Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Arrested Development

 Book II of Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations begins with this advice:


“Begin the morning by saying to yourself , I shall meet with the busybody,, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, unsocial. All these things happen to them by reason of their ignorance of good and evil. But I who have seen the nature of the good that is beautiful and of the bad that is ugly, and the nature of those who do wrong, that it is akin to me, not only of the same blood and seed, but that it participates in the same intelligence and the same portion of the divinity, I can neither be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is ugly, nor can I be angry with my kinsman, nor hate him.”


Well, that’s a mouthful! Apparently, they didn’t have editors in ancient Rome and if they did, they were perfectly fine with the run-on sentence. But regardless of the syntax, the ideas hidden there are worth considering. That surely fools abound and they often can’t help themselves because they don’t know better. But somehow, they are not wholly the other, for fools a’plenty reside (or at least have resided) in my breast as well. Perhaps the best piece of advice is not to be brought down by them and at your best, refuse to be angry with them or hate them. Standard fare for folks like Buddha and Jesus as he actually preaches. Difficult for us humans. 


So I know that he-whose-very-name-makes-my mouth-feel-like-garbage-if-I-write-it-or- speak-it, he who in virtually every utterance does nothing but spew garbage, is not worthy of my time or attention. And yet, here he still is, blessing the haters and threatening to bring down the democracy we all take for granted. It was a great blessing to ignore him the last three years, but now he's back in the spotlight and the newshounds are on him like dogs on meat. He’s making a bid to lead this country to the cliff’s edge and I find it extraordinary how many lemmings are still willing to follow him and leap off. (While he himself turns the other way). 


I know that lemmings can’t be appealed to by reason, but still I hope that someone not in the choir might read some thoughts about what’s going on and re-consider. What brought all this up is a recent report that the human brain is hardwired for empathy and forming relationships and that this capacity begins as early as 18 months of age. Scientists who analyzed 127 mother/child pairs tracked children’s response to another person’s simulated pain and found that children’s concern in reaction to another’s distress was most pronounce by the 18-month point. So that led me to conclude that you-know-who was emotionally arrested at 17 months and was never able to develop a single cell of sympathy, concern or anything approaching well-wishing, genuine friendship, appreciation or goodness knows, love. 


If you need evidence, I reluctantly attach his tweet on Easter, a time to renew one’s highest Christian feelings. How is it possible that his supporters are okay with this and blind to the extreme pathology and poisonous toxins constantly spewing from his mouth. On Easter, no less! I suspect that even the least developed 17-month-old still would not talk like this.


So sorry, Marcus Aurelius, I wish I could just let it be, but I find it nearly impossible to imagine this person as sharing the same divinity and intelligence as anybody else I know. Again, without his power to inflict evil on others, I could be more compassionate, but it is unthinkable that he could even come close to sitting in the White House again. I’ll get this rant out of my system and return to focusing on the beauty I see in each child I teach. 


PS Feel free to stop here and not read the below, but if you do, have some soap and mouthwash nearby to cleanse yourself however you can.  

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