Tuesday Tuneup 108

Q. Where would you like to be?

A. In a place of greater security.

Q. You??

A. What do you mean, me??

Q. Since when have you cared about security?   Aren’t you a risk-taking adventurer who will not sacrifice your freedom for all the safety in the world?

A. I am not a Trump supporter, no.

Q. But traditionally, have you not always favored freedom over security?

A. Is that even valid question?   Are freedom and security diametrically opposed?   Or mutually exclusive?

Q. Why are you asking me?  Why don’t you answer that for yourself?

A. Okay well let me think.   Freedom vs. Security.   One is reminded of an oft-misquoted Ben Franklin meme.   Something to the effect that those who would sacrifice their freedom for a little temporary security deserve neither.

Q. Would you sacrifice your freedom for a little temporary security?

A. Depends on how temporary.   I’ve been secure for almost five years now, compared to how “free” I used to be.   And that freedom I knew when I was outside was very tenuous.   Free of schedules, free of deadlines, free of the Mainstream.   But not free from accusations, threats, and assaults.   Trading the security of house and home for the chaotic pseudo-freedom of outdoor living isn’t quite a 50-50 trade-off.

Q. Then why aren’t you feeling secure now that you’ve escaped it?

A. My lack of security is on another plane.   I am not safe from my foibles and defects.   I am not safe from the consequences of the words that emerge from my mouth.  I am not safe from — well, to be honest with you, from PTSD.   I never know when the trigger will strike and lead to a flashback.  I thought the last time it happened was the worst it could ever have been.   But what happened six days ago took the cake.

Q. What happened six days ago?

A. I was at a meeting and I blurted out an opinion that certain people whom I might characterize as “Far Left” do not believe is a valid opinion.  An argument with one such person ensued after the meeting.   They seemed quite calm in apparently advising me that my opinion was unacceptable.   The result was, in a word, reactionary.

Q. Reactionary?

A. Yes.   While I ordinarily lean a wee bit Left of Center, I suddenly was hurled into a right-wing reactionary mode.

Q. Did you temporarily become a Trump supporter?

A. No — but I suddenly became about as conservative as I was about forty years ago.

Q. How conservative were you then?

A. Enough to prefer Ronald Reagan over Walter Mondale.

Q. Were you less enlightened then?

A. I’m not very enlightened now, to be honest with you.  I was just younger, more gullible, less discerning, and less informed.

Q. What about when you were on the streets?

A. Libertarian.  Voted for Gary Johnson against Obama.   Slipped right into the mode of most of my White middle-aged companions who had fallen on hard times.   We were very assertive as to our personal rights and freedoms.

Q. And that changed once you got inside?

A. It began changing before I got inside.   It started changing around about the time Bernie Sanders was competing with Hillary in the 2016 primary.   I registered Democrat then, to vote for Bernie and against Hillary.   Moved up to North Idaho (largely Libertarian & Independent) and have not changed back yet.

Q. Are you planning to become a Libertarian again?

A. Not sure.   The Party here leans too far to the Right.

Q. Why would you even consider it?

A. Um — I recently met a Libertarian who is very open about his views.   He also seems a very happy person.  He has reminded me of certain ideals that the Party embraces.

Q. Such as what?

A. Reverence for the Constitution.   That’s valuable.   We need that to hold the country together.

Q. Can the Libertarians hold the country together?

A. Not as long as we’re all perceived to be a bunch of lunatics.

Q. Why would that perception have evolved?

A. It seems that the party clings relentlessly to ideals that don’t always pan out positively in the modern world.

Q. So you may remain a Democrat?

A. Probably.

Q. What about your conservative streak?

A. Between the two main parties, I would say that at this point the Dems are doing a better job at upholding traditional conservative values than the G.O.P.

Q. Would you repeat that, please?

A. Between the two main parties, I would say that at this point the Dems are doing a better job at upholding traditional conservative values than the G.O.P.

Q. How can traditional conservative values help us in the modern world?

A. Well, if everybody stopped sleeping with multiple partners and spreading STD’s and screwing around on their spouses and increasing the rate of abortions and alienating everybody with their incontinence, that would be a good start.

Q. So you think the problem is sexual abandon?

A. It’s a large part of it, yes.

Q. May I ask a question?

A. Please do.

Q. May we index this discussion for a future time?

A. Fine with me.   My ride will be here in a couple minutes.

Q. Meet again next week?

A. Sure.

Q. Anything else?

A. Yes.  May we not talk about politics next time, please?

The Questioner is silent.

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The Summer of Love to Come

In the summer of 1967, a movement generated from the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco evolved into the now famous “Summer of Love.”

I suggest that our current social distancing is the exact opposite of what that Summer of “Love” entailed. And this is not entirely a bad thing.

The form of love that was exalted in that movement was the passionate love known as eros in the language of New Testament Greek. In that same language, three other forms of love are described in different words. But all those words translate to the single English word “love” in modern English — even in the Holy Bible.

This linguistic cluster has created great cultural difficulties. The slogan of the Summer of Love, “Make Love Not War” centered around the notion that the passions involved in destructive acts of war could be more positively channeled through passionate acts of sexual love. So everybody basically took all their clothes off, did a lot of drugs, and thus inaugurated the so-called Sexual Revolution.

The problems that arose from this massive disregard of common sense are obvious. And they linger to this day. What began as “love” morphed into mass jealousy. STD’s were promulgated alongside vicious rumors. Finally, the rate of abortions rose so drastically it propelled a right-wing reaction, pitting those who were “pro-choice” against those who were “pro-life,” in disregard for the realities in which such a toxic dichotomy were rooted.

Now we are faced with an almost opposing challenge. In an atmosphere of social distancing, we will be touching each other much less than before — rather than much more. While this has its own pitfalls, I would suggest that it might also bring unanticipated advantages.

Rather than exult in the false sense of community that spawned a Sixties travesty, let us all turn inward, and reflect in solitude upon our singular purposes, as individuals immersed in a culture that has changed radically overnight.

Maybe this is the time for each of us to get in touch with our own hearts — our own callings — our own life-purposes and destinies. We will serve the community of humanity in a far greater way if we all take some time to reflect, and to find out what each of us — as the unique divinely drafted individuals that we are — is really and truly all about.

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