19 September 2015

Compensation… past & present… us vs. them…

I don’t have a strong opinion about prostitution: I can’t think of a reason that anybody who wants to be one should deny themselves the pleasure of becoming a prostitute; nevertheless I myself would never visit a bordello, because I assume that prostitutes are more or less forced to make sweet love to people—I hate the thought of anyone performing a job only to honor a contract: I think that all creatures should enjoy whatever it is that they choose to do, and every deed should be the result of a natural passion.

That’s why I don’t understand money. It seems to me that all goods and services should be free of charge, because the people who manufacture goods, as well as those who perform every vital service, do so out of a pure love for the process; therefore the actions that result in both goods and services are their own reward: money is a superfluous annoyance.

Now I imagine some heckler saying: “But if you were to require an operation, wouldn’t you want your brain surgeon to be well paid for the service?” And I admit that I would want a surgeon who feels a natural love for her profession; but I’m confused why financial compensation should necessarily lead to mastery of any given task.

Then again, a person could possess natural passion for an activity and still be a poor practitioner of it: our world is filled with artists whose work appeals to no one.

Think about all the souls of the ancient past who died without any­one caring about them. Then think about all of the souls who died with entire nations caring. Once time marches far enough forward, it’s all a wash:

When musing on the distant past, I can’t remember anyone’s name or what they did; I can’t remember whether they were valuable or not. Admittedly I remember the name Tutankhamun, but that’s only because of his golden mummy mask. What about all of the ancients who were not commemorated so fashionably—are their lives any less important? But even if Tutankhamun was the most central person of his age, what difference does it make to us now; and how much do we really know about him? Even if you are the king of a powerful nation, your life boils down to a few paragraphs of uninspired text.

Nowadays every creature owns a camera, and it is easy to preserve one’s words on the screens of computers. If ancient Egypt had been blessed with these technologies, we of the present age could spend months scrolling through countless self-shots taken by the Egyptians themselves; and we could read their weblogs written circa 1300 BC. I wonder how their ephemera would compare to ours.

Apparently those ancient folk did not model their government after the U.S.—I wonder how this affected the amount of time they spent blogging about politics. And I wonder what their thoughts were on sports, relationships, music, and styles of clothing.

Maybe for certain ancient people—Egyptians or otherwise—religion pervaded society so thoroughly that there was no need to have a separate word for it. I wonder if this would be freeing or confining, relative to what modern schoolteachers call multiculturalism.

I remember reading that certain ancient countries held all foreigners as barbaric. “If you meet a barbarian, kill it!” that’s what they’d say, I imagine; the way that someone from our time might kill an alligator. This thought triggers one last meditation:

There’s really nothing more than squirrels and rabbits left, among the furry people, because we humans slaughtered all the bears. The bears posed a threat, so we annihilated them: thus, now, when we walk through the woods, there is very little sense of adventure left. I wonder if those old myths about knights slaying dragons originated in a comparably historical genocide. And, for winged folk, we still have crows—but just imagine if there were pterodactyls everywhere.

2 comments:

Qualo Infinity said...

There are still plenty of bears. In fact, one day the world will be governed by a small band of picnic bears.

Bryan Ray said...

These teardrops are not of sadness but of joy, for that day has officially arrived: Viva the small band of picnic bears!

Archive

More from Bryan Ray