The B̶a̶n̶a̶l̶i̶t̶y̶ Evil Of E̶v̶i̶l̶ Banality (Preamble)

You may recall that I, very recently, threatened you with with something sensible.

Oh, alright then, I explained … for the benefit of recent new viewers … that normal service would soon be resumed.

I did, however, warn them … and, therefore, by extension, the rest of you, … that that occasionally included something sensible.

In a wide ranging, thought-provoking and fun discussion with Aura Wilming, in which even I occasionally had something sensible to say, one matter that came up has set a snowball rolling … and provoked an avalanche of thoughts.

Actually, multiple matters came up, one of which was the nature of Evil, about which I said I felt I was going to have to write something.

That will involve my writing an exposition (and, probably, diatribe) about ‘Cluster B’ personality disorders. That will lead to some expounding upon Society, Anarchy and Politics … possibly even Ponerology. Which will lead to a sidestep to Physics and the laws of Thermodynamics. Artificial Life research will be yet another diversion off the beaten track. Reification and Systemantics will get a look-in. Somewhere in there it will occur to me that I need to mention Neurotransmission, Long Term Potentiation and the way the brain works. Suddenly I’ll be sidelined by the need to discuss Cartesian Dualism, Solipsism, Blindsight, Corpus Callostomies, the half-second delay on human consciousness, Ontology and Epistemology, Semantics and Pragmatics, Moral Philosophy, quite possibly Karl Wittgenstein, Jean-Paul Sartre, George Orwell, Hannah Arendt, Aldous Huxley, mind altering substances and any number of strangely relevant people and matters that have yet to occur to me but surely will as I write. <EDIT> Such as The Stepford Wives, Apple Inc. and the biblical parable of the talents.</EDIT>

Oddly though, although I have frequently written about many, if not all, of these matters and have long intended to collate all that material, marshaling it into a coherent order and joining the dots, so to speak, it was the Emily Dickinson philosophy of “If you have nothing good to say, don’t say it here” that was the real impetus for what I am going to attempt to write — oh, the irony.

Leaving aside questions of ethics, let alone morality, that’s a sound philosophy.

In the workplace, for instance, your career success may depend more upon how people perceive you than upon how well you perform your daily duties and, in a toxic environment, not offending the right people might just be what keeps you out of the lines for Welfare ‘handouts’.

In a toxic personal relationship your psychological and/or physical well being may depend upon your keeping quiet and saying nothing lest it provide your partner with reason to make you wish you hadn’t asked them what they wanted for dinner — this is especially the case if you are a woman and that punch in the mouth felt all too real.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

On the Internet … where people may make death-threats, offer to have you gang-raped and all manner of other niceties that leave you feeling that, some days, it just isn’t worth chewing through the leather straps … even leaving aside the very real danger of doxxing, it’s just plain sound advice not to say things to people you don’t know, who may be offended, hurt or even triggered into mental/emotional breakdown by something you thought innocuous … even (lightheartedly) amusing … but which they took entirely the wrong way and/or to heart.

However … and, again, I’m getting ahead of myself here … it risks another evil — that of banality.

Banality, yes …. because opening your mouth and saying anything at all … to anyone … anywhere … ever … risks, however inadvertently, causing offence and/or pain to someone, somewhere at some point in your/their life — potentially even resulting in pain of your own … or, in extremis, your death. And, given that it is better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and confirm it, a closed mouth gathers no feet … so it’s just best all around if we all keep our tongues tied, our thoughts and feelings to ourselves, keep our heads down, discuss the weather and how bus services used to be so much more reliable when we were younger, never speak up about oppression, politics, prejudice, injustice or indeed anything at all that might be perceived to be, however trivially, controversial, get up, go to work, go home, go to bed … get up, go to work, go home, go to bed … get up, go to work, go home, go to bed … get up, go to work, go home, retire and die. Because that is surely the best of all possible worlds, no? Everyone is calm and no-one ever gets upset, never mind offended, let alone hurt. There is never any upset, let alone anger, never mind conflict. I, you, we, they, everybody will be all the happier for it and the World will be a quotidien paradise of the ordinaire. It’s assuredly better to live a hundred years as an ant than one day as a grasshopper, is it not? And I’m sure we’d all agree that, when the day’s equivalent of the Nazis come for your neighbours, it’s best to look the other way and not draw attention to ourselves — you just see what happens to those who don’t!

It’ll be rainbows lollipops and sunshine all day, every day.

Here … have some Soma …

So, being very busy as I am with a number of very serious things [1]

… many of which …

… were I to bore us all to death with the details of the tragicomedy that I, in moments of unbridled optimism, absurdly refer to as my ‘life’ … only to then remember … oh, God … I remember!

… are the reasons why my imaginary therapist told me to “pull yourself together, man!

… no … wait … would leave you all stunned at my superhuman fortitude [4].

… it’s all going to take some time. And may be written out of order and, therefore, not seem entirely coherent. So, I’m going to have to beg your indulgence and ask that you allow me to finish it before commenting too negatively on pieces — I may be going to reach a conclusion in a much later piece … or seem to reach an apparently unjustified conclusion because this is the later piece you’re reading now … so you may think “non sequiturs always make me eat lampshades, mate” … and I haven’t written the earlier stuff yet.

It will also probably be fairly serious … containing little, if any, of my trademark overwhelmingly silly ‘jock’ularity/macho posturing, provocation for the sake of casting light on a serious issue, witty word-play (okay, appallingly awful puns and shockingly shaggy dog tails [5]), poor taste shock-jock antics or any of the other things you have come to know and love about me [6] — I won’t be playing the part of the narcissistic arsehole obsessed by the smell of his own thumb … the world-weary curmudgeon who’d end his own life if he could only find the ‘get up and go’ to get up and go … the hostile misanthrope whose only joy in life is ruining your day … or any of the other characters/personas with which I amuse myself … and, hopefully, you too.

Sorry about that … you were warned though … and, besides … HAAAAAAAAA ha ha ha ha … yeah … right … as if I cared about you and your wants or needs.

Sorry … just give me a second — once I’ve recovered from the, literally breathtaking, paroxysms of laughter induced by the thought that your wishes should make any difference to the content of my posts … I’ll continue …

<Hoo, boy!>

But, okay … I’m sure I’ll also find time, in between times, for humour, quips, witticisms and all the other nonsense you come here for.

Anyway … just to get us all in the mood …

See you on the other side, hopefully.

[1] I know I appear to lead a charmed life and have all the time in the World to mess around online, writing ridiculously long screeds/replies/whatever, editing and re-editing them for hours … playing video-games when I’m not doing that … but trust me, I don’t really.

I’m actually simply in the eye of the storm right now. This is just a blip in my life during which I can, temporarily, afford to be flexible with my time because there’s literally nothing I can do about any of the things that are waiting ready to pounce and devour my every waking moment the instant the eye passes over me. It won’t last and, before you know it, I shall start posting considerably less … considerably less frequently.

After a while, I shall be noticeable by my absence.

Gradually, however, you will notice it less and less.

When I do post, you won’t see it, because this site, in its algorithmic wisdom, will have decided you don’t want to.

Eventually, you will forget I ever existed.

Let’s see who really cares, shall we?

If you really loved me, you’d post a link to my profile on your profile once a week, to remind yourself — or post something significant / interesting / thought-provoking / elucidating /edifying /entertaining / witty / disturbing to my ‘Off Topic’ entry.

At least 88% of you won’t though … and at best 12% will mean to but will forget and then mildly chastise yourselves and make a well-meaning-but-ultimately-half-hearted attempt, only to lose interest quicker than a goldfish and never bother again … leaving me wondering what went wrong [2].

[2] Here’s a clue: You did! [3].

[3] DAMMIT — I’ll never get the hang of this passive-aggressive shit ; )

[4] I’ve clung on to my sanity against all odds … and, in a world this insane, only a madman would do that — really, it’s amazing that I’ve managed to hang on to even the little I have and, before very much longer I suspect, in order to save what is left, I’m gonna have to lose my mind.

[5] See? See what I did there? From ‘shaggy dog tales’ to ‘shaggy dog tails’?

Alright, alright … I’m going, I’m going!

Just let me get my coat first ; D

[6] Oh, yes, you do — that’s why you’re still reading this ; P

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