You gotta be half severe as Stalin and half merciful as Mother Theresa. Yes, there are leftists who cling to and identify with victimization and in so doing try to escape from their own fears and inadequacies. There are fascists who cling to and identify with extreme judgmentalism as a salve for whatever trauma they suffered and can’t move past. We need to stop with this left right nonsense. Life is a balance between opposites. On one side is complete, loving union; on the other is stark separation. Every human organism must dialecticaly move between opposites to survive. Be male and female. Be left and right. Be ego and total spiritual dissolution. Strength lies in balance.
So who cares about this Jordan Peterson motherfucker? He’s not saying crazy things. He might be a little too severe for some or even me, but everyone has their overt and covert severity. Spamming memes instead of arguing is so 3rd grade.
I used to be really into Ayn Rand, like really into her. I went to the Objectivist speeches and read all of her books. But later I came to see her metaphysics as far too materialistic and severe and really just ignorant in many ways. However, I can still appreciate some of what she was saying about asserting yourself and being a radical individual. I mention that I used to be into Ayn Rand to some lefty types, and they sneer with dismissive derision. I had to explore the severe and later the merciful and find a balance.
America is like a brain without a corpus callosum, the structure which links the left and right hemispheres. We are like a person whose right hand is attacking their left and vice versa. Sadly, as many a wise person has uttered throughout history the answer will come in the middle. However, these days centrists are largely reviled. It’s much easier however to be totally reductive to one side of the spectrum because then you can just parrot slogans instead of alchemically balancing opposing sides to find a synthesis.
Will we elevate through the middle pillar to a beautiful balance? It’s going to happen on an individual level if anything. The reformation and revolution has to occur in individual hearts and minds. Then some good and novel synthetic balance might flower.
I have a very complicated perspective on identity politics. As a queer and transgender person, I am constantly surrounded by intense debates that center on buzzwords like privilege, race, and intersectionality. I came out as trans six years ago into the tumbler of Tumblr style politics, and I picked up the flag of radical identity politics like a good liberal and ran with it. I spent thousands of hours writing outrageous polemic after polemic that snarled at the white, male oppressor because I was, unsurprisingly, very damaged by said oppressor. I grew up being bullied by 99% male peers starting before I really had any idea what gay, queer, trans, or any of those concepts meant. I just knew I was the target. This instilled a deep resentment in me that I’m still to this day (I’m 37) trying to dig out from under and probably will be until I pass.
However, resentment is not all roses and candyland. As Mark Twain once quipped “anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” I became a festering pit of toxic resentment, which was really just a hyper-defensive state of extreme paranoia. I became increasingly suicidal until after years of living on the edge of death, I finally woke up and realized that this line of thinking was doing far more damage to me than to the “enemy.”
It’s not as simple and binary as saying that “now I’m better because I realize that identity politics is terrible!” Our system pits us against each other like terrified Pit Bulls in a dog-fighting pit with screaming Plutocrats on the sidelines urging us to bloody our fellow citizens. By the time you wake up to the fact that the other dog across from you is not the real enemy, you have become hyper sensitized to react to those dogs because they do pose an existential threat. In my estimation, this is how we are controlled from the aristocracy, and it doesn’t have to be a conscious top down phenomenon. The rich know that when people are too busy fighting with people who should be their allies, they are too distracted and damaged to band together to effect real, substantive change.
Honestly, I believe that one of the core reasons for this nascent tribalism is that our intellectuals eschewed grand unifying theories a century or two ago and devolved into Balkanized camps where each group’s minutia was equally important to the others. We lack an intellectual cohesion and vision, or this kind of vision is kept from becoming ascendant. I’m not really sure what the cause is, but yeah, I don’t know a lot of things. I’ve found more grand unifying theories in esoteric writers like Aleister Crowley and Robert Anton Wilson among others than from the official ivory towers wherein I started my search. I studied Economics and Philosophy in university, and then I realized that there was little novel creative thinking going on in those institutions. But I suppose I’m a bit of an esotericist by nature, so I needed something more avant-garde anyway.
I have seen the best queer minds of my generation destroyed by the pursuit of that elusive victim status that is going to take all of their problems away. But life is rough. Everybody has pain, even your so-called enemies of privilege. Even though I have been decimated by injustice, I now know that trying to victimize myself is a trap that I don’t want to go back into. But it’s a balance. It’s not as reductive as we’d like. Middle path, middle pillar, golden mean…
Be well fellow pitbulls.
Nothing reduces to single factors like so many want life to. The mind is a wheel of mutually arising possibilities. Yeah that might be more complicated, but what’s more complicated is trying to live according to a fairy tale notion of simplicity that is obsessed with singular root causes. This applies to people and personalities too. Some people are drivers, some people are riders, some people are sages, some people are artists. Very few are all of these things. Everyone will be all things at some point thousands of lives from now, but right now it’s best to find your individual purpose and true will and accept your limitations instead of lusting after the lie that “Everyone should do these 8 things!!” Modern materialistic science wants to reduce everyone to fundamental and universal factors, but then we just end up with a lowest common denominator society.