Dead Canaries

History is a mashup of Groundhog Day and Fifty First Dates. Everybody is stuck in a loop so large they can’t see the curve. Historians are all that guy from Memento, knowing there’s a larger mystery, but unable to keep the slate from being wiped at the end of the day.

I wonder how different the world would be if people lived longer. Since population control would be a greater concern, we might have wiped ourselves already. Wars would have to be bigger and more frequent. Advancements in science would have to be suppressed. On the other hand, having more time to learn might have led to discoveries that solved humanities problems. Maybe we’d be terraforming Pluto instead of Mars. Maybe aliens would have wiped us out to keep us from infesting the galaxy. Who knows?

The more I learn, the more surreal the current sociopolitical paradigm becomes. America is on the verge of civil war because the old concept of one person’s liberty stopping where another’s starts has become too complicated. Morality 101: if something causes another person discomfort, you shouldn’t do it. Bathroom rights are the perfect example. A lot of people are uncomfortable sharing a bathroom with someone who has different chromosomes than them. A lot of trans people are not comfortable having to use a bathroom that doesn’t correspond to their gender. The solution to both problems is for everyone to not overthink pissing. A stall is a little room. It’s like being pissed off that a member of the opposite sex is staying next door to you in a hotel. You’re a lot more likely to get raped in a parking lot.

So, why did so many people freak out about it? I think it’s a subconscious fear of taking responsibility for who you are. Trans people challenge the notion that humans are defined externally. Bob grows up thinking gender tethers his genitals to his role in society and never thinks about who he’d be if he had a choice. Suddenly there’s a flurry of news about how “dudes in dresses” want to pee next to his wife. They notice everyone’s hair is purple. They read a Facebook article about bronies or apotemnophiles. It’s fairly understandable that his mind is blown by the idea that people can decide to be different. Maybe he’s even be a little angry he was never given the choice to be a Japanese, lesbian cat-person, etc.

Also, people want to be happy. Fun makes them happy. Learning things they don’t care about isn’t fun, so they want information condensed into tweets, especially ones that make them happy. Being wrong makes them unhappy. Fear of being wrong is the core of why they don’t want to think for themselves. So, after a short break in their teens, most people adhere to their parents’ political, social, and religious ideologies. That way, when they die and they are judged by Eris, they can point to other people and be like, “It’s their fault. Spare me.” It’s got to suck for anybody who converts away from the right religion. You could have gone to glory, but your hippie girlfriend read a book about Krishna, so now you’ll spend eternity being force-fed nickels. Who wants that kind of responsibility, right?

I do. I enjoy complexity, and I’ll be damned (literally) if I allow my mind or my soul be determined by random genetic/geographical placement. But, contemplating what you can be implies you aren’t already perfect. It opens you up to failure, and makes you sound like an asshole when you talk about it. But I digress.

Freedom has reached critical mass and is imploding precisely as Plato described around 400 B.C. (If you don’t know what I’m referring to, here’s a link. Yes, that is a conservative in 2015, not a liberal now.) The Bible also refers to this phenomenon in the story of the Tower of Babel. Taken literally, it makes no sense. But if you think about it, it’s a story of a culture that got so advanced it collapsed. They were building a “tower” that could reach “Heaven” when God confounded their speech so they could no longer understand each other and scattered them around the world. If you explained the current trend of echo chambers to post-apocalyptic barbarians and they passed it along verbally, they’d probably end up with the Tower of Babel story before you could die of radiation poisoning.

Every president is a response to the previous president. George Bush (1) was a spook. He creeped everybody out, so people voted in a cool, likable guy. Clinton was seen as worldly and elitist, so they voted in a dumb relatable guy promising a resurgence of family values. George W. tanked the economy and got us in a bunch of wars we can never get out of, so people voted for the outsider who promised change through celebrating our differences and finding middle ground. Obama wasn’t very effective so they voted for a reality TV star with too many “interesting” qualities to name.

So the right thinks Trump is Jesus kicking the money changers’ asses. The left thinks he’s a personification of all of mankind’s worst properties, whose ego will lead to destruction. Either way, he has the house, the senate, the armed forces, and a backup robot army, so he’s going to do what he’s going to do. Eventually he’ll be replaced by an equally polarizing figure from the left and the titan will lumber on, until it doesn’t. If Rome had nukes when it collapsed, we wouldn’t be here today. There are some things I rather enjoy about being alive, so maybe it’s time to dial back the crazy.

To grossly oversimplify, each side feels like the other is saying, “I like peanut butter, so you have to eat peanut butter all the time.” Maybe you have a nut allergy, and peanut butter will kill you. If not, maybe let’s just be polite and eat peanut butter until they like us and later on we might be able to get them to try sushi. This is not about a president. It’s about who we are as people. When we forget they are dumb and silly, they get themselves killed. So if you’re a libtard, find a fascist. Buy them a shot and talk about cancer. Everybody hates cancer. If you’re a fascist, find a libtard. Buy them a glass of wine and bond over the flu. There’s shit you will agree on. After doing this a bunch of times you might be able to bring up a specific political issue without killing each other.