Saturday, May 5, 2012

Evolving Worldview

It isn't that I can't be convinced, but no one knows how to frame an argument so that I change my mind. It's a matter of strategy with me and most generic arguments don't work because they sound like tired bible thumpers trying to draft another one onto the team. You'll have to do better than that if you want me to alter my worldview. PBS has the right approach, which is to introduce a subject in a practical light and spend years developing their thesis and then finding experts who can corroborate the evidence. I need audio-visual props and at least one reference to Hermann Hesse. In fact, if you haven't read every book by Hermann Hesse then we don't even speak the same language. Don't expect to get through my defenses without major effort. So, don't blame me for being stubborn when you're basically being lazy. If you think you'll change my mind with something you read in the Boston Globe this morning then save yourself the effort and go back to bed.

The latest case is my position on World Peace. Is this a practical expectation? How is this to be achieved? Etc. Well, my basic position remains unchanged, that it is a philosophical objective, like landing on Jupiter. There is a series of documentaries about aviation.

PBS programming is always very good and this documentary is no exception. When I watch anything regarding WWII I'm filled with mixed emotions. It's incredible what industry and commitment were able to accomplish in under 10 years. I mean, since 2002 I haven't done jack shit but the aviation industry totally restructured itself and got the automobile manufacturers to make spare parts for war planes in a few months. I'm not about to become a navy pilot but I can not watch this documentary and not feel that American industry leaders and servicemen and civilian employees definitely did the only thing possible, and they did it well, and what they did (cooperate, sacrifice) is inconceivable to me as I travel through obese and technophilia-afflicted 2012 America. It's like I'm watching black and white footage of an America that got eaten by the diabetic cross-dressers of today. The lack of whining and absence of the mentality of entitlement really stands out in those films from 1942. Yes, they were racist and denied basic rights to women and blacks and all west coast Japanese Americans were imprisoned in Owens Valley, but no one is perfect. That was such a dark time that the greatest Red Sox player in history turned in his cleats and became a Navy pilot (mostly training others). The chances of Alex Rodriguez becoming an aerial gunner are zero. But doing it the year after he wins the triple crown and two years after he hits over .400?? NEVER NEVER NEVER. The Chinese could use Yankee Stadium as a mass grave site and I'm sure Rodriguez would hold his hands up, "No hablo Ingles!" But my point is that the threat from Italy and Germany and Japan was deadly serious. London was being bombed nightly! It was life or death and there was absolutely no time for philosophical pondering on the beach. Luckily for you and the American Way Oggy was not in charge in 1941. We would've been fucked. Instead, FDR teamed up with the giants of Industry and their only goal was to defeat the enemy. No tears were spilled for the water passed under the bridge. No fingers were pointed for a decade of ill-advised arms trading with Germany and Japan. Nope. In December 1941 the past amounted to absolutely fuck all. Only the goal of defeating the enemy remained and I'm certain that the reason America emerged victorious today is that those in charge took an unapologetic, unsympathetic, totally objective and forward-looking approach to victory.
"How might we split an atom in a bomb over an enemy city?"
"How do we send 800,000 troops to a coast on the same day?"
"How do we protect our flying fortress planes in their bombing runs?"
"How do we supply troops with fresh water in the middle of the Sahara?"

These are question's I'm not equipped to answer and philosophically I don't even want to answer them. But the leaders of the aviation Industry turned out to be the exact people who could and did answer these questions. (applause)

I am certain that among the Axis leaders they did not predict a response from America like what happened. Not in their worst case scenario did they expect an American response in one year. I'm certain they were flabbergasted and sick when they realized their carefully planned strategy wasn't working because America was simply better at wholesale annihilation. How could that be? 1938 America looked like an out of work hobo limping next to a box car and stealing pie from windows! How the fuck did those hobos suddenly start dropping bombs on Tokyo and Berlin? How? It's one of the most dramatic turnarounds in the history of civilization. A penniless Oklahoma sharecropper crosses the desert to pick fruit and ends up working on an assembly line building the plane that drops a nuclear bomb on Japan and ends the war in the Pacific!!

WWII is a perfect oven for any theory because it was a global problem and if you think you have a better solution than FDR and Douglas and Boeing and Lockheed and Oppenheimer then let's hear it! I look at the way the problems were solved and it was purely a matter of engineering and logistics. Everything was engineering. Philosophy did not enter the minds of the key players and I don't know if they would've been successful if it had.

So I'm faced with the problem that if Philosophy only hinders survival in a life or death situation then what is the nature of Philosophy? Is it a frivolous luxury? If Philosophy has no place in the realm of war, and war is the defining event in the development/survival of civilization, then what use is Philosophy? In desperate times there is no room for sympathy so why should we be sympathetic in times of peace?

It's late and I need to test my blood sugar as I'm feeling light headed. My point is that my world view is not set in stone but I do not respond to mouth breathers with processed opinions and Red #5 attitudes and store bought values. You want a debate? Bring your big guns and leave the trash talk at home.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.