I'm pondering this, it seems I've always been this way -- that is, holding a part of myself in reserve from events around me. You know, the Witness. Or Ironist, anyway. For example, I attended a lot of rock concerts in my adultolescence, especially between about 17 and 25. You remember the drill: you get totally wasted beforehand, and hope to peak when the band comes on stage.

Nevertheless, even under those chemically fortified conditions, I was never able to "lose myself" completely. Let's say I'm at the Inglewood Forum, with 18,000 people who are singing and moving in unison in a kind of group trance. Now I find the whole idea creepy, but even then I was on the outside. I was inside the music, to be sure, but not inside, or at one with, the crowd. A part of me noticed what a bunch of undignified animals they were.

I could never figure out if this Witness was a good thing or a bad thing. Was it just a neurotic and excessive "self-consciousness," something I needed to annihilate? That was actually the idea behind a lot of psychotherapy models back then -- to completely break through all defenses and inhibitions, behind or underneath which we would find our radiant and unsullied True Self.

I actually started reading psychology before I ever dreamed of -- or was consigned to -- being a psychologist. I've mentioned before that I was caught by total surprise when my brain unexpectedly clicked on at around age 25, at which point I began reading everything in sight. Prior to that, I may have read one book on a voluntary basis -- Ball Four, by Jim Bouton. But being an autodidact meant being unguided by any coherent tradition or narrative; instead of approaching something from the center out, I just began nibbling randomly at the periphery.

Anyway, most of the psychology books I read back then were of the Strip Away All Inhibitions! variety. I'll bet I still have a few of them tucked away in my closet... Let us rummage...

Not sure why I haven't inflicted these upon the library. I suppose I was waiting for just this moment. Don't worry. I won't spend a great deal of time on this self-indulgence. Let's begin with R.D. Laing, who was quite big back then. His basic point in The Divided Self is that normality is madness and madness normality. In short, western civilization is insane, largely due to its pervasive repression. I'm sure he blames Christians for that. So let's all take our clothes off and engage in a cathartic primal scream.

There's an Aphorism for that: To educate man is to impede the 'free expression of his personality.' One wants to post a sign in public places: Thank You For Repressing Yourself. Or, No Shame, No Service. In fact, shame was a big thing we needed to do away with according to the New Psychology.

Time out for another Aphorism: Modern man imagines it is sufficient to open the windows in order to cure the soul's infection, that it is not necessary to clear out the trash.

I read somewhere that a mob of progressive snowflakes -- must have been in San Francisco -- actually engaged in a group primal scream to discharge their trauma over the election. And since they think in these terms, they imagine that the people who supported Trump were engaging in their own primal scream by electing him. It can't be the ideas. Rather, just a howling mob. (What would the left do without projection?)

I can see that if we proceed down this path, this post will rapidly spiral out of control. Back to matters at hand: this curious state of mind.

I am of course relieved, not so much because Trump won but because the left has been thwarted. But has my life actually changed? Unlike liberals who abuse their children with horror stories about the monster Trump, I assured mine that our lives wouldn't change much if at all under a Clinton administration. Indeed, I told him that if we didn't own a television set, we might very well notice nothing at all. I told him I was worried about the future of the nation, but reassured him that I would probably be dead by then.

Politics is like flypaper for irrational exuberance. I remember writing posts in the wake of the 2008 and 2012 elections, counseling readers -- or myself, anyway -- to not get caught up in the negativity, that Obama would surely crash and burn once he underwent the formality of actually existing, instead of being only a projection of infra-religious liberal fantasies.

So we certainly don't want to mirror the left by projecting our conservative fantasies onto Trump! And even if he accomplishes everything he sets out to do, it won't alter our existential circumstances. I mean, we're still going to die.

Nor will the struggle ever end. Look at the Reagan years, a "golden age" of conservatism. Some even imagined we had arrived at the End of History. But human nature emerged intact, such that we find ourselves battling for the same ideals -- indeed, the same ideals enunciated by the founders 240 years ago.

Now, progressives are by nature more prone to this illusion, because they literally believe history has sides and that they are on the right one. It makes no sense to them that history could suddenly veer off course three days ago. They have no theory to explain this. Well, no theory except, racism, sexism, homophobia, and Islamophobia: the "whitelash," as Van Jones put it.

People think this election was unusual in offering such flawed candidates. But elections usually come down to the lesser of two evils, because it's much easier for human beings to know what to hate than what to love. Politics, as they say, is the organization of hatreds. In my case, for example, I can say without reservation that I despise the left (not necessarily the individuals, mind you, but the ideology). But can I say without reservation that I love any politician, let alone Trump?

I've been thinking of another ironic aphorism to the effect that one can only embrace without reservation lost causes. Why is this? Well, prior to Tuesday I assumed Clinton was a sure thing, which made it easy for me to express my hostility toward the left with no ambivalence or restraint.

But now Republicans are in charge, and once your beautiful ideas are mingled with actual human beings -- or even just with reality -- you are bound to be disappointed. I'm thinking again of when Reagan became president -- or Thatcher prime minister. In both cases it took a couple of years for the improvement to manifest.

In Reagan's case, there was a sharp downturn in the economy before it began its unprecedented growth. For the past eight years the Matrix Media has given Obama a pass on the weak economy. I will be surprised if they give Trump a month. And if the positive results aren't immediately seen -- which is impossible -- there will be War.

Which means there will be War. The next four years -- starting this very moment -- will be relentless War. There will be no honeymoon, no slack, no courtesy, no forbearance. Scott Adams has suggested that the de-Hitlerization of Trump will take a little time, but that it will happen. I'd like to believe that, but I am skeptical. Reagan was never de-Hitlerized, and the media are only more ideological today than they were then.

My point is that it's a long season. Don't get too upset after a loss or too exultant after a victory. The first thing they ask when you win the Super Bowl or World Series is "do you think you can repeat next year?!" Because in reality there is no victory, only struggling toward it.

Furthermore, it is vital to struggle on behalf of the good, while leaving the rest to providence. Do the right thing for its own sake, not because you expect a certain result. The celestial goal is fixed, but the terrestrial route is always circuitous.

Man matures when he stops believing that politics solves his problems (NGD).

And no man can solve politics, because there is no human solution to the problem of Man.

Oh, and if you want to see what voters rejected last Tuesday, just look at the unrepressed expressions on the faces of the howling and demented mobs. They remind us of what we despise.

52 comments:

Rick said...

The day after the election I did have this lingering sense of the fact that we didn't deserve it. I felt that way before it of course.
This too; mathematics hasn't changed obviously, and if the materialists are right what is all this other stuff affecting literally everyone in different but quite strong ways.
Simultaneously I'm sort of excited because I have no adequate historical reference -- I don't know what's going to happen next (but in a good way).

Gagdad Bob said...

It's the old Chinese curse: may you live in interesting times!

Rick said...

Almost forgot -- you don't love Trey Gowdy?
My pick for AG.

Gagdad Bob said...

Sheriff David Clarke for Minister of Liberal Entriggerment.

Gagdad Bob said...

Thomas Sowell for Department of Education, which he should promptly abolish and go back home.

Gagdad Bob said...

Alex Epstein, who wrote the great Moral Case for Fossil Fuels for EPA head.

julie said...

I assured mine that our lives wouldn't change much if at all under a Clinton administration. Indeed, I told him that if we didn't own a television set, we might very well notice nothing at all.

I've thought quite a bit about that in recent days, whether on the individual level we'd notice much difference based on who is in office. I do think it matters, though of course since we only live through one reality, we can't say for certain how things would be different.

For instance, regardless of who is in office we'll have to pay health insurance. However, if Obamacare is repealed perhaps that insurance will no longer be essentially a house payment with nothing to show for it. Hillary would never repeal, unless to move us to something worse.

Plus there's the small matter of Russia, which was seriously preparing for the possibility of war with us had she won. As I understand it, they didn't want that, but it sure seemed that the left did, and unlike a war with Iraq, a war with Russia would be more likely to personally affect more Americans - especially given that nukes were mentioned.

Hard to say how the culture wars will change, but I suspect - or maybe that's jut a misplaced hope - that for a little while, at least, it might be slightly less dangerous to one's livelihood to express a Christian opinion.

My overwhelming sense on Wednesday morning, more than anything, was just relief that some of the oppressiveness of life in the current year would be eased. Not that we'd get utopia, just a chance to be normal.

Rick said...

Yes, my primary concern was that had she won, voting from here on out would essentially be meaningless. Like they were in Sadam's Iraq. It was what I was happiest about when she didn't win. That, and learning there's so many more of us than I thought there were. The rest hopefully should take care of itself (with a little elbow grease).

Gagdad Bob said...

The Supreme Court was the most important issue. That's what I meant about the real damage occurring in the future. The court is the left's way to undermine the constitution and rule of law -- irrespective of elections -- and to erode our freedoms.

Although Trump could do a great deal just by executive action to get the state off our backs, especially with regard to education and the environment. How about no federal funding for colleges with speech codes? That will get their attention. (Of course, I'm opposed to federal funding to begin with, but it would be fun to see if principle is higher than cash for these obnoxious little tyrants.)

julie said...

Yes - on schooling, it's more likely we'll let them stay in, at least for a couple of years. Maybe as Common Core gets taken out and greater school choice is made available, public schooling will even improve. With Hillary, no. We weren't sure what we'd do, exactly, but we aren't crazy.

Incidentally, I did worry and pray a lot before putting the boy in this year. Come to find out, his teacher is a regular member of our parish. It's a little thing, and of course no guarantee that things can't go wrong, but again it was such a relief to know that at least she's a believer who takes it seriously. Once again, prayers answered.

vanderleun said...

Hear. Hear. Here and There...

EndOfPatience said...

I wasn't sure how things would turn out. If the Left obviously cheated and stole the election for Hillary, I expected violence. That would, after all, be the reason we had a Second Amendment explicitly protecting our Right to Self Defense, and by extension our Right to act in defense of our community.

So I charged twelve magazines.

It's the Saturday after the election,and I'm still not sure I won't need them.

John Lien said...

Rick said:

"That, and learning there's so many more of us than I thought there were."

Agreed! I had thought the demographic tide had turned. Pleasantly surprised.

Gagdad Bob said...

Where I live in California, braindead liberalism continued its flight from reality: tax hikes, a new moonbat senator, millions in gifts for teacher's unions, and even a ban on plastic bags!

It's crazy here.

debass said...

Remember, half the voters supported evil and corruption. I don't think that will change soon.

Gagdad Bob said...

One thought that keeps occurring to me is that liberals are literally terrified of their own shadow -- literal in the psychoanalytic sense of the shadow being the projected dark side of one's own psyche. The group hysteria is fascinating to witness. It is the most vivid example I can remember of the creation of a group mind parasite that then starts devouring the host.

Petey said...

All politics is loco.

Gagdad Bob said...

Great speech by Milo: Risus et bellum, laughter and war. I wish I could go back in time and be a conservative at a liberal university. What fun!

Gagdad Bob said...

I should steal that motto. Although I wonder if something like ridere et bellum might be more accurate.

I need to ask a Latino.

Andrew X said...

I told (my child) I was worried about the future of the nation, but reassured him that I would probably be dead by then.

Ummm, I think there's an element of "missing the point" here, but I must acknowledge that I laughed out loud when I read that.

debass said...

My daughter is doing that now at college. She says it is great fun.

julie said...

Debass, Remember, half the voters supported evil and corruption.

True, but based on those I know personally at least half of them are generally decent people still enthralled by the media spin; they knew Hillary was bad, but believed Trump to be evil incarnate. If memory serves, Revelation had something to say about even the faithful being fooled. I don't think this makes them horrible, just horribly naive. For this reason as much as any other, I hope that the truth about the Clintons and their cronies comes out in a way that even the MSM can't ignore.

debass said...

Julie, I hope you are right. But I think the MSM is so corrupt, they won't report the truth about the Clintons as we have seen. Some people I have spoken with are not interested in the truth. I can't even comprehend that.
Are you evil if you support evil?

julie said...

I think - I hope - only if you know that what you support is evil. I know a lot of faithful people who really think we just voted for Nazi Germany. They are wrong, but when they hear "build the wall" they think that's just the first part of a sentence, to be finished with "...and throw them off it" or "...adorn it with their heads." They believe that all those refugees and migrants are mostly helpless women and children escaping oppression, who will in a generation or so happily assimilate into Productive Workers. How cruel to turn them away!

I keep going back to Jeremiah - how the leaders were spouting lies that the people wanted to hear because the truth according to Jeremiah was so dreadfully inconvenient - God actually demanding that they stop doing evil things! - and unpleasant. Consequences?! No way - God loves us just as we are! And anyway, this is how we do things now. Why should we change to something so backwards?

It didn't end so well for the ones who refused the truth, no matter how decent they might have been...

Van Harvey said...

"Furthermore, it is vital to struggle on behalf of the good, while leaving the rest to providence. Do the right thing for its own sake, not because you expect a certain result. The celestial goal is fixed, but the terrestrial route is always circuitous.

Man matures when he stops believing that politics solves his problems (NGD)."

If we can get some understanding on that one, we're home free. Which, of course, will never be... but... dare to dream!

NightFlight said...

This election has been a real struggle for me, a struggle to treat my neighbor as I would wish to be treated. The truth is it hasn't really been a struggle. The urge for payback is strong and I have gleefully given in. Its astonishing how much they hate us, a hatred that blinds them to their own projection. And the doubling-down on the usual accusations of "racism" and "sexism" and "Islamophobia". Did I forget anything? Its hard to be nice to these people when you realize that letting your guard down will get you beaten, battered and killed. What I would like to see happen more than anything is the mainstream media destroyed in such a way that they couldn't be taken seriously, even by their leftist clients.

Gagdad Bob said...

Hey, loving your neighbor doesn't preclude wishing the last crybully to be strangled with the entrails of the last MSM journalist. Or maybe I'm missing something.

In all seriousness, they do make it easy for us to know what to detest. The sad thing is that these lofos are terrified of the internalized images of their media manipulators.

Gagdad Bob said...

"This is what’s so amazing about these people. They’ve never even thought about how completely insane their version of events is."

Gagdad Bob said...

Pandering to the left's transgender insanity is like treating anorexia with liposuction.

Who can doubt that the parents of that luckless child are mentally ill?

We're way beyond battling an ideology -- the best case scenario is mental illness, the worst case demonic possession.

julie said...

Ha - yes, exactly.

Shifting gears just a little, today's readings in church are... worth sharing:

1: Mal 3:19-20

Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven,
when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble,
and the day that is coming will set them on fire,
leaving them neither root nor branch,
says the LORD of hosts.
But for you who fear my name, there will arise
the sun of justice with its healing rays.

Gagdad Bob said...

I read somewhere that calls to LGBT suicide hotlines have doubled or tripled. Amazingly, they take that as evidence that Trump is evil instead of evidence that the callers are desperately mentally ill.

julie said...

Psalm:

Response: The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy.
R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
Before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to rule the earth,
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

julie said...

Reading 2: 2 Thes 3: 7-12

Brothers and sisters:
You know how one must imitate us.
For we did not act in a disorderly way among you,
nor did we eat food received free from anyone.
On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day
we worked, so as not to burden any of you.
Not that we do not have the right.
Rather, we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you,
so that you might imitate us.
In fact, when we were with you,
we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work,
neither should that one eat.
We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a
disorderly way,
by not keeping busy but minding the business of others.
Such people we instruct and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly
and to eat their own food.

julie said...

3rd reading: Luke 21: 5-19

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here--
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.

“Before all this happens, however,
they will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

julie said...

Re. The suicide calls, that is truly sad. And unnecessary - they have been terrifying themselves with tales of how this means... what, exactly? That we will suddenly treat them like the Muslims do? With a president who genuinely supports a lot of the light agenda?

Gagdad Bob said...

"Only we can poison the wounds inflicted on us." --Davila

julie said...

*"light" agenda should have read "LGBT". Apparently, Apple's homophobic autocorrect doesn't recognize them.

But yes, the Don speaks the truth.

NightFlight said...

>>>"Hey, loving your neighbor doesn't preclude wishing the last crybully to be strangled with the entrails of the last MSM journalist. Or maybe I'm missing something."

My fantasy involves dropping off white race-baiters on the south side of Chicago on Saturday night. Let them live the dream.

Gagdad Bob said...

All these racist celebrities talk about moving to Canada. What's wrong with Mexico?

NightFlight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Regarding your comment in the post about not noticing much social change if you don't have a T.V.--I think that's pretty accurate and I would extend that to print media the internet as well.

However, based on observations made on foot, via auto, and from airplane windows, I notice urban areas are behemoths of biology. Outlying areas are getting built up and what not. Roads seem to get more crowded. There is quite a bit of construction using large cranes.

I would call this build-up constant over my considerable lifetime. So there's my two cents on what really "happened" during my years here.

Anonymous said...

Go Pepe!

Gagdad Bob said...

I did notice something new on the way to work this morning: the neo-barbarism "CalXit" spray painted here and there.

As you might have guessed, there will be no post, since I'm already at work.

Van Harvey said...

PostExit

julie said...

Were it not for the large number of people I care about who live in California, I'd be all for it. Or maybe for the rest of the country seceding from California.

Gagdad Bob said...

Deepak is mad! I couldn't be happier that these loons are digging in their heels. Deepak and the rest have no clue that Trump won because of people like him.

Gagdad Bob said...

He really makes no sense, does he? What an incoherent jumble of pretentious nonsense.

julie said...

Wow, that is grade-A crazy talk right there. The first paragraph is so nutty, I can't help hearing it in my head in the voice of Apu. Except of course that Apu isn't insane.

Anyway, what does he have against someone making use of "pure personal will" to empower himself? Isn't this the guy who claims you can use the power of thought to affect quantum physics (or whatever it was)? He should feel vindicated.

John Lien said...

I dunno Bob, I'd get out of Cali ASAP. It seems that most household products that are just fine elsewhere apparently cause cancer in California.

julie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
julie said...

Speaking of crazy, if this is true, here's one more reason we dodged a major bullet with this election. Booze and amphetamines do not a stable person make.

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