Every once in a while – actually, better with some regularity – it serves to be reminded that our world is nothing if not mad to a great degree.
Yes, we could try to be politically correct about what word we choose – illogical, nonsensical, irrational – but the main point is that to preserve a level-headed perspective, we need to grasp the utter absurdity that permeates our reality so we know where we stand in the midst of it.
For example, in the midst of the U.S. political election theatre now taking place, one campaigning conservative Republican’s dogma bit him when he responded during a radio interview to whether he would support abortions for women who have been raped:
“It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
That he has such notions is absurd enough, that he is a six-term congressman…well…draw your own conclusions. Upping the irrationality quotient would be seeing Missouri Congressman Todd Akin re-elected.
It brings to mind another radio interview musing this side of the border during the last Alberta provincial elections. During the interview, right-wing White Rose candidate Ron Leech told a multicultural radio station that being White made him a better representative for all the people.
“I think, as a Caucasian, I have an advantage,” said Leech. “When different community leaders, such as a Sikh leader or a Muslim leader speaks, they really speak to their own people in many ways. As a Caucasian I believe that I can speak to all the community.”
It just takes the breath away.
More: There is an ad posted in some subway stations for a high-end looking handbag, but somehow the well-thought-out ads have ended up next to another ad showing another tote with a caution to contact the authorities if you see something suspicious in the subway.
Now, if I were spending lots of money to advertise my nice tote bag, I would not want to see it repeatedly posted mere centimetres from another one about suspicious looking totes.
In our world where some people starve to death while others die from obesity, some of us treat Mother Earth like a prostitute that can be had for a price. Some men look across the planet and only see ways of pimping it, rather than something to be cherished as the very force that sustains life.
Their mind set is: “What else can we take from the Earth”, not “How can we care for it, so that we can have a life here”.
Shakespeare put it this way: “Lord. What fools these mortals be.”
The wisdom of God was to place in humans the ability to laugh at the pain and craziness of life, because we can see our foolishness or, at the very least, the foolishness of others. One of the best ways to cope is to have a good, strong laugh about it.
In days long gone by, the only ones who could bring these matters to the big decision makers – and you have to picture this kind of business taking place in the courts of Europe, where such rulers seemed to have cornered the market on planetary exploitation – were court jesters. You can tell a person any awful thing as long as you dress it up as a joke.
So that is why every once in a while we have to stand back and acknowledge that this world really is crazy. If we don’t acknowledge the craziness in a sober moment levelled by a hearty, stress relieving laugh, we risk falling into the abyss so many do when they reject the world entirely; they lose their minds.
This is no small matter, as we well know. This inability to step back, to take that necessary moment ever so often to see our world for the craziness that it is, and then go forward while taking it in stride leaves some people living on the street, hands outstretched, looking for change. Sometimes they get a few coins, but only on the odd occasion is there any change.
A note on the Ex…
The annual start of the Canadian National Exhibition – the Ex – does not mark the beginning of the end of summer; rather it’s another feature of summer in Toronto. Winter here is long enough; let’s not hasten it in our thoughts.
By PAT WATSON