Beyond the Noise

I still find this whole “blogging” enterprise a very strange habit. My suspicion is that it helps relieve some repressed graphophilia, akin to what the Marquis De Sade is said to have suffered. The amount of material I have started to write and aborted about halfway through far exceeds the actual published content. There is one simple reason for this: I don’t want to add noise to the collective psyche that doesn’t need to be there. So, when I realize that I’m just creating some kind of sermon or venting, I don’t post it.

Truthfully, I’m at a loss as to why people seem to care what I think. The possession of a vocabulary, the ability to string words together, and an ISP (the only things a given stranger could know about me) do not constitute a reason for paying attention to what I have to say. But since people apparently find some value in my musings, I’m careful about what I send into the world. (Usually. I am far from a saint when it comes to Right Speech.)

The written word as power, and usually this power is abused. We live in a semantic environment made up of “earworms” and bumper sticker philosophies. “Less government.” “Family values.” “Pro-life.” “Pro-choice.” “Visualize whirled peas.” These slogans and incantations trap us in the spell we are most predisposed to fall under. That there may be some alternative view, totally unrelated to the parameters laid down by the Spectacle, rarely enters into most of our minds.

With the wide availability of internet access, almost anyone can create a blog. While this could mean a rich discourse, quite often what gets circulated are viral memes and recycled talking points. This is true across the political spectrum. And one finds that ideologies are “package deals” that require one to buy the whole shebang, and that one must simply settle for the least onerous rather than critically choosing what makes sense and what doesn’t.

What I’d like to do, what I’ve been groping for and sometimes coming close to, is a more reflective mental space. One where nothing is taken for granted, but also where firm lines may be drawn in the sand when the desire for a more open society runs up against the hard limits imposed by circumstance and logic. Ultimately, I think all political ideologies are based in the delusion that we can “plan” our society in a certain way and have the real world behave the way our scientifically arrived at abstractions tell us it will. It hasn’t worked yet. But what we can do is decide what kind of world we want to live in, and act accordingly, on our own.

So, when I make political statements, it should always be understood to include the caveat that I am posting something which is only partially true. In fact, everything I write should be understood to include that caveat, along with everything else you ever read. The sort of psychic Balkanization one finds on the internet, where you’ll find nearly everyone acting as though they know the Deep Truth about Everything and anyone who disagrees is obviously deluded, is I think detrimental to our mental health. It’s noise. And it keeps us from hearing the Voice deep within us that can help cut through the confusion.

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