Monday, November 30, 2009

Nearly Midnight Ramblings

It was Socrates that said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." I would find it hard to believe that there is a human being that hasn’t, at some period in their life, paused to reflect on the meaning of it all, and their place in it. Usually at some point, many times during adolescence, people will wonder about the big questions. Will I exist in some form after the death of my body? Is there really free will, or is everything predetermined by genetics, and the turnings of the universe? Where does one’s sense of right and wrong come from? I have to stifle laughter whenever someone takes the position that without religion, and specifically the ten commandments, humans would run rampant, stealing and killing. Wouldn’t not killing people at will just make sense anyway, whether someone thought to inscribe on a stone table a few millennia ago? For a civil society it only makes sense to adhere to a few certain basic rules. Thou Shalt Not Kill is certainly a good one. When I was growing up I always had questions about that commandment though. I thought it was pretty direct in it’s statement, but when the state kills someone using the death penalty, how is that squared with the basic tenet against murdering another human? Then you can always depend on some “Christian” pulling out the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” quote. That may be the only quote they know from the ancient texts, but they wield it like the weapon they imagine it permits them to use.

But I digress…slightly. My initial intention was to imagine that everyone at some point in their life, pauses to think about certain metaphysical questions. I personally think that pondering the big questions can be a life’s pursuit. It can also cause one to weep and worry. There have been times in my life when I just wanted to be a beer-drinking NASCAR fan, working for the weekend. Maybe a high school janitor that enjoys watching professional wrestling on his 42” plasma flat-screen TV, and drinking cold bottles of MGD. (That’s Miller Genuine Draft for those of you not in the know.)

I always found the term “Joe Six-Pack” to be very insulting. Exactly who falls into the category of Mr. Six-Pack? Alcoholics? Guys who would rather be known as Joe (as in Joe the Plumber,) or Mack, or Buddy. But it was the party run by the Harvard and Yale brats named George Herbert Walker Bush, and Neil Prescott Bush, and the actor known as Ronald Reagan, that tried their best to appeal to the so-called “Joe Six-Packs” of America. They insult the beer drinking slobs right to their face, promising them more change in their pocket (literally: nickels, dimes, a few pennies), so that they can continue to buy their watered down horse-piss they call beer.

More digressions and I’ve yet to get to a point. A point of reference to yet another rambling blog post. The point was that it can get depressing thinking about the big questions. Questions that do not seem to have any answers that could be comprehended by our puny human intellect. Reality TV seems to be about veneer and vacuity. I’m not a big watcher of television, but I haven’t heard of any hit programs that tackle the mind-body problem, or death, or whether we actually have free will. Instead people seem to be breaking laws to enable some sort of fame in their lives. There was the “balloon boy hoax” and now there’s some wacky couple from Virginia that crashed a White House party in order to drum up some publicity for a possible reality show. Serial Killer of the Week is not far off. They are already priming the pump with the very graphic forensic shows that inhabit the airwaves. All this viscera interrupted by commercials for Viagra, MacDonalds, and various brain-dead celebrities pawning crappy cars, and retirement plans.

Don’t get me started. I could be here all night. Tomorrow I will be arising with both the sun and the son. In fact, my son will probably get me up before the sun ever shows its face. We have a big day planned of going to the post office, and eating at some restaurant, any restaurant, besides Red Robin, or Jalisco’s.

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