Nighttime is when I have some breathing room. Families are a drag. Mine bears a resemblance to the crazy characters in William Faulkner fiction. The members each have some degree of neurosis, myself being the hardest hit. I had lunch with the leader, the sort of elder of the clan, which gradually I’m coming to accept as such. It appears we are on good terms at this point. But you know, the family system is dissolving and decaying fast. It manages to propagate itself for the generations, but as an individual, I still feel inclined to defect from its traditions. These are so old fashioned as to be maladaptive for the changing times. I could be wrong, yet my feelings are what they are. In particular I can’t countenance the racism and bigotry that pervade the family’s structure. As a man of principle, I reject these things. The family needs to examine itself and reevaluate its core beliefs before I will consider being a member. Until then, I deem myself a conscientious objector to family policy and practice.
Six o’clock. I hope I can sleep tonight. Last night I had nightmares about J— from church. I couldn’t relax. J— has been particularly self righteous for his Christianity, and that never flies with me. I don’t believe in exclusivity or in setting up divisions between people; certainly not Christians and non Christians. I realize that I’m a secular oddball, a person in a peculiar situation, hence my views won’t be representative of many. But I’m standing firm on how I was raised. My beliefs are second nature, and I cringe when I hear J— bemoaning the perfidious Jews or telling a racist joke. But I fear that I’m in his line of fire. I forget what I dreamed specifically, but it concerned me being accused of heresy of some kind. Funny that I listened to Rush’s “Witch Hunt” yesterday morning, as that is apt for my current state of mind. I’m probably magnifying my perception, distorting it to unreal proportions. Dunno, but I felt uncomfortable last night. There must be a way to ease my troubled mind, but deep down I’m not afraid of anybody. I’m a 53 year old man, and my resolution this year is independence and self respect at any cost.
Nine thirty. I dreamed that, at the end of the pleasure cruise, I was going to be executed. And in reality, the trailer will be picked up Monday. This puts pressure on me and also on the contractors… I just realized that the thought that makes me weak is that of Polly. I deplore her racism and always will. When I say I dislike Jung, preferring instead the grace of Emerson, I really mean it. By giving Jung another chance, I made a concession to Polly for a while. But now I reject them both on the grounds of indefensible bigotry. I am strong enough to stand without family support. I’ve been doing it for over two years already. I’ve seen firsthand the damage that Jung’s theories can cause socially. Whether the contents of the collective unconscious are the same for a person of color as for a white person is a stupid immaterial question. Jung’s theory of what causes people to be gay has been formally thrown out for reasons of discrimination. Too much of his psychology presupposes the white maleness of his clients. His ethnocentrism is an embarrassment, and belongs left behind in a museum. Meanwhile, my family will probably never be raised in consciousness, which is a sad thing. I just have to do what is right, not only for me, but for the world. Raising consciousness, in the end, is a matter of courage.
Quarter after ten. My family’s attitude has always been indefensible, so I’m thinking it’s them and not my blog that has to go. Justice and equality and freedom shall win the day every day forever and ever… This morning I read more of the Melville epic, and the tale that emerges is very ethnic and ahead of its time. It asks the honest question of why Christians don’t get along with Jews, or Muslims with either of them, or Hindus, Greeks, and so on. The same question would be taken up by James Joyce in Ulysses about fifty years later. I notice the presence of some racism in the church I attend, and that really is no kind of church. Other Christian churches are even worse for bigotry. It’s saddening because this belief is what’s available for free, and it’s misinformation. The more I look around at my community, the less I like it. Oregon may be beautiful for its natural places, but the people are mostly backward bigots. Someone needs to educate them, but they can’t be forced to learn. But at any rate, my blog will stay no matter what happens.
Quarter after four. I made a run for Milk-Bones and Coca-Cola. I’ll just play it by ear with the family. I think they will keep being brazen about bigotry, and eventually it will blow up in our faces. At first I won’t say anything. But I know it will get to a point where it’s unforgivable. How much am I asked to forgive? Is racism tolerable or not, if it’s in your own family? The answer ought to be simple, but isn’t. My relatives are my blood, and we go back a very long way. But learning is learning, and can’t be reversed. Some people don’t even want to learn. The world is a big place full of information, full of joy and pleasure, happiness to spread around. I don’t understand why some people want to obstruct the greatest happiness for the greatest number. I don’t get it and I never will. Life can hit me with the worst disasters it wants, but nothing could make me change my mind on the injustice of racism. The world has advanced and left my family behind. And the more it does, the more mulish and stubborn they get about their hate. It seems an impossible predicament. We’ll see how it goes, but it’s probably predictable.
Sensuality and indolence are the culprits in Emerson’s early writing. He considered three careers, one being minister. He admits to lacking system and detail in his thinking. He is less philosopher in the Western way than Sophist, a rhetorician— and he knows it. In some ways E is proud, yet humble and realistic regarding his shortcomings. He wants to preach at people, yet recognizes his own frailty. All this at age twenty one, in 1824. He tends toward abstract imagination, toward generalizations, and away from logic and method. But he’s great at what he does. When he’s on fire, his rhetoric soars with the best poetry. He would’ve been a good preacher, but he didn’t subscribe wholeheartedly to the teachings of the Church. In this he was honest with himself and others. So, he broke away and plowed his own road, independent and original. He became the key voice for the movement called Transcendentalism in 19th Century America. He sought conferences with Abraham Lincoln and twisted his arm about abolition. Slavery was an absolute and repugnant atrocity. There was no excuse for it. On other occasions, Lincoln, after hearing Emerson speak publicly, admitted to not understanding a word. But something at least might have sunk in. And as I write, I recognize in the story hints of what passed between me and my ethnocentric family. They never had an excuse either, but I think it would take an act of God to change their minds. Therefore, like Emerson I keep hoeing my row to the unknown…
Just a note:
There is no excuse for bigotry in this or any other country on earth.
The mental healthcare system is in bad need of reform, at least in Oregon. Everyplace I go for care I run into skinheads and other racist creeps. It will take many more years to overhaul the status quo, but it must come about. Public opinion is a snail to catch up to the wise, unfortunately. Still it is an eternal verity that racism is and always was indefensible.