March 1, 2023: The Premise-Check Light is On: The Simple Life Myth

The capacity to be puzzled is the premise of all creation, be it in art or in science. Erich Fromm

Best not to confuse simple things as a simple life. There are simple things. There was no simple life. How does returning to what was not constitute a valid compass heading? Hoo-nōs

A long-time friend was recently addressing “bypassing monologues”—the act of talking past each other, but thinking it was a good talk. At least that was my take—a disclaimer just in case I was not really listening.

Messy as communication is, I do not think it is like two drunks talking. Even in that scenario, if we can discover we’ve been talking in circles (insert your relevant joke here), there has been growth. It’s that discovery, that growth, that challenge that faces anyone who becomes a person of learning.

There are clearly “limits of exchange” (as my friend noted) as well as the construction materials used in building those “limits.” Protection is not to be lightly dismissed, but as a sole material in that build, it makes for an unstable “structure.” Winning and endorphins are also not to be dismissed, but properly belong, I think/feel (“theel” since “feink” won’t work), in the realm of play-games followed by some form of “lifting a glass” together.

Ennui and its cousin “lonely” are also not to be dismissed. I certainly theel it. But I also have trouble entertaining it without being entertained (though I find myself in the quicksand of it sometimes). I, we, are not alone—not even close to alone. Feeling empty takes on a construct-altering “edifice” when one happens upon No Thing Ness, even for a nanosecond. The effect of that presence may be a human construct, but I’m hard-pressed thinking I or we did it.

Still, it is very easy to go finitely nuts as a lonely being “in a bubble” around “other” such beings. And it is easy to go infinitely nuts as well, as in getting outright lost.

The very idea that we have gone astray and need to get back to less complicated lives, is true in some cases, but simply verbose political (maybe religious as well) levers in other ways. When has life ever been simple for more than a short temporal span? What kind of premise is it to remember a prior time in the present moment and espouse that particular past was the key? Did we not know it then? Has our memory changed from then to now? How valid is it to say at 40 that being 20 was the best, when likely at 20, best was another time?

How is it we can hold onto the “core” of anything (like simpler times) and call those who see a different premise as the infringers? Hasn’t every major change in a compass heading been on the fringe at one time? Mammals were. How many established religions once were fringe? Scientific ideas? Art, music? According all citizens the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (once a fringe notion, still a fringe behavior)? “Get back to our core values” sounds wonderful to the haves—how sounds it to the have-nots?

The points are that we forget our near daily duties when we do not question our premises—which can be accomplished by trying to prove it is we who are wrong (adopt the null hypothesis as opposed to trying to prove the questioner’s hypothesis).

Maybe the problem is the inability to recognize unrecognizable life- and thought-forms—unrecognizable as oftentimes the ones looking for stasis or change forward or back have already decided what the build is or will be. But a correct decision or not, what happens to a fringe notion if no one else sees it? What happens if it is an errant thought that folks accept? In the former, a beautiful musical note played out of time, is not so beautiful. In the latter, best to reset the course. Can we get a majority vote gone wrong overturned by a majority (or 2/3rds) vote gone right? Best to measure twice and cut once. But if there’s a foul-up, mostly it’s better to start over than trying to reengineer an errant piece to get it to fit.

The Bad Poet’s Corner: Brought to you by Book-in-a-Drawer Publications, ©2023 All rights reserved (like someone would plagiarize bad poetry?)

Ennui Runs Rampant

Can’t go out,
Can’t get in,
Can’t sink,
Can’t swim.

Can’t check out,
Can’t check in,
Can’t hole up.

Can fall down,
Listening to dialogue go ‘round and ‘round,
Watching me and us get unsound and bound.

We dutifully grasp with outstretched hands
Listing slowly toward dubious plans.

The Wonderment Corner: Brought to you by Stream-of-Semi-Consciousness Publications, ©2023 All rights reserved (like someone would plagiarize a stream-of-semi-consciousness narrative?)

Don’t stroke on woke. It ain’t like a “child of a better-god” has been achieved, leaving the rest in the wake of “best.”

And what’s with the cancel-culture vulture? I observe it’s nearly ubiquitous, including canceling the cancel culture. And it did not just arrive on the scene—it’s just new language for a very old behavior.

Yes, the dawn of sentience—compare, contrast, categorize, control—was an improvement over a stimulus-followed-by-a-response awareness. But look at how human sentience has been wielded in so many cases—mental-emotional constructions projected inappropriately on those we do not recognize or do not include as sentient (and not just humans; look at how animals are treated). Did the forgotten “C”—context—get lost in the shift as the growing sentiment was “we define the context, not the other way around.” Did the abstract become more powerful as a tool in ignoring or thinking context will not tread on us? Law and justice were attempts to provide context, as was the premise of the Bill of Rights. But should it apply to everyone equally without considering context (e.g., stealing bread when one is starving is not the same as stealing bread to sell at inflated prices)?

Is there another ballast besides giving context its due, to right the ship of divisiveness? Perhaps installing and using the premise-check light. One such method is the practice of adopting the null—the opposite of what one is thinking. Then try to prove yourself wrong. It’s a start for most of us who instead, try and prove we’re right. Innocence before guilt is an attempt to prove the null for those of us who assume guilt and then try to prove that. So think and feel away, compare and contrast, categorize, try and control, but invoke context and look to see if the premise-check light is on. It’s a tough road to be or create divisive if one attempts to discover we’re the ones wrong before declaring what may be right.

The For-Now Wrap-up:

It may be sad, but I’m older and these posts are the best I’ve got at the time. If I find I’ve gone awry, I attempt to improve it in another post. Certainly, I keep checking to make sure, but being one’s own thought-editor is a tricky business. To anyone stumbling across these posts and who has the time to be other than divisive, figure out how I’m wrong, because that check and balance is needed—I need it. In that manner it’s a lot more of a discourse than a dictate, from any of us.

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