There is a part of me that wants to be more detached from the daily hubbub of modern life. I don’t want to care so much about who won Tuesday’s election or whether or not the Florida Constitution is amended — again — by right-wing craziness. Obama-Romney? Tweedledee-Tweedledum. But, but, but he’ll nominate Supreme Court judges who’ll, who’ll … Yep, he probably will. Yet, as Annie sings, “The sun will come out tomorrow.”
I’ve been reading of late on Epicureanism. I recommend, my informed reader, that you do as well. The faithful are typically told to dismiss Epicurus and his philosophy as treacherous hedonism because of his emphasis on the pursuit of pleasure and happiness. Oooooh. Nasty, nasty. Pleasure and happiness. Nasty. Read last year’s Pulitzer Prize winning book for history, “The Swerve” by Stephen Greenblatt. Quite an enjoyable read on how the West (Europe) was fortuitously reintroduced to Epicurus in the 15th century.
Epicurus was a third century BC Athenian philosopher who advocated sensible approaches to living, one of which, however, I have a hard time following. Epicureans avoided politics (governance), that hot, tumultuous cauldron of public life. Epicurus recommended we literally tend our “garden” and avoid the meaningless distractions from that riotous mob forever barking nonsense at your “garden’s edge.” Mind your own business, be contemplative, pursue friendships, live moderately, happiness and pleasure are life’s legitimate pursuits, think/live rationally and do not fear death. That is quite a reasoned agenda. And, one sadly at odds with our increasingly superstitious and religiously reactionary times.
I am drawn by the idea of withdrawal from society or, rather, withdrawing from actively participating in the idiocy of my fellow man.
I am such a fatalist, at this point, concerning the environment of Florida, or of any of the, as yet, still pristine parts of Earth. For that matter, I am beyond weeping for what “we” are losing or have already lost. Everyday a new report is issued on the ongoing rape of the planet. If Republicans think — really? — that women experience illegitimate rapes, one can only imagine their explanations for the ongoing rape of our Mother Earth. Democrats are complicit as well in the desecration of the planet. It’s all a matter of degree, of proportionality. It’s all about jobs don’t-cha see.
As well it should be. Seven billion swilling at the trough today, another two billion predicted to arrive this century. Today, 310 million Americans, perhaps 500 million before 2100? Won’t that be just great, so environmentally healthy for North America? Sustainability? Why consider such nonsense?
Our industrial farming is poisoning our land and water, and our agricultural practices are washing our topsoil at record levels to the sea.
Our military is a bloated albatross around our national neck, but instead of lightening the burden, we forever mindlessly salute the stars and stripes and look for other world “opportunities” to liberally impose democracy at the end of an American gun barrel.
I enjoy mindless bromides such as, “There is no ‘I’ in team.” Well, we’ve reached a point where, “There is no ‘we’ in America.” Our politics, our leaders, our policies are obscene.
Perhaps this is what fixes our interest and participation. With fingers splayed, we watch transfixed at this utterly fascinating train wreck called humanity. Such art! Obscene? You bet! But, my gawd, show me more.
Mr. Conductor, puh-leeese, punch my ticket through to the end of the line.
I’m going all the way! Woo-woo!