August 2006

A Liberal Looks At 45

“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom; for we never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough”
-William Blake
As I reach my mid-forties, I find that the wild liberalism of my youth has evolved into quiet conservatism. I have seen what the “road of excess” can lead to. It’s not a pretty picture. Alcoholism, drug abuse, HIV, nervous breakdowns, divorce are just a few of the consequences.
As a father I’ve come to realize what I put my own parents through. If they were still alive, I’d have some serious amends to make. We’re all geinuses at 14, right? Mark Twain said it best: “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
Youth is a time for exploring and testing boundaries. The envelope gets pushed a little farther with each generation. I don’t want to dwell on the gay thing, but 25 years ago it was not as blatantly displayed as it is today. (Closets were crowded) Kids in high school are now proudly announcing that they are gay. What’s next? Human sacrifices?
I know I come across as preachy. This is not my goal. (I hated that crap as a kid) I just think that the foundation for a happy, productive life was set a long time ago by people way smarter than me. Who am I to question years of trial and error?
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I’ve walked through the dens of some very successful people and have observed the books on their shelves. They are not filled with the works of Spinoza, Satre, or Hegel. My conclusion is that intense introspection will fuck you up in the real world.
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Ever notice how the biggest jerks in the world are the one’s always talking about karma? I guess they hope we buy into the concept and not retaliate against them. How do you even rationalize karma with child molestation and murder being so prevalent? Major disgressions in a past life? At this point I want to revert to my south Chicago upbringing and simply say: ” Motherfucker, please!” Of course, I’d never consider saying: “motherfucker” in an essay immediately following a composition in which I quoted the bible. It might confuse people.

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