Wednesday, November 05, 2008

moving on

It's time for me to move on from thinking and writing about politics for awhile. There are many other things in the world that I love, and I plan to re-discover some of them. During the past three years, this blog was a great help to me in learning to face some of my own inner demons, ones I chose to give names such as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. But they are already fading away, and I intend to renounce them the same way I used to renounce my nightmares, letting their evil just dissipate into the air. I feel strangely sad about the end of this era. But it's the kind of sadness that's the leading edge of something new, like the knife-edge of a strong breeze blowing in from the Bay. I am not saying that I've yet found where, or to whom, I belong. But the need for a change is very real. Old nightmares really can fade away; fears that once seemed enormous and terrifying can take on the creased obscurity of an old photograph. And maybe after those first few moments of terror have passed, you also feel a little foolish. Things weren't quite as diabolically evil, nor events as tightly structured, as they seemed. There really were a lot of accidents, and plenty of bad luck, along the way. No one was in the tank for anyone. Everyone has something to regret. Even I can see that now. So that's my apology, for wasting my own time and energy with a lot of drama. There was a better way, one that would have required more patience with myself and a greater willingness to listen to others. I should not have passed such strong judgments on anyone. I'd like to think that during this past eight years, I knew as much about what was happening in my corner of the world as anyone, and that might actually be true. But it was an impoverished kind of knowledge, as selfish and secret as Gollum's hoarding of his precious ring. It took me farther away from my heart's true desire, splitting open a chasm between us that only kept getting wider and deeper. And the tighter I clung to what felt like my last defense, the worse it got. That's it somehow, I think. One of my supervisors at work keeps telling me, you know, you're actually kind of likable - why not let more people know that? And the way I've lived, only a very few people ever get to. There's something immeasurably small in that, a shrinking that says, look at me, wound into an invisible ball. How many people have ever read this blog? But becoming small also means being able to squeeze into tight places. There's a different kind of perspective that can open up from there, from the places most can't or wouldn't choose to go. Could it be true that even complete obscurity has its virtues, its blankness the empathy of a transcended self? Or as William Desmond might put it, could there be something even more obscure (and thus more transcendent) than nothingness, which is the good? What would voicelessness sound like, if it was put to the test? Maybe something stronger and more convincing than we think. But if voicelessness, if powerlessness could ever rise beyond (or go beneath) despair, it would have to be genuinely open. It would have to join in community with others, equally powerless and thus equal to itself. With the old nightmares fading away, that means the old metaphysics is disappearing too. There won't be a grandiloquent ontology anymore, a bad infinite mocking me with its falsehood. What might replace all that are relationships. The demons labeled Bushadministration and Dickcheney have wreaked the damage of ten Katrinas. But that wreckage has another name too: it's called a second chance.