That last post was pretty intense, wasn’t it?
I think I’ll take it down a notch. Sit down and listen.
I’m sure you’ve heard about those “systemic -isms” that have been going on.
Yeah, they’re pretty terrible, no doubt.
And you’ve got to be familiar with the opinions about the word.
Most say it’s either antagonistic or apt.
But I have a lot of affection for it and how hard to tries to bite.
But I also have sorrow for the power it doesn’t have.
The indignation that comes with the use of lingo like “systemic”
isn’t exactly alien to the targets of its ire.
I know that to you, the evolution from “systematic” to “systemic”
seems like a bit of an epic mindfuck.
You’re not just accusing someone of desiring discrimination. You’re accusing them of plotting it when they barely even are.
You see the lines of malicious cooperation where they are at their thinnest.
You see alliances among friends and colleagues and demographics
where they are at their loosest but most noxious.
When “systemic” comes off your tongue, you feel like you’ve got eyes made out of silver.
You feel your frontal lobes constrict with strain.
So then why does the derision for the term “systemic” come so easily?
I think this explains it-
whether or not people are working together toward anything
is a very tricky thing to try and pin down,
considering the flexibility of relationships, of needs, of whims, of opinions and of dreams,
and that everyone, regardless of what categories they fit into, understands that grouping anyone with anyone is not so much a thing that’s justified as it is a means by which everyone fights.
You might see yourself as possessing subatomic insight
into just how intricately passive aggressive
and disgustingly desperate to manipulate others
that some human beings might be.
Trying to expose people steeped in a passive, collective frenzy of mistreatment
feels like a big-hearted connection to justice,
and I wish you’d be the winner, just for that alone.
I’d really like for you to just fix everything already.
I think, to those people around the world who really are
tragically decent at using the power they’ve got,
being aware of how weird it is to lump people in with each other
is just another day at the office.
It’s just what they see everyone else as fully capable of.
I’m not really the “Illuminati” type, despite finding conspiracies pretty exciting, which is why I like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.
The anime, while often frustratingly confusing, offers some very interesting storylines and science fiction aesthetics.
The term “stand alone complex” rises within the story to refer to people working together who are not necessarily working together.
Or rather, any phenomenon where things appear to be working as a system when such a system barely exists.
It comes up with one case involving disease-cure-withholding, corporate blackmail, and public terrorism, and another case involving war refugees, suicidal demonstrations, and a computer virus targeting cyborgs mysteriously.
The show really is quite the mindfuck, but I think I’ve codified fairly well what that mindfuckiness is as of late.
Everything there is or can be, is connected and not to some degree. How much praise or blame to give anyone you meet, is always an awkward choice. And people long to be out of place, if they want to fit into place. We are so like hunters, excited by the friction we can feel around us.
We know what it means to be excessive. We know expectations and judgments are loose and wild. We want to feel a good distance from our incompetent younger selves. We are so like dragons, beast who can strategize and civilize despite our burning desires.
Now long before I codified this mindfuckiness, I was very endeared by myself
for being able to intricately resent my very…..let’s say dry, dull, discouraging, unwelcoming social environment as a teenager.
The band Hot Chip has used the words, “the nothing everything caused/the everything nothing caused”. Oh how cathartic they were.
I felt transcendent, having that much scorn for my peers for things they might not have really been intending to do to me. I sometimes felt overjoyed with the glee of claiming that “my misery is what allows the happier people to fucking exist at all”, giving myself an excess of value where is was barely warranted, but felt so very justified.
I felt good comparing myself to someone trapped in an asylum, despite being free. Of course, stories where people outside of a prison are still trapped are pretty relatable.
Even then, especially then perhaps, I had that dragonlike energy in the bones of my feelings.
The pulsating heart that detects the exploitation in the air and wants to make something decent out of it.
And fast forward 15 years or so, I see, this is not such an uncommon feeling.
I would guess that the most socially adept leaders who ever led any march toward any difficult goal,
have a good grip on their own urges to call out people for conspiring with each other,
perhaps very often for the sake of finding compassion for one’s rivals,
and at other times, for the purpose of sabotaging those who barely even teamed up.
Socially skilled people are in touch with the urge, the need, the law, that any one person is always both companion and rival to any other person standing nearby.
I would also guess that those the least vulnerable to being hurt in intimate relationships
possess a good deal of passion for the redrawing of boundaries with other people.
Serial cheaters must feel like world leaders.
There are people who have seen past “mending” social miseries,
and would rather take solace in mastering them.
I think teachers are like this,
who know their students are always resentful,
and are always trying to navigate their own powerful hateability.
Yeah, you can see it on their visages resigned to being loathsome.
But I would prefer we figure out how to make nobody loathable.
If I taught you anything today,
please let it be this:
the word “systemic” is only scratching the surface
of just how severely confident people are
while they’re savoring the social incompetence
of everyone who ever said they weren’t worth a damn,
or didn’t deserving any fucking thing.
The only antidote is to truly get inside the head of everybody else
and deliciously destroy the barriers that keep us from seeing
just how badly we believe in our decency.
You have to reach a level of social competence that blows everything else out of the water,
to the point at which you don’t even get high on using it.