Clinton on the New State

People, make sure you watch Bill
Clinton on CNN right now. He is saying exactly what I’ve been saying about the advent of a new state-form. He doesn’t use the words ” nation-state”, but who cares.

Clinton said (I’m writing from memory, of course): information technology and all kinds of new technology have made the power in the world too dispersed. This created a new kind of threat. (He was answering a question about Khorasan here.) If we want the government to prevent bad things from happening, it will be up to us to make good things happen.

Got it? In the new state-form, the government’s role is to fight terrorism. And it falls to the citizens to provide for their own welfare. Just as I’ve been saying.

The Origins of Disaster Mentality

Have you ever met people with “disaster mentality”? The ones who see every contretemps as the end of the world, always assume the worst, and have trouble seeing their way past their problems?

More often than not, these are people whose parents adopted the pernicious maxim that they should always present a common front in any problems with the child and never take the child’s side against each other. Such a child grows up thinking, “If Mommy is hurting me, I can’t even tell Daddy, he won’t listen”, or vice versa. Later in life, their first reaction to any problem is despondency and the desire to give up without even trying. In their world, there is no alternative to a bad scenario. Everything and everybody in the universe is allied against them. 

Parents who adopt this parenting strategy do so in order to prevent the child from manipulating them by setting one of them against the other. Of course, the problem with this strategy is that it is all about protecting the parents from the child and setting the child up as their enemy. The child grows up with the belief that s/he is all alone in a battle against a hostile world and carries this attitude through his or her entire life.


I’m on bed rest and reading a novel by one Joel Decker purely for entertainment. The book does contain interesting insights, though. See this one:

We live in a society of defeated office workers, and to get ourselves out of this fix, we must fight – against ourselves and against the whole world. Freedom is a constant battle of which we are barely even aware.

This character is speaking about being a writer but isn’t this the greatest allure of academia, as well?

More Guilt

For the first time ever, I actually had to cancel classes because of being sick. I always come to work in any stage of illness because teaching actually helps me get better. But today I have no voice plus I know that the real reason why I’m sick is that I’m completely exhausted. If I push myself through 3 lectures today, I will make myself incapacitated for a much longer period of time.  Plus I’m coughing and sneezing, and students might catch whatever I’m having. It seems more practical and better for everybody for me to stay in bed for two days.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’m racked with guilt over cancelling classes. I don’t know why I feel so horrible about it. I was going to cancel 3 days of classes to go to that conference in Montreal that fell through, and I never felt any guilt over it. This is very weird.

Also, I came out onto the porch and saw my handyman busily working on my house. I’m sick and I’m running a fever but I’m not sick enough to have forgotten asking him to come over and do any work. The handyman explained that he saw some things in need of improving and decided to take initiative. But if I didn’t want to pay for the work because I hadn’t asked him to do it, that would be totally fine.

Since then, he has knocked on the door twice to apologize some more. I guess he has feelings of guilt, too. Of course, I’m going to pay him, especially since we were going to ask him to do this work anyway, but I could do without people’s company today.