Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: “Politics is for the moment, but an equation is for eternity.” –Albert Einstein

OR, ‘Lest We Forget that NPR would be Knee-Deep in Crap Without a Plumber

I cannot appropriately express my disgust with this in a single visit to the bathroom. I think this is the third month this notion has followed me in here. I know that we’re all insecure in our occupations and pursuits, and that we’ll constantly try to build ours up at the expense of others. Perhaps I just didn’t notice it when I was young, but it appears that self-validation increasingly comes at the expense of others in our world culture. Wasn’t there an age when we fingerpainted just for the heck of it and not because it was more virtuous than playing on monkey bars?

Rebelling to prove yourself damages someone else. We beat you in that war. You beat us in that space race. Hoo and hah, it sucked to live in Strasbourg. Now yes, a really strong scientific theory will outlast this year’s farm subsidies. But seriously: the prevention of war? Ending poverty? Directing rescue workers in the middle of natural disasters? These things are inferior to your lab time?

I just read Stephen Hawking say the human spirit will shrivel if we find all the answers, but lucky us, we’ll probably never find all of them. I’m not Hawking. I’m a fan of Hawking, and a fan of science. But if you think you’ve found all the answers and feel your soul withering up, then Jesus, Mary and Darwin, go help people! Either use your amazing knowledge to design the next energy efficient building or weather-resistant crop, or get out of the library and carry medicine into war zones. You’re momentary too, and people are suffering this moment. There are myriad ways to help the human body and spirit – I had my will to live restored at 13 by novelists I’ll never meet, and there were other thirteen-year-olds rescued by school councilors, police officers and antibiotics. If directly helping ever appears meaningless to you, your world doesn’t deserve algorithms anymore.

This is big hurdle our generation has to get over, and one no generation has cleared to date. You do what you love and let others pursue what they love. If it’s a hobby and your job merely sustains it, then fine. But some people love pulling the numbers together in long equations. Some people want to build roads in broken nations. Some people tell stories. Importance in these matters is arbitrary, and arbitrary matters are downright painful to compare. Are we going to climb into an MRI, and whosever pleasure center glows the brightest wins? I refuse to put a decimal point on my soul. More, my novel does not need to be more important than your race for the Senate. We desperately need good storytellers, good journalists, good scientists, good politicians and a good many other people who are good at a good many other things. More, we need to stop measuring each other by paychecks, notoriety, and this idiotic idea that a pastor or philosopher is more important than a biology teacher or a branch manager. It’s not a matter of being more important. It’s a matter of importance.

“Utopian bullshit,” you say? I say the feces in Utopias smells sweeter than the flowers of a world of dueling roses and orchids.

1 comment:

  1. You are fantastic and amazing, and this needs to be posted in people's front yards like political signs right now. I refuse to put a decimal point on my soul. Yes. Oh very yes.


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