Friday, June 7, 2019

Who are the brain police?

Dear M,

We talk a lot about public censorship, but even if you live without the public you'll end up with the private.  Simply put, there is no time and place where a man is free to violate the terms of the society he lives in.  Each of us are thoroughly and subtly policed by our family, friends, neighbors, customers, lovers and coworkers; and the invisible pressure they apply can be braved momentarily, but not entirely, and certainly not for eternity.  You buck too many of their norms and you pay for it.  They retract their goodwill from you and as a social animal you're finished.  A free-thinker has thus got to be a charmer, or wealthy, or useful.  If he bites more than he licks he'll be left out like a stray dog. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Scout's Honor

Dear H,

Not today, thank you
I like to sidestep Christ's commandment let your yes be yes and your no be no by being a Man of Maybe.  M.O.M. is the acronym and it fits because it's unmanly.  I freely admit this; but I don't have the ego or the willpower to go around making promises and keeping them, and I won't just break them, so instead I don't make them.

When a man says yes or no to something, or even worse -- gives a promise, what he says in effect is that he guarantees something will happen against the scheming of the whole universe.  A bold move for a tiny man.  So I like to throw in a caveat: weather permitting; if I don't have anything else planned already; barring flood, or sickness, or famine, etc.  A whole slew of things I don't and can't see coming and know I don't see coming; a realization of my finite nature -- a non-Muslim's en-shallah.  James the Apostle's Lord willing*.