Friday, November 20, 2009

Bike Pile

It has always made me happy to see a pile of bikes outside a joint, especially my own neighborhood version, and tonight was no exception.

I got to continue the discussion I’d been having earlier in the evening during class about the greatest good for the greatest number and the problem of how Utilitarianism seems to commit you to accepting injustice towards the few in service to the many, which is just, I fear, what happens to any of us who end up giving more than our share—whatever that is.

And then I got to admire the manner in which our next destination was set out for: like some sort of hive organisms, we buzzed around for a while and then set off, following the rider in front of us; that was fun.

And then, we got to hang out under a cherry tree whose spidery arms against the indigo and chalk sky illustrated how thoughtfully planned was the fantastical setting.

Afterwards, and just as we regrouped somewhat painfully, the tailwind seemed to cup me from behind all the way across the Cut and then up around the University to farther than I would have gone without such meteorologically-induced momentum.

And then I was reminded of how fruitless it is to fear the weather yet to come at this time of year, for on the way uphill from the water the rain was slanting from behind and I was sure I’d be paying for it on the way home.

But get this: after just one drink, I started south and already it was warm and dry again, just like the evening started off.

That was all part of the night’s lesson for me, I think: if the utilitarian principle tells us that acts are right insofar as they maximize overall happiness, it follows that usually, the right thing to do is maximize the size of bike piles and elongate (within reason) the length of bike rides.


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