Conflicting Imperatives from the Ethos of the Age

The Ethos says:

Get your self centered without getting self-centered.

Be open to complexity and exceptions without being overly nuanced.

Live for the moment without improvidence.

Be your own man as a team player.

Find out who you are by transcending yourself.

Avoid sophistry and certitude.

Live for today and don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.

Know your limits and other people’s limits without ever testing or pushing them.

Be a good Samaritan not a sucker.

Be neither paralyzed by skepticism nor blinded by faith.

The future belongs to realistic dreamers.

Be busy like the bee–busy smelling flowers. And hive work. Lots of hive work.

For the religious: Put away the things of childhood¹ for they are of the Kingdom of Heaven.²  Now go seek ye the Kingdom of Heaven.³

Be neither promiscuous nor chaste. Just stay on the right side of the bell-curve of vice, wherever that may be.

Stand up and be counted then sit down and shut up. Know exactly when either is appropriate–there are no firm rules but you still have to know them.

Be pragmatic in your idealism, and principled in your pragmatism. Generally.

Only marry someone if you’re seriously willing to spend the next eight years with them. It’s a big commitment.

Change the system without threatening anyone. Politely modify the status quo. Venerate that which you obsolesce and replace.

Be classy by accident. (4)

Always be the one who always looked the way current fashion dictates long before it was fashionable.(5) Or just give up and wait 20 years.

Joke Notes

1.  1 Corinthians 13:11
2.  Matthew 18:3 and 4; Matthew 19:14
3.  Matthew 6:33
4. The accident of birth into a higher class being the fundamental accident that is at the root of classiness.
5. Can’t be done? When you’re young or wealthy many things are possible–just change your friends every time you change your fashions.

The Real Meaning Behind the Things They Say

They say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, meaning the purely good can never accomplish anything since they have no power.  Those do-nothings you despise might actually be saints.

They say the past is a foreign country because the future will always be American.

They say you only live once and most of them are dead–anything to prove a point, I guess.

They say history is written by the victors–Victor Borge, Victor Hugo, Victor Mature, Victor Kiam. Case closed.

They say it’s just a coincidence that my social security number equals the population of China in 1970, but I mean what are the odds of that?!

They say pets are more sensitive to spiritual entities that we can’t see, and that’s why my cat hisses at the unplugged vacuum cleaner every time he walks by it. Yes, it’s a Dust Devil.

They say you only live once and yet the same people keep popping up at different times and places.  I know I’ve seen that dude before! You’re all the same!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words because a thousand words ain’t worth shit. Check the latest commodity prices if you don’t believe me. And when you factor in inflation, words actually cost you–they have negative value.  Dump them if you can.

Most people say beauty comes from inside, but most surgeons don’t.

They say the early bird gets the worm, meaning the real winners are the late worms. Given enough evolutionary time, you’ll be lucky to get a worm to show up for anything.

Speaking of time, they say it heals everything only because the lack of time never healed anything. Not a fair contest.

They say a rolling stone gathers no moss but what’s wrong with moss?  I’ve never heard “We had to rush him to the hospital after he contracted moss” or “Tell your doctor if you’ve been rolling in moss lately” or “Avoid exposure to sunlight, cool breezes, and moss.” Moss is harmless, soft, and pretty!  What a rolling stone does gather are the blood stains of the creatures it runs over. Moss is better.

Alan Brech 2012