Friday, August 11, 2017

Retro-Fatalism

One of the ways of dealing with the animal anxieties of life is to simply pretend that one is a recipient, that one plays no active role in what happens, and that certain things are just destiny.  It liberates one from worrying, at least potentially, because worry is an active effort to plan and sculpt the future.  If the future is "written" (Maktub), as many Muslims believe, then there is no point in worry, because there is no point in planning, because things are beyond ones control.

This is in some respects an attractive option.  When I was posting on the squirrel and the beetle, this is roughly what was in my mind.  What will be, will be.  I actually saw a bird yesterday in a job site, which had flown in, and was frantically trying to find an open window.  But the only open windows were on the ground floor, and it kept flying up.  It is likely dead now, unless it was able to detect moving air current from the outside.

And I watched Dunkirk tonight, and thought the same thing.  If you read about the stages of what I will call combat fatigue, in nearly everyone there is a growing apathy and lassitude over time.  The prospect of death loses much of its terror, and most wind up repeating what is likely a very old theme: "when it's your time, it's your time."

Where am I going with this?  Well, somewhere political.  It's what I do, much too much.

If the creed of true Liberalism is "character is destiny", then the creed of its retarded substitute is "birth is destiny".  If you are born white, you cannot redeem yourself, ever, fully.

And think even of Marxist ideas about historical necessity, about the machine-like and automatic, unavoidable "progressions" (which constitute progress because they tell us they constitute progress, even if misery and enslavement is all anyone else can see) of "History".

What do they do?  They eliminate the need for individual judgement, for individual moral initiative, for worry related to getting things right, rather than very, very wrong.

Such fatalisms serve the role of traditional religions.  They render the individual irrelevant, moot, and ultimately helpless.  This is why people cling so fervently to these horrific ideologies, because losing them would mean losing their primary means of self calming, and unleash absolutely unbearable--for them--anxiety and sadness.

True moral and psychological growth consists, I am persuaded at the moment, both in a decrease in self importance, such that the vagaries of the universe do not come to seem personal, and such that one does not expect to get through life without worry, toil, sadness, grief, loneliness and genuine trouble, but also an increase both in perception and in response-ability, such that one can see better what can be controlled, and what cannot, and make active preparations for the former, and to let go the latter.

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