Thursday, June 21, 2012

merchant mind ... a lazy man's rant

I was brought up to evince arguments and adduce facts when I stated a conclusion. Emotive explosions or heart-felt bias were not enough. But with age, the energies wane and, like some Facebook ninny, doing the work that requires attentive energy implies more sweat than I am able or willing to muster. Fuck it! If you want to stick your head in a glue pot, go ahead, see where it gets you. I will not pretend I can help what I cannot help. Or, as baseball manager Casey Stengel once put it more succinctly, "If the people won't come out to the ballpark, you can't stop them."

This creeping, treacly laziness expressed itself this morning in a single word as I skimmed the news wires and did what I could to stay abreast of the world:


Merchant minds. Merchant lifestyles. Merchant mediocrities. Well-heeled or poorly endowed ... still, merchants.

The world, currently in the throes of economic turmoil, is full of it. Children who have received a mediocre secondary school education are goaded to go to college where they can assume a massive amount of debt (since their parents cannot foot the bill) and receive a dwindling education only to find that the world has no work for any but the spiffy. Young people are urged to consider themselves lucky. They use Facebook and Twitter as a means of cementing self-esteem only to find that what is advertised as 'connecting' people has a strange and depressing way of driving them apart.

Politicians, who long for nothing so much as to hold onto their jobs, are driven further and further apart and their lack of shame or sense of responsibility is reduced still further to what war they can start. Surely there will be enough fear among those who pay their salaries if there is another war, another way to instill fear that their sons and daughters might be ripped to shreds ... and fear is the tool used when there is no basis for honest trust. A merchant mentality. I've got mine, mine, mine.

It's a Walmart world ... cheap, barely serviceable goods offered up like the crown jewels of England. And the inability or unwillingness to look beyond the next war or the next election or the next out-foxing of someone else creates what? Merchants is my guess -- people who have a lot, perhaps, but feel somehow cheapened and bereft.

Dumb and dumber.

But I am just an old fart. Too old for knicker-twisting despair. Despair -- more often than not the cheap date of those who might use their energies more wisely.

I don't despair, but I don't like merchant minds, however well-educated.

All that wealth, all that hungry scrambling, all that quid-pro-quo lifestyle ... and what does it produce? Success is wonderful, but now what ... where is the soaring, the peace, the relief? Where is the heaven for which the merchants went through all that hell? What sort of peace is it that relies on war? Where is the realm beyond applause and wily maneuver?

At least whores are honest.

And where is my old-fart, good-news uplift in all of this ... my nostrum for a life not cheapened by whining and merchandising? Shouldn't someone interested in spiritual endeavor have some lollipop for the customers, some choir of angels, some bright and wondrous light, some "joy" or "compassion" or "enlightenment" or crowd of naked nubile virgins serving grapes, some "peace that passeth all understanding?"

Well, I do what I can to restrain my merchandizing instincts.

Don't blame me if you go to bed hungry after refusing to sit down at the dinner table.

1 comment:

  1. Reminds me of a tune I like with this lyric -

    Put on your cat clothes, Mama, put on your evening dress
    Put on your cat clothes, Mama, put on your evening dress
    A few more years of hard work then there'll be a thousand years of happiness

    I walked in to zen with a merchant's mind, do some work for awhile then chill in some equanimity for the remainder of my life.. It's kind of worked I guess in some ways but the work hasn't ever really stopped.