Posted by: Steve Vitek | September 13, 2012

Everything and Everyone Is an Island

I agree only partially with what John Donne says in his poem popularized by Ernest Hemingway in “For Whom the Bell Tolls”:

No man is an island, entire of itself;

every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main ….

…. any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde

and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.

On the contrary, everything and everyone is an island. If you take a look at Eurasiafrica, this particular supercontinent is nothing but a big, clumpy island, floating in a big blue ocean. And so is Northandsouthamerica.

I do agree that the death of each person diminishes the rest of us. But the Mankinde never really cared about little details like that too much since we all have to die. The Mankinde has been very busy recently inventing new weapons which can be used very safely to kill other people.

This ingenious inventiveness brought us now the latest invention called drones, a new type of machine that can spy and kill by remote control, and left it up to poets and writers to throw out occasionally a pearl of somber thought (iacere margarita ante porcos, to quote another big thinker), so that some of us could consider it for a fraction of a second.

On the bottom of the big blue ocean, colorful fish and other fantastic undersea creatures are swimming among mountains of plastic and other debris, occasionally becoming trapped in six pack plastic holders.

What does it have with translation? you might ask.

Nothing, of course. I just felt like venting a little bit about our garbage-based and garbage-filled civilization. So I created a new category for my blog. It shall be called “Neurotic Rants & Eternal Truths”.

There is the initially invisible garbage that is floating on the bottom of the sea. Our children and grandchildren will be eating molecules left over from plastic debris and oil spills, if there are still any edible fish left for them.

There is the garbage delivered in dozens or hundreds of commercials to potential voters every day. Before presidential election in this country, commercials about each of the two status quo candidates who have been preapproved by the people who matter (people who get extremely rich by generating a lot of garbage) to participate in this spoof on democracy and elections. But it makes almost no difference which one of them will be elected. About half of the voters figured it out already and they now stay home on election day, sometime more than two thirds of them.

Each political commercial is only a few seconds long, it costs millions of dollars and it is based almost entirely on lies. The bigger the lie, the more powerful the impact.

Every man and woman is a small island and our purpose in life is to enjoy it to the fullest extent possible, inevitably by generating mountains of garbage in various forms: from plastic holders for six packs of beer to advertisements for commercial products and political campaigns.

During the Renaissance, and even when Hemingway was writing his books only a few decades ago, people were still trying to figure out their connection to other people when there still was this thing called the Mankinde.

But the Mankinde is dead. It was replaced by Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Responses

  1. “During the Renaissance, and even when Hemingway was writing his books only a few decades ago, people were still trying to figure out their connection to other people when there still was this thing called the Mankinde.”

    This reminds me of a rather long talk by Paddy Ashdown 8 months ago.

    “But the Mankinde is dead. It was replaced by Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.”

    This reminds me of a short blog post by Seth Godin on 9/11, two days ago.

    http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2012/09/memory-and-media.html

    Simon & Garfunkel, they were of our youth. The young of today, do they still listen to them?

    Like

  2. “Simon & Garfunkel, they were of our youth. The young of today, do they still listen to them?”

    Sometime, usually when a bit of a catchy tune is incorporated in a new hip-hop song or rap music or whatever it is they are calling it now.

    It is sort of like a tweet about real music that is made a part of the new stuff

    Like


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