To fight the Empire is to be infected by its derangement ... Whoever defeats the Empire becomes the Empire; it proliferates like a virus.
Phillip K. Dick
This morning I went to the gym early in the morning, before my grandmother woke up. I did this in secret, as I know she'll get anxious about COVID if I do so. She should be more worried about my mental health state rather than COVID at this stage.
As I worked out I felt my mind clear, as always happens. The difference is so striking it feels like entering a different world. The body connects to the mind and mentation becomes a much smaller part of your totality. My body is much weaker and rigid than before, but I'm still in good shape and it will be my Rocinante in this quixotic quest.
The negative thoughts were but a murmur in the background. I could hear loud and clear a truer voice that said: you can't fight hate with hate. My grandmother hates most people, and a select few are exalted to unreasonable praise. There is no middle ground.
In the morning the private caregiver who has attended them for years (part of her inner circle) came in and helped us with a morning wet bed crisis. As we were heading together to do the laundry in the building, we had a few minutes to chat amongst ourselves. She said that my grandmother treated my grandfather as she now treats me. I felt some relief for myself but also indignation that my grandfather should be treated like this.
When a tree grows under a bridge, it will twist itself to get to the sunlight. My grandmother is not evil, it is that through her life circumstances she learned how to get her needs met through hostility. The lesson to be learned with hostile people is often defense, a psychological Jiu Jitsu where you use the other person's attack against them. This does not work with my grandmother, you must play-pretend a fight, defeat and submission, because her reasoning impedes her see that the fight is over, and also that's what she expects from her personal relationships with men.
My grandmother often says "John did what John wanted, in his own quiet way". I have come to understand this as pretending defeat in argument, then doing as he pleased.
I am reminded of the new testament:
But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.
In the words of Leo Tolstoy:
I now understood the words of Jesus: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil." Jesus' meaning is: "You have thought that you were acting in a reasonable manner in defending yourself by violence against evil, in tearing out an eye for an eye, by fighting against evil with criminal tribunals, guardians of the peace, armies; but I say unto you, Renounce violence; have nothing to do with violence; do harm to no one, not even to your enemy." I understood now that in saying "Resist not evil," Jesus not only told us what would result from the observance of this rule, but established a new basis for society conformable to his doctrine and opposed to the social basis established by the law of Moses, by Roman law, and by the different codes in force to-day. He formulated a new law whose effect would be to deliver humanity from its self-inflicted woes. His declaration was: "You believe that your laws reform criminals; as a matter of fact, they only make more criminals. There is only one way to suppress evil, and that is to return good for evil, without respect of persons. For thousands of years you have tried the other method; now try mine, try the reverse."
Here is the lesson. Turn the other cheek, don't bite back. Fight playfully, concede defeat without believing it. Then, do as you please.