Taking over the world and leaving it ruthlessly alone
I am a novelist with work published in science fiction, fantasy, mystery and historical "novelized biography". I've won the Prometheus award and the Dragon award. I also write under the names Elise Hyatt and Sarah D'Almeida. http://sarahahoyt.com/
For instance, I think if our agencies were able to talk to each other, the 9/11 attack might have been thwarted.
I also think only a blind person, or one determined to believe propaganda would fail to get that the USSR WOULD collapse in the near future. I mean, maybe people less jaded than my 14 year old self actually believed the Soviet Life glossy photos. I know CIA agents did, but they’re a particularly gullible breed, after all.
Which in turn brings us to the point of this post: black swan events are not precisely unforeseeable. They are unforeseeable for a certain set of people, in a certain set of circumstances.
So, say, for the sake of argument, that a king-emperor has forbidden a certain alien religion in his planet and therefore has made any mention of that religion punishable with death.
Chances are that he hasn’t actually stopped the spread of the religion. He merely sent it underground, and MORE IMPORTANTLY made himself blind to its continuous existence and spread.
I’ve spoken in the past about the ridiculousness of the times we live in, in which “nobody knows anything” — btw, I suspect that it was true of most of the modern era, but our ancestors thought they knew. Since there was total control of the news by left-leaning outfits, the “news” might be bovine excreta, but since there was no break in the propaganda, people would think they knew the truth (much like our college students) — and about how on anything from population numbers (even in our own country, let alone globally) we’re flying by instruments to oh, natural resources.
I’ve talked in the past about how this is a human tendency. We like to at least pretend everything is going according to plan, and therefore if we can’t put out the fire, we break the fire alarm, and go to sleep.
What I haven’t talked about is how totalitarians of EVERY STRIPE, including our own left, want to silence not just fire alarms, but even alarm clocks.
Look, perhaps it is because today’s left, is at war with reality. Take its dogmatic shibboleths — men and women are exactly alike and there is no difference (for instance) — or that holocaust survivors have “White privilege” or that the most pampered, catered to and appeased women, in an American society that’s effectively a matriarchy are the victims of “patriarchy”.
Because their dogma varies so much from the truth, they feel a need to control the language, how people think, and ultimately everything. And if they can’t control you, they try to silence you. Hence “cancel culture.”
The problem with this, as we’re seeing with China, is that if you suppress information, you’re going to end up in the middle of black swan events with disturbing reality. And they might very well be lethal to a large portion of humanity.
Well, because the world is interconnected now. True isolation might be impossible. Which means not just viruses, but violent criminals and some day perhaps weapons of mass destruction can and do cross back and forth.
I’ve said before that it’s impossible to have a welfare state and open borders.
I’m going to announce another of those things that don’t work together: we cannot have an interconnected world, with trade and border crossing with secrecy, distortion and thought control.
Totalitarianism is incompatible with modern technology and global civilization.
Countries and groups that insist on being totalitarian should be isolated and limited until they’ve proven they can be trusted. By which of course I don’t mean they should be “cancelled” but that all interaction with them needs to be careful, limited and on the basis of “Verify and don’t trust.”
Because people at war with reality have set themselves up for black swan events. And what they don’t see coming could kill them.
And if we’re associated with them, it could kill us too.
Fisking “White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo” – Part One – Fisked by Adedayo Dayo*
Don’t ask what compels me to embark on this journey of self-flagellation. I can’t put my finger on it just yet. I thought it was curiosity at one point, especially given the work of others who’ve been examining the work of people like Ms. DiAngelo for the last few years for the same reason I picked up her book: to understand what makes people who are invested fully in identity politics tick.
I don’t know about you, but the gauntlet of reaction upon hearing the phrase “identity politics” runs thusly: surprise, disbelief, defensiveness, annoyance, anger, mockery, and boredom, all overshadowed by that nagging sense of unease and horror. I’m now in the boredom stage, and at the same time the choice to dig deeper is a strong one. One of the authors of the Grievance Studies controversy from 2018 has posted numerous examples on DiAngelo’s published work, sp it was inevitable that I would want to look into it myself.
All that being said, brace yourself for a roller-coaster ride. This isn’t in an amusement park, though – this is in the middle of a bloody swamp and the ride is haunted with woke projection. At some point during this journey you may see a hierarchy pyramid and perhaps a buzzword bingo game, but a majority of it will be focusing on the text itself. Thankfully you will not hear the cussing, the thunk of the book hitting a wall numerous times, and the unintelligible mutterings of this post author delving into the work. Consider yourself fortunate in that regard.
These ceremonials in honor of white supremacy,
performed from babyhood, slip from the
conscious mind down deep into muscles . . .
and become difficult to tear out.
—LILLIAN SMITH, Killers of the Dream (1949)
Cute. You know what else is muscle memory? Getting up everyday to go to work.
Oh, lookie here! The Foreword is written by one Michael Eric Dyson. You know who he is, right? Professional black rights agitator? Purported orator of black truths? Speaker For The Aggrieved Non-White Activist? This should be a doozy.
One metaphor for race, and racism, won’t do. They are, after all, exceedingly complicated forces. No, we need many metaphors, working in concert, even if in different areas of the culture through a clever division of linguistic labor.
This, dear reader, should clue you in from the get-go on the game. As you’ll see, before we even reach the first chapter, the goal is to let you familiarize yourself with the new definitions of common words. Why new definitions, you ask? That’s an excellent question. Don’t ask me if an answer’s forthcoming from Dyson or DiAngelo, however.
Race is a condition. A disease. A card. A plague. Original sin.
This is also a clue. Am I the only one who’s noticed an uptick in the social justice activists’ inability to avoid presentism when publicly airing the grievances they’re trying to make right? I can’t say I know any Calvinists personally, but surely they’re just as annoyed about the theft of their schtick for something as lowly as, uh, race.
For much of American history, race has been black culture’s issue; racism, a black person’s burden. Or substitute any person of color for black and you’ve got the same problem.
Now I may be a glutton for punishment, but this raised my hackles. I literally identify as a non-white person. Race has never been an issue for my culture, and racism has never been my burden. Why is Dyson trying to saddle me with this crap?
Whiteness, however, has remained constant. In the equation of race, another metaphor for race beckons; whiteness is the unchanging variable.
There’s your problem, mate – your metaphor SUCKS. The variable is not the constants in the equation. If “whiteness” = x, what exactly are you trying to solve?
Further down, Dyson says,
To be sure, like the rest of race, whiteness is a fiction, what in the jargon of the academy is termed a social construct, an agreed-on myth that has empirical grit because of its effect, not its essence. But whiteness goes even one better: it is a category of identity that is most useful when its very existence is denied. That’s its twisted genius. Whiteness embodies Charles Baudelaire’s admonition that “the loveliest trick of the Devil is to persuade you that he does not exist.”
I’m not sure I can even even right now, and we’re still on the foreword. I can’t tell if Dyson is trying to say that since race is a social construct, he’s simply blowing smoke up the audience’s collective derriere or wielding his currently favorite social construct like a bat is simply a means to a particular end. Bueller? Buh? Wait, is he saying Whitey’s the devil here? I mean, white devils still exist, and normally they wear hoods.
DiAngelo brilliantly names a whiteness that doesn’t want to be named, disrobes a whiteness that dresses in camouflage as humanity, unmasks a whiteness costumed as American, and fetches to center stage a whiteness that would rather hide in visible invisibility.
Oh, there’s the end: black agitator just made up a problem in need of a solution.
DiAngelo joins the front ranks of white antiracist thinkers…
Be aware, dear readers, that “antiracist” has a particular meaning in the vocabulary of identity politics. Hint: it’s actually a mantra, not a technical meaning one could find under “anti,” “racist” or “antiracist” in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary.
Robin DiAngelo is the new racial sheriff in town. She is bringing a different law and order to bear upon the racial proceedings.
Remember what I said about redefining new words? Consider this confirmation of what to expect – because following this racial chicken salad is an Author’s Note from DiAngelo herself, laying out more key phrases that are vital to her cause.
This book is unapologetically rooted in identity politics. I am white and am addressing a common white dynamic. I am mainly writing to a white audience; when I use the terms us and we, I am referring to the white collective. This usage may be jarring to white readers because we are so rarely asked to think about ourselves or fellow whites in racial terms. But rather than retreat in the face of that discomfort, we can practice building our stamina for the critical examination of white identity—a necessary antidote to white fragility. This raises another issue rooted in identity politics: in speaking as a white person to a primarily white audience, I am yet again centering white people and the white voice.
Please note that I am NOT white and yet the simple prose here is not only jarring; it evokes no small amount of horror and anger at the way she singles out one group for the sin that their skin color is purportedly dominant in our country. The hilariously ironic thing is, it’s not easy to distance myself from the emotions which respond to the underlying premise here. And I’m not her target audience. However, that – my not being white – is also a shield from behind which to examine DiAngelo’s claims with some modicum of objectivity.
I must, and I can. Look – you may find my internal agonizing to be self-inflicted, but this is a choice. In order to repudiate and overcome the premise of white privilege, the poison of which has infected every corner of our culture over the last several years, people who’ve seen, read and heard its effects need to know what we’re all facing.
Colorblindness (showing no partiality to race or skin color) is anathema to the advocates of social justice and critical theory.
Privilege and intersectionality must be addressed, they assume, by complaining about it incessantly instead of striving for actual equality.
If you shine a light in the darkness, especially this patch of darkness, knowing what our ideological opponents’ endgame is.
Make no mistake: this is an ideology, sometimes with deadly consequences. More often than not, this ideology has cost people their livelihoods and destroyed their professional reputations, our dear hostess Sarah among their number.
So pardon me for taking this fight directly to them in a manner that doesn’t require bloodshed. Knowledge, after all, is power, and an ideology that focuses on power imbalances shouldn’t mind another dynamic being thrown in the mix, right?
Stay tuned for more.
*I let my guests pick their names and was so tired I put it up. I know why my friend thought that was an appropriate name. She’s mad at herself for reading this tripe, but REALLY it detracted from the article, so I made her use a real name. I’m mean that way.
Throughout most of history, men who believe themselves superior or “elites” have believed that other men were born saddled and ready to be ridden.
The alpha male who rules over the band is, after all, a fixture of ape bands. It’s that “made on an ape frame” again.
I want to make this very clear: throughout most of history, whether king or high priest, whether Emperor or conqueror, whether nobility or oligarchy humans were subjected to someone, and to those that worked for that person/worked under the authority of that person or group of people. It was, you might consider, the “natural order of things.” Truly the natural order, since it comes from nature.
And this is what’s important to know: Socialism (“democratic, purple, or pokadotted” — snort — ) and communism are not different. They follow the ultimate rule of humanity of an elite who considers itself superior ruling over everyone else.
It is no coincidence that in Europe the “sons and daughters of good families,” the remnants of nobility, (and in the States themselves, the old families and the blue bloods) are usually socialist, communist, and in support of an oligarchy of rulers over the mass of humanity.
Oh, the old excuses have changed. Humans are good at excuses (the problem, of course, was teaching the ape to talk. Not to vocalize, but to abstract. Abstractions and generalizations are slippery. Lies are not far behind.)
After the American revolution, and more so after the French, and after the toppling of kings and nobles that soaked Europe in blue blood, it was not ah…. advisable to talk of nobility of birth. It was not done.
Instead, the noblemen, the “good people” made themselves into a nobility of “service.” They became “public servants”, following “the will of the people.” (For service in this case, you should understand what a bull does to a cow.)
You see, they weren’t stupid — yes, sure, some royal lines got so inbred they were almost as stupid as your average Woke college student — because stupid people don’t keep their hands on the reins and their spurs in the flank of the mass of their fellow men. And certainly not after the idea of the divine right of kings and nobility of birth tumbled to the dirt (if not before when Louis XVI’s head coughed in the basket. But you could argue it started with the black plague, which laid waste commoner and nobility alike and both destroyed some of the older and more cunning families, and the very idea that as long as you obeyed these people you’d be okay. Ideas take time to percolate through cultures. You can draw a straight line from the Black Plague to the age of revolutions, but it’s a slow one.)
They realized — none better — that common property and common good don’t administer themselves. They also realized — again none better — that he who has the command of the property is the de-facto owner. And so they installed themselves as administrators, as bureaucrats. In Europe, where indicators of class in both clothing and manner remain, and where there is often an innate respect for those of “good birth” who can name their ancestors, and have pictures on their walls going back generations, they compose entire ruling classes, “elected” but both sides of the spectrum (all sides of the spectrum) really a nobility, a group of “elites” who trade power between them and who agree that the dear little people, the commoners, should never be given any real power.
I can see your lips start to curl, as you say it’s not so different here. This is true, to an extent. (Not all extents. There is still a difference between the parties, and one at least might be reclaimable. You never get to choose between cake and death. Sometimes you choose the less lethal poison until you can pour it into the plant and get rid of the poisoners.) We have for our sins, and partly because of the twentieth century idea that society was like a machine, that we could centralize power and control the economy and the people in social and economic engineering, and that would make everyone better off — and partly because of Soviet propaganda, the only thing they were ever good at. A Russian trait from time immemorial — created a vast bureaucratic class, credentialed and indoctrinated, and with both of those things sneeringly sure they’re better than the rest of humanity and the rest of humanity wants — needs — to be ruled.
You hear it in the sneering disdain of their voices when they talk of “populism” and in the whining of unelected bureaucrats affronted that the duly elected president differs from them. You hear it in their disdain for “meritocracy.” (They prefer credentialism, mostly brought in under the pretense of eliminating “racism” but really to eliminate the possibility of the wrong people getting power; of the pushy sons of the bourgeoisie grabbing the reins as they did after the Black Plague and unseating the correctly anointed ones.) You see it in their slandering and destroying of any who oppose them. And most of them (not their willing and pathetic dupes who are merely moronic outcasts or envious “intellectuals”) are people of “pedigree.” You explain to me, after listening for ten seconds to crazy Uncle Joe Bribem how else someone whose contact with reality is thread thin someone like that was elected or got power. You explain to me how someone like (Malig)Nancy Pelosi, who is drunk 99% of the time, and not too bright the rest of it (I swear to you, though I can no longer find the video that the idiot crossed herself in a mosque in Syria when she visited to tell them that Bush was a meanie and the democrats lorrrrved them.) It’s just a class thing. They’ve established a ruling class. And though the present scions are often dumber than rocks, they have the cunning and the desire to rule us.
Here’s the thing: they never gave up on communism. They never admitted the horror it was, and honestly a failure at providing luxuries for the elites. Sure, the elites in the USSR lived worse than the middle class in the free world, but THAT’s not the point. The point is that they lived much better than those around them, and it provided them with a sense of their innate and invincible superiority. That’s meat and drink to them. That’s what they actually live for: their rightful place in the world.
In Europe, they’ve managed to convince the majority of people that they need socialism. That a heavy bureaucratic welfare state is in fact the ONLY way to live. Which is why social-democrat is usually the most to the right that the spectrum goes. (To idiots reading that, no, it’s not democratic socialism. The “right wing” of Europe is a welfare state, with enough taxes taken to hold people captive and enough services given to have a serf class that will protest at the state being unseated or reduced. So, in terms of “socialism” it is a pale pink. Call it bureaucratism and put it in as the percurse to socialism.) Note even at homeopathic doses, socialism kills. The European heavy tax, pervasive regulation and welfare state makes it impossible for people to actually reproduce. It makes it hopeless to try to move out of your socially assigned place. Call it feudalism with contraception and without religion. It means that the populations of Europe are dying. The self-hatred induced by Soviet Propaganda doesn’t help. Europe is a vast old-age home. The imports… well, they reflect the socialist idea that people are interchangeable and cultures don’t matter. That’s for another time.
Here, though they have captured all media, all education, the news and entertainment and every branch of what you could call “the information industries” they haven’t fully managed to capture the people. (In Europe, too, to be fair, there are signs of rebellion. But Europe is different.) Oh, sure, we’ve been regulated and hemmed in, and told to stay in our lane, but we remember we once were free men. And we have a constitution we can consult if needed, which tells us the measure of what we’ve lost, but also lets us dream of what could be regained.
This is quite different from the indoctrinated sleep walkers who have been lead to believe they are “elites” but who in fact are donning the saddles for their masters to ride to power — journalists and writers, grievance mongers and “scholars.” My only consolation is that should you achieve your aims — however briefly — you’ll be up against a wall before I am. Because your masters don’t trust you. Nor should day, you quisling traitors willing to turn in your freedom for lack of responsibility. The only ones of you I pity are those minorities — social, racial, intellectual and others — indoctrinated to think that the powerful socialist state will make people accept you. But even you, I do not forgive. You are — most of you — literate, and should be able to read the history of the regimes you wish for. Yes, I know, some of you believe that the welfare states of Europe are both “socialist” and “more accepting.” I enjoin you, for your own life, to learn the language and go over with no money, and sit in bars and cheap restaurants listening to the people talk. It will be an education about those oh, so accepting Europeans. A cheap one, compared to turning in your birth right for a firing squad.
ANY centralized and powerful state oppresses minorities of all kinds. To say that kings and church oppressed your kind and therefore you need socialism/communism, is like saying that you have a hang nail and to cure it, you’re going to cut off your head. And this information is not on the moon, that you can’t reach it. All it takes is stepping outside your comfort zone and your self-reinforcing bubble. Again, your life might depend on it.
The reason our land, our constitution our form of government is already half-lost (what on Earth do you think the compact against the electoral college is? It allows the vortexes of fraud, controlled by the left machine to control the entire country.) the reason one of the likely candidates for the presidency wants to shred our Constitution — the basis for our existence — and open the borders to the serfs and peasantry of every land in the world is because we are the obstacle in their pursuit of their ultimate dream.
One would laugh, if it weren’t so bitter, but the same “elites” who under another name caused WWI have convinced people that nationalism is a problem, and want to create a super-state encompassing the world.
This has nothing to do with lack of war. Trust me, in the middle ages, Christendom warred enough within itself, though technically under the sway of the same super entity.
No. This is because the larger the centralized entity, and the wealthier, the less accountability it has.
With stars in their eyes our “superiors” see the idea of ruling the world and having no one to control them. Of course half of those ‘betters’ are merely the shock troops of the old families, reaching for control once more. The sleep walkers, moving towards their city of creams, without realizing nightmare waits them.
The new promises involve things like paying off student loans, and having “health-care” for free. And these people must never have read fairy tales, because they never ask what the words mean, and what it costs.
Even some of my fellow libertarians have started mouthing things like “most people don’t want liberty.” Oh, that’s not true. It’s that they’ve been told they can have liberty without responsibility. Ninety percent of the younger people who call themselves socialists don’t realize they’ll pay for it, or that their personal lives and choices will be interfered with.
They imagine that they will have endless leisure, to pursue their “dreams” and lack the self awareness to know that dreams that don’t have the spur of reality are just a way to get lost in meaninglessness. They also don’t seem to understand that if they are a charge, not a credit, to a vast, impersonal state, they will in the end be disposed and disposed of as the elite decides. They don’t realize this is just the long way back to a techno-feudalism worse than anything their ancestors endured because not mitigated by Christianity which assigns each individual value simply for existing. Marxism has no such value.
And so, they will tear down the last best thing on Earth, and hasten to put chains on themselves, convinced this will make them free.
At this point, I must trust in the turning point of technology, which despite the giants does give the individual power it hasn’t had since the age of agriculture, and also the ability to once more own his/her own means of production in at least a great measure. I must trust in the fact that our would be elites are in fact the end of a long non-meritocratic process, meaning that they misspell their own names three times out of four, and are also completely unable to cope with the changes in technology and society.
Arrayed against us are very old human instincts, the machinations of people who might not be good at anything but are very good at achieving power, the fears of indoctrinated fools who’ve been convinced every hand in a free society is against them, the hopes of even more pathetic fools who think that they’ll be the special and cherished pets of an all powerful and centralized state.
All we have is our Constitution, our history, and the certainty that free men, acting in their individual best interests have almost eliminated poverty and created — for all its flaws — the fairest and most accepting society Earth has ever seen.
All we have against the lies of old is our shining city upon a hill, which cannot be torn down, because even if occluded by the chains of totalitarianism (it’s come close before) it lives on in the hearts of free men and women everywhere.
It won’t be simple. It won’t be easy. And you and I who’ve rounded the corner of fifty will almost surely not see even the edge of victory on this, unless a miracle occurs.
But we must do what we can. So the future is not like the past. So our yet-unborn descendants taste freedom. It’s all we can do. And it’s a glorious destiny.
In the end we win, they lose, but the end is a long way off. Be not afraid.
*Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog. Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so. As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste. If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*
Eldon is a reformed cross-dimensional criminal. A genetically engineered Wizard. A movie star (Hey, a guy’s got to earn a living somehow!) a father figure to a batch of kids (he’s a sucker for any kid) and working with the government on their attempts at opening dimensional portals.
So here’s this body guard escaping through a portal with the royal prince and princess from the Cyborgs that are on the verge of conquering their world . . . And there’s no way Eldon isn’t going to help a couple of kids in danger.
A warlord of fire can lay curses of fever. A woman of snow can freeze a man to death.
Pierre, knight of the king, is burning with fever from the curse of the warlord when he learns a possibility that might save him — and the kingdom. It turns on a child.
[And ALL of you, see me about covers. SERIOUSLY.]
Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.
So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.
We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.
I’m very busy — car shopping. Our car died. Poor thing was 22 years old. It would probably have been fine, if we’d remembered to check the oil. We needed it to last ONE MORE YEAR, but hey, we’ll deal — and also woke up with an infernal head cold.
DIL says we should take this year back for a refund, and she ain’t wrong.
Anyway, yesterday I was looking for something on Pixabay and came across a couple of images that are SUCH perfect SF/f covers. So I wrote like paragraphs about it. And I thought I’d share. No, they’re not novels. Maybe some day, but not right now. More likely, honest, they’ll be short stories. So, this is just to amuse you with the situations.
This one is from user Darksouls who has some pretty nifty stuff. I started following him years ago when most of his stuff was obvious photoshop and not very artistic. He’s gotten better. I’ve NO idea what those creatures are (I’m tragically D & D lore impaired) but I came up with a paragraph I put up on FB with this picture:
“Them?” She looked at me like I was a total idiot. “Don’t be silly. They’re not dangerous. At least not to me. I’ve had them since they were babies. They were too cute to kill, when I shot their mother. They’re fine. Worry about the Other instead. They’re signaling he came this way.”
Hello boys and girls, dragons, minotaurs and tadpoles! There are concepts so obviously and moronically evil, whose proponents use such irrational and ridiculous arguments to defend them, that the only way to comment on them is with gifs. Lots and lots of gifs.
This is because when people think closing their minds, ignoring the lessons of history and stomping their little hooves while saying “but I want it” is a rational argument, the only thing a rational human being can do is treat them as they’re acting: like toddlers.
I don’t know about you but I am certainly not going to let myself be ruled by tantrums. I didn’t let my kids do it, and I’m not about to let theoretical adults, some whom I remember used to be sort of sane, do it. You act like a toddler, I’m going to point and laugh.
It will be a bitter laugh, because the aim of your tantrum is to enslave and kill me, my friends, my family and my country. So, let’s say we are not amused. However laughing at you is better than giving you what you’re asking for.
So, count yourself lucky, okay?
To begin with, and even though Larry has done this on facebook, let’s talk about what socialism actually is:
Oh, wait! What is this I hear? Socialism is an intermediate stage between capitalism and communism? Okay, then. Let’s figure out what communism is, okay?
Note Merriam-Webster says that it was the official doctrine of the USSR and also that it was a form of Marxian socialism.
I know, I know, I’m being a meanie, because this is what the other side says they want:
You know…. It’s funny because I grew up in a system with SOCIAL democrats, and Christian democrats and well… yes, socialists. Did I ever tell you I once demonstrated to keep the corrupt and horrible socialist leader from being arrested. You see the other two had been arrested, and the Maoists had seized power, and… Never mind.
Back to the topic. What I never heard of, or saw head or tail of, nor even a little hair is democratic socialism. So no matter how much you tell me about it, I’ll assume it’s this:
You want a system in which all assets are controlled in common….. and you want to take them …. democratically. And this is better than normal socialism, because? Do you mean that if a majority votes, or you can fraud enough to vote to take everyone’s stuff away…. people will just LET you? How does that work? Other than with massive force, executions and all the horrors of socialism?
What does the DEMOCRATIC before the socialism do? Put party hats on all those skulls?
Look, let’s be honest, if “democratic socialism is where we ALL agree to share everything” you don’t actually need elections. All of us can just share everything, becoming a 300 million strong self-abnegating commune, where — unlike Bernie in the commune he once belonged to — everyone pulls their weight. VOLUNTARILY.
The only reason to have elections, is to capture the government. And what does the government give you? Force. If all those evil capitalists don’t agree to share, you’ll steal
expropriate it, because those evil capitalists stole it from the people, right, so you’re just taking it back.
So, how do you intend to have your happy fun “democratic” socialism, which is all happy fun, and everyone gives everything and is taken care of by government?
Yeah, yeah, I know “millionaires and billionaires, and no one should be a billionaire.”
Leaving aside the fact that you are more ignorant of economics than virgins are of sex, do you know what happens the minute you elect your happy fun redistributing MILLIONAIRE socialist, who wants to abolish billionaires?
Before the ink is dried on your happy fun socialist declaration, this is what the billionaires take to go far far away from your rules and expropriation, taking ALL their money with them:
And this is what other countries do to people with lots of money to invest:
And then when you demand that we give you the money we make BY WORKING so you can sit at home playing games and smoking pot?…. er, I mean, working on your art.
And then we too decide to stay home and er…. work on our art.
After which you get to enjoy equality with everyone else, because what you don’t get to do is enslave us. Which is why in the end all socialist countries look like this:
Because no matter how much you vote that I should work and give you the stuff I work for, I’m not going to do it.
And no, civic duty doesn’t cover that. A vow of poverty, driven by extreme religious fervor might cover that, but most of us aren’t monks.
Unless we’re this kind of monk:
Also, when things are owned by the people, do you know who in fact gets to choose what’s done with them? The people, you say? Oh, you’re going to ask every person in America what they want to do with every paper clip? And how much bread should be made? and which kinds of toothpaste are needed?
No, of course you’re not. So in the end, in effect, things are owned by the people who get to tell you what to do. These people.
Look them up. All of them at some point called themselves socialist. And democrat. Heck, East Germany called itself democratic too. People were democratically free to die trying to jump the wall to a place where they might actually, you know, be able to feed themselves and their children and not be spied on by government.
But you think that democratic socialism is “free”. That means you think people will give you things for free, and you’ll be free to live as you want without, you know, having to work to survive. Working is for those other people who aren’t as special as you are.
Except of course, in the end, your regime is free of food, free of homes, free…. oh, hell, just ask Venezuela.
Which is why we look at your tantrum, and because we don’t want to kill you, we go:
And then you serious intellectual that you are
You bring out the big logic. How can we be afraid of democratic socialism, when without socialism we wouldn’t have anything?
At which point of course we:
Let’s see… all government…. Sounds legit!
Our Military…. As misused as our military has been…. You might want to check that antiquated document, the Constitution, which tells you that one of the few things our Federal government is legally allowed to do is provide for the common defense. If you think the founding fathers were socialists, you should put down the crack pipe. That stuff is bad for you.
Also you know…. These guys had armies:
I grant you that the TSA resembles a socialist police system: Venal, annoying, and UTTERLY ineffective. And that socialists put all sorts of restrictions on travel of all sorts. But it’s entirely possible that you don’t understand: restricting things is not the same as inventing them or creating them.
WATER? Okay, you’re not smoking pot. You’re sniffing glue.
Public schools…. Er…. No. I mean, those existed under the Kaiser, who last I checked wasn’– You know what? That’s fine. You want to claim public schools are socialism? Fine. Take the public schools away. I think kids will learn more by running wild and painting graffiti than they do in public schools. At least they won’t be taught socialist propaganda. So, without socialism, not public schools? Oh, let me see…
Big bank bailouts.
Wait. You think that non-leftists WANT big bank bailouts?
Wait, what? PUT DOWN THE METH. There have been border patrols/guards since there have been humans. Even before humans. Chimps keep watch for other bands impinging on their territory, so I presume hominids did too. And no, that’s not socialism. If it were every monarchy would be socialist.
TV and Radio? What the actual hell? Even meth doesn’t explain that. TV AND RADIO? Yeah, government (which note, is not the same as socialism) does regulate the airwaves, it certainly is not needed for TV and Radio to exist.
Look, I’m just not getting through to you, am I? Let me show you.
See? I know that dictionaries are full of white privilege and stuff, but trust me on this, words mean things. And those two are not the same.
Also, btw, in socialism, radio and TV are not only tightly regulated, they’re CONTROLLED. And that’s if you can afford a TV you filthy kulak.
Refer to that definition above. Just because government regulates cell phones, it doesn’t make cell phones the PRODUCT of regulation, or of government, much less of socialism.
Police, fire protection, etc…. WHAT PART OF THAT is socialism? You’re joking, right?
Words have meanings. Socialism doesn’t mean “everything a society does.” Look at the definition above.
Also, all of those predated Marx’s misbegotten ejection from his mother’s birth canal.
And then…. and then, OH DEAR LORD. MONEY. You’re claiming the existence of money for socialism?
Alexander the Great was a… socialist. Are you for real?
Corporate subsidies are socialism? Well… okay, so you’re claiming crony capitalism as part of socialism?
Fine by me. Cool. It’s not, of course, but it’s a redistribution scheme, and if you want to claim it, I’m okay with it.
Federal disaster relief? What the actual f*ck. Which part of federal disaster relief is… Oh, you mean because it’s financed by taxes? So you think anything funded by taxes is socialism? Because you think socialists invented taxes?
I mean, like everything the federal government does it’s inefficient and wasteful, but it’s not — no, really, I must insist — as bad as socialism.
Or do you think charity is socialism?
The INTERNET? No. Sorry. Just no. Sure DARPAnet was a government effort. BUT the internet of cats and porn is NOT DARPAnet.
The internet built by socialists was the attempt at the internet the French were bragging about back in the seventies, which still hasn’t been implemented.
And again, just because it’s built by government, it doesn’t make it SOCIALIST.
Patents? WHAT PART OF MAKING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PRIVATE is SOCIALISM, which doesn’t allow private property?
That …. might be the most stupid thing I’ve ever read. And keep in mind I’ve read the Communist Manifesto ….. Economic analysis by Paul Krugman, Paul Ehrlich’s predictions and a lot of socialist writers…
And safe food?
Yeah. Well, all the Romanian sausages made with sawdust and G-d knows what were completely safe. Socialism and all. And everyone knows that Communist (remember, it’s a matter of degree!) China is the safest place to get food EVER.
Look, you’ve probably done major brain damage already, but…
So, to summarize: You have no clue what socialism is, and insist on thinking that all government is socialist, but you want to smash the current system of … government and get “socialism?”
You think that regulating something is the same thing as creating it.
You think that a system that forbids private property enforces intellectual property.
You’re completely ignorant of every socialist system ever, and think somehow being voted in (or frauded in) by a majority makes socialism happy fun, and will force almost EVERYONE in a society of 300 million to work like crazy to keep people who don’t want to work comfy. Instead of everyone, pretty much, deciding that work with no reward is not for them, since they’ll get the same either way.
And you want to try socialism, because it will allow you to work on your art poetry play passion….
And you refuse to understand that under socialism, the government and bureaucrats tell you what your “passion” is.
BUT you really think, in your heart of hearts that we’re the only thing standing between you and success? And that you’re only failing because the capitalist system is unjust?
And you THINK that if you help people institute this kind of government, they’re going to put you in charge or at least give you what you want?
And you think that those of us who have experienced socialism before — and there’s a lot of us — are going to let you force us into it again, because you really, really, really want to?
And you know, it’s not your fault. Only someone who grew up in the freest, most prosperous nation on Earth could believe this nonsense !
Only someone who has never had to struggle for anything in his or her entire life could believe that the government is composed of angels wishing to look after him/her.
Only someone who never read or never understood 1984 could think that slavery is freedom.
In any other society, someone so arrant and arrogantly self centered and spoiled would have died or been killed years ago.
Congratulations. You are the product of a society so free that you’re ready to join the flock on the way to the abattoir.
Fortunately for you, you pampered and self-deluded “socialist” a lot of us came from elsewhere and we know what socialism means, and to you we say:
Maybe tomorrow. I need to go to the Springs to get my new glasses. TRUST me, you want me to get my new glasses.
So, while I’m gone, someone brush RES and the rest of you put on pants, okay.
Oh, and in answer to some idiot who asked that if I don’t like socialism, am I willing to give up government education?
Government education is NOT a law of nature, and nothing in the constitution really allows it.
My father and his siblings went to various school marms his parents paid for. They knew Latin by 10. I had the benefit of public education. My little Latin and small Greek didn’t come till adulthood. And I’m not nearly as educated as dad.
But won’t you think of inner city kids?
What? with graduation rates in minority-majority (eh) schools of 30% and most of those incapable of reading and even fewer of reading in English? Letting them just roam around might achieve better results.
Also, trust me, most of the kids are not just prevented from reading. Immigrant kids are told they can never assimilate, that they’re oppressed and that this country is the worst in the world. (Trust me. They tried that on my kids, as well as education in Spanish.)
WHY do you hate minority immigrant kids so much you want them to be a permanent uneducated serf class?
The parents who care will arrange for kids to learn. Charities will arrange for the rest. States and cities might make their own arrangements. Some kids will fall through the cracks. As opposed to now?????
Sure, a public education is great for a country of immigrants. It helps foster common culture. Except when the common culture is hating the country you’re in, and a bunch of lies about its history.
Then it becomes an instrument of destruction. And you want to know if I wish it were done away with? Why are you asking? Is this a trick?
It was the night after Christmas, a few years back, when I went back to work after a day off. I’d worked the night of Christmas Eve, and had Christmas night off. (This is important.) At that time, I worked as an RN in a long-term care facility connected to a hospital. This arrangement used to be common in small and medium-town hospitals. The facility and the hospital shared a kitchen, and the facility naturally used the hospitals’ labs and radiation equipment. The facility had two wings, and shared a connected dining room/activity room. I was the night nurse for one wing that night, and had one certified nursing assistant to help me with all resident cares that night.
When I took report, I was told that one resident, with early dementia, had tried to feed another resident, with late-stage Parkinson’s. The result was emesis in the dining room. Another resident had come back from a dinner out with family. Multiple residents had had family members in either for Christmas Day or the day after. One resident had had a fall in an urgent rush to get to the bathroom, but had only a couple of minor bruises – no broken bones or head injuries.
Part of being a night nurse means working with the CNA to do rounds – checking on residents, toileting residents, turning residents at risk for pressure ulcers, taking care of incontinent residents, talking to residents who are awake, preventing falls, and making sure residents stay clean, dry, and safe In addition, there are nursing tasks of assessing residents’ skin, changing dressings, auditing charts, doing tube feedings, giving medications, checking on ostomies, checking settings for oxygen concentrators, making sure that tracheal openings are cared for, etc. And all of this needs to be charted. Rounds take place every couple of hours.
On our first round, the resident who had Parkinson’s had loose stools – not uncommon, as people with late stage Parkinson’s frequently get medications to counter the natural constipation of late-stage Parkinson’s. His roommate also had loose stools, but had been been eating chocolates. We followed standard precautions, cleaned our patients, made the beds with fresh linens, washed with soap and water, and moved on.
(Standard precautions mean that you glove up before giving care. You always dispose of linens either by bringing the dirty linen cart directly to the door or by taking a closed plastic bag of dirty linens to the linen cart. You dispose of trash by taking a closed plastic bag to the trash cart. You dispose of the gloves. You then clean hands either with hand sanitizer or soap and water before you leave the room. Soap and water is mandatory after any bowel movement. You don’t take dirty anything from one room to another.)
A few rooms later, we came to a room where the occupants sat at separate tables in the dining room, both close to the table where our Parkinson’s patient sat. When we went to turn one patient, she bolted upright, and projectile vomited. (Yes, we have black humor. The Exorcist was mentioned.) Suddenly, things looked worse. We were meticulous in cleaning up the resident, changing her linens, and in washing after. We then went to her roommate. She had projectile diarrhea as we turned her. “Well, shit. This is contagious, and it’s just a matter of time for us. We need to start more precautions.”
Contact plus precautions are used to keep from carrying contagious matter on your skin or clothes, and also are meant to help the caregiver not catch whatever the resident has. So I went to the other wing, got the isolation cart, grabbed a box each of gowns and procedure masks, and we continued on rounds, donning and doffing gowns and masks for each resident.
Over the course of the exhausting night, four more residents began to show symptoms. The other wing got a case, and used the other isolation cart, so chairs were put outside each room with gowns and gloves. We hauled around gowns and gloves. I called our nurse manager. Hospital infection control was notified. The county health department was notified. The state health department was notified. We continued rounds. I continued duties. There were no breaks for either of us between charting and rounding.
In the morning, my relief came. She had worked Christmas day, but not the day after. I started to give her report when she excused herself to the staff bathroom. I heard the unmistakable sounds of vomiting, and sent my relief home. This was the last shift she had been scheduled to work before leaving on a family trip to Jamaica two days later. (This is important.) Now I was working a sixteen hour shift. My nurse manager came in, and confirmed my orders – all residents to stay in their rooms, all meals on trays with disposable plates and flatware and cups, no communal meals, everyone to change gowns and gloves between each resident and to wash with soap and water between each resident. In between passing morning meds and helping to feed residents who needed feeding, I called an order for more gowns, masks, face shields, and still more gowns. I also doubled our order for trash bags and linen bags. I let the house supervisor (charge nurse for the entire hospital) know that we would probably need a lot more staff, as I expected my relief would not be the last to get the whatever it was. Soon one of the day CNAs ran for the staff bathroom, and left in tears – she couldn’t afford the time off, and we couldn’t afford to keep her on shift, even though we needed the hands.
We were authorized to collect samples of fresh stool and fresh emesis, and get them to the lab. It was a couple hours before I came on duty the next night that our fears were confirmed – Norovirus.
I was not the first staff member to note either loose stools or vomit, but I was the nurse who called it an outbreak, implemented precautions, and got the ball rolling. It had been too late from that moment in the dining room when one resident vomited in the dining room. Norovirus has an incubation period from eight hours to seventy-two hours (on average), a duration of one to three days, (on average), and a period of virus shedding after the patient has no more symptoms. That virus shedding can last up to three days. Norovirus can persist on objects for up to ten days, and it only takes five or so Norovirus particles to infect someone. Norovirus kills about 200,000 people a year around the world, most of them very young, very old, or with pre-existing conditions. Long-term care facilities are full of the very old and of people with pre-existing conditions.
The outbreak was exhausting. Nobody worked the entire outbreak. My usual night CNA was sick halfway through the second night. We paid bonuses to hospital nurses and techs who came over to work. I worked three nights in a row of either twelve or sixteen hour shifts, and then succumbed. (While I was giving report, I said, “Excuse me,” and went off and puked. I bleach wiped the staff bathroom, put on a fresh mask and gown, and finished report standing five feet from my colleague.)
At home, we had advance warning. I had called my husband, so we had bleach wipes, pads, garbage bags, Sprite, soda crackers, gelatin cups, Nuun tablets, and other sick kit supplies laid in. My husband had gone to the local pharmacy and bought a big box of nitrile gloves, and another of masks. He had pulled out the couch in the family room. Our master bedroom had an ensuite bathroom. When I got home, I stepped on the waiting towel, stripped as soon as I got in the door, and put my uniform and the towel in a garbage bag. My coat went in a separate garbage bag. My nursing bag went in a third garbage bag. My masked-and-gloved husband carried the garbage bags to the laundry room in the basement. I “skated” on bleach wipes to the slippers and bathrobe left out for me.
I went to the master bedroom, all stocked with supplies, put my phone to charge, and fell asleep. I was sick from both ends multiple times, and bleach wiped everything. I didn’t allow any of our family into the bedroom for 48 hours except my husband, who came masked and gloved into the bedroom while I was in the bathroom to take out garbage bags of garbage and dirty laundry, and plop a pile of clean sheets on the bed. I made the bed. I communicated with my family in the same house via phone. During the time I was in self-imposed quarantine, my mother had a stroke. I could only encourage her to go the hospital from a distance, as I couldn’t add virus exposure to a very vulnerable person. Nobody in our house got sick. Once I was symptom free, I maintained quarantine, but padded down and did bleach-heavy laundry. From the time I went home until I was eligible to go back to work was around five days.
Meanwhile, back at work, it was Norovirus. Everything was bleach wiped or steri-wiped. Anything that could be UV sterilized was UV sterilized. Fluids were encouraged. Linens were changed. Bottoms were cleansed. Gowns and masks and gloves were donned and doffed and disposed of. We didn’t lose a single resident out of a very vulnerable population. Of 53 residents, a total of 18 got sick, most in the first two days. Of 40 staff, a total of 20 got sick, most in the first two days. We used extra staff from the hospital. In the hospital proper, three patients got sick, and four staff. Everybody who could work did work twelve to sixteen hour shifts for the ten days of the outbreak. And then worked some more after the outbreak. Everyone was exhausted.
Any outbreak will probably hit caregivers hardest, because they will have already been exposed by the time they realize that this is something unusual.
We were lucky – we were associated with a sister facility that could share staff with us if we offered bonuses. In a large outbreak, this isn’t possible.
Norovirus sucks. It can be shed before a patient has any symptoms. Even after staff no longer had symptoms, they had to wait 72 to report to duty, because of how long virus could be shed. It hasn’t been clarified how long novel corona virus will be shed before or after symptoms.
Norovirus sucks. Although the most common method of contamination is fecal (touching something contaminated and then touching the mouth, or eating something contaminated), aerosolized emesis (vomit) can cause Norovirus to act like an airborne or droplet contagion. From infection patterns on the Diamond Princess, it appears that the novel corona virus can cause airborne contamination. This is bad. Please don’t run and buy all the N95 respirators and filters – leave some for health care.
Having supplies in advance (and a bedroom with an ensuite bathroom) allowed me to do in-home quarantine. This isn’t possible in a large outbreak, because the supplies are needed by the medical facilities.
Taking care of an outbreak uses So. Many. Supplies. Disposable gowns. Disposable masks. Disposable face shields. Disposable gloves. Bleach wipes. Steri-wipes for equipment that cannot be bleached. Disposable plates and flatware. Disposable bottles and cups. Gelatin cups not needing refrigeration. Sleeves of soda crackers. Juice cups. Applesauce cups. Trash bags, laundry bags, so much extra linen, hot water, and laundry soap. More bleach.
The holiday brought food, guests, and outings. All potential sources of contamination. The ultimate primary source of contamination was never truly pinpointed. It was narrowed down to three possibilities—one of them was the hospital kitchen, but norovirus was not found on any surface there.
The staff member who went home sick first? Went to Jamaica on the planned vacation, because she was symptom free by then. Had a family member get sick on the plane. Had four extended family members sick at the all-inclusive resort. Mentioned that “they must have had it there, too, ‘cause lots of people were sick there.” Oy, vey. Really. I don’t care what your plans were. Don’t share the horrible stuff.
Over the next six months, we had multiple staff resignations. Exhausted staff still work, but may be lost to caregiving professions entirely after they have time to take stock. The night CNA I was with now works in a factory.
Long-term care centers, dormitories, casinos, and cruise ships are frequently the centers of outbreaks, because people have communal dining areas, and share hallways, and may share bathing spaces.
Some of this is applicable to the current outbreak—symptom-free does not mean that somebody will stop shedding virus. However many supplies you think are enough, double them. Then double them again. When I see the photos of staff in Wuhan going from room to room, I can only think that cross-contamination is occurring, and that they must be so very short on supplies.
Most of all, I know that terrible moment when you look at another staff member over a sick patient and realize, “This is contagious, this is awful, and we have been exposed. It’s only a matter of time for us.” And then you keep working until you can’t, because you are needed more than ever.
Do me a favor? Please cover your cough, and wash your hands. It’s still flu season.
Helen Miller, RN works as a staff nurse in a hospital, and has worked in long-term and skilled care nursing.
I woke up still dragging (Well, of course, I’m still dragon. Who would I be? But not Tiamat. More on that later.)
And in a spectacularly strange move, because though I’m religious I’m not pious (or perhaps I’m pious not religious. Sometimes it’s hard to tell) I found myself browsing kindle books for prayer books, over breakfast. (I could tell you how I got there: from a funny reference to a prayer book, in the current read, and then at speed down the rabbit hole. Never mind. It is worse when I’m sickish, yes.)
Most of the books I found were unexceptionable, but then I found one about “the angels prayers for creatives” or something of the kind, and since it was very short and had very good reviews, oh, and also free, I “bought” it.
First, and before I dive down that particular thread that turns into the meaning of this post, as far as it has meaning, let me tell you I HATE most “angel revelations” “angel prophecies” and “angel prayers” and “angel gifts.”
Not just because some of them have a “bad smell” (I really wish that people who purportedly believe in angels would understand that “angel” means messenger, and it is no garantee of WHOSE messenger these are.) but because most of them are bizarrely vapid and new agey, picturing angels as pretty girls in nightgowns and giving them names out of “The New Age Baby Names Book.”
It tells you how weak (minded) I feel, and perhaps how hard I was fighting sitting down and doing actual work-like stuff that I actually downloaded it.
In terms of names, this book is no exception. The bad smell is more subtle.
I’ve read about half of it, and will probably skim the rest when I take a break. But I’ve already gone “Oh, for the love of Bob!”
First, though, why I downloaded it, I think, and because, like even very bad movies have at least ONE good line in them, even stuff that’s just not right can help with an insight. One of the things it suddenly made me realize is that I’ve been trying to motivate myself to write with the idea of what it can do for my family in terms of $$. Husband has told me this is stupid, I think, only in terms that weren’t making them through the thick skull. (I self identify as a bone-headed dragon.) Or because they’re not the right terms for me. He keeps telling me it doesn’t matter if I make money, it matters if I’m happy. But the pursuit of happiness, by itself and for itself has never motivated me, and I know d*mn well it matters if I make money.
OTOH trying to motivate myself with money doesn’t work, because to quote a friend years ago, “You might as well be driving a truck, then.”
What I mean is when any creative endeavor becomes just a way of making money, my subconscious (I won’t speak for anyone else) locks up tighter than Fort Knox back when our currency was gold-based. Because, well, there must be easier and less embarrassing ways of making money. Like panning for gold in your shower, for instance.
Sure, making money will always be part of my motivation, but I need to … After years of working for trad pub, after the collapse of everything in 2003 when the only thing that kept me working was “we’re paying on TWO mortgages” I need to find the place where I write because I have to, because it feeds some essential part of who I am. It’s been worn down to a nubbin, and might be mostly dead ( for 17 years now, it’s been, to be honest, like using a coffee carafe to dig in the flower beds [one of the funniest, real, amazon reviews ever. The question is not whether it broke. The question is why you thought that was a good idea.]) but there have been stirrings recently, and things that unexpectedly came alive, and so I know it’s not fully dead. Now I need to figure out where it’s hiding. And stop beating it with the “We need money whip” even if 2020 is attempting to drain all our resources. (No. Really. Between cats and cars, not counting health and other stuff. Never mind. We won’t starve. But… I have serious security issues.) I need to find where the vein of “it’s alive” runs and channel it.
Anyway, the bad smell…. The bad smell is that it seems to think you live for and by and in yourself.
One of the things it says is that it doesn’t matter if you don’t do anything creative, your life is your creation, and therefore you are creative.
Can anyone find my eyes? I think they rolled under the sofa. Yeah, that’s it, would you dust the cat hair off them? Thanks. Oh, good. Okay. Good thing I’m a touch typist.
Most of it seems to be self-esteem pumping up, which is great, except you have to have something to be proud of. Otherwise you just become very proud of stewing in mediocrity, and you think you’re too good to actually apply yourself to anything, and at the end of that lies despair and self-hatred.
It reminded me quite a bit of other books I’ve been reading.
So, I have a near-toxic disbelief in psychology and psychotherapy. (It’s the part of me that is not very religious, or pious, or whatever. I already am forced by the fact that grandma handed it to me, to believe in a messianic religion. I don’t need a mostly pseudo-scientific one in addition.) but some psychiatric-friends of mine have convinced me to do exploratory reading to deal with some stuff (okay a lot of stuff) that I probably should see someone for, if I trusted people to go grubbing around in my mind (honestly, I just don’t want people to accidentally traipse into an unwritten novel and either break something or get broken for good.) Some of the books have been very helpful, others less so.
One of them linked childhood issues with auto-immune, and yes, while my childhood was almost exactly what they describe gives “auto-immune”, I don’t think the entire thing is that simple. Sure, stress can bring about a massive auto-immune attack. Last year, I had the experience of having a full blown one, including wounds on both hands, and it healing over the course of a day when a month-long stress inducing issue was resolved.
So I’m not going to say the psychological isn’t involved. I’m going to say “And?” Because this thing, i.e. my internal ticking clock is also not entirely under my control, just like writing isn’t. I can TELL myself I’m perfectly calm, but the asthma and the eczema know better. And I don’t think it’s a matter of “letting out my childhood anger” either, seriously, because the auto immune runs in the sanest branch of my family. Granted, those are also the depressive obsessives. (Yes, they are the sanest. Also, shut up.)
Anyway, there is a newagish branch of thought that turns to solipsism in that they ascribe everything including the common cold to “you decided to catch this.”
In the end that’s what this book does. “You need to be your biggest fan” and “you’re your own greatest work of art.”
Look, if I’m a work of art, I want to speak to the manager. Also, on the serious side, if there is an intelligence behind it all, it’s not me making myself my greatest work of art.
Solipsism is comforting. Particularly for those of us who for various reasons felt unsafe and scared as children. It assures us nothing can happen to us that we don’t consent to.
But because it’s not real, and tons of things happen to you (and your creativity) that you not only didn’t consent to, but for which you were given no safe word, in the end it’s a self-devouring philosophy.
It occurred to me the other day that leftism is the position of terrified (or neglected) children, who, in their hurt conjure the state as the perfect parent they wish they had, and also believe they can control it.
(For this, we used to have religion, which is if nothing else safer. Never mind.)
So, if you believe that you are your own greatest art work, and know how flawed you are, that way lies self hatred and by extension hatred of humanity and everything, really.
Worse, it’s hatred you can’t admit to.
So, I’ll take the point of “I can’t do this just out of need for money, or out of obligation. I must do this, because that’s who I am.” And I’ll try to make it accessible, understandable, and worthwhile (Not necessarily beautiful, though there’s beauty in art done right. But, you know, life isn’t all pretty women in nightgowns and with pretty wings. And worlds aren’t all pretty pink planet.) Because whatever art — or in my case craft — is, it is communication more than anything else.
But it is important not to think we Tiamat. Because if we think we’re everything, the children of our minds will tear us apart and hollow us out to build the universe.
And in the end all that will be left is a dead universe. Because you’re not the be all/end all of everything there is.
Thank heavens for that. It is important to remember, you’re not responsible for the parlous state of our politics, the ridiculous state of our politicians, or the appalling state of our arts.
You cannot be held responsible for all the failures of the universe. Offload that world from your shoulders, Atlas.
Tend your own garden. Do what you can do. For the rest you must trust other minds and time and world without end.
I think I have post-viral syndrome. Apparently this is a thing. A very annoying thing. As in, I become tired very easily, and when I push it, I become ill once more.
This morning — after cleaning the house, but really, given asthma I CAN’t go more than two weeks. Also bathroom and kitchen start smelling and I can’t take that — I woke up slightly feverish, and it was hard to get up. Which must be my excuse for this post being horribly late.
There is an advantage to being of a sickly disposition and having come near death several times by forty — no, bear with me — in that it clarifies the mind wonderfully as to what’s important and what isn’t.
You see, I’m of a dutiful disposition, or I try to be. I have this long list of duties — of things I must fulfill because they’re a contract with others — so for instance last night when I started feeling ill the only reason I told Dan was because dinner was going to be late. I cook, because I’m quicker and more adroit at it — which means I do it with cheaper materials — so my cooking dinner is part of our contract, just like part of his contract with me is to do accounting and taxes (infernally complex because of the writing) because I am digit dyslexic, which means even entering data results in snarls that are almost impossible to figure out.
When the children were little I had this long list of things I must do. Every morning, I’d lie in bed, making a list of everything I’d failed to do the day before, and what I must do that day, and every night I went to bed with half of them undone.
The problem was this: my list of things I absolutely needed to do was set to an insane standard. For instance while the kids were crawling, I not only cleaned the hard floors EVERY day, I also ran the carpet cleaner everyday. And wiped down every surface. And cooked on expert mode, and refinished all the furniture that came into the house. And made curtains and household soft-furnishings. Etc. Etc. etc, in addition to trying to look after the boys and write.
Then I got pneumonia 24 years and one month ago. And almost day. And eleven days in ICU clarified the mind immensely.
Do you know the things that bothered me? I was upset I’d leave my sons motherless. I was guilty upset and ashamed that the worlds in my head would die with me. And I missed days of just going nowhere in particular with Dan and the kids.
Because the kids were small and we didn’t often have babysitting, we tended to bundle the kids and take them along while doing errands. I missed those Saturdays of going to the grocery store, or the thrift store, or just running errands, with Dan and the boys.
And I realized I didn’t need to provide the kids extraordinary experiences. Oh, we’d still take them to zoos and museums. But we never felt a need for European vacations, or ladidah vacation camps or any of that.
That time, though I survived (and I want to point out I’m not nearly that ill. In fact, I think the virus is past, I’m just tired and a little frail) clarified what life was about for me (and since Dan agreed for our family.)
Most important of all was being there for my family. Just being there. Nothing special.
Secondarily, it was getting those worlds out of my head. Even if no one ever bought them, maybe some day the boys would find those manuscripts and fix them, and they’d be read. But at least they’d be out of my head, and have a chance.
I changed my life that way, and you know, the career could be better, but I really have no complaints. Oh, and there’s a ton more worlds to get out of my head, so we’re not done yet.
I realized this year, through my craptastic health the last two months, that what I really want to do is write, and spend time with Dan. Which means as soon as we can, the cleaning will be shrugged off. No, no one cleans to MY standards, but you know what? As long as it’s enough that the asthma is quiet, I’m fine.
Heck, some of my happiest times right now are when Dan and I are driving somewhere and have time to talk. Quiet walks through museums and the botanic gardens are also great.
Anyway. Illness sucks. but it clarifies your priorities wonderfully.
If you were very ill, if you knew your time was limited (it is of course, but for most of us not that limited) what would you keep of your busy schedule? What would you eliminate?