Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I didn't do enough to save them

Succeeding Elements of Selfishness and Acceptance.

As we looked at before, Japan has proven itself able to acknowledge not only what it did wrong, but more essentially, that it did something wrong in the first place. Japan can confess its own sins and take responsibility for the outcome. The west is still obsessed with denying that any sin occurred at all. All the little kids were throwing rocks at each other, but Japan-san was the only student who is able to hang his head before Teacher and say, "I did it, and I'm sorry." The honest repentance is there, and the concomitant self-reflection and improvement accessible only to those who are able to own up to what they've done. Meanwhile, that rowdy gang of hooligans, the Westerson boys, is shrieking at the teacher that it wasn't their fault; that someone else started it; that they didn't throw a single rock; that everyone else is a doody-head; that so-and-so is a liar; that they were trying to stop the fight, except that they were actually doing their homework during the time in question; and in fact, teacher, we wasn't even there! ...with all the concomitant arrogance of the father of lies.

To some extent, portions of French society have been able to admit, "We have a problem with War." Hundreds of years ago, thousands of years ago, many other peoples, most particularly in "the east," have been able to do this same thing. Those places look so non-innovative and clannish to boorish Americans because of their very maturity, in the way that a snotty little brat might accuse a peaceful monk of being "stupid" or "boring."

Japan says, "I'm sorry for what I did." The West says, "I did nothing wrong. I am sorry that I wasn't able to prevent others from doing as much wrong as they did. My only regret is that my pure-hearted intervention was not able to save the people who died before I got there, at great personal expense, to save them." That is the sound of a single crocodile teardrop hitting the strings of the smallest violin in the world.

This incredibly dumbass propaganda--the "I could've done more" argument--is endlessly fruitful for western elites. That's why it is so common for western narrative heroes (Superman, Batman, Schindler, Rick on The Walking Dead, etc.) to feel bad not for anything they did, but to regret primarily that they couldn't do more. America is the man who claims he has never sinned, and that his only error is that he is not all-powerful enough to save every single person who needs saving. He rushed into the burning building to rescue 100 children, was nearly burned to death, saves 99 of the children, and while the rest of the world celebrates what a hero he is, the movie shows him mourning for being unable to do more. "Why am I so weak?" sobs Anglo-hero. "If only I'd been alive in 1776, I could have freed all the slaves! If only I controlled every single variable of existence, my godlike, innate, and total unstained goodness could have solved every problem ever!"

Batman saves Gotham a hundred times, is feared and hated by the populace, and gives his entire life over to the selfless doing of good. Ten years later, while Batman is recovering from six major surgeries to recover from his latest battle with some supervillain, a dog is hit by a car on the other end of the city. And we're supposed to believe that Batman's otherwise-amazing psyche spends years grappling with the question of, "Why didn't I save that puppy?"

American cinema occasionally, cognizantly, satirizes the "Wish I could've done more to help" hero, and how annoying he is to keep whining about things that weren't his fault, even as it produces more and more stories showing how the hero's greatest drawback is his inability to be omnipotent as well as omnibenevolent.

"I didn't do enough to save them" is the way people rationalize Bush's murders, or Obama's murders, without admitting to their own bloodthirsty vicariousness. "Oh, Obama doesn't want to hurt people, and it troubles him deeply. He's forced to do it because he's trying to do his best to save the world, but because he's not all-powerful, obstructionist Republicans forced him to order a strike on a neighborhood that killed fourteen children under 5 years of age. And then he feels really, really bad about it. Just like Batman did when that one dog got hit by a car while he was powerless to stop it."

The West can only criticize itself indirectly, through science fiction. Only by crafting futuristic dystopias is the West able to begin, in the least-responsible way possible, to broach the idea that some elements of its society may be on a course to become real mistakes at a later time. The West says, "Decades, centuries, or millennia later, it might be possible that our personal liberties could be threatened by an unintended snowball effect of our current well-meaning culture." Naturally, these fantasies exonerate the now-versions of Us even as they make a vicariously hyperbolic subconscious confession of what we already know we're doing.

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