Friday, November 9, 2018

Life is like a bag of marshmallows

I was grubbing around for something to read the other day when I unearthed a collection of rememberances compiled by Rita Van Amber. The series of books are titled Stories and Recipes of the Great Depression.

One quote caught my attention:

Man has always relied on knowledge acquired through experiences of previous generations. If we were to make all our own errors, life would not be long enough to make them all and it would be a lifetime of aimless frustrations filled with defeat and failure.

"Progressive" thinking is enabled by vast amounts of expendable wealth.

Have you ever roasted marshmallows over a fire? People don't treat every marshmallow the same even though they are identical for all practical purposes.

The newly opened bag suggests an infinite supply. Campers are hungry. The first marshmallows become torches as impatient campers hurry and burn the first efforts.

This is THE major flaw of Progressive thinking: That somehow the laws of thermodynamics will be different this time because I am the one who is hungry. This conceit is tolerated, even encouraged because there is a super-abundance of marshmallows and there is a presumption that the Progressive thinker will learn from their experiences.

But if there is never a downside for the impatient mallow-roaster, what incentive is there for them to learn?

The rest of the bag
Things usually settle down after a quarter of the bag has been wasted. Marshmallows are slowly roasted to a golden brown and they are harvested before the very last of the interior is molten. Waiting too long results in the marshmallow leaping into the coals.

The disposition of the last few marshmallows depends on the maturity of the crowd.

Hunger sated, the least mature crowd wastes the last few marshmallows by using them as flaming missiles directed at the prissiest campers,  those with the cleanest hair and clothing.

More mature campers horde the last few marshmallows in case a hungry camper comes wandering into the party late.

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