40 years ago I read Bertrand Russell’s “In Praise of Idleness,” an essay he published in 1932. The piece was already 40 years old when I got around to reading it — 40 years later I reread this essay, perhaps under visitation of some Jungian synchronicity. Reading it this morning allowed my imagination to stagger — where have I read a better statement on redressing an injustice: the theft of productivity gains? My tentative answer — “nowhere more succinctly.”
First of all : what is work? Work is of two kinds : first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth’s surface relative to other such matter ; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid. The second kind is capable of indefinite extension: there are not only those who give orders, but those who give advice as to what orders should be given. Usually two opposite kinds of advice are given simultaneously by two organized bodies of men; this is called politics. The skill required for this kind of work is not knowledge of the subjects as to which advice is given, but know- ledge of the art of persuasive speaking and writing, i.e. of advertising.
I’ve alluded to Russell’s essay “Nice People” several times now. Actually it’s becoming a commonplace theme here.
I checked out the marvelously titled “Why I am not a Christian” from a West German library in 1971 Giessen — the librarian was not, not, not in the least amused. Not.
Das ist Blödsinn. Totaler Blödsinn.
I took up my practice of living iconoclastically shortly (about ten minutes) after graduating from high school — I’d completed 12 years of mandatory Catholic education and needed to discover why free thinkers were so despised by non-freethinkers.
By my estimation vegans are free thinkers who believe that all sentient beings are fellow free thinkers, Genesis 1:26 notwithstanding. Being a vegan just may qualify you as iconoclast. Hold that thought a moment. I’ll be right back…
Hey, it does qualify you as iconoclast.
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
I am convinced that veganism is the gentlest means for solving the ever unaddressed need for addressing global warming. It might even nip a certain extinction event in the bud: The Anthropocene. Is it possible that 7 billion homo sapiens consuming 70 billion animals (from fur to marrow) annually — a practice sanctioned by most religious institutions — might warrant more than a shrug?
Look here, Bill. Humans are created in the image of their maker. Read Genesis 1:26. ’nuff said.
Today’s bumper sticker suggestion:
Meatism kills. Veganism nourishes.
Was Venus once a lush planet? Are we preparing to become a one such once-lush planet?
My irreverent take on Matt:
Thanks for reading.