Okay, the main reason I posted this daylog is to direct your attention to this page:
...of the official site for Patrick McConnell's comic strip Mutts, wherein his delightful title panels are shown next to the thing that inspired them. You may want to take a gander if art and whimsy are your thing.
Warning: I vent my brain in the next few paragraphs. They may not make much sense.
I guess I also want to grouse a bit about the Chatterbox conversation of yesterday. The subject was, unsurprisingly, patriotism. Most people seemed agin' it. Some asserted that being born an American, Mexican, Irish or what have you is an accident and nothing to feel any pride in; ditto one's ethnic heritage or family tree. Even mainstream views of history came under fire, with narrative (with its implications of meaning and purpose) being derided in favor of a view of history as meaningless eruptions of cause and effect. I've heard this argument before, from someone who took it to the next level by vehemently declaring that all beliefs that impose meaning on an arbitrary cosmos are illusions, and when we cast off those illusions that there's any meaning to existence, then we are truly free to do what we want. What that could possibly be was never made clear, as I realized I was talking to a dedicated enemy of Life and excused myself.
Here's my feeling. As human beings, one of the things we're wired to do is give things meaning. Which entails processing events through thoughts and words, and putting them back out there as narrative. In this way we spin straw into gold; and pointing out that our base material is straw fails to persuade me that gold is without value. I mean, maybe it all depends on your taste-and I admit I have an especial fondness for tale-telling--but given the choice I would rather have an existence that's warm and glowing with the gold of meaning than live in a stone-walled dungeon with a pile of cold straw in the middle, myself reduced to a mere observer of straw. And given that this property we have of bringing the universe to life through our reason, intuition, and imagination seems to be the way we're built, I'm not sure why I should consider this gold-spinning endeavor a bad thing.
Loquacious also unfurled his Humanist flag and called for the end of the artificial division of humanity into nation-states, but didn't offer any other sort of organizing principle in its place so I'm not sure what he was getting at. Maybe he'll node his thoughts on the subject since the catbox is a severely limited forum for these ideas.
To summarize: though when I was much younger I despised things like regional pride, and pride in one's cultural heritage and ancestry, my experiences since then have led me to believe that in healthy amounts these things make life better, and their absence makes life a small and mean thing. So I'm for 'em.
Patriotism is not jingoism.