By James Strauss
To puzzle over the strangeness of life’s thrown pitches where the ‘ball’ of life (which is supposed to come straight across the plate) instead; bobs, dips, and then goes right by, leaving no opportunity to even swing one’s ‘bat’ at it, is the kind of mental perseveration that flows across the mind when laying in bed, late at night. Or maybe when vegetating in front of a television set where the images firing across the screen are barely seen, much less remembered. Think of watching the Pope doing his thing on the television screen while the lyrics “sometimes all I need is the air that I breathe….”plays in the background on the radio. Are the pope and his whole philosophical presentation more apropos and meaningful than the rock group Air Supply’s lyrics?
To get up and get going for the day, you stop only to make a call to a cell phone company to have service reconnected, and you reach Lawrence, speaking in a semi-foreign English tongue somewhere in deepest India. He begins by saying he’s sorry, which starts everything with a smile. Lawrence, speaking for all modern corporations of size and high profit, uses carefully chosen words in order to give the impression that his company throws only nice looping fast ones, straight and true, while the ball he’s actually tossed floats right on by.
It is explained that there was no chance to swing because Lawrence’s pitch required that a backup credit card should have been posted to the account (and never was) in order to allow the player to possess a bat. So another credit card comes out, and is posted. The procedure only takes half an hour. Meanwhile the pope gets half way through a Catholic mass, so he can get back to waving the incense around, which he obviously loves. Stepping back up to the plate, the guy with an expired card gets another chance at bat. Lawrence tosses an easy one down the lane, and it’s a hit, bouncing once before Lawrence fields it. But Lawrence, being like the pope, filled with happiness and apologies if not prayer, allows the batter, running like hell, to reach first base before he throws to second. Second base is not to be accessed. That’s for next month.
Why is there so little fairness in the universe?
Why do things not go one person’s way more often?
Why are there so few ‘fast balls, straight and true’ thrown across everyone’s home plate of life?
It’s that way because of only two things:
Survival and Perspective.
It’s easier to conceive of coming upon a field of lemon trees, picking the fruit, only to discover it’s too sour to eat, and then coming up with the idea of adding sugar to make lemonade, than it is to actually find the lemon field and sugar, when dying of dehydration. All animal and plant life is driven by the fundamental survival need to procreate. Yet that first state (species survival) is a complete function of the second motivator (reproduction) is seldom considered when humans think or discuss how the drive to procreate is influencing drives or the performance of certain behaviors. There is no romance required in the reproductive process of Homo sapiens’ reproduction. Romance and love are creations of man to satisfy motivational needs brought about by perspective. One man or woman appears to be “better looking” than another, because of human preconceptions about genetic perfection. The most attractive individuals are those humans with the most symmetrical looks. Deviations from generalized “normal” appearance are all considered to lessen beauty (a morphing of a million faces will produce an image chosen by almost everyone as the most beautiful every time!).
Males pursue sexual union primarily for the pleasure of the act, while females pursue sexual union primarily for qualitative gain.
The single element that makes survival more likely among humans is deception.
That slow looping fastball to be delivered across the plate-in the baseball analogy of life, is first lied about by the ‘pitcher’ by engaging the perspective ‘batter’ in conversation.The pitcher prepares the batter for a straight slow ball, and then throws a pitch that is a hard and fast inside breaking curve ball. Men all lie about what they want, and so do women, especially when it comes to their motivation for procreation. If men and women tell the truth they often come to be known as bachelors and spinsters. During a conversation in a local coffee shop, a beautiful woman once remarked “You can be right… and you can be alone.” She was not talking about procreation, love, attractiveness or baseball. She was talking about life itself. If humans are to succeed in the fierce competition of life with other humans, (and it is all fierce competition) then humans must come to be experts in deception, not in being right.
Donald Trump is lecturing the nation, right up there along with the Pope. He’s doing this quite successfully, because of his ability to deceive, while giving the appearance that he’s actually the one telling the truth. If he were telling the truth, he’d probably be broke, alone, and quite possibly naked, for the short period of his remaining survival on this earth.
“Life is a mystery. Everyone must stand alone. I hear you call my name, and it feels like home.”
Madonna, the singer, has never received plaudits as a philosopher, but her words expressed in the song Like a Prayer could not be more true or descriptive of human life. So many times the philosophers of our day can only be found in the entertainment industry, simply because of how their message is sugar coated for more effective delivery (think lemonade), and to receive any real compensation for their work at all. In the movie The Princess Bride, one character, when he encounters an enigmatic, superior foe, speaks words written by another unrecognized philosopher: “get ready for disappointment.” Life is an enigmatic superior foe to each and every human being living on planet earth.
Why humans are here cannot be definitively explained by any physicist, anthropologist, or even the pope. And what or where ‘here’ really is cannot be absolutely defined either. What we can know is that it is all a mystery, with some small parts uncomfortably understood. And while it is often noted that humans are both born alone and die alone, and can live with unsolved mysteries and enigmas, they can’t live without other humans.
Or the life they live is alone.
And might not be termed to be life at all.