Last month I made a pact with myself to not write or comment publicly about things which are happening in the world right now. Part of my rationale was to spare myself getting involved in the toxic miasma, both in terms of time, energy, and mental well-being. But there’s something darker lurking. It is not safe to speak the truth, even if it’s in the name of the overall good. Take as an analogy trying to argue that there is no such thing as witchcraft during the Inquisition. One would have been burned at the stake as a witch for doing so. You may have heard that not expressing the correct belief is tantamount to being the enemy who must be righteously persecuted.
It is practically useless to speak what one understands to be the greater truth, or an antidote to society drifting into insanity, because the value of being rooted in reality has itself disintegrated. The idea of deferring to the greater argument has vanished, and has been replaced by the necessity of submitting to the presumed moral right, which cannot be questioned. We are in a time — nobody can deny — of extreme moralism, when even subtle unconscious behavior can be interpreted as an act of criminal violence which will be punished to the fullest extent. And as is so frequently the case, the moralism that is rabidly intolerant, and actively seeks to find any instance for which to mete out excessive punishment, is itself immoral.
True justice is by definition not hypocritical. Yet, all around you, if you look for it, you can see flagrant instances of hypocrisy celebrated, and this is because the notion that justice must apply equally to everyone has eroded. The notion of a double standard evaporates when the same standard is not expected to apply to everyone. Indeed, unequal standards are being imposed in abundance.
To speak the truth in 2020 is to risk being persecuted and excommunicated. We know what we are supposed to say, and we must regurgitate it or else. To say anything else is sacrilege. That alone should be a giant waving red flag. What is the use of independent thought if it must articulate the already established foregone conclusion?
And when you can’t speak the truth, it’s difficult to say anything. What is the motivation to willfully regurgitate what one knows is toxic delusional pablum, especially if one has a philosophical bent and is constantly seeking a better grasp of reality in all its manifestations?
Last month I also promised myself I wouldn’t write about NOT writing about what’s going on. I lived up to my promise, but here I’m a third through a new month, and I wanted to tell my followers why I have been less vocal than usual, even about unrelated topics.
My strategy to maintain my own healthy and productive mind will be to not participate in the melee, even if I am threatened with “you are with us or you are against us”, which was previously popularized by George W. Bush in the run-up to “Operation Iraqi Freedom” (which I protested in the street 4 times]. That was in the year 2,003, I believe. Now there’s another threat, and today’s equivalent of re-education camps are spotting the virtual horizon.
This is the year 1984. Let’s just hope it doesn’t turn into the year zero, Sidney.
It’s a bit of an intellectual feat to not write about the most critical topics of the day, but let’s see if I can do that with what’s left of this month, as I’ve got a couple planned articles on art just waiting for me to write them. That and my time is better served doing anything else — and especially doing art — than getting embroiled in things like politics, culture wars, and other virulent conflicts.
I am called to become a cadre in the revolution, but I am going to be a conscientious objector. I abhor senseless violence, hatred, racism, scapegoating, and self-fulfilling prophecies of the worst kind.
There’s a scene in The Killing Fields that always comes back to me. Dith Pran escapes the Khmer Rouge by slipping away in a muddy river. There’s a time to keep your head up, stand tall, and speak the truth, and here’s a time to dunk yourself in a river and drift away unnoticed.
When I was younger I thought revolution was by nature desirable, and I didn’t understand the Beatles “Revolution”. Over time I came to see what they’d learned the hard way, and I could appreciate their message. Why, nowadays even revolution may be suspect as a potential next wave of dramatic oppression.