I was taken to task by two smart women I know for the shallowness of my propositions concerning maleness (“Male Scale”) in yesterday’s post. I will not argue; as presented, especially by my hand-drawn graphs, there wasn’t a lot of depth to my commentary.
Inadvertently, however, I supported one of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s tenets in Antifragile: “Criticism… is a truthful, unfaked badge of attention, signifying that it is not boring.” I’ve had two lovely conversations resulting from my shallow, provoking post. My take-away from the criticisms is that the concept of maleness and masculinity is deeply felt and quite subjective once you get past the obvious culturally-influenced gender-identity stuff.
But since I am briefly and shallowly plumbing the depths of my world, I want to respond to three news items.
The first is that I hope The People’s Climate March in New York this past Sunday will turn out to be significant. It is fabulous that upwards of 300,000 people marched, but those 300,000 are but a drop n the bucket compared to the number of people employed by the oil and gas industry. That there is so much energy spent by the entrenched interests in keeping our use of energy the way it has always been means that I am skeptical that much will change, but my admiration for Bill McKibben, who has taken the cosmically large step from being a mere commentator on what’s happening to being a person who makes things happen, is very great.
The second is to report, with pleasure, receiving one of Karine Polwart’s periodic newsletters in which she wrote: “I’m energized by the incredible turnout of Scottish voters last week. An amazing 97% of the population registered to vote, an all-time high, and 85% made their mark. That level of political and social engagement is deeply inspiring, important and powerful. I feel privileged to live in a country in which we have the right to vote peaceably, and in which the overwhelming majority of us feel the responsibility and desire to do so. Only good can come of that.” To which I replied, “That we in the United States cannot claim a similar level of political engagement is shameful, though I am among the millions who have abdicated that engagement in face of the influence of politics purchased by money.”
The third is to wonder whether you, dear reader, are able to answer this question with greater accuracy than me: How many days have you lived on this earth? (I was provoked into getting out a calculator after reading a movie review about “20,000 Days on Earth.”)
How close was your guess?
I found that the answer for me – upwards of 22,000 – was depressing in that masculine way of accounting for value. My God, what have I got to show for 22,000 days? I love some people very much, and that love is returned many times over, but I have yet to find a personal banker who can tell me how much that is worth. Music? When I am engaged with it it consumes me utterly, but my activities in music are truly insignificant in the face of flood or famine.
I feel that my 22,000 days really come down to being a fortunate tenant living in a world owned by beneficent landlord, for which I am occasionally – but not as frequently as I should be – grateful.