In my post-Christmas, another year now gone, well-didn’t-we-all-just-survive-yet-another-end-of-the-world-scenario ruminations, it strikes me that we humans live our lives on a plateau of status quo spiked every so often with the crazy. It’s not always bad crazy. Sometimes it’s good crazy. A proverbial goosing that jolts our otherwise inertia-inclined asses forward a step or two.
I’m talking about that crazy early stone ager who wasn’t struck down by fear at the sight of fire while the rest of the tribe took to their heels, convinced the gods were angry. Homo Habilisillius, unmoved, eventually drawing nearer, shedding skins in the face of the increasing warmth. Hey! Everybody! Who’s tired of eating raw flora?! This charred zucchini is delicious!
Or how about the crazy that was Jesus Christ? In the midst of brutal occupation by the Romans and the prevailing eye-for-an-eye ethos, the guy stood tall on the mount and said (and I’m paraphrasing here): What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding? The kind of crazy many of his subsequent followers barely pay lip service to.
The problem with crazy, as I see it, is that it has, at best, a Hall of Fame batting average. For every ten acts of crazy, only three or so are of the positive variety. More often than not, crazy is just flat out crazy. Batshit crazy. Not crazy like a fox, so crazy it just might work, no. Unhinged, crazy. Demented. Very likely psychotic but undoubtedly sociopathic. Bad news. Bad crazy.
It’s difficult not to conclude that, at this juncture of history, we’ve been subjecting ourselves to the latter kind of crazy for a little while now. Operating under the tyranny of the irrational, following crazy people who tout crazy ideas and, when faced with mounting evidence that it’s all working out to our detriment, we shrug and just embrace the crazy tighter.
It’s a crazy that believes in angels but looks askance on science. Those who point to the increasingly hard evidence of anthropomorphic climate change tout an agenda but those in the pay of oil companies who claim the jury’s still out are the upholders of reasoned debate. As storm surges rise and polar ice caps melt, we look out our back windows and see snow in December as proof that all is right, climate change proponents are alarmists and that it’s just weather. Crazy, unpredictable weather.
There’s the right to bear arms crazy that’s all the rage in the United States but also has a surprising number of adherents up here above the 49th-parallel. In their universe, guns don’t kill people, people kill people although people with guns have a tendency to kill more people than people without guns. Their response to the slaughter of innocence in a Connecticut grade school last month? Post armed guards in the hallways, pack teachers with heat. More guns equal less gun violence. That’s just basic crazy arithmetic.
And then we have the crazy trickle down, neo-liberal economic theory we’ve been indoctrinated in for over 30 years now. The belief system that taxes and government are inherently bad, only the private sector creates jobs and unsustainable growth unequally distributed is the prime indicator of a healthy, happy society. Any deviation from that mantra, no matter how slight, is nothing less than Bolshevik, Maoist thinking, pure and simple.
So ingrained is this kind of crazy that we elect our leaders on a platform of doing less for us and leaving it up to the beneficent vagaries of the free market to float all our boats, and whether we sink or swim is entirely our own individual doing. Of course, when our politicians ultimately fail us which should come as no surprise because that is exactly what they promised to do, it only confirms what we already believed in the first place. That politicians are bad. The system sucks. And the only way to fix it is by voting for someone who vows to do even less.
This is emblematic of perhaps the most pernicious kind of crazy. That of inevitability. It doesn’t matter what we do, how we behave, who we elect, what’s going to happen is going to happen, regardless. Why fight it?
Distrust and disregard anyone bearing the argument of inevitability. They are bereft of insight or positive contribution, only seeking to uphold the status quo regardless of how unstable or damaging it may be. The only thing that is truly, unassailably inevitable is our own deaths and pity the person who dies believing that isn’t the case.
I wrote a little something last week, in memory of Joe Strummer. A posthumous documentary made about him by Julien Temple is titled The Future Is Unwritten. It is that ethos we need to take up, a wholesale rejection of the notion of inevitability. Reject its passive acceptance and accept the responsibility that we can change things, that we have to change things. Get active and realize that, not for nothing, those holding tightest to the current way of doing things deride and castigate anyone daring to challenge their views as ‘activists’. Activism is an admission that only one thing is inevitable. Everything else is subject to change.
Let’s replace the bad crazy we’ve lived with recently with a little of the good crazy.
— insanely submitted by Cityslikr
Good crazy is playing softball in the middle of winter… or is that batshit crazy… I’m not sure.