Thursday, March 19, 2020


"What you resist, persists."  -Carl Jung

“Clearly, all fear has an element of resistance and a leaning away from the moment. Its dynamic is not unlike that of strong desire except that fear leans backward into the last safe moment while desire leans forward toward the next possibility of satisfaction. Each lacks presence." - Stephen Levine

One of the secrets of life, to me, involves knowing when to resist and when to relax.

It's a balance I wrestle with. What others call being a pushover, I call picking my battles, and let's face it (cue dreamy Michael Jackson voice) I'm a lover, not a fighter.

Going to touch on COVID-19 here because there's a perfect example of why battles should be picked.
donald trump (my computer has finally learned to stop treating that as a proper noun) very deliberately refers to it as the "Chinese virus", even going so far as to scratch out "COVID-19" and write in his preferred term with his ever-trusty Sharpie.
There is a shrewd calculus in this behaviour.  WHO guidelines suggest avoiding naming a virus after a geographic area, so as to minimize stigma. trump, of course, is all about MAXIMIZING stigma. He's counting on his adversaries to shout "racism", because to him and his supporters, that's all we ever do. And didn't it come from China? And China isn't even a race, it's an ethnicity, and blah blah blah. Tell his supporters that the WHO calls it COVID-19 and that's just one more reason to call it anything else. The WHO is a United Nations anti-trump bullshit organization. Yes, they say this, his supporters. Loudly and in lockstep. It's designed to infuriate, like most of everything else he does.
PICK YOUR BATTLES. Let him call it the Chinky Gooky Sideways Pussy virus if he wants to. By blowing up over insensitive wording, we're all missing (by design) that trump has horribly mismanaged this crisis and is directly responsible for a large number of coming American deaths. Words are important, words have meaning, but let's JUST FOR NOW put that aside and ask trump why he downplayed the "Chinese virus" for seven weeks, why he disbanded the CDC's Pandemic Response Team, why he called the virus a "hoax"...

Ranting about racism will only exacerbate the racism. That's the idea, they love to see us frothing at the mouth over words. WHAT YOU RESIST PERSISTS. If you want to resist properly, empower the opposite of what you're resisting. Stand on the side of science and love. Practice random acts of kindness. Be better. (It's not hard.)

I've often subsided when chided: if I meet resistance, I am inclined to back off. The path of least...resistance, right? It was 29 years before I even began to understand that wasn't necessarily a good thing, and old habits die very hard. I've always been a "no pain, no...pain! DUH!" kind of person. But there is of course truth in "no pain, no gain". And resisting change is usually a pointless exercise. There's a word for things that do not change, and that word is "dead".

I am currently resisting fear. I'm doing this, paradoxically, by first recognizing the fear for what it is, and second fully feeling it, letting it pass through me. A famous quote from Frank Herbert's DUNE comes to mind:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

I am afraid. I am afraid of the social and economic costs of what still seems like the most benign apocalypse (to those of us who have yet to be afflcted). I am afraid of society shutting down, which is already starting to happen. I am afraid of what seems to be an inevitable response involving lockdowns and martial law. I'm of course afraid of losing people I love.

But I will keep my head. I will practice the kind of loving from a distance I am known for. I will keep you company behind your screen so we don't infect each other. And if this society collapses, well, then, we'll build a better one, one where human beings are priorities instead of bank accounts.


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pamala palz said...
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