Monday, May 8, 2017

Stepford Parents

It is possible to be nice without the gut, but not to be a complete human being.  The gut provides the impetus to evil, yes--evil in the main is regressing to being a wild beast while being a human being--but it also provides the energy for good.

All children have unique personalities, but my feeling is that in our world of abstraction, of obsession with work and status, with our manifold creature comforts and distractions, very often the child assumes a place at the table, but not recognition as an individual.

In previous times, as I have said, this was perhaps not a problem, because the child was given a ROLE to play.  There was a script.

But there is no script in our world for most children in most families.  They are expected to be successful, but in most cases that means making money.  It says nothing about developing the soul, or becoming wiser as a human being.

The psychological skill needed for contemporary parenting is immense, and I really feel a great many parents simply lack the patience for it.  They are interested in work, and only occasionally in their children.

To be sure, they may obsess over parenting books, and "building" the perfect child, but this still treats the child as an inert object.  The important thing is knowing your childs essence, what makes them who they are, and both feeling it deeply, and connecting with them in such a way that they know they are felt deeply.

In my own case--and this chain of thought is what occasioned this somewhat incoherent post--I literally feel like my mother would be much, much happier with me if I were replaced by a lifelike facsimile of me which complimented her often, laughed at her jokes, and which was obedient to her will.  This facsimile would be NOTHING like how I really am, but she has never seen me as I am, because she is not able to see past her own reflection in my eyes.  She has often pretended to try--and in her own mind I have no doubt she feels she did try--but something large and important is simply missing: there is no genuine empathy, even for her own child.

The emotional tone of this whole image is very, very cold, very plastic, very unpleasant.

I am no doubt sharing too much again, but I continue to hope these musings may be useful for someone out there.

To some extent, I am wrestling with what Allan Bloom, pace Nietzche, called the "Last Man Problem."

How can we remember value in a world of price?  To point to the value of free markets is not equal to supporting Consumerism.  To point to alienation is not to point to a coercive economic and political system as the solution.

The Negempath--if I might coin a term--is perfectly suited for commercial success in our society.  Most all of us are perfectly conditioned to living--sometimes across a life--at a superficial level.

And how do I deal emotionally with a mother who can look me in the eyes and fail entirely to see me, even now?  Who is for all intents and purposes a complete stranger, and always has been?

And how, more generally, do we find one another?  This is not uniquely my problem.  I see it everywhere.

I am going to go do some Kum Nye.  I have come up with one solution I will share eventually.

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