please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Friday, August 03, 2007

You're All Quite Mad, You Know

"Note these words. They came with that strange Authority of which I have spoken. With them there was the cool, tingling and electric thrill up the spine. At such moments I dare to speak beyond myself, in the personal sense, with a deep Knowing that it is authorized. Right here is one of the mysteries of inner consciousness."
---John Lilly, 'Simulations of God'

Your barista, first thing in the morning, has probably been there a while, and has had some espresso. This does not mean, exactly, that they will be ready to deal with other people yet, and maybe not at all, at any point in the day.

Especially when, often, the first person they get to deal with is some purveyor who has been up since Three, and is bitterly "cheerful". Case in point:

I'm at the Troika, considering how exactly I'm going to do everything that needs doing before we open the doors, when the milk guy arrives.
Now, I deeply dislike being called 'sir'. I'm pretty sure that every sane man does; it is the preferred approach of both people who want spare change from you or are about to arrest you. It pretty much never is meant to confer respect.

So the milk guy decides to begin our interaction by busting through the front doors yelling, "GOOD MORNING, SIR!"
Noting that this is both totally fucking wrong as well as being the way it always is, I respond in kind, but in a conversational tone.
"HOW Y'DOIN' SIR? MY NAME'S (something that could either be 'Warren' or 'Loren')!"
"Pretty good...Warren, I'm-"
"Right. (fuckin') Lo-ren...You always yell at people like that, first thing in the morning, Loren?"
(Still yelling, of course)"SORRY, SIR!...ROUGH NIGHT, SIR?"

So I'm the asshole, of course. We should all honk at each other at full volume, when some people are just barely awake, and nearby, others are still sleeping.
We spend the rest of the conversation bullshitting in this manner, with him not once relenting about his volume.

This sort of reminds me of those many things in this world where the majority of people are just going to be crazy and wrong, and you will never be able to adequately get your point across in a way that will alter their opinion or behavior.

For instance, I'm not a religious person at all, and even doctrinaire atheism makes me suspicious. I would simply like to be left alone on the subject, and the world at large just doesn't see it that way.
And, it is conventional wisdom that one is never, ever to question another person's faith, as it is a matter of personal choice, and is probably the only thing (in theory) that both keeps them happy as well as keeping all of society from anarchy.
Fine. I have often tried to explain to others, when this comes up, that I actually derive a great deal of comfort from my lack of conventional faith. A universe that doesn't include a god or goddess at all makes me far more comfortable, as does the knowledge that when I die, that will be All, as far as I go.
So that Lack of 'Faith' is my Faith, and is to be respected as such, right?

Nope. For little-leaguers, the first place they go is that I'm trying to foist some sort of mandatory atheism on them. And as always, I'm saying; Actually, as long as there's been people, you god-lovers have pretty much always held the floor, and still do. Is it going to hurt you in any way to let someone else talk for a minute?
Yes, yes it will, apparently. As it happens, the godpeople, particularly in the U.S.A., have been feeling a bit crowded, of late. They feel themselves to be an embattled minority (who also happen to be a numerical majority, and therefore always right) living in a country where federal laws have always been pretty open to expressions of religion in general, but on those few occasions where they are not...
Well, I suppose that it would shake the religious foundations of even the strongest among us if we couldn't look at The Ten Commandments every time we walk into a government building. That Faith, which is eternally unshakable, is also somehow ridiculously weak, and a lack of the phrase 'Merry Christmas' in December is enough to bring the whole house of cards down.

And when they also say that they just wish to be left alone to worship as they choose, and have no desire to force their own personal opinions on the subject of the divine on others, I think, like fun you don't. Pretty much every religion has some clause about evangelism being a good thing (with applications ranging from annoying people on their doorsteps to slaughtering all who do not believe), and as much as they may try to put forth a rational face, deep down they are deadly certain that they are right, and everyone else is wrong. Wrong on a subject that, to these people, is the most important subject of all.

To fend off several of the obvious retorts to this; don't non-religious "rationalists" do this shit too? Sure they do: it's just that there's been so many less of them, and the greater observation to be made here as always is that humans are shit, and treat each other appallingly.
And: don't I have room in my own cosmology for wonder, the unknown, mystery and awe? Short answer: Of course I do. Why wouldn't I? Matter of fact, it makes it all the more fantastic to not have a god to blame it on/credit it with. There's so much we do not know, and I personally like it that way.

Let's see; what else? The role of religion in forming community/forcing people to be nice to each other? Sure. But what do communities do when they're done including? I'm gonna have to say excluding: you define yourself by what you aren't just as much as what you are...And people in groups tend toward making Lack-of-Identification-With into Hatred-Of.
Then there's this one: people just need these things! They don't even literally believe them so much as it makes them happy to think so, and have ritual! Great. So this thing that causes you to spend a great deal of your time focusing on a fictional world to come rather than the one you're in at the moment isn't even real and you know it? Well, now I'm really confident in the reasoning skills of the rest of my species. Our capacity for abstraction apparently crawled so far up its own ass so long ago that we...

You know, I write about this shit all the time. I was going to try to talk about the impossibility of rapport on many subjects, but I got stuck on the mojo jefe of intractable problems. There's plenty of places where you just can't go with people, and this is only one of them. It alone just happens to be too big of a subject.

As are:
The endless debate between car owners and bike riders. If only one side is capable of killing the other, then a certain amount of tolerance for shitty behavior must be afforded the potential killee.
Whether or not my grandparent's generation should own the appellation 'greatest'. Well, they certainly had a lot of shit to put up with, and not dealing with it simply wasn't an option. But does Having No Choice equate to Greatness? Their children, so often derided as the 'Me Generation', on the other hand, were frontline soldiers of the revolution in consciousness itself, amongst other very important, easily ridiculed things. I'm going with them as being the most important (fuck 'greatest'), but they did backslide in the worst of ways, and by and large, made rotten parents.

And finally:
When I was baking bread for a living, there was a girl named Moe who washed dishes in the same tiny space as me. She was one of many people I've met who defined themselves by their resentments.
They live to vent about the perfidy of others, and if you observe anything beyond completely agreeing with them, you're failing to be sympathetic. This becomes particularly true if you suggest at all that maybe they play some small role in their own misery.
She and I were standing at the back door of the small cafe we worked in, watching the Eaters. She snarled, "How many of these people do you think aren't even hungry? They're just here because they wanted to meet their friends?"
This being only the latest example of her irrational hatred of most things people do, I smiled and said, "It just kills you to see someone have a good time, doesn't it?"

I mean, if her point was; my, we're spoiled as 'Murkans, aren't we?, I'd gladly agree. But that wasn't it. A person who made a living working in a restaurant and required people having discretionary income to go eat and sometimes just waste food...Was against the whole enterprise, brave soul.

Later, I went dancing one evening. DJ Gregarious was doing his usual 'guess the '80's hit' number, and all seemed to be Loving It.
There was the one fellow who I'd been encountering a great deal, and whose dance style was very flamboyant; took up a lot of space. As usual, I grumbled about his theatrics to myself, but took my own self elsewhere.
As I was dancing later, some shitheel in a white baseball cap walks by me and says, "Punkass."
I spun on him and said, "Coward." He kept on walking.

Then I ran into Moe. She was leaning against a pillar, watching this (frankly) stereotype of theatrical gay dude that I'd been watching earlier.
"I wanna kick his ass," she said.
"It just kills you to see someone have a good time, doesn't it?", I asked again.
To her credit, she shut the fuck up.



Blogger carrier said...

Today on the radio I heard a woman refer to illegal aliens as "human pollution."

Is it really any wonder humans were forced to create a creater?

Sometimes I think it is easier to have faith in some faceless god, than it is to have faith in the all too real face of man.

10:08 PM  

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