Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Peace, Sweet Peace

Gull by paynehollow
Gull, a photo by paynehollow on Flickr.

As I walked to work, I came upon a genie's bottle
(or, if you prefer, a djinn's bottle)
and I invited the genie out.

He asked me what three wishes I'd like to make. I couldn't quite hear what he said though, as a car went roaring by.

"I wish all cars were silent"
I complained.

And instantly, cars everywhere stopped in their tracks.

The constant roar of the freeway - ominous and everpresent - chuttered down to a whimper, then a whisper.

The teenaged rattling boombox car fizzled and became moot. And mute.

The zipping, clipping, clunking, junking, greasy-mouthed yelling of cars battling down the streets around me

And there was silence.

It was an accident, but a happy one and I let that wish stand just as it was.

With the carrumble ended, I can hear the wind sweetly gossiping with the birds in the trees who, in turn, spread the good news to the squirrels and they chatter away unencumbered by the Everpresent Noise. It's incredibly...


how full and rich and complete
the peace has become
now that cars - and their noise - are gone.

Some have since argued, "Why couldn't the wish have been granted by simply magically making cars silent when they ran, rather than actually stopping cars from running?"

And I have replied, "just because... that's the way of wishes. They tend to have unintended consequences."

But I'm not complaining in this case, nor am I wishing away my wish.

I still have two wishes. The first worked out so well, I thought I'd stop while I was ahead... although, I'm giving a great deal of serious thought to the whole Airplane Conundrum.

For those who wish to complain about the whole no-car thing, I wish you'd take it up with the genie rather than me.



Marshall Art said...

Oh no. It's on you, not the genie. It is up to you to act responsibly and thoughtfully before spitting out words that were carelessly spoken. Now, you'll have to use your remaining wishes to resolve how people will get to work to support their families, get to church to worship in fellowship, get to market to feed their families, get to doctors and hospitals to heal their families, get everywhere they need to go or want to go to live their lives according to their ideas of how it should be done, not Dan Trabue's self-satisfying notions. Your careless wish has just interfered with the God-given right of your brethren to pursue their happiness as they see fit. Selfish jerk.

Dan Trabue said...

Are you serious?

Dan Trabue said...

You DO know, don't you, that I didn't really come across a genie...?

Marshall Art said...

Oh, there is no genie? REALLY, DAN?!?!?!??

My response was to the "point" of your post, that which regards how well your "mistake" worked out. Would it have? No way to get to work, hospitals, markets, etc? That is proof of the wish having "worked out so well"? Are YOU serious?

Parklife said...

wow.. unhinged.

Dan Trabue said...

Yeah, not much to say to that...

Parklife said...

For the sake of argument..

Many of us live very close to markets, jobs, ect. There are even websites that rate your area walk-ability. Not to mention, a bike can get up to mid-20mph. Travelling farther? Some people combine the train with bikes. Its not hard to imagine a world with far fewer cars. Oh yeah.. and the whole doing things on the computer has changed our world plenty.

Dan Trabue said...

And yet, as I hope everyone else can tell, my point was not that I think using cars is evil and no motorized transport should be allowed.

But to be sure, do I think the world would be much better with fewer personal autos? Yes, yes, Lord, yes.

I think that could easily be objectively proven.

Marshall Art said...

That would depend on one's idea of what a better world would look like. Obviously, your unhinged notion differs from mine. But let's look at what you said:

"how full and rich and complete
the peace has become
now that cars, - and their noise - are gone."

Seems pretty clear to me that your little story supports the notion of a car-free existence. Worse, as you put it, you just deprived millions of their means of transportation and transporting goods and services. The ramifications would be tragic to say the least. And no where in that little story is any indication that you don't think using cars is evil or no motorized transport should be allowed.

And of course, the usual double standard, so often highlighted by Craig, in your response to Parklife, who makes cracks of all kinds without the least bit of explanation to justify it. You see, Danny, that's a major difference between your idea of grace and mine. I can stand nasty sounding remarks without whining about "how one sounds" if an explanation seeking to justify it follows. Here, you pick and choose when such comments are allowed.

But again, what is crystal clear is that you are only concerned with your idea of the perfect utopia. It is based on personal preference alone.

Dan Trabue said...

It would seem that the problem for some, perhaps especially in the conservative camp - although not limited there - is the problem of understanding nuance.

For some, if one criticizes the notion of the personal auto, then one must be opposed to ALL motor vehicular traffic and would ban everything if they could.

Fortunately, we have a good number of progressives, libertarians and others out there who support individual liberties and tend to lean away from total bans on anything but the most dangerous items.

It's all a matter of balance and understanding nuance, which some seem to have problems with.

Marshall Art said...

But of course, and once again, I was referring to your own words in the post which clearly and confidently suggest that NO cars was a result that "worked out so well". It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to deduce that that could not have been the case and wouldn't had it been more than a dear little story. The ramifications would have been dire. What's more, in the real world, reducing the number of cars would put a burden on most that most would not find a decent trade-off. But as I said, it seems clear you're not concerned with what others would imagine "utopia" to be, and would be less so if YOUR notion made them unhappy were it to come to pass.

Dan Trabue said...


Consider, Marshall, that the Psalmist sometimes wrote of dashing the heads of the enemy's children against the rocks and other awful nasty wishes towards an oppressive enemy. Do you think that this mean that the Psalmist ACTUALLY wanted to see babies brains bashed in? Or that God wants to?

Or could it be more nuanced than that?

Consider that people use hyperbole (Jesus instructing us to pluck out our offending eyes, for instance) when making points, sometimes.

An unthinking an un-nuanced literalism will you get you into trouble, Marshall. Learn to read with a lighter touch.

Marshall Art said...

How about you learn to speak your mind in a straightforward and precise manner. More to the point, for this situation, learn to understand that I responded to your story on the same level as the story itself. Within the context of that story, the notion that the wish worked out well is inane due to the ramifications that you ignore or are too thoughtless to consider in favor of your desire for fewer cars.

So if you're trying to make a point, and you believe I've missed it, what is it? Is it that fewer cars is better? If so, how much fewer? Who gets to decide the ideal number and what inconveniences do you expect people to tolerate in order to achieve that ideal number? Do you even consider the potential inconveniences of other people when you daydream about your "better" world? Or do they just magically refrain from manifesting, as if a genie erased them?

Parklife said...

Marshall.. What can you do to reduce your car consumption?

Marshall Art said...

I don't consume cars.

Parklife said...

lol.. I win.

Marshall Art said...

If you say so.

John Farrier said...

You should have spent one wish wising for more wishes.