What I’ve Been Up To: November ’17 to March ‘18 – [4/4]

March, 2018



As I said, these are new thoughts for me, and I’m still mulling them over.  It’s . . . complicated.  It’s even more complicated than that.  Yet I think that these are accurate assessments. I also think that the things I’m describing will be my most important legacy.  My guitars will be sought and bought and sold at high prices, and many people will make more money off them than I ever have.  And maybe some day someone will write a book about me.  

But the air will be foul; the water will be putrid; the oceans will be dead and full of plastic (there is reputedly an “island” of plastic the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean; currents have carried the waste from many nations there).  Most of the species of animals [we don’t actually know how many there are; new ones are being discovered all the time even now] will be gone; Nature’s food chain will have been COMPLETELY disrupted; the rivers and the land will be polluted. Shame on us.

I can hear some of you thinking, oh, come off it; sure that’s all a little bit true; but it’s not ALL true. Don’t be such a bleeding heart.  Well . . . I think that a little bit of any or all of this is way too much.  It’s not really what I signed on for.  Or, you might also be thinking, oh stop being such a purist; everybody and every country that can does things like that.  Hmmmmm.  Is this helpful?

See, the thing is, I actually think about this stuff.

I quipped in my last posting “that if Trump and Kim Jung Un don’t destroy us first”.  This is a thought that I find utterly horrifying . . . and possible. Trump himself, before he ran for office, was described in one of the New York magazines as being “a wounded monster”.  That he is. He’s a psychopath and a narcissist. I don’t know what Kim Jung Un is, but he’s scary too.

Let me explain what the above terms mean.  The DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) is the Bible of the mental health field; it contains the diagnoses, and language that can be used to describe the inner workings of someone who has come to attention of the mental health network.  When I was in grad school studying clinical psych we were on DSM III-R (Third version, Revised). That got replaced by DSM IV; and we’re currently using DSM-V. The diagnoses and categories of mental abnormality have shifted; for instance, homosexuality was classified as a mental disease in DSM-I.  That has changed, of course.

In DSM-III-R sociopaths and psychopaths were considered to be different categories.  The difference was that a sociopath would lie, cheat, manipulate, charm, and worm his way to getting what he (or she) wanted.  The psychopath would feel no compunction about harming you to get what he wanted, if you stood in his way. In DSM-V these categories have been blended into a single one, with the sociopaths and the psychopaths simply being on different parts of a spectrum that encompassed all such personalities.  

While Republicans may disagree with this it is clear that Mr. Trump lies, has no interest in nor skills in governing, has no conscience or impulse control, is pathologically thin-skinned, and is vindictive and malicious.  And dangerous. He frightens me; he’s essentially no different from Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Joe McCarthy, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Mike Pence, or Putin.

Equally troubling is that no one in the media seems horrified.  They just keep on reporting on business as usual, while the comedians keep getting paid for mocking plentifully but impotently.

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This all leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.  So I’ll tell a joke of sorts.

A company CEO is dealing with taxes at year’s end, and tells his accountant to prepare the necessary paperwork.  The accountant spends two weeks getting all the numbers together and delivers them to the boss, and says that it’s all there except for a $200 discrepancy that can’t be accounted for.

The boss says to go back over the figures and find the source of the error.  The accountant goes back to work to look through the numbers, receipts, bills, invoices, payroll records, etc. again.

A week later he reports back to the boss, saying that he can’t find the reason for the discrepancy.  He says, “Boss, I don’t get it. You’re paying me a lot more than $200 to find this thing. This company makes more than a million dollars a year.  So what’s the big deal about this $200?”

The boss says, “well . . . I know we make more than a million dollars a year . . . but the truth is that I don’t really understand a million dollars.  But two hundred dollars: THAT I understand!”

Ecce Trump.  He doesn’t understand the job he got voted into his office for.  But an eight-year-old schoolgirl criticizing him? THAT he understands.

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I grew up in Mexico.  I remember being in a park one day, when I was young.  I had to go to the rest-room building. When I got there I saw that, like many construction projects in Mexico, this one had not been completed: it was a large bare room without toilets or sinks or toilet paper or any other bathroom paraphernalia . . . and the floor was completely covered with piles of human shit.  People had found a bare spot, squatted down, and dumped their load.  I didn’t make that mess; but when I listen to the news I feel like I have to go into a room like that.  That’s sort of what I feel like these days. I didn’t go into that particular bathroom, by the way; I held it in.  

I’m holding it in on different levels and in different ways, these days.  And as I said, when I started out making guitars many years ago . . . I had no suspicion whatsoever of any of this ever being so.

Wow.  If I were a real Buddhist I’d be in the present and not concern myself with this stuff.

More later,