If you say so:
The navel will look like the universe
Someone once said that you could comprehend the universe if you gaped
into your navel long enough. By the same mete of psychotic bunko,
someone else added that the invention of mayonnaise proves the existence
Though I can't say much about mayonnaise, except to point out my aunt
Jemima's claim that it makes a good face mask, I guess, gazing at your
navel - the scientific term for which is omphaloskepsis - long enough,
will, if not anything else, befool you into postulating that the
universe looks an awful lot like that part of the anatomy. It will also
rupture a few or all the discs in your back.
Four statues depicting omphaloskepsis- flickr.com/
But it's neither here nor there. So is this unmitigated meshuga
mish-mash. But following the man bites dog theory, it helps draw
attention to an intriguing factor. Man's (as in the generic sense)
gullibility. Meaning: our penchant, no matter what our intellect, for
believing almost anything the other person tells us; our propensity to
accept the artfully wrapped up hype and hyperbole as the unquestionable
truth; our artless fidelity to statistics, advertisement and every other
bushwah mouthed by those purported to be in the know. And by those in
Forget the bunko hypothesis about mayonnaise and navels. That needs a
40 TU container of salt and then some, to take it in anyway. But
Do we even think of a grain of salt, when certain banks tells us that
they are here to make our life easier and that business needn't be so
lonely with them?
Do we think it preposterous when manufacturers of moisturisers say
that their cream could keep our skin fresh and young looking or some
phony chemist's claim that an undefined vitamin can prevent you from
going, grey, bald or even growing old?
Do we look for credibility when the merchandisers of ambulatory
phones promise us that calling home doesn't cost anything anymore?
Do we question the temerity of politicians when they implausibly
promise us the sun and the moon and everything in the universe?
Do we reflect on the 'what ifs' of implausibly iffy ventures which
offer mirage-type returns in a distant, equally iffy future.
The banks may make life more difficult for us and the average manager
may be a pallid, wormy sort of chap with a runny nose and no interest in
us whatsoever. The skin cream may cause you urticaria. And the iffy
venture, may read like the story of the crafty man, who calculating the
unpredictable variables in life, promised a gullible king he'd teach a
horse to speak. Meaning anything could happen, but more likely nothing
But do we ever pause to question the purports of the guys who want to
entice us into thinking their way? Do we nurse healthy doubt, unhealthy
scepticism or even downright opprobrious toxic cynicism?
Heck no. Of course not. And why?
Because we are all being subjected to a subtle form of primitive
magic. The magic of belief. The persuasion that if you say so it is so.
It's the curse of the age from which all other curses spring. If we
didn't acquiesce in the belief, we would be rid not only of Saatchi but
also Saatchi and every other hype spewing undertaking. Banks would
remain just banks, not variously the cuddly, attentive helpful, fun
stylish, up-to-the minute fabricators of the truth. And politicians....
well they may shout themselves hoarse from podiums and on platforms and
maybe we'd just prepare ourselves for a lot of balloon rides.
I wish it worked. If saying so really made it so, imagine how easy
life would be. Why, even the navel might look like the universe. And
we'd even find the meaning of life.
Making it so
God, if you recall either religious history or the Tinsel Town
version of the Ten Commandments, invited old Moses up on a tall mountain
out in the desert, and handed him a couple of solid-stone memos with
some powerful words on them. For want of a better word everyone call
them tablets. God didn't say "Here are ten pretty good ideas, see what
you think." He said ' "Do it or face the consequence in the hell of
hereafter" So commandments they became.
Murphy, on the other hand was an extreme misanthrope albeit a good-humoured
one. He said that no matter what you do, it's probably not going to work
out very well anyhow. Some people think that Murphy was an optimist.
These are neither commandments nor good humoured cynical edicts. But
given the make believe world we live in, where saying so makes it so,
here are some wonky, left-off-centre skewered definitions for some often
used terms, that will make it so, because I say it is so, or rather my
pink book of all things mundane says it is so:
Ego: A helium-filled balloon that often lifts the ambitious to lofty
destinations, where the change in pressure can cause it to pop
Politician: A bundle of gaseous ambition cleverly packaged as a
public servant or a corporate sales manager.
Beauty: An aesthetic radiance that delights the soul; a quality much
admired in women, landscapes and tropical fish, but curiously out of
favour in art throughout the modern era.
Diet: The temporary triumph of will over metabolism.
Commercials: Maddeningly memorable messages occasionally interrupted
by several minutes of forgettable programming.
Ethics: An unspoken code of decency that once governed most business
and professional transactions, now a fluctuating commodity that declines
in direct proportion to the amount of money at stake.
Publicity: The theory that no news is bad news.
Truth: the blinding light that causes so many of us to wear
sunglasses indoors and out.
- Hana Ibrahim