Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Under Cover of Drunkenness

Gentlemen and Ladies to whom I am forwarding this authentic "epistle",

Years ago in college my philosophy prof, now decades dead of old age, told me of a friend who never drank, who decided it was a good idea to get drunk now and then. He'd take a jug o' squeezin's out to the woods once a year and get drunk. The rest of the year, he was as dry as the moral attitudes popular in Missouri.

I vowed to do that myself.  I have often missed years in a row of this great idea.  Alone in the woods is no place to get drunk.  So tonight I got drunk at an art show opening instead, grabbed somebody's guitar, bawled out "St. James Infirmary" and a few other items with a trombonist, was pleased at the reaction of a chic 24 year old girl (had I a daughter), walked home, thinking, "drunk is the way to address the e-mails that have accrued in several days' e-mail exhaustion." I am now supremely drunk on the right stuff -- wine. In Vino Veritas.

The e-mail count last night was over 40. The count tonight twice that many. I'm not establishing a writer's career here. I am foolhardy, doing my 1/290,000,000th bit as an American citizen, to see that this country stays together. I can't tat out a little happy happy to keep a fan a fan. I must read them all and brood and answer. I can't keep up. I'm broke and this pays nothing and time is bruising me. Still, it's a citizenly duty.

Some of you are more than aware there are those who would split America to pieces for economic advantage or reprehensibly misguided idealism, religious or "political," or out of sheepish irresponsibility to the ideals that took our population a relatively successful distance. Like me, lots of people have been aware of the potential for a breakup for decades. No litany of facts necessary here. Some of you know it as intuitively as I do.

Most of you are Kaminski's correspondents. As I said, some of you are brilliant -- particularly the several with whom I've taken time for more detailed correspondence.

In view of the small yet spectacularly effective political ventures in which I've participated in my life, I'd call you "live wires." You can personally affect the thoughts of hundreds or even thousands of people on your own -- and there is nothing "the CIA" or any group of hooded thieves or masked heroes, whatever they may be, can do to prevent it.  Emerson was absolutely correct about the power of a Good Idea.

I've pleaded with Emerson in my "prayers" the way Ginsberg once pleaded with Whitman.  Speak to me, old man!  We've gone awry!  (I once gave Emerson's great great great granddaughter singing lessons, and thereby learned that one does NOT inherit wisdom, by any means. One requires it, and there it is.
Otherwise it isn't.)

Notice that I can still write just fine, totally drunk.  I get up to think-puff a cigar and stumble.  Still virtually no typos.   A 19th Century habit.

The United States of America is the Good Idea.  It is being picked apart by piranhas, materially and philosophically and spiritually, by those for whom "a shallow consistency is the hobgoblin of a narrow mind." There are too many.  Many are lately becoming like walking dead.  That Good Idea has never yet been applied fully in most lives.

To some extent the country is sinking psychically the way New Orleans has, in a morass of religious superstition, and in a morass of greed and insecurity, fueled by a rise in self-righteousness and the uncertainty that tends to spawn such behavior.

What do we do?  Among the writers Kaminski "unconsciously" put onto me are three splendid examples of American-bred thinking.  One thinks in symbols; one comprehends symbols well enough to gather encyclopedic knowledge of them, yet sees behind them nicely; one easily represents both those who live by their symbols and those who see behind them, and has dealt honestly with those who do either.

For some, symbols are considered reality: ancient religious sayings, distorted by time and translation and language are as rock-hard "Truth" as the rock Johnson once kicked to refute Berkeley.  For others, the mish-mosh of Science or "evolution" is the same.  Minds entranced by mere symbols of reality will  spit through their shivering beards at one another and insist on legislating "Truth", despoiling the basic principles on which the American form of government was founded.

For some, either "God" or "Science" are concepts, not realities, which "the prudent are hot neither to confirm nor deny."  They live beyond the fray, but there are times when they shouldn't.  I am one of those.

And to some, the experience of their matter is all that matters, whereas philosophical considerations are left for the weekend, perhaps. Usually not.

All of us belong to this latter category sometimes; but in those terms, it is our own carcasses rotting in the streets of New Orleans or in the sand of Iraq, and in places kept secret; we victimize ourselves with of a lack of personal responsibility which we had not felt was our own, and had left to "the powers that be."

Lately -- generations for some -- the word "freedom" has become a sardonicism. One can not enforce freedom with laws or guns or bombs. Frightened people are simply afraid of their own inalienable freedom.

Frightened, angry, or unafraid, freedom is an inalienable responsibility. Mankind is "doomed" to the freedom of every individual, true, false or unknown.

The only authentic fight for freedom -- as increasingly distant as it has begun to seem to many -- is in the individual mind.  Every single mind counts, like it or not.  There is no action too small to be insignificant in pursuing the ideals of human events.

Yet the smallest minds would conceive the grandest plans to promote the least encompassing aspects of what "freedom" means.  We need a little tyranny to enlighten the misguided!  So goes the rationale.  For me, the most ludicrous example is to fight for "freedom from evil."

Tales of freedom "from" anything can be delusive and a handy way to manipulate sales of arms to whole populations of people gone paranoid.  Freedom "to," however, isn't necessarily so.  There is not one of us who does not have the freedom to think and feel his or her own thoughts.  Despite tales to the contrary,  of drugs and "mind control" by imagined wicked wizards in dank government basements, that is what is inalienable in each of us.

That freedom is as much an instinct as any animal has ever been said to have an instinct about anything.  We are even free to get ourselves into lots of trouble -- although this kind of event largely comes from convincing ourselves we are not, one way or another.

The Good Idea that is American, is in writing in the First Amendment of the Constitution.  We call it "freedom of speech."

This is not something granted to us by some benevolent despot.  It is now, and was at its inception, a highly realistic recognition of an inalienable quality of the human mind.  We must admit, individually, that each of us is free to think -- whether we like even our own thoughts.  Those of us who insist the hardest on one thought or another, often don't.

Neither "the Illuminati," nor "The CIA," nor the "New World Order," or the host of groups real or imagined have brought the United States into the trouble we are now seeing.  The innate freedom to think and speak demands all of our individual exercises, particularly now. That we have not done so all along has brought us into this trouble.

So I'm exercising mine. Your turns if you haven't -- to everybody you know. That's where the solution is. If it isn't there, it's not anywhere. Every single one of you has a stake in it.

The wine wore off 15 minutes ago, by the way.


Blogger Tom Dark said...

Kaminski, incidentally, was a blogger who, after a certain popularity, turned into a rabid, psycho anti-semite. This may have had something to do with the breakup with his jewish girlfriend, with whom I'd been corresponding all along, unbeknownst to him.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Partisan said...

Hi Tom. Randy Masters here.

Enjoyed your semi-inebriated and philosophical musings here.

Me, I'm less philosophical. I think that there are real political ideas and policies and differences to be tangled over.

What does our country mean? What is the role of government? What are our responsibilities as citizens?

Is there a possibility of split over those very real issues? Absolutely. But, I think that we have the best system for contending over those very real issues. Civily.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Tom Dark said...

Well, Randy! I never noticed your comment. Sorry to be this frank, Randy, but you're kind of blockheaded. I do mean that civilly. At some point you may realize this. Let's hope it's not too late.

And Randy, don't let yourself get resentful about someone's frank honesty. I don't play the kind of media game you think is so "real."

6:21 PM  

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