A Postmodern Pirouette
-- By Dr Ramesh N. Rao
Thakathai thakathai thakathai - Shiva's end of the world dance; cosmic step-aerobics, up and down, up and down, right and left; keep moving, keep moving, keep moving to be in the same place; at a different place with a different person and not knowing it is the same but somehow different; hopefully, it is different because it is in a different mall you buy a different pair of shoes which is by the same manufacturer - Nike Reebok Adidas made in China South Korea Indonesia the Philippines - who cares except that it is the same price that you paid two years ago; meaning no inflation back there; what do you mean? but the fifty dollars I paid is not worth the fifty dollars that I paid two years ago here or there but I cannot calculate this accurately and why bother because in the scheme of global economics and under Shiva's feet everything finally gets squashed only to spring up again from the dead to die again and again and again and again thinking of which my head whirls spinning like a top in the fifth dimension that is a point in space-time of which only physicists can dream in their poetic somnabulance or when just plain high in the rarefied air of a mountain top on top which sits an observatory millions of dollars to observe some things out there which is not there but believing them to be there and so worth spending more money so that may be some day the by-product of close observations will lead to the manufacture of eye glasses to help the purblind see better the mess we have made around each other and which may lead them to be better citizens of a world disorder by watching closely; but I digress and I don't know if it is I who am digressing or whether these thoughts which seem to have a life of their own; how can thoughts have a life of their own? stupid Cartesian mentalism; but that is the only ism-thing that can explain because Baconian empiricism allows only senses to sense things and how can senses see thoughts as if they are something solid made of wood concrete water piss bile the waters of the river Nile; who, you wonder named it Nile; some bloody Brit priest spreading the Lord's word and changing the world by giving names and taking away old names with or without knowing but all in good faith and for God's purpose and in order to order; but whose order and heaven knows what disorder it brings later but now is the time to do things to name things to name names and claim them as one's own because things belong to those who can name things; and if only I can name your eating habits, mating habits then I know you better than you know yourself and so I can tell you about you so that you can be saved by my God and you can be saved from your God and so we can travel together on a path that leads nowhere but it is my nowhere and so you are safe till... if only I let go can rename my names and reclaim yours but it is back to square one - primitive times and places and so unscientific and irrational and those mullahs and shamans and pujaris controlling your life and jerking you around and making you unhappy and depriving you of the fruits of science of the good life of plenty of plenty of different kinds of shoes all named Nike because Nike has bought Reebok which had bought Adidas in one corporate takeover the size of which boggles the mind except for those poor stockholders who one day held a sheaf of papers and considered themselves safe and secure and next day were crying and shouting and berating their fate and cursing the corporation that had taken over the corporation which had taken over the corporation which had taken over the corporation all in the name of efficiency and mega-profits that would help generate jobs for those who were seeking jobs; now that they had lost the jobs they had because in the name of efficiency they had to what they had to do; that is how the laws of economics worked if you know what I mean; and because it was the optimal use of resources though you could say the justice department did not like it and was contemplating some things that would break up Nike into eight baby Nikes and so would enable competition between Nike and Nike and Nike and Nike and Nike and Nike and Nike and Nike and people would have more jobs and there would be competition between Nike Nike Nike in South Korea and the Philippines and Nike Nike and Nike in Taiwan and the two other Nikes which were offshore operations that were just legal entities and nothing on the ground if you know what I mean; but they were in the Cayman Islands; I mean the legal entities so that their profits would not be taxed and so could be used to create more jobs for those who had lost their jobs but I am digressing which I began by doing if you realize for in the large scheme of things if you know what I mean going off on a tangent is actually making your way to the place that you hadn't thought about but which was a possibility and there could be riches there and may be not just like in the place you had left to go some place where there could be riches of a kind that is not very describable but the kind that you could create through hard work and discipline and chance and fate and luck and fortuitous breaks in governmental rules that might have been put in place to level the playing field in a small part of the land so that there could be some opportunities created for the large mass of people who may have been deprived of a level playing field you know on a large scale over a long period of time; but now was the time to right the wrongs of the past and provide some opportunities though they may not be enough and they may not be fair for how can you blame the present generation for the sins of the past and how can you therefore level the playing field if it means depriving some people of what they have and don't you know they have worked hard to build the things they have built; not that it is improper to point out that the rules put in place fifty years ago were meant to help them if you know what I mean and is it not the reason that we have seen such wonderful progress; how can you not see that this led to more production and production and more consumption and consumption till we succumbed to consumption if you know what I mean; but we no longer have people dying of consumption but consumption is killing people and if we cannot break the Nike monolith then prices will shoot up and people will be at the mercy of this monopoly and their buying power will decrease and they cannot consume as much as they did in the glory days of the 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s and what will then happen to the American economy world economy blah blah blah blah; if you cannot have competition choice consumption as we have known it in the malls of the world that are all alike and all carry the same goods and have the same sales sales sales sales all the time; but it is spring sale father's day sale, mother's day sale, secretary's day sale and you can always buy two pairs of shoes for the price of one and you buy two though you need only one because it is on sale and it is a good deal and you cannot miss it though there will be a sale of the shoes next week when you can buy two pairs of shoes for the price of one.
Originally published on Tuesday, February 1, 2000.