backstage by tj worthington
I've been wondering all day today if I could cease the use of abstractions, generalizations and conclusions from my writing, speech and thought. It's a tall order and it may not be to the better. I can't see self clearly enough to look back over the recent past to see how much I have used abstractions and generalizations. I tend to try not to draw conclusions, yet continue to draw conclusions, though less than before. That's what I can look toward, using abstractions and generalizations less. I don't believe in stopping a habit by cold turkey. I guess it works if heroin is the issue, but I've found that in my own inner issues cold turkey invites a backlash. I like to let something drift away until it just fades out from lack of need. I've recently listened to a friend for three days who only talks in slang, abstractions and generalizations, draws conclusions unconsciously and makes my head swim. All the time he talks, my mind is continually translating what he says into what I assess he's trying to mean in the English language as I understand it. I don't want to drop slang, because I like slang in context. Slang is a private language for a given group. Like for a long time the word "cool" was only overused by the young. By now, the word had been in popular use since about the mid Fifties. The people that were young using cool are now old using cool. It has become a part of everyday usage. It's particular group has grown older.
Slang out of context is often meaningless. Then you have code words to avoid saying nigger and nobody outside your group (republican in this case) knows you're saying the N-word, so all can cheer, "We're not racist," believing nobody gets it but them. It's not that the right wing is newly hateful. It has always been hateful and now the right wing has a voice in the post-Reagan Party, so we get to hear it daily. With Rupert Murdoch's money they buy tv networks and now the middle ground is struggling against the step-by-step walk through legislation unto police state. Since the republican coup with the "sequester," not much has been going on except seeing the working poor progressively less able to make ends meet. I tell myself that hard times become good times. Muddy Waters sang about hard times like it was not something desirable. Ralph Stanley made a banjo instrumental called Hard Times. I still have a hard time with Obama bailing out the banks, rewarding the banks for fucking We the People. Nobody who lost hundreds of thousands and millions in one second was rewarded. You see, the banks are too big to fail. We individuals are too little to notice. We have no voice. Somebody lost his retirement. Tough shit. Too little to notice. This is how We the People became We the Nobodies.
There I've done a whole paragraph of generalization and abstraction. Didn't use a lot of those kinds of words, but it all came from a generalizing and abstract imagination. I see the whole paragraph was about drawing conclusions. Searching for meaning by drawing conclusions. That's the Western way, but I'm wondering if it is a productive way, if it really does come to understanding. What if it comes to just something else to draw a conclusion about? I see Alex Jones harping his paranoid madness like if you don't send him all your money now an asteroid will hit the earth, and I laugh at where drawing conclusions can lead one. Pat Robertson draws conclusions in favor of his agenda, because that's what we tend to do. He is recently on utube telling us that religious scam artists are everywhere and we're to beware of them. Of course, everyone but him gets it. Seeing different people with political agendas drawing conclusions that pave a path to their bank account, I fall into distrust of conclusion drawing. The republican use of 1-2-3-therefore has come up with some surrealistic conclusions, something like Duck + Water + Tree = Moose. If you're a party faithful, you'll believe it because you're supposed to, if you want to be a member.
I can't join a Christian church because of an article of faith to swear to is the virgin birth, which I cannot accept. First, I see no reason to. Too many people get adamant about I'm supposed to believe it because it's the truth. Well, I don't see any truth in it. I don't see it in the gospels. I'm not going to argue about it, because it's not a social thing for me. Somebody says I'm supposed to believe it, I say, Why? The answer comes back abstract, concluded, not first hand information, but belief because it's required to believe it if you want to be a member. I don't want to be a member for that and many other reasons. I suppose we have to draw conclusions on a regular basis. I go to jaywalk, look both ways, see two cars, conclude it's safe and cross the street after these two cars pass. That's a sensible conclusion in practice. The emperor of North Korea, whose name I'll neither attempt nor look up, is challenging American Intelligence. He's saying he's going to nuke USA. Everyone on earth knows if he does, he and his entire country will be nuked to desert in one minute. But that doesn't mean he won't. It is a difficult conclusion to draw on how to take it from the American end. You know he won't do it, but that's not necessarily certain. He's already proven himself to be a sociopath, starting with his own people. If his attitude toward the rest of the world is the same as his attitude toward his people, an attitude similar to Dick Cheney's toward the American people, there is no guessing what he might or might not do. Conclusions are being drawn in DC, and none of them are certain.
It's looking like I can't get far without drawing conclusions of some sort. Like, if it's midnight, it is reasonable considering where I live to draw a conclusion that it is dark outside. The conclusions I want to be careful of are the conclusions that affirm whatever my agenda may be at the moment. I see too many times conclusions drawn to support an agenda. That's what it is that makes me distrust conclusions. I don't deny that Alex Jones has his finger on something important, it's just that his Limbaugh style of hysterical presentation makes me suspicious. It's his performance that repels me and makes me distrust conclusion drawing. I believe I'd rather be open to see what else may come along. This is a world of ever-changing everything; a conclusion is like a file drawer. In the drawer, it is out of circulation, not being tested, just held for the sake of being held. I asked my mechanic why my tires were wearing on the outsides and not in the middle. He said I don't have them inflated enough. I said I'd been told to leave a little bulge on the side of radial tires. He said it's not like that any more. Radial tires have changed and that bulge is not a good thing now. Oh. How many years have we been told that coffee is bad for us? Now it's good for us. Conclusions are constantly subject to change. Maybe conclusions are something like ego, like ballast in a ship, necessary to keep the ship upright.