Never again (Especially for potential biological parents of a child)
28 October 2020. I was sitting at my ramshackle computer, peacefully minding my own business and probably thinking about Stefan Zweig being about to get shit on by the perpetrators of World War I. Actually I think I was trying to code a computer script to generate so-called "nonsense" words, e.g.: "tenricante" and "nisletidsy". CNN was running its mouth off in the background. Just another (POTUS №45) Donald J. Trump and his fellow travellers midday.
Suddenly (all experience is retrospective, per Alfred Schutz), I had heard something that immediately threw me into a rational rage about this mass murderer, because it said he was coming for me if I was not old and maybe even infirm. (POTUS №45) Trump said that women wanted their husbands to go back to work (not a verbatim quote, again I only heard this after it was to late for the words to be unsaid). Oh, June Cleavers! Sing The Sirens' seductive song to shipwreck your man!
If you, my reader, are thinking anything like: "So what's the big deal?", then this page is especially for you.
We are in a pandemic (October, 2020). There is a war going on here in The United States of America, today. The enemy is invisible and it may even be in our immediate family and in ourselves. The previous day, I was speaking to a woman who is a desk clerk at local medical corporation where my doctors and other medical staff are employed; when I said to her there was a war going on and that she was fighting it every day, she agreed. As the Packard Motor Co. advertising slogan said: "Ask the man (in this case: woman) who owns one".
I sort of heard (POTUS №45) Donald J. Trump's words. What I really heard was actually a reference to an image I already had on file here (see immediately below, left; I believe every word in this, to myself, disgusting and degrading, and more important: threatening, document is readable on many computer screens, if one makes an effort) ...
... And I thought words something like:
You son of a bitch! You want to murder me and you want all women to be complicit in the murder of their husbands, by asking them to betray their husbands and lure the poor, perhaps ignorant and/or stupid guys (even if holding advanced university degrees) to risk their lives to die for the Dow, for you. You son of a bitch!
I was then and still now being entirely polite.
What is to be done?
Here's the problem: For most even if not all social institutions, almost always even if not altogether without exception, individual human persons are human resources: materiel to throw at whatever agenda the
institution has today, e.g., to kill Krauts, or to bomb and blockade Great Britain into making a separate peace with the Reich. Women are
worker/soldier/baby factory factories. Men are the workers and soldiers; all are Where's Waldo?'s: replaceable units whose suffering
and dying -- maybe some joy on this side of the ground? --
does not count except in aggregated production figures. Do you, my reader, want to
do be your part?
If one has enough resources, the problem can sometimes (often?) be solved by throwing money or "connections" at it.
In my own case, my father was not wealthy,
but he was a first line manager in a mid-size corporation. He was also (and I suspect this is relevant, because it may have
translated into "connections":) a "Shriner". I got out of being military conscripted for 3 reasons, but I
think the clincher was that, when I went for my "physical" on a local army base (I, cynically, called it: Fort
Holabird Happybird), I handed the examiners a letter from, I believe,
the same city's criminal court psychiatrist, attesting that I
would likely have a mental breakdown if I was inducted. It was not a misrepresentation. But how many
young men who would likely have a mental breakdown if drafted had such good fortune? So there's one solution
when persons can manage it.
There are other solutions: If a woman is pregnant and the foetus is male and normal except for missing one arm or one leg, you are in luck. You will give birth to a child who will likely have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness because he will not be fit for slaughter due to missing a limb. If the foetus is female, hope she will be normal except for being infecund ("barren"), since then even the anti-contraceptionists (cf.: Griswold v. Connecticut) and those who award mothers of 8 or more children with First Class Mother of the Reich certifications, will be frustrated anent your child; neither will she be inconvenienced or her health risked by contraceptives.
Can't count on that? Don't be a jerk (see: here). There are other options, among them: (1) You can not have children. That will raise your standard of living and make you less vulnerable to economic downturns (e,g,: you may be able to spend more of your always too short time on this earth on the arts and sciences and less on mortgage and single-family house maintenance, even if you have only a modest middle-class income), and you will not have to feel guilty about having brought any new persons onto an earth that may not be worth or good to live on, and on the surface of which more than 7.94 * 10 ** 9 persons are already concurrently metabolizing. Or: (2) Adopt a child who is already born. This can be very expensive and saddening, if the child "has problems" -- which may be invisible, like ADHD and/or OCD and/or Tourette's Syndrome and/or worse. But, in this case, you can probably have a clear conscience that, no matter how bad things get, the kid would probably have had it worse in the orphanage. Aside: if you have a biological child who is so gifted that you do not know how to raise him or her, and if you cannot get help to remediate the problem, try to get him or her adopted by some childless couple who do have the means (both materially and spiritually) to do the job better (Item here: myself). Possessiveness is not a very noble form of love.
A tale of two sentences
Stefan Zweig writes: "In ten minutes time we would be on German territory" ("The world of yesterday", p. 244). World War I was coming and he had been forced to cut his Belgian summer vacation short. Very sad sentence. In the Smithsonian Channel docudrama of the Mossad's mission to capture Adolf Eichmann, there is another sentence. When the Israelis' ElAl special diplomatic plane finally got off the tarmac in Buenos Aires, and was flying the Mossad agents and Mr. Eichmann back to justice (with Mr. Eichmann drugged and scripted as a drunken flight attendant to pass customs inspection, etc.), the pilot announces over the PA: "We have left Argentinean air space." And the plane does, in the end, have enough fuel to safely land in Dakar, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, for refueling.
May we all safely leave our own Argentinean air spaces with the perpetrators of evil safely secured. Or, to cite the other image I like, from Jean Renoir's film "The Grand Illusion", may we all, even as limping escaped prisoners of war (POW's), if needs be, make it over our personal unmarked Swiss borders and have border patrols so decent that, when the soldiers take aim at us, they obey, when their Officer tells them to hold their fire: "They're over the border now. The war is over for them. And so much the better for them." As Elsa Morante wrote: "And History continues..."
Let me end with a quote:
It might look like cynicism to wish the Kuwaitis that Saddam's army might again come over them, but we, the West, are held back by knowing that we would be involved. 88 % of the Kuwaiti infantry consist of Bidun, otherwise known as Bedu, people without Kuwaiti citizenship and thus mercenaries; brave and valiant people who would make good soldiers if rightly lead and fighting for their home. Might the fate of the Sybarites come over the Kuwaitis. They are not worth the death of one only leatherneck.
One might reproach me to preach defeatism, refusal to do military service, even desertion. I do not, but I do not deny that these might be the consequences of the lecture of my book. I take them as granted: for the sake of humanity, especially the female half of it, the mothers.
Anyway no big damage. The opinion, the experience and the knowledge of those who fought the last war close to the grasroots do not have value any more. The German defence minister Volker Rühe has excluded them in his speech at the 40th anniversary of the Bundeswehr, because they had had the wrong enemy and fought the wrong war.
Did he not think about that he is thus branding us killers, not soldiers, in the service of a "criminal government". Does he really believe to be able - using today's legitimacy - to prevent that his soldiers will once be set "off limits" as we have been.
We understand well. Our exclusion serves the scope to be able to give people "a new reason". We experienced soldiers call that "starting seduction again and anew".
But we excluded, those off limits, tell you and your successors: You, too, will have the wrong enemy and will wage the wrong wars. Not because there are men worse than others, but because war is bad. And all those who will take part in your wars will, when surviving, eventually ask the same question for reason which the protagonist of the American Vietnam film "Platoon" has put before himself.
(Hermann Friedrich Honold, ex-combattant)
Sandor Ferenczi wrote, in an essay evocatively titled "The Adaptation of the Family to the Child": I am reminded of an incident with a little nephew of my own, whom I treated as leniently as, in my view, a psycho-analyst should. He took advantage of this and began to tease me, then wanted to beat me, and then to tease and beat me all the time. Psycho-analysis did not teach me to let him beat me ad infinitum, so I took him in my arms, holding him so that he was powerless to move, and said: "Now beat me if you can!" He tried, could not, called me names, said that he hated me; I replied: "All right, go on, you may feel these things and say these things against me, but you must not beat me." In the end he realized my advantage in strength and his equality in fantasy, and we became good friends. (Sandor Ferenczi, "Final contributions to the problems and methods of psychoanalysis", 1955, p. 75)
Parents are always praising their children for being good sheep. Baaa!
Parents are always praising their children for doing socially expected things as if they were the eighth wonder of the world. In my neighborhood now at the end of June there are signs on many neignbors' front lawns congratulating Some-kid for completing Some-grade at Some-school. Does this make both the parents and the kids feel good about themselves? The kid is probably glad to be out of doing homework for the summer, and the parents are probably doing something or other with themselves.
Mother to toddler: "You said: 'Mommy'. That's wonderful!" How about instead, mother gently smiling lovingly and cuddling the child and saying she loves him (her, other), and confirming back: 'Yes, I am your m-o-m-m-y. Your 'mommy'."? That would be affirming and it would be honest, too, yes?
If every indifferent thing the child does that the parents approve of gets a gold star, how will the child ever be able to differentiate substantive accomplishment from just a step in successful instantiation of tribal ontogenesis, or that there is anything different? If the child really did something of exceptional value and/or originality and the parent was to say: "I really mean it this time", that would let the cat out of the bag that all the other times the praise was just bullshit. Flattery is not love although people are childreared to imagine it is.
Kids need to be taught that Sviatoslav Richter playing a Handel keyboard suite on a Steinway concert grand in Carnegie Hall or in a Deutecshe Grammophone recording studio is very different from the child pecking way "Anchors away my boys" on the upright piano in his parents raised ranch house's club basement. The kid needs to understand that the reason to plunk Anchors away is to become able to play Handel like Mr. Richter. No wind blows in favor of the ship which has no port of destination, and doing your homework does not necessarily lead anywhere except to doing more homework, or, if as an adult the child becomes in his turn a teacher himself, assigning other kids to do more homework.
Sir Isaac Nwton says: "I have discovered the three basic laws of matter in motion." Albert Einstein says: "I have discovered the General Theory of Relativity." Enrico Fermi says: "I have split the atom." Suzie Soccermom says: "Well, that's no big deal. Yesterday, my six year old Johnny read the word 'dog'. D-o-g, pointing to each letter with his index finger, all by himself! That's really amazing!" And Tim Tballdad chimes in: "And he unzipped his pants and took out his weewee and peed like a man standing in front of a urinal in the men's room, and put it back in and zipped up his pants, too. My son!"
- This was obviously an hortative disguising itself as an empirical statement. (POTUS №45) Trump did not mean that women want (although he surely would love that!), but rather he meant that he wants women to want [to send their husbands back to work].
- Reference is to Nobel Economics laureate Prof Paul Krugman's New York Times OpEd piece, where he wrote United States President (POTUS №45) Donald J. Trump was enlisting all Americans potentially to die in the service of raising the Dow Jones Stock Market average number.-
- The 3 white-coat doctors who received my note seemed to me at that point to be doing a "3 Stooges" skit. They were apparently affected by what they read.