Thursday, November 05, 2020

Livin Large

Walt Whitman wrote in his poem Song of Myself, 

"Do I contradict myself? 
Very well then I contradict myself, 
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"

Whitman's contemporary, Ralph Waldo Emerson was perhaps touching on this idea when he wrote,

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds..." 

and perhaps also when he wrote, 

"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them." 


Consider how you might define your self and find meaning in your one precious life. Don't sell your self short, don't be afraid to be ignorant, or to put it another way - don't let your hard-headedness or hard-heartedness prevent you from learning; or finding compassion for fellow beings.

You could define your self as something small and constraining such as a member of a political party, state, or nation. 


You could think of your self as a precious unique individual with expansive possibilities - a human living in a civilization that is the product of thousands of years of human history, millions of years of geological history, on a planet, in a solar system, in a galaxy, in a universe that is infinite.

Many many possibilities - it's up to you to make the world you live in. In that vein consider another quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson -

“I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”

As is so evident in contemporary American society what we read, listen to and watch has extraordinary impacts on who we are (or at least who we think we are). 

The right-wing media ecosystem has for decades encouraged millions of Americans to be fearful, angry, hateful, and aggrieved at one another; as well as promoting distrust of science, expertise and traditional journalism i.e. fact-based and error-correcting. 

This blame displacement exercise has led to the richest country on earth lagging other economically developed nations in key aspects of how our society cares for it's citizens - health care, education, wages, family leave etc. while a large portion of it's citizens have been propagandized into blaming each other, rather than holding those with power (wealth), who control the economic and political structures, accountable.

That's bad...but here's the silver lining.

Humans who are ensnared in the right-wing media ecosystem aren't necessarily racist, or stupid, or mean...they are just people. Forgive them for they know not what they do...if you want to be angry you could be angry with those with power (wealth) who created and control these vast right-wing propaganda machines in order to use people as a means to their own selfish ends.