Let’s not 'be practical’ about things shall we

Whenever people throw the P-word at me, I find myself reaching out for my pack of ‘drum’ to engage in a spot of calm-inducing rolling. There’s something about ordering a smudge of tobacco in an ordered whole stopped by a filter tip that is quite stress-relieving in itself. Getting back, I hate talking to ‘pragmatists’.

It is generally a term describing those whom are inclined to row quicker to that smidgen of a spot on the horizon instead of complementing it with bailing out the water, and complementing that with stopping the holes, and complementing that with considering the nature of the wood and the kind of treatment it would require to prevent future tears. You might think that’s a bad analogy, but the point here is, that is exactly what the pragmatists feel about their position and hence do not bother about the rest of it. And the reasons why they might feel that way is not because they are in dire straits, but because they deem themselves intelligent enough to work with what they have and are comfortable with instead of second-guessing their own egos.

I’ve personally, and unfortunately, met quite few from the ‘Confucian’ east, or Eastern Zion, whom always dismiss philosophical, retrospective and definitional discussions in favour of ‘being practical’ about the here and now whilst whinnying about their problems, political or personal. I suppose these are people who address the stink by opening the windows, and investing in an endless barrage of air-fresheners instead of simply giving le toilette a good old fashioned flush. But they who garment themselves with a neck to toe neck brace and fixate on the from-hereon can never appreciate that the trials and tribulations of the morrow are largely a consequence of the oversights of the past.

Whether they be working persons, activists, democrats, and so on, many simply think that their ability to act along the same lines as those placard-wielding Klingons of the past renders their actions and perspective just by association. I suppose that is the extent of their retrospection. Doing what’s always been done by past notables is actually quite paradoxical. Whilst these notables might hail from the past, they are used as exemplars and hence front, albeit posthumously, the path of the present. And thus, the oversights and insights of the past tar the road of the thereafter. One might think that at least this ensures that things don’t get worse. But given that any elite are usually greater experts in learning from the past, one can rest assured that the potholes of the past will gradually be deemed to be liveable and fate-ordained inconveniences of the future. And one cannot underestimate the human propensity to ‘cope’. A whole range of strategies and industries spring out of the woodwork and render these inconveniences barely discernible whilst redirecting the attention of the increasingly ‘pragmatic’ masses to the most discernible costs and pressures of coping. And that’s when it becomes known as ‘responsibilities of adulthood’ which any ‘responsible and respectable member of modern civilisation’ takes on without query or querulousness.

Hence, overtime, the activists field of vision contracts and contracts and contracts as s/he takes on as much that s/he can appreciate from the lower vantages of self-perception that s/he increasingly occupies given the pragmatisms of activists past.

In the final analysis, when one is disinterested in definitions and the study of the means by which the evils of the past manifested and manifests itself, one would be preoccupied with addressing its consequences - terming the latter endeavour ‘practical’ is one of the said consequences. It’s been often said that not learning from the mistakes of the past condemns humanity to repeat them, But what’s never been said, till now, is that not learning about the mistakes of the past, not only condemns humanity to repeat them, but also leads to the diminishing of the persona it takes to view its consequences as undesirable. Think about that.

I’m off to do a roll-up.




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