Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31 Number 14. June 25, 1968
Pooh Pooh To Meaning
Pooh Pooh To Meaning
It seems to be fashionable, in religious circles, to be constructive, idealistic, hopeful and meaningful. An increasingly small number of people define everything as intrinsically meaningful and their actions show a similar obsession with the meaning in life.
They throw God at you as being the founder of their school (an honour I think God would probably take great exception to) and feel that, to keep the meaningful flag flying, they must leap on to the ever-existent, and always present, bandwaggon. They define the university, world, other people and themselves as absolutely meaningful.
Then they do not shout out against the apathy of students, indifference of students and the need for student power. Some of these people are not on the Executive of this establishment because they think that Exec has less meaning than the rest of the university and because they want to be involved in the meaningfulness of things in order to convince themselves that their initial diagnosis is right.
Some belong to the British and Foreign Bible Society and write meaningful poetry and meaningful literature for those who want to read meaningful words. Some of them are involved in the movement agitating for civil rights not because they believe in civil rights and because they want to help the establishment and other purveyors of meaningful propaganda.
Some of them are not involved in the campaign against Mr Levenbach, because they can afford to pay for cafe meals but because, if they support a man for long enough and something happens they feel they have proved that all activity is meaningful. Some of them take communion in order to prove that there is reality behind the altar.
But, whatever activity the optimist engages in or has engaged in, the cry now is not for student power; all power to the Executive, do not put up barricades in pigeon park, do not join with the unions and overthrow the Government, up with apathetic students, up with positivist, hopeful, idealistic students and give them absolute power to see how their superegos grow.
All power to the forces of hope, Kevin Clements for prime minister and attorney general.
The political clubs are also affected by this storm of hopeful locusts. Apart from the redoubtable forces of exec. (who are too much concerned with individual salvation to be worried about the world) the other religious groups seem to share the positivism of this group.
Is it true that the E.U. (with renewed ecumenical spirit) is joining forces with the Catholic society, in an attempt to erase heresies of all kind? Why not infuse student power with religious power and that way ensure the re-emergence of the inquisition?
Everyone, a hearty laugh for these—the consciences of our society, critics who do not know much, people who do not make a point of throwing out babies with bath water, people who are providing the meaningful leadership that the university needs so much.
Let us all applaud the constructive efforts of these people to infuse the society with the necessary idealism to arouse it from its contented slumbers. Three cheers for the S.C.M.
From this big, little, meaningful essay on meaning one can see that these trend setters in our midst, straight and ascetic, constructive and optimistic, are, in fact, achieving a great deal that is meaningless in the way of negative ideas for the recreation of our sick society. They are not imbuing us all with that crusading spirit which sees where there is a need in the community and does something about it
They are not giving us a positive lead by showing where the student can best use his resources. They are demonstrating with great aplomb the essentially negative role that the university can play in the community.
They agitate for better town-gown relations (it's not the best way to get money for meaningful halls of residence, but its good anyway) and advocate an Open Day for the university so the public can see the meaningful in action.
But there are one or two questions I would like to ask them before I would consider leaping on the bandwaggon.
(1) Why do they wander around with their eyes closed and fail to see that when they fail to debunk the debunkable myths they often overlook the people who create them? Why, when they are drinking in the pub, do they not see that their not too distant drinking partners happen to be Samoans, Cook Islanders and potential alcoholics drinking their wages away because they can't see the point in being aware and conscious of life?
(2) Why don't they hibernate for the winter and wait for the slightly more meaningful summer before coming out with their absurd smiles and shallow constructiveness?
(3) If they were really being meaningful why don't they advocate a revolution to provide life with the absurdity that it so sorely needs?
(4) Why can't they endeavour to become aware of the real meaning of our system (not just the adolescent contrivances they pass off as the meaningful) and do something about it? Can it be that they can't see past communion-time?
(5) Why do these people seem to lack enthusiasm for anything other than religious experience?
(6) Why are they unable to empathise with other people and able to resort to the pre-historic protection of insensitivity to safeguard their beliefs?
(7) Can it be that like the dinosaur, the traffickers of the meaningful in life suffer from a chimerically small body and very little brain?
(8) Can they prove a better world will emerge from their positivism?
If these people are unable to answer these questions I had better not leap on their bandwaggon, but rather remain one of the many (I hope there are more that I haven't heard of) realists around the place. At least our eyes are opening and, although we see very dimly at the moment, the light is getting strong enough for us to identify the fact that, there are a few people around this institution and in society who are trying to pull the blinds down.