During the years of this blog I have had an ongoing dialogue with a friend who wants to remain anonymous, and who I will call “Tomato Guy.” Many years ago when my oldest daughter left for college, she wrote me a letter addressed to “That Tomato Guy.” I do not raise nor do I like tomatoes. It was out of the blue and made no sense. It is appropriate for my friend, as it gives no hint of identity.
Tomato Guy wonders why I do this. I have asked him* to write here, making sure his identity is safe. He has no desire to write for limited consumption and just for the sake of writing.
TG wants to know the following: Since no one who reads Piece of Mind has a change of heart or mind, why bother?
It’s a good question. My first response was the standard one that I have used since 2006, that I like to write and argue. But that is not enough to sustain an effort that really only reinforces people in their ego-traps. We are all in a fog as we try to figure out the substance of reality.
The book Democracy in America is in a box in storage, and is one that I could not bear to part with. So I’m not going to look this up and will cite from memory. In the introduction another writer says that Alexis was one of those few people we meet who was very smart at a young age. Most of us are glacial in our thought progression. I look back at past behaviors wondering why I was not smart enough to see what is so obvious now.
But that is a pointless exercise. If I could do it, so could we all, an it would be the end of history.
That is my real answer to Tomato Guy. Most people present an unbreachable fortress. If we are even only slightly self-aware we must understand that we present that condition to others as well. For example, I am a product of the Red Scare of the 1950’s. That is where I entered life and came to some awareness of the bigger world. I really thought that communists were infiltrating our institutions, even the Boy Scouts and especially the National Council of Churches and labor unions. I realize now how stupid that was, but was immersed in that idea without the ability to see any other. It was a great relief to realize years later that it was all a manufactured fear, but I would have had a better life had I not been fooled at all. What a waste of time!
It took a lot of reading, doubt, questioning to overcome youthful indoctrination. It is still in progress. Just as being raised a Catholic disciplined me to distrust any people or internal thoughts that undermined Catholicism, so too did I distrust the voices that tried to penetrate my skull about the Red Scare. I had to proceed at my own pace. There is no jumping ahead in this mystery.
So in dealing with other people, especially those who read this blog (the majority of whom do not comment), I don’t have any illusions that I can force them to jump ahead. When they do, I do not presume that they will arrive at my place. Wisdom has so many destinations; life is so complex that we cannot begin to fathom more than a few small parts.
Most people, judging by news and politics, are calcified in their mindsets. Change requires catastrophe, one of those unpredictable events that shock people into awareness (as with western Europe abandoning religion and adopting social democracies in the wake of World War II). 9/11 was such an event. Unfortunately, it was false-flag and designed to reinforce the American stupor rather than enlighten us. It has been so effective that it appears that the balance of the American story will be written in blood of the victims, those who we have attacked as a result of that staged event.
I have asked TG to write here on occasion, and he says that I am only allowed to pass on some of our dialogue with prior approval. So there will, I am happy to report, be another voice emanating from the sanctuary of Piece of Mind. Not today, maybe only rarely, but often enough that this place will at last have some balance. If only occasionally.
*To avoid annoying gender-neutral wording, I use the masculine.