Friday, June 12, 2009

This Is Uncalled For

A couple of days, the iPod shuffled up, back to back, the Beatles' "Ticket to Ride" and the Wallflowers' cover of "I'm Looking Through You."

A completely random occurence, obviously. A roughly one in 12,000 chance that "Ticket to Ride" gets shuffled up. And once that song ends, a roughly one in 12,000 chance that the Wallflowers' cover of "I'm Looking Through You" gets shuffled up. Not that big of a deal. Trivial, really.

But it's exactly that kind of random occurence, of course, that gets people to believe in a higher intelligence directing the chaos that surrounds us. After all, is it not a sign of intelligence that the iPod knew to follow a Beatles' song (particularly a track that, in many ways, pointed the way toward Rubber Soul) with not just another Beatles' song, but a cover by a different band. That's some Intelligent Design, no? Some Wise Old Benevolent Being Shit, no?

It's the chaplain, in Catch-22, who "would have yielded to reason and relinguished his belief in the God of his fathers... had it not been for such successive mystic phenomena as the naked man in the tree at that poor sergeant's funeral weeks before and the cyptic, haunting, encouraging promise of the prophet Flume in the forest only that afternoon: Tell them I'll be back when winter comes."

Right, Mr. Tappman. It's mystic phenomena. Or maybe, maybe, it's just Yossarian without his clothes.

It's our ability to reason run through (or perhaps clouded by) our need to find a reason.

Incidentally, I liked Catch-22 more this year than either of the last two years. Not sure why. At the end of last year, I was ready to leave it on the shelf for a few years and teach something else instead. Now, it's back in consideration for next year's rotation.

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