Rendered Fat Content


Hieronymus Wierix, after Ambrosius Francken:
Volwassenheid [Maturity] (1563 - 1584)

" … our world seems much more Successful for our forebears' fumbled passes."

My parents' generation matriculated in the school of hard knocks. Their elementary education, such as it was, occurred through the depths of The Great Depression. They came of age into a world at war with itself, where the battle between good and evil actually killed their cousins. As a result, they were traumatized and paranoid adults, easy prey for the day’s propaganda. They saluted the flag or else. They devoutly opposed everything Communist. They voted the straight Republican ticket because Eisenhower embodied the victory over evil in this world. They tried and gratefully failed to instill their worldview into their children.

It has always been thus, parents failing to fully enlist their offspring into the trauma that fashioned their adulthood.
As a result, the kids came up out of context, grateful to have missed The Great Depression education and the World War Two graduate school admission. We must have appeared irreverent, more interested in electric guitars than fighting worldwide communism. We cheered when cities burned in the summer of '68 and mourned when King and Kennedy were assassinated. We were the generation that assimilated into the future rather than into any past. We adopted Ms. out of deep respect. We grew our hair to demonstrate freedom in action. We smoked weed to combat blatant oppression. We made music to remind ourselves that ours could be a better world.

We see today a great cynicism descending, perhaps the product of too much conservatism. I have no fear of Wokeness. On the contrary, I see it as the natural extension of the project that started in 1776 and encouraged into The Age Of Aquarius, each successive generation terrifying to its immediate forebears. "My daddy said, "Son, you're gonna drive me to drinkin' if you don't stop driving' that hot rod Lincoln." The parents never understood, or rarely did, yet looking backward, I see today in Wokeness evidence of real advancement. The forces representing the same trauma and paranoia that plagued my parents have mustered a resurgence, insisting that making things worse simply must render us great once again, almost as significant, even, as their parents once were, when traumatized and paranoid as Hell from growing up backward.

I fear that we, as a society, might embrace the traditionalist's cynicism and will come to conflate greatness with that awful oppression. My first act of defiance wherein I exhibited my liberty involved becoming a recognized conscientious objector during a war without purpose other than to prolong our forebears' familiar paranoias. I refused to adopt the feyness of the damned, the hopelessness that drove "good" Christians to steadfastly oppose desegregation and imaginary Communist intrusions. I swear that more evil has been promulgated by those proclaiming themselves representatives of good than by all the actual evil ever incarnated. We were saviors in deep disguise. Nevertheless, we managed—well, most of us—to overcome the fervent instruction we were offered and, much to the occasional objection of our fathers, matured into worthy inheritors of this country's founding principles.

Now, of course, our kids and grandchildren take their turn to challenge our shortfalls. We tried against often fierce opposition to manifest an authentic Age of Aquarius here but failed, though we did manage to encourage real progress. How else can we explain Wokeness and its fierce opponents? The opposition's a sure sign that feyness is losing again, that those who see their mission as passing on paranoia and generational trauma to a new generation have very likely almost lost, like when they suspended us from school for long hair or short skirts. We slinked home, sure, but remained certain we were on the side of the angels. My grandkids snicker at my inability to translate pronouns, even though I recognize in my struggle the same confusion I induced in my parents whenever I'd employ a Ms. Wokeness should always encourage stiff opposition. That's how the future wins, while the past distracts itself, preserving evaporation.

Conservation always was a trap, a lure, a distraction. There never was anything remotely resembling traditional values; those are just empty phrases generating noise and confusion, attempting to separate us from our more perfect union. Those who cannot imagine greater perfection emerging from anything so damned upsetting will eventually become extinct, perhaps not in time for my generation to witness but in time for my son's or, most certainly, for my grandchildren. I want them to know they tried to lure me into fey cynicism but lost the sale. I always considered Communism to be about as terrifying as the average boogyman, and so it turned out to be. My parent’s generation, God bless them, fought their own trauma and paranoia all their lives. They managed more than they started out expecting and left this world, having received its greatest blessing, that the world they attempted to pass on to us did not survive the transfer. It died in transition, thank heavens. But, a few retrograde partisans notwithstanding, our world seems much more Successful for our forebears' fumbled passes.


It Finds Us Again
I am coming to understand Success as faceted; it features at least ten thousand faces, each similar, each different. I could, I reflected this week, write a fresh story about Success for an infinite number of mornings and never find reason to repeat a theme. It seems that various. How might I come to know Success the way an author properly should know his subject? This question presumes that storytelling's a kind of transcription, that there's a reservoir of pre-existing knowledge from which I'm drawing stories. I have been exploring the subject, stumbling upon content, guided by choices and mostly happy accidents. If I can maintain faith in my subject’s infinite nature and innocence, I might manage to finish this series, which didn't exist before I started, and will not settle the issue once I'm done. I expect to move on to some fresh topic, if only to relearn about the infinite, which dogs each of us like destiny. Wherever we turn, it finds us again.

Weekly Writing Summary

I began this writing week by exploring a DeepMystery. "I swear that ninety percent of Success might just amount to having been born to achieve it."
Gustave Moreau: Hercules and the Lernaean Hydra
"Success often seems a stranger to me."

I next reported that I have started seeing Success in everything I see, prompting me to believe it might just be a
Chimera. "Perhaps this very inquiry was never intended to finally survey the boundaries around Success, but to expand them such that Success, always one of the more high-faluting concepts, might come to inhabit the space of us mere mortals, the infinite."
Gustave Moreau: The Chimera (1867)
" … just wait a minute and see what's served up next."

I next reflected upon just what I'm doing writing this Success series and concluded that I must be
-itating, probably meditating. "Enlightenment comes in Gordian knots which are not supposed to be untangled."
Torii Kiyonobu II:
A Priest Sweeping in the Snow (1731)
" … sweeping that floor that never needed sweeping."

I noticed that feeling Successful leaves me feeling as if I am
Levitating. "When I'm feeling Successful, I sense myself invincible; I'm Levitating above the care-worn crowd. When not, I'm not."
Lucian and Mary Brown:
Untitled [child floating in water] (c. 1950)
" … and it's "just" a feeling."

I posted a caution, for some of the Successful seem awfully susceptible to
Begrudging behaviors. "We might pursue Success, but those who mistake its acquisition for wisdom might find themselves cursed to pursue illusory pasts and engage in conservative causes, feeding Begrudging rather than Success or satisfaction."
Pieter van der Borcht:
Christus in het huis van Martha en Maria
[Christ in the house of Martha and Mary]
"Success brings no wisdom."

I noted Success's apparent volatility in
HasBeen, the most popular posting this period. "The question will eventually become, "What has he done lately?" rather than "What did he do?" Notoriety echos sparingly. Fame fades."
Hendrick Goltzius: Gillis van Breen (1588/92)
" … the most Successful HasBeen I can remember."

I ended my writing week celebrating the
AlsoRan, the losers of no real consequence, which describes most of us most of the time. "[Some] seem to attempt to live a life comprised only of peak experiences before falling from some unimaginably great height after which not even all the kings men and horses are ever able to put them back together again. Such is the eventual nature of continual competition, neither failure nor Success, just devastation."
Charles François Daubigny: The Dray Horses (1850)
"Such is the eventual nature of continual competition …"

Just another writing week, starting with the usual DeepMystery. The next set within this series could be anything at first, a Chimera. It finds form by -itiating, though, even managing some refreshing Levitating. I was reminded this week of the importance of foregoing Begrudging to remain a relatively happy traveler and the importance of even the HasBeen and the inevitably AlsoRan. Success is not entirely comprised of Successes. Properly composed, it might feature only trace amounts of the base material, with multiple and various other compounds, none of which dominate the mix, either, but without the curious combination, we would not recognize Success as we've experienced it. Like Oxygen, Success remains an essential element, but it’s volatile and narrowly valuable in isolation. A steady diet of Success seems utterly unnecessary and ridiculously dangerous.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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