Wednesday, February 15, 2017

For Consumption in a Moment of Quiet Contemplation

For any and all who overdosed on Valentine's Day-themed accoutrements yesterday, once you awaken from your diabetic coma and/or recalibrate your internal engine so that its non-chocolate component parts and its chocolate-based component parts achieve a level of simpatico, I want you to indulge yourself anew.  Worry not, this indulgence will add zero calories to today's intake and, for good measure, it is recommended by 5 out of 5 dentists who know how to read. 

Not everyone subscribes to The New York Times or, for that matter, reads (at the very least) the Sunday edition of the paper.  While I think it would better serve you, the individual, and us, the whole, if more people acquainted themselves with it (or a news source of comparable ilk, such as The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, or The Los Angeles Times), the purpose of today's exercise is not to ramp up the daily circulation of some of this nation's best newspapers.  I mention the Sunday edition of The Times today simply for identification purposes.  For it was there, on Sunday, in the "Sunday Review" section that I read Phil Klay's piece, "What We're Fighting For", which I found to be extraordinary. 

If you are not familiar with Phil Klay, then I would wholeheartedly recommend that you familiarize yourself with him.  He is in his early 30's, a graduate of Dartmouth College and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.  As a Public Affairs Officer in the USMC, he spent approximately thirteen months in country in Iraq's Anbar Province.  A couple of years back, he wrote a collection of short stories, "Redeployment".  It is a work that I cannot recommend enthusiastically enough.  

As we plunge deeper into the 21st Century - and the toys and tools we have at the ready - for all of their splendor - seem to have somehow inadequately equipped us for the ever-increasing complexities of the world in which we live, it seems as if we have searched out easy answers and pain-free solutions at every opportunity.  That is certainly understandable but regardless of what we all learned in elementary school, "Keep It Simple, Stupid" is not in fact a magic elixir or a panacea for problem-solving.  Not everything in our technicolor age can be reduced to black and white.  Regardless of whether we acknowledge it - and even though many of us refuse to acknowledge it (whether out of animus, ignorance, or panic) - the day-to-day in this world is lived primarily in the gray.  Is it neither black nor white, is it a mixture of the two, or, is it, perhaps, something else altogether?  A question whose answer lies inside of each of us, I reckon.  A question whose answer may not be exactly the same for any two individuals. A question, nevertheless, that needs to be answered and cannot and should not be ignored due to its degree of difficulty or complexity.  

Here is the link to Klay's essay, which appeared in the February 12, 2017 edition of The New York Times.  Whether you have already read it - or had not previously been aware of it - I commend it to you today.  I, for one, do not want to know your thoughts about what Klay has written.  If you notice, other than describing it as "extraordinary" a couple of paragraphs back, I have not shared my own. 

To me, at least, it matters not what you think.  Rather, it matters to me that you think.  

As I presume it does to you as well.


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