Men of a Contrary Character

Confucius is credited with saying “When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.”  Likely much was lost in translation, given the language difference and passage of 2500 years, but I think I catch the drift.  For those of us who find ourselves constantly at odds with a vast majority of our contrary neighbors, it follows that our lives should be a never-ending series of self-examinations.  Maybe I don’t do so often enough.  In truth, it would be more accurate to say almost never.

It’s far too easy to be smug and self-righteous when you try so hard to be on the right side of history and morality at every hour of the day and night.  Living in the belly of the beast, I find myself a stranger among people whose cerebral matter seems to have leaked out through their ears during the night, whose large intestines have magically taken a detour into their now empty craniums, and whose brains have now been completely replaced by colorectal waste material.

In my all-American town of residence, and in just about any given village, town, or city in the U.S.A., the oh-so-vast majority of shit-for-brains residents can be counted upon to think, say, and do exactly as they’ve been programmed by the corporate media.  My nightmare neighbors are mostly old, white, retired, Chevy/Cadillac-driving, Walmart-shopping, McDonald’s customers.  Most of them have serious crushes on the Bloviating Billionaire, and would volunteer to help him build his wall if asked.  A minority love the Fascist Sow for the way she’s helped protect their sorry asses by brutally murdering made-up tyrants like Hussein and Gaddafi.  By design, none has ever heard of the Green Party or Jill Stein.

All believe in the American election process, in American exceptionalism, in God, guts, guns, and glory.  Not a one has a remote concept of U.S. history, but each one is a treasure trove of NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR statistics.  All keep firearms in their homes as boogeyman insurance, and many openly carry them on their supermarket shopping trips.  All fear and hate Muslims, Mexicans, and me.  I have an undiagnosed and mild case of Tourette’s Syndrome, and am unable to hold my caustic tongue.  When they see me coming, they turn around and walk the other way.  Confucius also said “Have no friends not equal to yourself.”  I guess we all live by those words.  I am no more welcome in their lives than they are in mine.

So today, because of being so overwhelmingly outnumbered and out-gunned by my contemporaries, I’m taking a few moments to reflect.  To turn inwards and examine myself…my motives and ambitions.  Why do I thirst for the truth, no matter how toxic, and why do I deem it necessary to share my thoughts by writing articles for Dissident Voice, when it’s likely that only a few hundred or thousand kindred spirits will be my only audience?  You know the types.  The lunatic fringe.  Conspiracy Theorists:  A name I’ve been called by more than a few people I’ve met, including a relative who’s a rising star in the U.S. Chamber of Horrors (Commerce).  Many thanks to the C.I.A. for coining that demeaning phrase in an attempt to discredit those who disbelieve all the official tall tales regurgitated from the beast’s belly.  Maybe I write only for the selfish thrill of seeing my own name in print, because it’s fairly obvious that one windmill-tilting prose dabbler hasn’t and likely can’t make much of a dent in improving life on earth for anybody.  One could only wish.

Turning inward, examining myself, I find a “Stranger in a Strange Land”.  Much like Valentine Michael Smith in Robert Heinlein’s novel, I live my life in an alien world where white is black, up is down.  Not one of my relatives or closest acquaintances reads my articles, and few even know that I write them.  Uncle John is the crazy old fart who never even gets Thanksgiving invitations any more.  He can be counted upon to rain on everybody’s parade with his babble.  I have so little clout in my family that my 18 year old nephew is entering U.S. Navy Seal training next month.  I should have broken his leg and crippled him when I was still stronger than he is.  To build a house you need a solid foundation, and my family foundation has crumbled. Maybe I’ve been approaching this earth/mankind-saving project all wrong.  Should have listened to Confucius when he said: “To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.”

Like all articles I write, I approached the subject of self-examination, armed only with a vague idea and a title.  Since I’ve let Confucius set the tone from the beginning, I’ll let him take the ball and run.  Near as I can tell, my heart is right.  I’d truly like to believe that a millennium from now, my progeny will live in a beautiful world, free from wars, poverty, and strife.  In my personal life, I’ve marched in solidarity with all the usual social issues of our time; anti-war, anti-Wall Street, anti-Monsanto, pro-immigrants’ rights.  Wantonly committed acts of civil disobedience, and broken laws for which I was charged, convicted, and sentenced.  As a Communist and Internationalist, I can’t pass someone with an outstretched hand without digging in my pockets to share my very limited wealth.

I’m pretty certain that my heart is right and my personal life is cultivated.  Then we come to putting the family in order.  Looks like I’ll have to start communicating with all my estranged/strange relatives, neighbors, and acquaintances if I’m to have even a remote shot at setting the nation and world straight.  And this might be my Achilles Heel.  My Everest to summit, the fly in my ointment.  Backing up now to cultivating my personal life, I’ve neglected to notice or admit that I tend to be a know-it-all arrogant bastard, with little or no tolerance for people who don’t understand the world the way I do.  And that includes nearly everybody I know, everyone I encounter.

So enough damning of the minions of brainwashed Americans.  According to Confucius “It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.”  It’s looking more and more like part of the problem with the world is me.  This should probably be a New Year’s article, because here and now I resolve to attempt a complete personality makeover.  I will not cease and desist in my quest to dispense my version of the truth, but will do so in a gentler, more understanding fashion.  Henceforth I shall become the generous, jovial, gracious old relative and neighbor who everyone loves to spend holidays with.  After all, if I’m going to share my wisdom and knowledge, I must first have a receptive audience.  This won’t be easy for me, but the potential rewards would justify the effort.

Confucius said: “Only the wisest and stupidest men never change”.  Best guess is that I fall somewhere in between.  I’m not getting any younger, and if I’m going to save the nation and the world, I’ll have to start with changing myself, and then go after those closest to me.  One big problem is that to share the truth, one must know the truth, and the truth cannot be fully known by the likes of you and me.  We live in a fog which shrouds the truth, painting it in vague shades of gray, making it impossible to decipher.  What we do know for certain is that we share a common enemy, and that it hides in the thickest clouds of that fog.  We know for certain that our enemy is a merciless, bloodthirsty, power-hungry killer, who wantonly rapes our Mother Earth, wages endless wars for profit, imprisons us in a neo feudal system of wage-slavery, and who must be stopped.

“Everything changed after 9-11.”  A quote shoved up our collective ass by our common enemy, and echoed across the land by the minions of clueless for nearly 15 years now.  We all know how the world has changed since that high crime.  Thank 9-11 for the endless War on Terror, the burgeoning weapons industry, The Airport Gestapo, the militarization of police departments, the privatization of the U.S. Military, and the fruition of the concept of Warfare for Fun and Profit.   The perpetrators are still dislocating shoulders in an attempt to pat themselves on the back for the greatest media spectacle of all time.  I certainly have my best educated guess, but all we can know for certain is that the official explanation is a load of crap, and that the people who hide in the fog have grown much more powerful because of it.

Confucius has had entirely too much say in this piece, so I’ll turn over the exciting conclusion to a wise sage from more modern times.  Hunter S. Thompson subscribed to the “180 Degree Theory”.  That being nearly everything we are told by our government and its lapdog media is the exact opposite of the truth.  See now what the Father of Gonzo Journalism had to say about 9-11-2001; the following day on 9-12:

The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for peace in our time, in the U.S. or any other country.  Make no mistake about it:  We are at War now-with somebody-and we will stay at war with that strange and mysterious enemy for the rest of our lives.

It will be a religious war, a sort of Christian Jihad, fueled by religious hatred, and led by merciless fanatics on both sides.  It will be guerilla war on a global scale, with no frontlines and no identifiable enemy.

This is going to be an expensive war, and victory is not going to be guaranteed for anyone, and certainly not for a baffled little creep like George W. Bush.  All he knows is that his father started a war a long time ago, and that he, the goofy-child president, has been chosen by fate and the global oil industry to finish it off.

Next step. It is high time for me to cross the Rubicon.  A course in American History 101, cleverly disguised as a 4th of July party.  I’ll invite friends and relatives, feed them well, get them liquored up, and hit them gently with a nearly toxic dose of the truth about the  Declaration of Independence, our nation’s Founding Fathers, and the Toxic Empire they spawned.  Hopefully it will set them free before killing them.  And hopefully I’ll do it with enough finesse that they don’t lynch me.  I’ll let you know how this fiasco turns out.  Hasta la victoria siempre!

John R. Hall, having finally realized that no human being in possession of normal perception has a snowball's chance in hell of changing the course of earth's ongoing trophic avalanche, now studies sorcery with the naguals don Juan Matus and don Carlos Castaneda in the second attention. If you're patient, you might just catch him at his new email address, but if his assemblage point happens to be displaced, it could take a while. That address is: Read other articles by John R..