Monday, November 03, 2014

Beyond Understanding

Please believe me when I say I sincerely do not understand how I have survived this long in a world that is all but incomprehensible to me. Technology. People. Instruction manuals. Myself.  All are and have always been great mysteries to me. Just when I think I might be getting a handle on something, something else will step in to totally contradict whatever I thought I had figured out.

Why do people do what they do, say what they say, believe what they believe? Is there no such thing as logic? How can they possibly be so willfully ignorant, or viciously cruel? It is true that, while we hate to admit that Man is an animal, he is…and a predatory one at that. Still, after thousands of years of struggle to rise above the other animals, we have not overcome our basest instincts. Why does it take horrendous events to draw us together and display those traits for which we have striven so long and hard? And why, after these events, do we quickly regress to our self-centered, selfish ways?

How can people so easily become the pawns of duplicitous, power-hungry, hate-and-fear mongering politicians, pundits, and zealots? How can we keep re-electing people to represent us who have proven time after time that the only interests they serve are their own? Why are humans so willing to simply accept whatever they’re told rather than think for themselves?

I am a Democrat. I always have been. Possibly because I was brought up during the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but mainly, I think, simply because I sincerely believe that it is the government's duty to protect the people--and especially those who, for whatever reason, cannot protect themselves. Why does the Republican party seem totally devoted to obstructionism and negativity? I honestly cannot think of a single positive proposal they have made for the good of the majority of the citizens of our country. They do not smile, they sneer.

What perversity dictates that people devote intense fascination to things which really, in the overall scheme of things, are utterly inconsequential, and have not one whit of effect whatsoever on them personally or on their lives...while at exactly the same time refusing to give a minute's serious consideration to things which are vital to their very existence. They will stand on the street corner and smoke three cartons of cigarettes while utterly engrossed in deep conversation about Justin Bieber's tattoos. We go into the equivalent of national mourning when some celebrity dies, yet read of  thousands dying of hunger every single day with little or no reaction. More than 26,000 Americans die each year from influenza, yet four people with ebola send us running off in all directions, screaming in fear.

Grown men go absolutely berserk with excitement watching athletes running around throwing and catching balls while they themselves sit on barstools chugging beer and eating fried butter. ("We're Number One!" No, you're not. The athletes are Number One—you’re just fat and lazy.)

My incomprehension of course extends to myself. How can I possibly so frequently say and do such egregiously stupid things? Why do I seem incapable of thinking before I act or speak? I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to undo things which cannot be undone, with the result that I surely come across as an idiot to those aware of my gaffs, most of which could have been avoided had I thought first.  

The fact that I may be expecting much more from my fellow human beings…and definitely from myself…than is, well, logical, unfortunately does not stop them or me from expecting it. Strangely enough, given everything just said above, I think it’s called “optimism.”

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

You've survived this long because somebody has to be the one walking up to everybody else, tapping them on the shoulder, and asking "Really???"

And if nobody goes around pointing it, then there's even less a chance folks will snap to one day and admit "Hey! He's got a point. This doesn't make sense."