Friday, 25 February 2011

A Day is the Life of a Mayfly

The mayfly awakes. It’s still dark, but he knows he’s got a lot to get through today. His mind says,
-there’s nothing for it. You’ve got to get up. But his body says,
- just sleep. Both are compelling arguments. He sits up in bed and lets them bring their cases. His mind has dozens of very sensible, very sober reasons why it is absolutely necessary to get out of bed right that instant and the mayfly, being a rational sort of guy, can’t help but respect his mind’s proactive attitude and, as far as he can tell, it’s reasoning is flawless. Yet there is something beautifully simple in the body’s argument: just sleep. What could be more perfect in it’s clarity; so direct and, in it’s own way, so absolutely rational?
-Yes, says his mind, I see the body’s point: one is tired so what could be more rational than to sleep? Certainly any other action would seem counter-intuitive. But this is assuming that rationality is objective, whereas I would put it that rationality is simply a means to an end and is therefore situation-dependent. The mayfly finds the phrasing of his mind’s argument a little pompous, but cannot dispute it. Still though, his body counters:
-just sleep, and the concept seems still so beautiful.
-Well, says his mind, beauty is a fluid concept with no useful or satisfactory definition. Quite frankly, I think we are above such sensory indulgences.
In the end, the mayfly gives into his mind, and ironically he does so for the greatest merit of his body’s argument: it’s simplicity. His body continues to say to him just sleep, but his mind has shut up now, and if the mayfly has to put up with one nagging voice all morning, he’d rather it be the uncomplicated, cheerful voice of his body than the sombre, highfalutin voice of his mind. All the debating, sadly, has bitten severely into his morning. A dull terror of being late for work propels him through a hurried wash and a dry, unappetising breakfast.
He works all day, not even stopping for lunch, and drags himself home exhausted. He is far too exhausted to put any kind of thought or care into preparing food and has the first thing he sees in the kitchen for his dinner - this may or may not be the same thing he had for his unrelished breakfast. He hates to give in and let his day be consumed entirely by work, but he has to sleep. He gets into bed, and as he snuggles down in the sheets and begins to fall asleep, he says to himself,
-thank god I don’t have to get up tomorrow.

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