Pretensal

Pretensal
Self-portrait, Jacques-Louis David (1794).
He was a dictator of the arts under the French Republic.


'Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.' Samuel Johnson, from The Idler, 1758

"I intend to cast about for reassurances without pretense."

I compensate for my persistent lack of access to The Truth by embracing candor. I can certainly describe how things seem to be to me, understanding that this perspective might not have ever had the pleasure of actually meeting The Truth, but I at least own it. I can and often do leave myself feeling uncomfortable with my candor, understanding that popularity prefers me to project greater pretense, lest someone think the less of me. It's apparently a great sin for anyone to think the less of me. While I might certainly prefer everyone to appreciate my scribblings, I've been trying to get over the need to please, for that need alone can leave me a prisoner to pretense, poised atop a teetering tower of questionable premises.

Our current administration does daily battle with candor, a fresh poster child in a long line of similar poster children posing behind pretense.
They star in a parody of political intrigue, where almost everyone understands the deception and a shrinking few consider it their patriotic duty to at least pretend to believe. Some actually believe, that same crowd who never seems to notice irony or understand when something's an allegory, the literal interpreting crowd. The rest honestly seek The Truth, or some acceptable semblance of it. We cringe when candor's withheld, for we need some honest compass points with which to navigate.

Candor seems to have become the first casualty of our self-proclaimed war on Covid-19, The Truth cast as the one and true enemy of our response. Naive scientists blurt out their findings only to later learn that they'd committed the only unforgivable crime under this regime, they committed a public truth, usually punishable by banishment and career-wounding derision. The Kangaroo Court of Public Opinion refuses to grant leniency. The result, of course, seems indistinguishable from insanity, the common characteristic of all parody. The butler seems to be the only one in the theater who doesn't deep down understand that the butler did it. Wearisome theater, indeed.

I have this week been experiencing the wearisome theater of this tiresome war on candor. The stupidity astounds me, and though I claim no clear access to The Truth, I know enough to deeply distrust anyone opposing candor. I do not need to be protected from The Truth, it's no enemy to anybody except those too deeply tangled up in the need to project false pretenses. I feel in need of some true pretenses for a change. Change will come, but not until the butler posing as President finally leaves the stage. I'll continue my campaign for candor through the final acts, preserving at least my own potential for positive self-regard. I don't even care if I'm right, for I might not yet know what's right. I'm not aspiring to dictate anything to anyone not dedicated to keeping me in their dark.

Almost a hundred people a day stopped by my PureSchmaltz WhatNow? postings this week. I felt for a few days as if my perspective had become as tiring as the drama on stage, but doubted if I could maintain momentum through this rough patch if I stopped at least trying to have something to say.

I started this writing week by describing the
NewAbnormal, considering the possibility that we will not simply flip back into anything I might once again in my lifetime recognize as normal. I thought that this state probably represents progress.

I then waxed a bit optimistic, suggesting that we might as a result of wrestling with our pandemic somehow transcend our entrenched Us vs Them to emerge as
ThUs on the other end. "Forget The Melting Pot, we're more rightly a stew."

Then I went looking for myself in this world suddenly seemingly over-populated with funhouse mirrors in
Eyedentity.

I found the clear possibility that community might thrive even when staying at home in
Banqueting.

Next, I went full candor on myself to describe how I've really been feeling in
Doldrums.

I then noticed a significant omission from our collective mission to win this so-called war against the pandemic in
Maudling.

I ended my writing week describing
NegativeSpace, the stuff of which this pandemic seems to have provided plenty.

I feel some days like a square dancer uncertain of my moves. I reach for what seems like the right hand to accompany me through a turn, but cannot prove that I've correctly chosen. Not now. Not yet. I have chosen candor as my partner through these times, figuring that she'll probably prove companionable enough until The Truth starts making her comeback, as she always has in the past. Until then, I intend to cast about for reassurances without pretense. Thank you, all who have been making this passage with me.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved








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