Never look for rationality where there is none
January 19, 2016 by Thomas Wictor
My lawyer told me that. He said the hardest thing he had to learn was to never look for rationality where there is none. I understand intellectually, but so far I’ve been unable to emotionally disconnect myself from the global irrationality I see. It fills me with horror and rage.
I’m apolitical. Although I always vote, I view it as a duty, not an exalted privilege. This is because politicians and government bureaucrats are among the worst people on earth. I can’t fathom falling in love with a politician.
But if someone says, “I support _______,” fine. That’s legitimate. What angers me is that most people say—
Well, I’ll let them speak in their own words.
This crude demagoguery is now universal. I never read about politics anymore because all of the analysts I used to respect have become like Daniel Jensen. The poet Stephen Crane had the proper response.
I’d rather be a toad than Daniel Jensen and his ilk. But I’m in the minority. The current president has spent both his terms stating that all opposition to his policies is illegitimate. Those of us who don’t agree with him are doing so in bad faith. We’re racists, xenophobes, idiots, religious fanatics, Luddites, selfish, greedy, and we constantly break wind.
I live in California, where people pride themselves on being unpleasant. That’s why our two senators are notorious shrews. As California goes, so goes the nation. The majority of us want to be obnoxious and irrational. Life-and-death decisions are based on emotions, not thought. There’s no discussing it. Simple dissent is too threatening. If you don’t march in lockstep with people, they hate you.
Never expect an explanation
My goal was to remain a music journalist. It was the best job I ever had. I was really good at it.
I conducted the first serious interview with Gene Simmons of Kiss, and it was a smash hit. Right before I quit the music industry, I published a book of unexpurgated interviews.
It’s in its ninth printing. There was obviously a market for it, but almost nobody could see it at the time. Well, my little book has outlived publishing houses, bookstore chains, publicists, and publications.
The reason I quit being a music journalist is that the best editor the magazine had—Karl Coryat—was replaced by an imbecile. He was completely inflexible, insecure, and supercilious. When he took over, he made it clear that he didn’t want me writing for the magazine anymore, but I couldn’t accept that.
Also, I was terrified that without music journalism, I’d have nothing. I’d drifted along aimlessly until 1992, when I sold my first piece to the magazine. Music journalism gave me a purpose. So I tried to write myself into the editor’s good graces, not understanding that it would never happen. To him, the point of being an editor was power. Shutting me down was his goal. Before he became the editor, he was a writer like me. I’d produced the two most talked-about interviews in the magazine’s history; if I were allowed to continue, my work would’ve overshadowed the visionary approach that the editor brought to the magazine.
“I fear that your style doesn’t fit in with my vision,” he wrote to me.
Never let them gaslight you
The 1944 movie Gaslight is about a man deliberately trying to drive his wife insane.
Despite the histrionic trailer, the film holds up perfectly. It’s incredibly difficult to watch Charles Boyer torture Ingrid Bergman until she’s ready to commit suicide.
After Karl Coryat was replaced at Bass Player, the new editor would give me assignments or approve of my suggestions, and then after I’d turned in the pieces, he’d tell me that they wouldn’t be published. I used to argue with him on the phone; at the time, I lived with my brother Tim, who said years later that it was obvious that the editor was gaslighting me. Back when this was going on, my brother and I weren’t particularly close. He didn’t know how to handle what he was seeing, and I would’ve denied it anyway.
Writing this post has brought it all back. I’m as angry today as I was twenty years ago. That’s not healthy, but as I said, this is my great failing. Despite everything I know, I still find it impossible to emotionally accept that so many people are humanoids, not humans. Though they have the appearance of people, they’re so truncated, damaged, and rigid that we can’t communicate.
Yes, I still look for that which doesn’t exist. However, I never let people gaslight me anymore. In fact if they do, here’s how I instantly respond.
I’ve paid my abuse-dues. When people say and do certain things, they show me that I don’t have to care about their welfare. After I tip them out of my biplane, I don’t think about where they’ll land. That’s their problem. All that matters to me is that they’re gone.
Never assume anything with me
I have no idea why, but suddenly my blog traffic has quintupled. This is just one post.
To the newbies here: In the past two years, I learned that massive numbers of people are faking rationality. They’ve actually been holding on by their fingertips for their entire lives. However, they need to blow off steam every now and then. They do so by displacing their angst onto totally inappropriate targets. I tend to be one of those targets, since my writing is pretty raw. It makes people feel emotions other than superficial, social-media peevishness.
The thing is, I’m not an oracle, or a guru, or a voice in the wilderness. Or a punching bag. I’m just a blogger, writing about things he finds interesting. This is a hobby. Have you noticed that I have no ads on my site? I hate ads. They’ve ruined high-traffic Websites.
Even though I’m not religious, I love cathedrals, which is why I designed this site to be like one. I read my own posts every now and then, so I need this place to be quiet. It helps me think, which in turn helps me figure things out.
I was right about Israel and the Arab League having made peace.
Israel can communicate today with “almost every Arab state,” as long as it then does not make it to the front page of the daily newspapers, Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold said Tuesday.
“We have a lack of agreement with different countries in the world,” Gold said. “It is no secret that we have problems in Europe. But there are many countries open to Israel today, and those who say we are isolated do not know what they are talking about.”
The main change, and Gold called it a “dramatic change,” is “the willingness in the Arab world for ties with Israel under the table.” Gold said he travels to various capitals in the Arab world as part of his job, though he did not disclose which.
Israel began selling advanced weaponry to Arab nations in 2009. This would require that the Israelis train their Arab customers. They met, had meals together, exchanged stories about their families, and eventually became allies. It has to be kept secret because open ties would be fuel for jihadist terrorism.
And I was also right when I said that the Arab League has sent thousands of special operators into Syria. The Financial Times doesn’t want me to cut and paste their article, so here’s a screen shot.
It was never an option for the Arab League to openly invade Syria. For one thing, that would allow Iran to rally the entire Shi’ite population, causing tremendous instability. And Saudi Arabia is not trusted, due to Wahhabism. Sunni Muslims are by no means monolithic. Because Wahhabist factions in Saudi Arabia are so powerful, it’s not possible at this time for the kingdom to become the Sunni counter-narrative that the region needs. On the surface, the status quo must continue.
But the Syrian Democratic Forces (QSD) are the beginnings of that counter-narrative. Almost nobody accepts that reality yet, but I do. I base my suppositions on what I see. Arabs are fighting clandestinely in Syria, with great skill and the most modern, up-to-date weaponry.
The Syrian Arab militias have neither the weapons nor the training to be as successful as they are. Only professional warriors can keep effortlessly defeating the enemy this way, and only Sunni Muslim Arabs would have a ghost of a chance of winning over the population and keeping Turkey from going nuts.
What’s happening in Syria isn’t altruism; it’s pragmatism. The Gulf Cooperation Council is moving away from an oil-based economy. They need the Middle East to be stable in order to attract banking, startups, tourism, and venture capitalists. Wealthy Arabs see nearly endless opportunities in the region—but only if the fighting finally stops. The Saudis have supported the armed forces of Egypt and Lebanon to a degree that neither country has ever experienced.
Below are totally squared-away Lebanese troops being trained by US Marines (left).
It isn’t charity or imperialism; it’s the creation of the Sunni Muslim alternative to the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and Wahhabism.
We need to be reasonable and patient. The region has already changed dramatically. Those making the changes should be given credit for how well they’re managing this tectonic shift.
Westerners and Asians caused two wars that killed a combined total of more than 100 million. In comparison, the bloodiest war in the Middle East killed one million.
In other words, that figure is 1 percent of the deaths that took place from 1914 to 1918 and 1939 to 1945.
Let’s be like the Israelis. They’re optimistic about the future, with good reason.
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