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
March 03, 2016 - 12:13 p.m.
I really need to go out and do things so I'll have something to write about. Yes, that's what it's become, I view my life as source material for my blog. When I first started this I said that I would not write about my live but my thoughts. I have a lot of thoughts but it's hard to remember them on cue and so many are variations on themes. One of the items in my box of diary ideas is about god. I have the feeling that my interest in theology is greater than most of My Gentle Readers. Right now I'm having different thoughts on god but it just doesn't seem like it will hold your interest.
Oh wait something happened yesterday. I almost died in a blazing inferno. I heard a clicking noise in my room. I tracked it down to where one power strip plugs into another. My landlady is a lovely woman but has some strange notions. The outlet near my bed and night table is next to my bed and difficult to access. So she plugged a power strip into it then plugged another power strip into the first. The clicking came from the power strip plugged into the outlet. I didn't smell anything and figured if it was the strip the circuit breaker would have tripped, that's the entire point of a power strip. But that was where the sound came from so I flicked the switch on the strip to turn it off. When I unplugged the second strip I saw that the plastic around the plug had melted. The outlet in the first strip was blackened. I bet something would have caught fire if I hadn't caught it. Good thing I was home when it happened. Fortunately, my computer power cord reaches he first strip. My phone charger doesn't quite make it to my night table so it's on my bed. Today I'll go out in the arctic weather and buy an extension cord. I don't need a second power strip. Wasn't that an exciting story of suspense wrought with peril?
One of the things I think about most is how people think; especially the bad mental habits people fall into. I often write about people confusing what they want to be true with what is true. Now I'm thinking about the Manichean world view. This was immortalized by George W. Bush.
It's a seductive viewpoint, everything is good or evil, black or white, there is no gray. It saves you have having to make subtle distinctions. It alleviates the need to think. It's not the root of all evil, it's not that simple, that's Manichean thinking but it does promote confusion and misunderstanding. We see its effect in all fields. In baseball, you play little ball or go for the three-run home run, in the arts there are those that feel that violating classic forms in a crime while other feel that following them is slavery. It's all over nutrition with its superfoods and the crusades against fat, carbohydrates, and gluten. So many are Manichean about Common Core. Things become good or bad because they are part of Common Core not judged on their individual merits.
Manichaeism is often ascendant in politics. The Tea Party's core is Manichaeism. There are those that are ideologically pure and good and everyone else is an apostate. To many of us on the left the Tea Party's rejection of Romney seems so odd. How can they think he's a Republican in Name Only? How can they think he's moderate? But to them there are lines you cannot cross. And it's not even beliefs but how vehement you are. Boehner was a traitor because he wasn't willing to shut down the government till Obamacare was repealed. When the world is black and white to compromise is to compromise with evil.
I'm now seeing it on the left. There are people that think there's no difference between Hillary and Trump. They are both on the side of evil. People are even attacking Elizabeth Warren for not endorsing Bernie.
I'm not saying all Manichean thinking is wrong, that would be Manichean. If you commit genocide I'm not going to say, "I can see your point of view." The total rejection of divisions is another way of being intellectually lazy. I just called Thomas Friedman a moderate extremist. He always thinks both sides of an argument have merit, even when they don't. All I'm asking is to think when you make judgements and not use mental shortcuts. Just because a Republican or a Yankee says something doesn't make it wrong. You don't have to assume hidden evil motives every time someone you don't like say something you'd otherwise agree to. Thinking that way prevents things from being done. Right now it's the way the Tea Party does things. There is no equivalent on the left but every day I hear from those that wish there were.
I bought grits yesterday so that's on the breakfast menu. No i forgot, i'm making matzoh brei. I'm trying something new for dinner, sweet garlic ham! Yes, just like sweet garlic chicken but on a ham steak. I have to find out how long to good a ham steak in the oven. I always pan grill them. Website says 35 minutes; I find that hard to believe. I'll go for 25.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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