A Mind Set Listeners email:
A lament on online : The Book of Faces wears many masks.
By Tom Clark

I heard a story recently, no doubt old-news, of a young man who fell from a tree and died, electrocuted by power lines, while attempting to upload a photo of a serene, salubrious, sunset to social media.

Not to undercut the pathetic scourge of stupidity that is texting while driving, marine-themed-tattoos, or the unhealthy fascinations with facial hair in November (or any other month of late), or our less-hirsute, ill-guided ice-bucket challenges that have rendered too many, dead, drenched or disfigured under the guise of good will and charity, what happened to this young man is tragic.

As aggrieved as I obviously am, I'll place a caveat to the cringeworthy, convictions of my cynical mind, 'No evil is without its compensation' (Seneca), and surely such vices may bring most joy and laughter and gained perspective. It is the few, as always who bring it down; the few who are candidly consumed by the book and by themselves. 'No evil dooms us hopelessly except the evil we love, and desire to continue in, and make no effort to escape from.'(George Eliot). All things are created equal but for man's undying duality of choices in how to use them: to weaponize to vaccinate, atoms split to fusion or fission, genetically modify to save or enslave, divisively divide for discourse or to conquer; we are flawed to be brilliant and to have that brilliance become our breaking point - to create only in order that we may destroy.

The Book of Faces wears many masks, some innately good, with the power to unite its members in the rare, uncontaminated causes, not yet ripe to fester. However, the burgeoning, bloated bile that seeps from the minds of many can take credit for not only the boring boasts of buffoonery that fills so many fickle, fallible follower's 'feeds', but futile, fatal fads such as 'planking', of mind-numbing memes, of xenophobic odious obscurities of unintelligible authorship, and the incessant torture of duck-mouthed 'selfies' that saturate the sad, suffocated and self-obsessed asylum of vanity publishing.

Had Narcissus lived today, he surely would have torn his terminal gaze from the water and 'checked in' posting a pernicious, primping postulation such as: 'does my face look fat in this freshet?', only to die, regardless, salivating for his straining signal to strengthen.

To the more recent, less jaded and jilted generation, and to all the mindless masses ensnared by this vile vapidity, I implore: go outside, crane your stiff necks upward from whatever devilish device that burns in your pocket; follow not the fallow, Faustian foolishness of your 'friends' fellowship; but forget it all and smell the roses, understanding explicably and existentially, that, while one day, you may be mournful enough to have them plucked and placed upon your grave, they do not grow for you; 'Like' it or not, they never have and never will.