Compromise, and being compromised (16 April 2009)

re: "If you can't compromise your lofty ideals every so often, you will most likely end up living in a cave or a bachelor apartment, lecturing the silent walls about the coming environmental collapse." (Dorothy Woodend, "Recipes for Disaster," The Tyee, April 10, 2009)

But this isn't true to your experience. You describe your isolation as that of empowered bike-ride -- a life with no regrets (and the social bus-ride as all powerlessness and compromise).

You fluctuate, but over-all you seem to WANT to believe that life must inevitably contain portions of deceit and compromise (by which I think you really mean, submission). I suspect that that much of what you say here is born from the fact that you have not yet learned that the UNCOMPROMISED, UNCOWED pleasure you now take from bike-riding, can be ably applied to other parts of your life as well -- yes, even to your dealings with other people. How did you once narrate your bus-riding experience? Was it always all venom? Or was it about a time to journal, watch people, reflect on life experience, all while avoiding the affront to public civicness that is the single-driver cocooned within her own private space? I bet that once you start extending your ambition and reach, we'll start seeing articles from you arguing that you can't expect to milk life-wisdom from those dumbly cowed.

patrick mcevoy-halston

P.S. I'm in mind to read Barbara Kingsolver's _Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life_, and see if it too amounts to a recipe for disaster. My guess is that good-natured, smiling, forever-growing Barbara, shares with us a differently fated family story.

Link: Recipes for Disaster (The Tyee)

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If I can expand on what I said, I would like to argue that we should not be too ready to normalize the feeling of loss, of -- as seemingly insensible as this sounds -- BEING compromised, when we think of what it feels like to participate in fair compromise. If compromise is about a reaching out to and valuing of the particular needs of all those involved, and not about self-surrender, though you may not "get all that you want," the actual end experience of this sort of mutual respect/attendance and purposeful cooperative action, will be of net gain. If it isn’t, if it feels like surrender, thwarted ambitions, if it has you considering the possibilities of the single-life -- even encouraging you to ultimately denounce it so that it doesn't function in your own mind to remind you of your own inhibitions in insisting on something better, then you are involved in something unhealthy. That a lot of people are involved in such relationships is not too surprising. Free, truly happy people, make a lot of people nervous, even angry. They remind you of what you are not, of what you were not permitted to be.

When it comes to looking to our immediate environment for confirmation of the limits of human potential, fair reminder that it was not Canada but its neighbor to the south, that embraced the idea that life should be about happiness. We try to content ourselves by suggesting that this has amounted to nothing more than an insatiable, inconsiderate chase of unworthy things, though the less deluded amongst us see that this has also lead to many of them leading less capitulated lives, to real leadership and surprising and exhilarating invention and life-satisfaction, as well.

And finally, my experiences of bus-riding had me thinking that after students were done with education, they should be encouraged to drive their own vehicle for a good, lengthy while, for self-empowerment sake. But you're right, the bicycle does the same, and is the better idea.


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