I don’t like living in a world of almost total regimentation of thought, a world of double think and thought crimes. I wish this horror would go back to live in the pages of the book these terms came from. Alas, it’s not going to happen, so I will concede or recede, or some sort of cede anyway, and hide myself in the pages of a book. And in the rooms of my house and in my yard, too, of course.

The world out there, whether online or offline is just too volatile for a truthseeker, especially when the seeking itself goes against the narrative we are all supposed to accept.

I don’t know the truth, obviously, or I wouldn’t have to look for it. I’m not sure anyone knows all the truth about the virus, the protests, or the riots. As Bernie LaPlante (Dustin Hoffman) says to his son at the end of the movie Hero: “You remember when I said how I was gonna explain about life, buddy? Well the thing about life is, it gets weird. People are always talking ya about truth. Everybody always knows what the truth is, like it was toilet paper or somethin’, and they got a supply in the closet. But what you learn, as you get older, is there ain’t no truth. All there is is bullshit, pardon my vulgarity here. Layers of it. One layer of bullshit on top of another. And what you do in life like when you get older is, you pick the layer of bullshit that you prefer and that’s your bullshit, so to speak.”

The difference is, today we’re not allowed to choose our own layer — it’s chosen for us. Which might be okay if the layer made sense. I’d rather be thinking about other things, anyway. But believing two contradictory ideas — double think — drives me nuts. For an example, we’re supposed to believe that The Bob came accidentally from a wet market in China, and yet we’re not allowed to call it the Chinese flu or the Wuflu or anything like that because it’s racist. And we’re supposed to believe that only whites can be racist, though why that is, I don’t know. I just know that it is because that’s what we’re told over and over again. And yet, the thing I posted on Facebook that caused such a ruckus was a video I shared about a black woman attempting to tell the truth (or at least her truth) about the not-so-angelic victim of the inciting incident of the protests and riots as well as the truth of police brutality when it comes to different skin colors. Because it didn’t follow what everyone believes or are supposed to believe, this “racist propaganda” garnered anger and hatred from my “friends”.

I’m sorry, folks, you can’t have it both ways. Either only whites are racist or the black woman was racist. The two ideas are mutually exclusive. And, of course, I am racist for sharing the video.

Thomas Sowell, a black economist, pretty much sums up my confusion: “If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today.”

It feels so very odd to go from being a radical thinker or a liberal to a . . . well, not radical thinker, and definitely not a liberal by today’s standards. And I definitely am not buying into the current story we are all supposed to believe. I can’t. It’s too contradictory.

Besides, even though it seems to be required to pay obeisance to the black community, to take a knee, to apologize for “white privilege,” I can’t do that, either. To do so means that every bad thing a person of color did to me, I have to accept as being deserved. As being my due. Believe me, I did nothing to invite sexual assault. Nothing to invite intimidation and harassment. (Sure, I cross the street to avoid gangs high on drugs, but there is no way in hell I would ever elbow my way through such a crowd.) There was nothing my brothers ever did to invite all the beatings they got in our interracial neighborhood, nor did we request to have our bikes stolen. And for sure there was nothing I ever did worth having my car wrecked, being pulled out of the vehicle at gunpoint, and having my bag stolen.

Oops. I didn’t mean to let all that out. Still, those things happened, though at none of those times did it really register that the perpetrators were people of a different color. They simply were.

But see? Shades of gray when we are supposed to only see one stark shade of maybe-truth.

Since there is no room for a truthseeker nowadays, I am retreating. I haven’t deleted my social network accounts since I might need them when my new book is published next year, but I have removed all bookmarks so that I am not tempted to go back and accede to their narrative. (Don’t worry — I’ll be keeping up with this blog. I need some way to keep in contact with my inner self and the outer world.)

Once I get past all the insults and unpleasantness (and at my age, it’s a bit foolish of me to let those sorts of things still sting), I’ll be happier.

I must admit, all this makes me miss Jeff so very much. He, too, was a truthseeker, and it would be comforting right now to have the company of someone who didn’t vilify me for trying to see what others want to keep hidden.

Since he’s not around, I’ll be mostly hermitting. Luckily, this is the time of year for a different sort of seeding, so I’ll have things to do to keep me occupied in my secession.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

15 Responses to “Ceding”

  1. Jo Says:

    You said a mouth full and it was a good mouth full
    How come all lives don’t matter. What about American Indians who I think got a terrible deal
    How about all the police officers that are killed each year that involved an encounter with a black
    Why doesn’t all lives matter ?
    Girl you keep writing for us. You do it so well

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      You make good points. I don’t understand any of this, either. It seems so sleight of hand — keeping us focused on one hand while they are doing something out of sight with the other hand.

  2. Judy Galyon Says:

    Me too! How well I know the feeling.

  3. Terry J Says:

    I had no idea (and I suppose why would I) that all those horrible things happened to you and your brothers growing up. I think all that is going on in this country now has most of us over-whelmed and in addition is making you feel re-victimized. I can imagine you miss Jeff tremendously…literally and emotionally he was safety. I am sorry for your pain…loosing Jeff was bad enough! Sigh…

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Oddly, I never really felt victimized; this was long before victim culture in a time when we more or less just accepted the things that happened us and took at least a bit of the responsibility for them. Or at least I did. I wasn’t physically harmed, for which I am grateful, but whenever people start deifying certain groups and I find something in me that won’t let me follow blindly along, then I remember why. To me, people have always just been people, and for most of my life, I was basically skin-color blind, but even that, nowadays, is considered a racial crime.

  4. cowgirlsue Says:

    Hi Pat, I am enjoying your blogs and have also found myself a victim of a culture which has little awareness of anything other than using each other. I have found an answer for myself, personally, but it doesn’t seem to be much of an answer for anyone else. Nevertheless, I do keep writing blogs into the void, lol Here is one example; https://www.dropbox.com/s/sha9acp4v3khjuh/God%20Self.rtf?dl=0

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Interesting blog, and an interesting concept. I try to let my inner self (my God self) have its way, but it usually brings peace rather than play.

  5. Joe Says:

    The Hegelian Dialect, also known as Problem/Reaction/Solution, is at work here, as is that Affirmation Age concept I mentioned awhile back, as is the pervasive notion that any differing opinion automatically equals being a hater. I’m familiar with that video you referenced; it’s frightening that people who consider themselves tolerant and accepting, flip out over something that doesn’t square with their views. I see it all the time in another news blog I follow. I’m sorry you endured all of those experiences. It does seem like everyone has gone through so much, individually, and no one has been spared, yet we fail to stop and remember that we’re all walking wounded and should treat one another gently.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Now that I think about it, it really is bizarre — and frightening — that people who consider themselves tolerant flip out over that video. The definition of tolerance is “showing willingness to allow the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with”. Apparently, tolerance no longer means tolerance. More double think.

      Good reminder — to remember that we’re all walking wounded and should treat one another gently. It’s easy to forget that.

      I hope you’re staying safe.

  6. Sam Sattler Says:

    Pat, I always figure that those insulting people like you for what you dare say are doing it because you scare them. They want you to shut up and think what they tell you to think. They want to shame you to the point that you are willing to humiliate yourself in order to stay in their good graces. They want you to feel like a racist even though in your heart you know you are not one. They want to manipulate you, use you, take everything you have (including your sense of self, and profit from it.

    We live in what I see as the most dangerous threat to the future of this country since the Constitution was ratified. I just can’t shut up about the absurdity of what is happening here and in Europe. We are losing the fight because our children and grandchildren have been brainwashed to the point that they understand the rules of the game of life in 2020. They have been getting indoctrinated since they started their public education, and those who go on to university education get the booster shots there that will ensure that most of them never see the world through their own eyes.

    Then they will come from the ones who refuse to conform to whatever the current version of Political Correctness demands of them. That’s people like you and me…and there are millions of us.

    As you can tell, I’m disgusted by what I see and hear out there. And I’m angered that they make you feel this way – although I feel much the same, believe me. But I’m too old to care about “friends” anymore. I’m going to do my best to call bullshit what it is.

    See you in the re-education camp, Pat.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      It’s always been the method of the radicals and globalists to ignore the older folk and concentrate on the young. It doesn’t help to see this is action. They used to stick to movies and advertisements, enticing the young to new products and ideas. To use the education system for this process is . . . evil. I don’t like that word, but it sure seems to fit.

      I had to laugh at your final remark, but it isn’t funny. Hopefully by the time they get around to us, we’ll be gone. Though that might be a foolish hope. They used to move slowly, but now they seem to be hurrying things along at an ever increasing rate.

      It does show me that it’s important for us to continue seeing the world through our own eyes for as long as possible.

      Thank you for your willingness to discuss this with me. I appreciate wisdom and rationality and truth above all things.

  7. estragon Says:

    To me, the ability and willingness to keep contradictory ideas in one’s mind is the ability to look at an issue in some depth, while recognizing some “facts” (or the definition of the issue itself) may be uncertain, or at least unknown to me for now. In this particular case, the definition of “racist” might vary with context, and in degree. In a way, I envy the folks who seem to be able to so clearly delineate what is or isn’t racist. They see a very simple world, requiring little effort to understand. Mine is way more complicated, with almost infinite shades of grey, and filled with uncertainty.

    On the other hand, maybe pity is the better emotion for these folks. A piece on how some folks deal with “unknown unknowns”:

    In my opinion, we’re all at least a bit racist. In a group of more than a handful of humans, we’re pretty hardwired to divide them into “in” group(s), and “out” group(s). The “in” group(s) will generally share many of our own characteristics (language, religion, race, social status, etc.). They will be “us”. The “out” group is “them”. They are somehow different than us, which in evolutionary terms signals danger, and instills at least initial fear. A piece on some of the brain chemistry of this:

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      It’s interesting that you should mention in and out groups. I’ve been thinking about this recently, and how much of what is considered racism today is simply discomfort with a person’s otherness — their different culture or different way of thinking or different world view. The more we are like someone, the more comfortable we are with the person. For example, I tend to trust widows and widowers more than other people because there is a bond of common experience. Even when I don’t know for sure there is that bond, I can often feel it because this group tends to do things alone, to be more willing to try new things (out of survival if for no other reason), to be more accepting of the vagaries of life that flummox other people.

      It’s nice to know the name for the Dunning-Kruger effect. It’s something I often worry about, especially with those who spout off about things they firmly believe that go against what I know. I sometimes fear that I am the one who is overestimating her intelligence since I am the one who is so often confused by things that everyone else holds to be self-evident. I used to think it made me wishy-washy, changing my ideas when I come across better ideas.

      Thank you for the links. Interesting articles! And thank you for your input. You always help me put things into a better perspective.

  8. Kathy Holmes Says:

    The world certainly loves to tell us what to think and when to think it. What we were applauded for in the past, we’re now skewered for – and this from our friends! I do my best to pull back and ignore the world. It’s nonsensical.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I did better ignoring the world when Jeff was here. I don’t know how I got into the habit of not ignoring it except that I needed to . . . I don’t know . . . feel connected, perhaps. Hopefully, I can do without that and go back to ignoring it.

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