Garrett (garote) wrote,
Garrett
garote

commandments

24 hours of internet access in an RV park in Haines, Alaska, starting 1.5 hours ago.

This posted partially in response to this, and it's replies.

A little while ago I asked myself, "Why don't I just write a book, containing a series of commandments? Things for people to do, and an explanation of how and why they should be done? And along with that, an explanation of why some of the people in the world are unable to do them?"

Because that's what civilization seems to be about. It's an endless struggle of people, against each other, towards a perfect community that never quite forms. It never forms because just as quickly as adults calm down, set their borders, and shake hands with their supposed enemies, they keel over and become fertilizer. Half their advice goes unheard, and half their words go unread, and their buildings and borders begin falling apart, and the next generation tries to avenge their mistakes instead of respecting them.

And on top of this, some people actively sabotage the efforts of others, having formed in young life with a bias or an addiction or an uncontrolled temper. Or they have the wrong conclusions thrust upon them, and invest so much labor shoring up bad wisdom that a harmonious community becomes secondary to their own personal righteousness.

So I could write my book, and my list of commandments, but it would sound like every other high-school graduation speech, and be just as roundly ignored by the young, eager out of the gate to begin bedding each other in earnest -- and haughtily dismissed by adults, who have set their fences and have it all figured out, and think that they know better.

Because if there's one thing I've learned about adults and being old, it's that they have generally either outlived all their fears, or been consumed by them. Those that have outlived fear have discovered that all the forces of society that kept them in check - the police, clergy, government, laws, employers - are enforced by mere people, like themselves. People that can be reasonable, or vile. Bargained with, or shouted down. People that will do the right thing if you keep an eye on them.

The rest of adults, who are unable to confront their fears or problems, live to pass that fear on to their children, in the belief that the only way to save their young lives is to prune them nastily in the spring.

So a list of commandments is best left unwritten. It couldn't be universal in any case, because the issues of civilization are themselves changing, with technology and population growth. And while reading a book can be a powerful experience, how can any book compare in a young life to, say, the hormonal wheedling of one's first real girlfriend? Or the rhetoric of one's swaggering, chaw-spitting pop-warner football coach?

Maybe commandments should be reformed into axioms. Encapsulated ideas like tools in a toolbox, that the young can use to test any new knowledge. Since the young will make their own decisions with their own experience, I'd like to leap in at the beginning of that journey and plant at least a signpost or two.

But what would I say? Off the top of my head:

1. Any percieved behavioral difference of the sexes is far less pronuounced than the differences between individual people. Men and women can both be masculine and femenine.

2. Anything that requires your belief in order to observe it, is false. Ghosts are false. The spirit world is false. That heebie-jeebies feeling you get in dark places is not due to the spirit world. That is your fear of tigers! Master it, or become a slave to it.

3. When the young go through puberty, they feel irrational, angry, aggressive, depressed, and lonely. These feelings will come unbidden from nowhere, for no reason, even in the a household with no strife, and you cannot make them leave ... until they grow up. Young and old alike need to accept this and work with it, to avoid permanent damage.

4. There is nothing wrong with being gay, bi, or straight. If you resent someone for being so, you are the problem. Not them.

5. Some people find babies fascinating. Their own or someone else's. This is, in part, hormonally driven. Their fascination should be no less surprising or offensive to you than the degree to which some people are fascinated with the exposure of boobies. Their own or someone else's.

6. Let your imagination go wherever it wants. Do not fear your own ideas - that's a miserable way to live. Just an ounce of repression inside your mind can cripple you outside it.

7. There are more people in the world than you could ever hope to meet. Don't get obsessed with a handful of them and ignore the rest.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Compliments to Kashy for inspiring me to write. I had no idea it would go here.

The Alaska picture site continues to be updated. In two days we go to Juneau. TTFN.

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