Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nary Ordinary

Before or after noon the other day, I sat in the shade of a high-rise while I waited for my shift to begin and I couldn’t help underhear a conversation from some contractors. They must have been working on one of the surrounding buildings and they were huddled together for lunch boisterously talking about various matters. While I listened, I was astonished at the topic of the conversation. They were debating how the geometrical shapes of sandwiches dictated the manner by which they are eaten. I thought this was perfect. I was imagining them working, performing their tasks within the spaces dictated by the design of the structures, working within cramped confines, managing to accomplish what is often the mechanically miraculous, riveting steel beams, connecting the elaborate circuitry of electrical lines, linking and sealing the pipes so water flows freely from a faucet 200 feet above the ground, assembling and maintaining the man-made mountains. Then all this work is sealed within walls so it isn’t even noticed and the walls are polished with a streamlined finish to avoid the slightest drag in the activities of the offices, conference rooms, convention halls and cafeterias. Their lively debate was an exposition in the essence of orientation and practical application like the spaces stacked in the buildings that climb into the sky.

Robin Hoodlum

Billy the Kid
thought he was clever
giggling, clutching
a bag of cash
with one hand
cocking a pistol
with the other
robbing a bank
robbing a family
robbing a wife
robbing children
robbing life
blank point
shot the clerk
in the face

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Letter to an Editor

Warren Buffett recently made a public statement where he expressed his willingness in paying higher taxes. I would like to suggest an alternative. Recognizing that Mr. Buffett is already involved in extensive philanthropic programs, he should consider increasing his commitment to these causes. We all know that taxes support our government which is a social service dedicated to the wellbeing of the population. In addition to providing protection, one of the principle functions of this social service is what Richard Sennett succinctly described in one of his recent books as the “distribution of public resources.” Instead of relying upon a centralized organization to collect, allocate and dispense these resources, perhaps he should consider dispensing the resources more directly to the community.

There is certainly no lack of worthy causes. I would suggest a greater concentration on our educational institutions, including trade schools. As the burden of cost in education is increasingly shouldered by the students, more foundations are needed to assist hard working and worthy students to relieve graduates from staggering debts that may force them to prioritize monetary earnings instead of pursuing and developing the ideas of their spry and youthful minds. Seminars could be established for teachers which would provide supplementary classes during the summer recesses to improve the effectiveness in their instruction, which would provide them with greater gratification in their work while also developing greater intellectual aptitude within their pupils. There is also a need for more technological tools to be installed in schools where students could develop the skills that are directly applicable to the platforms upon which they will pursue their professional lives while also providing a boost to the technological industries.

Having a social organization dedicated to preserve and increase the quality of life for the population is great, but a more promising social evolution is increasing our reliance on our own judgment for one another’s wellbeing. Mr. Buffett certainly would not have amassed his fortune from lack of discretion and foresight. I would suggest he employ his social and economic acumen to support causes in which he recognizes the value for the general population and this would be a far greater service for the public than allowing funds to be squandered within inefficient bureaucracies.

Garrett Buhl Robinson
New York City

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Few Thoughts I Found Insightful

Begin with one of my favorite phrases by the poet Mary Oliver:
"All language is metaphor."

Upon this basis consider this:
Consciousness is metaphorical.

Now consider this:
Unconsciousness is not metaphorical.