Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Duality Part One

A hippie lives on the other side of my window.

An older man with an obnoxiously loud generator that runs several times a day dwells often on his 2nd story terrace that directly faces my kitchen window. Today, as I moved into my kitchen to fix dinner, I caught this man staring at me from his outdoor siesta center. He sports a long gray beard and a ponytail of equally substantial length.

When I found his eyes watching mine, I reacted. I averted the stare. I was embarrassed and instantly felt judged.

Why? Why should I suspect the worst from the aged stranger?

In this particular case, my thoughts were built off my guilt, for you see, I have been very lazy with my kitchen over the last few weeks. I rarely have guests in my li'l cavern, so the tendency has been to let dishes build up and take care of business only when I feel overtly compelled to do so. But this comes at a cost. When Mr. Slovenian-Hippie-Man stares in at my kitchen, I experience emotions that are built on fear and inner judgment of my messiness.
I'm currently 62% of the way through Ayn Rand's great philosophical outing, Atlas Shrugged. For a great length of the novel, Rand slings character after character at us that are based off of the ideals that she despises. These people demand much, offer little, and always speak of blame. The end goal for a Randian antagonist is that the individual do enough work and/or weaseling to be free of blame. The insinuation then is that they are escaping their own self-directed demons of self-esteem. Rand would say that true, passionate work frees us from the chains of personal condemnation. It's an epic love letter to the workaholic.

When we arrive at the answer of who John Galt is, we discover that those of whom Ayn Rand praises are those who show no pain of guilt. No regret. No sin.

What is clearly depicted in the novel is the two-casted world: those who can be free of guilt, and those who blame others to escape their own guilty soulness. It's a two-party system.

Why do we move towards dichotomies so quickly? Because we see it in nature. Perhaps the most primitive of these is the alive/dead thing. You are either alive or dead. You gotta sign up for one party or another...

And then we come to the offer of eternal life. Many religions, and most certainly Christianity, speak of two options for man. Heaven or hell. There are vessels of wrath and jars of clay. The innocent and the guilty. You are in or your out.

I should not be embarrassed when the Bearded Aged Hipster stares at me. If I'm doing good, then I have no need to fear or resent him. All my actions should have that freedom to be discovered; everything for the light.

How often I have thought to myself, "No one would blame me if I called in sick tomorrow."

Postscript: The last act of Shopgirl is a wad of bullocks.

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