Am I the only one with an undue pleasure at larger government, indeed, at all things threatening and perverse? For example, walking home down the city streets, weighed down by multiple bags containing more hi-tech crap than the terminator, I’m perversely pleased that there’s security cameras around to watch over me, and so I’ve got a captive audience to torment with bad tap-dancing when I’m drunk. Similarly, I quite fancy the ID card system; the more daft photos of people around in existence, the better I say. (and of course, assuming the state ceases its slow slide towards authoritarianism, we have nothing to fear from it beyond what we already fear; the innocent are safe.)
Similarly, McDonald’s. We’ve known forever that eating a 99p cheeseburger from Maccy D’s probably takes more life than smoking a pack of fags, but we still did it. However, having read Fast food Nation (before it became big, lovey, and thought it was big pile of judgemental horseshi’ite) and knowing the premise of Supersize Me (who needs to actually *see* the movie?) I felt more desire to go out and eat hamburgers and cheeseburgers, and particularly McDonald’s, than ever before. I’ve eaten battered Mars bars and haggis and bits of meat that the animals themselves probably have a preternatural sense of shame about, in the full cogniscence of what affect this will have on my body, fattening flesh, filling arteries, and generally bringing inevitable death sweetly near.
The ancient philosophers called this akrasia, and it’s one of my key concepts. It means incontinence and means knowing what the right thing is to do, but simply not doing it. Of course, it assumes that what you’re doing isn’t the right thing, and that the right thing is not the thing you *want* to do. Truthfully, it isn’t the right thing for you if you don’t want it; it might fit in with your moral code, but your short-term desire is stronger in you than a long-term health and happiness that might never come (with the fragility of life.) Combine this with a skeptical viewpoint on personal identity, and the future person you’d be preserving the body for isn’t you anyway.
Which brings me to the final perversity; laughing at death. A recognition of the fleeting nature of our personalities and the self’s coherent existence can bring acceptance of the valueness of the self, unless it is specifically chosen to have a value. To this I ascribe the ability to feel sorrow at the death of a loved-one, but also to joke about it; it is not merely a coping technique, it is not only a symbol of western desensitisation to violence, it is also a different mathod of valuing the life we have. Anyway, that’s how I justify the inevitable jokes that are going to emerge at truck stops and in black cabs over the next weeks about South Ossetia, Darfur, and Iraq.
Anyway, enough grade-skool philosophical lecturing; nite!