Horrible Choice

December 8, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Society

I was born in 1952 in an affluent northern suburb of Chicago.  Glencoe was perhaps a third Jewish.  I was raised mostly nondenominationally, but my grandparents embraced their ethnicity.  Still, they identified more with being wealthy Americans than with being Jewish.

My mother was manic depressive and was institutionalized on and off from about the time I was ten on.  My father’s mother was mentally ill.  Familiarity with mental illness up close purged my body and mind of identification with the benefits of affluence.  I withdrew from the conventions of success.

I was a walking, talking incongruity-detection device.  Hypocrisy jumped out at me when I saw or heard it.  My childhood calibrated my intuitions to make me hypervigilant to mixed messages.  I knew “crazy” up close.  I perceived the crazy in communications I observed.  In my experience, crazy was almost everywhere.  What wasn’t incongruent, I hardly noticed.  The dark side of the world felt familiar.

I became intimately aware of how my thinking process inhibited my goals.  I felt deeply split regarding much of what I desired.  I acquired a psychodynamic world view made up of trends and tendencies and what inhibits their achievement.

Growing up in craziness, I felt the world was crazy.  I was seeking relief from crazy.  The world acquired a crazy/not crazy frame.

In my childhood, there were paradoxes.  One carried through to my adult life.  Among the many things I did not understand was the Nazi extermination of the Jews.  This became a test that I would slam ideas against if an idea suggested an answer in my life.  If something could not make sense of the Holocaust, then the something was only taken on a relative basis.  Everything in my life became integrated on a relative basis, not having passed the test of explaining the Holocaust.  In other words, from an early age, truth was relative.  It would be a while before I’d experience that truth being relative was an insight that would offer me the opportunity to bridge incongruities, integrate hypocrisies, unjumble mixed messages.  Embracing horror, I would discover an answer.

Embracing horror can transcend crazy.  Crazy/not crazy can feel part of a larger whole.  This is a relativist’s world view.  Observing the politics that has emerged inside our country, I would say the nation is dating crazy, considering marriage.

Right now, the elected Republicans are encouraging their social-conservative/government-hating/reactionary fringe to embrace lies in order to control the mainstream media to stop Democratic legislation that seeks to relieve individuals of want.  Observing politics since I was little, I’ve seen lies pitched as truth over and over again.  I’ve seen lies pitched as truth when both liar and listener were aware they were lies, but it did not matter because liar and listener shared common goals.  Democrats and Republicans have both engaged in this process.  I’ve observed lies embraced by people who were aware that they were lies, while those that did not share the common goals did not call them lies.  Because everyone knew they were lies, they were not named.

I grew up in crazy.  Amongst the folk I knew and was related to, explaining the Holocaust was never even considered.  Its reality transcended explanation.  In a crazy world, the Holocaust feels familiar.

We are living in a national political environment very similar to living in a home with crazy people.  Not only is unreality embraced as normal and familiar, it is encouraged as if crazy were the truth.

This is the kind of crazy that the Holocaust was born from.  When crazy becomes familiar, horror happens.

From the Holocaust, healing emerged.  Germany’s shame compelled a bridging of chasms never straddled in the past.  An almost immediate result of World War II was national health care in several countries.  Horror let go, but remembered, resulted in a rapid evolution in the direction of making certain that it did not happen again, and it was possible to improve the lives of people in many ways.

It’s feeling to me like the United States is flirting with the idea of making something horrible.  We all know that sometimes destruction is necessary to make the new.  It is not the only way to make something new.  Watching and listening to the encouragement of craziness, it’s feeling like horror is the choice we may choose to make.


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