Children vs. Grown-Ups on a Global Scale
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
Commentator Andrei Codrescu has been thinking about some of the challenges we face in life, specifically the messes we have to clean up when we become grown-ups.
ANDREI CODRESCU reporting:
At some point there are so many messes you need other grown-ups, more competent ones to clean them up. Competent grown-ups are a myth. But even assuming for a moment that they exist, their solutions to your messes is to make everything incomprehensible so that you'll feel truly helpless.
When everyone feels helpless, these non-existent competent grown-ups, who may or may not be parental, proceed to do two things, take away all your initiative and lock you up inside a paradox so complex you'll never get out. Feeling helpless and trapped may be the normal state of your average adult in the custody of other adults, but it's no fun because it lacks innocence.
Which is why I say - like Jesus - bring on the children. Their messes are understandable, peanut butter and snot, ketchup and blood, playing dangerously close to traffic, making physical contact with your pals until the world spins, taking a ball seriously enough to cry. Unfortunately, when adults call on children to fix their messes, the children have to grow up fast and become nasty little adults before they even have a chance at childhood.
Now, let's look at the problem of adulthood globally. Adults have messed up the planet with carbon emissions that are making the Earth too hot. Adults take their occasional moments of euphoria to war and kill until they're exhausted. Wars are never started by sick and tired people. They are the work of the excessively healthy, the super-optimistic, the pheromone flushed wellbeing addicts. Pheromones allow for glimpses of utopia and testosterone promises that you'll get there.
But something happens in war and on the aggressive road to wealth, messes. There are wounds, puddles of blood, annoying grieving women and maimed children. And the Earth, so hot you have to hop on one foot to keep from being burned. You're an adult, damn it, do something about it. Bring on the children. Extort their innocence, inventiveness, natural compassion. How do they come by that?
And let them do their healing work on your dulled senses. Let them cover you in snot and ketchup and play ball with your head until you see stars. If it gets a little Lord of the Flies flash, you can always shake that off, grow up to full height and proclaim the power of your adulthood. They'll look up with sad, suddenly adult faces and your misery will be mirrored in miniature.
You used to blame all messes on God, but it's not so easy anymore now, when even the staunchest believers want to become children again. You can become a staunch believer, but the mess will stay the same. You may feel like a child, but God doesn't feel like playing adult anymore. Global warming has affected God. He feels sleepy, lacks some vision and would like a more adult God to fix the mess.
That would be you now, wouldn't it?
SIEGEL: Andrei Codrescu lives in New Orleans.
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