Thursday, May 24, 2012 man's opinion

The other morning I was interrupted by Russell while I was blissfully void of any intention to fire my synapses, my stare as vacant as my head. He offered, "A penny for your thoughts", and reality concussed my floating brain. I would be the first to admit that my thoughts, even when cogent, are not worth anything approaching a penny, but nonetheless you, dear reader, are about to receive a healthy sampling.

The penny is worthless, so we might as well stop making them, especially given the current cost of copper (even when used to clad a cheaper aluminum slug). Eliminating the penny would provide two significant benefits. It would eventually eliminate a plethora of irrelevant adages, and secondly, it would make all of the incarnations of Ellen DeGeneres happy (It's 15 dollars, right?).

A penny saved may be a penny earned, but it is still just a penny. And in this world of economic inequity, you would be hard pressed to earn a penny in Darfur. The refugees in the southern Sudan may possess the wherewithal to be penny wise, but the likelihood that they become pound foolish is remote, at best. This example is perhaps extreme, but certainly not isolated. In fact, you can pick from roughly 75% of the world's countries and find similar scenarios. There is extreme poverty everywhere from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

The World Bank recently re-defined 'extreme poverty' as a situation where one tries to survive on less than 150 pennies a day. While I am certain that those few who run the World Bank have salaries that exceed the $1.50/day figure, I am also quite confident that the tuition for their educations...educations which allowed them to attain their lofty positions...also exceeded the figure they set. No 'extremely poor' students were they. If the average American tried to live on $1.50 a day, and still attempted to maintain their 'starbucks' habit, the personal deficit of the average american would soon approach our national deficit. Yet we insist that studying and quantifying poverty...studies performed by and for people who wouldn't recognize it if it was crammed up their a valid vocation for the highly educated. Perhaps, if they used their positions to actually do something about it (as they claim the numbers are down). But, I digress. For the real point of this post is to suggest we pay all our politicians at the 'extreme poverty' rate. I will now become extremely unpopular.

There is no such thing as a great country. America is not a great country; it is not even a great economic entity. There is no honor in defending a country; there is even less honor in defending an economic entity. By no means do I wish to confine these statements to the good old USA. There is no honor in defending Afghanistan, or Ireland, or Mali...OR ANY OTHER FUCKING COUNTRY. Countries, and their governments, exist for the sole purpose of legitimizing  greed. They do not exist to better the lives of their constituents. They exist to better the lives of the few who run, or control it. This is true for 'democracies' like the US or Great Britain. It is also true for the socialists, the communists, monarchies, and, lest I overstate the obvious, dictatorships. Countries and governments exist for the sole purpose of funneling wealth to the few. Just ask the ex-con who led Liberia for the details. That should suffice to prove my point.

Perhaps a brief glimpse at history, colored with the patina of my convoluted, linear thinking, is in order. We started with alpha chimps, who cheated, murdered, connived and fought their way to kingship. This can be verified upon closer examination of Hammurabi, Xerxes, Saul, pick an English one, Catherine the Great, pick a French one, pick an African one, pick and Oriental one, etc., etc., etc.. To solidify their dominion, they subsequently formed an alliance with God. This, of course, led a few beta chimps, possessed of more devious motivations, to cheat, murder, connive and fight their way to the papacy, replete with paths to plunder wealth and young boys asses. Now I think we must have gotten smarter over the millennia, and it is true that we have worked our way past that whole serf/king-who-owns-everything thing. But, you would be wrong. We continue to look to leaders (yeah, and God) to fix things, so we forgive the occasional blowjob in the Oval office, the all too frequent misguided war, the genocide of some ethnic minority, and certainly some gladhanding with big corporations and stock market manipulators. And yet, we still choose to believe in what our leaders have always told us, i.e. that America is the greatest country on earth; that working hard will get you what you want...and you will be happy. It is, as if, we have completely forgotten to think. Sure, the Bible may tell us not to fuck our neighbor's wife, but it must be ok for the televangelists because they speak directly to the big guy. That anyone...ANYONE...still belongs to the Catholic church, mystifies me. That anyone believes there is wisdom or integrity in the Democratic or Republican parties simple boggles my mind. It does, however, lead me to the understanding that evolution has come to a standstill, and unless we re-spark the engine, we are doomed to an eternity as blind followers. We may not all be alphas, but please tell we are not all mind-numb idiots. Perhaps we could all get together and begin a new movement. We could call it 'Occupy Your Own Mind'.

It is my belief that we will not move up on the evolutionary ladder until we learn to be kind; learn to offer kindness instinctively, without weighing the benefit. Perhaps, if we can reach the next plateau, we might come to understand that what we have come to accept as 'normal' life...DOES NOT MAKE US HAPPY...DOES NOT MAKE US BETTER. 

It is time for us to evolve...and to understand the need to deconstruct the horrible mess we have wrought, or, at the very least, accepted. Meanwhile, I will take comfort in one holdover from the old ways. You can't buy a gun for 150 pennies. 

1 comment:

Andy said...

Great piece.

Unfortunately, I am truly sorry to say that most of us are indeed mind-numb idiots.

All religions should be banned - particularly the one which has 'Money' in place of God. It's only there to keep the little people down.