Recently a friend and neighbor mentioned my courage. In a discussion about the homestead I created, he said, “you were brave to do that with other people.”
I was taken aback by his comment. Here at the mud hut, I simply did what I’ve always done: I threw myself into a project. I assumed I’d get back what I put into the project, if not more, as has generally been the case during my privileged life.
In retrospect, I understand my neighbor is correct. An act that made perfect sense when I was idealistic about people seems utterly ridiculous in the rear-view mirror. Absent my contemporary cynicism, my love for humanity nearly nine years ago was a hallmark of my naive, inspired life.
We will do almost anything for love. We will leave our jobs. We will forsake power, money, and relationships in its name.
And so I have.
Idealism is expensive. It costs money and time. Perhaps most importantly, at least to me, it costs health. I don’t mean merely physical health, either, although I’m clearly not the vibrant, young man I was only a few years ago: Mental, psychological, and emotional health are placed at great risk when one depends upon others in a culture gone mad.
As a symptom of cultural madness, nearly everybody within the mainstream culture treats greed as a god. It’s the only god of significance to most people, platitudes to the contrary notwithstanding. Christianity’s golden calf is manifest daily in the form of myriad examples diametrically opposed to religious ideals.
Theft has become normal. Murder, too. We ignore them, paid off with the crumbs of this oligarchic empire.
“At least I’m not being robbed.” Perhaps not yet. Not today. Not obviously, at least to you.
brown children terrorists are dying from NATO’s bombs.”
“We live in a democratic society.” Whoops, wrong again.
“I didn’t vote for this.” Except by thousands of actions, that is.
Any existential port in a shitstorm. We’re living out the words American science fiction writer Robert Heinlein penned years ago: “Man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal.”
Afraid to push back — after all, we’re “safe” — most of us abandon every principle for a few dollars and a little security. Is it any wonder we’ve given up virtually every aspect of personal freedom in exchange for virtual lives? Sowing and reaping are separated only by time. And time is always short.
I’ve often been told to follow my heart. I’m not sure the full meaning of this common expression, although I suspect it means surrendering intellect for emotion, behavior commonly expressed by some who comment in this space. Dominated by the left hemisphere of my brain, I’m reluctant to pursue such a path. On the rare occasion I’ve shifted the reins from the left hemisphere of my brain to my right, the outcome has been unpleasant. Perhaps I need more practice.
There is a single, singular exception to the generally undesirable outcomes resulting from my emotive decisions: my partner of 35 years, my spouse since 6 August 1983. She has supported me throughout my mistake-ridden path, absorbing the frequent shocks along a road riddled with potholes. I’m not worthy of her, and she certainly deserves better than me. The universe is unjust, along with most of its participants.
The courage identified by my friend and neighbor is authentic. It is part of who I am, or at least who I was. And it pales in comparison to the valor demonstrated by my long-time partner.
Today’s essay concentrates on a topic of central interest in this space during the last few years. It will undoubtedly elicit the disparaging bile to which I’ve become accustomed from the usual members of the commentariat. This is not surprising from a populace so dumbed down it cannot understand its primary language. If you are among the offenders, then you can expect your comments to be moderated and perhaps removed. I am not obligated to print hateful, personal attacks in this space. There are many other evidence-free, online venues to disparage me and my work. I suspect much of the commentariat here is very welcome — indeed, encouraged — to insult me elsewhere.