I have no idea what I’m going to say. I’ve been writing in my diary some sober reflections on white evangelicalism, people of color, ethnicity, music, and how all of these things are supposed to cohere in our world. The last sentence went, “I just feel like something terrible is going to happen.” America is said to be the melting pot of the world, but it seems like we forget to stir the pot sometimes. I can’t stomach the theories of C.G. Jung, who like Martin Heidegger gave inspiration to the Nazis, a fact that isn’t publicized very much, but everyone deserves to know about it. The little book I picked up at St Vinnie’s, The Age of Analysis, is rare, and it was used by my old Jewish philosophy professor. He came to the USA from Germany just before Jews were put in concentration camps. He disliked Heidegger for his Nazi affiliation, for very good reasons. And he had a special insight to the motives of logical positivists like Rudolf Carnap since the disaster of German nationalism. But racism can happen anywhere and it usually does. I’ve got white knuckles over this election and I just hope that voters have some sense. “Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it.” I still feel that something awful is going to happen.
Quarter of midnight.
I was thinking and writing about how the USA has lost its balls, and I’m one of those people with no balls. My sister, an ignorant Puritan, heads my family; but sick of this, I’m taking my cue from James Joyce and taking charge of my life— even if I have to leave the country and go to the UK to live. I believe that where there’s a will there’s a way. It’s time for me to throw off this paralysis and take my life seriously. No more Anne Bradstreet BS after this. No more “abstinence is the best contraception.” If I don’t take action, then my balls are forever pulverized by a system that’s lost its soul. The nation is seriously messed up, never mind who is to blame. I will free myself from this stranglehold or I’ll die trying.
And no, I don’t endorse Donald Trump or any political party. This is strictly personal, my own observation after years of life in this country.
I believe in the pursuit of happiness and the liberty to do this.
I was just observing more things about the difference between the River Road community and the bluer zones around town. It’s really remarkable, like the difference between life and death. I still would urge you to read Emerson’s essays when you have the opportunity. His stuff is quite relevant even today. In my neighborhood, people are selfish and hoarding, and any god they worship is a lifeless statue, just as Emerson describes. This is known as dogmatism. These conservative people resist change and the natural course of growth; they stop life from happening. It’s like being brain dead versus having a brain that works. Heads and hearts of stone. So obviously it is refreshing to get away to the blue places like Laurel Hill where you can actually breathe the air and feel something like natural. I’d much rather hang around vivacious spirits than reanimated corpses, those people gutted by tradition, each one a carbon copy of everybody else from generation to generation, insensible to the real spirit of nature that lives today if they would just tune in.
Quarter of eight.
The fog is low and dense this morning, mingled with smoke from wildfires. Air quality poor, yet I had to get to market to buy essentials. I had many dreams during the night; my mind is working on solving some problem quite personal. The book I started reading of Whitman’s poetry edited by Harold Bloom raises all kinds of questions, but I’m thinking about disposing of it in the book share on Fremont Avenue. At the same time, these facts of human nature should be allowed to exist, no matter what a lot of conservatives say, and what the Bible says. By now I wish I’d never joined a Christian church, but had kept the same friends. I feel pulled two ways. I believed that religion was good for helping with addiction, but their other attitudes I find unpalatable, and this is the heart of the debate going on within me. My situation brings up further questions of what is liberal and what is conservative, and how to tell them apart. It’s extremely difficult to find harmony with all the different attitudes people express. So that the fog is a moral one as well as a literal one, and nearly impenetrable.
Nine o’clock at night.
I had a dream that a T. Rex killed my dog. Aesop went up against him fearlessly to defend me but the huge lizard chomped him down. Obviously I was sad afterwards. I wonder what the dream means. Does the dinosaur symbolize something, maybe the monster of society or of life itself, and my dog represents the brave but puny individual whose valiant fight is futile? The story ends up the opposite of David and Goliath: the underdog, against tremendous odds, loses the battle. What are they battling over? Still, Aesop’s self sacrifice to the T. Rex kept me alive a bit longer, so his death was not vain. One more observation: the name “tyrannosaurus” means “tyrant lizard.” Thus, the real tyrant could be anything you can imagine: the Church, or perhaps a group of unjust politicians trying to topple democracy. But usually when I think of something threatening, it’s the menace to liberal scholarship and to education as I remember it. And of course, “Aesop” is the fabulist and moral teacher of antiquity.
Quarter of seven.
I’m up earlier than usual today. The market was open at six, so I went ahead with my trip. On the lip of the entrance to the lot, I paused to let a car go in front of me. The man parked, got out, and then held the front door wide open for me to enter. He was extremely tall and of mixed ancestry. I said, “Courtesy for courtesy?” He replied, “Curtsy, curtsy!” and went in behind me. It was interesting because my mind had been occupied with visions of a civil war or something over politics. I imagined my nephew polishing his guns and rooting for his wish to come true. But the reality was just this guy at the store preparing to go to work for the day… Outside, the sun still hasn’t gone above the tree line, nor does nature care about human affairs. If it did, then life would be a romantic thing, like a Victor Hugo novel, and equally pompous. As it is, life is very ordinary and pretty blah. No drama. This also means a poverty of faith in religion and whatever gives you a boost. The business of our lives goes on while God sleeps forgotten somewhere out of sight. When it’s convenient for us, we’ll wake him up again. Meanwhile, my dog has been uptight since yesterday. I don’t know why.
I got to feeling overwhelmed earlier today so I took a pill and a nap for a while. I called Polly this morning and the conversation was kind of complicated after we hung up and I thought about it. The overwhelmed feeling came from being pulled in two opposite directions politically and socially at once. Also I’d forgotten to take my AP medication last night… It’s quite a hot day now. The vendor of ice cream just drove his van up my street. It would’ve been good to try more Mallarme but there’s still tonight. At one o’clock I went and bought a bag of potato chips to snack on. I noticed how hot it felt outside; oppressive in the direct sunlight, literally pushing down. I didn’t see much else worthy of note. These days seem so confusing to me, mostly in a political way, everybody so polarized and some people really outspoken and brash about their racism. From what I can determine, attitudes towards race and ethnicity are the key issue in all the hoopla. Polly keeps bringing up Black Lives Matter as if people of color were blameworthy for everything wrong with her little world. Gloria is also very hostile to blm, saying how deeply she resents it. But I don’t feel that way at all, though being around such conservatives can rub off on me and cause problems in my mind.
It’s all just a great big mess. Maybe I should fire Gloria and not worry about the PCA stuff anymore. I could call Comagine and just say I don’t think things are working out. After that I could spend more time at my church, where attitudes are more fair minded and progressive (Lutherans are great this way). In fact, all up and down Maxwell Road I get a feeling of liberal politics in the air. I think it’s very cool, and people are relaxed and laid back, sort of laissez faire. You see more people of color nowadays, too. This is the direction we’re going in, like it or lump it. And as for WordPress, I don’t care much about it anymore.
Quarter of eleven.
I just had an interesting conversation with my sister on the phone; and what she said is similar to what many people have been saying lately about the loss of beauty in everyday life. She told me she cried numerous times while watching The Sound of Music with her Amazon Prime subscription last night. But her thought was like mine: people care less for beautiful things and go for lots of money. She also said that people are very selfish. Where I disagree with her is in blaming Black Lives Matter for these developments of the past three years. I guess it’s a thing of her generation or maybe the limits of her understanding. I don’t know, but I feel kind of ashamed of her attitudes concerning race and ethnicity. To her, a perfect world would be like the Von Trapp Family Singers: everyone white as a sheet and standing on the top of the Austrian Alps. My own knee jerk is to say there’s something wrong with this picture. We can’t rewind the tape to 1964; it’s impossible. Nor is it really desirable to do that. Am I alone in thinking this way?
I got some sleep tonight but my dreams are a turmoil of political thoughts and controversy. The idea is like gravity, things being held down and together in coherence and sense and how this is lost. The contradiction is mostly internal, all within me. How do I feel about having a PCA to take care of me twice a week, and the answer is ambivalence, a perfect split down the middle. I feel both ways. However, I see the truth that, without help, my life is disorganized. And my resentment of the powers that be is actually irrational. Still, it’s hard to shake this feeling of having hooks in me, pulling me this way and that like some kind of puppet fish… At some point they will reel me in and bonk me over the head: game over. In the meantime it’s awfully difficult to sleep at night with these mixed paranoid feelings, the kindness of the government that can kill. Is there a difference between the government and a god? Victor Hugo believed so, with a different morality for each one. But the analysis of this is very complex and wearisome. It could be that I’ve won the lottery but I’m crushed under a huge burden of guilt. And as ever, guilt is my Achilles’ Heel.
I feel kind of gross this morning, rather wiped out from the heat yesterday and overnight… I know that some people wouldn’t be caught dead taking assistance from government programs. I have a nephew who is too proud to even walk into a Dollar Tree. He buys his reading glasses for twenty bucks from a “regular” store. Another nephew of mine builds his own guns and has an arsenal of over thirty of them. The absurd vanity of some people blows me away. What do they have to be proud of but their cowboy boots, belt buckles, and big hats? And maybe the can of Kodiak wintergreen in their outing flannel shirt pocket. A bright Confederate flag for the front yard, perhaps. All this to the sound of New Country blasting from the black Dodge Ram. Usually I shrug it off and let it be, but I’m in a weird mood today.