In The Kingdom of the Blind

People glom onto aphorisms like bumper stickers stick to bumpers. (Oy.)

You’ve all heard it: in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. It’s come to mean any one or more of a family of related concepts:

  • you don’t have to be perfect, just better than others
  • appreciate what you have, because not everyone is so well off
  • it’s all relative

There’s another concept, though: the first ten words. Once you know what it means, you’ll view the Presidential races a little differently. The first ten words are the sound bite, the hook in a pop song, the bit that uses an economy of words to blanket your mind with nothingness, a shadow casting a long darkness over nuance and consequence.

Put these together and what do you get? What are the next ten words? Well, you find out what really happens to a one-eyed man in the land of the blind: because the blind move in a different world to the sighted, they have their own patterns, their own expectations, their own sense of caution, of culture and, by extension, of calamity.

The one-eyed man is the stranger in a land he cannot possibly understand and therefore not predict, so he must always stand, sleep, eat en garde lest he be trampled by the unsighted as they see themselves from hither to thither. The one-eyed man may be King, but who’s there to witness the coronation?

My entire world view can conveniently—and spookily accurately—expressed thus: businesses are not people.

I can take the religious wackos and the liberal tree-huggers and everyone in between and just remind myself that people are more important, more valuable than any corporate, religious or governmental bureaucracy in the world. Simple as that.

Companies cannot think, religious plutocracies cannot see, governments cannot move. All desultorily stumble, bumbling oafs whose footfalls destroy lives without a thought, without a vision, without a plan. And the world is ruled by them, did you know? Governments treat corporations and religious institutions better than they treat individuals. Religions ooze pus into all the interstices of government while bleeding corporations in the name of charitable action. Corporations bring down a government like cats on a large beast, lobbying their way to entitlement and use religion as a means of cowing the populace.

One individual is flotsam in the torrents caused by territorial pissings among the insistitutions, lost in a flood of effluvia. This, folks, is where fairness came to die. This, folks, is where and why and how a peopled world at first chose passivity and now live without choice.

If there is a god, he’s a bureaucrat, unreachable at the end of a very long automated phone tree. If there is a god, religion is his walk-in closet. If there is a god, government is literally beneath him, his unthinking footfalls crush us all in random fashion.

When navigating this contagion-riddled world with its arcane, labyrinthine thickets it’s easy to observe that effort isn’t worth the effort, that goals are chimeric substitutes for spirituality and that grace and greed are, in the end, the same thing.

I admire those who walk away from the world entire, go off the grid, but only to a point: it’s the nature of bureaucracies to grow to fill the available space and consume the available resources. The only absolutes which exist are temporary.