REACTION:
 
 
 
 
 
 
none
POST
POST A COMMENT
On Twitter:
back
On Facebook:
back
Email To:
back
a few seconds ago

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
none
POST

 
Comments (0) :: Transcription ::
So I'm back in the United States and this morning when I was rummaging through all the lovely journal entries you sent me, I came across this; it's a postcard of a chimpanzee and on the back is written; "Is the point of humanity to suffer?" Signed, "M." M, considering that I have trouble remembering to lift the toilet seat I'm not sure that I'm qualified to answer that question but I'll tell you what it makes me think of. And by the way, I'm sick so consider this a bit of a feverish haze. Once I was lucky enough to take a class with the great clown teacher Giovanni Fusetti and one of the things that he talked about was the ancient idea of a "Hero." In the Greek myths humans were subject to massive and unknown forces outside of their control. The whims of the gods, fickle gods, the gods of wind, waves and war of luck of love of age and death. And from up on Mount Olympus, humans, Humans looked like little ants in the face of all these things. Giovanni said that, despite these unknowns the hero pushes, pushes up against all these forces, fiercely pushes shoulders back despite the knowledge that he can't win; that he will die in the end. The clown on the other hand celebrates the falling the failure the absurdity of skipping along the bottom the absurdity of trying at all. That makes me think of this curve it's called the "Power Law" and it describes the distribution of events and resources inside certain systems. For example, if we rank people by their annual income and plot them on a graph from 1st to last we get this sort of curve. One person has a lot of money and then the next less and less and less and it rapidly declines. This is often referred to as the rule of "80-20" or the "Pareto Distribution." Pareto observed that over and over again 20% of the people controlled 80% of the resources. You can sort of think of this as the, "Life is Unfair Curve," and sometimes I wonder if this curve is like a modern Greek god, the god of unfairness. It doesn't just describe the distribution of wealth, this curve pops up again and again like a law of nature. If you rank the frequency of solar flares by size, or the number earthquakes by magnitude, or words by the number of times they're used in literature, or websites by the number of hits they get. They all roughly fall into this curve. But it's the distribution of wealth that's been on our minds recently, it's what the Occupy Movement is all about, they say, "1%," but they might as well be referring to Pareto's, "20% rule." The subtext of the Occupy Movement is, of course, that this distribution is unfair but also somehow in our control. But sometimes I worry that it's more like fighting a force of nature; like trying to control the magnitude and frequency of solar flares or earthquakes. This makes me think of how we rationalize forces that are outside of our control and about monarchies and how long they lasted as forms of Government around the world, and I think about how monarchies might just be beautiful rationalizations for this grand force of unfairness; there's a king, appointed by God, and below him a set of nobility then the court then the aristocracy then the working class and then the peasants. The distribution seems to map so nicely onto a power law and kind of make sense of it, that makes me think of other societal rationalizations for unfairness; the caste system in India, the class system in the UK. To be born into it, to know your place, to have a why for the role you're given. But the modern world destroyed these rationalizations; technology and industry showed us that the top spots can be occupied by people other than kings. That resources can be accumulated in other ways but regardless of whether it's a Democracy or a Dictatorship or a Socialist state that curve seems to creep back in. Rank wealth today in democratic America or quasi-Communist China and there it is. So how do we rationalize this unfairness today, how do we rationalize where we are on that curve? One way is to say that the top spots are occupied by the hardest workers, the smartest, the best. But after a few generations of the wealthy handy down money to their children this logic seems to fall apart. We know that we can move our position on the curve that "rags-to-riches" is possible however unlikely but that's a very different thing than thinking that we can change the shape of the curve itself. I think of the difference in the views of our political parties; to me, Conservatives seem to see the shape the of the curve in terms of talent and effort and that in some ways it's justified. While Liberals imagine the shape in terms of greed and seek to flatten it out a bit. The difficulty with the first point of view is the tension and anger that arises when smart people work hard and don't seem to get ahead. The difficulty with the second might be that trying to change the shape of the curve is like trying to push back the tide with a million hands. In any case this makes me think of Giovanni's lecture about how we face and respond to vast and unknown forces. I don't think that our role is to suffer but to stand tall and fight despite the suffering. To fight despite the shape of the curve, even it's just to bend it a little bit; even after just a moment it snaps back like a rubber band. To build sand castles tall and glorious even though we know they're going to be washed away. To try! Even it's absurd and crazy. And now the fabulous Lee Hall will animate one of your dreams. "So amongst other thing in my dream Earth had just been destroyed by an Elder God, literally smashed by a huge tentacle, so I used my awesome martial art skill to go back in time and change causality to save a lion. but the cosmic strength of the Earth exploding was just too strong for me to stop it from blowing up though." [Greatly harmonized] Bye-bye it's the "Bye-Bye Song" bye-bye!
ALL EPISODES
see more >
Already a member? Login here!
 
 
Having trouble? Click here to login.
or login with
 
 
forgot username/password?
 
 
Already a member? Login here!