I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
April 02, 2012 - 10:55 a.m.
This might be interesting. I've been thinking about what I'm going to write today for a few days but I have no idea how much I have to day about it, ;just that I want to say it. So it might be just a line or two. If that's all then I have go back to the other things I've been thinking about and that means remembering what they are.
Yesterday was a wasted day. After I updated I started to read the Sunday Times and after getting through the main section fell asleep for hours. I got nothing done for school or my fantasy baseball team. Oy.
So was there anything I did worth writing about? Well I did made dinner that had no soup involved. That is now noteworthy. I made what should be more of a staple for me, grilled chicken thighs. I meant to make it Jerk but after I seasoned it realized I was holding the Tandori spices. No matter it was great. Back in December I was worried that I was being extravagant when I bought the expensive stuff from the spice store at the holiday market. I wasn't. I still have tons of it left and it makes everything taste so good. It was a great investment by p/c ratio, pleasure to cost. I made the simplest roasted potatoes with it. No spices, just a coating of olive oil. That was just the balance to go with the chicken. Tonight I have to make the plantain and sausage soup to use up the leftover beef broth. Not that I'm complaining. I'll have to run out to get some bread to make garlic bread.
When I was visiting LORi we had a discussion of America's exceptionalism (interesting Word's dictionary doesn't include "exceptionalism" I added it). Something I've noticed about myself is how thinking about how nations and groups act makes me think about how individuals act and visa versa.
So here's the thing, while there's a lot of talk about American exceptionalism; many countries feel the same way, maybe most. They don't have the power to do much about it like we do but people feel that their country is special. People like to feel that about their group. And people like to think that about themselves. One of my pet peeves is when people think the rules apply to everyone else but not them, personal exceptionalism. I see it all the time and I'm sure you do too. Something is being given away for free and there is a sign that says "take just one" but they take a many as they can. The checkout line says "10 items or less and they have 30." I once complained about that and he said "30 wasn't that much more than 10." People do it when driving all the time. It's what half my road rage is about. It's the people that block the doors of the subway or the elevator. Courtesies don't matter because it's them and they are important.
But personal exceptionalism isn't always a bad thing. While it's wrong to think it always gives you the license to do whatever you want It's perfectly fine to be treated different than others in some, conditions where you are exceptional. In fact it isn't just acceptable it's something we all deserve to have some place and with some people. It's a deep seated need.
So much of How to Make Friends and Influence People is based on making people feel special. It feels good to not just be part of the crowd and there is no reason to think it selfish or bad to feel that way. It isn't saying that you always take precedence, just now and then to be treated that way. We should all have our Norm at Cheers places and people. Norm walks though the door and everyone says, "Norm!" You never see them keep people away but as nobody is ever in his seat they must keep it open for him.
I have to admit that I get far more than my fair share of these things. When I'm in the interlocking worlds of WFUV and folk music I'm treated exceptionally. I know it isn't normal to have main stage performers at folk festivals sing about you. I appreciate that I get comped for things all the time, I could never afford to hear so much music if I didn't. Since I've been carless I scrounge rides everyplace and get them. Of course when I had a car I drove people all over the place and didn't hesitate to go out of my way. At least that's what I tell myself.
There is another way to be exceptional and that's with an individual and I think that's the most valuable and all the others are trying to recreate that or compensate for not getting it. It starts when you are a kid and the people that treat you special are your parents or at least they should. I know that many don't and it hurts me every time I see or hear of it. That's where I started thinking that everyone deserves to have people that make them feel exceptional.
So then when we get older we seek that feeling out from other people. It's a big part of what we call love, at least enough to enter common wisdom. "Love is not having to say you're sorry."
I don't get enough of that right now and I sometimes even discuss it here. Yes I can walk into a million places and get treated like Norm but I come home to an empty house and when I need to talk I don't have someone to listen. But I know I have it better than so many others. They don't or didn't get that from their parents. They don't get it from others as adults. They don't have their Cheers, their places where they get to practice personal exceptionalism.
Maybe that's why I don't edit myself; when I feel someone is special I let them know. I won't do what Dale Carnegie said to do; look for something special in everyone you meet. That feels too Machiavellian to me. It's looking for it as a means to an end. More importantly if you tell everyone they are special what's it worth? They are not exceptional, they are like everyone else. If I tell you something good about yourself it's because it's what I spontaneously felt, not a compliment I had to search for.
I'm not saying things quite right as I'm apparently contradicting myself. I said everyone deserves to be treated exceptionally, not everywhere and not by everyone, but some place or by some person. And that's why I'm not contradicting myself. Everyone should have someone that treats them exceptionally; it's just that the person shouldn't always be me. See how writing can make your thoughts clearer?
Make your own thoughts clearer too. There's nothing wrong with wanting personal exceptionalism but to expect it from everyone, or even a specific person isn't reasonable. It has to come naturally and if it doesn't it's sad, but complaining about it makes it even worse. Once you demand to be treated special you crossed the line. It works that way for countries too. I got the visa versa in there.
Well I guess I had enough to fill this edition of Wise Madness. What's for breakfast today? Oh right poached eggs. I have that every other day.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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