It’s Actually Funny When You Think About It
It’s funny because thinking is so useless. We made a big mistake when we decided to rely on reason to guide us through life’s murky passages. By the time we woke up to this, our situation was hopeless. We can only look on in amusement as we flounder in the mire.
We can write about this experience, as I am doing here. But language is deceptive by its very nature – as the Buddha discovered, and taught us.
I am tempted here to go into a long digression about how Buddhism has failed Thailand, which now has a military dictatorship, and how the factories who produce many of the hard drives for the world’s computers, have been flooded because they were built on a flood plan with inadequate flood protection – a danger that was well-known even in the Buddha’s time, when dikes, impressive even by modern standards, were built and maintained. If the people back then could see this now they would have a good laugh at our expense.
As I said, language is inadequate and deceptive. I heard about one of the most important books of our time The Master and his Emissary from an article in Poetry Magazine – of all places. Ian McGilchrist, the author, also taught English; and realized its inadequacies and the necessity for poetry – which has been abandoned by everyone else.
The reason for this is simple – they don’t want to understand what is going on, or understand anything, for that matter. They just want to be like everyone else – stupid.
This reminds me of another book, one I just got: Too Big to Know: rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren’t the facts, experts are everywhere and the smartest person in the room is the room. As a matter of fact I have already written about it in Five Centuries of History. The author is extremely clever, but he has his blinders on – as he is required to – and can only talk about the present – as if it were the only thing worth talking about. He lets his readers be optimistic or pessimistic – ignoring questions of value, as he is required to.
To return to Poetry Magazine, and the poem In a Station of the Metro. Be sure to follow the link at the top of the page to an explanation of the poem – which is much longer than the poem itself, and more important – but one most will not be able to follow because of its many literary references. As usual, the ignorant mass – the people who most need it – will not benefit from the poem, or its careful explanation.
To me, this is funny. A strange sense of humor, perhaps, but one appropriate for our times.