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"The hopeful believe in Archimedean physics yet still persistently tug on their own bootstraps …"

I feel a certain Wariness after reading the newspaper, a SmallThing. I can no longer bear to tune into the network nightly news broadcast, and even NPR has recently shifted to the edge of the bearly bearable. I never did watch Faux or listen to Limbaugh or subscribe to any of the innumerable conspiracy theories which over-populate social media, all of which seem to thrive on vague generalities, if not intended to induce paranoid feelings, fairly successfully manage to routinely do so. I firmly believe that the second amendment remains widely misinterpreted for the most cynical of reasons. I favor a wide-spread freedom from religion more than I support the Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of religion, and that mixing politics and religion inescapably poisons both.

I was born into These Paranoid States of America, where victory in WWII and a humiliating draw on the Korean Peninsula left this country too wary by half.
The so-called Cold War was a ruse. The Communists never posed a serious threat, though our paranoia over our presumption of their threat, clearly threatened our well-being. We're a nation perfectly willing to commit suicide to preserve our paranoid way of life. We're also a nation dedicated to the sorts of freedom capable of shaming any God-loving individual, though the God-fearing seem satisfied with the zero-sum game plan, for fearing god serves as the perfect platform upon which to live the wary life, where suspicions seem eminently justified, and which defines community as a simple concatenation of me-firsts. We believe in the inherent structural integrity of boot straps but not in Archimedean physics. We seem too satisfied with ourselves.

Every little while, this world embraces the age-old gospel of win and lose. Some argue that this belief serves as our natural state, that since dogs have since time immemorial eaten other dogs, we're destined to mimic them. The losers are quite literally damned whatever they might do, though we might deign to reign retribution upon them if we feel too threatened by their continued existence. We have curiously melded Old and New Testament teaching, calling the resulting absurd contradictions The Good Book and its scriptures Holy. We seem wholly disinterested in humility, worshipping notoriety above all else. Rich and famous stands in for as good as it could possibly get, which disqualifies all but a scant one percent or so of us. We thrive by association. We employ professional connectors to introduce us to each other. We think of ourselves as either elites or impending elites, worthy of the many blessings we bestow upon each other and begrudged of any resulting curses, confident that none of any of it could possibly be our fault because we were just living an innocent if paranoid good life.

A better life rarely experiences Wariness. It does not lie awake nights listening for a dreaded knock on the door. It does not frequently witness presumably good people doing terrible things. It does not thumb its nose at science or skepticism. It does not seem to be in the business of humiliating anyone. It does not seek unfair advantage or entrench around its achievement. It stops fighting purposeless wars which automatically eliminates any presumed need to fabricate justification for continued engagement. It comes clean with itself.

The primary product of paranoia seems to be a worse life for everyone, even the elites, even the one-percenters, but especially for the hopeful. To live hopefully within a paranoia society produces a wariness, as if permission were pending and punishment might at any time ensue. Satisfaction seems frustratingly just out of reach and one eventually wonders if they're just out of touch, if they expected too much from the place. The hopeful believe in Archimedean physics yet still persistently tug on their own bootstraps, fully aware of the absurdity of their actions while insisting upon continuing them.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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