Talk, Talk

I am bereft of eloquence. I was reading one of the stories I wrote a couple years ago here on this very blog and I thought, “Where’s THAT woman?” I honestly don’t know, though it’s possible the recent several months in an increasingly dystopian world have wrung my imagination dry. Or maybe I no longer believe the words of William Butler Yeats in “The Song of the Happy Shepherd“, “Words alone are certain good.”

Beautiful though that thought is, it isn’t true.

My personal values have not been shaken by the world during this time, but I have had to see where I have cushioned my perceptions in lovely garments such as hope, the belief that people are inherently good, that words have meaning. The past couple of years I’ve seen how words themselves are never any better than the person spouting them.

I now know that people can conspire to use words to create a sinister and (literally) incredible alternative reality and people will believe it is real. The idea that Democrats eat babies (yes, it’s out there and people believe it) comes straight from Johnathon Swift’s satire, “A Modest Proposal, For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick” was first published anonymously inΒ 1729. I read “A Modest Proposal” when I was a junior in high school. It was part of our required reading and through it we learned about dark satire, what and why. I guess that’s not part of the curriculum in our high schools any more. Then there is the idea that there is an world-wide international paedophile ring among Liberals, an idea that is also WAY out there, yet people believe it. I heard one of the perps of this absurdity make completely illogical claims that paying people $15/hour is socialism and would destroy our freedom. The wonderful tech at my vet referred to the stimulus as “Chinese hush money.”

I remember long ago sitting at the kitchen table at my then boyfriend’s apartment thinking, “This is weirder than any story I could write.” The man in question was gay, but that didn’t prevent us from loving each other. He was in turmoil, feeling he had to choose between lives. He would later realize there was no choice, but at that point, he was still figuring that out. We were both contending with an unresolvable conflict. We threw words at it. I walked out. He walked out. I walked back in. He walked back in. For five years. We wrote, we talked, but words (we were both good with them) were not going to change reality. That was a huge lesson to me about the limitation of words.

In the past few years I’ve seen how words CAN, maybe not change reality (because under everything no one is eating babies and the Chinese aren’t paying us “hush money”), completely distort people’s perception of reality, and people are happy to accept even the most bizarre explanations as real. It’s been a relentless stream of insanity and noise.

Anyway, I heard this song this morning and it seems to describe where we are right now. I hope the ice holds.

36 thoughts on “Talk, Talk

  1. I had forgotten about this song–Ian had the most beautiful voice.
    “Only believe half of what you see and nothing that you hear”–Edgar Allan Poe

  2. Teddy’s injury, although hurtful for him, was a nice distraction from the reality of the irrational (sorry Teddy, I love you). Listening to the “Skating away on the thin ice of a new day” describes my Monday. Literally ice had formed over my mini split unit. Therefore I nearly had icicles on myself. It’s been difficult adjusting to this time of heat. I’m impressed with its efficiency (obviously when it works right lol). I believe them to be an energy saver (yay for that), cleaner (even better), and overall, a better choice to heat and cool my house. Maintenance is going to be a necessity no matter in what I choose to live. I danced a little to this song to make myself warmer (irony at its best). And I shiver at the beliefs of Q-Anon and the conspiracy theories that people choose to hang a hat. I guess everyone’s reality is what they make it. But like you, I choose to see the goodness where I can–I really hate marginalization. And even worse, nonsensical foolishness.

    • I think we have a kind of personal “reality” based on our world view and beliefs, but there is an objective reality out there, too. I know I romanticize nature (though I try not to) but I do that because it is utterly dependable and doesn’t care about me. That makes it comforting. It’s not going to “change its mind” or “learn something new.” It just IS. I try very hard to make that my model, but I’m human so it’s a constant struggle. Nature does itself. I think we’re all tired, though. Or I’m tired and project that on everyone else πŸ˜€

      Heat in my house is one very old but excellent gas floor heater in the living room and electric two space heaters, one in my bed room and the other where it’s needed. BUT one of the most powerful sources of heat are my south-facing windows! I really feel the difference on a cloudy day.

      • I do the same thing with nature. It’s nice to just “be” and nothing judge you. I sit in the comfort of my relationship with my Creator. I try VERY hard EVERY day to show empathy and sympathy. And basically, just be nice to people. I agree that we’re tired. That’s a good way to put it. Humanity is messy and complex. I sure am. I have an electric heater that’s doing its job! And yay for heat for you. I’d like to think that the years of living in the RV have prepared me for most hiccups. But waking up so cold brought back memories of running out of propane and I instantly became a wimp. I’ve had a few hours here to go visit the chiropractor and work on my yard, in the cold temps, to acclimate myself, count my blessings, and snap myself out of frustration and lean in with gratitude and faith a bit more. I LOVE the natural heat offered by the sun. I think it’s that big yellow thing in the sky that I’ve not seen enough of lately! Lol

        • Oh Karla. ❀ The sun is still there. I saw it today. It shines here most of the time (except at night, ha ha). My life in the mountains of California was all about a space heater in my bedroom and a wood stove in the living room. It got down to 15 in winter and I learned to get a fire going in MINUTES. I'm grateful every night for my furnace. Nothing like deprivation to stimulate gratitude.

      • That’s probably why I love “nature” so much. Nature is truly objective because it just is. It doesn’t “care” about anything, whether I live or die, or what party I vote for, or how I get my sexual jollies, or whether my Mommie loved me enough. It is just there, implacable and indifferent.

        How I fare when I’m in nature depends entirely on my ability to see and judge objective reality. If I am hurt, it is my fault and mine alone. If I am refreshed and renewed by it, that”s on me as well.

        When I venture into the social world, I often don’t have a clue about what is going on. The environmental variables include what is going on inside other people’s heads, something I am utterly incompetent at judging. I stumble around like a bull in a china shop.

        The national political situation reminds me of nothing so much as a large dysfunctional family where the members are obsessed by grievances from their childhoods, fighting over the spoils of an inheritance, or simply too neurotic to play nice.

        • I love what you’ve written here about nature. I love nature because I know if I don’t (right now) wear a warm coat, I’m going to be miserable and, if I’m out long enough, I will die. You can make choices out there based on clear risks. With people? No one really knows what’s going on in another person’s head. It’s a good day when I know what’s going on in my own. πŸ™‚

  3. The cognitive dissonance is mind blowing. Yet I see hope when I look at a sunrise. Each day is a new opportunity. As for words – they are tools. They can be used for good or evil. They can harm, kill even and also soothe and heal. It all comes down to intentions.
    “Oh, I’m just a soul whose intentions are good. Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood”

  4. You’ve reminded me how important Jethro Tull was to my musical education as a teen!

    Words. So important and enlightening, yet also incredibly able to cause harm. It all depends on the speaker/writer and the listener/reader, their filters and their goals.

    All I – or any of us – can do is continue speaking and writing facts and truth and hope they make a dent in all the noise.

    You’re especially good at that, so please keep writing, Martha.

  5. Your post has given me a lot of angles to think about. Do people really believe what they repeat, or do they just repeat wild tales for their gasp-value? Or, if people really are willing to swallow this stuff, maybe TV has created a society hooked on sensationalism? (Which goes back to the gasp-value.)
    Is it because the actual ability of the general public to read and write has gone down and people don’t seek for, receive, and analyze real facts anymore?
    However, we live in this world; we can’t fix what’s broken but, as you say, we must find some peace. Some of us try to put in a few thoughts about reality and common sense, seeking for truth and holding it dear, hoping a few will be influenced. A salt crystal can’t de-ice a whole highway, but it can melt a little circle around itself, wherever it touches ice. What more does God ask of us?
    I have the confidence that the spirit of God is always there, “reasoning with humanity about truth and judgement…”
    For what it’s worth, that’s how I’ve arrived at peace of mind.

    • I think some people really believe it. I think (in the US anyway) the standard of education has gone down steadily since, at least, 2000. We are a society hooked on sensationalism and I think the Internet (and even video games) have contributed to that need of a thrill and impatience with the slow motion of real progress in reality. I love your analogy about the salt crystal. And I agree that’s all God does ask of us. I believe God knows our scale even better than we do. ❀ I love this poem when I get discouraged…

      • That is a neat little poem!
        I was out for a walk along a county road one day and saw all these tiny black holes in the new-fallen snow. Looking closer I could see little crystals of ice melting their hearts out.
        That”s when this analogy came to me, as I realized that enough salt crystals doing their paart can actually reduce the slipperiness of the road, though they perish “on the job.” As we all will, eventually.

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