Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pigeon holes and Platitudes

People love platitudes. I'm fond of a few myself. Just check the memes floating around Facebook and other social networks. Platitudes and pigeonholes make us relax. Reality, not so much.

In general people prefer that disturbing realities fold their wings neatly, then duck politely into a sturdy square box with a lid, out of sight - a box that keeps its contents in check - so things can't pop out and flop around in plain sight. Otherwise people might start questioning their faith in a happy world where a good-guy god reigns and where everyone who needs soon has.

We reach for platitudes for comfort.. Nonsense like: "Everything happens for a reason. Everything works out for the best."  Tell that to an antelope being torn apart by hyenas. The messy truth is this: the living world runs on death. Hamburgers, salmon steak and chicken wings have all been ripped untimely from beasts who weren't through with them yet. Don't let the grocery store's neat Styrofoam trays and pristine shrink wrap fool you. Life eats other life in order to continue. Purportedly this is the invention of a gentle loving god.

People too end in unseemly ways. They get blown up, burnt to cinders, have limbs severed, are mangled inside car wrecks,  beaten to death, starve in slow bony collapse, ache with suicidal despair, have their bleeding guts poured out on indifferent ground before laughing witnesses.

It's just easier for the more comfortable branches of the human race not to think about it much. We stuff this information into a little square pigeonhole and we paste a few decorator platitudes on top of it.

This enables us to buy expensive designer sneakers and iPhones for our kids without guilt. It enables us to live as extravagantly as possible believing we deserve it all, or to happily enjoy whatever small pleasures we can find while rationalizing away the world's ubiquitous cruelty and inequity.

This philosophical slight of hand makes it possible to have lunch once in a while. And after all, if you have lunch - you might as well savor every bite....

Bon appetite.

-- Mad Mar (Mistryel) Walker
originally written April 9, 2002 & updated in 2013.