The sheer stupidity of putting all our eggs into one word called P.R.A.G.M.A.T.I.S.M

June 10, 2010

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What happens when you take a word and make a mountain out of it? I don’t know.

What I do know is words can never ever be substitutes for whole ideals, philosophies and schools of thoughts –matters very little whether it ‘s a word like pragmatic, love or even fuck.

The best that a word can really offer is a vignette ( a point of view) into a way of making sense of the world and never a complete disquisition – take a word too far and it’s like a man trying to sail around the world in a bath tub. It’s just crazy!

I guess one reason why the word pragmatic has such a tenuous hold on our psyche – may have something to do with the idea of how we have been traditionally conditioned to believe if good is to prevail over bad; then it alway has to come at a necessary price – and that sacrifice may range anywhere between having to put up with the life of the battery chicken to working till you die standing – another reason could have something to do with the devaluabtion of primroses, parks and ponds as nothing more than indolent past times that serve no useful function, hardly the stuff of chimney stack, busy bee skyscrapers and things that generally quicken the heart rate of the tax man.  And lastly let’s face it when politicians and corporate leaders speak the language of progress as they often do; it always pays to come across as pragmatic – being pragmatic is the direct opposite of wishy washy, fuzzy wuzzy and just the direct opposite of everything that has to do with the flakey flake school of thought – coming across as pragmatic means you are simply rolling up your sleeves and getting right down and dirty – you could even say it’s cool and sexy to be labeled as a pragmatic person.

But I don’t think being pragmatic necessarily makes anyone more effective, knowledgable or wiser  – that’s like saying everyone who stays in a cave is a geologist – for one it presupposes ONLY by keeping to the tried and tested pragmatic approach can we reliably produce the goody good.

That’s bullshit. Fact is nothing really good has ever emerged from the word pragmatic, except maybe the mediocre, tacky and trite.

If the school of pragmatism really played a preponderant role in shaping society and collective consciousness –  the vast majority of us, would probably limit ourselves to just a staple of self improvement books, documentaries. And most of our weekends would be spent making a beeline to learn about dead politicians (that no one really cares about except those who want us to remember them) hydro electricity plants, nuclear reactors and rubbish recycling plants.

Fact of the matter is this – fashioning oneself as pragmatic is not only downright passe, it’s nothing less then a fucking appelation that simply says – you have passed your sell by date! You cannot compete! And you definitely cannot delight your customers!

Not only does observation suggest the vast majority of people find pragmatism boring and unappealing – it’s even conceivable as a school of thought and state of mind it may actually have as much utility as a horse drawn carriage in an eight lane highway. 

Contrary to popular myth –  fuzzy wuzzy and even wispy frivolous (hey why the fuck do you think so many people read the BP in Ekunaba and PBK? Go figure that mystery out!) may even come up tops when squared off against pragmatism – in the long run don’t be surprise if anything that is the direct opposite of pragmatism comes up the winner – like soft power or for that matter the power of cute that we so often see in anime and manga comics.

I am reminded people will always be impossibly difficult to pin down; for one most us don’t ever want to be seen driving around in boxy cars painted pragmatic grey; live in faceless pragmatic soviet styled housing blocks and probably just get by with a couple of vitamins and suck out veggies and fruits out like pragmatic astronauts – we yearn to be something more than just the guy next door. We want to be individuals. Or at least believe in that ideal.

The really funny thing about die heart adherents of the school of pragmatism is that they are so divorced from the real world they actually believe that’s the only way to define personal and organizational success  – and this naturally leads one to ask.

What type of world will we be left with, if we had only pragmatism?

Well the short answer is a pretty shitty world – for starters, it will be a world where most of us will just be faceless statistics? – a world that is barreling towards the generic instead of the individual – a world where others may even stand in judgement on your character dishing out good and bad points (never gave you any right!) where instead of life assuming a diverse and rich landscape; all that it really offers is the binary world of – you are either switch on or off, successful or a failure, with me or against me – mind you, we may not consciously realize this. But we may have already reached this dystopian end point.

Curiously it’s ONLY when we begin to reject pragmatism as a school of thought and state of mind can we begin to connect with what’s really important and jugular in life – as too often we lose sight of that focus on real lives, real experiences and real living – as politicians and the media always have a vested interest to reduce the complexity of some of life’s most complicated  decisions to one simplistic word – pragmatism –  and this underscores the need to begin reclaiming back what we may once lost to this crappy word that has proliferated like some run away weed – as ultimately, it’s this ongoing process of awakening that remains our last refuge against the corrosive idea everything can be justified and legitimized under the banner of pragmatism (well it cannot) – as what we may be doing is nothing less than perserving the tragic recognition that life will always be a very complex enterprise – and that simply means if the imperative of life is to continue to consecrate new ideas, new thoughtwares and new solutions to meet today’s emerging challenges – what’s required is something bigger, greater and grander than just pragmatism.

As I said there is nothing wrong with being pragmatic – that’s good to go if the challenge is fix that leaky faucet; set right that stay that keeps causing your bicycle chain to skip a beat  -or dodging those pesky car coupon aunties –  only I don’t see how it can ever be the alpha and omega to the extent of even predominating politics along with coloring policies and decisions – that has to be a travesty of reason as it threatens the very idea of all that’s good and beautiful about what mankind has to offer beyond the narrow scope of the word – pragmatic.

Its best if we just regard it as just a word; nothing more or less.

Darkness 2010

“He’s got brains, wit and a barbed repartee to go with it; I’ve give you all that. But that is not nearly half of what’s required to command the respect of the Guilds…they will not listen to this man,

Gentlemen..he is too pragmatic…and that Gentlemen is just a very polite way of saying, this man is souless – there is no soul to his character. I am sorry, if it was any other country – that’s good to go – but 300 over colonies; 217 protectorates and a couple of dominions all adding up to roughly the size of 30 times the Roman Empire! You have to be kidding me gentlemen…Gentlemen, I have no illusions what it takes to control the Guilds – what we need is a psychopath like Stalin with lashings of Metternich who is skilled in the arts of contemporary diplomacy and statecraft – a steel fist in a velvet glove – if we don’t have that…we all go hungry…tell me do you all want to go hungry?  Is that what all of you want?

Maybe, this cat should consider joining the PAP…I have it under the best authority over there, they set the bar so low that it’s welded to the bar stool!

Get it in your heads! Screw it up your ass! I am not about to back a donkey on the Derby. Vollariane possibly…Kadjal a strong yes….Singaporedaddy perhaps…but not him….No way!

You don’t have my buy in! Besides he wouldn’t be able to hold his own in even a tribal sitting – he is no bloody good. He is too pragmatic. And we all know any idiot can do that with admirable skill and ease.”

Darkness 2007 – Vote in the Confederation -47th sitting of the Confederation held in Primus Aldentes Prime – The Chronicler of the Brotherhood – The Brotherhood Press 2010  



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