Two Quotes and Some Thoughts on Politics and Passivism

Two quotes, one from philosophy and one from folk philosophy, might serve to illuminate the most essential difference between Passivist reaction (orthodox NRx) and populist reaction (what most would call alt-right today). The first is from Lao Tzu:

Thus, when the Tao is lost, virtue arises.
When virtue is lost, morality arises.
When morality is lost, justice arises.
When justice is lost, propriety arises.
Propriety is merely a shadow of justice, morality, and virtue;
it is the beginning of chaos . . . .

If we look at the landscape of conventional metapolitical worldviews, the Conservatives claim to concerned with morality, sometimes even virtue, and the Progressives with justice. On closer examination, the morality of the Conservatives is really mere justice decked out in religious language. The real concerns of the Conservative are often articulated in the language of simple, schoolyard notions of Fairness. One step further down the road of degeneration, the “Justice” of Progressives is a “social justice,” which (like social science) is not the thing itself. From the most innocuous notions of political directness to the most draconian dictates of fringe, Tumblr feminism, “social justice” is merely about convention… the bastard child of propriety.  Passivist Reaction makes an heroic attempt to keep its eyes fixed firmly upon the Tao itself, or Gnon if you prefer, but often ends up engaging in the realm of virtue and morality.  There is no condemnation in any of these observations.   This is, after all, the terminal phase of the Kali Yuga.  Human action often falls short of its aim.  At first glance, the politics of populist reaction (whether the Alt-Right, or the various nationalisms that have risen and fallen in the twentieth century) seem far more cynical than any of these.

It has been said that “when the government’s boot is on your throat, whether it is a left boot or a right boot is of no consequence.” I’m not sure where that line originated, but I am more concerned with the addendum that is sometimes quoted in the populist right: “What matters is getting your foot into the boot.” There is a sense in which one could claim this is a utter rejection of propriety, justice, morality, and virtue. There is also a sense in which this is the most honest acknowledgment of the Tao itself. It posits the radical given-ness of hierarchy. It acknowledges the superiority of strength to weakness, and it calls attention to the gravity and immanence of the situation. It is the ultimate hymn to the sovereignty of Gnon.

The purpose of this post is not to advocate thug-tier street fighting politics, or to denigrate Passivism as an idea, but to point out an oddly cyclical quality of any attempt to overlay ideological spectra onto spaces where ideas meet. At the nadir of a philosophical hierarchy, where chaos and force reign, we find the highest principle brutally and obviously apparent, as one might expect if it were true…

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Picking Up [not quite] Where I Left Off…

I haven’t posted here in over a year. Part of the reason for that has been the quantity and excellent quality of so much of the writing in this idea-space. So often, when I think of a topic that needs a good treatment, someone else (Usually Mark Citadel) writes it first and leaves me with little to add. The main reason is even more encouraging though. I have spent the last year interacting in real life with local, high quality, men of the right. It has been an exciting time to be a reactionary, and rise of the Alt-Right in America has been one symptom of a broader right-ward shift of the Overton Window, or at least its right-most edge. The things I have learned by participating in that shift locally and watching it nationally will lead to some exciting posts to come. I have discovered interesting things about the nature of politics and meta-politics, the nature and uses of class/caste, and the practicalities of living a reactionary life and I look forward to exploring them here. There is also interesting work to be done in analyzing the nature of the Alt-Right and its relation to the broader Reactionary world.

One idea that I keep coming back to is the class tension that underlies much of right-wing discourse. The Alt-Right occupies a space between the working and middle classes, and often goes to great lengths to avoid Brahman signaling. At times, it seems to define itself as a “white Working Class” movement, but is has many bourgeois elements as well. I find my own identity to be equally “problematic.” I have an upper middle-class upbringing, from which I often feel alienated, but I do not feel at home in my working class surroundings either. In the writings of Evola and other 20th century luminaries of reaction, a rejection of bourgeois culture and sensibilities has been a central tenet. Where does reaction fit in the twisted landscape of class in America? What of the working class? I would love to see more thought on this issue. I would also love to see more analysis of the “Alt-Right” from some of the more intellectual corners of the reactionary blogosphere.

Another issue that has been on my mind of late is the religious question. I have always been Culturally Christian, but the essentially Jewish nature and origins of Christianity have never sat well with me. I have been writing privately about the Pagan/Christian struggle in my heart and I am retooling some of those explorations for public consumption. Stay tuned.

Order, Liberty, Unwritten Rules, and the Specter of Butt-Sex: Varieties of Social Decay

Free Northerner’s recent “Order And Freedom” (Read it, it’s a great summary of something that our underlies our thinking on the right, but is rarely articulated) got me thinking on a tangent. The fact that order allows trust and that trust reduces transaction costs makes everyone socially and literally richer. On the other hand, cheating and breaking trust reduce practical freedom, and even reduce social mobility, so ironically, more de-jure freedom results in a de-facto less-free society. Intelligent liberals (not leftists, mind you, but true liberals) often understand but misinterpret this dynamic. FN points out, “Social trust is destroyed through negative interactions. If just once my friend stiffed me, I’d probably never loan to him again.” In an economic situation, transgressions between parties effect the relations between those parties and those around them. There are other spheres, however, where a single transgression (or even the imagined possibility of one) can shatter trust far and wide.

A friend of mine once asked me what was inherently wrong with homosexuality. This is a far less common question than “should it be legal?” or “Is homosexuality a good idea?” I had to think about it for a minute. The answer I came up with (and I realize others have thought of it, but this was my epiphany) was that homosexuality casts a pall of suspicion over normal, healthy intimacy between males who are not homosexual. We discussed this further and realized how much we in the West had lost by introducing this suspicion into male friendship. We have since refered to this pehnomenon as “The Specter of Butt-Sex.” Not only does this hurt any two straight men who now assume the transaction costs of clarifying their intentions  (even if only to observers), but the bonds of groups of men, once the enforcers of all society’s rules, whether formal or informal, are weakened. There are those on the left who like to gleefully point out that men in some cultures hold hands when they are friends, or that men involved in athletics slap each others’ asses after a successful play, the implication being that male friendship and sports are, somehow, secretly gay. On the contrary, these are the spheres where, until very recently, intimacy was not haunted by the specter of butt-sex because homosexuality was not tolerated. At first glance, it looks like irony, but on closer examination, it is obvious. The societies in which sodomites are thrown from buildings are precisely the ones in which two men can hold hands without suspicion. I am not really arguing that two men should be holding hands here, but it seems to elucidate a principle that we can apply to the latest front in the culture wars: pedo-acceptance.

Even if pedo-acceptance never increases the chance of children being abused (which is hard to imagine) and it somehow stops at the part of the slippery-slope where the desire is acknowledged but not acted on (it won’t), we are still building a world where every uncle, every clergyman, and every little league coach is constantly under a cloud of suspicion and eventually, no-one will want to interact with any child who isn’t their own. It is already incredibly suspect to interact with children because of the very existence of these perverts, just imagine when they are a legitimate orientation. Will we even trust fathers alone with their sons? Teachers already avoid being alone with their students. Pedophile priests are already fodder for cheap humor. Community has already been permanently scarred by the notion that their might be perverts around. Imagine how much worse it can get.

There are other defective mechanisms that kick in when trust is undermined as well. Consider how heterosexual interactions have been shaped by rape and harassment hysteria. Slavoj Zizek writes in The Fragile Absolute (a Marxist and Freudian defense of what he calls “the Christian Legacy”) that “the heterosexual seduction procedure in our Politically Correct times” takes on the mechanics of a Stalinist show-trial:

The two sets, the set of PC behaviour and the set of seduction do not actually intersect anywhere; that there is no seduction which is not in a way and ‘incorrect’ intrusion or harassment – at some point, one has to expose oneself and ‘make a pass’. So does this mean that every seduction is incorrect harassment through and through? No, and that is the catch: when you make a pass, you expose yourself to the Other (the potential partner) and she decides retroactively, by her reaction, whether what you have done is harassment or a successful act of seduction – and there is no way to tell in advance what her reaction will be. This is why assertive women often despise ‘weak’ men – because the fear to expose themselves and take the necessary risk. And perhaps this is even more true in our PC times: are not PC prohibitions rules which, in one way or another, are to be violated in the seduction process? Is not the seducer’s art to accomplish this violation properly – so that afterwards, by its acceptance, its harassing aspect will be retroactively canceled?

It’s worth noting that this man is a darling of the ultra-left, not a manosphere blogger. Here we have a similar situation to the above, but heterosexual interaction is something we cannot afford to give up, even for ideology, so we give up logic instead. Logic is often the first causality of the left’s traumatic collisions with reality. Once that was merely comical. Lately, it has become dangerous. Now, the mechanism of order and enforcement is not a distant power that the left resents, but an omnipresent force that the left has been able to subvert and control. There is a quest for freedom, but freedom of a kind that is not free.  There is no freedom from metaphysical givens.  The search for such freedom leads, inevitably, to tyranny.  It has hurt male relationships, it will destroy families, and it is already at work shredding logic itself.

Sorry for the Hiatus…

The last few months have been pretty busy in real life. I apologize for my failure to keep this blog updated. I’ve been keeping up with the reactosphere, and the Alt-right in general, as well as spending some time reading Evola, Faye, and at the moment, Codreanu’s For My Legionaries. I was made aware of Codreanu by Mark Citadel’s blog, and the lessons of this book will inform my series (which I will pick up again soon) about the practice of being a man of the right. In the meantime, I will leave you with an Evola quote about the ideal inner life of such a man:

“Against psychoanalysis we should oppose the ideal of an ego which does not abdicate, and which intends to remain conscious, autonomous, and sovereign in the face of the nocturnal and subterranean part of his soul and the demonic character of sexuality. This ego does not feel either ‘repressed’ or psychotically torn apart, but achieves an equilibrium of all his faculties ordered in accordance with a higher significance of living and acting.”

The Practice of Reaction, Part I: Intro

This is the beginning of a series of articles on how to practice life as a man of the right in the modern world. What should a modern man do, in order not to become a “modern man?” In the past, Reactionary and traditional thought has largely focused on what is wrong with the world, or at least our corner of it. Lately, we have had some exciting speculation on what the life of a young, traditionally minded man of the right should look like.

If you are a religious man, this may not be an issue for you. After all, you have a manual to follow, and a church that supports and instantiates your values. If you have a wife and children, you are already doing the most important thing you can do to fight for our future, take care to do it well. But what about the rest of us? Imagine you are a young, single man with no church (or no belief). You have read your Moldbug and your Land. You are sympathetic to the Reactionary worldview. Maybe you even lift. What’s next?

For starters, Nick B. Steves has devised this oath which is a good start. Although it is structured to be relevant to a specific organization of like-minded people, it works as a general framework for structuring one’s participation in this community, as does this.

The next installment of this series will address what may be the most important aspect of civilization in our understanding: Hierarchy. What does it mean, practically, to accept hierarchy as the basic principle of society? How does one live this at work and at home? As a recovered leftist, accepting and learning to love hierarchy has been challenging and transformative in my life.

After addressing hierarchy, I wish to explore the central role of strong male friendships in a man’s personal development, with an eye toward recovering a traditional sense of manhood. Subsequent pieces will address other aspects for life, from fitness to career. I was inspired to start this series after reading this inspiring piece by Mark Citadel.  Mark has been beating this theory-to-practice drum for some time, and starting conversations that this community needs to have. Somewhere between theory and direct action, there is the practice of a lifestyle. We are exiles in this time and place, so our lives must be focused, our frame strong, and our understanding lived out in every moment.

Firing Blanks at an Execution: Leftism and Guilt

In some of the various times and places in which humans have used firearms to execute other humans, we find an interesting ritual practiced. Each member of the firing squad gave his musket to his commanding officer, who loaded the muskets, passed them back to his soldiers, and gave the order to kill. One of the weapons would have a powder charge with no musket ball; the rest would be loaded properly. Each man in the line would aim his musket, pull the trigger, and do his duty. For the rest of his life, he could tell himself that his might have been the non-lethal shot. At the same time, he could not judge his comrades as murderers when he himself was as likely to be guilty or innocent as they.

This ritual created a space for ambiguity. A space into which guilt could be discharged. An identical practice has been used in modern-day executions by firing squad, except that a wax slug is used in place of the missing bullet to allow for realistic recoil. We see similar rituals in other paradigms of execution, from Pontius Pilate’s futile gesture of hand-washing to our own sterile, medicalized way of killing our killers (in America, at least). We do this because we know, however just the cause, however vile the offender, that life has an inherent value and dignity. No matter what we must do, we dare not deny that, lest we be destroyed by guilt.

I think the entire history of progressivism, especially the late metastatic stage of leftism that has given us abortion on demand and gay “marriage,” is a sequence of such rituals, performed in the escalating cadence of a neurotic who, in the midst of a breakdown, washes her hands with increasingly frenetic desperation. It is not enough that gay marriage be legal; it becomes imperative that everyone participate, willing or not: dissenters are sought out, forced to declare themselves, and ordered to bake cakes or pay fines. It is not enough that gay people can be gay in peace; we must all bear witness to every kiss and affirm the righteousness of each thrust. It is not enough that birth control be available; we have to try make nuns pay for it. It is not enough that abortion be legal; it must be depicted as fun, cool, and empowering. It must be everywhere, as late in pregnancy as whim fancies, and paid for by those who disagree with it.

In the case of abortion, this is not just about money; abortion is already cheap and ubiquitous in most states. In my former home of New York, it’s easier in some ways to get an abortion than a pack of smokes (no ID requirement, no adulthood requirement, no parental consent requirement). It is not even that the pro-abortion activists think abortion is right and we need to be made to see that; on the contrary: their need to make others participate, or pay, or approve is a direct result of their unshakeable certainty that it is murder. The more people who can be made complicit, the less guilt is left for the one committing the act. The very zeal with which abortion is pushed in our culture reveals the truth that no one thinks it is right. Indeed, no one can.

The gay rights movement is of a similar character. If gay sex was just a different, equally valid, kind of sex, as we are supposed to think, there would be no parades. There would be no adoptions, or “marriages,” or press-ganging of unwilling photographers and bakers for “weddings.” The hope is that some day, when the gay couple stands in a church that the state has compelled to marry them, full of acquaintances who are scared not to attend, and everyone is sufficiently cowed to sit silently and watch, that maybe then, finally, they will believe that their union is the real thing.

This all tells us something about right and left in this late stage of decline. The right serves, in a way, as the conscience of civilization. By remaining firmly connected to reality, we tell society things that it already knows but would prefer not to be reminded of. We are the alcoholic’s friend who tries to impart perspective on the destructive effects of excessive, thoughtless consumption; we are the creditor who calls the debtor every day to remind him of the reality that will not go away, however firmly he denies it.

In the end, this is why they hate us so much. This is why they need “safe spaces.” A safe space is where you can’t hear the phone ring as your creditors call and call; a place where you can forget the accumulating interest of a loan you took out against reality. Unlike financial bankruptcy, moral bankruptcy will not save you from paying what you owe. Debts to reality are always collected, with interest.

Tradition as Emergent Optimization of Society

In Mark Citadel’s recent “Are we Social Engineers?” on Social Matter, we see a clever exposition of one of the key differences between Reactionary thought and ideas like Conservatism and Libertarianism (which are still essentially liberal). Most social-contract views of society ( just about everything that came out of the enlightenment or emerged since) are predicated on the idea that we are exchanging a state of nature for society, “a necessary vice for which we sacrifice some of our liberty.” This beautiful paragraph got me thinking:

This is a profoundly ignorant view of human nature. Human society is no less natural than the beehive or the anthill. How we construct our homes, our agricultural facilities, our industries, and our seats of government, are no less natural than the honeycomb and the labyrinthine network of chambers within a termite mound. It’s not something we build to compensate for a crippling deficit, but rather something we do because we are human.

Imagine an explorer from a distant world flies to earth and finds himself looking at a Mediterranean hillside village:

villiage

…or the Manhattan skyline, or a suburban subdivision for that matter. It’s hard to articulate what, if anything, would look qualitatively different between such a view and say, a coral reef or a lichen on a rock. Obviously the level of complexity is orders of magnitude greater, and there are more right angles in the human constructs, but if one was not human, would that register as a qualitative difference or a mere variation of degree and details? Humans would probably strike one as another life form doing what its nature encourages.

One thing that made me receptive to Reactionary thought when I discovered it were two books by British philosopher John Gray, Straw Dogs and The Silence of Animals. Gray is not a reactionary per se, and I reject many of his conclusions, but he does a great job placing humans back in the context of nature that we work so hard to insist we are above.

It is intuitively difficult for us to imagine behavior, especially our behavior, as coming from somewhere other than our will. Whenever I see my pet lab point like a bird-dog (despite never being trained as one) I have to wonder how any sequence of genes could possibly code for proteins that somehow result in raising one paw and extending the body toward something interesting. She certainly didn’t learn it from reading books. Is it possible that our far more complex behaviors also emerge from our nature? That villages, markets, and hierarchies are hardwired into us? It certain seems likely that we are built to at least acquire society the way we acquire language, and that, as Citadel argues, traditional civilization is a particularly suitable society to our nature.

What should we think, therefore, in terms of tradition as what is adaptive, both to our environment and our nature. Chestertonian ideas, like “The democracy of the dead” become even more powerful if we imagine tradition is the optimal world for our hard-wiring.  We should look at attempts at top-down social change like that undertaken by the Supreme Court last week in terms of this viewpoint. In nature, a species discovering a novel food source or moving to a new continent generally ends badly for either the species or the ecosystem. Not always, mind you, but more often than not. It is possible, not likely, but possible, that the consensus of traditional societies for millennia was just wrong about family, and that five justices on the supreme court have this solved. I’m inclined to doubt it.

Social Science as the Shameless Pimping of Progressive Ideology

The strange world of social science research routinely gives us statistics about the nature of reality that are quite plainly wrong, and with the always-helpful assistance of the humanities, often posits explanations of real experience that are so convoluted as to be shockingly improbable. I increasingly recognize that social science is rarely science at all, in any meaningful sense, but an attempt to exploit scientific rhetoric to entrench the narratives promulgated in the humanities (and even less rigorous fields) in popular culture. It is unfortunately an extraordinarily effective attempt. Formerly fringy academic notions like “white privilege,” the concept of gender as a “construct,” and witch-trial propositions of the “only whites can be racist” variety are now quite common in popular discourse.

It has become commonplace to hear claims of “White Supremacy” or “Rape Culture” used to describe our society, and then see the ridiculous claim backed up with an absurd, doctored, or even refuted statistic. This is perhaps most obvious in the campus rape “debate.” If rape is in fact, ubiquitous on campus, as feminists and the majority of our news media desperately need us to believe, why can’t they ever find a case to trumpet that does not fall apart under even the most cursory examination? Two recent, high profile cases (Jackie of Rolling Stone fame and Emma Sulkowicz, Columbia Mattress Girl) were blatant frauds. Two frauds is hardly damning, but these were the two poster cases pushed into the spotlight by activists who presumably vetted them from all the millions of campus rapes that allegedly happened this year. In other words, their two best, carefully chosen, examples of an allegedly common phenomenon were fraudulent. Why do so many of these incidents turn out to be hoaxes, fabrications, or distortions and so many of the accusers turn out to lack credibility or consistency? The same problem is apparent in the notion that cops run around murdering young black men for no reason. None of these cases ever end up bearing out the original narrative.

The same phenomenon occurs with hate crimes and homophobic panics. The Oberlin race hoax, the bigoted restaurant non-tipper, and so many internet harassment claims (see Anita Sarkeesian, or any of her ilk) .
If we look at this in general, at an abstract level, there seems to be an entire world captured in social science statistics of which concrete examples are often lacking and occasionally fictional; an endless forest with a paucity of trees…


From this we must suppose the problem is with our statistics. Indeed, it is standard practice in the hard (i.e. actual) sciences to look at the allegiances, agenda, and financial interests of whoever is doing a given study. In the social sciences, this is far more necessary, but doesn’t seem to happen. Imagine if physicists were partisan about elementary particles. Imagine if one preferred electrons and neutrons to protons because a proton molested her as a little girl or failed to attend her piano recital. Would we take such a physicist seriously? Let her teach others? Participate in peer review? Trust her findings? This is precisely what we do when we let the militantly progressive cadre of academics do social science and let them wear the mantle of a discipline that strives for objectivity, or at least corrected subjectivity. When we pretend that social science is science we put “one in five women will be raped in college” on the same level as E=mc2.

A thought experiment

Imagine that one starts with two groups of one hundred children (fifty boys, fifty girls) who have not been educated in any way. Group one will be dropped in the jungle to fend for themselves: to form their own language, culture, etc. Group two will be trained to live the most fulfilling, self-actualized life possible by leading experts in sociology, gender, and sexuality.  They will benefit from the latest research on transgenderism, the best paradigms for questioning their sexuality, and the newest, most rigorous theories of consent, privilege, and microaggression.

My prediction is that group one will figure out, all on their own, whether they are male or female and how they should behave sexually. They will also figure out soon after reaching puberty that this penis-shaped thing that males have looks like it’s supposed to go in this vagina-shaped thing that females have. I’m fairly certain that a few of them would also participate in acts of homosexual sex, though they wouldn’t respond by making an identity out of it, or inventing leather bars, or by rejecting their gendered behavior.  They will, most of the time, practice sex that we (those of us who are not militant feminists) would recognize as consensual and mutually pleasurable without needing a technical concept of consent or inventing tumblr.

Group two is, of course, the society we are building today.  Unfortunately, we will see how that plays out first hand.  Like in our world, there will be a few thought criminals among that hundred who figure out reality despite the best efforts of their educators. How many out of a hundred would it take to save them?  We will find out soon…  As for group one, imagine how much better they would fare in a real, grown-up civilization that reinforced good behavior and protected the many from the inevitable predatory few.

Toward a Theory of Ratchets:

“Cthulhu swims slowly, but he always swims left.”

-Mencius Moldbug

On a macro level, the above quote is undeniable. One need only look at the front page of any paper on any day to see pathology normalized (and the normal pathologized) as civilization gradually succumbs to degeneracy. We can feel Cthulhu swim by. We can see the waves he raises. We can even glimpse his tentacles from time to time, when someone defends some shockingly immoral practice by yelling “But it’s 2015! Isn’t it time!?” It is far more rare that we can actually examine one of his tendrils up close, while it is doing its dirty work, but I believe these opportunities should always be taken advantage of.

One area where we can glimpse the leftward ratcheting of discourse most often is the battle of the sexes. Women are enough like us (and pleasant enough to be close to) that we can study them in depth but alien enough to our understanding that we often miss the obvious. The other day, I found myself listening (quite unintentionally, for the record) to Katy Perry’s “Roar” as it was played over the speakers of a large department store. The song is an anthem of personal liberation, in which the speaker decides to no longer be silent and passive, but to “roar,” fight back, and finally be herself. The song begins with this stanza:

I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly, agree politely
I guess that I forgot I had a choice
I let you push me past the breaking point
I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything”

This is the same Katy Perry, mind you, who became famous with her lesbian experimentation song “I Kissed a Girl” in 2008. A couple disclaimers: I recognize that there is not always a one-to-one correspondence between the singer and the character speaking in a song, but it’s hard to imagine a wider gap between 2008 Perry and this passive pushover. One can listen to “Blood on the Tracks” and come away with a pretty good idea of what kind of man Bob Dylan was (or at least, thought he was) at that time. One can listen to a Lady Gaga song and have a pretty good idea of what she stands for.  It’s also possible that one or both of the songs was someone else’s composition.  None of this is the point.  The thing that stands out is that these are both part of our society’s concept of who Katy Perry is, and that shouldn’t make sense.  It is hard to imagine these two tunes coming from the same person’s inner life. Katy Perry is (and seems to sometimes see herself as) a loud boisterous person. Neither have Perry’s public or private lives been examples of blushing chastity and quiet restraint. I had to ask myself though: Could this be how Katy Perry really experiences herself on some level?

I began to remember all the examples: public, and personal, fictional and real, of women who expressed the same seeming contradiction. The horrendous “Eat, Pray, Love,” is replete with examples of this theme: every self absorbed decision the main character makes, she says something along the lines of “I need to do something for myself” before abandoning selfish narcissistic project “n” for more selfish, more narcissistic “n+1.” To see what this moment is like, one can watch degeneration-porn like “Breaking Amish” with people coming from a life of relative innocence into the big city, and note the moment when they experience themselves as previously quiet and innocent and now active and seeking experiences. There are some women who can experience that moment again and again as they move further and further into dissolution while constantly seeing themselves as having just crossed the line from innocence. Indeed, there seem to be some women who have no other kind of moments.  They always remember how selfless and innocent they are.  It is always their first time.  They are always seeing the rule as the exception.  It is always just this once.  They are always the one who doesn’t do this kind of thing.  It is always year zero and the revolutionary rules always apply.  One can imagine Pandora or Eve thinking about”finally doing something for myself” as they reached out to unleash evil on the world.

“It’s time you started living. It’s time you let someone else do some giving.”

-Theme song “Mary Tyler Moore Show”

One can see the early adult life of a modern American woman through this lens, and it starts to make a little sense:

“My dad wants me to study something practical so I can pay off my loans and get a job when I graduate, but I’m sick of doing what they tell me. I worked hard through high-school and I’m here to learn so why shouldn’t I switch my major to Indignation Studies? Isn’t time I started living and did something for myself?”

“I know I promised Cory that I would wait for him while I was away at college, but Troy is here now, and I’m buzzed and he’s hot. Why shouldn’t I go back to his room? All I do is for everyone else. I go to classes all day, I do what everyone wants me to do. I should live a little. I deserve it. It’s about time I think about me for once.”

“I can’t believe Troy won’t call me back. I’m carrying his baby! I know I should do the right thing and tell my dad and put it up for adoption, but that’s 8 months of this! I’m so sick of living my life for everyone else. I want to have experiences and live my own life. Why shouldn’t I get an abortion? It’s my body. I need to do this for myself. I owe it to me.”

From there, we are two office affairs and one sad cooking class away from life as a cat and box-wine enthusiast who will continue to think of herself as quiet and long-suffering. She maintains this illusion as she drunkenly wonders why she isn’t happier, quickly ages, and puts on weight. As she votes, and thinks, and talks as a political being, she does so with the assumption that her experiences of sadness, alienation, and ultimate loneliness are the fate of all good, quiet, generous people like her, not the result of a decadent and self adsorbed life, and she votes accordingly. What other patterns like this are hidden in day-to-day life? What else are humans doing while they think they’re standing still?