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Profundity 101

Kurt Vonnegut is cynically wonderful. I am reading “A Breakfast of Champions” and seem to find deep meaning in every paragraph – whether he intended them to be “deep” or not I don’t know! An excerpt:

“… Like everybody else in the cocktail lounge, he was softening his brain with alcohol. This was a substance produced by a tiny creature called yeast. Yeast organisms ate sugar and excreted alcohol. They killed themselves by destroying their own environment with yeast shit.

Kilgore Trout once wrote a short story which was a dialogue between two pieces of yeast. They were discussing the possible purposes of life as they ate sugar and suffocated in their own excrement. Because of their limited intelligence, they never came close to guessing that they were making champagne.”

Like Dvorahji says, Shut up and be Happy!

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  1. November 3, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Hmm?!
    In my opinion, “intention” (or rather it’s inappropriate usage) has been at the focus of much empty poetry.
    Regarding Dvorahji, I hesitate to criticise because admittedly I haven’t done the due diligence; however at first appearance, I can’t help but disagree with her message.
    I must read Breakfast of Champions, as you recommend..

  2. November 3, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    What is empty poetry?

    To me those paragraphs are inspirations to become “trans-human”;-) . To be aware of the effect of my actions on my environment.

    The last line is disconnected. It is not in keeping with the post! It is more of a note to self. And I don’t agree or disagree entirely, I just find it to be a “cute” way of expressing what I feel!

  3. November 3, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    Mohit, I wasn’t refering to those exact paragraphs. Like I said, I want to check out the book, curious as to what it is about.
    Empty poetry through misplaced intention as in: Usages of the sort “The wind wanted to sway me”, “The hamster looked at me dolefully”, “The ball refused to land in my glove” etc.
    [The relation to this case is, from what you have referenced, first the human tendencies of getting put off by wallowing in excreta are superposed on the yeast and then it’s unwareness of it’s plight is discussed. I mean, it is a play on “intention” that yeast obviously doesn’t possess.]
    Regarding transhumanness, being more aware of the consequences of our actions is within the scope of humanness, I don’t think we need to invoke transhumanity for that..
    I am not sure that “Shut up and be happy” is a good message to self, but it seems we may disagree on that..

  4. November 3, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Ah, I get it.

    As for the message of Dvorahji, after a few minutes of introspection, I realize that I don’t abide by it in the literal sense. I strive to do what is in my control to be happy. I just don’t fret about things that are not in my control.

    Yes, [it] is certainly in the scope of humanness – a lot of things are. Perhaps I am misusing the term trans-human.

  5. madhuri
    November 3, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Do not agree with “shut up and be happy”. It is not as simple as shut up and eat your food, or shut up and do your homework 🙂
    You have to work to be happy, just like you have to work to earn money, maintain relationships etc. Checkout http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1015832-1,00.html

  6. November 3, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Madhuri, yes I agree with you! I interpret “Shut up” to mean stop whining about whats beyond your control!

  7. November 6, 2008 at 10:53 am

    The personification of anything can be an entertaining exercise, either for humor or for a forced different perspective on something. I like it! And I love Vonnegut ramblings, so thanks. Here’s one of my favorites, courtesy of Roy H. Williams’s Monday Morning Memo email (sorry for the length):

    Author Kurt Vonnegut, age 82, reports that he recently told his wife that he was going out to buy an envelope:

    “Oh,’ she says, ‘well, you’re not a poor man. You know, why don’t you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet?

    And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I’m going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope.

    I meet a lot of people.

    And, see some great looking babes.

    And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up.

    And, and ask a woman what kind of dog that is.

    And, and I don’t know.

    The moral of the story is, we’re here on Earth to fart around.”

  8. November 6, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Ah, that’s vintage Vonnegut! Thanks Worth.

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