Recently I got the idea to learn something new, and thought the Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz would be just the ticket. What an exquisite author. The bulk of his ideas are beyond my ken but I found the following passages of interest, which jumbled up somehow into the cartoon that follows.
“The modern worker lacks individuality… Capitalism deprives him of his human nature by reducing him to an element in the work process. And like any object in the business world, he can be bought and sold. Because of his social condition he quickly loses any concrete and human relationship to the world…
A government of technicians, the ideal of contemporary society – would thus be a government of instruments. Functions would be substituted for ends, and means for creators.
Society would progress with great efficiency but without aim, and the repetition of the same gesture, a distinction of the machine, would bring about an unknown form of immobility, that of a mechanism advancing from nowhere to nowhere.” – Octavio Paz, 1985
I was flipping through a back issue of Philosophy Now the other day, when I was struck by a small piece penned by Ray Cavanaugh. The piece was about the life of Albert Camus. Look what a handsome chap he was –
Now, I don’t know much about Camus, but have read The Stranger and remember coming away from that with a disquieting sense of having learned something about the world I didn’t really want to know. The thing is, Camus seemed to specialize in the utter randomness of things; that abyss of meaninglessness that can cause one to stare morosely into one’s drink and question what the point of anything is.
What struck me about the article wasn’t its tone or tenor, but the simple description of how Camus died. On January 4, 1960, the car he was in left the road at high speed, killing him instantly at the age of 44. In his pocket was found the train ticket he hadn’t used after accepting the lift to Paris. How random this decision, and what a tragic outcome. One can only hope he would lift a glass in appreciation of this final absurdity.
On the bright side, he left us with one of the loveliest quotes ever penned: “In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
P.S. Ok, ok.. so I realize daylight savings was last week, but maybe this is still in keeping with the theme of it throwing off all life as one knows it. Also, I left the sketch on lined paper, thinking that if Savage Chickens can publish on post-it notes, why not… That said, I won’t be doing that again anytime soon, as the resolution didn’t work out so well. Whoops.
P.S. I had a lot of trouble with the punchline of this one. All I knew is I wanted to do something around the phrase ‘horns of dilemma’. I toyed with the the following phrasing as well…
In retrospect I’m not sure if the triceratops angle was a bit too out there. Oh well. I suppose there is irony in my little dilemma of punchlines.