Reflecting


"They're already losing steam."

If you want to learn what I think, ask me, then wait, perhaps for a very long time. If you want to know how I feel, ask, then prepare to wait even longer. I am a walking echo chamber, filled to the brim with contradictory, often conflicting perspectives. I remain steadfastly uncertain, humbled in my acceptance of the tenacious indecipherable surrounding me, eternally teetering on the forward edge of another great unknowable. In lieu of knowing for sure, I question. Of course I exhibit preconscious, essentially autonomous behaviors, though I'm hardly aware enough of them to explain them to myself, let alone to anyone else. On the scale of the grand action/reflection dichotomy, I'm sitting somewhere inside the mirror, considering.

My preference for reflection makes me a lousy fascist, for fascists value action, even reaction, above all else.
They seem to insistent upon goading others into unreflective action, too, perhaps because being a fascist can be lonely work. They thrive within mobs more than within relationships. Our social media platforms encourage the fascist within us in this respect. They are not the natural landscape for reflection or community, but colosseums designed for showy instantaneous action and reaction, little reactors spewing radioactivity, for unreflective speech seems neutered of its nurture, excised of its soul, more cudgel than voice.

I sometimes notice myself acting as if I, too, were a fascist, though even to me, I seem more proto-fascist than the genuine article. I am fully capable of being goaded into unreflective action and I have a smart mouth more than capable of spewing sarcasm-flavored venom. Should I wade into a mob, I can make myself heard above the background crowd noise without noticing that I'm more amplifying that noise than helping to attenuate it; part of the problem. I'm learning, though begrudgingly, that the mob game is only ever won by those who refuse to play. The white supremacist trolls for supportive responses, not conflicting information. He isn't reflective but knee jerk reactive in his conviction. He interprets conflicting information as supportive of his position because it indicates the presence of chaos, disorder, which is his soothing salve. If he can rankle you, he wins. He can do nothing but rankle any reasonably reflective person. Win/win for him. Lose/lose for everyone else. That's just the way the game's played.

My therapist insists that I'm naturally more sensitive than many, which leaves me poorly suited as a street fighter. I'm the spitwad in the rock throwing contest, largely irrelevant if manning barricades. Jesus insisted that the meek will eventually inherit the earth, or what's left of it after the smoke and accumulated greenhouse gasses disburse. In the mean time, it seems that the reflective sit on the sidelines, fully aware of what's going on around them but lacking more than the will to duke out anything. We might be playing a few moves ahead, recognizing the rabble as an already irrelevant early indicator of greater reflection ahead. We seem more capable of counting our blessings after devastation visits us. In the mean time, I figure us reflectives can huddle together and continue the conversation, the eternal dialectic, gaining neither confidence nor certainty in the process. I, for one, figure the rage will wear itself out before it gets around to specifically targeting me, and if this seems an embarrassingly passive response, I can plead that I'm otherwise powerless in the presence of the radioactive swirl.

I'm still here, though, still contributing to the collective presence of the reflective power surrounded by inevitably self-destructive forces. I am not alone nor in any minority, though the social media fascists seem dedicated to convincing me otherwise. We are not alone as long as we can somehow continue the conversation, continue our reflection rather courageously in the absence of apparent wide-spread support. We are otherwise alone, a state I refuse to acknowledge or accept. Surprisingly, we are not nearly out-numbered. We don't mob up, so our presence fails to qualify as front page headline material. Perhaps our greatest mutual obligation now lies in reassuring each other that we have not gone mad, no matter how underlyingly furious we find ourselves. This storm shall pass to usher in another era of reflective stewardship once the fascists tucker themselves out. They're already losing steam.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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