Saturday, July 29, 2017

`What Can Be Called Evasion?'

“You gotta take sides. There is no neutral.”

So I have been instructed by an anonymous reader. He/she (I suspect he) means politics, of course, the most contagious and treatment-resistant pathogen. The eight words cited recall Eldridge Cleaver’s much-quoted bid to impose a binary scheme on the human race. Such thinkers detest our errant sloppiness and resistance to simplified classifications. Politics is the disease that tells you you don’t have a disease. I’m with Michael Oakeshott as he writes in Notebooks, 1922-86 (Imprint Academic, 2014):

“A general interest & preoccupation with politics is the surest sign of a general decay in a society. A universal preoccupation with rights, interests, affairs of government, political questions in general is fatal to the public peace & individual happiness.”

Even better, because less explicit, is a poem by Dick Davis, “Going Home” (Touchwood, Anvil Press, 1996):

“What can be called evasion?
Is it to go away?
Or to ignore the world
And like a limpet stay

“Stuck to the self-same rock?
Whichever you decide
--Resistance to the waves,
Surrender to the tide—

“What you will not evade
Is doubt accusing you
Of infinite evasion
In all you say and do.”

As an old friend once told me after I finished eviscerating some fool: “It's OK. He’s just a human.”

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