I’ve been reading entries from Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans. The entry on Alexander the Great will make you regret having read any other printed words first. So very interesting.
One aspect that makes it especially intriguing is how Plutarch, with the stated aim of capturing what moved these giants of history, references over and over again how dreams, bird signs, and other non-duplicatable, often mystical, pre-scientific experiences (and their interpretations) drove Alexander.
Whether to fight the battle today or tomorrow, Plutarch tells us, Alexander might decide based on a flock of birds having appeared. If Alexander found himself in a stretch of mourning after he killed someone in a fit of violent passion, he might have allowed his priestly oracles to interpret a dream and the interpretation was then used to stir him back to life.
This is on my mind today because I had a bizarre dream early this morning. Quick backstory: I have a checkride coming up. If the weather held, it would’ve been today. (Weather didn’t hold.) In any case, last night I went to bed around eleven. I awoke at four to use the restroom. I couldn’t fall back asleep.
Next thing I know, I was in some kind of building—like a cabin in a dense forrest or jungle—and my wife, stepson, and baby daughter were also around in the dreamscape. I can’t remember the beginning of the dream, but the drama grew when I saw a vividly green—off-white underbelly—and huge lizard (think something between Komodo dragon and the thing Obi Wan rides in Episode III). Like all dreams the exact sequence and details are hazy, but I know for certain that I was afraid of it and wanted to protect my family from it. It wasn’t on the attack, but I knew that it—by nature—would try to bite anything that got close enough for it to grab hold of.
My wife wasn’t as afraid as I was, and actually was, herself, in the process of removing two smaller lizards that had climbed onto her, as if it was no big thing.
The rest of the dream was basically of the theme that I was very worried and fearful of the big lizard, while nobody else’s demeanor matched my concern. It was uncomfortable, but in the end I awoke.
My interpretation? In my rookie days of contemplating the meaning of my dreams, I would’ve overlooked the first and major point of this dream, being, despite the general theme of fear, I was not eaten or fatally attacked. This leads me to acknowledge that the dream means I have nothing to fear. I will prevail.
Secondly, the fact that my wife was there and almost carelessly removing small lizards—while I was fearing the big one—means that I had something to do with the size of the lizard after me, means that I didn’t handle business when the lizard was small. This, then, I interpret to mean that I am the cause of the fear. I let my anxiety (likely over the pending checkride) grow disproportionately. How to fix that? Daily preparation. Fight small, winnable battles as they come rather than feeding the beast the fruits of procrastination.
Now let me ask you, dear reader, a question. Hasn’t this little blog post made me more likable? Isn’t it more relatable? President Trump is so anti-authority as it stands, I can’t see why this type of thing wouldn’t help him achieve the immortality that he seems to desire. I’m serious. None of us have a real understanding of just exactly what makes him wake up in the morning. And even if we believe it’s “love of America”, that still doesn’t really tell us much. But through dreams and bird signs etc, and how he responds, we’d be sure to see a fuller picture—maybe even one we like.
To save you time, I went ahead and read the 55-page document for us. (You’re welcome.) The following is the provocative and abridged version. It is, of course, meant to capture the themes and purpose of the original, while avoiding the length. This post also includes my reaction.
To begin, a couple of questions: Do you fear that tyranny is imminent? Does it keep you awake to consider how very near to becoming a monarchy are these United States, King Trump at the helm?
I didn’t think so.
Here’s the rub. Part of the document’s argument for America’s pending transition to tyranny rests on establishing the dual and (if true) symbiotic facts that the President has enormous (but not absolute) power and the House is the singular body of humans who have been entrusted with the awesome responsibility to “rise to the occasion” and impeach President Donald John Trump.
The problem is that this part happens to be the opening part and, as such, is foundational.
This is, unfortunately for its purposes, problematic because it betrays that it has missed the true meaning of Trump’s presidency. The true meaning of Trump’s presidency, being confirmed more and more each and everyday–and according to the House report’s own definition and reasoning—is as We the People’s impeachment of the current batch of United States Senators, Representatives, Justices. And, yes, President Trump’s tenure is our impeachment of the President too, no matter how nonsensical that may sound.
The majority has voted, not for Trump, but for impeachment.
It doesn’t matter who the president is, we say. It doesn’t matter who runs for office, we declare. They’re all corrupt. They’re all liars. They’re all bought and paid for. They’re all mere mouthpieces.
And we’re right. It doesn’t matter who holds public office, at this point. Government, not its citizens, has failed.
But don’t fear. There is no coming tyranny. There is no monarch in the making. Maybe difficult times. Maybe violence. But nothing that the same, age-old virtues, beginning with personal integrity, can’t handle.
One of the joys of co-parenting involves driving on 470 twice a week. There has been road construction under way for some time now. One of the project’s features is the installation of rather large soundproofing walls between the residential areas and the presumably going-to-be-louder interstate.
As you know, benevolence often powers my wheels, and nowadays I cannot help but wish we could turn back the clock and help Trump achieve his goals, with the full support of, “We the people.”
The specific problem on my mind during these cross-town commutes is that while “walls” clearly divide people, whether they protect nation-states is apparently an eternal debate. But, but! Soundproofing simply keeps inconvenient noises from being heard.
If only we could start over, I think we all could rally behind the call to “Soundproof America!” Or maybe some Branson/Musk/Bezos-type could get the entire population of Earth to support, “We’ll Be Quieter!” or, “You Don’t Need Us Anyhow.”
As it is, we’re stuck with each other. I wonder who you think has the power to free us?
The fact that it ultimately isn’t surprising is what proves that we all would have predicted it. I just can’t stop thinking about Trump’s call to ban Muslim immigrants. The idea of freedom of religion as one of the greatest achievements mankind has ever bestowed upon itself was so ingrained in me as a child that I cannot help but wonder how the country that guarantees this freedom is now fascinated by a possible presidential candidate who brings into the legal realm religion. And do not get me started on the fact that other candidates are rebuking him via their–I’m sure–personal social meeja accounts. Ooo, scary.
I wrote about this once before, but it seems timely to bring the issue back to the front. In an odd turn of events, I have had the pleasure of attending undergraduate courses in two different decades at two different colleges. Within the liberal arts departments at least, the theme of my two experiences or the ultimate goal of American universities seemed to be Holocaust prevention. Specifically, the history and social science departments spend tremendous time and energy explaining how something as horrific as the Holocaust could even occur in generally civilized society. The Stanford Prison Experiment. The Milgram Experiment. We’re taught about these social experiments which were conducted after the war ended and even then–in a controlled setting–they had to be administratively stopped because things got so out of hand. Furthermore, to illustrate just how fully these experiments permeate our culture, a movie (not the first) was released earlier this year called, ta da, The Stanford Prison Experiment about the very same thing. The professors teach these lessons under the guise that if only we prove scientifically that people are violence-prone sheep, then people are not violence-prone sheep. To me the experiments have only proven that another holocaust is very possible.
And this whole discussion illustrates the problem with the progressive/liberal/leftist worldview that dominates academia and therefore society. (Yes, I’m lumping Trump–a republican–in the group.) Philosophically, quantum-something-or-other-ly, and really, there actually only exists the present. So if you do wrong in the present, in hopes of improving the future, then you can’t escape that you are doing wrong. But Trump wants to do wrong by banning Muslims. Only for a short time, though. Until things get better. And the President wants to do wrong by stopping the sale of guns today, not because he has any evidence that this stoppage will stop gun violence today, but because maybe it will curb it in the future. The trouble is that it is wrong to make a legal decision based on religion. The trouble is that it is wrong to disarm a nation. These things are wrong. They were wrong a couple hundred years ago, they are wrong today, and they will be wrong in the future. By wrong, I don’t mean these two notions go against trending political correctness, I mean they are wrong. Just wrong. Google it if you have to. Wrong.
The conservative, on the other hand, strives to do right today. And the conservative recognizes that one measure of righteousness is its practical, predictable consequence of more righteousness. I, as a man who loves his ability to be a Christian without being a martyr, won’t support a man running for government office who wants to use religion as a legal definition because I don’t want to be around when he changes his mind regarding which religions are good and which ones are bad. I, as a veteran (which means I’ve seen first-hand how people with guns are sheep), don’t want the government to be the only one with assault/combat weapons because I can plainly see that if the government has all the guns, then the government has all the guns! My pink body explodes when shot. And given my disdain for authority, guess who gets shot first?
Even the event of the Holocaust itself was based in liberalism/progressivism. Life will be better in the future if we do this action today. How about we try “Life will be better today and in the future if we do this act today”?
Ah, but it doesn’t matter. Many of you (obviously it’s you. I know it’s not me.) love progressives. Obama, Trump, Clinton, the whole lot of them. You and I are very similar in that we don’t care about politics and don’t have time to get involved. Where you and I differ is that you are going to vote for the lesser of two evils. You are going to cast a vote under your name that will have the effect of taking one more step towards our asking, “Who would’ve thunk it?” during whatever atrocity America (that’s you and me) is bound to commit before too long if this dream of a better future holds.
Looking for a call to action? Here it is. Don’t vote for people you don’t want to hold office. That might mean not voting. Or that might mean voting for people who won’t win. Either way, we’re at the point in history where instead of admitting, “I didn’t want to waste my vote so I picked the better of the two,” we can declare, “I didn’t vote for this fool.” Not voting is voting.
Happy New Years people.