Noam and Neopolitan

Over heard in a coffee shop:

“There are chocolate people and there are vanilla people.”

In Pulp Fiction, Mia tells Vincent there are Elvis men and Beatles men. A quick Google search using are you a or a produced  page after page of either/or results like, “Are you a Jackie or  Marylin?” “Are you a pirate or a ninja?” “Are you a Maximizer or a Satisficer?”

Okay, that last one is creepy pseudo-sexual corporate speak, but all the rest imply special secret knowledge. Sure, you think you’re this complex unique human being, but here’s the key to who you really are.  And isn’t that comforting, to not have to struggle with that question anymore.

You have been reduced to a pithy bit of imitation wisdom that’s true exactly 0% of the time.

It’s not true when we want to be cool by the association, and it’s not true when we’re looking for a way to avoid listening to someone on the “or” side. Just like it’s not true when we’re choking in either/or’s narrow collar while other people give us indulgent looks if we dare to say: No, that’s not me.

This week, in one of my junior classes, we watched the clip from Manufacturing Consent that talks about how concision entrenches  “conventional thought” because no one is ever given the chance to explain.

Really, who couldn’t use a little more Chomsky in their diet. However, too many  -oligists (psych, soci, anthro) and their wannabe counterparts take Chomsky’s process and turn it into a pronouncement on human potential. We are doomed to slave and be enslaved. We are destined for greed and the failure of compassion, not because that is what we want, but because we  are too weak to withstand mass media manipulation.

These guys don’t even bother with the or. They convince us that the problems are all so big that no matter what we do, we can’t make anything better.  So we don’t try. James Joyce called it paralysis in 1914–a long time before TV.

Over heard in a coffee shop:

“There are chocolate people and there are vanilla people.”

“I’m neopolitan.”

Let’s stop treating our humanity like a disease. Let’s get over this illusion of simplicity that makes sure nothing changes. Let’s be neopolitan, not  just three flavors, but each minute ice-crystal that shapes the texture. We are the cold, we are the melt that swirls one color into another and makes something new.  Sorry to get all hippie, but we are the fruit; we are the seeds; we are the tree.   We are the infinity of the small in the infinite vast.

We all are. 100% of the time. Surely we can do something with that.

This entry was posted in Ompholos, Teaching & Learning and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Noam and Neopolitan

  1. maggy says:

    S- I am not sure which I love more! The pics or the writing!!

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