Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Isn't a heart of gold rock hard?

On the drive out to the airport this morning, I saw a lone policeman squatting in the bushes and pointing a radar gun at passing traffic. A few blocks up, a half dozen other police stood around, doing nothing apparently. (The 'Nog needs more donut shops, I guess.) I thought how wonderful the world would be if rather than a radar gun, the cops would hold up a device measuring emissions, citing those whose vehicles are polluting the world most.

I know, I keep harping on the Japanese disconnect from the world around them. It's often stated that even a century ago, there was no word for "nature" in their language, since there was no distinction between it and man. Similarly, before Buddhism, there was no word for Shinto, since the gods were a natural part of existance. (Ironically, I personally feel more "plugged in" when I'm in the forests or mountains of Japan, much more so than when I'm in the West. Mononoke Syndrone perhaps?) So this loss of the sacredness of the natural environment is depressing. I expect it from the West. Once man learned that he wasn't center of the universe, he placed himself there. For the Japanese, it's the gods who have changed. Money used to be considered dirty, always presented wrapped in white paper so as not to soil your fingers. Now the paper could almost be seen as sacred, a ceremonial symbol of purity, as in Shinto itself.

Money has been the "new god' quite awhile, of course. (I love how we use "denomination" both for religions and for the value of monetary notes.) Paper money has no value in itself. It's worth is based on faith alone. Commerce is indeed the only real religion left.


On the turntable: Leftfield, "Leftism"

2 comments:

-c said...

I think you have a brilliant idea with the pollution-emission gun! Once I get a little more “denomination,” I'll purchase a few for the local doughnut-diners. Promise!

ted said...

I think a donut-emitting gun is also long overdue. You could have coffee cup shooting games, a new variation of ring toss, and feed the hungry like in some bizarre SNL skit. The major drawback of course is that Homer Simpson would most likely pull a Hemingway.

Joke Redux: What's a Hemingway?