Thursday, October 26, 2006

"...tell me, where is sanity?"

I think it went out the window when the leader of the free world refused to acknlowledge the universal and immutable meaning of something as simple, as bedrock to logic, as the word "is." The man stated flatly, "the world is not necessarily round," and there wasn't enough collective sense in that world to sell such nonsense short in the marketplace of ideas, when it should have been bid to zero before the sun set the day it was uttered. Either that or the market was rigged.

And now, half a very dysfunctional generation hence, I have a hard time not having experiences, regularly, when something I've said or written is spun so completely out of context that is rendered alien to its original meaning -- by any reasonable stretch of the imagination. Note the italicised part: it's critical.

Or when an agreement, after some interval from the time when everyone was smiles and handshakes, suddenly becomes a subjective, "organic" sort of document meaning, ultimately, what the guy with the cleverest lawyer and the deepest pocket wants it to mean.

"Is? Why it means whatever I say it means; it means whatever it needs to mean in order to let me do what I want, without serious consequences, and damn you. If you're stupid enough to suffer consequences, it's only because, well, you're stupid enough to." Machiavelli's legacy? Or someone elses - a more recent name?

What about romance? Should we even go here? Who hasn't come home to a Jekyll, when they thought they kissed a Hyde goodbye that morning? Who hasn't heard, "for better or for worse," and staked their entire earthly existence on the bargain, and probably that of some innocent third parties, too, only to find, one gut-wrenching day, a legal brief in the mailbox with a bunch of words on it that amount to, "it means what we say it means."

Who trusts anyone anymore? Haven't all the "experts" come on CNN to tell us that anyone can be a terrorist, an identity thief, a serial killer, a school shooter? What need is there for due process, armed with such foreknowledge?

Who tolerates a thoughtful, reasoned discussion, complete with reasonable, dignified disagreements, and reasonable, dignified, unaffected agreements on what is agreeable? Is there any such thing? What declaration that is longer than a soundbyte isn't laced with a concotion of words that mean, well, who can know what they mean? If we can't be sure of the meaning of something as basic as "is," how can we possibly know the meaning and veracity of entire sentences?

Oh, you're winking at me. You mean, he really did and does know what is means, right? Of course. Everyone knows what "is" means. You mean for me to understand that the "is" line of, er, reasoning, was just a clever trick, a way of saying, "you got me, and everyone knows it, but nothing you say can make me admit I did anything wrong." It's a way of taking a nice, warm, fuzzy narcotic to make the bad things that happen when I screw up go away; it's a way of dismissing those I owe an explanation and restitution to until they give up and go away.

It is as undeniable a fact as the meaning of "is," that a debt forestalled only grows in size, and still must be repaid. Narcotics can be addictive, and have side effects. A sin unconfessed never ceases to haunt, and who knows what a ceaseless haunt can do to a person, in the long run. Or a society of persons, collectively. When a generation forestalls paying its debt to reality, does it ever go "bankrupt?" Does some cosmic, moral "bill collector" come and repossess souls? It's a different kind of "national debt" we're talking about, here.

The Big Lie. You wanted it, now you've got it. This is what your mother meant when she said, "if you play with fire, you're going to get burned."


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