The Banal Evil of Going Down the Middle

We live in a mess of a world. Nothing whatsoever points to anything working out for any of us. And, truth be known, we deserve come what may. That’s because we lie and cheat and steal and destroy. Each and every one of us do this, not in an occasional mistaken manner, but in a purposeful self-centered way.

We like to distract ourselves with food and drink, music and books, and even go on to think that there is hope as we look at the beauty in the words of Aeschylus or the brilliance of Hawking, and even think that we just have to get rid of this Trump fellow and it will be better .

But the answer to silly idea is a very hard no. It isn’t Trump to blame, as shitty as he is, nor even Putin nor Bolsonaro. These psycho-loons are just a symptom of what the real problem is: us, me and you, the ones who allowed it to be. It’s the evil of the middle road, making decisions to eke out a little bit for ourselves, convinced that no real harm is done by a trip somewhere nice or buying another bag of chips. That’s how the Nazis rose up. And it is how they will do it again.

I feel like I’m 10 years old. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. That’s my shitty excuse. I’m always looking to get away, avoid responsibility. I move from one thing to the next with no genuine aspiration, nothing true or wise. I like to write. That’s it. I like to live in that pretend world so that I can think that I know things. Yeah, I’m a stupid kid.

Anyway, the point is that we won’t make the right decisions just because we don’t really want to, not in our hearts, not in our genes. We want to go to Disney Land. And we feel good about that because anyone can do that. What else could there be?

Ice Friday: Hannah Arendt’s Thinking

When everybody is swept away unthinkingly by what everybody else does and believes in, those who think are drawn out of hiding because of their refusal to join in is conspicuous and thereby becomes a kind of action.IMG_4879In such emergencies, it turns out that the purging component of thinking is political by implication. The manifestation of the wind of thought is not knowledge; it is the ability to tell right from wrong, beautiful from ugly. And this, at the rare moments when the stakes are on the table, may indeed prevent catastrophes, at least for the self. (From The Portable Hannah Arendt)