THE BLOG

Easy to Be Ugly

05/28/2014 05:30 pm ET | Updated Jul 28, 2014

The world, it seems, is ugly.

One could argue that it's always been; one could also argue that never more than in modern history has that ugliness been given such free rein, spurred perhaps by a detachment from responsibility for one's fellow, by the sheer effort selflessness seems to require; spurred perhaps by a culture's dependence on the physical rather than the spiritual, by the twice election of a black president, the living embodiment of the scary dark nights which haunt the white tribal imagination.

Yes, the good vs. evil dynamic has been at play since God first created The Big Bang (see what I did there?), an essential relationship boiled down to pain vs. pleasure and then reconfigured into endless variations. Hard to tell at the end of the day if there's been a truly equitable division given the many generations of good people suffering at the hands of the bad. The end of the day hasn't come yet, though it's been close.

The Jekyll & Hyde/push me-pull me is at its mitosis point, the span of skin which unites the disparate sides of the dynamic is at the peak of its elasticity. How? Why?

As our nation seems to be continually forced to contend with the consequences of our collective streak of juvenile impulses (bullying, pride, greed) rebellion becomes more pronounced. Why the shrill pushback against helping the poor, the disenfranchised, the oppressed? Why the fetishizing of violence, the assertion of people to remain malignantly narcissistic? It's as if the nation is behaving the way a spoiled brat would, having become drunk on too much privilege, too much vanity, having forgotten the roots of it's steep, rapidly attained primacy. The pattern is played out every day in the textbook rises and falls of the newly celebrated and suddenly wealthy: sense is jettisoned for the sensual, the wallet overpowers the will, hormones hijack the heart and the head.

Conflating rules with slavery, as some do when decrying regulation of industry as an obstacle to profit, points more to the personal inadequacies of the complainers than to the unsound ideology they represent. After all, nature herself has rules without which there would be chaos. Does nature therefore enslave? Attacking the helpless and branding the victims as weak is nothing more than a clear projection on the part of those who themselves are too weak to confront their own deficiencies, their own culpability. Luxuriating in neuroses, finding a comforting embrace in fear--these are byproducts of a culture which fixates on pain rather than healing. It is this fixation on the negative side of the dynamic which keeps humanity and its potential at mud-level.

In the end, all the aggressively contrarian philosophy in the world will not stay the immutable balance which nature perpetually demonstrates, nor will it justify the current trend of angry and frightened people embracing their lowest impulses, which result in conflict and destruction, both on the individual and collective level. And thankfully, there is more of the beauty than of the ugly.

For now.