RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

writing for godot

The Demon of Doubt

Written by Beth Carter   
Saturday, 10 August 2013 22:51
Let’s run on this premise: 80% of the world’s population is decent, trusting individuals once certain criteria of commonality have been met, reasonable in varying degrees. The other 20% is emotional reprobates also in varying degrees. The dynamic reflection of the two can be seen in any grammar school setting. Living experience can be like a vintage, tastes changing with maturity yet some things maintain. We may never learn to like lima beans, but we may develop an enjoyment for jazz. With wine the color remains, but the experience of wine is far different from juice. In the development of must for wine (the base materials), one may have too much acid leaving the vintage tart, or too much tannin which may ground out brightness and complexity. It is just so with social interaction. We may become too tart or taut. Conversely, we may become too saucy or vague in our daily interactions. The different percentages involved in the creative experience (the wine making), can make generations or whole countries bitter, sweet, cold, bland, etc., etc. We have been in quite a pickle for the last several generations here in the States which may be news to some in other parts of the world. Our global experience seems to indicate that mass extinction could happen. It therefore seems quite important to discuss this 20%. There seems a capacity for “one wrong move” and a foolish child can cause a vast mistake. I admit to questioning the necessity of this piece lest I am the child in question, yet I am unable to shake this concern I have for us all, 100%. I am unequivocally a liberal. I am an American woman who can see passed her past, passed differences, passed similarities, and passed embarrassment.

This 20% seems like The Talented Mr. Ripley. What I found important of that film was not necessarily the sexual issue, but the way Tom Ripley seemed to drift through life. He seemed to fall for Dickie in part because Tom had his first successful public musical performances provided by Dickie. Each successive moment he took in stride acting more from reflex than decision per se. Let’s call it a lack of awareness of options, a lack of a role model. Maybe that’s quite generous, and maybe it isn’t. Setting aside any issues around sexual deviation, this piece attempts to talk about our collective “Tom”.

Tom is talented, skilled, and unwise. He lives in his head, is able to understand many complex mechanistic intricacies, but has very little experience in, development of, or familiarity with the act of being true to one’s heart. Emotion is denied, utterly rejected. Experience of bodily sensation is shallow and limited to pleasure and pain. His view of life, once all the lies fall away, is without context, meaningless. Facts of all kinds are known, figures of every sort, information aplenty, but no real summation exists nor moral to the story, just an open wound left to fester; the snake never sees its’ tail much less eats it. In as much as these are accurate features to Tom’s pathology, there are still three different expressions to this view of existence. One would be aggressively voracious, the classic bully—“Agro Tom”. His aggression is demonstrable and devastating, practicing barbarous psychological total war on any competitor to the point of subjugation of all influence. There is no such thing as a “gracious” winner, only A WINNER. Another expression is jealous and vindictive—“Grudge Tom”. Sharp and focused like a bayonet, or general and wide spread like a carpet bombing, the damage to the mark is inexplicable and not necessarily provoked. Rhyme and reason are unnecessary, and anyone can be the manipulated tool to get at the target. The third expression which the movie explores is rather aimless and opportunistic—“Driftwood Tom”. He acts in self-interest through utilitarian need only after a complete evaluation of the sum of another's qualities, cherry-picking as he goes. He is very much a bull-in-a-china-shop, seemingly docile until obstructed from his own self-interests. Success for Driftwood Tom is more fortuitous timing and willingness to perform than foresight or manipulation, at least in the beginning of Tom’s manifest destiny. (Tom Ripley from the film seems to have been a late bloomer.) As an opportunistic follower acting through desperation, he propels himself toward financial acquisition, the securing of which prompts him to murder a person whom he loves and who loves him. This 20% is skilled at using part of the truth in eluding discovery—plausibility. All are derived from a primary ground of lack of experiential depth which connects one to the body and therefore the heart, the dynamo on which all else depends. It is a very tragic film, but I’m bringing what I know forward because I find it entirely unnecessary for us all to end up under Tom’s weight.

We have been taught to regard emotion as the heart. It is described as fickle, deceptive, slippery, unpredictable, and therefore utterly unreliable. I disagree with this view entirely, and “assign” qualities in different places. The body has its’ own sphere of awareness which can respond to stimulus independent of thought, yet this can be overruled by thought. As a result, the brain is considered the more powerful of the two. However, the blow back from consistent and heavy-handed override is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the like. The quality of emotion is assigned to the body, and the quiet voice of common sense, that elusive thing we often call wisdom, is assigned to the heart. Lust is a corporeal experience which can be highlighted by thought, but unconditional love resides in the heart. Nurtured and explored the experiences of the heart can come to pervade the entire body and brain, providing an unparalleled context to Life and Love. Here is where fulfillment is found through the very internal exploration Tom is disinterested in engaging. This blending of body and heart has been very successfully milked by many a Tom. Marge, Dickie’s fiancée, has common sense enough to know that Tom is dangerous. Her visceral reaction to Tom's lethal opportunistic behavior brought her to intense emotion which prompted the Tom admirers to dismiss her outright as hysterical. They had enough tangible evidence of Dickie’s violent past to make Tom’s fortuitous lie about Dickie plausible. Tom comes into greater opportunity as he is given a pass on Marge’s accusations; he comes into power.

What makes me capable of discussing this subject? Am I a Tom? No. I am decidedly unskilled where Tom is brilliant, yet I am not an admirer. His admirers won’t put anything together about him until way after a few separate events have come and gone. By that time, Tom has reluctant, silent accomplices. Tom also collects and provokes the faults of others to provide opportunity and evasion. There is little to no evidence to reveal Tom. There is, however, a deep layer of suspicion in some of the principles. I am not a Tom of any sort. I am a Tom survivor. Having a heart for Tom is a liability and anyone believing otherwise becomes a mark, not necessarily in a vindictive way but simply a matter of course, standard operating procedure. It is desperate, lost at sea looking for anything useful. Acting out of this utilitarian desperation, guilt and shame are quarantined since the situation is considered a matter of survival. Tom therefore exists in emotional and social famine. He’s the guy who hurts animals when no one is looking, who lies as eloquently as breathing. Anyone who makes Tom truly feel beyond his control becomes a threat of the most serious kind, real or imagined. Being the talented actor/agent provocateur/saboteur he is Tom is very influential in others' lives. Once he comes to actively embrace his actions as an acceptable means to an end, he will position himself intentionally to achieve maximum collateral damage and/or maximum personal profit. Not every Tom is successful though, so don’t think that every affluent person is a Tom.

We have allowed Tom to dazzle, confuse, and excuse. We have thus been brought to the collective brink because we have yet to learn how to identify Tom. It is difficult to discover him. He can even fool professionals, so we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. However, we must keep ourselves from falling for the same old shtick. We have to recognize them by their results, grandly successful or not. Collectively, we are accomplices by denial. We vilify the victim to avoid very unpleasant truths; we’ve been suckered repeatedly. But we like Tom. He’s pleasant with a certain charm, in spite of himself sometimes. We give him a pass since we feel sorry for him or his barrage of intellectual ammunition. If we can look passed this habit we can often see a surprising rate of occurrence and the gravitas of each one. (It takes a strong commitment to look though.) In recent years, Tom has become endemic to the monetary system worldwide. Agro Tom has become the darling of capitalist circles. His total war attitude is perceived (or promoted) as a true desire for responsibility, an aptitude to make hard decisions. However, it is more accurate to say that his desire is for power sans responsibility and has little care for the well being of anyone else except those who could punish him (aka the one’s he must answer to of whom he has nothing on). Making hard decisions for someone else is simply a breeze for Agro Tom. A shallow experience of water, say splashing through a creek, will not develop understanding or compassion for one caught in a rip tide. Agro Tom as CEO allows his puppet masters to remain in denial about the interdependence of each demographic of the social structure within the total economic model. As Meredith, a faux love interest for Tom, said in the film the rich only feel comfortable around others who have money and despise it just as much. Money is despised because of its’ insulating quality and revered for the exact same reason. It is only safe to be generous to the rich by the rich because anyone else ends up being a bottomless pit to have around, yet keeping to the strict circles of the rich with their own pettiness can become as tedious as to be stuffed in a spiked coffin. It is a trap, and Grudge Tom likes it that way. He’s like a spider who likes to play with his food or a vampire so capricious that he’s inexplicable, unrelenting, and devastating. Driftwood Tom is simply an unwitting wrecking ball, almost bumbling through life taking whatever comes his way, yet that is part of his charm—that laissez-faire quality. The three styles of Tom could be seen as aggressive, passive aggressive, and quietly desperate. All desire power over others in an effort to exert control over Life. Any discussion of responsibility or accountability is lip-service and little more. Tom is unaware of the notion of common sense because he wants to distinguish himself. He believes himself to be uncommon and desires an audience to witness this as fact, to be revered and feared. Thus, he will remain dissatisfied throughout his entire life as he will continue his struggle with or without a worthy adversary. He must continue his fight because that is all he knows how to do. Tom is a one-dimensional person—vicious, but flat. Emotions are too messy and embarrassing, misleading and an utter waste of time and energy. However, he longs to feel accepted. Please not that “acceptance” is not “understood” for Tom does not want to be understood; he would lose his advantage. Tom is unable to face the stillness by which one discovers that quiet voice of common sense. Tom believes in logic—mechanistic, methodical, reliable and yet highly malleable. All he has to do is find and exploit a weakness in an argument to the exclusion of all else, and he wins battle after battle, war after war, day after day to prove his worthiness of being beyond reproach. That is all Tom ever wants—to do as he wishes with impunity.

Wisdom, the understanding of interdependence and the extraordinary presence of commonality within the gargantuan diversity of existence, is too much weight for Tom. He wants to play and play hard. He wants to conquer and destroy. His entire life’s focus is myopic. These features of attitude expressed in behavior are what threaten us with extinction. If we, the 80%, remain doubtful, hesitant, and therefore unresponsive, we will be in collusion with our own demise.
How do we respond? How do we accurately apply ourselves to this vast issue since the demolition is on so many fronts operating at the same time all over the world? First, we must stop denying we’ve been conned. We must choose to see Tom for what he is—a human predator. This is done by observation of results. Too often we excuse the abuse because it happened to someone else. A buddy beats his girlfriend bloody, but she stays for whatever reason. As his friend we overlook it, act like it didn’t happen. A gal pal rips off an ex-boyfriend blind, and we accept her plausible excuse that he owed her money. We watch a co-worker set someone up for a theft and say nothing because we don’t want to get involved. Over time this one shrifts individual after individual after individual offering plausible excuses each time until the day we find enough suspicion to question. At that moment, Tom will remind us of certain liberties we have taken at the expense of others, even if it was Tom who prompted the dubious action. We are now accomplices and the restraints will become tighter over further association. If we dissociate ourselves, he will demand to know why, but this accounting is exactly what must be avoided. Interaction at this moment will only serve Tom’s interests which are decidedly disharmonious with our own. This is his forte, making us battle with doubt inside ourselves. As long as we fight with doubt, he will succeed at keeping us under his thumb. We must heal the divide within ourselves in order to heal the divide that has manifested in society due to our lack of confidence. We have to know what we know without accounting for ourselves, without trying to change Tom’s mind, and without eliciting an admission from him. All of these are traps he will use to his benefit and our expense. If we engage in these maneuvers for whatever reason, we will be left again and again with greater doubt in our own experience and perception therefore robbed of confidence. In repeated succession, each time we question his action, logic, or declaration we will lose more and more of our dignity until we are entirely dependent upon him for every step in our lives. Even though this is the precise outcome of Tom’s strategy once we arrive at that dependence Tom will find us tedious, boring, and too much work, openly losing respect for you (if he’d had any that is). He will either denigrate us openly to further erode self-esteem and get us to leave on our own, or cast us aside without regard or regret.
This is how we in the United States find ourselves in this hog-tied condition. After World War II we collectively thought our government could do no wrong. However, the younger generations saw this was being taken advantage of and rebelled. The doubts which plagued the public in the late 50’s have been the vehicle for the consistent erosion of our representative federation to date. We need to stop fighting each other, find our common ground again (because it is there), and unite as a nation or the whole planet will suffer the consequences. And it will be our fault.

If we truly begin to do this, we will be tempted or forced into another mobilization for war. It is a distraction/scattering technique which has been employed since WWII ended. Again, look at the results of policy. Overwhelming detail is another distraction/scattering employed to great effect. We don’t need experts to tell us something is amiss. We really aren’t that slow. Most of us are reluctant to discuss any possible specifics in avoidance of being dismissed as a conspiracy buff or a paranoid nutcase. It is a simple deflection tool to keep us on the defensive. If we are defensive, we won’t ask the right questions. Human predators have no morals or guilt and therefore will utilize any device, technique, or tactic to secure themselves and their objectives. This is not an opinion. It is a feature of pathology like emaciation is a feature of starvation. I am writing this out of direct experience with one Agro and one Grudge. We will be ineffective to fight a Tom in his arena. We will lose. To expect or even hope for some sort of conscience, capitulation, or moral compass to exist from or within them is to superimpose what is simply not there. It is delusion and folly. Tom, by hook and by crook, has subverted the systems of policy and protection toward monochromatic ends. Tom will self-destruct. Given enough time (or rope) he will always destroy any chance for real happiness by destroying that of others. Fulfillment comes from the peace found in the center of our being. If that center is discarded or impugned without context, fulfillment is an impossibility therefore Tom will be unable to recognize true happiness and thus destroy it at every turn—for me, for you, for himself, for every living being on the planet. Tom must be stopped for his own good. It sounds trite to me, too, but that doesn’t change the veracity of this moment. He is worthy of pity. It is true, but he will use our kind motivations as ammunition. We have to stop giving him the means to murder Life. It is up to us to stop him for he certainly will not do it on his own. your social media marketing partner
Email This Page


THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.