27 November 2011

How the "Real" (i.e., more or less Godless) World Works

In keeping with what I take to be the Spirit of the Moment, I thought I'd take a moment to share a few thoughts on the subject of protests. Or, more specifically, protest slogans. I notice that two questions keep popping up, within the limited space inside my skull, whenever I come across a really familiar slogan of protest. One like, for instance, "War is not the answer."

The first question I would address to the protestor is the following:
"Exactly who, and how broad or narrow, is your intended audience?"

The second:
"Assuming your message could have its most desired immediate effect, what sort of rejoinder or other response from that audience would best assure you that your point had been understood and well-considered?"

Now I suppose from the standpoint of Heaven there is such a thing as an ideal audience: People who are uniquely best-placed and best-suited to hear a message, either (1) because they'd find it not only utterly convicting, but convicting to such a degree as to inspire immediate and effective action; or else (2) because they were best able to furnish solid, well-grounded reasons why the message was either beside the point, or wholly unable to convict anybody of anything.

I have only the vaguest notion of what that ideal audience might look like which most deserves to hear and be convicted by the message "War is not the answer" (for all I know it may be most expressly identified by a look in the mirror). But whoever these folks might be, I get the funniest feeling that their most uninhibitedly truthful answer (given sufficient help from alcohol, caffeine, hypnosis or other uninhibitors) might run something like this:

"I got news for you: Peace was never even part of the question." 

24 November 2011

One Thanklessly Productive Generation

One of the many things I am - or ought to be - thankful for:

That our US holiday of Thanksgiving hasn't (yet?) been moved to Sunday or Monday, the better to accommodate our global work, money and stock-trading schedules. (Don't give 'em ideas, right?)

No doubt I'm being way too curmudgeonly for a festive occasion, but stranger things have happened. Certainly our own glorious Age is no stranger to strangeness. In fact, I'd be amazed if any industrial era since 1914 has been more zealous to facilitate the global flow of all things busy - work, trade, money, influence, POWER - than these past sixteen-odd years. Anyhow, we sure have been bustling along. With, in some quarters, hardly so much as a pause for regret through that bitter fall-winter-spring of '08-'09. Ah, but then who among even our wildest optimists could have dreamed that, by 24 November 2011, we'd have so much to show for it all?

It's beginning to dawn on me that the serious, hell-for-leather pursuit of productivity is, in its upshot, not all that different from our other famous American pursuit, that of happiness. In other words, the more we pursue productivity - the more we press and strain and lunge and snarl and claw for it - the more the mercurial Beast eludes us. Until one day it finally tires of the whole ridiculous sport, and turns and snarls back. And then - ever so quietly and resolutely - it starts to hunt us.