Saturday, July 17, 2021

Strange Days

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    (Not A Government Publication)

- What's got you so thoughtful?
- I regularly visit at a few dozen or so of the comparatively independent liberal, socialist, anarchist, radical, publications on the internet, and see with dismay regular and frequent agreement that Israel is to be included in almost every list of the evil being done in today's world. Israel: the infamous settler colonial apartheid state executing a program of ethnic cleansing, genocidal, sadistic, imperialist. And then, during the latest war between Gaza and Israel a few months back, the mainstream supposedly liberal media suddenly began in unison to similarly attack Israel, albeit with the vocabulary toned down. Do you have any idea what's involved here?
- Uniformity and passions. What does that combination tell you?
- Passions are dispositions that are learned unconsciously. Often the teacher is a group.
- But why this passionate hatred of Israel? Why the absurd claims of settler colonialism when that requires there be a mother country - the Greek word for colony is 'home-away', 'home away from home' - yet where is the mother country of the Jews (if it is not Israel itself)? How are Israel's enemies innocent victims when they send hundreds and thousands of missiles aimed at civilians when targeting civilians is in international humanitarian law recognized as a war crime?
- I think the liberal publishers and journalists and assorted politicos resent being made guilt-ridden by being the beneficiary of American acts of settler colonialism, ethnic cleansing, etc, and enjoy, pouncing on the predicament of Israel, turning the tables and being the prosecutor rather than defendant.
- Remember our slogan, think for yourself, act for others, and its opposite, think with others, act for yourself? Perhaps the journalists, ambitious conformists, are thinking the same as others in performing their specialized roles and expect to be rewarded with being allowed the indulgence of passions.
- As indulgers in passion you cannot of course reason with them. Passions are by definition learned unconsciously therefore cannot be consciously defended, and no real attempt is made to defend them. Instead opposition views are being censored, filtered, curtailed by the social media companies and corporate captured publications. The co-founder of Wikipedia says this is happening more and more often on his publication by recourse to rules that allow blocking of new editors. I checked the Wikipedia article on settler colonialism: hundreds of words against Israel, including it in that category as if were obvious, a foregone conclusion, and a couple of sentences in defense of Israel against an avalanche of condemnation. And what was I musing over when you joined me? That after hundreds or even a thousand visits to the big Starbucks in Beverly Hills the 'barista' told me, the only customer in the restaurant at that time of morning, that there was a new ninety minute stay limit. I told the him I was pretty sure that there was no such rule, he threatened to call the police and have me thrown out if I didn't leave. The same thing happened the following morning. Starbucks' corporate office confirmed to me by email later on both days that there was no such rule, their regional manager called me and confirmed there was no such rule.
- Did the barista know you were Jewish?
- I'd told him some months before, commenting on how unusually quiet the streets were that it was a Jewish holiday and though I was Jewish I couldn't say for sure which one. In the past days there'd been a large anti-Israel demonstration down the street from this Starbucks, and then a counter demonstration. It's been a time of many strange things happening in my life.
- Like what?
- My old Italian road bike was stolen from up at the University, locked and in the middle of the day. I placed a notice on Craigslist describing the bike, and a couple days later, while I was at the University's police station making an official report, an email message arrived with the subject 'Bike Spotted'. The message read: 'Your bike is at a homeless encampment at Pico and Purdue. Go get it. Hurry!' I asked, but the police refused to go with me to retrieve the bike. I got on my newly procured replacement bike, and when almost there, by the 405 freeway, stopped to ask directions from a party of six young people. I explained my task and asked if they'd like to go with me to get my bike back from the thief: there might be some danger. They would. The thief was seated on a folding chair, a woman friend of his was cleaning my bike right out on the sidewalk, piles of bikes on either side. As prearranged the biggest man of my escort stated with finality, 'I'm taking my bike.' The woman rolled the bike to me, somehow understanding it was mine. The thief said not a word. Feeling certain he would go up to the University to steal it again I sold the bike, but only a month later my replacement bike was stolen while I was seeing a movie, the thief leaving his bike in its place and taking my three locks with him.
- A worthless bike?
- Actually, no. Worth about the same as the bike he took from me. I'm riding it now.
- You don't seem very disturbed by all this craziness. 
- It's like a fountain of minor troubles is flowing continuously which when its basin is full to the brim can increase in level no further, reaching a fixed but manageable limit. The feeling of being in the midst of continuously contained, changing troubles is a lot like the anxiety of entering upon the creative process when much is happening in the background the meaning of which demands to be determined.
- You don't believe in going with the flow?
- If you don't feel tension when creating you are relying on an already achieved style, a specialized technique. In the context of an intention to perform your role then indulge your passion, focus on style is likely to attract to itself content expressive of unconsciously learning.
- The liberal news purveyors are indulging themselves in the flow of technique, the satisfactions of predictable role play, and in unconsciousness of the origins of their passions fail to engage with complexity, ending up being crude and conventional.