Communique 12-1-2020 "Luster & Laughter"
By Philip Drucker
Today is what I call a light sensitive day. In other words, I’m sensitive to light. Too much exposure gives me a headache. Computer screens too so don’t expect much brilliance. That’s a joke. I warned you. On the other hand, the sun is rising and I’m still a believer that every day brings new promise, new challenges for sure, and opportunities as well. My personal inner morning mantra is try to meet each new day with luster and laughter, it won’t be here for very long.
My favorite definition of luster (am I the only person who has “best” definitions?) would be “a gentle sheen or soft glow, especially that of a partly reflective surface.” Or, in terms of practicality, you don’t have to change the world to make it better. Just try and make a small part of it glow. This is not an ideal entirely unique unto myself.
In Japan, there is a saying roughly translating to “A salaryman may not be able to change the world, but he can make a small corner of it shine.” A “salaryman” being the Japanese equivalent of a western styled worker bee and good husband, except they drink like fish and in the service of honor, work and family are expected to “grind oneself to powder” (karoshi) for the payoff of a burial plot in the corporate cemetery.
Very much I think like a samurai that everybody knows means “to serve” not kill everyone around you except your master in a murderous rampage whenever you feel the need, but without the sharper than sharp swords or super cool hats. What’s my point? Don’t kill yourself so someone else can drive a Mercedes. Remember, one of the allures of being a samurai was a quick and noble death. Working your life away for the man-machine? No so much.
One of the many things you might contemplate, why, if your work and labor is so worthless to the point your title has “minimum wage” in it, do your employers want it so badly and to the point they are quite literally willing to kill you for it? Don’t be fooled by the latest vermin of robber barons, exploiters and plunderers we still for some reason unknown reason to me dominate our still mostly economic but diversifying economy?
Who is in actuality more important? The persons who run the machines? Or pays for them? If you are a fan of science fiction, you might have noticed that over the years, one of the promises of the future resides in machines doing the work of workers, thereby freeing the average worker to use their mind, rather than their hands to achieve still laudable business benchmarks including efficiency, productivity, invention, innovation and yes, market share and profit margins.
These are ideals embedded in our consciousness since the time of Socrates and Plato, not Marx and Engels (“M&E”) as many would have you believe. M&E were every bit the philosophers as many of our acknowledged thinkers who sought to explain the working of the universe and beyond, yet we refuse to see them in this light. Why? As near as I can reckon because they used the word “manifesto”, a clear no-no in the 20th and 21st Century and their work had a practical, life changing component for many who might want to have a better life, but not for those who did not want the dynamic of master/servant to change.
I have to admit servant does sound better than slave or samurai for that matter, but given even a quantum of investigative and reflective thought, not so much. Better to keep the masses stupid and compliant. Wouldn’t want anyone to take stock of themselves and decide for themselves they could be far more than they are today and a life most surely to end with a life ending case of black lung a just reward for working one’s life away in the mines. If you still think the Japanese are the only country willing to throw away their lives for pennies on the dollar, we can discard with the notion right here and right now.
You don’t think it’s happening here? Well then today is your lucky day as this is your wake-up call, a real eye-opener I hope. Smell the coffee scented roses laced with sulfur and brimstone? It’s already happened. Education is down. Religious dogma is up. Wages and unemployment are down while the stock market is up. Still not convinced?
Then let me ask you what madman sees a pandemic spreading out of control and decides it’s a good time to get rid of health care and insurance for millions? The one who realizes that the poorest, mostly minorities among us, will be disproportionately effected by the Covid-19 virus, at least initially, and in their massive ego driven delirium and diseased minds and morals, decides it is an I guess acceptable way of “weeding out” the undesirables in society (I’ll leave that thought for you to figure out), leaving the remaining working class shell shocked and scared as all get out. “Essential workers”? Essential to what? They get us every last stinking chance they get, don’t they?
Still don’t believe me? On top of proving my point, let me ask you a riddle. Who in their right minds allows a quarter of a million souls and counting to die for no good reason except incompetence, indifference, an inability to feel empathy, who believes in the “order of all things” secular and sectarian and believes success is an electronically generated number in a bank in a 401k counting “value” through pieces of paper or perhaps coinage that in and of itself has no actual value except that we accept pieces of green parchment with a funny pyramid with an eye at the top as representing the pinnacle of achievement and success.
Why, that would be the 47% (there’s that funny number again) of anything but enlightened voters who cast their ballot and banked their future prosperity for an orange skinned would be tyrant with flying turtles and racists, misogynists, homophobes, and anyone and everyone who is afraid of losing their supremacy through systemic racism, and entitlement, attacking anyone and anything they are not (big list these days) for their supposed but misplaced benefit. Tell me I’m wrong. I’m not.
Ask yourself, what is “essential” about beef when you can go out and have lunch at the nearest homophobic Chick-fil-A? Oops see? They got you again, me I don’t eat there. Are you willing to trade a scrapbook full of memories for a woman’s right to “free” contraception via her health insurance as a “right” of the religiously intolerant, even though the individual does not share the same beliefs? If you shop at Hobby Lobby (I don’t) they got you again.
Am I perfect in my politics and perceptions? Nope, but then again, I don’t try to be. That ship sailed a long time ago. I believe in doing the best I can and accepting not the things that I can’t change, but that sooner or later everybody gets got. And then, there is the next sunrise, the next day and tomorrow, all over again.
Oh, did I forget to explain the luster part? Well, if your plans for today don’t work out quite the way you wanted them to, now you know what to do. Keeping in mind of course, there’s always tomorrow.
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