Friends: Are you OK?
“Thinking doesn’t pay.
Just makes you discontented with what you see around you.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
A Stranger in a Strange Land is an odd book but a timeless title. A child of earthlings, born on Mars, comes back to earth and tries to engage, to improve things. It does not help. It just makes things weirder for everyone.
I do not enjoy living in America. There are things I like, mostly family and some close friends, but there are many things I am tired of trying to reconcile. For the past couple of years, I have made erratic attempts to fit in here. I still have not found what I am looking for.
Much of my recent flailing came from previous commitments to ideas and communities. I wanted to show that the contradictions were not that bad, or if they were, maybe we could help fix them. I’ve used nuanced and reflective approaches in some writing and speaking. I have also tried native forms of snark-powered rhetoric. Neither helped much, and the latter only made things worse.
I am no longer very concerned about the lost friendships from the battles over principles. My main concern is how much damage my personal values have suffered from my awkward attempts at reasoning publicly.
Whether I should have tried in the ways I did, I am increasingly ready to shake the dust off. Arguing about the pros and cons of an allegiance with this or that beastly leader has run its course. How many disqualifying displays of beastliness is enough for some people? I am no longer waiting to find out.