Sunday, May 16, 2010

The boredom of being right

If "wisdom" = the ability and reserve of making "correct" decisions in whatever scenarios that affect the stream of one's life, if "intelligence" = the ability to separate wrong paths from right and choose the one that preserves life (not necessarily quickening it, but we leave that to the artists of life, the ones who can ride the very edge of nihilism and nullity and whip across to the other side with this added momentum, slingshot back into reality, the everyday) then what do we have when a person makes all the right decisions, all the wisest moves in the chess game of existence, all the proper feints and counter-feints, who hits every dance step spot-on crossing the tightrope, who always makes it to the other side with virgin skin unwrinkled and unscarred? This hits on the negative ethos of the Xtian infection, the positive spin of withdrawing from the world and ceasing to be instead of being cut down by the scythe of life, the ethos of the timid and cowering, the exhortation to draw back from the fray and see something positive in doing nothing. This has been diagnosed, diagrammed, detailed, criticized, and autopsied by legions of minds sterner than mine, of course, and I could not even hint at anything original in my view of the disease...which, being so pernicious, ancient, and well-founded in the psyche of the West, appears even in the critiques of its pogromist attackers, its most pertinent opposites. One could say it calls forth these defeatist opponents as means to scourge itself, delighting in reserved, withdrawn, self-obsessed masochism. I still marvel at its appearance in the words, eyes, and mouths of those who profess to be its denigrators and destroyers. I still gape in astonishment at the most eager enemies and adversaries of Xtianity who live Xtian lives. One smiles in acknowledgement in seeing the tiniest fraction of this ethical training dangling like a demon's tail in someone's eyes, in their tedious recounting of their "beliefs", their insipid actions, their dissatisfied, callow, banal, sterile, ineffectual lives. Someone has left the imprint of His hoof in their innermost helixes...and they are cursed down to the secret gristle, that carapace of inculcated programming they call a "soul".

How boring, then, this medieval life, this ancient ethos, where one is content merely to survive and rest with energies untested and untapped in a perpetual sleep...only in order to do...what? Rise in folly in the teen years or mid-twenties and assure the existence of the next generation through a twisted, thorny agglomeration of suicidal mistakes? And how ironic that these "life-ending" errors end up postponing the cessation of the species through natural, instinctive calls to perpetuity which can not (seemingly) be ignored? Mankind is a virus and will not be denied. Who are you to place your body in its path?

The lessons learned from earlier times can not be applied to life as we know it today.

There is no wisdom, then, no human nature, nothing to learn about the "soul", nothing to learn about one's self (you don't exist), nothing has been passed down, no traditions excite or touch the spirit - there is no such thing as a "spirit". One is eternally cut off, cast out, separated, isolated, out of touch, alienated, removed from the center/sphere of life where all actions are justified and all words hit home with the force of Biblical parables, grave-deep in the soil of uncounted generations of similar lives, similar deaths. All of this is just an illusion.

Preaching to the choir.

I can think of the cenobite, then, he who has withdrawn from life into a psychological cloister and, enforced by "learned helplessness", delivers his body pink and untouched into the hands of Death in exactly the same condition in which it was first given to him. Life, with its constant warring of contradictory forces, its massive outpouring and contrasting of interpenetrating energies, had swept past him without leaving so much as the kiss of concrete on his hands. How is this success? How is this "victory"? How is this a life, in itself? How boring it is to always be right, to always make the "right" decisions, to always do the "right" thing, to live life as one "ought" to.

U. Amtey
8/18/04
12:01 AM CST