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
May 07, 2016 - 10:00 p.m.
I'm going to write in sections again today and finish it at some point before I go to sleep. I spent a lot of today doing something that most people do without any problem but I find very stressful, sorting things to be put away. I have to decide what I need in the now, an intermediate period of time, and further in the future. Then I have to find a place to put everything. That is something I have always had difficulty with. What makes it odder that it is so similar to things that I find enjoyable, like putting books and CDs in order. I've been known to rearrange things in bookstores and libraries, putting the books where they belong when others misplace them. I even do that in the supermarket. But if I have more CDs than can fit in my storage and need to figure out where to put the overage the anxiety hits. So I've been anxious all day. That is on top of all my more natural and rational anxiety. I'm doing a good job of not curling up into a ball so I'll pat myself on the back for that. I've actually only done that once. More often I'll just sit, stand, or lay down and stare into infinity. Wow writing about it is not increasing the anxiety but it's making me more aware of it. So I'm going to stop writing about it.
Of course I will write a bit about why I wrote that. It serves two purposes. One, it's about wanting to be understood. Secondly, it's educates people who don't experience anxiety what it's like. Thirdly … It serves three purposes, fear, surprise, a ruthless efficiency, and an almost fanatical devotion to the pope. Amongst the reasons I wrote that are wanting to be understood, education people who don't experience anxiety what it's like, and letting those that do know that someone else goes through the same thing. Cardinal Biggles read the charges.
OK, I have something in my ideas bin. I know because I put it there last night. I don't know which I started thinking about first but what hit me was how conspiracy theories and religion both come from a common motivation, the desire to have a grand theory that explains everything. To the McCarthyists everything bad was the result of the communists. To some it's The New World Order. There always people that think it's the Jews or the Banks, often both together. To many people in the rest of the world everything is an American plot. Whatever it is, all the power belongs with Them and everything that goes wrong is their fault. It saves a lot of mental energy. Instead of having to analyze each problem individually it handles explains them all at once. It's emotionally satisfying.
Isn't that how religion works too? Everything is explained by being God's will or perhaps a battle between God and the Devil. Everything good is due to God everything bad due to the Devil. I have actually heard people who talk like that. They punctuate each story by saying it's the will of God or the fault of the Devil. Religion is a theory of everything. People have a deep need for a theory of everything. If one is not available, they'll make one up or accept one that other people make up.
Just realized it goes for health too. Chiropractic is based on the theory that all or most disorders are caused by vertebral subluxation. No matter what the problem I know some people that will say the solution is the ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬________ diet. Many things can fill in that blank.
There's one other thing that fits the pattern, science. It took a long time for science to get invented. The ancient Greeks got the math and deductive reasoning down but other than Archimedes never mastered the heart of science, induction. That took to the renaissance and Galileo. But it was still not a theory of everything. There were a lot of specific laws. Galileo knew that the distance a body falls was proportional to the square of the time it had fallen but with no explanation or connection to anything else. Kepler could describe but not explain the motion of the planets. Then came Newton with his mechanics and his Law of Universal Gravitation. They key word is universal. While only explaining a part of everything it was a very big part. Now science delivered. Its promises were not as great as religion but it had tangible results. It didn't require faith. Since then science has been growing and what scientists have always dreamed of a theory of everything. Einstein unsuccessfully tried to combine gravitation and electromagnetism. Then things got worse and two new forces were discovered, the strong and weak nuclear forces. But then things got better and everything but gravity were combined into one theory, the uninspiringly named Standard Model. That's where we are now. You want to win the Nobel prize of Nobel prizes? Unify gravity with the Standard Model.
That's physics but other sciences have had unifying principles too, the atomic theory of chemistry, evolution, genetics and biochemistry in biology. Medicine has the germ theory of disease. It didn't explain all diseases but enough to greatly increase life expectancy. And that's the key difference between science and the rest, it knows what it knows. When science can't explain something it says, "sorry we don't know the answer; we'll keep looking."
Science is different but all these things are driven by the emotional need to find a common cause of many different, and ideally all things. When you wonder how can people believe this nonsense? How people think that Donald Trump can solve all their problems? The answer is because it fulfills a fundamental need. Now I have a need to post this.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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