Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What if he's right?

I'm just like the rest of America, watching Charlie Sheen go nuts. I don't doubt that he is nuts. I think we watch him because he have no hope for his redemption, and we are amused by his fall. Maybe it's guilt, and maybe it's pseudo-intellectualism, but that makes me pull back a bit and wonder- what if he's right? What if he is that rare species that can do a mountain of drugs, party like a rock star, and then, sober up the next week, and never have a problem, again. I've known others that could, so it's not like such a thing is impossible. It's unlikely, and totally improbable, but there do exist those rare mutants who can dance the dance, and then, walk off the floor. ( It would still be a first, for me, in that of those who can do that, none also had histories of addiction in their nuclear family, and none had a history of violence- but I cannot rule out that such a thing is possible) So, let's take a few steps in that reality- what would it mean?
First, it would mean that the logic of the twelve step is wrong. There is some evidence both pro and con for the 12 step, so that wouldn't shock me- but still- the whole notion of the 12 step is based around us not having the power within ourselves to change our relationships with addictions, and someone being able to do exactly that refutes the whole thing. We would then need access to that power, not a way of dealing with our own powerlessness. Imagine how many industries would be out of business, overnight? No wonder therapists, and counsellors and lawyers and reporters are lining up to say he's crazy. He might be, and probably is, but his craziness points something out- that there is an industry that we have a huge amount of interest for, which is predicated upon telling us that we are powerless, helpless, and it's not our fault. I don't know if that's necessarily the worst message to get out. There are ways in which we all have power, and there are ways in which each of us is helpless, but what fits for each varies wildly person to person.
However, if Sheen is right, it would also mean that he is an embattled ubermensch. Is that possible? I suppose. That would make Neitzche correct, and Marx wrong- history would be a succession of great men, and the masses, simply dupes and stooges. That seems, again, highly unlikely, but of course it's possible. It's the battle cry of every dictator, king and warlord in history. We've proven, time and again, that many of us believe it- not only the leaders, but the led. What is the counter argument? That we're all interdependent? That no man is an island? That there is an equality and a brotherhood of man? That we're all equal before God? Are any of these arguments strong enough to counter the incredible will of an individual human spirit? I would say yes, but I'm a damn pinko, and outside the mainstream of American discourse. I should know my role, shouldn't I?
We've stepped through the mirror, though, and must follow it all the way- and that puts us in the realms of Gods, doesn't it? After all- it is a God that Charlie Sheen is describing, isn't it? Something that is more powerful than any man, that is blameless, that exists by will, and dominates all other by its will- sounds like a prime mover to me. How does that leave Charlie sheen out of our national discourse? Don't we view ourselves as gods, of a sort? Listen to a supposed Christian's prayer, and you'll often hear orders- give me this, make sure of that, grant us our will- it sounds more like ordering off a menu than supplication, doesn't it? Our signs of blessing are power and wealth, and our consecrations based upon the power that wealth provides- Sacred ground is entered by going through a metal detector.
So, is Charlie Sheen's crime not in being what we would term "wrong", but lacking in tact? Maybe he's simply expressing how we feel about ourselves, but in terms we aren't bold enough to express. What if his insanity is just Hamlet playing the fool? What if , rather than hopeless, he is our hope? What if he's right? Then, we're all screwed, pal.

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