Don't take this post very seriously. I suspect I don't know what I'm talking about. Hence I will give you my estimation on things:
I've been thinking, lately, about band class. I love music, but I am afraid I am not very musical. About the only thing I took away from the five years I played trumpet in middle and high school was our slightly deranged band director sweating like the dickens and motioning underhanded to his right -- MORE TUBA. He talked about the pyramid of sound. How we need more of the low registers to balance the shrill-sounding higher instruments that usually carry the melody.
Now, it would be just like a trumpet player to equate melody-carrying instruments with good and lower-pitch instruments with evil -- or in case that's too extreme, maybe "badness." I'm not what you would call a trumpet player; I'm more a trumpet put-in-the-closet-er. But, yes, I am using that metaphor.
I am motivated by my dislike of messages that promise only flutes. Stuff like advertisements. Minutes ago I saw a yogurt commercial that showed a woman working in her office. She opens her inoffensive white plastic carton of Yoplait and is overcome by its pink creamy contents. Her life is an image of bliss. There is a swing of garland flowers involved.
Like the perfect nuclear family -- see my previous post.
Like how you will really never have a reason to be unhappy if you live in the United States (the best country on Earth) because of the suffering (you could presumably compare your perceived unhappiness to) in Africa.
How if you live in a white suburban neighborhood void of smoking, homelessness, and teenagers, you can be assured of your safety and of the goodness of humanity.
The message that if you do a few simple things (acceptJesusintoyourheartgotochurchreadyourbibleprayevangelizesupportprofessionalministry) you will become a Good Person.
They reek of bullshit. Yogurt, or any product, will not ensure my happiness or save the world, education, our children, engorged fat cells. Being related to someone or contractually bound does not produce harmony, or a life more put together, or a moral high ground. You cannot be assured of your safety anywhere; bad things happen. And people who do those few simple things are not more morally justified than people who do not.
I feel like I can hold onto messages that are a pyramid with all the bad news at the bottom. For example: people are very bad. Their reflex to manipulate one another comes practically from their brain stems. Their highly-held ideals like rationality and compassion are ultimately subject to the mechanism of their selfishness. When they don't shower, they smell awful. They transcend sometimes to do something amazing: Einstein, Beethoven, Stu's dad who farts (intentionally?) when he's lecturing Stu making it impossible for Stu to really take his dad's anger or disappointment seriously.
I have drawn an example of how I see my band analogy/ possible exploitation play out in nature:
There you have it: irrefutable fact.
So stop, world, giving me dingy messages that aren't comforting because they don't seem to touch reality. I'll feel comforted when the message seems sort of true.
Here's something else: I think that with the bulk of bad news, you do get the piece of goodness on top. I don't believe it makes up for the bad stuff. It doesn't make the pain worth it or "Okay after all!", but there will be small reliefs. Leaves, noticing cute guys, laughter when it really shouldn't be funny.