We grow up hearing this message. It sinks into our brain, our attitude, and our being, from the very beginning until the end of our life. It impacts the way we think and how we live our lives. I know this because I am no different. We don’t want to admit the truth and instead, we try to convince ourselves that we’re head-strong and free. For freedom is our birthright – it gives us the ability to make our own decisions naturally and without interference from other people. It is a matter of pride that we can decide things for ourselves.
However, what if it’s only our imagination? I’m talking about that silly hope, that we’re a ‘privileged species.’ That we have a unique kind of consciousness that is so different from the tree behind our house, an angry bear, or a patient spider. After all, we’re not one of them. We are free to choose how to live our lives.
But how free is this freedom?
Well, I don’t want to sound too negative or extreme here, but so far, any developed and civilised society on Earth has taught us that we can’t make the right decision on our own. Rather that we must trust ‘those great rulers’ with, a) an exceptional education, b) a high social standing, c) a damn long speech with meaningless statements.
Only ‘they’ know the truth. Only ‘they’ can save us from being weak, mean, mentally unstable, and even blind to ourselves.
On the other side, all great civilizations also experienced troubles. As proposed in the book ‘Science, Liberty, And Peace,’ written by Aldous Huxley, a decentralization of power, property, production, or population, wouldn’t cure us or transform our present situation. At least not in our current state of mind. It could bring chaos. It could bring many more problems. They’re laws, after all…
This is what we say to ourselves because it’s easier.
It’s a funny thing how we crave change, and yet at the same time, we’re scared to take the first step towards it. Our environment and the way we grow up (often hating ourselves), teaches us to feel ashamed 24/7 for something we didn’t do. Perhaps for being too different, or for being too shy, too angry, too free, or too peaceful. And so, we continue to live in a seemingly normal but truthfully insane world, because we choose to believe the message that society and government have fed to us over and over again: ‘You are weak, let us help you.’
We choose to vote for security instead of liberty, and at the same time our subconscious hesitates, innately opposing such rigid and controlling ‘help’. Here’s the contradiction – the abscess in the heart of the universe. That’s why any civilisation, whether that be – past, present or future – will end up in ruins. And this is what I see in the books, The War on Women, Sue Lloyd-Roberts (the only book this year that made me cry), The Break, Katherena Vermette, Metabolical: The Truth About Processed Food and How It Poisons People and the Planet, Dr. Robert Lustig, and The Survivors, Jane Harper.
Well, I may be biased, I admit that. I’ve always liked Jane Harper ever since her first novel The Dry. Her latest book is 100% commercial, the vibe of delicious, strange slowness is gone, but still, it is very raw and intense. The book is about shame, how to deal with daily mistakes, and recognising that we’re naturally drawn to ‘temptation,’ and so in the end, everything has its price. I enjoyed this novel though, because it was as close to our reality as it can get. I recommend it to:
- people who grew up in the small towns, villages
- people who suffered from bullying
- families who lost a child
- people who blame themselves daily (for any damn reason)
- social services working with kids
- small-town police force
The Break by Katherena Vermette, is a truly challenging (tough) book about an indigenous Metis community in modern Canada, both young and old, single and married. They are all connected by a mysterious attack on an isolated strip of land called, THE BREAK.
In the past two months, I have also read:
- Saturday the rabbi went hungry, Harry Kemelman
- The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity, Douglas Murray – (interesting interpretation of the social groups ‘fighting for justice,’ and the crowds that those groups create, often with a quite different outcome in the end. Why (or how) the social movement that starts as a trend with a solid wish to bring change to the world, can actually do more damage than benefit? And can we blame them? Do we have the right to blame them?)
- The Insanity of Normality, Arno Gruen
- The Broken Shore, Peter Temple (wonderful plain writing style with rich details) – from bookshop.se in Uppsala, for my request: the books about crimes in small Australian towns
- Woman: Splendor and Sorrow, Gabriela Marie Milton – absolutely delicious poetry book. Check the blog Shortprose Blog on WP
- The War against Bacteria by Erik Martiniussen (about the resistance to antibiotics, I’m reading it in Swedish, translation from Norwegian) – a new book from the Bonniers book club
- An Evening with Claire by Gaito Gazdanov, Russian émigré writer compared with Proust. You can find more info about the author here – Los Angeles Review of Books
- Confessions of a Yakuza: A Life in Japan’s Underworld by Junichi Saga – secondhand catch via bokborsen.se
- Pomona Queen by Kem Nunn – about a murderous, drug-crazed biker in a Southern California barrio
- Chapman: a sadistic love story, River Dixon. The blog The Stories in Between on WP
Let me finish this post with the quote of Henry Miller: We are so “sane” that if we were to pass ourselves on the road we would not recognize ourselves because the self confronting us would be so frightening.
Next post – The Story of Harmless Bullet, chapter 24