Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Watching the Apocalypse (But Still Dreaming)

I feel a manifesto manifesting in my mind. I'm not sure what to do with it.

the cat who hated people

Here we are, under stay at home orders while COVID-19 reveals the failures most of us already knew existed in our system and in our so-called leaders, from governors on up to the POSOTUS.  And today, we see another black man murdered by police in Minneapolis because nothing stops the virus of hate, not even an actual pandemic. All at the same time, we have an economy on the verge of collapse and a planet that if we're lucky, will not completely kill us with storms and fires of our own making within our lifetimes, but most likely will within our childrens'. And the most disturbing thing of all is that we could fix all of this if we wanted to. But the real killer, the real virus, I've come to realize isn't people or stupidity, it's ideas. Bad ideas. Big bad ideas. And we should vocally point them out.

I could easily start with the worst idea of all - religion. I could start with that and I would be on a path that I think has merit, but I've realized it's not the source. Greed isn't either. These are symptoms. The source is this idea that difference is somehow bad. It's a very simple thing, Utopian even. Difference is what makes us stronger. I sometimes get angrier  at well meaning, non-racist people who go out of their way to try to achieve color-blindness. It's misguided because at the end of the day, there's always something on some level that makes us different, no matter how similar we may be. We may all bleed red, but so what if we didn't? Who gives a flying fuck if your blood were yellow and mine purple? I know that sounds ridiculous to get into, but it's the idea. It's what I think we need get past. The idea that it's all good because we're the same, deep down. It should all be good, because who gives a fuck if we're not the same on the surface, deep down, or between our sweaty ass cheeks. If you're not harming anybody, how does it matter?

As for Utopia and the fixes to everything, I absolutely know that we can do it and in the cases of many things (world hunger, access to health care, homelessness, lack of education, poverty in general, turning back the clock on environmental disaster) we can already solve them. We just don't. We have in our pockets (maybe even in your hand right now) computers, more powerful than those that got us on the moon, that can potentially connect us with every person, every piece of information about anything is at the tip of our fingers for the asking. And instead of using it to unite us, in most cases (not all) it's the opposite. We use it to further divide ourselves. We have the technology to transition to a completely clean global power system, but we don't do it because those controlling clean technology are just as fucking greedy and corrupt as those that control the filthy oil that we've spilled so much blood over. But we could do it. We could end wealth inequality by snapping our fingers and deciding as a whole that wealth, this thing we completely made up, is meaningless and that instead we are just going to take care of each other and it wouldn't end up with everyone living in squalor. We could all live in some version of paradise. 

I'm sure by now of the 3 of you reading this (if I'm lucky) 2 of you are laughing hysterically at the naive moron who thinks we can actually achieve Utopia (and the other one fell asleep). And that's the problem. Because I'm not saying we will achieve it. I'm saying we could if we wanted it. Will it happen? Probably not. Does that mean we should give up and just continue to do nothing but compromise to the big bad ideas? That's what most people do. That's what our supposed good leaders do. Why? Because it's practical? Fuck that. If you're going to lead me, give me a god damned horizon I can look at and want to keep going. If we don't make it, well, we don't fucking make it but what exactly was the loss?

Why do we say it's OK to struggle for some things but not the things that really matter?  Why is it OK for a poor person to have to struggle to "lift themselves up by the bootstraps" but not OK for us to struggle to do the lifting for them? Why is it OK for someone to struggle to put food on their table but not OK for us to struggle to make sure everyone has food on their table. Or even a table. Or a roof. Why is it OK to struggle to "overcome" adversity, but not OK to struggle to eradicate man made adversity all together? Why is it OK to ask that a black man, a Hispanic woman, a gay man, a transsexual woman, or anyone else, lead by example and "break through" barriers, but not OK for us to say, "fuck barriers"? Why? Why do we glorify struggle at all? (OK, that's as close I'll get to some corny speech with swelling music in the background and it's more ramble than speech anyway, so whatever, it's done I stand by it.)

I don't fucking know why. I don't have a god damned clue why. I do know that I've come to realize that I'm not the misanthrope I pretend to be. It's not people that are the problem, exactly, though many people certainly are and fuck them. It's these big bad ideas. Bad ideas such as greed, hate, discrimination, misogyny, etc, etc. But still, I think the biggest one hindering all this is that we don't truly embrace difference enough. And that boils down to one thing: we lack empathy as a whole. And the definition of empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. That's it. Not another who you recognize as being like you in some way. Just another. They don't have to be anything like you. Look, I won't pretend I don't judge people. We all do it. It's part of the human condition. But I'm going to judge on the basis of your ideas, maybe your actions, though that's not always going to be true. You can call it character but that to me is too abstract. There's never a good definition of what character is and it just takes us back to people being different. Bottom line, if you are not harming anyone, I don't have a problem with you. This includes if your politics, the people and ideas you support, do harm to others, then I'm fucking judging you. And it's not my job to teach you empathy. It's not my job to educate you on why your choices are harming people, it's yours to weigh your decisions carefully and if you fucked up, change your mind and make a different choice. It's not my job to change your mind about a god damned thing.  Be better. 

Anyway, rant over. I really have no fucking clue what any of this means, and I know it's all over the place, but it's been on mind in stages for a while (along with this: "I'm the chan-cellor of the dance-felor" [I don't know either]). Do I feel better dumping this onto my keyboard so it electronically seeps into the cracks of the internet? Not really. Wasn't really expecting it to. But I hadn't written in some time and felt like trying again. Oh, and since this is a music blog, here's a playlist I've been putting together. It's more about mood than a message of any kind. Enjoy. 

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