Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Be Like Me

Nobody’s a bigger narcissist than me. (That’s a joke, get it?)

But let’s just assume it’s true.

Or let’s assume that I adopt the existentialist perspective, as proposed by Sartre in his essay, “Existentialism is a Humanism,” that, in the absence of any purpose or design to the universe, I am, in virtue of the choices I make, implicitly choosing for all of humanity (thus the anguish one feels over the weighty import of any choice), or, to put it the way Gandhi is purported to have: “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” then in my uniquely self-centered way, I can’t help but imagine a world in which everyone lived more less as I do, or, at least, an America, let’s say, in which everyone adopted my way of life, including driving a car as little as possible, eating no meat, keeping the thermostat turned down way low enough to generally freeze out the wife and kid, and I wonder—in spite of how ridiculously crowded the busses would be and how impossible it would be to ride bikes on the Burke-Gilman trail—whether or not it would be enough to stem the spewing of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, or, at the minimum, get the parts per million of CO2 in the air below Bill McKibben’s target of 350.

The thing is, none of it’s a hardship for me; I wouldn’t want to drive any more than I do, and it’s no privation for me to eat only shoots and leaves; I can’t imagine why people everywhere aren’t clamoring to live the way I do, which reminds me, I guess, of the lady who told Bertrand Russell that she was a solipcist and couldn’t figure out why there weren’t more people like her, but come to think of it, that’s just the sort of joke that only someone with a sense of humor just exactly like mine would find even mildly amusing.


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