- Mental Health
Incredibly Widespread "Oliveritis" Syndrome-- a Satire
Quite a few years back our son got a tabby kitten from his girlfriend and named him Oliver. I am not a pet person, but kittens are cute and a lot of fun watching and playing with. As he was getting older, Oliver lost all that charm, now displaying that typical lazy and opinionated behavior which probably makes pet lovers opt for dogs.
However, there was one particular feature in his behavior that - with any stretch of tolerance that we usually reserve for animals' limitations - made our Oliver a pretty stupid cat. Namely, he was not toilet trainable, or we just didn't know how to make him recognize the litter box and convince him to use it.
What was making that stupidity even less understandable was the fact that he chose to use the box for No.1 need, but not for No. 2.
With a habit of seeing symbolisms everywhere, I promptly compared Oliver's toilet behavior to the human paradox of acting so plausibly normal in some aspects---and then spoiling that impression with so many other ways where we act like complete village idiots.
But let us have more fun with Oliver's elaborate No. 2 ritual, maybe to be alerted a little to how we tend to invest so much smartness into doing something stupid.
A Rather Smelly Sophistication
He had this peculiar ritual of pooing that kept us hesitant every time whether to just laugh, or to kick his disobedient ass out of the door. Well, we opted to be cruel to ourselves, not to the poor little bastard who obviously didn't know any better.
So we just watched him do his rather elaborate protocol of dumping his smelly load. After taking a sprint on our hall runner he would abruptly apply brakes to make a crease on it. Then he would frantically "dig" an imaginary hole at the bottom of that crease, to end the ceremony by blissfully squeezing out his smelly deposit there.
Programmed to cover it, now he finalized his unholy act by working on the top of the crease, and then nonchalantly walked away to continue napping far enough from his crime site.
Is there a point to this story, or was it just to make you have second thoughts about getting yourself a kitten?
I hope that some of you could notice a strong symbolism reminding of a colossal global trend of people's doing 4 crazy things similar to Oliver' pooing ritual.
1) We make it look sophisticated, because style matters even when we are about to do something stupid.
2) We do our crappy acts out of a program in our "automatic pilot", with little, if any care whether it makes any sense or not.
3) Then we do all the programmed moves of imaginary "covering it up", convinced that it will also remove the smell, or say---stay unnoticed.
4) We stay completely oblivious to having done something stupid, bound to do it over and over again.
Hence the diagnosis: oliveritis.
No Business like Donation Business
Well, so much going on in this world reminds me of Oliver's programmed and compulsive behavior that didn't make any sense, and of our seemingly being stuck with that nonsense. In the rest of this article I wanted to share with you a metaphor of it - while sparing you from the smelly part that we had to go through.
Now, you probably had an opportunity to see on TV at least one of those public appeals for a donation, featuring some African kids with big, tearful, and begging eyes gazing straight at the camera and tormenting your sympathetic hearts.
Don't take it a wrong way, I do have something like a heart myself, but here I am thinking about the big gimmick involved. First of all, whoever paid a lavish amount for that advertisement--- as that's what it technically was --- must have had enough money to also buy a box of Kleenexes for those little runny noses.
Also, they could have made sure that flies didn't navigate around those cute little faces--- something that was supposed to add to the effect of their poverty. Well, the rumor has it that the executives in some of those charity organizations are making a lavish income and driving themselves in limos while exploiting those poor kids' images to collect for their comfortable livelihood.
Doesn't all that donation business remind of the futility of Oliver's toilet routine? For, as the saying goes: "You serve fish to a hungry man on the first day; on the second day you teach him how to catch it".
When you really think of it, it's incredible how all that foreign aid flowing year after year, decade after decade, into those poor regions never inspired those folks to "learn to catch that fish".
What in addition makes it even crazier is all those donors pretending not to smell anything strange about those government officials driving themselves in those limos and living in palaces, while not much is really done to stop subhuman living conditions of those children---or educating grownups about contraception.
Doing something over and over even if not getting satisfactory result---sounds like Einstein's definition of insanity, but let's just call it something that sounds more like a diagnosis: oliveritis syndrome.
Preventable - but Who Really Cares
The World Health Organization could probably come up with some shocking figures of money being spent worldwide on treatments of diseases that were preventable with a simple common sense.
I have seen a woman, now dead, who was coughing her lungs out and reaching for the pack of cigarettes, while her husband just helplessly shrugged saying: "I must be the biggest fool on the face of the earth by paying for both---cigarettes and cough medication."
Then, a TV documentary was showing a man with a surgical hole on his wind pipe after surviving throat cancer - bringing a cigarette to that hole to take a draw.
Other than these extremes, there are so many less obvious, but just the same idiotic ways of self-destructive behavior going on in this world that is boasting for having sent man to Moon?
Like, take this idiocy of wars. Billions are spent in medical research for prevention and cure of some deadly diseases---and some other billions are spent on warfare.
Really, how is that for a crapping human intellect?
And maybe it wouldn't even be so tragicomic if we were talking just about some individuals "trying" to con the people into getting their political support into starting a mass slaughter---but how to explain the unforgivable number of brainwashable folks who actually fall for that?
And not only once, but repeatedly. Which should remind us of that saying:
"One is not stupid for making a mistake---but for repeating it".
My Party - Your Party - Same Party
In his classical children's book "The Gulliver's Travels" Jonathan Swift is telling us --- little and grownup kids --- the story of those two moronic kings about to start a war over the disagreement about "on which side, smaller or bigger should boiled eggs be opened".
Let's be honest now, folks, when you hear about even those most "serious" front page issues troubling this world, don't you get impression that you could solve it with just a little of common sense? With exactly the same feelings that arise when you read about those two Lilliput kings from the Swift's story.
Also, do any of you see something deceiving in the apparent antagonism between republicans and democrats? Look, it's not just me raising this question, but even some highly educated, informed, and observant political analysts are telling us how it comes to the same which party gets to be in power.
Except for some minor "official ideological" differences that might as well be ignored, neither of them are delivering that higher standard of living which would be suggested by otherwise an incredibly rich, industrious, and prosterous country.
Just like ourselves passively looking at our Oliver doing his indecent smelly act, so are the tax payers looking at their governments spending their money on anything else but on those basic human needs - like, let's say, a free medical care.
You read it right---a "free" medical care.
For, believe it or not, folks, but governments all around the globe have enough money to secure everyone's free medical care---only if that was one of their priorities, that is.
Trillions are being spent on armament, spy-works, bribing smaller countries to allow military and intelligence installations on their land for strategic advantages, lavishly supporting some very friendly welfare countries, not to mention so many absolutely unnecessary agencies and research programs milking astronomic grants from the taxpayer's purse.
So, you tell me, since both parties have been doing all that so far --- what really makes them so different? Their apparently different ideological agendas keep duping just about everybody, while the attention is drawn to some issues of a secondary significance.
Well, our Oliver couldn't make it smell more after having a can of fish.
- A lawyer makes anywhere from $50 to $1000 an hour for his services - whereas a surgeon who saves your life on the table makes miserable $110. Should we be reminded that it's lawyers who decide what is "fair" and what doesn't matter.
- Politicians whose comfortable working ambient is nowhere to compare to hazardous work of policemen, miners, and firefighters--- get to retire early as well. By what logic? If there is no logic, then why bother buying a "litter box"---let's just be happy observing it all.
- Fossil fuel responsible for so much of the global climate change, disease, and political dependency on its producers --- keeps its status of "black gold" despite available and unexplored(?) alternatives.
- Economy wizards of the world seemingly reject the idea of global economy not depending on something so unstable and whimsical as the stock market. Like in so many other areas where progress is halted, it's easy to see a powerful hand behind it in whose interest it is to preserve the unhealthy status quo.
And the list goes on and on, and I will bet my little and taxable pension that you could easily make it very long by adding your examples.
If Watching ever Becomes Tiresome
In this article I have tried to point at a possibility that we massively share a blind spot in our vision range when it comes to certain counterproductive and aimless behaviors of those who are tailoring our limitations from their high pedestal.
Then we keep electing them out of some installed programs and routines in our public minds, not considering any possible options, seemingly too tired of the history repeating itself as to be in a mood to "rock the boat" of the political status quo.
However, as we may increasingly become aware of our mistakes, we may start correcting our support to those in the position of decision making in matters that directly or indirectly affect our lives. I used the metaphor of a cat who kept his nonsensical routine, while we just reduced our response to watching it.
By the way, Oliver died many years ago. In the meantime, the world seems to keep his legacy very much alive.
If Oliveritis sounds enough as a condition, we may say that the most of the mankind has been affected. Well, you can count me out.