Liberal anthropologist from Omega Seti 3
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.