This is another try from out of retirement that I hope is a temporary one.
No matter what the nominal topic was at Knox, if it went on very long, it always seemed to end up illuminating some aspect of what life is about and how it works. I know, for my own part, I learned one heck of a lot there (some of which I unfortunately tend to forget and have to re-learn, but we do what we can I guess) and I wouldn't be surprised if others didn't get something out of it as well, from being parties to it or from the sidelines. Even from the (temporarily "uncomfortable") times when Gate and I got, maybe you could say, a little peevish with each other over something, or when the Woofter read some troll the riot act. It all ended up being for the greater good of the collective grokitude. What doesn''t kill us makes us stronger, and nothing currently on the horizon can kill us.
But we can kill ourselves, without intending to, by floating away on abstractions into neverneverland.
Veet is pretty much balanced and objective at all times. Which is neat. The rub comes in when there's an attempt to make this mandatory from everybody. Because nobody alive can be balanced and objective all
the time. (OK, there was one guy, once. But nobody can fill his shoes, and watching people pretend to is a sick amusement at best). But some people just have no intention of operating that way at all. And the proper strategy for dealing with this is not ignoring them in the hope that they'll nicen up after a while.
As long as somebody more or less values the essential, coming back around again after some momentary lapse into assitude, this is a win -- for him, and for everybody. And, a lot of times, he hasn't been so much wrong as, maybe, gotten a little carried-away, or missed somebody's intended point. And, fact is, since everybody's probably done the same thing himself, and groks that brother whoever's just being brother whoever, it bothers nobody. Which preserves spontaneity. Maintaining this kind of climate of acceptance and self-regulation (you can damn near call it "love") can (and should) be expected of everybody who's going to hang out here. Because it coaxes stuff out of people you'd never see otherwise -- and they wouldn't either. (I'm not the only guy here who's ever said to himself "I can't believe I just posted that
" a minute after hitting the "post message" button. It may not have been balanced or rational maybe. But it was real). We're ALL Bozos on this
bus. Motivation to explore and learn transcends moderation and balance.
But this is all stuff we know and consider. What we know just as well (maybe better) but (some of us) ignore when crunch time comes is that there are times when even the best of us needs to get something out of his system in response to a problem that's been generating this. And this has huge value for everybody -- especially in clarifying an issue that others have been tip-toeing around. But this calling of spades "spades" gets people with low-capacity pressure valves upset because it isn't "nice." It's as bizarre and crippling (to me) a response as the guilt reactions people have instilled in them about sexuality. These have to be acknowledged and addressed as facts, but not accepted (assuming the experience of being alive is the reference-point) as legitimate or necessary. A dog can be trained to fear a newspaper. But there's nothing about newspapers that dogs whose heads haven't been screwed-with need to be afraid of.
Black needs white to be apparent against. Music needs silence to be heard in. Excitement wouldn't exist if it weren't for boredom giving it its value. These may be opposites in conventional thinking, but they're compliments in practice.
Sorry. Got sidetracked there.
Life. The life we come here to share. No abstractions need apply.
You're at a little beach with your family. Somebody (usually a young, wanna-be "tough guy") on a power trip shows up with a boom box. And he's got it up loud
. Just (in jailspeak) "for shits and grins."
Any time conflict like this
arises, it's not an understanding problem. It's a power issue. In case you haven't grokked it by now (and you do pretty quickly working in a state prison with 2,300 guests of the state), power flows -- naturally and inevitably -- to whoever's got the cojones
to exercise it. You can rationalize this away in your own
mind, if you're so inclined. But rest assured that the result is that you're going to get your lunch eaten. Big time. Bullies and punks prey on those Miss Grundy has gotten to way down deep. Until they learn, at least. Power doesn't care
. A chainsaw doesn't care whether it cuts a leg or a log. It just cuts. Same with the exercise of power.
The real (if not the "ideal") response is that somebody stands up (a response otherwise known as "leadership") (A point in passing : Any time there's a question about leadership, glance back over your shoulder. If people are following you, you're a leader. If they aren't, you're not). This is, ideally, a signal to the other guys in the area who (a) have also had enough, and (b) also have functional sets and backbones. These also stand up and join you. Not everybody has to. Different folks have different natures and gifts.
The ensuing conversation goes like this :
"You're bothering people with that. Turn it down."
"Yeah ? Who's gonna make me
"Call it a multiple choice test. Option "A" is you turn it down yourself. Option "B" is I/we turn it down for you. You're going to like it a whole
lot better if you do it on your own, but it's going down either way. Ten seconds for your move. After that, our move."
After the first time, it gets easier and easier. Because power is a form of energy, and there are only two places you can put it. It's either disowned, hanging over your head like the sword of Damocles, or it's accepted --under your belt, where it's a turbocharger.
Be reasonable -- by all means -- with the reasoning. The remainder require Option"B."
Sometimes "being reasonable" is the most un
reasonable thing you can do. (Idries Shah
Back to my cave now.
Cheers & Regards