An Inconvenient Perception

Isabella Rossellini

Isabella Rossellini and Friends

I read once somewhere that much of the violence inflicted upon the world is at the hands of young men who have never held a job or a girl’s hand.

For some reason the comment comes back to me with a sad ring of truth. Perhaps it’s triggered by the fact that today my son, a highly trained Navy nurse, is being deployed to a war zone.

Too many young men throughout the world are trapped in circumstances which, at a pivotal time in their development — adolescence and early adulthood — give them little or no outlet for the restless energies and ambitions that come awake in those years. Their cultures stifle them with lack of education, lack of careers, and with social and institutional mores that do not facilitate, perhaps even actively discourage, constructive interaction with females.

One-Woman Riot

One-Woman Riot

Such men, in their young prime, stew with impotence, boredom and frustration; they become marks for exploitation by older men of a different sort — ideologues, fanatics, criminals, tyrants, myrmidons. And of course a percentage of the exploited young men turn into the next generation of thugs who exploit… young men.

Woman Conversing With Riot Police

Woman Conversing With Riot Police

It’s hard to see a way out of the global syndrome of undeclared wars, endemic conflict, and fleeing masses of people unless and until the reactionary, repressive, defensive measures widely resorted to by governing entities give way to attempts, however tentative, to remedy the underlying causes of dysfunction and turmoil at their source. Those causes are tiresomely familiar in the recitations of fools like me: poverty, ignorance, injustice, gender discrimination, greed…. The litany begins to sound almost biblical.

Close Encounter

Close Encounter.

I resist most impulses to use my little blog for venting about inconvenient perceptions that don’t obviously correlate to art or language. I lost this particular skirmish with myself, but I’ll carry on the fight to say mostly nice things here and save despair for my pillow.

Copyright (c) 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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3 Responses to An Inconvenient Perception

  1. Eric Wayne says:

    No, this is an interesting post. We now know that your son is off to a war zone, for instance, in which case you get to grapple a lot more with issues of war and geography and global conflicts than you might otherwise.

    Plus, I learned the appealing word myrmidon.

    Your litany could include tribalism, ideology, narratives and belief structures, ah, and my favorite root causes, greed and it’s underpinning, selfishness. You generously left out stupidity. An old friend of mine always prattled on about “lack of imagination”, and I think he was really onto something. Throw in compassion and empathy, which require imagination. And then there’s the opposite concept of the “other” and projecting onto the other rather than trying to understand.

    War reminds us that the struggle to survive and the struggle to be well-adjusted may not be at all compatible in many instances. It’s a lot to ask of an individual to survive and also to be nice.

  2. Well said. Yes, we have ideas about what we think we’re going to say or do (create) and then something slips out that just has to see the light. (I think despair is pretty well universal, whether we acknowledge it or club our way through it.)

    • JMN says:

      Your remark is sensible and sensitive. I really appreciate it. “Clubbing” one’s way through despair is an apt turn of phrase. I try to “curate” (trendy word) what I post as much as possible so as not to just open my kimono indiscriminately.

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