This morning I was thinking about typewriters as I ascended the stairs to the dining hall after practice. Coincidentally I saw a couple typewriters this evening at a meeting for creative-writing majors. I don’t know why they were there.
As I was thinking about typewriters I remembered what it was like learning to type on a computer. I remember that in 7th grade, it took me longer than anyone else to type without looking at the keyboard. Unless everyone cheated. I don’t remember. All I remember is being congratulated for giving it a solid effort.
In the time between removing my student ID from my left pocket and reaching the top of the stairs, I tried to imagine what it’s like to dedicate your life to something and watch it fade away in the final years of your life. The typewriter is virtually obsolete at this point, and I figure there are typewriters hidden throughout the modern world collecting dust. They lost to computers, and there may be something else after it. But in another sense new computers just replace old computers, if you wait long enough (or it tragically becomes damaged).
It’s no secret that many mass-produced things are designed so that they will fall into disrepair after they have served their predetermined lifespan as consumer goods. You can treat human beings the same way too, and naturally there are many people all over the world suffering because of it.
We live kind of like slaves as well, but we’re fortunate enough not to know it. We’re offered bribes; toys, cars, a comfortable lifestyle, entertainment, and so on…all this in exchange for staying complacent. Now I know I sound like some kind of college student angry at the 1% and frustrated about human rights and the environment and all the other typical things that people eventually forget in exchange for that previously mentioned life in comfort. Well you’d be right, and it’s a trap because I think in the end even university education is a part of trapping people into this lifestyle of accepting bribes.
I could name countless examples, but just take for instance the fact that Martin Luther King jr. is practically worshipped as a god at the Jesuit university I attend. LGBTQ month gets more events than any other topic on campus (or at least it seems that way). Naturally Pope Francis, a Jesuit priest, is praised by the community for his not-so-subtle leanings away from tradition. Gone are the days of Pope Pius X. Gone are the days when Fairfield University students were required to attend daily mass. Currently, the University’s most emboldened stance against the changing times is its continued refusal to sell condoms…
It reminds me of a quote from 24 I’ve held onto: “You took an oath. You made a promise to uphold the law. When you cross that line, it always starts off with a small step. Before you know it, you’re running as fast as you can in the wrong direction just to justify what you started in the first place. These laws were written by much smarter men than me.”
Maybe all these thoughts and theories are just invented to soothe a bruised ego, to justify something I started a long time ago…whatever it was I don’t remember. I think if I had to say simply what it is, it is that the world is not turning into the mystery-filled adventurous place the 4 year-old version of me imagined.
Lots of people go to school, here and elsewhere, to study things and land jobs that are just like computers; they are attractive and exciting in the moment, but once you make your purchase they begin their descent. It is practicality over of naive idealism, as if idealism were something to be beaten out of a child’s mind, and practicality something that has anything to offer but a morning commute and child support payments.
I’ll hold onto my naive idealism as long as I can, because that’s the same thing as clutching desperately onto life. Some people can hold onto their life-instinct as long as they live, and when I occasionally come into contact with one of these strange old people, either through their words, something they’ve written, or something visual or musical, there’s a common word that pops up. That word is obsession.
Whatever it is you believe, it’s hard to stay true to it in this world. It’s a great time to live in if you like tolerance and diversity and freedom and equality. These are anti-values, and are the ‘Satan’ that stands in the way of our spiritual impulses toward the growth of culture. If you aren’t willing to compromise with modernity, you have to go against the grain, every hour of the day. Tomorrow is a new day!
“Aurum nostrum non est aurum vulgi”
-Our gold is not the gold of the common man