POEM: Toddling Western Civilization

Have you ever seen a toddler who can barely walk
Stumbling forward, running to not fall
Deliriously proud of oneself
This may be

This short poem is a metaphor for .  For any of us who have been around toddlers at that age when they are just how to walk, it is quite a sight to see how they look like they’re almost going to fall down, stumbling forward, and moving their feet faster and faster, eagerly hoping that they don’t fall down.  Interestingly, these toddlers just how to walk typically don’t show ; they may show mild but the overall seems to be one of excitement at something new.  This could even be seen as deliriously proud (though this may be more of an adult anthropomorphization than the toddler’s ).  I want the reader to that sense of anticipation and excitement.  Then, of course, comes the turn around.  Making this whole a metaphor for rips the fresh innocence of a toddler into the immature delirium of the world rift with arrogant adults.  While this of existence as a toddler is natural and commendable, this of existence as an adult is horrifically developmentally delayed and dangerous.  The third line about being deliriously proud of one’s self could just as well have been omitted and the poem would’ve made perfect sense.  However, this line serves as a transition in comparison of the toddler and adult states.  As alluded to before, the  of the toddler is probably not accurately described as proud, since the of a toddler is probably not that well developed.  Thus, I took the liberty of anthropomorphizing a bit.  The statement is intended to be prescient of the metaphor for Western civilization, a set-up.  Also, the anthropomorphizing can actually be viewed as projecting adults’ onto the toddler, which is a conceptual pun, that projecting our own onto the world is part and parcel of the the in Western civilization.

Now, back to the second line.  The running to not fall strikes me as a very apt of our which ever-increasing speed.  Mahatma once said that there is more to than increasing its speed.  I agree wholeheartedly.  In fact, the we seem to find ourselves in most of the is substituting speed for almost anything else of value.  We may not know where we are going but dammit we are getting there fast.  This reminds me of one of my own sayings which I’ll probably blog about at some other , “Sometimes you get there faster in slow motion.”  As a one-size-fits-all solution, increasing speed not only leads us to do the same things over and over again, perhaps expecting different results, but leads us to doing those same things even more so; that is, more efficiently, more crap in less .  I have a lot to say about inefficiency and how this better resembles , rather than the cogs in some robotic machine as Western civilization would have it.  But back to the poem.  For a toddler, not falling down is a simple pragmatic desire not to hurt oneself.  For adults in Western civilization, not falling down often represents a and of that ironically is often self-defeating.  This immature and of can be a powerful underlying emotional that drives our -ridden, fast-paced race to make better.  Ironically, this fast-paced way of living serves quite well as a coping mechanism for avoiding dealing with our underlying .

The basic error that leads to applying speed to any and all problems, seems to be rooted in a confusion of means and ends.  It’s probably trite to say that is a process, a means, but it is true.  People are not things, ends.  In the end, it’s the difference between living and having our lives lived for us (as a means for something else). Yet, our Western civilization seems to be persistently incapable of distinguishing between people and things:  “Employees aren’t people, they are expenses.”  This is the kind of prevalent, ignorant crap that dehumanizes us all.  Although, if you don’t treating people as things, means to an end, you can really make and consume an amazing amount of stuff (including people) through the miracles of (see eugenics).  This is pretty much a capitalist’s wet .  Unfortunately, dehumanization is a two-way street, and the capitalists dehumanize themselves in the process.  While in some sense, in some karmic way, this may seem like , it really just sucks!  We can do better!  We need not (and should not) rely on the cause-and-effect, every-action- has-an-equal-and-opposite-reaction, materialistic world to do our for us.  That’s why we have .  Try it, you’ll like it!

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