It’s very easy to become depressed.
It is particularly easy for me to become depressed because I have battled the black dog as long as I can remember.
The way to fight the black dog is to realize that he lies. It’s very difficult to do it because the black dog is perfectly logical. He presents things to you in an inevitable way. But reality is neither logic nor inevitable.
No, that is not true. Reality is logic. It’s just not the sort of logic that fits into human minds very easily. There is always some factor we didn’t calculate, something we didn’t think of. And not all surprises are bad. And sometimes surprises will be good.
Part of this, guys, is this more than any other era in history, we are surrounded by narrative (played, watched, listened to, read) and that we’ve been trained to look for foreshadowing, we make the error of treating reality as a story. This means we can read trends and we tend to extrapolate them way into the future and assume they’re inevitable.
For good or ill, history has the ability to surprise us even now.
Most of the surprises we remember are bad, of course, but that’s because that also is a trick of the black dog.
I remember the late seventies. yes, I was very young, but the smart money was either on mutual, assured decision or on the Soviets winning and taking over the entire world. Our leadership was feckless. The figures and facts coming out of the USSR were wonderful. Obviously they were going to take over the world. Bomb shelters were huge. People were talking about going back to the land to be safe.
Then there was Reagan, and we found the USSR was a Potemkin village. All of it. And then the wall collapsed…
And it’s not the first time. I read enough about WWII to find that by the lights of even the people in the free nations, all of them believers in eugenics and superior races, we didn’t have a chance. And we entered late. And the Germans had a well honed war machine, and… And our leadership frankly sucked, and our president had for years been engaged in driving our economy into the ground to gratify his crazy vision of life and economy.
But there are other instances, in more recent history, some good and some back. Hey, anyone remember when George W Bush was going to be the “education president?” And then the towers fell.
Look, I know looking at a field in which the unindicted felon is the safest candidate on one side and the socialist con artist the best poling one on the other, it’s easy to give up. It’s easy to write our obituary.
I have a friend who despairs of the breeding rate of the various productivities/iqs. This has nothing to do with race, but characteristics that inform success in the modern world are inherited from parent to child. Did you know you can predict how late someone will procreate based on their IQ? The higher the IQ, the later they’ll reproduce and the fewer children they’ll have. There are exceptions, sure, but not that much.
What my friend forgets is that it can change. It’s hard to recognize the Germans of late middle age in 19th century Germans.
Nothing is static. The future is not written in stone.
Presidents often don’t govern as they promise or threaten to, or even as we’re afraid they will. The world is vast and other things influence how a president works out than the president himself.
Things look bad. I’m not going to deny that. But it is very important to remember there’s a wide world out there. Even very bad man’s plans can be thwarted.
We might get lucky yet. And we might have the sort of luck that doesn’t seem like luck at all, but is, in the end. Sometimes ills come for better.
I’d like to tell you exactly the things that can happen that can save our *sses, but of course I can’t. In 1979 if I’d told anyone that the Berlin Wall would fall in 10 years, [yes, I did have 20, yes I can actually add ten. It was late and the fingers had their own way, though.] would they believe me? And if in 99 I’d tell anyone we’d be dealing with Marxists all through our structure of power? They also wouldn’t believe me.
The world is not just more complex than we imagine. It’s more complex than we can imagine. It’s fairly easy for us to figure out our own lives, the consequences of our own actions.
But when you start computing a whole world? A whole civilization? Black swans are inevitable.
Remember “necessarily skyrocket energy costs Barry?” Who’d imagine oil prices would plummet on his watch. Certainly not him.
The black dog tells you that there is no escape. The black dog tells you that trends are inevitable, inescapable, and it seems so logical.
The black dog is not all knowing. It lies.
The black dog’s hope is that you give it up. that you stop fighting. That you stop caring, that you give up hope, that you think your life is in vain.
There’s always hope, and there’s always the possibility for things going very very wrong. Liberty is a balance between those who want to seize power at all costs and those who fight them. There are no guarantees. but that means there are no guarantees either way. No one can promise us we’ll win, but we can’t be sure of defeat either.
The black dog knows no better than you do. Shoot him and go on with your life.