The unanswerable questions just keep on coming
By Michael O'Hare
Published: Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Sage and intelligent people have advised that we should contemplate life's unanswerable questions.
For instance, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke advised to love the questions themselves, to actually live them.
Now, following that high brow introduction, I (neither sage, nor intelligent) will offer some of the questions that I ponder over without answer:
• Have high-tech gadgets made our lives better?
Recent news out of the high-tech confab in Vegas showcased a hand-held computer that has a flexible screen and a huge TV with 3D in HD. Announcers gushed: The bendable device is great if you are on a crowded subway; the TV is just like being there.
Yeah, and maybe someday we will have news on paper during our morning commute and its pages can be folded so as not to interfere with fellow passengers. Oh, and before long we will all go into a theater and watch people on stage. Now that will really be high-tech!
• Why do we remove snow and cut grass?
These are seasonal things. I can't imagine why some fool ever decided that grass looks better when it is under an inch high. I much prefer what they have done at Crooked Creek, sections where there are just meandering paths amid a field of otherwise high grass.
And when it snows we rush out to clear it off, often making the pathways more slippery than it might otherwise be. In both cases, grass and snow, your municipality will even fine you if you don't cut and shovel.
Now, you might argue that we definitely need to fund the clearing of our highways. Heaven knows we can't ever stay at home, wait for it to melt down or -- and this is the seemingly impossible one -- drive slower than we might otherwise. We all know in our modern world that snow should never slow us down!
Some day we will breed an animal, tall and strong and with four legs, that can carry us or pull a sleigh through the snow. Wouldn't that be something marvelous?
• Must we live at a state of utter panic?
The old adage is that bad news sells, but does it need to make us anxious, frightened or angry?
TV weather forecasters present an oncoming storm front as if it were an invasion of aliens from outer space; you may even argue that it really is. Do we have to be scared into getting a flu shot, hiring an accountant at tax time or losing weight after the new year? The fine art of discussion is dead; it has been on life-support for decades.
• Will we ever get it?
Why do we think being famous, and therefore wealthy is so great?
Sure, we all need to live and feel some sense of accomplishment, right? But despite all the world's literature, studies, science and medical advise we still act as if we don't have enough.
Being famous these days, for whatever reason, looks actually painful. For one thing, you have photographers follow you whereever you go, sometimes to the point of it becoming dangerous, and you will get invited on TV to comment on things you obviously know nothing about. That is just part of it.
• Why the compulsion to reveal?
Why do so many people use the various social media to tell anyone and everyone what is going on in their lives? But hospitals no longer release admission and discharge lists.
• Why are there dogs (or fill in whatever creature you prefer)?
I look at my dog Cami asleep on the sofa, warm and comfortable. I study her little head, wonder what goes on in there, and think about the miracle that is life in all its forms, sentient and non-sentient. And when I set appreciation of her and all creatures momentarily aside in my thinking, I am just left with the question “why?”
Hey, that was pretty sage stuff, huh?
See, there's another question; they just keep coming.
Meandering appears Fridays. To share your thoughts on this column (or on most anything) with News Editor Mike O'Hare, write to the Leader Times, P.O. Box 978, Kittanning, PA 16201 or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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