The Way of Love

My hopes have become private. I have learned to communicate, but can no longer persuade. My opinions, where I have them, would be considered absurd--perhaps even offensive or inane--in so-called polite company. And my manner and carriage keep me outside of impolite society; there I am mistrusted. The company I keep does not belong to the present, nor to the past. It is only the eternal that draws me along. I embarrass myself and aggravate others when I try to keep company with the present, and I recognize the impotence of the past. Neither polemic nor treatise nor confession nor even parable serves my purpose. I have walked right into this trap (ha!--oh, if you could see me as I see me, we would share a laugh!).

It seems to me I am forced to choose between practicing silence and muttering agreeable talk about the weather. My sincere voice has become outlandish and would be deemed tactless or inauthentic; it sounds like: "How long, oh Lord...?"

But I have not known despair. I listen to the talking and read the histories and know that all of it comes from a kind of good intention. I can no longer take sports seriously--and politics seem even more a phantom. I am drawn now to the phases of the moon, the wisdom of Solomon; I take a certain impure pleasure in noticing--noticing my body change, begin its long project of dismantling; noticing the way others eat, or walk, or fail to ask questions.

I am sitting beside a deep well--it seems bottomless. I have a handle on the bucket, its tether. I have been seated here for an age. Until recently, I spent whole days lowering the bucket deep, deep into the well, dragging it up, spilling it as widely as I could, haplessly throwing water from the bucket at anyone who came near. I hope now to be through with that effort. I resolve to wait here beside my deep well, happy to give water to those who thirst, if any should come by.

Oh, it's a short hard sweet day we are living! Are you all well, friends?


Wishydig said...

do you remember "spy hunter" the arcade game? remember when you'd just *bump* a motorcycle and it would wobble then crash?

this post looks a little wobbly.

balance man. put your feet down if you have to.

Casey said...

Really?! It's definitely my favorite in months. It's so full of undisguised blundering humanity... so unstilted, so inarticulate (even relying on semi-archaic language), you know?

[Oh, sure: I could see it ironically now: make fun of myself, apologize, back off... how easy that would be!]

But: I don't genuinely believe anything I say that sounds "on balance."

I don't know how to account for this. It's not that I don't know. I know perfectly well the opinions I'm supposed to have. I could be such an inoffensive person: I could be a left-leaning centrist, favoring pro-choice laws, but able to speak calmly about a need to diminish the circumstances that lead to abortion; a pragmatist who understands war, but opposes these particular wars; an advocate of civil rights, though not much of an activist; a supporter of freedom balanced with safety-nets; a free-thinker who would not be drawn to evangelism, but who also didn't worry too much about it; a feminist; a man of a firm handshake; not a vegetarian, but conscious of my food choices; a thoroughgoing moderate, so agreeable and smiling.

Fuck that. I'm going home to watch Glenn Beck's special at 5 pm: "The Revolutionary Holocaust." It's about the great evil of the 20th century, collectivism, and stars Mao, Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler. The world doesn't need any more moderates, does it?

[Then a voice says: wait till you have tenure to out yourself.]

[Then another: But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it...]

Casey said...

(Don't you love that "Oh," that begins the last paragraph in this post... hahaha... "Oh, friends!")

Wishydig said...

i don't worry at all about your views. i'm all for immoderate beliefs.

i mean balance more regarding your sense of place. the thread sounds like it's flirting with a sense of marginalization.

you know one of the most ridiculous tenets of faith that i hear from my dear evangelical friends: "the bible tells us we'll be persecuted. so if we offend you, we know we're doing something right."

you're bold with your ideas. bravo. don't convince yourself you're bold at the exclusion of your many communities.

you're safe here. the dance floor is big enough for your crazy moves.

Casey said...

Oh, I see what you were saying now. But I'm not speaking generally about marginalization... I actually think I'm in plenty of company if we're thinking in terms of a cross-section of the country. It's just that within liberal arts buildings (say, at our weekly Thursday lunch), I have less and less to say. And as you know, I like these people. But most of them don't really know me, and I wish that didn't have to be the case. I really honestly do listen to Rush Limbaugh about as much as I listen to NPR (well, almost), aiming (perhaps I'm alone in this practice) at balance, even if it means balancing what everyone who listens to one or the other of those programs considers to be sanity and insanity. But my colleagues would not invite me over as much if they knew I listened to Rush. I read Huffington, NYTimes, and Drudge, and most of my colleagues consider Drudge to be pure sludge.

An unsophisticated response here might simply advise me to speak my mind -- but frankly I don't trust my colleagues quite that much (yet). So the reality is that I'm in a mildly unpleasant limbo, and I do spend most days either silent or nodding agreeably.

I'm not complaining about the system here -- I steered myself straight into this situation, and consciously! I didn't mean to communicate "blame" in my post; it's just a statement of experience & feeling.

But I guess it's in very bad taste to vent about it on a blog, huh? What a cliche. No, if anything, I feel like I'm part of a majority that has been "unconscious" of its majority status for too long, and I'd like to see those who share my views sort of wake up and stop being the silent majority... or the dumb-ass loud-mouth majority, for that matter.

For the record, Beck's program was unnecessarily embellished with scary flickering red shots and grim background music, but it dealt with some info. I wish academics would pay more attention to: Stalin, Che, etc. If you're still listening, I'll do a post on this stuff soon...

Ok this is ridiculous. I'm talking too much again. Unbelievable, aren't I? This would be barely tolerable stuff even in an email from a novitiate to a spiritual advisor. For a blog it's just embarrassing.

Monica said...

I'm loving this. Can't put my finger on why. It's a different side of you. The primitive intellectual.

Casey said...

Thanks, Mon! It's a little manic, but it feels right...