Allegorical Nonsense

An allegory. Nonsense. Put them together. Okay, not really.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

There's a joke

There's this joke that I read once, that went something like this:

"People who live in the United States think that it's dangerous living in Israel. But people who live in Israel will tell you don't be ridiculous, it's only dangerous if you live in the North. People who live in the North say relax, you're sensationalising things, it's only dangerous if you live in Nahariya, Haifa or Tiberias. People who live in Nahariya, Haifa, or Tiberias say that you've clearly been reading too much Ma'ariv, and that if you think sensibly, it's only dangerous in certain areas. The people who live in those certain areas will tell you, what, are you crazy, you can live in those areas all your life and never have any out of the ordinary happen to you, the only really dangerous area is this one street. People who live in that one street will tell you, what, you think there are really katyushot falling here? It's only at number 8 that it's dangerous. People who live at number 8 will tell you, no, not really, it's really quite okay here, it's only Apartment 6 which is a bit risky. The people living in Apartment 6 will tell you that it's only dangerous if you go out on the balcony between 10 and 12 in the morning, and particularly if you lean out over the railing beyond where the roof-line covers you and really stick your head out there ... so except for one guy who's hiding under a table somewhere, what are we all so worried about?"

The funny thing is that it's true. There is a war going on. Apparently. I know this because every so often I see the TV at work broadcasting things about the war that is going on, people every so often mention numbers of missiles that are in the tens and hundreds, some of the people I know have been called back into the army, whether on miluim or active service, and I get the occasional email asking me how it's all going what with the war and everything. And I can't help but believe that I've become so successful at cultivating the inborn human talent of setting boundaries at the borders separating what is "normal" from what is "not part of my world", that geographically, I've broken some kind of record. I mean, when I was living in Australia, those "borders of normality" were set (or at least, I thought they were set) at - the Western world and a bit more. They certainly excluded Africa and a bunch of other continental land-mass. It probably in fact excluded lots more, closer to home. But it was never really tested.

That's not so true. I did get mighty pissed off at the Australian government imprisoning people indefinitely in conditions fit for people who commit violent sex offences against children, for the "crime" of running away from people or situations that were out to kill them, purely because those people crossed an international border. And I certainly had a social conscience, even if that meant constantly feeling bad that I was quite powerless against the world. But I never really got a chance to see just how close a war could get without feeling that it affects me personally.

Don't get me wrong. The loss of human life that is occurring in vast numbers currently due to intentional acts of unpunished violence is a tragedy of immense proportions. Every time a person loses their life in this conflict, I experience emotion, but could it ever happen to me? Could I even need to be in a situation where I need to go to a bomb shelter in order to avoid a real threat of death? Unlikely. And whether it's likely or not (and it's not), I lack the feeling of fear that likelihood of death might be expected to bring.

I actually think that I'm going to live forever. Because the way I see it, death is a ceasing of being. So effectively, for as long as I have any ability to experience life, I'm going to be living. And when I'm not, my brief existence within these "life boundaries" will have never been, and there will be nothing.

What the ...? It seems that this blog can just turn on a dime from some kind of political social commentary to some kind of self-centred "let's talk about the universe for a bit" genre. I'm quite glad that I don't have readers, who could be thrown off by this kind of lax attitude to consistency in posting. In fact I feel sometimes that writing a blog is a little bit like shouting in a large empty echoing hall. It's quite cathartic, really. Like when I got my driver's license, at 16, the best part of it was not the ability to move a weighty piece of metal alloy by a process of internal combustion, but the ability to sing as loud as I could possibly want (whether to the radio or not), and be absolutely comfortable in the sense of my own privacy. I guess it says something about my desire for privacy and the feeling of its lack, at that age. But it was wicked fun.

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