Saturday, September 17, 2005

Lost in Place

The Crown of Creation?

I made another mistake today. Even when I'm really careful I still misunderstand stuff and I've been wondering if it's even possible to ever get it right. First mistake was reading the newspaper. I'll bet if I could find a paper from Sumer from six or seven thousand years ago, it'd be the same stories about the same things. The various people would be different but they'd be doing the same stuff. They'd be worried about drought and famine and war and bandits, revolutionaries, violence, moral decay, crowded streets and clogged pipes. People have devised some pretty clever technology since then but that's about the only measurable difference.

Another mistake was reading a news magazine, one of those full of opinion and commentary. These people seem so sure of themselves, as if everything were so obvious and any disagreement was pointless and, probably, criminal. Odd that someone else in the same magazine holds an opposite opinion with at least the same degree of certainty. Now they can't both be right if they so adamantly disagree - but they can both be wrong. The very fact they do disagree so vehemently suggests to me that they are both probably wrong and I should look somewhere in the middle or just ignore the whole issue. It does seem that the stronger one holds to some opinion the more desperate their need to be right. Scary stuff that.

So then I tried TV. Always a mistake. Some sleazy dude is selling insurance. He looks just the way he should, perfectly coiffed shiny white hair, expensive suit, nice tie, practiced and articulate delivery. A hollow and insubstantial symbol of successful middle age. He's telling me that I should buy his insurance to protect those “left behind” when I die. Why, Social Security only covers a fraction of the cost of my burial! Who's going to pay my “final expenses”? How could I be so thoughtless and selfish (he implies, all syrupy and smooth) as to keep my money for myself! Fact is, my heirs have been getting their inheritance for decades. There will be nothing left because I gave it to them already. Sadly, this is one of the least offensive assaults to my intelligence that TV offers so routinely.

Ok then, I'll go for drive, it's a nice day after all. Big mistake. Traffic everywhere. Great huge SUVs everywhere, packed with fat people going to the great huge malls, to buy bigger clothes, no doubt. Those going to or coming from the malls head straight for the fast-fat-food restaurants, the donut shops, Ben and Jerry's. Some of the more adventurous are going to a theater, after their snack. The roads are packed, the gas stations are full of gluttonous SUVs, all the Wall Marts and Kmarts are jammed. There's no place to go and a peaceful drive in the country means navigating through the traffic and the endless strip malls wedged between fat cars with loud sub-woofer blasting Rap and bad attitude dudes.

Now I'm pretty sure that this is not the world I belong in and I kinda suspect no one else belongs here either. We can't really believe that this is the best we can do. What's happened? What can we do? Was this the whole purpose of the Big Bang and ten zillion years of evolution? Compared to the universe and all of human history we seem not only insignificant but absurd.

1 Comments:

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7:59 PM  

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