Shadow Philosophy

The last three pieces I wrote came, pretty much, from the same cotton candy machine, only swirled around three different sticks. I warned Mike B. I was going to write a fourth, but have decided against it. The fourth was to be the ethical one, but it seems a little pointless. It would mean hammering on something already so dead, that it’s even stopped stinking.

Logistics seems to be where it’s at. Following procedures and plans, using laws like cookie cutters, and bending laws like aluminum foil that lets a trickle of the cooking bird run out, but can be quickly patched back up. Whatever gets the job done.

People often talk about how much they hate lawyers. I usually like talking with them. It’s orderly and efficient, and complexities are just par for the course. They do irritate me in one sense, though: when they fancy themselves philosophers.

You see, in Philosophy you rarely get to have your cake, and eat it too. You either bake a cake, or you regurgitate someone else’s. Sure, the shoulders of giants and whatnot, but the cake is your own, and it moves beyond — it changes to something new, bringing with it a new understanding, and this understanding, expands. Law is not like this. Law constrains, applying definitions that are immutable, yet still left open sometimes to interpretation. It is far more narrow, and can be utilized, or exploited. And this is where trouble comes in.

People will say, “the spirit of the law”, but law has no spirit. Only the people do. We pay thousands of people to write laws, as their sole vocation. We pay thousands more people to interpret them. And even many thousands more we pay, to enforce them upon us. So it seems a little strange to me, lawyers fancying themselves philosophers. Their heads do not poke out far enough, or if they do, their willingness to, at the drop of a hat (or money clip), compromise Ethics, voids any claim to credibility within Philosophy. This is not some unwritten behavioral standard required of philosophers. It is simply recognizing that for anyone to be taken seriously about something they say, they must, themselves, believe it. And if you say something that you do not believe, then you are a liar. And if you are a liar, should not your pursuit of truth be greeted with skepticism by those you seek to convince?

There is only one way a lawyer could possibly be considered a philosopher: if instead of themselves, they became Actors from time to time. To suit any need, they don the appropriate Actor’s guise, working to become the part, and convince their audience, to the furthest extremes, even when they may not believe it themselves. Taking the entirety of their knowledge and adeptness at rhetoric, they strut the part out onto the Stage to further their own ends, or, the ends of their employers.

So, I watch with some interest the Congress half-heartedly struggling with lobbying reform. I watch, with some interest, Congresspeople tauting their ideals and philosophies and Vision. I watch, with some interest, the creators, the executors and the caretakers of law, strategize the greater interests of their party, or their employers, or their morality, or their friends.

It’s an irony any more, Philosophers and Statesmen, being in the same sentence. In fact, the words Statesman seems to have an almost arcane quality, like a genetic memory from a dead language.

Here is what I see: squirming and maneuvering. Slinking in shadows. Holding up lollipops in one hand, and skewering dogs with the other. Avarice, objectives, and diversions, just like a game play. I do not see burned bowels spilling onto family members, nor do I get to marvel at just how much stuff is really packed into our torsos. I don’t get to pull my friend’s flesh, splattered, from my cheek. I don’t get to just “loose” 10 billion dollars.

Honestly, I’m a little surprised and disappointed that we can’t see more real death and blood on television. We have programs where millions of people watch others eating pig entrails and cow eyeballs, giant spiders and eels. We watch people get shot on TV series and movies, or blown up. But maybe it’s a little like seeing an epileptic seizure on TV — then seeing one for real, and realizing, you had never known what it really was until it played out right in front of you. Maybe we’re not supposed to see what we’re actually doing. Maybe we all are really that good at fooling ourselves.

So, a beer, and toast then! To the American Psychological Association who has more people working for the Pentagon than any other place, and who’s people dutifully watch over interrogations. To Rupert Murdoch, who owns our eyes and ears, and pays us nothing — and all you MySpace people who need spoon feeding. To the upholders of the Constitution, who put other priorities higher. To the military and industry who destroy our world, along with the creatures in it. To the banks and their partners, who put people and nations in debt! To the healers, who heal only for money! To the businesspeople who take all they can and give as little as possible! And let’s not forget God, Allah, etc who give the biggest excuses of all. But most of all, to you, dear reader, caught up in it all, and knowing, with nothing you can do. Hail to the Shadow! Hail to the Endless Circle! Hail to Power, Glory, and Death! Abandonment! Absolution! And the wild charge to Ruin!

The people who say, the past is the past, and we just need to move ahead, are fools. Ah, Dave Smith, if I knew where you were right now, I would give you such an apology. We are in the past, in history, and we are creating the future. All that we are doing, and have done, is etched in stone. But that stone need not restrain us from examining, acknowledging, admitting, learning, and taking specific action to better ourselves and the world around us. If it is not our duty to hold ourselves accountable, how can we expect differently from others?

There is a part of me, when I see something wrong, that must address it. In something as large as these things we talk about here, the process could easily be an unending endeavor. People are resistant to change, and even more resistant to examining themselves, and even more resistant again to bothering themselves with anything that isn’t beating them with a stick. Not counting the people who just happen across my blog (where these mailings get posted)… some of you are acquaintances. Most of you are friends. Some of you, I love very much. Most all of you know I can become easily fixated on things that seem important. This is one of them. I offer you that, as a tactic to gain your indulgence for a while. Honestly, I can’t wait until I can go back to my regularly unscheduled programming. So many other things seem so trivial just now, though. And I wonder if I’m the only one who feels that way. I haven’t actually asked anyone yet.