Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On the kindness of strangers

I don't know what this is, nor do I remember where I was when I took the picture, though I suspect I was on a ferry. But I love the colors and the textures; love the beauty hidden in the utility; love the thought that someone spent time designing these now-rusting pieces of metal to solve a particular problem.

I think we tend to forget that almost everything we see -- roads, cars, buildings, clothes, grocery carts, store windows -- was designed or imagined by at least one someone, and then probably created by several someones, or by machines that were designed by someone.

No-- I'm not heading into either an attack or a defense on/of intelligent design.  I'm actually just thinking about a video I saw on youtube yesterday, a sort of rap construction of President Obama saying "You didn't build that."  I confess I'm not up enough on what the latest election headlines to understand what that was about.  But it got me thinking -- as Blanche tells us in Tennessee Williams' Streetcar Named Desire -- about how incredibly dependent we've always been "on the kindness of strangers;" on the determination and ability of people all around us -- those we know and those we don't, those we agree with and those we don't -- to do the work it takes to keep our lives running smoothly; to ensure that we have Thoreau's famous necessities: food, shelter, clothing and fuel.  Our lives are so inextricably intertwined: how is it that so few people understand that? We need each other: surely even self-interest would suggest we should therefore care for one another...

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