The life of the mind

Desiderio Erasmus, thinking and writing.

The polar opposite of banausic labor to reproduce individual and species life is the life of the mind: to rise above the futility of routine labor and the bickering of petty parochialisms and other canned social customs that keep superficial people occupied: bread and circuses. Religions and patriotisms and celebrations and so forth. But, of course, my (BMcC[18-11-46-503]) feelings are not shared by [the] many (the many all too many).

When I was a student in a so-called prep school (I now call it a perp school): "school spirit". The students there got hyped up on their hormones to: "Beat Gilman!" but the Gilman students presumably got hyped up to: "Beat St. Paul's!" (what's the difference?). Potlatch. The humanist scholar would study the social custom of people being hypnotized in the thralldom of competition: wanting to beat the other side, which, of course, on their [the other] side is their [your] side.... People waste energy in cooked cooked up adversarial challenges in all sorts of ways. Think of a "tug of war". Absolutely nothing accomplished except losing energy, unlike if they were, for example, all pulling a boat out of the water before a storm or for dry dock.Expending effort to go nowhere.

"All social customs are shared hallucinoses aka social psychoses." (Wilfred Bion)*

People who cannot create anything can still reenact a ritual and thus get a diversion from their daily grind. Not much loss if it's something like Holy Communion in a parish church, as opposed to a royal coronation or making mausoleums for the dead instead of affordable housing for the living. This would still remain at the level of reproduction of individual and species life but at least it would advance it. Some people like to go fishing, more to enjoy nature, than to catch fish, when liberated from unending labor. Maybe especially if a man is henpecked by a bitchy wife at home. Doesn't that make more sense than putting in a hard day's work and then exerting more energy to, say, "play" a soccer "game"? Or the absurdity of buying obligatory surprise gifts for prescribed events like: Mother's Day, birthdays, Christmas, etcetera and so forth, such as chocolates to further expand mommy's waist line or dead flowers as supposed symbols for celebrating life?

"But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, And no one shall make them afraid; For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. (Micah 4:4)


People do actually create things sometimes. Women sewing patchwork quilts to their own designs come to mind. Some of these can even end up in museums along with the products of persons whose day job is to create art (or fashion). There are a number of fine hand crafts where the artisan can invest authentic creative spirit. But not prepackaged needlepoint or "model" kits.


I saw a program about "MacNamara's morons". During the Vietnam war, a shortage of men who were fit for service and willing to serve led the military to induct mentally retarded men. These could be catastrophic on the battlefield where they might shoot themselves because they couldn't tell which way to point a gun. But Some officers used these people for tedious jobs like cleaning the barracks floors which brighter soldiers would not do well because they found ot boring. The mentally retarded person found it challenging to do this work exceedingly well, so they got real satisfaction out of doing it and the officers got the work done superbly instead of dealing with unhappy soldiers. But not everybody who assembles hobby kit is incapable of anything more originary, so shouldn't they get help to have higher aspirations? Isn't people having children often like this? It's challenging and keeps them busy instead of having nothing to do in their off hours and being bored to death or other dysfunctional behavior such as gambling.

Which leads us to education, or rather, to schools. I was forced to memorize Ashurbanipal. So what? That same teacher also gave us kids an assignment to create some thing (material object) about ancient history. Sounds good, doesn't it? But he did not help me, who lived in a house without a wood working shop or any other resources for maiking anything, to have the means to do anything. My feeling was that either (1) he didn't think or else (2) he was determined to put me in my place since I was a pretty good trained seal on regular busywork assignments, such as memorizing "Ashurbanipal" for him. One fellow student who got like "D" grades brought in a beautiful model chariot. Did anybody investigate if he did it or his daddy did? Not that I heard. Creativity in school cold even have been practical: They could have assigned me to teach kids a couple grades younger than myself. Teacher training instead of Ashurbanipal which certainly did not inspire my creativity, and, of course, procreativity without issue was reserved for jocks. If there's nothing better to do, I could always have been encouraged to make fun of fools (the teachers and their school – maybe make "Wanted" posters with the Headmaster's face on them, for violating the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution).

Both young persons' minds and their bodies are terrible things to waste, including wasting their bodies in head-butting: body-contact athletics, instead of cultivating both in critical THINKing and connoisseurship of gentle eroticism.

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