Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

How to configure Ubuntu's keyboard to work like a Mac's

Typing accents on a PC is a complicated Alt + three numbered code affair. One feels like a sorcerer casting a spell. "I summon thee accented é! I press the weird magical key Alt, and with 0191 get the flipped question mark!" For a bilingual person this meant that writing on the computer was a start-and-stop process. With Mac's it a whole lot easier, just Alt + e and the letter you wanted for accents and alt + ? for the question mark. No need to leave the keyboard for the number pad and no need to remember arcane number combinations or have a paper cheat sheet next to the keyboard, as I've seen in virtually every secretaries computer in Puerto Rico.

Linux has a interesting approach to foreign language characters: using a compose key. You hit this key which I typically map to Caps Lock and ' and the letter you want and voilá you get the accent. Kinda makes sense: single quotation mark is an accent, double gets you the ümalaut, works pretty well. Except for the ñ, wh…

Contrasting Styles of Writing: English vs. Spanish

There is interestingly enough a big difference between what's considered good writing in Spanish and English. V.S. Naipul winner of the 2001 Nobel prize for literature publish an article on writing. In it he emphasizes the use of short clear sentences and encourages the lack of adjectives and adverbs. Essentially he pushes the writer to abandon florid language and master spartan communication. This is a desired feature of English prose, where short clipped sentences are the norm and seamlessly flow into a paragraph. In English prose the paragraph is the unit the writer cares about the most.

This is not the case in Spanish where whole short stories (I'm thinking this was Gabriel Garcia Marquez but maybe it was Cortázar) are written in one sentence. Something so difficult to do in English that the expert translator could best manage to encapsulate the tale in two sentences. The florid language is what is considered good writing in Spanish but unfortunately this has lead to what …

Fixing Autocomplete in Github's Atom Text Editor for Ruby

I really like Github's Atom Text Editor. I really like that it's multi-platform allowing me to master one set of skills that is transferable to all platforms and all machines. 

On thing that just burns me of the default set-up in Atom is the Autocomplete feature that seems to change my words as a type them. Because Ruby uses the end of line as a terminus for a statement you usually finish a word with pressing the return button and you get really annoying changes to your finished typed word a la MS Word. I find myself yelling "No that's not what I wrote!" at the screen in busy coffee shops.

I disabled autocomplete for a while but it is a very useful function. Then I found out they changed the package that gave the autocomplete to a new one called "Autocomplete Plus" that gives you more options. All that I needed to change to make autocomplete sane again:

1. Open Atom's Preferences
2. Search the bundled packages for "Autocomplete Plus"

3. Go to t…