‘I’d noticed soon after starting the job that whenever I got angry at the same things as everyone else, they all seemed happy … There was a strange sense of solidarity as everyone seemed pleased that I was angry too.’ ~ CONVENIENCE STORE WOMAN
Convenience Store Woman is story for outsiders and free-thinkers. Subtly profound, as one writer put it. A reminder how the world thrives on conformity, and that being different is a currency that pays dividends much later, if at all. A reminder (and this is Yours Truly going on a tangent) that the pervading norms are based on the teachings and/or legacy of past dissidents — individuals deemed agitators or outsiders, at best, if not public enemies of some kind at the time they operated.
Note: I know that the above may come across as an endorsement of populism, Trumpism etc. Not so! On the contrary, it’s an endorsement of free thinking, a reminder that Jesus Christ was a terrorist by yesterday’s standards, and so was Socrates. So was Joan of Arc. So were the Founding Fathers of the USA — but …
They were good terrorists, useful agitators and upstarts. They didn’t do as other people did, and had a mind of their own. They challenged the status quo in a way that moved the world forward.
How do we differentiate between good terrorists and bad terrorists?
Time, mostly. Acumen, discernment, common sense — a sense of history and science, decency and manifest destiny — a sense of the future and what it holds — a sense of the past and where we came from, what we have learned in the process, what we have internalized and normalized, which brings us back to time. In time we find the answers we seek, and embrace a number of heretofore controversial and challenging approaches, turning them into the new norms. We let the past inform (but not determine — or undermine) the future. We look out for the difference between the temporarily useful and the downright rotten.
We hail not Hitler but Churchill, not Crowley but Jesus.
We espouse the dialectics of Socrates in the name of logic and illumination.
We embrace the open society of Popper and the paradigm revolutions of Kuhn.
We seek answers in Lao Tzu and Confucius, embracing what makes sense in the here and now, what seems to lead to the future on a trajectory of progress and improvement. We gobble up today’s limitations with yesterday’s ideas — some of which may have been ahead of their time — digesting controversy with the aid of knowledge and experience, invaluable hindsight. Yesterday’s unimaginable propositions have been filtered, the toxic out of the way (in part) (it’s a grueling process), the useful added to the mix, nourishment for the times ahead, and forward we move, sometimes in unison, other times as rogues.
As for Trump and Con …
Part 2 to follow