26 January 2018

Fantastic Fables: The Foolish Woman

A Married Woman, whose lover was about to reform by running away, procured a pistol and shot him dead.

"Why did you do that, Madam?" inquired a Policeman, sauntering by.

"Because," replied the Married Woman, "he was a wicked man, and had purchased a ticket to Chicago."

"My sister," said an adjacent Man of God, solemnly, "you cannot stop the wicked from going to Chicago by killing them."


Seems like a pretty effective way to keep the wicked from going to Chicago, not that this recommends the policy. The absurdity of this verse of Fantastic Fables reflects a cultural absurdity that is still with us, namely that many of us are not what we claim to be, but parodies of what we claim to be. Also still with us is the punishment of those who try to do right on principle at the cost of disturbing the status quo.

One of the things that our myths, traditions, and religion did for us was replace understanding with notions and instincts that allowed us to muddle through without having to think. Failing to recognize the purpose, and focusing on the irrationality and inconsistencies and things that are bogus begs people to throw the whole system out and replace it with what they fancy, and what they fancy is generally founded in even more dubious superstition and disbelief and irrationality that has not benefited from thousands of years of an evolution like process which culls some of the poorer notions and reinforces some of the more useful.

One of the more pernicious and anti-scientific notions to come along is categorical negation of entire systems of thought should any flaw or inconsistency or hypocrisy be found. Or, the wrong kind of flaw, inconsistency, or hypocrisy. A founding father had a slave? Chuck the whole damn system. And replace it with what? Even in a socialist or communist society, someone has to shovel the shit and someone has to grow the grains and someone has to fix the pipes. Who decides who does that? And who decides who the decider is?

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