Let’s see, today is Saturday, right? So, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, four days since the US election. You all may be elated, you may be in mourning, maybe angry, maybe trying to calm down. You’ve been bombarded by news about this event and by other people’s difficult feelings about it.
So today I am not going to discuss America’s election directly.
When you are 60 you develop a certain capacity for self-observation. As though your blood and guts and feelings shrink away from the racing neurons of thought, leaving space. I’ve been observing my reaction to the events of November 8th and I’ve learned something about myself. Maybe you’ve done the same.
From the time I woke up in the middle of the night to check the results until maybe some time yesterday afternoon I felt kind of like I did on 9/11. Don’t get all wound up, I’m not saying the events were the same, but my feelings were. Apocalyptic.
However on 9/11 it was clear to me that I had no agency. I didn’t cause it, I couldn’t fix it. I planted a red, white and blue flower bed, finding comfort in the fact that for a brief while we all wanted to wave the flag. And then, what with children at home and a job in an office, I moved on.
This time I feel that I can have an impact. And that changes everything.
It was so fascinating guys, at least for anyone who is a student of the processes of self. My first impulse was to analyze. I didn’t cry, or mourn. I wanted numbers. I needed a data-driven picture in my mind of what had happened. Who, where, why? I read on Twitter, and in the media, voraciously.
But concurrently, I had to speak out to able to comprehend. Almost as though my words precede my understanding. Again on Twitter. My fingers were flying. Apparently I think by talking. Who knew? Oh, yeah, you guys.
Finally, I needed to know what I was going to do. Action also makes me feel better in times of emergency. I needed a plan, and the plan needed me to tack a conceptual model on the virtual wall. So I did, over here. Only go read that if you feel as I do about this election, otherwise it’s going to make you mad and/or tired.
So, this is a lot of talking about the fairly inconsequential emotional and cognitive responses of a newly-old white lady with financial resources living in a liberal enclave of the United States. Not, perhaps, of universal value.
But you, you are of value. You and how you respond to these events, and your feelings about these events, and most importantly, your understanding of your feelings about these events, you matter.
One more piece of self-analysis, that I won’t do here but think about a lot. What are the emotional underpinnings of my political beliefs? Not this candidate, or that policy, but how do my deep convictions about human nature guide my opinions? I ask you the same question about yourself.
I feel sure that ignorance is bad, clarity is good. Even experiences of great pain, as long as they aren’t so bad that you shut down, bring us clarity. Pay some attention to what you feel, and don’t take the easy answer for why. Examine. Deconstruct. And, then, if you have time and space in your life, act.
On to the weekend. My best affection to all of you.