Watching a nature show about Ireland. There is a section about bats on it. The show is talking about how good bats are not only for the ecosystem, but also how much they help people because of all of the pests they eat. The show also talked about how people have this fear of bats from all the years they have been associated with vampires and other horror stories dating back a longtime.
Because humans didn’t have a true understanding of nature for so long, until science started explaining things, all of these superstitious stories were allowed to infiltrate our cultures. Some of these superstitions, or fallacies about the natural world, still persist. We often look upon human behavior in the past with a kind of comic detachment. Monty Python and the Holy Grail made great fun of the condemning of witches. What exists today that people in the future will laugh at in disbelief?
Senators Don’t Believe Human Caused Climate Change
Fourteen of the fifteen hottest years on record have occurred since the year 2000, yet we now have a Senate in which 49 of its members are unwilling to tie climate change to human behavior, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. If this were a movie no one would believe it, unless it was a comedy. We are a laughing stock to most of the intelligent world, yet so many of our citizens bury their heads in the sand. (This bunch was just elected and reelected.) Anyone that has young children or is thinking of having them should be weeping openly in public. If we don’t act soon, we are willingly bequeathing future generations a world that will resemble a flaming ball of shit. If I sound angry, I am. This idiocracy is the result of greed and laziness and people that can’t be bothered with anything that isn’t in their narrow little field of view. We let the 1% buy so many of our elections. We sit idly by as the rich destroy education and turn our people into a nation of retarded couch potatoes. These powerful few are making monkeys out of us and no one cares. If no one was going to procreate again, I could say we had it coming. However, people that are babies now, or those that have not been born, are innocent of these ridiculous crimes. And yes, what we are doing is a crime. We are harming other people and future generations just so we can drive big cars around town while fueling destruction and our own egos. In a democracy the many have power over the few, but in order for that to be so the many need to pay attention and actually try to figure out what is really going on. If they don’t soon it is game over…
Spoiler alert for The Artist at Work by Camus.
One of my favorite authors is Camus. I love his short story collection Exile and the Kingdom, among other works. In the story The Artist at Work we follow the life of an artist as he becomes more and more removed from his family as he tries to create a painting. The story ends with the artist creating a painting that is only a blank canvas, where it is impossible to tell if the word on the canvas is solidary or solitary. Should his artistic responsibility be to go into his own inner world and create something or should his responsibility as a human being be to those people around him?
This is a common dilemma among creative people. Should you put everything into your work or at some point do you just start progressing up your own arse? Or as they say in Spinal Tap, “There is a fine line between the clever and the stupid.”
George Orwell said that, “any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats.” When I am on the road there are times when I feel guilty about not being around to take care of my dog or not being there for a friend’s birthday party or whatever. There are also times when I would prefer to sit around and write or play music when I should be out at someone’s event. One wouldn’t even need to be any kind of artist to feel these feelings. Anyone that might have a job that takes up too much time will probably feel this kind of thing from time to time.
A job, given there is some benefit to others in it, or a piece of art, may make many other people happy. However, at the same time it may make those closest to you miserable from time to time. Jackson Pollock was horrible to many people around him, but his work will live on for a long time. Was it worth those people suffering so that he could create something that many other people would appreciate? That is an extreme example, as most people can find some balance of the two. However, because life is finite, I think it is normal to feel that in not having infinite time you are going to let someone down.
So how do you solve this problem? Is there an answer? I think not, only a series of questions that humanity will have to ask for as long as we’re around.
A really interesting article from Salon:
What Hannah Arendt understood about irony that David Foster Wallace didn’t http://www.salon.com/2014/05/08/what_hannah_arendt_understood_about_irony_that_david_foster_wallace_didnt/ via @Salon