We are limited beings. We do not understand our own hearts. I do not comprehend the depth or the shallowness of my own heart. My heart feels scorched. I do not know the extent of the damage nor can I identify each and every wound and reason for my afflictions. I am and am not self-made. I am dependent on and trust the goodwill and friendliness of so many friends and strangers.
That this is the time of no time, seems clear. I am sick to my stomach. Sad, just sad. And fucking angry. Something is going to happen now and we still need to make a way for children, and to ask how it is that dogs in our cities have more resources than most children around the world. It’s good to acknowledge the work that remains undone, especially when you feel like going over the deep end. And to try “even harder the next time,” is something one does to live.
My sister has emailed this morning that “What needs to be noted, though, is that the lid on so much ugliness and meanness was pried off. It was loose already from years of obstruction and hatred lobbed by the right and far right and then Trump knocked it off seemingly completely. We might still know who we are but we also have greater clarity on who some of our fellow Americans are. I still remember things that happened after Reagan was elected and some hateful people felt empowered to crawl out into the open.
Time will tell whether the supreme ugliness and hate, well fed for years and then unleashed by Trump, will simmer down or feel emboldened to boil over now and then against Muslims, against lesbians, gay men, transgender women and men, against women in general, and so on. Pick ourselves up and keep moving – yes, but with a wary eye cast over our shoulders to stay safe.”
Yes, we are limited beings. We land in the wrong places and oftentimes for the wrong reasons. Other times, having chosen our destinations and having planned wisely, we still come up short. And sometimes, it’s worse than coming up short. Have I done everything I could have done, will I change myself and work better and harder going forward? I have often failed on both accounts. I have overestimated my ability to analyze let alone make good use of the limits of my own intelligence and the sympathies of my heart. I get tired and weary, my body aches. My head aches. My heart burns, aches, skips a beat. I feel lost.
I look back on the choices and decisions in my life, questioning how aware I was of what I was getting into, whose interests were at stake and on the line, and I have greatly regretted many of my actions, inactions, and poorly reasoned decisions. If I had only , I would have positioned myself to better help other people, including my own children. To better battle against injustice, to level the playing field and thereby empower those people who have arrived on the scene with fewer resources and potentially greater intelligence and talent than my own. Yes, with larger hearts than my own.
We do not understand our own hearts. I have promised, I have said that I will try to be quiet and to hear another’s heart, my own heart, and the true feelings of others. But how much hate do I hold on to? What are the things now that prevent me from listening to someone? I do not comprehend the depth or the shallowness of my own mind. I blow the fire until my heart faints. I suffer the monotheistic sunshine, the citizens underneath hip seminars followed by drinks and dancing, private public barbecue, late night trophies, incendiary peaches and plums. I am lost in enlarging the repertory, in spreading duckling pate on crackers. In hogging the drink line. No one else has my part. I take it in, blow hard.
The self-hating neoliberal state sinks its teeth into every organ of the public sector. The slightest pressure of its sharp teeth and claws on our flesh is too much to bear. It places its tabernacle in the position of a celestial body in motion, permeating every cell in our bodies. The prolific array of zombie narratives of the past decade are inextricably linked to the zombification of our bodies, of every organ of the public sector.
What happens to the relation between language and desire when access to language is disconnected from the body? Bodies that, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? The struggle for identity in a market-based society, are “epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia.” Verhaeghe’s main concern is how the social effects of 30 years of neoliberalism has led to a psychic crisis and altered the way we think about ourselves. Have we worn out our welcome in an elimination of meaning? My heart feels scorched, but I do not know the extent of the damage nor can I identify each and every wound or the reasons for my afflictions. How conscious am I of their effects?
The Immanent Chairman sucks goods and services from every diner, nook, shop, and vendor, buys a Starbucks for himself. He nixes the medium of variations, feels more comfortable in the arena of personal enrichment, assuring underlings that they will blend in much better with Him at the helm. Distracted by sightseeing talk, and the benevolent hut of Eros, the quiet force of the taken-for-granted submits to market demands of “competitiveness,” “deregulation,” “free trade,” “lowering labor costs,” and a slew of further technocratic euphemisms and magic formulas endlessly iterated in big-box corporate governance rapture.
I am and am not self-made. I am dependent on and trust the goodwill of many people. Between being oneself and being history is the dilemma at the center of the canonical belief that change comes not by confronting those with influence, power (and not infrequently wealth) but by partnering with them. In neo-liberalism, technique structures the incomprehensible into an estheticized automatism. This is a mistake. In times like these, clichés serve their intended purpose. Everyone grows weary of what has become meaningless. Understanding is not what we want. If all we are left with is character, it is not a reasoned one. What’s at stake is all new and will yield more as we go into it to act the part, i.e. to vary if only slightly its speeds and intensities. Western democracies… have turned toward something that invites us and then withdraws in concealment. A wizard of Oz or a shadow, a cosmic middleman destined not through contact with things to awaken but by means of false teaching, error and ignorance to tyrannize a common class of knowledge. They believe that technical perfection promises them salvation.
That this is the time of no time, seems clear. Civil life? We internalize modes of self-governing that are harmful because they are rooted in a narrative of pathology and a broad cultural dishonesty about the march of anti-intellectualism and foreshortening of broad cultural sympathies. Civil rights? I am sick to my stomach. Sad, just sad. And fucking angry. Thousands and thousands of people across the country are protesting the election of Donald Trump tonight. They are walking to the tower.
An indicator of how dire our situation is can be seen in the fact that 46.9% of Americans did not vote. When half of the eligible citizens of a democratic nation choose not to participate in the work of self-governance their government, society, and the culture at large is in jeopardy. Its future is in serious jeopardy when half of those who did vote put in the highest office a known sex-offender, racist, anti-environmentalist and unrepentant capitalist whose business of rape and pillage fits with the off the rails consumerist & marketing ethos within which American citizens are pummeled on a daily basis.
Something is going to happen now, and we need to make a way for children, and to ask how it is that dogs in our cities have more resources than most children around the world.