Huge snowflakes were falling today. The view from my kitchen window looked like a postcard. I imagine that if a crew had been shooting a scene for a Christmas movie outside of my house, they would have erected a huge umbrella to block the natural precipitation; then they would have employed a machine to generate artificial snow for the cameras, because the actual stuff looked way too perfect. A director once told me that real precipitation appears fake when filmed, so professionals always opt for sprinklers to simulate rain, and they use potato flakes instead of snow.
I wonder if all of the corruption in the political world will ever get ironed out. Some people say that kings are a bad idea. Some say that pure democracy is a bad idea. And yet other arrangements are sometimes called good ideas – these things have always confused me. I wonder if despotism or mob rule will ever become fashionable. I mean, once they change these concepts’ labels, people might approve of them – like when ‘propaganda’ was re-christened as ‘public relations’. Maybe it’s only words that fall out of fashion. I wonder if the word ‘freedom’ will ever sound bad.
National governments are organizations of humans. Multinational corporations are organizations of humans. Christian churches are organizations of humans. I’ll continue my train of thought after I share this picture of a tab from a box of wine superimposed over a photograph of a basketball:
My assumption is that a person who has learned to face pain and death with equanimity will have an advantage over someone who is terrified of those same things. A person can refuse to compromise with the forces of corruption. But then what? That person might become a martyr. Whereas the person who cooperates with the forces of corruption, however rightly or wrongly, might receive worldly comforts. The dubious term in that last sentence is ‘might’, because they also might not.
Just for fun, off the top of my head, I’ll list what I think are the pluses and minuses of martyrdom. On one hand, a martyred corpse can no longer walk on the hillside and teach people wisdom. On the other hand, the martyr’s death might awaken those who would have otherwise remained asleep. (I purposely withhold my judgment about which hand represents the plus side and which the minus.) Yes, I really do wish that I could interview some martyrs. “Now that you’ve seen how events transpired after your death,” I would ask them, “was it worth it? Would you have done anything differently?”
I wonder how much any generation actually matters. Humankind’s history looks to me like one long repetitious farce. So what if the past matches the future? Is it worth sacrificing anything, let alone oneself, for the sake of the next generation? Why would a brontosaurus risk her life to preserve the creed of her kinfolk, if the earth is only going to be inherited by humans? One possible answer would be: Because it’s amusing.
I’ll conclude this entry by sharing the reverse side of the image that I shared above. The blurred drawing peeking through is by W. Blake; the cardboard circle in the center is the box tab’s rear; and, as you can see, the back of the magazine photo is almost wholly scripture.