Gerard Rukenau (rukenau) wrote,
Gerard Rukenau


I don't know if it is a consequence of getting older, and if so, how prevalent this feeling is—I suppose it must be quite common, but even so—it is becoming alarmingly simpler to typecast people than to suffer the thin guises that pass in them for personalities. I suppose this is a very unfair thing to say, both shallow and cruel, but lately I have often wondered whether people are by default all similar, or whether they simply subconsciously revert to the safety of a particular type (of which there are but a handful) as mundanity slowly crushes their remaining daylights of youthful ambition and daring. It must be the former. We associate remaining time with possibility and hope, and consequently younger age with promise, but more often than not this promise is an illusion invoked in our heads by the rosiness of the cheek and the gleam in the eye; whereas in truth, paths are already laid out with unforgiving surety for almost all. This is neither good nor bad because the average must thrive, its sustenance its only goal, and it cannot upset itself too roughly, or else it will break its neck.

Of course an average can and should evolve, but its evolution is a process that one can only rarely hope to observe and touch in one's lifetime—it takes generations. The attribute of meritocracy that makes it preferable to other constructs is not the absence of averages but the fact that they are endowed with far smaller staying power, and are forced to evolve faster than is comfortable for them. That removes the possibility of what is otherwise a very dangerous and likely predicament—the entrenchment of averages. It must be, of course, preferable to situations where something completely unhealthy and radical is allowed to hold sway, because when that sort of force disrupts the equilibrium, the latter recoils albeit later, but with much greater energy, shattering many things. So a stillness and a calm are preferable, but not more than marginally so.

Any status quo after a while, unchallenged, becomes enamoured of itself because it knows itself very well, and in its universe predictability (usually conflated with reliability) tends to outrank all other dubious, untested virtues. A system where predictability rules the day should be expected to produce, in a short while, cronyism and nepotism of the ugliest dimensions (or if the system be smaller, complacency), simply because it requires to be based on trust to operate, and one can only trust two types of people—those who are honest and meek (the writer of this suspects he falls into this category), and those who are like oneself—thus perpetuating itself. Of course this system is not unassailable and it shouldn't be expected to digest its human snacks with anything even approaching Orwellian monstrous vim; if anything, Orwellianism is unsustainable because no extreme state, and mass suffering and dispossession is necessarily an extreme state of things, can credibly exist for longer than one generation (the only testament to the contrary, DPRK, characterizes the outside world to a much greater degree than it does itself). But forced adherence to the mean fetters progress terribly, and because of its dreadful bog-like quality decades are required to achieve what could otherwise be achieved in years, and lifetimes to do what could be done in a generation.

I diverged from my original topic, I see, and ended up speculating on subjects of state much more than person. But ultimately it is all the same—weariness, lack of faith and ambition breed entrenchment, give rise to angry resentment of any novel process or desire; so that ultimately people are content with replaying the same tired, time-honoured roles that are so appallingly frayed at the edges that even their pattern of wear and tear is a cliché in itself. It is scarcely any surprise that, with these roles having been re-enacted so many times before, very little dramatic discovery is to be expected in them, and the whole theatre smells strongly of rot.
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