On Wednesday, I put up a post about my dad saying that if everyone in the world were like him, little children would be safe on the streets. It was little philosophical reductions like this, by my dad, when I was young, that probably set the machine of thought in motion for me.
One of his stories involves a time when he was watching TV with some friends during the Vietnam war. They were taking in a news report about the war, with film from the battlefield. My dad said, out loud: "Look at that."
"What?" a friend replied.
""People are actually shooting guns at each other."
Oblivious to my father's point about the absurdity of the human condition, one of the friends turned to another and said, "What the hell's the matter with this guy?"
I am a fan of reducing things to what, I hope, is their essence, as my dad was trying to do for a hopelessly indoctrinated audience. That's the only way we can get to truth, as far as I'm concerned.
So, how about this one: a man kills himself in Athens, Greece, over his financial woes, claiming, out loud, that he doesn't want to leave his kids in debt.
Over money. Money. There's another soul ground up by the machine's gears. Another result of our brilliant social/financial/political organizations that have developed over the centuries. A man ends his life over shiny metal -- or, worse, the paper that represents it...or the digital code that represents the paper that represents the gold...or, that is, represents the gold that is supposed to be in the coffers -- safe in some vault -- that is represented by the digital codes that represent the paper that should represent that gold, if it were, in fact, plentiful enough to actually support its representation by the paper that is now digital code for money that might or might not actually be there, depending who you talk to...
Be that as it may, a man is dead. Look what we've done. A life ends over bills. The worst thing about that is that, to many, it doesn't even sound absurd; the same way it didn't sound absurd to my father's friends when he stated the obviously horrific, so many years ago.