Spinoza says that ALL things MUST happen exactly as they do because of everything that came before. We humans are a part of nature and not apart from it, and beholden to the same laws. That includes things like how you react to people who look different from you. Or what you will have for lunch tomorrow. Or who we vote for.
I can’t allow myself to slip into despair. It’s just not a place I want to be. So I began looking for a branch to grasp on the slide down that hill. And I turned to, of course, Spinoza. Because what use is philosophy if you can’t use it when you really need it?
We need a new national mythology, one that makes room for all of us. Everyone needs to be able to see themselves in America’s origin story. We need to all be able to take pride in where we came from and how we got here.
Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and James Madison get to form our origin story. In truth, the people who enabled them to have the time, wealth and energy to pursue such things were the ones who did all the hard work and only received punishment and pain in return.
After visiting Monticello at the age of 8, I became a confirmed Thomas Jefferson fangirl. Then, I started to learn about the guy.
My feelings for Jefferson? They became complicated.
And then, they got downright ugly.
Can I be honest, guys? There are moments I don’t recognize my life anymore. I don’t mean moments where I think, “Huh, isn’t this different?” I mean moments of dissociation where I wonder if I’m living the right life, or if I somehow got body-swapped into some other, horrible place and time. Because the life that I’ve been plonked down into is both strangely familiar and terrifyingly foreign, and I don’t want to be a part of it.
I admit to being a bit rusty today — I didn’t even get through a full chapter. I was really susceptible to distraction and procrastinating. But I did it. And that was one step to getting back to my new old normal. And that’s a milestone for me.
So if you feel sad, let yourself feel sad. But don’t lose sight of reason. And try not to lose grip on civility (myself included). If you need to blame someone, blame it on the butterfly.
Distinguishing between your governor and Hitler can be confusing. Here are some questions to consider that will get you pointed in the right direction.
If you want to know, I’m not doing alright. My breathing is fine, my temperature is normal and I am not coughing. But I am not ok.