Posts Tagged 'Henry Miller'

Reruns

The arguments of ignorance tend to recur. It will always be so: ignorance is by nature a limited beast. Originality and creativity are not required, to persist in seeing through a glass darkly.

If you live long enough, you will witness the marshaling of the same arguments at different instances of space and time. If the arguments prove ignorant on the first go-round, you can generally expect that they will likewise wobble wrongly in succeeding revolutions. This is part of what Arthur Schopenhauer meant when he wrote:

Whoever lives two or three generations, feels like the spectator who, during the fair, sees the performances of all kinds of jugglers and, if he remains seated in the booth, sees them repeated two or three times. As the tricks were meant only for one performance, they no longer make any impression after the illusion and novelty have vanished.

The cohorts of George II at present instruct that we must pursue all over the planet a War On Terra because “if we don’t fight them over there, we’ll have to fight them over here.” If you slip in a disc of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, you can watch one of the first known invocations of this same mantra, as a band of ur-men brandishing bones crushes the skulls of a rival band at a strategically important watering hole. Fast-forward the planet some several million years, and you may observe hundreds of thousands of Americans and Australians, awash in the same shibboleth, floating over to Europe for WWI, there to ensure Germans do not occupy Topeka, and Turks do not site a mosque on Ayers Rock.

In my youth, the United States transformed Southeast Asia into a charnel house in order to “there” put a stop to Communism, so that “here” we would not be forced to burn all our money and construct refrigerators out of cement. The US lost that war, but there don’t now seem to be any more Communists here where I live than there were before the defeat. Just the same one guy, an economics professor at the university, ready soon to retire. The US will lose the War on Terra, too, but I don’t expect that as a result my daughter will be immured in a burka, or that I will be impressed into service as a dervish.

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When I Worked

April 2014
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