Extremity is the hallmark of the dialectic reaction, which, some would say, is the primary restraining force on humanity: our dependence on dialectical decisions, which leaves us in essence reacting to things without ever knowing what would be an intelligent solution to the problem, to the cause of the strife engendering decision. That is one piece. The second is that revolutionaries most often come out of their fight so interlocked in battle with the power of their oppressors that they adopt the same power, and the same tendency to over-power, the precurso to fascism. Overpower needs to have absolute control of something, rather than to be a structure of the thing - that is, instead of influencing the situation by acting within it, overpower seeks to regulate the situation by surgical applications of power to keep it in line - the same thing as bureaucracy attempts. Robespierre was a greater killer than the monarchs.

in our society, we often rely on the "invisible hand." in democracy, we trust that the commonsense of the masses will magically find an answer. in economics, we believe that market forces will balance out the system (which explains, of course, why we don't need miles of law to regulate them). in social situations, we believe that fear of being blacklisted as offensive will make people kowtow to the conformity line and make sure they norm their own behavior to the point of being inoffensive and having no point whatsoever that might conflict with the right not to be offended of any citizen in the whole of the universe.

Where is the dialectic?

  • The initial action, an angry gesture at the very least, obviously with malevolence, and unjust, if we (you and I, reader) can agree on some basic ideals of just treatment.

  • The reaction, a frustrated inability to nail the target they wanted, and a lashing-out at a benevolent target, one that if it did offend did so unconsciously, and the injustice of the destruction of a planned and awaited event for this group.

    more likely, dialectical materialists (marx, hegel) describe the process of compromise than a generalized process of history. in a time where the individual has primacy in the decision-making of rulers, and there are too many conflicted voices to agree on anything but the most radically lowest-common-denominator compromise, every decision moves through a course of assertion, counter-assertion and compromise.

    Triangles of bright unsoilable plastic whipflapped in the air condensed and pulsed backward by cars blasting by on the boulevard. The office was a trailer with its hollow door swung open, aluminum shining where door ground against frame. I had been reincarnated as someone friendlier, slower, more attractive than I am. I should be angry, but actually, I'm content because this is how it always is. My game is trying to make the loose cigarette butts fit between the spacings of the grate on the storm drain, without touching them. Toe-poke, then use the broad side of the tennis shoe to move them across until they suddenly disappear. My father (in this scenario) is pudgy, sweat making his pink face shiny, tawnybrown skin under thick curling dark hair on his arms. I remember reading somewhere that we're half-Mexican, half-Italian. Oh, and my grandmother is a Gypsy. My mother is beautiful. She has olive skin and violet eyes. My father has grey eyes with a hint of blue, but his face is rough and hangs loose when he doesn't know what to say, so he looks violent because his eyes have only one gesture: vigilance. Here he's out of his depth however. Pizza box grease dries to solid in a corner of the trailer. It has been hours since we have been home. From every possible toehold a sheaf of papers, usually in yellow with carbons shriveling between sheets, pokes out like hair from a tumor. This guy watching us is all teeth and don't be fooled he is watching us. Dad is out of his depth. Air conditioning flits at the hair over his forehead. Mom is holding Tony by the arm and telling my sister Lucia to get away from the computer wires. The guy isn't phased at all. "I tell you, it's a beauty. Barely been driven hard, in excellent shape from the looks of things, and the model you wanted down to the CD player." Father mutely. "Lotta miles on it." Teeth shine, hair shine, monitor catches our silhouettes behind. "Well, most of those are leisurely freeway miles, and it's younger than most cars, so that explains why it's in such good shape." "Who's the owner?" My father is prodding, but he wants to sign. I want to leave. Lucia wants to eat. Tony has to pee. Flick, flick, papers, then click the mouse and a new screen comes up; scroll. "Private individual, I can't divulge. Sure you don't want to... drive it again?" My father is a patient man. Mother rustles against Tony and he doesn't notice. "It looks good, but it's priced high." Palming keys. "Takes a lot to get a good car these days." They stare at each other. He can't tell, across the table, he can't say. Dad's hemorrhoids are itching and he doesn't want to be in this trailer anymore. Of all the kids, I'm most like him. "$1800." Pale silence. The smile returns. Click, click. A new window comes up with an hourglass. I've now got all the cigarette butts but one into the drain. "I can do $2300, nothing less." Father watches him. Another couple has pulled into the lot. The second white-shirted man, with a yellow tie, comes over. Our salesguy looks up and says, "We're just closing." "I know. What at." They murmur. The first one comes back. "This is my manager, Mr. Lopez. He will tell you what the lot price is as you asked." Father is grey points of focus on his back. "Thank you." The shorter, hairier man comes back. "You said $1800?" Nod. "Mark here told you $2300, but I might be able to get you $2200. If I did that, would you sign this? Now?" Shrug. They murmur again. The cloudy sky is now just grey. The other couple has left, but another is pulling in. And another behind it. Murmur, click. And they come back with something about price and taxes. "Two thousand is the book value, and it's got quite some dents. I'll give you $1900 and nothing over." The hairy one puts a hand to his chin. He looks at three or four rows of figures five or six times. Paper on desk, computer screen, face of customer. Finally he shrugs. "I'll split the difference with you." So it came out to $2000, the book value, and we did fine until they added in the taxes, which made it just a hair under $2300. Dad was pissed but Mom got Tony in back quickly and was arranging Lucia. The manager guy who was hairy came over as I was sliding the last cigarette into the drain. "Oh little girl, please don't do that," he said. Then quietly, more quickly: "It clogs the drain." It was nobody's fault the taxes were so high. We shook hands and said goodbye. The car was nice and ran okay, the only weird sound being a silken whisper click in one of the wheels. Dad says he would need to repack the boots. Mom asked if he thought we got a good deal. He shrugged. She turned on the radio and country music came on. She turned the knob but it wouldn't change stations. Dad laughed. Tony has to pee.