Monday, November 28, 2016

Fortune Cookie Fortunes: an Anodyne Analysis of the East/West Paradigm

Western philosophy has proven itself raucously inept at addressing the fundamental horrors underpinning our modes of existence, to say nothing of its startlingly impotent logical justifications for various theoretical configurations of the ideal state. Plato? More like Play-dough, since his dialectics are the equivalent of a child distracting itself from death with a colorful if inedible diversion, mere contrivances born out of a desire to justify a pre-existing ideal through tautologies of varying circuitousness. John Locke? More like a lock to induce a lengthy bout of sleep whenever I read Two Treatises of Government before bed. Robert Nozick? More like Robert No-way am I buying the larger implications behind the Wilt Chamberlain distributive justice thought experiment. Friedrich Nietzsche? Well, I can’t invent a pun involving his name off the top of my head, but, clearly any thinker who validates my worldview (through aphorism, no less) isn’t to be trusted. My gramps agrees with this last bit, in any case, though it is also true he eats pizza with a fork and knife, and believes himself to share a deep, spiritual connection with Kissinger.

Learning from my antecedents, I decided to discover myself by traveling to a foreign locale. I would eat, I would pray, I would love. Each experience would be an opportunity to reflect on my character, my relationship with the external, my operating principles as a headspace attached to a withering flesh sack. Narcissus was a hunk, after all.

But, I had little money. But, I was 16. So, after morose resignation tinged with morose self-pity, I landed upon an avataristic simulation of the sorts of experiences I would otherwise expect to experience in the East. I must credit Gramps for the revelation. Sure, he refers to those of asian descent as orientals, caring not at all what Edward Said has said on the subject. But his affinity for crude American iterations of Chinese cuisine has long prompted a fondness, within myself, for the perverse utterances found within those so-called fortune cookies. Over the past eight years, I have accumulated 683 such fortunes. This is what I learned:

Don’t take life too seriously; laugh and smile at it once in a while.
Ask advice, but use your own common sense.
Pretty meta, if you ask me.
Inch by inch life’s a cinch. Yard by yard life is hard.
I’m definitely offering this formulation to Gramps next time his beloved Washington Redskins fail to convert a 4th and 1 yard. 
Change is happening in your life, so go with the flow!
Go with the flow will make your transition ever so much easier.
A healthy way of living is be good to your health.
I’m going to blame that typo on the translation. The publishing industry cuts corners in this regard, often. Or so say the experts.
Man is born to live and not prepare to live.
No one is standing in your way anymore, time to moving forward.

Furrowing my brow, my phone rings. It is Elizabeth Gilbert. She says we need to talk.

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