Pragmatism

The mariner has always been pragmatic. He supposes most folks feel that way about themselves. The mariner tends to depend on his five senses and his experience to evaluate the world around him. As a child of five, he saw in an encyclopedia pictures describing the solar system and the universe. That great bodies could float in space was a mysterious marvel and that meteors came from nowhere and left just as mysteriously was fascinating to conjure.

This mystery and others eventually made the mariner a frequent visitor to the local library and in later years to the Internet as well. He sought what others thought about his questions; perhaps an answer would be provided – at least a better one than the mariner had at hand.

There is good and bad in being pragmatic. The good is that rationality prevails in all circumstances. What is reasonable is the most correct perspective. Among fellow human beings, the mariner’s dependence on rationality leads to a middle of the road attitude and, to a degree, a willingness to search for better solutions.

The mariner does not accept behaviors that reinforce dependence on mystery as fact. He has difficulty understanding why so many believe in miracles and intervention by otherworldly beings. Often, his perception of a situation is far different from others. One that most can relate to is the leap from reason to belief in “flying saucers and creatures from space.” This is not the place to debate the subject. It is an example of building belief on mystery rather than fact.

To the mariner’s dismay, there are many pragmatic behaviors for identifying the correct perspective. For example, one wonders why the Congress (the sentence can be ended here as a question) vetoes gun registration when 92% percent of U.S. citizens favored registration. The rationality is perverse and is centered on personal success rather than American wellbeing. The concept of greater good has disappeared from virtually every government in the United States. The idea of greater good and democracy go hand in hand. Without one or the other, the whole concept is dysfunctional. This dysfunction includes the Supreme Court. The Court refuses to hear cases that deal with one-person one-vote, a subject that encompasses voting practices based on racist and political oppression, abuse of the concept of redistricting, and the Court bias toward Reconstructionist thinking at the expense of large numbers of citizens suffering repression and the lack of fairness. The framers of the Constitution established a capitalistic democracy because they were businesspersons and successful entrepreneurs. Still, it was important to them to preserve fairness and civil liberty for every citizen. This is no longer true in the halls of government.

To the dismay of extreme conservatives and extreme progressives, the world will never be a happy place. These folks are dreamers, believers, and champions of their cause. The world is a pragmatic place. The significantly bad side of pragmatism is that it lacks soul. Lack of soul is what permits the rich to get richer, the Earth to fall into disarray from human abuse, and the lack of concern for victims and disadvantaged peoples. All these imbalances stem from a pragmatic logic but a logic that has no soul.

Some individuals and organizations combine soul with pragmatism: volunteer organizations, charitable organizations, even the United Nations, the only government designed to be a worldwide government – albeit it strangled by the wealthier nations. The UN is buried under the motives of international banks, military supremacy, corporate greed, crooked governments, often, if not totally, denied the right to intercede in behalf of the starved, the slaughtered, and the bereft. Woodrow Wilson rolls in his grave.

Pragmatism shows its best side when the greater good is included in its rational conclusions. The greater good is the soul of pragmatism.

Ancient Mariner

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