September 25th, 2007


It's just a trick of the light ...

I haven't posted in too long, and now screendoor3 is insisting I should. I suppose I do need to put some stuff into words, but articulating it is the hard part. That's why I haven't written much. What do I say? How do I say it? There are so many tensions in my mind, no resolution ... every search for a resolution leads to new tensions. There's too much frustration in those tensions, frustrations with the world and with myself and with the complete lack of any real answers or happiness. A couple of people whose opinions I take seriously say I might be depressed. I don't think so. I think I just grew up and became a cynic because I realised that what life looks like from when you're seven is completely at odds with our worthless fucking reality.

It's all so horrible, whether you take a shallow or deep perspective. Look at the news. The shallow news media lately have reported on a depressing murder and child abandonment story that makes for sensational headlines; the breakdown of a famous marriage in Aussie sport and harassed the parties involved just to rub in how unpleasant it must be; and the usual political mudslinging that focuses not on policy but scandalous soundbytes and hollow promises. Then the more serious news media is a brutal dose of reality - unprecedented protests in Burma that are sure to end in a tragically harsh military crackdown; horrific flooding in sub-Saharan Africa; inaction on climate change because some people seem incapable of reading data or co-operating; and, as usual, the Middle East, from semi-anarchy in Iraq to increasing tensions in the delicately balanced Lebanese political system to women's (lack of) rights in Saudi Arabia. It's just so miserable.

And we sit in our cosy Western cuccoon and think nothing's in a hurry to change, we haven't personally been affected. It's all stuff that happens to other people. I'd like to see a change in the world, but it's all idealistic nonsense and nothing will ever happen. Well, something will, but I doubt it'll be positive. It might be an improvement, but that's a very relative thing, you know. I'm wondering when the next great paradigm shift in international organisation will happen. A lot of us think the territorial state system has lasted forever, but it really hasn't, it's a very new, European invention with origins in the 1648 Peace of Westphalia. We need a world system beyond borders. Borders enforce the "other people" thing. Other people living in other countries on the periphery, and we don't notice them, or when their existence is raised, we don't care because they aren't one of "us". I hate it when people say we need to worry about our own country before doing anything for people being oppressed. It just makes me think of "well, yeah, it'd be nice to end racial discrimination and do something for those impoverished blacks, but we need to worry about us whites first". It's just a new form of discrimination, a more politically acceptable form due to our current international organisation that privileges state sovereignty. I cannot help but think of a British editorial from the 1930s that stated, and I paraphrase, "what Germans do to other Germans is none of our concern". And International Relations realism, with its emphasis on sovereignty, just furthers that sort of rubbish. We won't see much improvement in the world if we continue to see borders as something more than arbitrary lines on a map.

I'm dodging the issues. I'm not getting to the point. Instead of putting things into words, I'm taking every opportunity to deviate, to talk about the news and politics and history. I'm passionate about those topics, but I don't have to confront my innermost ... somethings. Fears, not really. Worries, that's not right either. Who knows. But it's all so dismal, you know? I feel like I've lost or I'm losing my religion. Sometimes I experience something that feels real, but only briefly and only rarely. Intellectually, I'm agnostic in a Christian tradition, I know religion's largely a sham and I don't believe in any kind of personal deity; sometimes I think no intelligent person with a sincere devotion to truth and knowledge really would in this day and age when we can disprove just about every claim of organised religion to anybody willing to wrench themselves from the suffocating clutches of cultural tradition. But on ... some other level, I feel something occasionally and used to draw a lot of very deep comfort and a feeling of, perhaps, love or contentment. I'm sure it was just a nice chemical release in the brain, and it'd be a huge fucking letdown if that's all life really is, but it damn well meant something and I'd like some more of it. It's certainly hard to reconstruct a purpose. I wish I hadn't picked up a religion at that crucial formative moment in my teenage years when I was finding my place in the world, because now that religion has been intellectually smashed to pieces, I'm struggling to fill a void. Religion is bad for children, folks. Let them find God once they've found their place in the world first; if they do the reverse and then lose God, they lose their place in the world and finding a new one is much harder.

Ha, I did it again. I started to get to the point and then I went off on a tangent. I've wasted enough of your time today, whether it's actually reading this or just scrolling a wee way past it. Have a good one.