John is a retired teacher trying to understand his new role and himself.
My Brain is Good, We Are Good
For me to participate in politics or religion, by voting or praying, respectively, would be akin to me performing brain surgery on myself. A craniotomy. Cutting through the scalp tissue and skull bone and trying to determine how the squishy thing in there could be improved. How I might install some kind of service pack or RAM chip, like they used to do for computers, to improve performance. I’d ask myself if doing that would be worth it. No. My brain works well enough; having a better one would be nice, but the costs and risks of trying to “enhance” it would result in a dripping head perched on a putrefying carcass. Our society has a similar character. Not working perfectly, like my brain, but still, working pretty well! Our society does need maintenance and rejuvenation by politics and religion, I will admit. But I don't like politics or religion and I will leave other smarter and more eager people to do the maintenance and rejuvenation. That being said, I simply don't believe that our society should be defined by these two realms, as though there is some integral competition between political parties or deities.
Not Worth the Effort
We Are In Free-Fall, But That's Okay
Consider Earth's satellite, the Moon. Physicists describe the moon as being in a state called "free-fall." Don't panic; the Moon, barring some extravagant event, is not about to collide with the Earth. Free-fall is just a term to describe the Moon being under the influence of gravity. Balancing out gravity is inertia, or the Moon's desire to proceed on a straight path forever. The Moon will neither fly away nor crash into the Earth. Neither gravity nor inertia is suddenly going to "win." Humanity can also be described as being in the state of free-fall, showcasing the precarious balance between democrats and republicans, conservatives and liberals or whatever you want to call the dichotomy. One of these groups is not suddenly going to "win." Politics should be viewed as a balance-keeping mechanism, not a contest! Just like physics keeps the moon from crashing into the Earth or disappearing, politics does the same for our society. This is the brilliance of our two-party system. Further, we are not "dangerously divided," as so many of us like to lament. To illustrate, imagine two persons of opposite politics walking along the street arguing uh, politics, and they come across a situation beckoning their intervention, a fallen child, a homeowner moving a couch or something else. Both persons would gladly render assistance. That's what unites us; we are a caring citizenry, regardless of our political affiliations. We don't need to agree on everything to be a functional society. But I hate politics.
Politics: Can't Live With It, Can't Live Without It
My brain was wired for basic animal-style use only: eat, work, sleep, poop, play, repeat, not necessarily in that order. The cycle keeps me alive. Happy even. Similarly, our society is “wired” around the flow of income: earn, save, spend, repeat. The cycle keeps us alive, prospering even, though some people might temporarily get left out. Politics messes that all up. Our current fuss-n-fluff posture advocates re-distribution of income as a salient feature of the political fabric, meaning that it‘s okay for some people to get free stuff so they can go on making choices requiring more free stuff. For them, the cycle has been re-engineered: receive assistance, spend, protest publicly till wants become rights, repeat, declare bankruptcy, have all debts nullified, get more free stuff.
A popular tool, of the people who shout for equality, is protesting in the streets. They practice it as if protesting is some kind of canonical rite. Funny how they demand stuff that people can earn by becoming a part of the machinery of society. I am not aware of any organization in this country which dictates wages or promotions based on gender, race or religion. I thought we were based in meritocracy, but now l hear that meritocracy is racist. I must have been dancing in some kind of white-man’s blissful delusion.
Protesting is like praying: no one can check to see if the target audience actually exists or, if it does, is really listening, or if it is really listening, whether any good will result. But they protest anyway because it feels good to them and they might get to see themselves on the evening news and there’s a party afterwards.
This latest social justice hurricane, called equity, "mandates" that outcomes be equal for all. No mention of the societal destabilization that equity policies might cause, but it’s not their fault because they started with less. America is the land of opportunity but certain folks demand that it be the land of equal outcomes because they know that all rich people got rich by stealing from the poor while possessing unfair advantage. Their resultant wealth had nothing to do with them taking risks, working and persevering.
Seems Reasonable to Me...
Politics: It's a Bewildering Over-hyped Racket
So, politics is for the people interested in it and it is their game to play. I tried playing golf and chess a few times and they reminded me of politics. Black and white creatures arrayed together on a checkered space, apparently representing two races, only movable in certain ways and the ones called pawns can’t move backward. There is one rule which has five requirements and three explanations of clarification, not to mention the strategy and tactics involved. Lots of other weird rules. Too much for my little brain. Like mountain-climbing upside down while blindfolded. Okay. And then with golf, using a fiddly, flanged pole to whack a ball into a faraway hole. Why don't players just use a golf cannon to get the ball into visual range of the hole and then putt? Anyway, golf was kinda fun until the "we're-all-that-and-more" players come up behind you, silently gasconading that they're much better players and then the vaunted golf-police show up to speed you along. Some things are fun until other people ruin them. Chess and golf, like politics, aren’t horrible but I simply do not have the cerebral capacity or the physical coordination or the flaming desire to want to continue with them. They are too much like some slow-motion "worship-the-hierarchy" seminar as might be imposed upon a hapless cult member. A lot of “to do” for little accomplishment and often featuring virtue-signaling supremacists who just can’t get enough of themselves.
Politics: Let Others Decide, I Don't Care
Politics itself is around because of the perceived needs of maintenance and improvement of our society. How we manage these two task areas is a function of voting and all of the folly surrounding it. Educating myself on the issues and candidates would use much time, be unreliable due to zealot-biases, and, to do so for the purpose of casting one insignificant vote, would be way beyond what my lazy derriere is willing to do. I accept the status quo and I am content to let others decide who will become president or whether terminating unborn life, sucking marijuana smoke and memorizing peoples’ pronouns are important enough to garner all this attention. Our society spins good because of the people working and the income flowing, not because of the president’s political affiliation or the stoner’s access to pot or someone's right to abort because it's their body even though it's not, or people remembering others' pronouns or the experts and victims impregnating society with all their social justice stuff.
Politics: We're All Wired Differently and That Really Bugs Me
Politics, I assume, is also to address the distribution of liberties and resources and tasks and the best ways of doing those distributions. Imagine, if you will, a group of hungry hikers lost in a remote canyon with one sandwich in someone’s backpack. Should the sandwich be confiscated and cut into thirty equal pieces in the name of equality-no-matter-what, or should the whole sandwich be given to the hearty person who has volunteered to hike out, get help and bring back more sandwiches? A society will be stagnant and unstable with militant redistribution laws. In another example, if there are hungry people on your nice but leaky yacht puttering around in the middle of an ocean, do you assemble to fix the meal or fix the boat first? Stated differently, should the gratification of eating be delayed until the boat poses no danger of becoming part of the sea-bottom’s landscape? My guess, based on recent world events, is that there would be still hungry folks, figuratively, who are still stuck in the canyon a with tiny bits of sandwich in their stomachs as well as yacht folks, again figuratively, gobbling food, yet whining about their wet toes, then ankles, then knees……………….hips…
Politics: Voting is Folly
So when people engage in morally intimidating me about not voting, it’s like they’re telling me that I should be playing chess or golf. That is, they are telling me that I should participate in something of which I have little skill and even less interest. They say voting is my civic duty and proudly strut away. As previously postulated, I grew up wrong. In this reference, it’s because I’ve been under the corrupt idea that my civic duty is taking care of my family, doing my job and respecting the laws. I tell the morally-superior people that voting may be important to them as a means of ideological consummation and bravado exhibition, but just being a decent and responsible person is good too. “But what if everyone,” they say, “had the same attitude as you? Our political system would crash!” I reply: “What if the Earth split in half and cherry Jell-O came out? Unlikely, don’t you think?”
How About Politics With Religious Frosting? Um, No
I've had friends who've said that they were waiting for signs from God regarding their life issues. I don't remember them ever telling me whether they received the signs. That may simply be that they noted my skepticism and decided not to upset my equilibrium any further. It's true; the invocation of a god to intercede through prayer and ritual is confusing to me because we live in a causal, mostly objective reality and we’re supposed to do it ourselves. I obviously grew up wrong, as I may have mentioned. Religion gives haughty and dogmatic people a supreme being to behold, and thus a judgemental voice they like to share with everyone else. And then you can have religious competition to see whose god is the best. You can wait for a sign from God as to how you should vote so you don't have to burden yourself by thinking through the issues. A god would really help me with politics but I don't deserve one because I am skeptically-lazy. Politics and religion are still around, precisely because some folks extract much joy and meaning from riding the wave of folly and mysticism. Politics and religion are thus indefatigable, inimitable features of the human experience and they won’t go away. They are there to torment me into becoming a better person and make others look and feel good. But my thinking is simply too primitive and my demeanor too selfish to want to participate. So I remain the white-supremacist, god-unfearing, non-team-player guy that some people think I am.
Seems Reasonable to Me...
Religion: I Tried but I Still Roll the Wrong Way
Religion is around because it is a perceived antidote to the human condition. It is the “last ditch” effort after politics succeeds only in making things look better. Like politics, religion is about ministrations made so something “good” will happen. But, it seems to me that we are alone in the universe so far, like children whose parents were never there, but we can still have a good life because most people work, creating a nice flow of income. For us to behave as if a supreme being exists, hiding in some rendition of Glorious Afterlife Headquarters, seems pointless. Even if she’s supposedly there, we’re supposed to be figuring stuff out for ourselves, together. But remember that I grew up wrong so feel free to pray for me. Anyway, I have set up some personal rules to live by to increase the likelihood of good stuff happening to me. “Be grateful for what you have,” and “take care of your life’s details and your life’s big picture will care for itself” are some examples of my personal rules. These rules help me sometimes and I am trying to be content with that. Mostly, however, I am a dismissive, selfish jerk. I am too self-absorbed, hateful and pragmatic to utilize faith and prayer as a means of getting the cool stuff, so I get it by working and being decent, as many people do.
But the religious people tell me that my personal rules, are not as cool as their rituals, which result in salvation and eternal life. In contrast, my rules will only get me burial or cremation or organ part-out or even a crash-test corpse club membership. That’s okay because I appreciate what I have had and it’ll be time one day for some other creature or organization to utilize my parts and substances. Or just use me in some NHTSA crash test. It’s fine with me if I get “parted out” like they do with junk cars. I like junk cars. The car doesn’t go but most of the parts still work. These parts can keep other cars serviceable. Eternal life in a different way! But those enlightened folks, they confuse me. They’ve experienced the gift of their lives and then they expect an afterlife of perfection and eternity, if and only if, of course, they had participated in enough prayer and ritual in their earthly lives. I wonder if god keeps track of all that data.
Okay. I tried to craft some way that religion could fit into my life because I saw its power in the lives of my family and friends. I sometimes give a quick prayer of thanks at mealtime or when I get something that I don't deserve. But I sure feel foolish because no being has ever acknowledged my thanks, suggesting that I was praying to no one. Can't the supreme deity just text me, "you're welcome" with, like, a happy face emoticon? I probably prayed wrong or pissed off the big guy. Yet, I just can't get past the idea that some types of praying are just pathetic begging. If you say the prayer a certain number of times, like I did in Catholic school, thus invoking the “power” of the as yet unseen deity, you will be rewarded over someone else who might be just as deserving? Needless to say, I am still who I am.
The Children of Politics and Religion: The Victims and the Experts
Alas, our population is now composed of experts and victims, the former who cavort on the golf course or in the gym or on the online forum, virtue-signaling when necessary, fluffing the laurels of their career paths and running the rituals of their mysticism yet worshipping sports teams, begging their God’s support for their team’s victory and then happily blathering about their carefully sculpted investment portfolios, sharing their expertise on abortion, climate change, pandemics and foreign relations, all while inhaling designer pizza and sipping 15 year single-malt. Meanwhile, the latter group, the victims, will take over the news because the pie has been sliced by chauvinistic, racist, toxic, autocratic, white males and so they’ll protest in the streets and then protest again because maybe it does work and I spin with all of them on the same planet, writhing like that earthworm driven from the Earth.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 John Sebastian