I was told this past weekend, by someone close to me, that I have a problem. She told me that I have a tendency to compare everything and that that’s the only way I know how to speak of things. She said that when I make decisions I have to explain why the alternative was the worst decision on the planet instead of simply sloughing off old skin and growing in new directions –that it always has to be a dramatic scale of good vs. evil. While I normally get defensive when confronted with things she notices, I decided not to react- instead I decided to ruminate and see if it hit home. It did. I started to think about conversations I’ve had or things I’ve written over the years and I saw the pattern clearly. Immediately I started thinking about why I do this. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that it was almost impossible not to compare things.
Not only are comparisons shoved in our faces all day long, but our entire system is based on them. Out of the mouths of people who are voting for Obama, the most common reasoning is “he’s not Romney.” Sure, they say, Obama is responsible for a lot of bad shit, but Romney would be worse. While I don’t know many people voting for Romney (ultimately I’d like to not know a lot of people who even vote, but there I go comparing my current life with the future again), the main thing I’ve heard is that he’s better than Obama. The reason why so many people came out and voted for Obama in the first place was because he wasn’t Bush and was better than McCain. Most Democrats I know constantly point to Romney’s lies or any character flaw he might have. It’s rare I hear them discussing a list of Obama’s accomplishments.
Taking things even further than that, how does anything get a monetary value? When I look out my window and I see a tree growing, I don’t see dollar signs. If I’m forced to think of its value, I think about the oxygen it cleans, the shade it provides, or the feeling I get from leaning against it. When I turn to the next tree, I don’t compare it; I simply enjoy it for what it is. Yet, when that tree is turned into paper or a dresser, it suddenly has a value. The only way to get this value is to compare it to other things. If nothing in the world had monetary value, there would be no way to take an apple and say, “this is worth X much dollars”. It would simply be an apple.
Not only are we taught to compare everything, but often we are told that there are only two options. Right now the United States is in involved in dozens of bombing campaigns throughout all the corners of the world. All of this under the umbrella of The War on Terror. Both Bush and Obama use the same rhetoric when they say that we are fighting the evildoers, or axis of evil, or enemy combatants, or whatever their speechwriters decide is the phrase of the moment. We are so trained to think in terms of comparison that our fearless leaders do not even need to inform us that the US is good, it’s implied. If we are fighting people who are evil, then naturally we must be good.
I don’t know how we the people can escape from this. It’s part of something so much bigger than many of us seem to see. We’re too busy fighting over Democrat and Republican to see clearly, arguing over what gas prices were during Clinton, Bush, or Obama, or which candidate is going to take money from you and your children and other forms of manipulative bullshit. I wish I had a solution, but I guess all I can do is recognize it in myself (with the help of others) and try to bring it to the attention of others.
NEWS OF THE DAY:
More former workers of KBR (read: Haliburton) are dying because all these companies care about is profit. Where are all the people screaming about supporting the troops? Do they really mean support the war profiteers, but are too stupid to realize it?
Speaking of vets, it is becoming less and less legal to be homeless in the United Snakes. Since so many of the nation’s homeless are vets, I ask the same question as above.