The Identity Pendulum

Even in this darkness,
Where one gets the feeling
That the evil fashion of the day
Is viler than the market will truly
Bear in the long run—
And that the wearied masses are,
For the most part,
Just quietly going with the flow—
Some for just not caring much,
And others for fear of the backlash
They know would befall any protester—
Where what is supposed to be
Generously accepted by all today
Would have been a scandal had it been
Even whispered about by our grandparents—

Even in these dark years,
There are some trends of twistedness,
Some insane notions,
Some foolish ideas
That will eventually succumb
To the rigors of being pushed too long uphill
By demented souls with nothing to lose,
And with money to burn—
But then, I repeat myself—,
In their quest to run us all out of
Our possessions and places in this world,
So that they may have more of
What they already have,
Which amounts to billions of dollars’ worth
Of billions of dollars.

And the pendulum will turn
And swing back the other way—
Toward the middle, as pendula do—
Though the scoundrels have pushed it
So very hard with their ill-gotten gains.
Back towards obscurity it will go,
Though it leave behind it
A generation bruised and scarred
In its wake.

And people will wonder at how
There was, once upon our time,
A time when girls believed they were boys,
And boys believed they were girls,
And when some of each believed they were neither,
And when they dared us to say it wasn’t so—
Or when, whenever these ideas grew mundane,
They even dared us to say they were not animals.

They will wonder that anyone ever
Found in such notions
The promise of a better life
Than they might have made in
Making the best of what they had.

They will wonder at us,
Just as we wonder at those
Who drank the Kool-Aid,
Who were intoxicated with the Weimar decadence,
And who tolerated the Inquisition.
And they will wonder if our generation
Had not read The Emperor’s New Clothes.

“What was wrong with those people?”,
They will ask.
And the answer will echo back across history,
“We were an empty people,
As empty as the powermongers who
Taught us to think as we did. And so,
We believed these things for a time,
Until it was clear that it would not
Fill the emptiness,
And until we grew too weary of
Telling the lie ourselves.
And then we quit—
Most of us.”

Though this world is not anxious
To be righteous,
There are depths of wickedness
Into which she is not eager
To plunge, either.
Just as most—
Not all, mind you, but most—
Are uncomfortable to be
“Too righteous”,
So are they uncomfortable with
Too much wickedness,
And would rather live somewhere in between.

And time will tell.
And many will see
That the identity game
Wasn’t all it was cracked up to be—
Not only because it failed to deliver
The happiness it promised,
But because it broke its own rule,
Inasmuch as the one was free to
See himself however he would,
While the other was not free
To disagree with that view.
It was the tyranny of the few—
A failed coup against the masses—
Played out by chess masters
Mostly invisible to the pieces on the board,
Who believe it to be their own struggle,
And who have no sense that they
Are being played.

But the world will see, for the most part,
And will go back to being unhappy
About responsibility,
And to vying against it in
More ordinary ways.
And she’ll go back to the sins
That were respectable in our grandparents’ day,
And will try to satisfy herself with those for a time,
Until the next big lie is rolled out for mass consumption,
At which time the empty and mindless of that day
Will be just as likely to be taken in by it
As are our own in this present day—
Whenever the promise of happiness is so large
That it overwhelms their ability to reason.

And it is a wonder any of us
Can see through this—
We hapless characters in this play—
Fooled by this,
If not by that.
But the cry of Wisdom still echoes in the streets,
And some still listen to her—
Sometimes, at least—
And glean some knowledge from time to time.
And life is not so bad in her view,
And has not only its ugliness
But its beauty as well.

But they’ll not find much of it,
Those pouters who find beauty
Mostly in make-believe,
Where they fancy themselves a
Full entitlement, not only to whatever
They may wish of themselves,
But also to the acceptance of everyone else.
They find the biggest threat
To their identity
To be the voice of the naysayer—
That is, to the voice of reason
They have already run off from
Within their own selves.

Woe to those who push
The absurd idea,
As to those who
Wreck themselves
Believing it.
But what of us whose society
Is so vacuous as to send
So many young
Off in search of
A make-believe existence?
Have we nothing good
With which to fill them up?

19360cookie-checkThe Identity Pendulum

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