And Back Again

In the immortal words of Sam Gamgee, “Well, I’m back.”

Like Frodo and Sam in the Lord of the Rings, we’ve all been on a bit of a journey over the past two and a half years. And when I set off for Norway, back in March 2020, I figured I would be gone for a fortnight, and then return to pick up this series of sermons from where I left off. Instead, I returned to Covid19, the lock down and everything that grew out of that. I wrote four sermons, and then just ran out of … well, everything. Try as I might, I couldn’t write, I couldn’t draw, I could hardly function.

It seems I had Long Covid. And by the time the aftereffects of Long Coved began to lift, and I felt like I could write again, I wondered if there was any point in doing this.

But like Sam after the journey to Mount Doom, I find there is a lot of cleaning up to be done, and as far as I can see, the impulse to try and encourage people around me to step back, pay attention, and avoid being a dick whenever possible, is as needed as ever it was. Maybe more. So here I am.

Besides, over the past two and a half years, I’ve been thinking a lot about not just what dickish behavior is, and how to avoid it, but why people want to be dicks in the first place? How does that come about? I mean, really, do people want to be dicks? Why? Because that’s what set me off on the course in the first place. And if we can find out what makes a perfectly nice person act like a dick what can we do to prevent it?  I hope to go into that in the not-to-distant future.

But for right now, I’d like to ask a question. Do we feel that the country is more, or less dickish than it was two years ago? Are we more, or less likely to get angry at people who do things we don’t want them to do? Are we as a country more, or less, tolerant? 

We are just under three weeks away from the mid-term election. Are our politicians presenting us with issues or are they making personal attacks on each other? Are they trying to convince us with argumentation, or frighten us? Do they treat us, the voters, with respect, or as cattle to be herded into their personal voter-pens? And most of all, are they basing their campaigns on the truth, or what are clearly, demonstrably, lies? Trying to gaslight the population is dickishness on an industrial scale.

On the internet, I repeatedly see what are in fact advertisements* masquerading as humorous or entertaining threads about people who are dicks, being attacked by other people, triumphing in the fact that they were able to “get their own back.” Basically, “This Karen thought she was cool, until I humiliated her.” Are we supposed to applaud?

Now I am sure you have heard the phrase, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” In general, most people would agree with that. But in the case of the getting your own back threads, the exact opposite is presented. If you are offended, take that Karen down!

Oh, great, now we’ve got twice as many dicks as before.

So off hand, I’m not going to say for certain the country is any worse than before, but with people out there trying to make being a dick look good, I’m pretty sure it’s not any better.  

We now have countries being military dicks (I’m looking at you, Russia) while corporations are being economic dicks, (they, not the President, set the price of gas) and politicians are apparently trying to have a public pissing contest of who can do the least for the public while pretending to do the most. 

Anyway, like Sam, right now I’m going to sit back for a bit with a dog on my lap and a cup at my elbow and think about what we have been through, in the hope that perhaps we are in the process of learning from the past couple of years. For me, I now believe more than ever that we do not have to be especially good in order to make our lives better. Life isn’t a problem to be solved, whatever the philosophers and economists and politicians would have you believe. All that is necessary is for as many of us as can, as often as we can, just to remember to be mindful, and avoid being a dick.

*Let’s face it, everything on Facebook that isn’t a post from someone you know is almost certainly an ad.

PS. It took me three months to post this, so, yes, things are still going a bit slowly. But then again has anything changed in the last three months? It doesn’t look like it from where I’m sitting.

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