Monday, March 26, 2012

triage of the mind

On page 1 of the local paper today (Daily Hampshire Gazette), there is a story about the University of Massachusetts/Amherst spending $1.4 million to protect laboratory mice from the racket created by nearby construction.

Meanwhile, on page 6, a fund drive (bottles and cans; a walk) are advertised for Kate Cook Scott, a circulation employee at the paper whose husband and children are having difficulty making ends meet after Scott suffered a brain aneurism last month. (Can't provide a link)

American author John Steinbeck's title, "Of Mice and Men," comes to mind.

Triage -- pick your patient
It can and will be argued that there is room in this world both for the sensibilities of laboratory mice and the difficulties suffered by young mothers. But it is also hard not to wonder whether all that money expended on mice could not better have been spent on Kate Cook Scott.

Strange and curious is the ability to perform triage in the mind. The billions spent on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq ... how many schools, hospitals, clean housing projects, soup kitchens, etc. might have been created with all that money?

Little and large, some things are more important in the mind and some things less. The argument that it's apples and oranges doesn't quite tell the whole satisfactory story because (with money for example) it's all of a piece ... money is just money and it's all in one big, hypothetical kitty.

One big, undifferentiated mind, performing endless triage and then seeking agreement -- this is more important than that... heaven is more important than hell; kindness is better than cruelty; a brain aneurism beats mouse comfort....


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