Having and Not Having

Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness.
All can know good as good only because there is evil. *

This is a meditation on the vagaries of time as instanced on this, the 14th anniversary of Gates of Vienna. It is also a contemplation of the tensions that surround any notion of goodness, beauty or truth. At least these are my beginning intentions, but bear in mind that essays are ornery critters. They are often heedless of their author’s aims, developing their own signification.

We’ll see what transpires, eh?

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What began as an intellectual distraction from the deep grief due to my daughter’s sudden death has changed gradually into a pilgrimage of sorts; we’re marching to the end, wherever that is. Picking up fellow-travelers along the way, we’ll journey on until Fate intervenes. Some may stay for the entire trip while others drop out as their interests shift. Not everyone can abide the effluvial current that underlies our reality. I certainly can’t.

The often sad and tragic stories we’ve collected over the last fourteen years may be a reflection of a downward spiral of Western civilization as we understand it. How could it be otherwise with the twined efforts of Islam and its fellow-travelling radical socialists? That the former will devour the latter while the mindless sing “Kumbaya” is one possible fate to be contemplated. The coda to that song is probably “Imagine” as sung by China’s National Choir.

But wait! What is that we hear whispering in the wings, waiting to appear? Could it be the muffled voices of a new conservative-populist alliance rising in tentative unison throughout the post-globalist post-empire? They comprise a new chorus rightfully beginning to take themselves seriously as they enter stage right.

Much like the Christian Reformation (credited to Luther, but not possible without the simultaneous populist religious uprisings across Europe), should widespread changes occur, there will be counterattacks, but eventually… if history is any example…

There are severe limits built into the present socialist ethos, where no greater sin than “racism” is possible, nor any greater virtue than “tolerance”. No doubt there will be similar transgressions in the post-secular age. Pray they do not become mirror images of the old sins. Otherwise we will move from chaotic socialism to rigid authoritarianism in our restless search for ontological certainty.

Here’s the thing: Our knowledge of reality has outpaced our ability to digest and comprehend that reality. The human mind flees from ambiguity, is often unwilling or unable to stand in the face of doubt, even if that stance leads eventually to understanding and wisdom. Thus did science and religion draw swords against one another. Yet working together they could inform a far greater comprehension than presently exists.

Will we have the courage to say “who knows?” and wait to see what happens? It takes great patience to wait to see what floats up from the abyss.

The psychiatrist Eric Berne came of age in a time when all American men served in the military. During his stint, Berne created a questionnaire for soldiers he encountered, and from that survey of a cross-section of young American men he created two perceptual categories, two temperaments. He called them Farmers and Mechanics.**

Farmers are those who know they cannot control the greater forces of weather events or pestilence that ultimately affect their crops. While they weed and cultivate, they wait to see what happens. Mechanics are fixers. Things can always be improved or invented out of whole cloth. Though Berne never said so, Farmers are dependent on Mechanics for the inventions that have made their livelihood far easier. But then, Mechanics need to eat, so there you go — another necessary interdependence.

To judge by the comment threads, most of our readers are Mechanics, methinks, though there is an admixture of folk who are content to observe what is, without demanding that anything be “fixed”. Sometimes there simply is no fixing for lies, evil or ugliness. Not in this world; but in the next, who knows?

All but the globalist elites live in a post-Mechanical world. The elites can and do fix things, but not for the better, not even for themselves. Yet they can’t be told anything, these mega-Fixers. Their hubris includes the inability to see beyond their own myopic self-interest. Who knows when their Big Trip will come? That B.T. down the long flight of karmic stairs is simply part of what they will fail to notice until gravity sets in.

Our American president is a Mechanic at heart. He likes to fix things, to spot what is broken and make repairs. In this endeavor he is hampered by the broad coalition of our permanent bureaucracy, that afore-mentioned myopic Elite, radical leftists, and ever-present Islam (instantiated as the Muslim Brotherhood in this country). This coalition strives to maintain the status quo they have labored so hard to create. That this contraption is a Catherine Wheel to which the rest of us are lashed is not a matter for their concern.

Fourteen years ago we could not have imagined Donald Trump as our president. Even now a vociferous minority refuses to countenance the reality; they are willing to undermine the foundations of our Republic in order to be rid of him. But Trump has moved past the political divisions of Left and Right. He is a tertium quid who fits no previous American template. He resembles his confreres Viktor Orbán, Matteo Salvini, and Geert Wilders. Notice how all four emerged from the mists to stand firmly in the lists, facing their foes.

There is a growing sense that these leaders resonate among those who chose to walk away rather than participate; no doubt some who left have turned, and are even now #WalkingToward a coherent vision as outlined by these new populists.

*   Chapter 2 of the Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu:

Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness.
All can know good as good only because there is evil.

Therefore having and not having arise together.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short contrast each other:
High and low rest upon each other;
Voice and sound harmonize each other;
Front and back follow one another.

Therefore the sage goes about doing nothing, teaching no-talking.
The ten thousand things rise and fall without cease,
Creating, yet not possessing.
Working, yet not taking credit.
Work is done, then forgotten.
Therefore it lasts forever.

**   From a 1949 paper entitled “The Nature of Intuition”, published posthumously in Intuition and Ego States.

11 thoughts on “Having and Not Having

  1. A truly eloquent statement, Dymphna. Reading your words gives me a glimpse of the wisdom of more insightful people than I.

    • Liatris, I’m not wise. More like a hot-headed Irishwoman who simply slowed down long enough to consider what the last fourteen years portends for the future.

      • Whether you are right that you are not wise, I don’t know, Dymphna. But this essay is blazing with Wisdom.

  2. ” … where no greater sin than “racism” is possible, nor any greater virtue than “tolerance”.”

    Very nicely put – better say, very precisely put. That’s exactly the misery of the societal milieu of nowadays.

    As I always say, it is unbelievable how Marxism (-Leninism?) has transformed from the dumb, dull and outright obtuse years of its death in the late 1980s into a movement embracing racial elements hand in hand with genderism and love affair with Islam.

    Adding its appeal to the young, subversion of educational system to leftist influence and systematic erosion of a tolerant society by “refugees” from alien cultures the resulting damage is almost irreversible.

    Yet we have Trump, Orban, Salvini, Wilders, Le Pen … Not everything is lost.

    • “Not everything is lost…” No, not everything is lost, in fact we are just beginning to find. As my son pointed out to me recently, ‘…there is a solemn feeling world-wide amongst whites which is the beginning of a coming together.’ “Optimism is cowardice…” wrote my favourite philosopher, but nevertheless my optimism grows.

  3. Marxism in any form it takes is ugly. It will fail as it always does because it lacks beauty- Human beauty. We are subject to natural laws. Ignore these and failure is certain. Nature and its laws are beautiful but she is a Mother that will swiftly swipe those foolish enough to ignore Mum.

    Look at Islam too. It is a catalogue of 1400 years of failure. It brings nothing but misery and failure.

    It is an ideology based upon the conception of failure. Like I said above 1400 years of doing the same with the same results. The Left have been doing the same for 200 years. So what does that tell the observer?

    Those that continue to commit error time and again are in essence the very essence of madness. Wahabism is a failure. meant to recreate an “original” “authentic” Islam it is even more of a failure.

    Hope springs eternal. never give up on hope. “Failure” is not an option for us now, The penalty is just too awful to contemplate.

  4. If “tolerance” is a virtue of the left, would they tolerate a freedom-of-choice issue, where, say, white working class people will choose to live more-or-less by themselves, without the presence of immigrant or brown “enrichers” nearby?

    Of course not. During Obama’s administration the Justice Department went out of its way to bring charges of discrimination against any private housing development that didn’t have a planned component for welfare recipients.

    It is the furthest of the fringes to advocate allowing people to discriminate on those characteristics they find personally relevant. The myth that without government intrusion blacks would be unemployed, or would be unable to find housing, is used as rationale for overwhelming expansion of government power over people.

    In my opinion, many of the leftists are perfectly aware their Muslim allies-of-convenience, will kill them at the first opportunity. The knowledge does not cause any change in their actions. There have been a few leftists who changed their political orientation because the reality of what Islam is hit them in the face. These were not true leftists. Someone who is open to facts and logic is out of place in the leftist sea, and likely to jump ship at some time.

    • I can’t speak to the situation in the US, but in Britain the stock of affordable housing, to buy or rent, for those on low incomes- irrespective of ethnicity- has greatly declined in recent years.

      • Mark H…same thing is happening here in Communist run California! Governor Jerry Brown had 8 years to pass statewide legislature to have rent control for affordable housing. Even if he limited it to trailer parks, condos and housing for seniors over 55 it would have prevented greedy capitalists from overcharging. Here in the Sacramento area the cheapest 55 and older trailer park cost $400 month to rent the space not including utilities and manufactured home costs (mortgage, insurance, etc). Show up from a foreign country (regardless of legality) with a baby or child(ren) and the limited, affordable housing doors magically open! No waiting lists are available for indigenous citizens or adults without children. That’s my personal observations and horror stories from seniors & homeless struggling to find affordable housing. President Trump resonates with many citizens because he promised to put America first! He is reducing migrant quotas and hopefully he ends chain migration and sponsorship! Sick and tired of foreigners bringing their babies and aged parents to America who cannot or have not paid into our social security system! Yet reap the many benefits because they come here penniless and desperate. Stop having children you can’t feed or care for Middle Easterners, Chinese, Indians, Africans and South Americans. Enough is enough already!

  5. Dymphna…great Berne analogy about farmers who weed and cultivate; they wait to see what happens. Mechanics are fixers.

    The first political fixer was Geert Wilders of the Netherlands and Marine Le Pen of France. Then Viktor Orban and Matteo Salvini came on the scene afterwards. Let’s hope they can keep using logical arguments and solutions to convince the indigenous citizens to vote for them and preserve their futures from globalism and open borders!

    My grandparents were farmers and loved their land! The old farmhouse was a relic but the 25 acres and nearby gardens, pond, and barns meant they could grow their own food, have livestock and feed & shelter their animals & family. Farmers are doers and right now many “political farmers” are protesting the anti-migrant politicians and their “far right” supporters. Until reality hits them in the face like the pro migrant woman recently raped by a Moroccan and two pro migrant, French women attacked and a gold necklace stolen by teen migrants. As more “political farmers” plow through the cities and towns they will come in contact with Mad Merkel’s crop of weeds & thistles!! Hopefully, it won’t take long for “political farmers” to realize some Roundup and weed control must be done immediately if they (political farmers) truly love and cherish their homelands!!!

    • The first Mechanic created the wheel. Or maybe it was the fellow(s) who discovered how to harness fire. And then there are the ones who figured out how to use caves for dwellings…

      …and then along came Einstein.

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