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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What is Sense? And In What Sense?

Don't you think it’s a waste to paint cars that will be used for crash tests? Maybe I don't know enough about the intricacies of paint, but it doesn’t seem like the paint job is going to affect anything substantial during tests, so save the expense right? There must be some good reason they do it. There better be, or I’m gonna be miffed. (miffed is when someone is perturbed in a way that no one takes too seriously, and it eventually blows away with the passing wind, though you still wish to be recognized as objecting to the situation)

Ultimately, though, I want things to make sense. Well, I don’t exactly expect quite everything to make sense, but just a lot of things, and if I see too many things that aren’t making sense, it worries me that there could potentially be an overabundance of senseless things, becoming a slippery slope of nonsensicalness into utter oblivion — as the mind carries itself away to ponder. Then what are you going to hang onto? I think a comfortable ratio for sensible and senseless might be in the range of about 3:2, using more realistic expectations of the world.

There is admittedly something psychological about being over or under 50%, so if the senseless gets into the majority, it will result in some stress on my end. It’s a curious phenomenon how we like our odds to be better than 50-50. And yet it’s kind of arbitrary when you think about it. If the chances are that it will happen more often than it won’t, then we look at that as an ideal. 40% seems to be more like a failure. But who really defines that? What if 40% gets the job done in the long run? Do we really need majorities? Maybe to help us feel good for a while about what we’ve done. But I think if you show up and make a good run for it, you can be happy about that even if it didn’t happen a preponderance of the time. I doubt that life has to follow some cosmic scale where opposing forces are weighed to see which occurs more.

In that light, I’d like to present a group of suggestions to start us on our way, and feel comfortable adding in your own. Fortunately for us, discussion is still freeware.

Things that make sense:
• Blueberry pancakes with plumes of steam emanating from them. How can you go wrong there?
• The glee of an infant, oblivious to the world and just happy about life.
• The changing of the seasons. Somehow, it all resonates. It speaks to us directly, without involving the middle man of analysis. They serve as a wonderful metaphor for all of existence.
• That life has purpose. It’s not so much that I want it to have a purpose, but that it screams that it does.
• The smooth texture and luscious taste of chocolate. It never goes out of style. Thank you, cocoa gods.
• Dreams, even though their meanings are not often evident. They make sense on a deeper level.
• A well-worn friend. Like a broken-in baseball mitt that can take anything you throw it.
• Laughter. It almost universally brings us comfort to speak that language when the others are less accessible.

A lot of other things make sense, too, but they come and go, and right now they’re elusive.

Things that don’t make sense:
• Why mornings have to be at the first part of the day.
• Why the Obamas’ dog would be newsworthy. This is journalism?
• Time, as well as the absence of time. (figure that one out)
• How computers really work. I don't really think anybody knows.
• How Larry King ever became an interviewer. Maybe it’s his rawness that helps people relate. But I could ask better questions while half asleep. Perhaps that’s his secret…
• Why somewhere along the way we lose that special thrill that comes with being a child. We trade it for what? Responsibility? A worthy trade-off, though not as immediately exciting.
• Why candy bars have nutrition information on the wrapper. Who are they kidding?
• When the word 'kiosk' came into prominence. Was I asleep for too long?
• Emotions. I guess that’s why they're emotions.
• Failing to adopt the metric system. Base-10. Learn it, love it.
• Why we look tireder after a nap than before one.
• Why society punished itself with a five-day work week and only a two-day weekend. We had the choice! It was up to us. Given carte blanche, we humans opted for just two days to take a break. Man, we blew it! I wish I’d been there at that summit. I would’ve filibustered that one.
• Screaming or whooping by the audience as a form of acknowledgement for a singing performance. Two words: what and ever.
• Why people say they’re giving 110%. I thought 100% was plenty, not to mention the maximum possible. 110% isn’t reality, it’s just fantasy.
• Why we don't talk more about how wonderful someone is until after they die.
• Stocks. I’m still not convinced that it isn’t all a ruse, and I’m being duped. Something along the lines of lock, stock, and barrel.
• The bulk of children’s programming. Although I may have merely gone past the state of amazement that they’re still in.
• The bulk of teenage programming. The teenage years are tweenage years anyway, so who can expect much coherence out of them?
• The speech patterns of some people. I don’t think these people realize how they’re talking. We can’t take you literally, because you literally litter your literacy with alliterations and silly syllogisms. Listen to yourself! Take out the filler.
• Why juries are made up of amateurs, and the professionals who don’t determine the verdict have the advantage to use learned tactics on them to persuade them that the professionals know better, so then why don’t the professionals just figure out if the defendant was guilty or not guilty?
• Why people believe someone when they admit they were lying. If they really are a liar, how do we know which is the lie?
• Why a stapler always runs out right when you need to staple something.
• Why it is that people who have the nicest lawns use them the least. What a waste!
• A radio advertisement for vacuum cleaners said their model has the suction capacity of a category 5 tornado. And why would I want this in my living room?
• If a book needs to have someone write a foreword to legitimize the book, why that person doesn’t just write the whole book.
• Why we pay all our bills according to how often the moon orbits around the earth. How unimaginative is that? Does the moon determine how long it takes for us to recover and spend again? Personally, I'd like a little more time to mentally regroup, but that’s just me.

OK, I’m seeing a pattern that there could be an overwhelmingly greater number of things that don’t make sense, so then what do we do? I think as human beings we somehow attempt to fill in the gaps with trivia, and count each piece of trivia as a form of knowledge that supposedly makes sense, as contrived and synthetic as it might be. But if we know it's contrived, then who are we fooling? Is there an emperor in the equation somewhere whose clothes we admire that much?

What if a lot of things aren’t supposed to make sense to us, and we’re spending more time hunting than gathering? What if the chaos is meant to be chaotic, and we’re not supposed to clean it up? What if we’re too tidy for our own good? That makes sense, right?

1 comment:

Robbie said...

Oh sure, blueberry pancakes are all fun and games until J. Robert Oppenheimer got them served for breakfast on 12/6/41 [citation needed].

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