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Banbury Cross

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Post details: Checkers


Six billion people open their minds for business every day, and psychologists are working around the clock to categorize these multitudes into neatly labeled categories: introverts, extroverts, leaders, followers, melancholics, ISFJ Myers-Briggs types, fatalists, chicken noodle soup haters, optimists, neurotics,... you name it. But in my humble opinion, there are really only two kinds of people: lunatics and robots. On the next level of resolution, lunatics are either divers or tamers, while robots are either puppets or checkers. The first three categories are kind of self-explanatory, so I will devote this post to checkers. To the kind of people, whose mind set completely perplexes me.

For checkers, life is just a formal check list of things to do, some daily, some monthly, some once in a lifetime; a series of checkboxes which they go through with due diligence, but without any passion or commitment. Checkers check things out because they feel obligated to do so. But they hardly ever enjoy them. I suspect that people who use the phrase "I live life to its fullest" are the card carrying members of this category.

Checkers are kind of like modern day pharisees, always putting form over substance, blindly adhering to the rules without any regard for content, not seeing the forest for the trees. They believe that merely going to church will make them spiritual. But it won't, just like traveling to France won't make anyone automatically worldly.

I'll give an example: not so long ago I went to a gallery and saw there a young couple, early twenties, breezing rather speedily through the halls laden with black-and-white imprints of someone's mind. As they sauntered on, most of their mental capacity was visibly spent on synchronizing their jaws, so they could process the mango flavored chewing gum as effectively as possible. Perhaps they thought that being aloof makes them look classy. Their facial expressions betrayed utter disinterest and boredom and I wondered why they came there in the first place. Oh, somebody must have told them that "cultured people" go to galleries, so one Sunday afternoon they must have said to themselves - "Hey, let's be refined" - and off to the nearest gallery they went.

This month's cultural event: visit to the gallery - check. Yay!

But that someone should also have told them that visit to the gallery is not enough to be cultured. You become cultured by cultivating your soul. By engaging your curiosity and imagination. Just like you don't become fit by merely visiting your local recreation center and walking nonchalantly among treadmills, steppers and exercise bikes. You actually have to engage your muscles and tendons.

Well, cultivating your soul is just as hard work as cultivating your body. You have to make an attempt to see the world through the artist's eyes. You have to wonder why the ferns look like little green waterfalls and why the artist felt compelled to paint the sky red. If you don't, my friend, then you are an obvious checker and you may have just as well stayed home and played checkers.

Finally, in case all this is too confusing, here is a terse review of human ilk:

TAMERS - they are alive and they rightfully appear to be
DIVERS - they are alive, although they do not appear to be
CHECKERS - they are not alive, although they appear to be
PUPPETS - they are not alive, and they don't appear to be



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