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The Sad Ecstasy of Being Right

The bitter sweet sensation, is like a drug for those that've felt the scorn of being condemned for daring to speak what others don't want to see. To cover ourselves with the knowledge of being right and comfort ourselves from that scorn is but a poor substitute.

It's easy to be right. If you've ever felt the scorn of being rejected for seeing the truth you know the seductive ecstasy of hiding behind the "I told you so." It's easy to be right. The drug-like effects comfort you in the cold loneliness. You feel vindicated, the lone-hero, the one who saw where other failed to see.

Yet it's a sad song to hear, a bitter comfort, for the real power lies in being convincing.

Lately I've heard interviews with Paul Krugman, nobel prize winning economists, about how he is mostly right about his economic predictions. I thought to myself, what a way to go for the low hanging fruit. The dare, the challenge, is to be convincing. To not just say what's right but to have people listen to it in such a way that they see it as a call to action, not just an intelectual play.

Then I landed on Javier Ávila's site. How a Puerto Rican author of my age totally escaped my radar is beyond me, but I couldn't shake the feeling that for things had been different, his career could have been mine. A friend of mine referred me to his public letter of resignation upon leaving the University of Puerto Rico, because I worried my previous blog had been too bitter, for I too, feel the seduction and temptation of being right.

When the master leaves and the apprentice claims itself to be a master where do we land? I remember writing on my creative writing class when I took some classes in the UPR (University of Puerto Rico) a two page beginning to a story about two characters battling the disenfranchisement of youth in the urban San Juan. I took pains to write it like poetry, evocative. My mother threw away all my college writings while I was in Japan teaching English. I can only remember the feeling I tried to create. That elusive feeling of ennui coupled with desperation and the uneasy feeling of impotence. I confess I feel very bitter about that time. I felt like a man in a dessert hearing the voice of what was coming and being ignored and exiled. The temptation to vindicate myself is high, but useless. Nobody, not even me, benefits from that. I seek to be in a state of appreciation rather than depreciation to quote "Getting in the Gap." And better to be distinguished than extinguished to quote Esai Morales.

The high ground is not vindication. It's not "I was right and you were wrong." How weak is that? It's all about how to create a new vision. I struggle to penetrate the world of those that cover their eyes from the problems of the world so that they may be happy. I seek to be positive in the face of negativity, and happy in the face of circumstances I may not control. The pages of my youth are lost in the fire of change, but from the ashes may the spark of greater works flourish.

Lately I've felt that the game of life is set for me not to win. And my soul, my vitality, all my divine connection seeks to change the game, hack the rules, make it so I can win. But many wish I just put my head down and accept defeat, death, the living death of a zombie body without reason to live. I guess for them that is preferable to seeing where they might have gone wrong, such is the seduction of being right.

So be right or be wrong, I seek to be able to change, and convincing, persuading, enchanting, a force for seduction, that you may look at the world a new way, maybe glimpse what I see. Let's forget who is right and who is wrong. Let's dream how to create the world we want, not the one we think we deserve.


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