“There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”
This short didactic little parable was used at the start of David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005. The original intention of which was to bring liberal-arts-education students outside of their own (often) solipsistic perspective, making it clear that: “the most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are the hardest to see and talk about.”.
Much like many close friends I was part of a dialogue that was entirely suffocated by its own virtuous justification, we are the ones that are right, we are pushing for the best possible future, forward we must go, never looking back, for we are good! Everything that we were discussing could never escape our own perspective of what we had be taught ‘progress’ was. Whig history encapsulated basically, there’s not much more to it than just letting things happen and expecting…believing they are getting better, and to truly question, look and step-outside this view of the world was a bad, ignorant and even offensive idea. Well, I’m here to say “What the hell is water?”
2016 was one hell of year, I mean who’d have thought that people who are getting old might actually die, I mean really, who would have thought that people nearing, if not long past the average age of life-expectancy would actually die. All mortality jokes aside 2016 was some serious ju-ju, Brexit, Trump, global terrorism, death of the dream and various literal manifestations of a failing system that was refusing to confront its own weak supports. These various moments helped bring to light the obvious, made to reveal itself from its supposedly justified concealment, that’s not to say 2014 or 2015 were any better, merely that the events that transpired in 2016 were a serious help in terms of – accidentally – allowing people to understand that they can still think freely, they can still head for the exit.
Needless to say I was drowning in liberal progressive pandering, whiggish-apathy and a generalized acceptance that what everyone was doing was correct and should just…progress. I thought highly of Chomsky, and not once did I stop and think about his high status as a professor within the system he constantly berates. I voted to remain in the EU and very quickly came to realise that perhaps leaving isn’t going to be the end of everything-ever, and may potentially stop the unfiltered dialogues of the left, I was somewhat of a feminist and couldn’t bring myself to critisize a system which had in place methods to stop any criticism, via simply manipulating the view of how much power it had over mainstream media. I thought Jeremy Corbyn was the best hope for my country, not once did I think to question his motives in terms of constraining the element of free speech and true thought towards the parties own political gains. The binary morality of the left was becoming all too heavy on some very flimsy supports which eventually cracked and tumbled thanks to various thinkers and writings (the likes of which I shall go into in Part 2.).
This is not to say that I ever thought anything was a simple case of one movement being right and the other being wrong, it’s more that I didn’t realise that the progressive system in general was moving towards this type of reductionist thinking, not accidentally or via some chaotic chance, but purposely moving towards a tighter range of discussion to further their ideology, oppressing the range of accepted public opinion to such an extent that even merely questioning the motives of certain political groups who have you deemed as a racist, mysogynist or nazi.
Think of this first post as an overview, a blueprint of a failed system, my short history of following a step-by-step guide towards a failed state, how naive, how silly, how truly ignorant of me to not listen, not look at what was right under my nose all this time, and not only did I smell it, see it and feel it, I also believed it to be true, correct and the only possible way. It isn’t.