One never need face the ultimate authority. It is, nonetheless, in charge.
My diary for April 13 mentions this long, animated dispute between Twin and Mike; about race. They’re both black; Mike merely kept changing the subject, making one disparaging remark after another about America.
The first thing I recall Mike saying was that “English is a bastard language.” The last thing I remember him saying was that even in Africa, no Africans actually own anything. In between, it had been one random proposition after another, plucked from racial ideology or the Black Hebrew Israelites or the Nation of Islam. The question Twin started with is the same he finished with, “What do you want?” And Mike really didn’t have an answer.
I’ve known Twin now for more than two years. This was the first time I’ve ever seen him not intoxicated. He normally walks around bent forward from the waist, waving his arms around and making cartoon character noises. The stuff he said in this dispute with Mike was actually pretty cogent.
I might be tempted to engage Mike myself on these topics, but if he continually changes the subject, he’ll never actually listen to anything I say. I’ve heard it said before that no one of African descent has ever owned anything; the reasoning behind that is highly convoluted and arcane. Not worth my time.
What about him?
Twin’s question, “What do you want?” is very close to what I’d suppose is the best thing to say. It parallels what I’ve long anticipated would be a standard Mildew line:
What will you do today to improve your situation?
As Mike brings up one excuse after another to regard himself as powerless, and therefore actually do nothing to help himself; expecting Black folks’ circumstances to change as a precondition for their doing anything to help themselves; focusing no w, and now, and now on facts of history and/or the present that he absolutely can’t do anything about, as to which he’s actually powerless; he will never have anything to do but complain.
Of course, actually doing things to improve one’s own situation, in contrast, takes work, and implies responsibility, and entails risk.
If there’s nothing else available of a practical nature that one can do to improve one’s situation on a given day — nothing else one can do — there is at least this; and I assert that it is completely practical. One can choose an attitude of gratitude, and choose to be happy. One may have to let go of resentments in order to do this. But this will assure that one presents one’s best self to others, lifting their spirits; that one is likely to use better judgment in one’s decisions, than otherwise; that one is likely to make and act on positive plans. If one can’t do anything else, one can do this.
Mike’s beliefs have no relation to facts. I want to say that, sooner or later, just like the Trumpers who hold to The Big Lie, he will have to face the facts. In fact, that’s not so. But he is sure to face a certain amount of frustration throughout life unless and until he does. By comparison to public policy, all our plans, all our supposed “solutions” to the nation’s problems, will continue to go awry as long as we presume something other than the facts.
The ultimate authority in the cosmos is not anyone’s belief, but rather What Is.
Related: 3. Application
From my diary, pertaining to events of Sunday, May 8, 2022:
“Oh, I want to be angry, too!” Sunday afternoon, there was this long dispute between Mike and Rodney Friday. Pretty much, it was like the previous one; Mike just runs his mouth until he’s tired of shouting. He told Rodney, among other things, that
- He’s in “double servitude,” since he works two jobs
- “They’re trying to kill you.”
Now, this whole thing provoked me. I was trying to do my meditation, and it was an absolute distraction; besides, it made me want to be mad, also. And then there was its effect on Johnson, this slight, older, light-skinned guy who uses a walker and gets pissed off at the least little thing. BUT: My point is, it provoked him, too, and he wanted to get angry, too, and so he tried to join in and shout like Mike, even though he had absolutely nothing to say. I wonder how many Trumpers became Trumpers the same way?