Monday, May 29, 2006

Monday, May29: Chapter 29: Memorial Day: All Hail the Ongoing Trance

So, today we are suppose to honor the dead, who died so that we may be free. Notice the similarities to the Jesus riff: he died so that we may live eternal life, or whatever. Both statements string words together and put a “so that” in there, that makes one think that there is a causal relationship, but is it true?

We’ll leave Jesus for some other time, but the soldiers, poor guys, died to protect their buddies, and they died because they were young and angry and their anger got focused on the latest “enemy,” and they died because they were young and idealistic and they believed that “their country” was in “danger” and that they were doing some good for “their” country, by protecting it against whoever was the latest bad guys. They died because some politician sent them off to die, and they believed that they could like themselves more inside, or maybe just hate themselves less, if they were “patriotic,” which they have been well trained to believe, equals “good.”

Scratch any good argument between a couple, and it gets down to “I’m right, and you are wrong.” If the argument escalates, it gets to the level of “I’m good and you are bad.” That’s it. Every argument is about that. “You are wrong about how you treated me. You are bad for how you treated me.” “You are wrong for what you did. You are bad for what you did.”

Each counters with more and more example of how the other is wrong and bad, and the arguments ends if someone will buckle under and admit they are wrong, or one or both break into tears, or one or both escalate and start to whomp on each other. Or someone rushes away, slams the door, and roars off in the car to get in some accident.

Notch it up and we have war, where each country is right and to prove how right/good they are, and how wrong/bad the other country is, they set out kill enough of the other country’s people and/or soldiers until the other country gives up. Apology is nice, but capitulation is the end of war. What a great game to play for a humankind living out its lives in a trance.

How else can the obvious be avoided: these are other people we are killing to prove we are better people than they are? These people have mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and lovers and children. These people think they are right. We think we are right. Bang, bang, someone is dead. Bang, bang everyone is dead.

So, the sucker racket continues. Lives of sleep, being feed a system of beliefs about good and bad, about this country and other countries, about duty and honor, about dangers that usually don’t exist.

“But what if someone broke into your house, wouldn’t you protect it?” That’s always the fallback argument for war. Well, let’s look at a couple of examples. A deluded fellow breaks into the Queen’s Quarters in England. She sees him and says, “Are you alright? Can I get you something to drink?” He feels taken care of and calms down.

Someone breaks into a devout Christian’s apartment and focuses a gun on her. She says, “Don’t be afraid. God loves you. Let’s pray together and everything will be alright.” He goes along with that idea, prays, and turns himself in.

A friend of mine is hiking in the back country of Jamaica. Three men and a gun appear and ask her for her money. She says, “Sure. You can have everything. And I’ll give you more back at the hotel. But please put the gun down, and don’t you feel awful being grown men having to do this to support yourselves?” She means it. Two freak out and run away. The last cries, sticks around and tell s her how hard it has been to break into a wood carving business. She invites him back to the hotel, so she can give him some money to help set up the business. He refuses, and next time she is on the island, he has his business set up.

Yeah, yeah, someone could say, but what if Hitler breaks into your house and starts killing people. Well, then kill Hitler I guess, but how did Hitler come to power? What did World War I, and the brutal “peace treaty” have to do with his rise to power? What did a history of men of power ordering the ordinary man to go off and fight for “the cause” have to do with people falling for Hitler’s nonsense? What did an ongoing sleep contribute? What did the trance of the German people, galvanized by the burning of their parliament building as this country’s tranced out populace was galvanized by 9-11, have to do with his rise to power? What did the German belief in myths and superheroes and our people is better than others have to do with it? The same old, if I’m not better than you, I’m nothing lie that people have been swallowing for centuries.

It takes a sleeping people to let a Hitler come to power. It takes a sleeping people to believe that war is a noble profession. It takes a sleeping people to get roused each year at Memorial Day and actually believe that people dying in Vietnam, say, had anything to do with American freedoms. It had to do with a delusion of dominoes and Lyndon Johnson’s ego. What does the Iraq war have to do with our freedoms?

This is almost too easy a rant. Can I rant and stay awake to the moment, to my breath, to my fingers typing , to my spine in gravity, to my possibility of ongoing happiness? The feeling of righteousness, so comfortable, can be another habit, another way to go into trance, well know to the masters of war. And to ask myself about my waking and sleeping is to begin to come back, the remember myself. When I remind myself of the present, I can escape the trance of righteous ranting and come back to this sweetness of now.

Now that is worth remembering. This is worth remembering. Yes. Every day. Indeed.


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