12 June 2007

Fish Food?

It's been three days sine my last post. Where does the time go?

No, really, where does time go?

Long ago Bill Cosby did a comic bit called “Why is there Air?” reflecting on his college girlfriend who was a philosophy major while he was a phys ed. major. “She would walk around asking questions like ‘why is there air.’ Any phys ed. major knows why there’s air. There’s air to blow up volley balls and basketballs…”

Asking where time goes is like asking why is there air. Pragmatists don’t ask why questions. Origins are immaterial. Things exist, and our task is to figure out what to do with them. These people succeed wildly. Those of us who wonder why can succeed wildly, but usually only posthumously, like Jesus and Galileo. Not a rational career choice.

It’s a vocation, a calling. That’s an old and dangerous word suggesting God (or seem reasonable facsimile) is calling out and telling you what to do. Moses got called, Muhammed too, and various other prophets, most of them weird and best forgotten.

People who ask why do not want to ask those questions. Would rather ask how…

… to get rich
… to get famous
… to get a job
… to change a diaper or a tire
… to operate the remote.

Instead we ponder the meaning of money and the disparities of wealth, the yearning for fame and its costs, the purpose of work, and make a colossal mess around practical matters. Einstein is our icon, only there are way more of us like temperamentally than there are intellectually.

I like to believe we have a role to play in the world, that our nebulous nature somehow fits into the jigsaw of the human family. My cynical side believes we are those who would have been panther food in the bush.

Legend says that St. Iraneus, early Christian martyr, while being transported to his site of execution, begged to be thrown to wild animals so they would at least gain some nourishment from his body.

The tenth good thing about intellectuals, right?

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