Friday, October 2, 2009

But is it good for you?

It is not necessary to have opinions, though maybe we're likely to - what is an opinion but an inference? The logical brain makes them. It's what the brain does. Still, we don't have to take our opinions seriously. And we don't have to say them. That leads me to my point -

We don't have to discuss politics, actually, ever. Outside of school, what are discussions, anyway, but people confirming themselves? Seldom or never is someone trying to form a reasonable conclusion, to learn. And our ideas are just little wisps of smoke, little emissions from this piece of meat in our heads. We really don't have to have so much faith in them that we argue politics heatedly, though I know some people find it a lot of fun.
I was not there when my Uncles Eddie and Richard got into a fist fight over the candidacy of a Catholic (!) who was running for U.S. President. I heard from my mother that Eddie threatened Richard, "Don't walk down any dark alleys."
Why does that memory bring a smile to my face? I guess because it was so ridiculous. The men were brothers. Jesus.
Lately I have been watching the elected representatives of the American people do everything they can think of to stonewall our own elected president. Wait, people - that's not the definition of working together for a common goal. Think. We are all on this sinking ship together, and it is in our interest to cooperate.

But apparently conflict is exciting. Conflict is the very soul of most entertainment, of fictions in books and film. You can explain that psychologically, say, how we enjoy feeling like a Superhero for a few moments, vanquishing what troubles us. But however gratifying that might be, the practice of indulging in vicarious conflict doesn't seem to have been making this population emotionally and mentally balanced. This is a question I wish I would have addressed in my graduate research in literary theory. But no critics wanted to ask the question, Is reading this book good for us? The American dread of censorship was a given in literary classrooms. Everybody didn't want it. (Almost everyone in the classroom didn't have kids.)

Individuals don't want to ask it, either, do we? I don't mean the level we're so preoccupied with, the food we eat, or avoid. I mean, "Is it good for me to go to this movie?" "What does it do to me to drink alcohol?" "What activities lead me to be calm and settled?"

I have gone far afield, and it's bedtime, so I'll stop here. And not say a word about spiritual practice.

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