Second of all, my horrible spending habits have come home to roost. According to some recent calculations it will take me fifty (!!!) years to pay off my credit card. I shit you not. 2058.
And so the mandate for "Change" has reached Pennsylvania Avenue and Lorimer Street.
I am taking a page out of the Obama playbook and will be revamping an old, crusty system. I am stepping up my efforts to budget, working longer hours, drinking as much free corporate coffee as I can stand (Pumpkin Spice! Dark Magic! Breakfast Blend! Levicorpus!), and trying radical new fiscal strategies that will hopefully keep me off of a WPA workgang on the West Side Highway. . . I just have to seriously tap into my love of filing paperwork and everything will work out in the end. Right?
Third, I was recently in a reading of The Physicists by Freidrich Durenmatt at EST. Now this piece took a lot of time to grow on me, but it really began to grow on me. At heart, despite all the absurdity, it's basically a reiteration of the famous axiom, "With great power comes great responsibility." I don't think that's just from Spider-Man, I think the Greeks said it first or something, but it's a play that begs us all to look at What We Are Doing and ask ourselves why we do it. The meat of the play is the role of scientists in the practical application of their discoveries vis-a-vis atomic energy, but it's more universal than that. Why do we do what we do? Because we're good at it? Because the work is its own reward? Are we doing it because we're trying to accomplish something? Are we innocent of the impact of our actions if we did not intend or forsee that impact? Check out this quote:
Mobius: There are certain risks that one may not take: the destruction of humanity is one. We know what the world has done with the weapons it already possesses; we can imagine what it would do with those that my researches make possible, and it is these considerations that have governed my conduct. I was poor. I had a wife and three children. Fame beckoned from the university; industry tempted me with money. Both courses were too dangerous. I should have had to publish the result of my researches, and the consequences would have been the overthrow of all scientific knowledge and the breakdown of the economic structure of our society. A sense of responsibility compelled me to choose another course. I threw up my academic career, said no to industry, and abandoned my family to its fate. I took on the fool's cap and bells. I let it be known that King Solomon kept appearing to me, and before long, I was clapped into a madhouse . . . Reason demanded the taking of this step. In the realm of knowledge we have reached the farthest frontiers of perception. We know a few precisely calculable laws, a few basic connections between incomprehensible phenomena and that is all . . . We have reached the end of our journey. But humanity has not yet got as far as that. We have battled onwards, but no one is following in our footsteps; we have encountered a void. Our knowledge has become a frightening burden. Our researches are perilous, our discoveries are lethal . . .
The character of Mobius had himself committed to an asylum so his ideas could never be released unto a world that would use his ideas for evil. That is pretty bold. How many of us would have the courage of our convictions to do something like that?
I mean, we have lawyers drafting memos that justify torture. Why? Because they're good at writing memos? Because they were just doing their jobs? We have businessmen who cheat their own employees and screw their customers. Why? Because they know about tax shelters and loopholes? We as a people are witnessing all of our systems breaking down because the people with the knowledge have been using that knowledge for evil. Either because they didn't know what would happen or because they didn't care. When we as a people and as individuals know for ourselves what we want, what we want to change, and what we believe in, then we can start practically applying our knowledge for good.