June 22, 2006

Intellectual Masturbation

I would like thank General Cucumber for reminding me of a few things, before I quickly burn myself out in this blog game; before I even get started. This. All of this writing and dialogue, and back and forth in the end is intellectual masturbation, or a vain act of desperation. I always seem to forget this lesson and catch myself trying to convert everyone to my way of thinking, with one carefully thought out argument. Forgetting that conversion may not be possible, or even necessary. Like the general reminded me: Politics is corrupt bullshit, and we’ll find more truth in art and culture than we ever will in trying to dialogue with the egos of (he says cretins, but I will say others.)

Now that there appear to be a few readers stopping by here at the Flame, I will try my best to find nuggets of wisdom, both from my own brain and other places, that may help us all figure out what it is we are trying to achieve through our political discourses, when we do have them. I do not and cannot sit here and call people names and try to argue simple political arguments with people who ar enot ready to have them. If people out there think that the US is a force for good in an ever morally decaying world, who am I to tell them that the opposite is true. This kind of awakening will take years of education. I can only share news as I see it and hope that I can chip away at the ignorance that runs rampant in the world. In the process, I hope that some of my own ideas can be clarified by leanring from others. I would love to have intelligent correspondences with either like-minded people, or with people on the other side of the divide who are open and mature enough to accept the possiblity of alternatives.

Since not one person, who left a comment on my previous post, left a suggestion on how we could help bring people together, I hope to show readers a few examples in the next few weeks through posts on this site.

In closing, I think it is important to not stagnate on politics alone. So, I hope that other aspects of life will also help us “get there” as the general says. Thanks again for reminding us that art, culture and humor can do more to change people’s perceptions than hours of political debate.

Peacemaking never depends on the other person. Peace is made in our own hearts, and nowhere else.

I try to remember this quote by Norman Fisher, whenever I get to carried away with politics.


  1. I respect your goal, but I think that this entry distills why I frequently find myself disagreeing with your posts.

    The first part is on the US specifically and its foreign policy. Several times you've described its sinister-ism, argued that it's a malevolent force and influence, etc. All of these things are arguably true--in some measure, at some times--but I can't grant you that this is an American phenomenon. It's a human problem. How much foreign aid do European states give? How often have developing countries tried to protect human rights? An idealist can certainly imagine the US taking advantage of its unique position in the world and changing those tendencies, but if it's difficult enough (and bloody enough--see Iraq) to deter it from trying, is that sufficient for an indictment? I've spent 3 years working on my PhD (in international relations/int'l conflict), and I have to say I struggle to see how the US is exceptional in this regard.

    The second point is on attempting to change other's minds. As a liberal, I think the main weakness in the progressive movement is the chauvinistic approach that its activists take in order to try and convert the flock. Writing that people aren't ready to "waken" to your ideas paints you as Larry Fishburne to the unwashed masses' Keanu, and I don't think that's ever been effective. Mind you, I don't have any clue how that conversation might go better--if I did, I'd run for office myself--but there you go.

  2. I disagree with the Cucumber. I never masturbate when i blog. It makes the keyboard all sticky *honk honk*.

  3. neill, I have appointed you my new guru. We all live in the shadow of Woodrow Wilson, like it or not. Even if we withdrew from everything completely, our very existence is an affront to a lot of people. How else to do explain Zarqawi--shortly before his demise--denouncing Hezbollah as "tools of the CIA?"

    The goal of bringing people together reflects a noble desire, but bringing people together is not in itself a goal; rather, it is the net effect of offering a goal that a lot of people find worthwhile. The guy who, in terms of sheer numbers, brought the most people ever together in history, knew this very well. Of course, he wound up on a cross at age 33.

  4. He did bring them together podvizhnik, only problem was when they were together they all massacred each other in his name and have continued to do so for the past 2000 years.