Liberal anthropologist from Omega Seti 3

2008 September 18
by Stace

There’s a strange event that happens to me every so often. Most recently, it happened while I was driving on a loop around Cleveland, I271. On a big stretch of this road, local traffic is separated from express traffic in both directions, resulting in a total of 10-12 lanes. This particular day, there was pretty heavy traffic, a not uncommon event, of course.

A slight rise in the highway gave me a fairly lengthy view of the traffic zipping around. And that’s when the shift occurred. This wasn’t just traffic anymore. Instead this was a¬†haphazard conglomeration of all these insignificant beings zooming about self-importantly in these funny little mechanical devices. The absurdity of the scene was highly amusing. All these minuscule conglomerations of matter, including myself, thinking that their concerns are of universal significance, flinging themselves about willy-nilly in flimsy contraptions so they can complete their ultimately pointless goals. Utterly ridiculous and funny. And so very okay.

That we are insignificant specks in an infinite cosmos is something I know intellectually all the time. What makes the moment above special is that due to some weird perception shift, I can suddenly really feel it on an emotional level. I don’t know. Hard to describe.

I wish I could carry that feeling with me all the time. Unfortunately, it always fades away. Even now, only several weeks later, it’s nearly gone.

It has inspired me, though, to rethink the way I approach dealing with politics, culture and world events in general. I’ve decided I’ve spent far too much of my life banging my head against the wall of people’s short-sightedness, lack of reason and uncontrollable greed. It serves no purpose. I just get worked up, frustrated and angry. As an obese middle-aged smoker, I can’t afford that kind of stress.

See, here’s what I think I know about my world, the United States of America. Politics is a filthy business. Culture is a massive, ignorantly bleating herd preyed upon by beasts with bottomless stomachs and no consciences. And life is short.

Here’s what I know about myself. I am a liberal. I’m all about live and let live (within limits of adult consent, of course). I believe people are more important than money and power. I think we owe our ultimate responsibility to ourselves and those we love, not to country, politics or religion, because I believe that by doing this, the true meaning of life can be found.

It’s clear that who I am does not fit into this world. I don’t even have a political party anymore, since I have been disillusioned by the Democrats. I’ll likely still vote for them because they at least mouth some of the right platitudes, but I don’t believe in the sincerity of the party or its candidates anymore.

Therefore, I decided that come hell or high water, I’m going to remove the emotional impact of news, politics and the general state of affairs in the world. I’ve decided that I’m going to be like an amateur anthropologist from another planet in another galaxy studying earthlings as a hobby for curiosity and amusement. It’s kind of bizarre, I will admit. And yet it is working.

For the past week I’ve been following the news on the XM and not once did I feel even vaguely annoyed (until today, but I’ll get to that). I actually felt curious and amused, exactly what I was going for. I can see patterns I couldn’t see before probably because I was too emotionally involved.

Really, this is all going surprising well. Even today, when Hedon told me about McCain’s plan for health care, and I unfortunately felt that old fury begin to swell up inside me, I managed to battle it back down. I told myself, “All you can do is vote for Obama. Do not rail against the callous inhumanity, because it’s no different today than any other day. You are a liberal anthropologist from Omega Seti 3.” It worked. I felt better. I even thought it was a bit funny since I doubt there’s any such place as Omega Seti 3.

It’s a new adventure. Here I go.

9 Responses
  1. 2008 September 18

    Wow! Another fantastic post, Stace. You are right on the nail. I did the same when I moved from the UK, in a conscious effort to leave behind a world that was making me sick, and come to a place that, at least on the surface, seemed to be better.

    I’ll have to take your advice, and go one step further, become an observer from Wolfe 359! Can we have a club and secret handshake? Pretty please? *wink*

  2. 2008 September 19

    When I first read about the absurdity of the zooming and zipping, I was thinking “Yeah, like how I felt the first time I saw a fax machine. I was getting a weather report from Japan (don’t ask – I worked at a ski lodge) and I thought, “Oh my god. Insert paper in Japan and it comes out in the United States? With words on it??” Hard to describe.

    OK…so seriously now. I think this is a great post. I had never been much into politics until Ed sucked me in four years ago and now I curse him because it gives me one more thing to be aggravated about. Aggravation that has no real solution.

    I might have to try your impartial observer tactic. Now if only I can get Ed (yes, “THE” Ed) to do the same thing!

  3. 2008 September 19

    Alex,

    Yes indeed you are welcome to the club. I’m with you on the handshake and was thinking we might also adopt a funny walk perhaps chosen from among the offerings of those kings of the funny walk, Monty Python. :)

    Daily Rant,

    I can see how that fax thing could make the same shift happen. Good luck with THE Ed. :)

  4. 2008 September 19

    Seeing the world as an observer rather than a frustrated participant is a freeing thing. It’s why I write the blog I do, it’s fun. I don’t get emotionally attached to my subjects so it allows a distance…and I hope, humor.

    Good thoughts….and knowing Ohio a bit, you need the escape.

  5. 2008 September 19

    I think that there is a good altitude to have Miss Stace. Around here we’uns don’t get too worked up with the politics.

    When erection time comes round those of’n us who’re not down to the county doin our time jus go votes with who comes buy with the most green and will gives us’un a ride to that pollin house.

  6. 2008 September 19

    Stace,

    I read your little response there and I hope you didn’t take my fax thing as a REAL comparison to your shift in thinking. I was trying to be funny but I think it really came across as my sounding like an idiot who thought faxing was magic.

    “oooh, look. Paper. From Japan. Pretty paper….”

  7. 2008 September 19

    LOL! You didn’t sound like an idiot to me.

    I guess I didn’t see it as funny because when I read it I could completely see how a fax machine could cause the same perception shift I had. By my equating the fax stuff to me on the interstate, I was thinking more in terms of the absurdity of this mass of meaningless information being flung about as if it had a purpose.

    But admittedly I’m a bit weird, I mean I live with a person who just spent the last two hours or so leaving comments to herself on this site. And then ANSWERING them. :)

  8. 2008 September 22
    john permalink

    Until several years ago I wouldhave called myself a conservative Republican. Then I might have moved to a moderate. I would never, and I mean never, so long as the earth still spun upon it’s mighty axis, called myself a liberal.
    But herein lies the dilemma. I happen to agree with you on everything you said(wrote). So what now? I can hear my great grandfather banging on his lid now. “Don’t do it, John! They’ll eat you alive and spit out the bones and tax you for it.”
    Oh, and I’m in love with a woman too. The similarities are getting eerie. Don’t you agree?

  9. 2008 September 23

    John,

    LOL! I do agree.

    I imagine my grandfather would be disowning me had he read what I wrote above regarding my current feelings about the Democratic party. Family lore holds that he used to terrorize everyone in the family on election day, grilling them to make sure they had voted a straight Democratic ticket.

    I think you and I are both just adjusting to the times and realizing neither party offers the ordinary folk much. Maybe it was simpler in the old days to pick a side and stick to it come hell or high water.

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