High tides

November 25, 2014 Comments (0) journal

This mechanical life

In the fuzzy world where environmentalism and politics mix, the underlying processes are often obscured. Alliances form silently and break apart without seeming to cause much of a stir, not for those who don’t pay extremely close attention, anyway. Which is most of us.

For some bad reason, I have found myself in that strange and frustrating world this week, not by choice exactly, and quite by surprise. There’s a lot I could say, but none of it would really be all that interesting, once I put it down in words. So let’s look at it this way instead, in words far loftier than mine and with a poet’s style, what Antoine de Saint-Exupery had to say about a very similar topic.

A machine is not built for creation. It is built for administration.It goes unvaryingly through motions pre-ordained once and for always. And an administration, like a machine, does not create. It carries on. It applies a given penalty to a given breach of the rules, a given method to a given aim. An administration is not conceived for the purpose of solving fresh problems… but as a safeguard against disturbances resulting from human initiative.

There’s a lot packed into that paragraph. As I read it again now, here in the city of Tacoma, WA, I can see faces I recognize on either side of that mechanical line.