Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Parable of the 100 Actions Man

A Contemporary Parable:

There was once a man who had no ultimate purpose (or so he thought).  His life was not ordered towards some single concrete end, and he found himself living moment to moment, fancy to fancy.  But there was little fulfillment in this, and the man regretted that there were many ill spent days.  To make matters worse, he found himself feeling as if he were held accountable by the beliefs of others who thought his daily activities hardly justifiable.

So one day, he created for himself a rule. 

No longer would he spend a single day in leisure, lazily lounging beside the pool.  No. Every day would be a day of action.  To be precise, every day would include exactly 100 actions--no more, no less.  He would become--he would be--the 100 Actions Man.  At the end of every day he would then be able to take stock of his life and see that he had performed 100 actions.

He would begin each day by having sex.  He was consumed by it.  Lucky for him, so was his partner.  At the beginning of his transformation he decided that he would take stock of every action in the sexual process.  First there was the foreplay (1 action).  Then there was the putting on of the condom (a 2nd action).  Then there was the third, the fourth....the thirtieth.  He soon realized, though, that this sort of counting did not allow for many more meaningful actions in the day.  So he thereby counted all the individual acts as one act--sex.

He ate three square meals a day (3 actions).  He took a nap (1 action, but some days he counted the daydreaming, hypnogogic state before he snoozed; on very slow days he counted euphoric hypnopompia to boot).

The man had found himself "with money"--an inheritance of sorts.  He was not, in the eyes of salt and earth, a "working man."  Nonetheless he was thereby free to engage in various occupations unhindered by the vulgar laws of supply and demand--at least to an extent.  He picked the philanthropic life honored by his well-to-do peers.

For reasons only privy to him, he chose to work at a homeless shelter for most of the day--pro bono. (But it was not merely a homeless shelter).   His day consisted in talking with the homeless (who were mostly very old, tended to be black and Hispanic, and poor.)  Often he would provide counsel.  His counseling did not begin with a single concrete end (he had none), but was means oriented--that is, given the various ends of his patients, he helped direct them to an efficient means.  When the means was towards one of their ends and one of his, he tended to direct them to that means.  (For instance, if their end was to some day buy a house, and his end was to be rid of them because they happened to be annoying, he'd pursue the best means to make that happen as swiftly as practically possible with the fewest headaches).

Much of his day was spent doing "the undesirable task"--which the shelter referred to as "The Cleaning."  The Cleaning involved changing bed pans, mopping up "spilled trays," changing the sheets, the wiping of bed sores, and so forth (4 actions instead of 1).  Some of the day consisted of drawing blood, taking the blood to the in-house clinic to be screened for diseases, providing sleeping pills, and generally making sure that the patients were, what the clinic referred to as "clean."

But that is not all.

Some of the patients were given the clinical, medical classification of "unwanted."  Who counted as one of the unwanted was difficult to tell.  Often they had no family who could potentially support them.  At any rate, at bottom, they were thought by none involved to have any intrinsic value.

Three actions at the end of every day were reserved for the unwanted.  The 100 action man, at the conclusion of each day, sought out the least desirable of the unwanted, stabbed all three of them repeatedly, dismembered them, and then sold their parts to what the medical community referred to as "research facilities for the betterment of the New World Order."

Question #1:
Would you recommend sending "the man" to jail?  Alternatively, would you force people to subsidize "the man's" income?

Question #2:
Now what do you think about these three actions out of one hundred...

Would it make any difference after reading either this and this?  

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