When I sleep, I have to have a second pillow, one that I can throw my arm across or place up against my back. I'm only just noticed how much its like what I did when I slept with my wife.
It would be the prime motivating factor if I ever remarried. It's what I miss most of all about those days, or nights I should say. There is something just so right and comforting about backing into your spouse's back and knowing that you are not alone in the world.
And if you use your imagination and think about how many millions of times this scene is repeated every single night all across the world, it is not hard to see that this joining of individual nervous systems as the fundamental source for intelligent life on this wobbly little planet. In fact, it does resemble the brain somewhat with a right sphere and a left sphere and the connection serving as the corpus collosum, a connection that insures that both halves work together in conjunction for the maximum benefit of all concerned.
And yet, this sleeping arrangement is under attack. No one stays married anymore, and all the magazines, e-zines and news outlets trumpet the fact like its just something that we have to accept as a price of moving forward, sleeping in individual pods or lying next to perfect strangers, vampires who after satiating their lust would just as soon be home lying alone in their own bed.
At the end of our marriage, my wife started moving over to the edge of the bed. At first, it was imperceptible; I was so absorbed in my own life that I failed to notice the fissure and was oblivious to its ramifications. Later, it turned in yawning chasm that manifested itself in our daily life when she would go hours, days even, without so much as glancing in my direction.
I can't feeling that there will be a price to pay for this change in the culture. I've already paid it and still have quite a few payments to go. When you are turning sixty-seven and are single and living in world of body aches, self-doubts and lowered expectations, human contact becomes indispensable, and a fucking pillow is a very poor substitute; a blow-up doll ranks only slightly below a prostitute, and a fading memory the absolute worst of all.
We have become so polarized by the issue that we can't even recognize the fact that there is a lot of middle ground where positive work can be done.
My basic thoughts on feminism are this: if a woman does the same job as a male, she should be paid the same as the male, providing she does as well as the male in question. I don't see the necessity of paying everyone equally regardless of gender. If a person comes in early, stays late and works harder than his or her workmates, than they should be paid accordingly.
Secondly, when a woman is assaulted or raped, her attacker always should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The evidence should speak the loudest though. I know that all people are capable of lying and many are capable of seeking the pain of others even though it involves telling lies. These foolish notions that a woman must be believed in all cases cannot become enshrined as law. A rape claim must always be investigated, but never substantiated without evidence.
Abortion I can't wrap my mind around. When I was young and could have been party to an unplanned pregnancy, I am ashamed to admit that I was oblivious to the idea. Back in those days, there were not nearly as many birth control options. Abstinence was still at the top of the list, followed by the rhythm method favored by the church, and condoms. Nowadays, there is whole contraceptive industry and birth control is not something that is generally frowned upon at all. We hand it out to kids at school and have even had elementary school lessons that taught small children how to put condoms on a banana.
There have been fifty million abortions since 1974, and I can't help thinking about how many Miles Davises, Martin Luther Kings and Abraham Lincolns are never going to be realized. I know that there would have been some monsters in there too, but I am always saddened by the thought of all that potential stunted before it ever saw the light of day, I had a niece who was born stillborn, and I can still remember breaking into sobs every time I thought of the life she never got to live.
We have become so polarized by the issue that we can't even recognize the fact that there is a lot of middle ground where positive work can be done. I find it hard to believe that either side would think that unwanted pregnancies are a good thing. We can work to together to bring the number down and to make the adoption process easier and more efficient. Maybe, someday, in the near future, we can eliminate unwanted pregnancy as a social scourge.
I know more than a few people who are feminists and who inhabit the different side of the political spectrum than me. I love them all dearly and in a perfect world I would do everything in my power to get along and go along with them, anything short of lying to myself, that is. The world is not a perfect place. If it were, there would be no opinions or beliefs other than God's. He made us disagreeable for a purpose, but I'll be damned if I can understand it in the least.
I do hate the leftist influence on feminism more than I hate many people who have purposely tried to do me wrong. The word "patriarchy" does not belong to the left and their definition will never be my own. To me, it refers to my father and all my grandfathers.
I'm sure there were a few hateful and evil men in that grouping, but I'm also certain that the largest majority of those men worked, fought, and struggled to make things better for their family, and not only get me where I am today, but to create a better life for all of their wives, daughters, and granddaughters.
To broad brush them with the same paint used to cover someone like Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Manson, or any of a thousand misogynist politicians and CEOs displays a lack of understanding of the entirety of human experience and an overt willingness to listen to only people who plug their own ears rather than hear perfectly valid reasons why they might be wrong.
I prefer Camille Paglia's pragmatic and reasoned approach to the issue, "Men have sacrificed and crippled themselves physically and
emotionally to feed, house, and protect women and children. None of
their pain or achievement is registered in feminist rhetoric, which
portrays men as oppressive and callous exploiters."
The reason that man's struggle to make a better world is not acknowledged in leftist rhetoric is because it serves Marxist theory so much better than any effort to improve the relationship between the sexes. The middle ground, once again, remains a fertile ground fenced off by the mine fields of polarized politics.
I guess I hate it so much is because I lived through it once. During the Sixties, at the behest of all the long-haired woke people, I turned my back on tradition, my parents, my spiritual values, and any potential that I might have had in order to follow the Pied Piper of Leftist Thinking while he/she led my friends and I down a primrose path and into a grimy, drug and alcohol fueled, hedonistic, existential existence that I only managed to escape with the help of good woman and the burden placed on my shoulders by impending fatherhood.
I know that there are many thousands, if not millions, of well intentioned people involved in feminism. But their voices are being drown out by the louder background noise of the mainstream media telling stories about the New York Times hiring an editor who publicly stated that she loved to torture old white men and listening to the echo chamber of the left wing news organizations say that all men, especially white men are evil and should hang their heads in collective shame.
It is this chorus, which often echo the arguments first raised in the Sixties, that exposes the fact that now, as in the past, the Women's movement is being utilized by Marxist thinkers in order to push their larger agenda. Essayist Joan Didion pointed the situation out back in the Seventies, "They purged and regrouped and purged again worried about one another's errors or deviations. . . It would be merely sententious to call their thinking Stalinist: of course it was. It would be pointless to even think of whether one considered these women "right" or "wrong," meaningless to dwell upon the obvious, upon the coarsening of moral imagination to which such social idealism so often leads."
In a essay about Didion, entitled Joan Didion, Feminism, and What Women Owe The World, Susan O'Donnell writes, "Didion’s essay (The Women's Movement) acknowledges that at its core, the idea behind feminism was Marxism, a political idea she thought of as, at least, worth discussing on a serious basis."
Both Didion and Paglia are considered apostates by today's feminists although they both created finely tuned arguments back during a time when such women spent a hell of lot more time cogitating than knitting hats out of pink yarn and calling them Pussy Hats.
The difference between them and modern feminists is that they could argue their fine points with the likes of Simone de Beauvoir and Betty Friedan, as well as the male critics of the movement. They could also recognize and acknowledge where the influence of Marxist thought forged the movement into a cudgel to wield in its efforts to rid the world of Capitalism.
Many modern feminists are much more likely to throw out arguments without knowing what the counter arguments would be. They seem to have the same aversion to reasoned debate as a vampire has to garlic. They seem to lack the confidence in their ability to defend their ideas against the simple arguments of right wing talk show hosts.
It was generally believed that the great genius Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn had already effectively punctured the bubble of Marxist moralism. The Gulag Archipelago was first published in 1973. I seriously doubt that there is a single social justice warrior in America today who could tell us what he said.
This seems to indicate fear on part of the leadership that the resolve of their troops is water based and will dissolve in the first heavy rain. They prefer their followers to obey orders like one of Manson's girls and climb columns, place Xs on their head and scream, and to hurl out facts and statistics as fast as Bruce Lee could hurl nunchuks, but when last fact is gone, and the last statistic has been hurled, can they stand, listen and engage in a reasonable debate?
I don't believe so, not as long as they continue to buy into the insane belief that all men are oppressors, religious belief is all nonsense, and that capitalism is the greatest evil of them all. I wish that there was some way to help them understand that there is so much truth contained in what you don't want to hear, truth that helps you to shed weakness and often makes your own ideas much stronger.
It's not the feminist movement that I don't like, it's the willingness of the movement to embrace the hatred of men. They give me no choice.
In such moments, the middle always seems to vanish. The strength of the polar pull is too great and as the tension mounts, unreason rears its ugly head and screams.
Abraham Lincoln was a reasonable man, a great leader who, had more people listened, might have peacefully led this country out of darkness of his age. Martin Luther King Jr. was another great man who was willing to work with his enemies to bring about peaceful and just society.
Many historians have written that World War I didn't have to happen, and if so, World War II, with its wholesale murder of entire populations, might also have been avoided.
In such moments, the middle option always seems to vanish. The strength of the polar pull is too great and as the tension mounts, unreason rears its ugly head, screams, and everybody panics. I told my seventh grade class before the 2016 national election that America was in trouble because there were no candidates standing in the middle. Is this the true promise of the age of virtual reality?
A middle candidate would have looked like Lincoln, King, Gandhi, or Mother Teresa even, someone who possessed greater portions of humility than narcissism, someone who eats shit with shovel because they know that many times they have to be the only adult in the room, and sometimes even in the entire country. We have developed a natural aptitude for killing such people. For some unknown reason, we prefer to listen to those who never tire of informing us how great they are.
Dr. Ian McGilchrist writes in his study of the power struggle between the two brain hemispheres The Master and His Emissary how the ruthlessness of the left brain and its willingness to lie, cheat and steal will eventually lead us to a barren world as the left hemisphere will eventually become wholly engaged in gathering data merely for the sake of gathering data, and the rivers of imagination and creativity will run dry. One of the final messages contained in Oedipus Rex is that it will only be when we have learned to blind ourselves to materialist misconceptions and look inward that true wisdom will return.
Old age is the great divider. Time has a way of pulling us all apart. It sinks us deeper into ourselves as we try harder and harder to figure the whole thing out.
I have become something of an introvert. I read and think so much about things that I exhaust my love of knowing. When I drive to Hanford to visit my mom in the rehab place, I think the whole way over, sit and talk to her about her problems, and then, on the way home, think about the implications that this new information has on my life.
I want to quit thinking as soon as I turn right on 43; I don't use 10th Avenue anymore because of all the bugs and silage debris. I start to wish that I was at the coast listening to the waves, or sitting by a lake drinking a scotch and water.
It all makes me tired as hell and causes me to miss my life with my wife even more. I often feel incompetent and even when I fight back and begin to feel more confident, something always happens that replenishes the reservoirs of my inadequacies. It is nice though to sit outside when the sun is setting and watch my neighbor's palm trees dance. I can place my bare feet squarely on the concrete and relish the warm breeze.
Back inside the house, I sit in my easy chair, and feel my feet dangle over like Lily Tomlin's when she was playing the character of the little girl Edith Ann. Tomlin once said, "We are all in this alone."
There is no middle to being alone.