Who’s in favor of death? Show of hands now . . . okay, show of hands, NOW! Look, isn’t anyone in favor of death?
Of course, no one’s in favor of death. After death there are no options, no politics, no controversy. No nothing. We’ve got to rail on against the dying of the light.
But consider the implications of everyone being against death. It means that everyone is always for life. And anytime you’ve got a proposition where one side of the issue is always supported by everyone and the other side is never supported by anyone, you never get a debate. You never think carefully about the issue. You never get good arguments.
That’s the crux of the problem in the postmodern world. Everyone is for life and against death. As a result we have both an economic and information marketplace where no one competes against all those players who are for life. The only argument is the Comparative Advantages case, in other words, the classic Miller Lite Beer debate: Tastes Great versus Less Filling. Regardless which side you take, Miller Lite Beer sells.
Everywhere today, all you get with life or death issues is a Miller Lite Beer debate.
Atkins versus Ornish.
Exercise versus Take A Pill.
Cap and Trade versus Clean Coal.
Consider all the ridiculous little changes the Obama Administration is fighting for: calorie counts on menus, 20% less added salt in processed food, taxing soda pop, spending a trillion dollars in health care reform to get a 1% reduction in mortality. And their opponents offer nothing but a Miller Lite contrast.
Always everyone is on the same side of the issue – AntiDeath – and just arguing for Comparative Advantages, whether the beer is better for its taste or its lightness.
Many people now think that there is a state of Zero Risk, we can measure it, and we can attain it. Just tax it, regulate it, or nudge it, and it will be achieved. No one will die because science has proven we can achieve Zero Risk.
The other side stoutly disputes Zero Risk and says it doesn’t exist! The other side argues for Penny Risk. Some ridiculously small amount of risk exists, so we cannot save everyone. Just 999,999,999 out of 1,000,000,000. All you need is taxes, regulations, and nudges, but a bit less.
But with either AntiDeath with Zero Risk or AntiDeath with Penny Risk you get the same arguments, the same policies, the same old song and dance just with a choice between zero or a little bit more than zero.
Banished is an Existential Case with the ProDeath position or No Beer or No Nutritionists or No Exercise Physiologists or No Environmental Experts. Banished is the Living Life of More Fun or More Faith or More Money or More Autonomy.
Existential Cases are more interesting than Comparative Advantages. Norman Mailer is better than Truman Capote? Who cares, you still end up reading mirror primping narcissists. Consider instead: read or don’t read.
The ancient tale of Theuth told by Plato through Socrates in Phaedrus recommended against a written alphabet and books because it would weaken our memory and make us less thoughtful and more slow witted. Not a bad argument, although history seems to prove other benefits besides a rigorous mind. But certainly a more provocative argument than Helvetica versus Verdana.
Living Life open our minds. Instead of falling for the Life or Death hydraulic, when you anchor Life opposite Faith or Money or Fun or Autonomy you’re talking about vital alternatives to the AntiDeath Accountants who think they know the Cost of Everything while never seeing the Value of Anything. Hey, we commence our Declaration of Independence with Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, not just Life.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the light of my life, Melanie, and my little brother Rick and his family, and Al and Brady. I want them all to live long, healthy, and good lives. But thinking and arguing only from comparative advantages rather than existential positions has led us to the foolish arguments between proponents of Zero Risk versus proponents of Penny Risk.
The AntiDeath option of the Zero/Penny Risk crowd is not only not worth living, it’s not worth arguing.
What’s wrong with Living Life with Death?