Quarter after nine.
A few times this morning I played the vigilante with the birds on my back porch. The sparrows have nested in several spots around the patio cover, but sometimes the starlings come and try to eat their chicks. So I get up and bang on the door or open it and stick my head out. The birds all scatter and fly away at first, then they go back to what they’d been doing. Should I interfere in their business or let nature happen its own way? I doubt that I make very much difference anyway. I wonder a little about social Darwinism versus egalitarianism, and what ideology goes with which one. Historically, socialism and Christianity have been tied to each other, when I think of Victor Hugo and Carl Sandburg. I find myself in a position of absurdity, being very poor and yet believing in Darwin and evolution, perhaps to my detriment. At this moment a starling lights upon a cord outside my door, scolded by a sparrow. It’s an avian zoo in my backyard, while clouds and sun look on blindly, impassively. Is there any justice in nature, and where does it come from? It is the same to ask if there is a god.
Overnight it snowed mixed with rain but it never froze, so the road conditions were fairly good. Gloria called and canceled work for today for other reasons. I just spent the last half hour going to the little market a second time, where I purchased a cherry Coke and beef jerky for my dog. Earlier, I’d been thinking about all the dead people in my library, and from there, the rockstars who are dead or dying, and I got a feeling of futility about everything, so I took a nap to shake it off. Also I’ve seen the same old politics passing back and forth ever since I started paying attention to our leaders and their effects on everyday life. The redundancy is very tiresome after many years of being a citizen, yet I’d hate to see a major revolution, something to embarrass us on the world stage. I don’t know that much about politics or history. I did badly in history courses because I didn’t understand economics, and I know that it plays a big part. I can make general statements to doomsday but they don’t matter a straw. Drink my Coke and shut up, I guess. I’m along for the ride.
What would happen if we made college tuition free for everyone who wants to go?
What if we abolished every type of firearms, even for the police?
And we socialized medicine and took care of everybody as equals?
Wee hours of Friday.
Aesop, my cattle dog, has an appointment for an exam and a toenail trim this morning at ten o’clock. He is doing pretty well right now, since we tried his sedative yesterday. For my part, I’m trying to minimize my dread and superstitious fears of what could go wrong.
During the day yesterday I wrote quite a lot in my journal, ending up with some thoughts about the historical effects of intellectual movements. It seems that whatever the existentialists start, the flesh and bone religion of the common people finishes. I remembered a chapter from Les Miserables titled “After-Dinner Philosophy.” The Christianity of the poor and the working class was not good enough for the hedonistic nobles who rejected God and the afterlife. Apparently, society has been structured like this since at least the time of Victor Hugo. But what happens when a self styled “antichrist” like Nietzsche comes along and preaches the “superman?” Maybe George Bernard Shaw has an answer for me in one of his plays. Man and Superman is a work of literature I never got around to reading. I only know that Shaw was a Socialist born in Ireland and living in London, and self educated out of a museum. He lived over a hundred years ago and made his living mostly as a music critic.
But none of this argument is here or there to Aesop, who has to go through an ordeal today.
Reality dawns on me a bit more all the time, and in America, very little can be done without money. It makes the difference between paradise and damnation, like in a tale by Edgar Allan Poe of how an inheritance of a lot of cash plus a knowledge of horticulture are able to build the Domain of Arnheim here on earth. But it would’ve been impossible without the money. Capitalism is the curse of American life that keeps us in the dark ages, especially if you don’t have any money. I think I’d rather live in Xanadu than in Arnheim, although the vision of Poe is a symptom of the reality of economics. By the way, Poe was poor and only genteel by means of his intellect. He had fame without riches. If I had to pick one over the other, then I’d take fame; but then I could never live in a place like the Domain of Arnheim. Does Xanadu still offer an open door or maybe a window? And is “Xanadu” really Canada? Then Arnheim is a place in the United States, or in its imagination… These thoughts keep me awake at night. I always believe there must be a better way to govern the people than by capitalism. So that Poe’s paradise needn’t be achieved through the almighty dollar, but through ingenuity alone.