16 December 2012
bumper sticker philosophy.
Okay. See that image above? That, my friends, is what we get when (probably) well-intentioned but (probably) intellectually underequipped people try to establish correlations. Back in the good old days—before we posted our every inconsequential thought and feeling (as well as snapshots of our genitals) on the internet—I probably wouldn't even be aware that people thought this way (in other words: poorly). Oh, yes, I might have suspected that there were a great number of drooling simpletons in the world, but their contorted dogmas wouldn't have been foisted upon me so early in the morning before I'd even finished my first cup of coffee.
The temptation is there, to be sure. We want simple answers to very complex questions, the same way that we fantasize about gods sitting on clouds in pristine satin robes—in order to feel that our that our chaotic, irreducible lives have some meaning or intelligible plotline. We've all grown up on storybooks, television shows, and mainstream movies, and as a result our minds automatically grasp for the symbols, the foreshadowings, and the simple causalities that take us from 'once upon a time' to 'happily ever after.' But real life—as few of us need to be reminded—is a lot messier. People suffer and die without purpose. The bad guy sometimes wins. Protagonists suddenly act strangely and out-of-character. And the story never ends—but is followed by epilogue after epilogue after epilogue...
I could say so many things in logical rebuttal to what is on that t-shirt above, but mindless slogans like that (which are as slithery as anything Madison Avenue could produce) really don't deserve logical rebuttal. You have to earn the right to be taken seriously. We're all certainly free to express ourselves as we wish—this being a 'free country' and all—but we really need to be careful. Slogans and talking points have a way of expressing things for us, or in lieu of us. They seem to save us the bother of really having to think about things rigorously for ourselves, but I don't think we can ever be absolved of that responsibility.