Anders Bergstrom's blog on Words, Films, and Music

Monday, September 12, 2005

I'm on the bus this evening, coming home from a long day of meetings and library work, and as I listen to my current favourite song, "Bizzare Love Triangle" by New Order, I think about how happy my iPod makes me. Even though it gets dark in this city by 6:30 and I have to ride the bus home through darkened, unfamiliar streets, I can listen to my music. It's comforting.

This morning as I stood at the bus stop the truck for the Thrifty's grocery store passed by on the street. On the side, the slogan says "The smile's in the bag!" I scoff. "Yeah, right. Some 'corporation' is going to make me happy. That's stupid." But is it really? I just said that my iPod (a corporate creation) is something that makes me happy. Still sitting on the bus, I pass by a Blockbuster and think about how even though the dark streets are unfamiliar, the Blockbuster feels comfortable. If I was feeling alone, it would make me feel a lot more comforted to go inside, and to see all my favourite movies.

It can't be healthy to feel this way, right? Corporations are out there to destroy our souls (aka take our money), not make me feel better. But still, these corporate, material things actually do make me feel more comfortable in this strange city. Does it really matter that their motivations might not be pure, or is it possible that something they do in their business might actually make me have a better day? I'm reminded of the passage in the Bible where Paul writes, "
But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. Phil. 1:18" Perhaps it's true, that the good that comes from their actions, whether their motives are "false" or "true" is what matters.

Now I'm reminded of a scene in The Matrix. Cypher is sitting and eating the steak and he says "You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize?
[Takes a bite of steak] Ignorance is bliss." Does the "truth" really matter if the result is "good"? Is Paul (and Cypher) saying that the ends justify the means?

Or maybe the day has been far too long, Blockbuster is still evil, and I can enjoy my iPod without making it a deep philosophical argument.

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