Above and Below

I saw a post today about being the person our idea of perfection would find attractive. And it sent me into vast confusion.

The thing is…based on the comments I have to take it that this is a useful directive for most people. As in, they have to make it a point to seriously consider it. …That baffles me.

Why?

Because…that’s all I ever think about when it comes to that issue and equation, so to speak. And before you arrive at the likely assumption that I feel downtrodden and like a victim of the patriarchy let me reassure you that I do not. No! It’s more disturbing than that.

It’s more that I have no idea why anyone would find me attractive. But not in an insecure or immature or hateful way at all to myself. More like I just do not understand. It’s like a concept that…alludes me.

I mean, I understand what I look like mostly and I have a solid, unwavering, empirically evaluated idea of it. But…the mechanics beyond that are blank in my mind.

And I’m starting to suspect that most people alive have either psychopathically gate-kept me out of understanding what’s really going on…or they’ve unaware of it themselves and it just comes so naturally to them that it never entered their mind to consciously consider it much.

So what is that? How in the world do people…assume (because that’s what it feels like to me) that anyone will give a rip about them to that degree? Or that that many people will care to that degree, at least. Because finding people attractive is special. It isn’t something we feel for just any and every person we meet.

When I notice a man who I think might like me it’s always very meaningful to me. I can’t figure out why…men aren’t so weirder out by that. In my gut it feels like men alive…go “Eww! You care way too much! Ewww!”

And then what?! …They’re so off. I don’t not care about their humanity. But…it’s like I’m that into them?!

*confused face*

…What in the world…do men like about me?! Sweethearts…as a straight, cis woman…I have no idea. No idea. As a person who maybe wasn’t loved well in a non-sexual, unconditional way I don’t know…I don’t know. Nobody ever told me who I am to all of you in that way.

“We still want to punish you, you rich bitch!” says a hater, foaming at the mouth.

“Why?” I ask.

“BECAUSE!” yells a hater, shaking herself uncontrollably to the music. Because that’s what she signed-up for.

“Because why?!” pleads Lacey.

“Because we’ve decided to sacrifice you! To our gods. And kill your from the inside out!” says a hater.

“It’s what Jesus would want! He hates rich people. He hates vain people like you. He loves prostitutes. He loves us. You’re going to Hell for eternity!” smiles a Christian.

“Why? Why am I going to Hell?!” Lacey asks.

“It’s a mystery! Don’t try to figure it out. That’s not a question I can answer. So maybe you shouldn’t be asking it!” says a Christian.

“C.S. Lewis would say you’re going to Heaven.” says an ex-Christian.

“Where are you going?” Lacey asks the ex-Christian.

“Well, I guess…if I haven’t actually rejected Christ so much as evil…I might be going to Heaven too.” they respond.

“I worry. I worry we’ve rejected God by not going to church.” says Lacey to the ex-Christian.

“But where do we go to church these days Lacey?!” they respond.

“You know it’s funny. This reminds me of a conversation I had with a foreign policy advisor in Washington D.C.. She felt that the best church was the Episcopalian church. But she had qualms with some of their more so-called liberal ideas. …I’ve thought about trying Episcopalian churches. But they scare me too. And yet Catholicism is dangerous these days too.”

“If I’m being honest, it scares me.”

“What scares you?”

“Why do we have to fight to find a decent church?”

“Like, has the American church been taken over?”

“Yes! Like the Catholic Church was.”

“My initial response is yes.”

“Is that why Putin is so angry?”

“If he has any integrity, yes. That’s part of it.”

“What is it then that the church was doing?”

“Before they got taken over?”

“Yes.” says Lacey.

“They were our internal true light on a hill. Our compass. But…it’s all become too political. But not because Christians shouldn’t be in politics but the opposite, ironically. The Boomers gave far too much spiritual authority to forces that oppose the church. And so under decades of psychological persecution they became violent in response.”

“No I get it! It’s not that Christians do or don’t have to be for or against gay marriage, for example.”

“Yes!”

“It’s that that’s not the point.”

“Yes! Ideally there’d be a safe church where real Christians of varying opinions would be able to coalesce peacefully. But…other than the Catholic Church there’s nothing like that. And of course they feel that it’s wrong…but…I think that’s wise whether it is or not. It just shouldn’t be the focus.” says Lacey.

“Hmm. But then what about gay couples who want to get married?!”

“That’s a violent question though. Even if you don’t mean it that way. …I’m not sure. But ideally, it wouldn’t be a dangerous issue. Maybe some priests would do it? Maybe some would not. Officially no one is supposed to. But if that genuinely violates a priest’s conscience then I’m not sure he’d feel comfortable not performing those weddings.” says Lacey.

“Okay. So you truly think it’s safer to say it’s wrong?!”

“Yes. Sorry.”

She laughs. “Maybe it is.” She thinks. “But it would require a lot of spiritual maturity, ethical maturity and maturity in general to do that.”

“Yes! Because some churches might be favorited by wealthy gays. And be richer. Or not. It could go both ways. But it should be a means of ripping apart the church using issues of power and money. What at heart are issues of social class disorder.” says Lacey.

“So the poorer gays need to keep Michael and Lem but they can’t allow you to be with Louis either. Or Joe. Or ideally anyone who loves you. Because that’s too damaging to their grip on power.”

“Pretty much.”

“Was Lem even bisexual?”

“No according to what he tells me. If I’m talking to him through God.”

“Crud. So let me get this straight. Men are trying to gain complete power and control over this country. And they’re either delusional and think everyone is queer and will love them more automatically, or they’re convinced that they can destroy heterosexuality if it’s problematic to their ends because, due to misogyny they think they can destroy or abusively control women if they try hard enough?!”

“Yes.”

Silence.

“But! Not all men are that evil or even subconsciously aware it’s going on.” Lacey continues. “Well subconsciously. If they knew consciously they might be genuinely offended if not enraged.”

“Well not all men are queer. And I bet that’s where their plan falls apart. Because then some fall in love still with women. And it’s very hard to destroy that.”

“Well, one wonders if that’s why they fell in the Garden of Eden.”

“Who are these men?!”

“Well, and I suspect some women have been either brainwashed or are sellouts.” Lacey looks mortified. “But mostly it’s men who for years have been suspicious of women.”

Her mouth falls open slightly in shock.

“I mean, that’s my guess. So, there could be some tracings back to some of the Founding Fathers. I think Arthur Miller was internally ripped to shreds because of it. I think it’s the inspiration for The Crucible.”

“So these hateful men-I mean they hate us like the Nazis hated the Jews…have been conspiring against us since the 1700’s?”

“Well, in essence, yes. I think there are possibilities that it originated in Europe somewhere. But I actually do wonder if the literal Founding Fathers were the real source, in a sense.” Lacey responds.

“So it’s not just misogyny?” asks a Jewish person?

“No. I suspect not.”

“What’s their aim?” asks the woman.

“Honestly, I think Arthur Miller was grappling with that question. I think it deeply bothered him. I think he felt horrifically bothered by it.”

“Do you know what conclusion he came to? If that’s even a Christian thing to be asking.”

“I can’t tell you what he thought, because I don’t know. Although if we read enough we might be able to figure it out. But I do think that the idea was that they’d take land they knew they could control…through both justice and injustice…and then get power and money for no good end.”

Silence.

“But women might have been seen as a problem. Because they caused weakness.” she continues.

Silence.

“So the idea was to viciously control them or harm or kill them to transform them into workhorses or mindless slaves.” Lacey says.

Silence.

“But of course, not all the Founding Fathers felt that way. Not all men feel that way in general. So they had to be dishonest and manipulative about it.” Lacey adds.

Silence.

“So…it was functional enough to be ignorable…until relatively recently. Now it’s just one of our many third rails threatening to destroy us. Because we’re so threadbare.”

Silence.

“But as a Christian I can just say that we have a sin issue. The Puritans weren’t perfect but they had that right.”

Silence.

“But the Puritans weren’t late 20th Century Republicans.”

Silence.

“They could be used by late 20th Century Republicans because the Republicans are the closest we have to what they believed in some ways. But really, they were…more like Hasidic Jews.”

Silence.

“They were very spiritual and devoted and pure. Hence their name.”

Silence.

“Anyway, the point is…they weren’t as toxic as we’ve made them out to be necessarily. And if they were it’s because one truly can redeem themselves. God has ultimately to do it with our acceptance of God. Not other people. God.”

Silence.

“The thing is…democracy and republicanism work. But when you have viruses, so to speak, they fester and spread. Democratically.”

Silence.

“And a lot of the men in this country to have been our leaders have sacrificed their consciences to a trick, perhaps. The belief that men don’t have human needs. They just conquer.”

Silence.

“It’s demonic. It’s Jezebel’s demise. It’s not necessarily her. But I’m sure the evil that she was destroyed by still tries to manifest whether it’s her at all or not. Or your sort of evil she had.”

Silence.

“Jezebel’s image but not her might be used as a way to trick men into being weak and mindless. Or women in Hell might have their feminine identities stolen and used as a cloak for demons in the name of Jezebel, especially if they thought they were in essence worshiping her while alive.”

Silence.

“But essentially…the poorer and more insecure our country becomes the more people who used to be only mildly manipulative become loud.”

Silence.

“The idea is that they think if they are tough and evil enough they can manifest power and wealth again. Or be even better. But…we messed-up.”

Silence.

“When did we really start to get so impoverished?” asks Ron. Or a demon impersonating him.

“I’d bet the Civil War was it. But it didn’t seem like that because we had so much wealth afterwards due to our natural resources and the use of fossil fuels.” says Lacey.

Silence.

“But that’s when we started bleeding from deadly wounds.” says Lacey.

Silence.

“So…whatever happened during the Civil War…is still affecting us in regard to our power and wealth.”

“So basically we couldn’t afford to have the Civil War.” says Michael to Lacey.

“Yes. That’s my thought. It was profoundly costly. And it wasn’t…even necessary if we hadn’t kept slavery. But I think they couldn’t grasp the issues. On both sides. And black people got collectively sacrificed twice then. Once for profit. And then again for security and profit.”

“So they couldn’t figure out how to make enough money without using black people?” asks Michael.

“Yes. And they couldn’t get over the idea that they needed to avoid being weak at all costs.”

“Because.”

“Yes. Because not and.” Lacey says.

“Funny how your grandfather is depicted as caring about women. Maybe being a womanizer. But not necessarily in a truly heartless way?”

“In a way. He did care.”

“Kind of like my father.” says Elliott

“So…they had sin. But they didn’t lie to them in a way that violates the trust they have in Christ?” asks Lacey.

“It’s Capitalism. But not one of the worst kinds, maybe.” says Elliott.

“Not like being molested by a priest or parent.” says Lem.

“So you’re comparing capitalism to molestation?” asks Lacey.

“No. But it’s not exactly Godly either.” says Lem.

“What is Godly?!” asks Winston.

“Perfection.” answers Lem. “Above and beyond perfection.”

“So…you don’t think it’s wrong of me to control you if we’re one. But that requires God.” says Michael.

“Yes.”

“But not in a way that divorces us from God.” says Lem.

“So we have to be truly pure in our heart towards God as men. And divorced from Him too far in a corrupt country it all gets ruined.” says Michael.

“Some men do love their wives. Even in America. But a hatred of women is rampant here. And it’s not homosexuality. It’s greed. But the sort of greed similar to molestation.” says Lem.

“Not the sort of greed you’d see in England, necessarily?” asks Winston.

“I doubt it!” says Lacey.

“What sort then?” asks Edith Wharton.

“A better and worse sort. But possibly just better. It’s more brutal and cold. But it isn’t as gross. It doesn’t molest you.” she responds.

“Did Joe Sr. molest his kids?” asks Lem.

“I doubt it.” says Lacey.

“I doubt it too.” says Lem.

“But the point is, he has that feeling to him…so to speak…and I think that that’s because he fervently gave himself over to the powers that be in this country.” says Lacey.

“Not all the powers that be.” says Elliott.

“Not everyone lived a life of rejecting Christ.” says a ghost.

“And yet it seems Joe ultimately didn’t reject Christ.” says Lacey.

“He might not have.” says a ghost.

“But that’s the thing. A life lived in rejection of Christ is a dangerous life.” says Lacey.

“A country pretending to be a city on a hill when its heart is filled with darkness is a danger to itself and others.” says Lem.

“You think my characters all had dark hearts.” says Edith Wharton to Lacey.

“Yes.” She thinks. “And I can’t believe everyone was that truly dim. That nobody had God’s love in their heart?”

“Well! Meritocracy is dead! Isn’t it?!” says Lem making an incisive, witty comment. (I’m being sarcastic here)

“So what happens if the light of the Holy Trinity is extinguished in people’s hearts?” asks Louis.

“Then there is no city on a hill. It ceases to exist. Permanently or temporarily.” says Lacey.

“God can use a horrible country to spread truth. Or the Devil can use the perversion of truth to try to end the world.” says Louis.

“Well. The truth is the truth whether it’s said by a ghost or a demon.” says Lacey.

“So perhaps it’s best to stay in your own lane. Mind the pedestrians. Keep your eyes on the road. And stop whoring yourselves out to the Devil. He doesn’t want you. Not really. He’d destroy you. Because he hates you? It might be fun for him. But he can’t stand that you exist except to torture you.” says Lem.

“Oh! Oh goody! That sounds like fun!” says a spiritually toothless American woman.

“Too much candy is bad for your teeth, Joe.” says an English aristocrat he once talked with.

“Do you think she’s symbolic of all Americans, Edith Wharton?” asks Lacey.

“What is meritocracy?” asks Winston.

“She’s every female character you read in Age of Innocence. Or saw on screen.” answers Edith Wharton.

“It’s gross.” says Lacey.

“I don’t think Lacey or I were ever in your novels. And who were you writing about?” asks Louis.

“I wasn’t in them either.” says Michael.

“I was vaguely represented.” says Lem. “And yet, only at my absolute worst.”

“Edith were you writing about Harold Loeb? Because I think he wonders if all the men were like him.” asks F. Scott Fitzgerald.

“Maybe Pete Campbell is more like you.” says Lacey to Louis.

Lem smiles.

“I wonder how much you really remembered from your childhood?” Katharine Hepburn asks Edith Wharton.

“I’m sorry if this is hurting your feelings.” Lacey says to Edith Wharton. “I just was deeply offended by your novels. And I felt you were a Satanic liar or unaware. And I felt betrayed by almost all American women because they held you up as a better version of me.” She looks at Edith. “Or perhaps the more sanctified or wise or good version of me.

“Well good luck destroying Mad Men!” says someone.

“I didn’t ever get any credit!” protests Harold Loeb.

“Did Harold Loeb know Edith Wharton?!” Lacey asks. “Around the time she wrote The Age of Innocence?”

“Yeah! Because it seems like you based it off people who you knew as an adult.” says Katharine.