Now it can be revealed: My greatest fears, part 1

The copy editor in me never shuts up. I will probably dither as I write this about whether the “m” in “My” should be capitalized in this post title. The realist in me asks, “Who cares?” But it’s like so many of those little things–someone must.

I go to great lengths to keep this blog non-political. My reasons are many. First among them is that I think there are enough things that connect us that it is worth while to avoid the things that tend to spark acrimony. I like exploring the connections rather than the divisions. But perhaps more important is the fact that I have a very low opinion of things political. My friends are all over the map ideologically. I like this. It sparks some spirited debates from time to time.

I think we have reached a very dangerous point in our society–I’m talking about the U.S. here, but I suspect that this applies on a wider world stage as well. Our leaders are now more concerned with the “politics” of the situation than with the exigencies of the moment. (Aside: Have you discovered “The Free Dictionary“? This is one of my favorite sites. The home page has wonderful puzzles and feature articles; the dictionary and thesaurus are always interesting.)

I am fortunate to have lived for more than a quarter of a century with Ben. We agree less and less on things as time goes by, but our shared experiences seem to have engendered a certain respect that lets us have some of those question-asking discussions without rancor or emnity. The most recent was last evening.

We sat and watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I had seen it before; Ben had not. It was “the director’s cut” edition, and it included some scenes that I don’t remember from the earlier version. Afterward, we engaged in a rather spirited discussion. Ben was right in observing that one rather oddball gratuitous scene contributed nothing to the movie and in fact weakened it. But then he said that Spielberg seemed to have “a rather Berkeley frame of reference.” I knew that he wasn’t referring to the Englilsh philosopher but rather to what those of us who lived in the Bay Area as semi-normal people called “the Berkeley effect.” He was talking about a particular attitude toward government and the role of government.

Ben thought the film portrayed government and particularly the military as inept. He was offended by this. I agreed with his perceptions, but I felt compelled to add that I thought the portrayal was accurate. The discussion continued for some time. Perhaps as a result, Ben dreamed of Vietnam again last night for the first time in a long time. So our discussion continued even longer as we talked about his dreams and memories with a full moon shining through our bedroom picture window.

Lord, this has gone far afield from what I intended to write about. . .But maybe there’s a reason.

My irritation with politics is that I think it gets in the way of people living sane lives. Our founding fathers never envisioned a world in which our leaders would be more concerned with self-image and personal aggrandizement than they are with the question of what is best for the country, the society. But that is the peculiar circumstance in which we find ourselves.

My previous post about loving the landscape generated a large amount of interest, including some thoughtful comments from Heath and Phil about things that really bug them. Those things bug me, too.

But I’m convinced that these issues will never be resolved while we are raising generations of children who think that milk, eggs, meat, and produce come from grocery stores, that the figures in a cartoon or video game series are more compelling than the children across the street (or across the world, for that matter), and that instant gratification of a perceived desire is the highest form of pleasure known to humans.

One of the things that I’m enjoying the most in my current lifestyle is the reality of it all. I burned the beejasus out of one of my fingers this morning on the living room stove. I suspect it’s a third-degree burn nearly to the bone. I’d post a picture here, but for me to display my would properly would look like an obscene gesture, which doesn’t seem appropriate to my audience. So you can imagine for yourself.

But I am having to relearn about heat and cold, want and satiety, how important a particular need is: Is it worth a half-day on the road, three gallons of gasoline, etc., etc., etc.?

Now I must abandon this rambling to go fix dinner, food that my great-grandmother would have recognized. I’m going to do my best not to add a cut finger to my burn.

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