by LJ Frank
Life is messy feels like a cliché, but then try living a paycheck away from the streets. Until you experience poverty you have little room to judge the impoverished while going home to a warm house, apartment, condominium or dwelling made of canvas. Shared bodily warmth, someone who understands you and is able to tolerate differences and laugh with you can be a mislaid premium in life. The rawness of existence may be measured by the conflicts that haunt and claw at your soul of which some are not of your own doing.
There are those conflicts that exist within and there are those that have been strategically placed in your life. The latter are the ones that are initiated in the most unexpected settings from the marbled floors and soft colored velour couches of a hotel’s boudoir to the high back brown leather chairs of an ambassador’s office with glasses of whiskey, vodka or wine in hand. Irrepressible and irresistible revolutions and wars of the 20th and 21st century have been planned in both settings.
The defining nature of irrepressible and irresistible is the prefix “irre” meaning “not. The intellectual and emotional architecture of irrepressible and irresistible is complex. Causation and correlation are matters of statistics. Much happens outside political cabinet rooms and academic auditoriums of discussion. Peace is not as profitable as an AK 47. Nuclear is apocalyptic and ends the profit.
Irresistible and irrepressible have interlinking qualities on the secular stages of a concert hall to the pseudo religious dais of a legislature to the philosophical altars of a human mind. Conflict can be strategically placed within the heart by the propaganda of those outside you.
To resist the propaganda of conflict not of your own doing is a courageous act of conscience, particularly in the midst of the theatrical machinations of the ruling classes that are ambiguous at best, and in which truths based on evidence may become lost in irresistible and irrepressible economic and political tactics.
Irrepressible conflict historically in America referred to the conflict between slavery and the labor of a free man. Irrepressible conflict were words used by Senator William H. Seward in a speech delivered in Rochester, NY, October 1858. The speech is noted in, among other works, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals. Seward spoke eloquently concerning the catastrophic “collision” between slave and the labor of a free man being inevitable. It was a conflict between opposing forces.
Others before Seward spoke of the issue in one form or another that no country can remain both free and slave; examples may be found among the works of Thomas Jefferson, Henry Clay and Daniel Webster. Prior to these men one can delve into the conflicts brought about by Martin Luther’s ideas and the Reformation, Jacque Rousseau and the Renaissance and Thomas Paine and the American and French Revolutions, and before…the list is quite long.
The 20th century witnessed diverse emerging types of conflict that proved to be irrepressible while exhibiting examples of irresistible impulsiveness. The late 1920’s and 1930’s began witnessing a conflict that focused on “the negation of the individual.” Freedom was found in “slavery-hood” amid the words spoken by the dictator. Heinous acts were committed in the name of an almost cultish belief that transcended the ordinary man and woman on the street. A feeling of the surreal encircled the human conscience. It was called fascism but the name is misleading and has morphed into many soft forms.
Irrepressible and irresistible have been clothed in a new fashion and the boutique of the conscious is caught between want and despair. Internal clashes in different countries occurring at this moment are forging a new destination as the irrepressible tacitly feeds into the irresistible, e.g., home-grown terrorists, cyber warfare, population displacement, bank rolled weapon and drug sales, mass incarceration in private prisons and sexual slavery among other outrages that are the surface of a deeper problem concerning survival and want.
The 21st century is bearing witness to irrepressible conflicts and irresistible impulsive behavior. Conflict and impulse are non-linear. The future is profoundly uncertain. It requires fashioning the irrepressible and irresistible into strategic policies for greater openness, tolerance, communication, literacy, education and meaningful work with a survival wage and less on fanning the flames of despair, want, greed and conflict. It’s global. The clothing of an open and tolerant mind and international civil societies has been stained.
In the fall of 1932 in a street off Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan as the Great Depression descended like an ominous cloud on people’s conflicted lives, my father, a young teenager at the time, heard a man in a breadline utter, “I was grasping for time, but there was none remaining.”