Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Another Postal Post

Dear Always on My Mind,
I think I already mentioned to you  a book I read recently: Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett.  I dearly want you to read it too, because it is such a pleasure to enter its world.  Sometimes, here at the Dodo, the One Who Grows Plants for Sustenance will grow a fabulous melon; a melon that seems to taste of every day it lived, grew, and throve in the sun and wind, damp and wet.  When we are graced with a thing like this, or even if the One Who Cooks for Sustenance makes something startlingly good, I want to run out and yell it from the rafters, I want you to come over, immediately, to have a slice of this melon, or this dish.  To show it to you, to share it with you.
Going Postal is like that melon, and this film clip, from the Library of Congress (which has many fascinating film clips) of postal workers in 1903 is like that melon, too.  Notice, and I know you will, how this fast sorting is humans, is us, working like a computer.  Does it make you feel differently about us?  Computers?  Mail?  The very nature of communication, which is language repeated?  Yes, you are right, everything leads to my favorite question:  What, exactly, are we doing here?  What is the meaning of it all? 
I had a months long argument with myself (no, you don't always win that way- in fact, you mostly lose those arguments) in 1994 about meaning.  If things have meaning, I do not know what that meaning is.  However, if things have no meaning, it isn't worth getting up in the morning.  Therefore, all things have meaning.  Or, they don't.  You can decide though, on a day to day basis, when the alarm clock rings.  You can say to yourself:  Does this day, this hour, have meaning? 
I can see you are thinking I am being too nihilistic, but that isn't it at all.  Try it, it's fun:  Does this have meaning?  Don't be too hard on yourself if at first you guess wrong a few times, because, as per my argument with myself, which I lost/won, things have meaning, or they don't.  The things that don't have meaning today, should just be laid aside until sometime as they are more useful.  The damnedest things turn out to be useful later on:  chicken wire, chamber pots, Cher, Gilligan's Island (now really, who would ever have thought that show could be useful, could have meaning?), the time your friend wouldn't share a cookie with those boys, a button you put away 20 years ago.  Oh, there is an absolute avalanche of useful and meaningful stuff out there/in here!