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An artistic depiction of a group of rhinos in the Chauvet Cave (30,000 to 32,000 years ago)
"We are much older and more experienced than Our Founding Fathers ever became."

The United States is not the only sovereign nation where serious psychological problems have been codified into the law of the land. However brilliant and breath-taking Our Revered Founding Fathers' work might have been, it also served as psychological self-portraiture, partly aspiration and partly indictable by modern standards. It codified prejudices intolerable in our more enlightened times, just as our entitlements will over time inexorably seem insufferable conceits to those we leave behind us. For instance, our treasured Second Amendment, as presently interpreted, encourages self-destructive reactions to paranoid delusions, so people buy guns to protect themselves from people who buy guns, which further encourages people to buy more guns to protect themselves from people who buy more guns. It's become a recursively runaway psychological social disorder guaranteed by our Constitution: Psycholitics. Each successive generation is more experienced than its predecessor. All carping aside about society's evolutionary entropy, there's ample observable evidence that we're, as a people, actually maturing over time; better coping. Behaviors accepted as representing righteousness have over time become intolerable evidence of racism, classism, misogyny, grand larceny, and murder in the first degree. Conservatives seem determined to preserve some sorry legacies in the interest of decency, a calculation that understandably drives progressives crazy. Of course, contravening historical precedent drives the originalists insane. The result seems to be a Body Psycholitic, a society undergoing particularly difficult ongoing therapy with the goal of ultimately getting over itself. It's also a fairly accurate depiction of Hell, an under-appreciated price of self-governance.

Psychologist and counsellor Eugene Kennedy suggested, "The things about me that drive you crazy are the things that keep me sane."
Probably no better portrait of The Human Condition has ever been crafted. We seem to be called to perform delicate therapy upon ourselves by means of our political institutions, for believe it or not, politics, aside from being famously characterized as 'the art of the possible,' also seems an utterly implausible means for achieving any reasonable societal psychotherapy. It's become axiomatic that people who hire themselves as their own lawyers are fools. Perhaps people who hire themselves as their own therapists exhibit evidence of an ultimately incurable insanity. Where might the strategy lead?

I see no reasonable alternative other than, perhaps, to elevate a therapeutic elite to perform ongoing treatment upon the rest of us. This has been an historically iffy alternative, as therapists also require some ongoing treatment. Who provides therapy to the therapists? Who polices the police? Which laws evolve our constitution? Each question spawns another paradox as its reasonable resolution. The most successful politicians in recent times seem to have been increasingly relying upon amplifying the phobias already besetting us, and those more progressively reasonable seem to spark considerable resistance. Suggesting an end to police violence sparks about as many protests as supporting a continuation of the sorry status quo, because who knows where any change might go? The naive doctor might reasonably just suggest that we simply stop doing something that seems to be hurting us, but that thing might well have always been a sacred part of a traditional ritual we cannot imagine living without. Each cure seems to amplify the underlying disease. Those who seek to cure please no one until later; each intervention, a fresh ordeal.

Nobody receives a new family after discovering their original one faulty. The damage was done well before any damage was acknowledged, and no matter how far one might move from their birthplace, their heritage haunts them. I grew to understand that my folks were just kids when I was little, and that they probably did the very best job they were then capable of performing. I found forgiveness as an apparently necessary stage of progression. The alternative seemed to be to unconsciously replicate what was previously unconsciously replicated, the opposite of enlightenment; an entropic evolution. Once I stopped trying to fix my past, an alternate future appeared, one informed but not controlled by what I'd experienced before. This was no first-order shift, not a simple matter of getting over it. I came to revere the painful lessons I learned there and offer forgiveness in return. I could have litigated that losing case until I'd lost any possibility for difference. I came to accept difference instead.

Like when I was a kid, when I was taught how to live in this place by people who had not quite learned how to live in this place, our fate seems in the hands of the very most unlikely therapists. They will, for certain, screw up some of their attempts to better our collective fate. They will exhibit in turn each and every weakness common to our species. We will choose to backslide sometimes, and yet, I predict, continue to show up for our scheduled appointments. We'll lie on that couch and imagine better places, and our imperfect counsellors will sometimes overstate our potential. We'll struggle, perhaps precisely the proper way to address our fundamental contradictions. We might not ever feel as sane as we once imagined ourselves becoming, but we're unlikely to surrender. We remain human after all. We aspire for better and grow to tolerate considerably worse in our pursuits of it. We will undoubtedly come home to complain about our clueless counsellors but continue to gain insight into our selves from them. We are much older and more experienced than Our Founding Fathers ever became.

It's Friday again, the final Friday before the upcoming election, though about sixty percent of the voting electorate has already cast their ballots. I'm anxiously awaiting news of the outcome. Elections seem the ultimate psychodrama of our time.

I began my writing week reflecting how each week seems to present a fresh barrier to forward progression, then also serve up the medium for overcoming it in

I next produced a kind of paean to the under-appreciated administrative underpinning of almost everything in

I then considered how anticipation can overwhelm present participation in

I engaged in some self-congratulatory biography to explain how I might have become the one I became in

I considered which reality I subscribe to in

I wallowed in a touch of possible self pitying by describing my weariness with feeling Damned Pandemic Weary in
SecondOrderFatigue, the period's most popular posting.

I ended up my writing week by reflecting upon how my scholarship has not always seemed to well serve me in

It's been one heckuva ride, this pre-election countdown week. I'm invulnerable to political persuasion since I already voted and I only await the results of this latest in a continuing series of serious psychological tests to check whether I'm still crazy or suddenly sane. I intend to continue this present form of insanity and I deeply appreciate each of you Repeat Offender Readers for following along with me. Thank you!

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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