Sometimes it's the littlest of little things that can make me wonder what's wrong with folks. As in, whoever returned that second buggy in such way as to block the whole corral. Yes, no big deal to pull it out and put it right but still . . .
And then I began to remember Philosophy 101, my freshman year at Emory, and Kant's Categorical Imperative.
Our professor, Dr. Gould, was something of a magician. Each week he introduced us to a new system--Humanism, Utilitarianism, Positivism, Existentialism, Pragmatism, to mention a few I kinda remember--and presented each so convincingly that I would leave the class thinking, Well, that makes sense. Now I know what I believe.
Till the next class, when I'd find myself convinced that some new -ism, the opposite of what I'd embraced the last meeting, was It.
About this time is when I was enamoured of Atlas Shrugged and I actually wrote my mid-term paper on Rand's personal philosophy Objectivism. Dr. Gould met with me in his office and proceeded to demolish all Rand's talking points. He was appalled that I'd fallen for this system of belief. "But where's the compassion?" he shouted. "There has to be room for compassion."
So, I got over Ayn Rand halfway through my freshman year. Thank goodness. That was just one of three enduring lessons from that class.
A second lesson was Kant's Categorical Imperative, the first formulation of which was: "Always act so that you may also wish that the maxim of your action become a universal law."
In other words, maybe not putting your shopping buggy in the corral properly is no big deal. But what if nobody did?
Chaos in the parking lot.
The third lesson I learned was a deep mistrust of my own ability to hew to a prescribed belief system. With this came a new found appreciation for Zen Buddhism. Not, I hasten to say, that I thought I might become a Buddhist. Just a pleasure in the paradoxical koans and the escape from logical thinking.
What is the sound of one hand clapping?
Or perhaps What does a shopping buggy say?
I'm guessing there are some Objectivists on the loose. They're in our government. . . and they're in this parking lot.