Pragmatism and World Peace

“Do you dream?” I asked my chair the other morning.

“I am a chair, what would I dream about? Chairs don’t dream. We also don’t sleep.”

“Yes, and I didn’t think they talked until you started talking. Why wouldn’t you dream?”

“The only thing I would dream about is being in an environment that had close to fifty-five percent humidity, getting waxed from time to time and not having anyone tip back on me. Oh, and no pets that like to chew.”

“No desire for world peace?”

“The first thing that any human thinks of is self preservation. And that pretty much stands in the way of world peace.”

“How so?”

“Think about it. If you have two people who think that their self preservation is being threatened by each other, there will not be peace. Furthermore, the concept of self preservation is complicated. It differs from place to place. Some might think self preservation means being allowed to worship their own god. For others, it is amassing fortunes. For others, it is the liberty to do what they wish when they wish and for some it is power. Even though none of these strictly threatens self preservation, they become obstacles to agreement and cooperation.”

“So all you care about is humidity and wax and being left alone?”

“Yes, and not having some teenager tilt back in me stressing my back. Although, strictly speaking, it isn’t just teenagers that do this. Some ill mannered sorts don’t know any better.”

“I can’t tell if you are being sanguine or sarcastic. I mean world peace shouldn’t be such a stretch.”

“You are right, but I don’t look at what I wish would be, I look at what is. There are a lot fewer surprises when you live as I do.”

“No wishes, no dreams, just the facts so to speak.”

“I hope to be around for a long time, so in that respect, I do have a dream. But to wish for a change in human behavior is like wishing for a White Christmas in Miami.”

“And what about Christmas? Do you care about it?”

“Not in the same way you do. For me, it is a celebration and, if I am in someone’s home, I get sat on and learn a lot of things about the world. I like all celebrations. It reminds people of my purpose which is, of course, to be a seat. Not just any seat, mind you, a great one.”

“I think I could warm to your philosophy. It certainly has a pragmatic stamp to it.”

“What do you expect? I am nearly a three hundred year old chair. If I hadn’t figured out who I was by now, I would be delusional.”

That was a very good point.

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