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Thursday, December 5, 2013


I've recently discovered a new name for myself. It is ODD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder. Get pushed into a corner and come out fighting: Disorder. It's about people who don't take well to authoritarian behavior. That it is called a disorder does not allow for the fact that many authoritarian figures don't know what they're about, don't make rational decisions, and look down on the people they have authority over. Authoritarian is a disorder, too, if oppositional defiance is a disorder. I can't help but think that the science of psychology has so far worked against us humans. After a century and a half of psychology as a science, psychoanalysis is prohibitively expensive but for the upper middle class. The part that applies to the rest of us is manipulation by marketing and political manipulation. Collectively, we are manipulated by a field of study sought initially to be to our benefit that has turned against us. Given that these sorts of manipulation amount to authority, my own ODD comes  into play and I oppose  the manipulation. I can't fight it. It would be like fighting the wind. I can't control it, can't even manipulate it in turn, can't even talk about it without somebody calling me a cynic, which I have no problem with. Online dictionary gives it two meanings. One is Greek philosophy that virtue is the only good and its essence lies in self-control and independence. I have no argument with that, looking at virtue as spontaneous instead of structured. Two is believing human conduct is motivated by self-interest. I have no argument with that either. Our popular use of the word, cynic, tends to mean somebody not optimistic. Remember Dr Bernie Siegel, pediatric surgeon who wrote feel-good self-help books ten to twenty years ago? In an interview, I heard him say, "Pessimists are right, but optimists live longer."
I've questioned it ever since I heard him say it. It's one of those generalizations that begs exception. In a plane crash, optimists go down with pessimists. When an American bomb blows up an Iraqi or Afghani neighborhood, optimists die with pessimists, at the same time. Is he talking about laboratory conditions? Out here in the world, not all circumstances are self made. Earthquakes, for example. In an apartment building that collapses from a quake, pessimists die with optimists. It's obviously not a statement meant to be analyzed. Hear it, agree, be impressed by its cleverness, take it as a saying from on high, an authority, one who knows more than you do. I remember hearing it, thinking it insightful, like men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then questioning it immediately, impatient with myself for questioning the obvious. But it's not obvious. Maybe by empirical study it would bear out. But I don't know how such a study could be controlled, considering the unforeseen is around every corner. People who don't smoke get lung cancer. Some people who are crazy drivers have wreck after wreck and survive, while some have one wreck and die. I know a guy who went through the windshield of his car and woke up on the hood unhurt. Another I know drove into a tree dead center front bumper 70 mph without seatbelt and survived. The air bag knocked him out. He woke up lying down in the seat, otherwise unhurt, holding the gear shift in his hand, it separated from the transmission. I don't think they survived because they were optimists. The first one was so drunk he probably couldn't see. He flowed like a fish through seaweed. The second one was racing. I wouldn't say either one was optimist or pessimist, just working class guys bored with labor jobs that have no fun in them and home life that has no fun. It's called: I'm the only hell my mother ever raised.
My other question is how somebody of Siegel's extensive knowledge would see it so either/or. People who would be categorized optimist have some pessimist in them. Pessimists have some optimist in them. All in varying degrees according to DNA, sun, moon and planets, experience. The more I think about it, the more they bleed together such that it is not one or the other, but interwoven degrees of both. Either/or makes it easier for our minds to grasp thin air. It acknowledges duality to see opposite poles. Yet, there is darkness in the light and light in the darkness. In this world, there is no absolute good and no absolute bad. Get down to defining these opposites and it starts getting fuzzy. The woman who loves her abusive man because she understands why he's bad. He aint all bad and she aint all good. Getting down to what we mean by good and bad gets subjective in a hurry. When our karmic return on a given action is to our liking, we call the action good. When the return is not to our liking, we call it bad. An individual's liking varies from person to person. People who like arguing take arguing for the good. People who don't like it take it for the bad. People who like heroin take it for the good and the people who don't like it take it for the bad. Objectively, we may say heroin is bad because it is self-destructive. So is everything else we do, though heroin self-destructs in the fast lane. From what I understand, "when I'm rushin and on my run, you know I feel just like I'm Jesus' son." That's from Lou Reed's song, Heroin. The people who use heroin evidently think it's to the good. They'll debase themselves to the gutter for it. That's unconditional love, giving it all you've got, giving it your life. However, we can make the objective call fairly convincingly after the good in a heroin rush wears off and what you're left with is infinite craving, wanting to crawl out of your skin. That's what we call the bad. Then go back for more of the good, which leaves you again with the bad, round and round, duality, the nature of this world.  
I've made a turn in my life away from the political because I see it's all about the poles of good or bad, rich or poor, black or white, reduced to extremes of duality, which makes a very unreal world. It is said that it is shades of gray between black and white, but I say all the colors are between black and white. In paint, white is absence of colors, black is all the colors. Everything in between is the rainbow of colors. In light it's just the reverse, black is the absence of light and white is all the colors, illuminated by way of prism. I've realized recently I'm giving an awful lot of attention to ignorant professional politicians, the lowest grade of human being. I see their faces over and over every day, feeling revulsion. Finally, I asked myself why I want to focus so much attention on these people who don't think about me, don't give a shit about me, not even the remotest shit. The only thing they want to do with me is get my money. Why do I pay attention to them? Why am I not paying attention to artists, poets, writers I love reading, more than I have time to read in a lifetime. Good movies, art projects, good reading. I have a good life. I don't need to have my head full of ignoramuses whose only purpose is money. These people are not even authorities in my world. They exist when I turn on NPR and BBC radio news or look at online news. They exist when I flip the On switch. It is totally by my own volition I am exposed to these people I personally have no respect for, people I would cross the street to avoid shaking hands with. It is time to relax further into my home on Waterfall Road, leave the vision of the poles of duality for the vision of my everyday life, the rainbow of duality. Along the way, I've seen the good in bad people and the bad in good people. The badest man and the badest woman I know, I see in both of them good people. I tend toward "bad" people, because they don't advertise the good in themselves. When it comes to good, the bad people have it all over the good people. And when it comes to bad, the good people can make the bad people look like beginners.    

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