Hello and good morning. It’s Thursday, and thus, perforce, it’s time for my weekly blog post. I expect I’ll be brief today; there’s really not much to say or to add. Of course, regular readers may well point out that such a thing has never stopped me from rambling on in the past, and it may be that this is going to be another such occasion. But I doubt it.
I haven’t been following the news too closely, except to scan headlines, because frankly, it’s even more depressing than usual. I’m not referring to the viral pandemic per se; of course, that’s sad and worrisome, but that’s nature. It’s not our ally in general. It’s not our enemy either, because if it were, we’d long since have been toast. It simply is.
No, the depressing thing is reading about what people are saying and doing, especially those who are saying the most—news people, politicians, pundits, etc. In the brief audio podcast that I recently posted on Iterations of Zero, I spoke in passing of treating this virus as a sort of alien invasion, something that could unite humanity in solidarity against a common enemy. I guess it would need to be a much worse virus to do that.
Instead, this being an election year in the US, the pandemic itself is politicized. I suspect if there really were an alien invasion, in the current political climate, that too would be made into a point of contention between the parties. Not to say that the current administration doesn’t strongly deserve criticism (in being both unreasonably critical of others and being frankly unprofessional in innumerable ways), but the opposition is just as childish, petty, spiteful, and embarrassing. I must assume that they think they aren’t; they believe they’re inherently on the side of “right”. This is rarely a good thing. People do the most deplorable things when they’re certain that they’re right.
I often need to remind myself of my own words, which I’ve said to others in reassurance: “Assholes just tend to make a lot of noise, even though they’re pretty much all full of shit.” There are a vast number of serious, positive, quiet people (I guess we could liken them to the hearts and brains* of our collective body) who work hard and get things done. Google has been tipping a hat to many of them recently in its daily doodles, and that’s nice, for what it’s worth. But it would be good for us all to remind themselves that it is for such people that our elected officials—who are our servants, not our leaders—should be working, not for their own self-aggrandizement, and certainly not for special interests who give them lots of campaign money.
I sometimes think it would be nice if we brought back old Roman punishments for bribery. Not that the Romans were particularly good at keeping their elected officials in check.
Anyway, that huge show of low-quality comedy is what’s depressing to me. Well, that’s one of the things. Another has to do with neurotransmitters and self-reinforcing patterns of electrochemical activity in my brain, the full nature of which is beyond science’s current complete understanding and is certainly not within my own control. But I should try to follow Mr. Rogers’s mother’s advice and look for the helpers.
Though, given my peculiar turn of mind, I sometimes can’t help but feel depressed even when I do that. You probably don’t want to know why.
All that said, I’m at least getting work done on Unanimity, though not as quickly as by rights I ought to be, given the circumstances. And I’m trying, very hard, to readjust my workout and diet to improve my health. I need to lose weight badly**, and I suspect that medications for depression are, ironically, making that more difficult. That fact, though, at least doesn’t depress me. After all, we shouldn’t expect answers to be simple when we’re trying to adjust the most complex thing we know of in the universe.*** It doesn’t depress me that nature is difficult, because I never had any expectation that it would be otherwise. It’s a big, old, complicated universe, and we are so small as to barely exist.
And that, weirdly enough, fills me with enough awe, wonder, and excitement—and joy—that it can overpower even the melancholy induced by human folly. Go figure.
*As well as all the other essential organs? Probably that’s overextending the metaphor.
**Okay, actually, it would better if I lost weight well.
***That’s not just my brain, that’s any human brain. I’m not that egotistical.
So true. Robert. I have always found that the most to fear is from humans, not in nature. I hope the medications aren’t messing with your mind too badly. When my husband left me a few years ago I tried a couple which made me both worse and numb. I could barely write with this fogged brain. After a couple of months, I gave them up and focused more on exercise, diet, and meditation. I still get down: dating has been hard for me. But I am so glad that I can use these experiences in my writing. Best to you.