Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dare to Want, Dare to Imagine

A quote I like:  "Have we fallen into a mesmerized state that makes us accept as inevitable that which is inferior or detrimental, as though having lost the will or the vision to demand that which is good?"  This was in Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, and was of course referring to the claim that despite how pesticides have bad effects on other creatures there is no alternative if we want to continue to feed people, a claim the book refutes in detail.

I general I do hope to go through life finding the will and the vision to demand the good solutions, and not simply assume that nothing is fixable.

 I have recently been working with someone who commonly claims that nothing
matters.  Nothing matters to him, personally, and little, it seems to him, matters either about the whole world overall.  It's all just depression and nonsense so why bother?

Sometimes I sarcastically or jokingly take this view, but in true seriousness this point of view is not only completely incomprehensible to me, I am finding that people who espouse it are very wearying people to be around.  It seems one would get tired of the labor of constantly exerting a cloud of negativity, of overriding any inborn sense of wonder or curiosity in order to maintain that it's all just uninteresting repetitions of inevitable futility.

How can you take the stance that nothing matters?  Not love, not joy, not overcoming evil, nothing wanted, nothing preferred, everything humdrum and miserable.  How miserable a life, how small a person who labors to live such a life!  And I think labor it must be, that it cannot be natural to assess the world and truly find nothing to care about.  I also think people who make this claim are actually lying, saying this as a defense mechanism to show how grandly unaffected they are--and at the same time demonstrate how they never aged past that time in high school when few of us felt safe to reveal who we truly were by what we cared about.

Well, we're not in high school anymore.  If nothing matters to you, how can you summon either will or vision?  If nothing matters to you, how can you matter to anyone else?

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