the game of musical chairs and the myth of modernity……

we all remember the game of musical chairs…..

I was introduced to it at the age of 4 or 5…..

in what used to be called kindergarten…..

u know the teacher counts the number of kids and places a chair for every one except one in a circle in the room…..

instilling that this a fair exercise…….

then we all go around the chairs to the beat of some retarded feel good music……

when the music stops we must all seek to sit in a chair…

and of course by design one is left without…..

a chair is removed and the exercise continues…

until there is only one person left with a chair….

and the message is clear they fought for and earned that chair….

little did we realize we were being told the nature of the social agreement in no uncertain terms…..

when I reached about 7 years of age the message had been driven home….

what does this have to do with the myth of modernity u might ask……

let us make the game a little more honest and it might become apparent….

first lets us take a little journey and slowly evolve the game as we go……

the first game seemed accurate to the world of the early sixties when I learned it….

now let us move to the early seventies….

to play the game in the seventies we would have to add a couple of changes…..

the new game would look like this…

every turn u add 1 chair and remove 2…….

the early seventies 1973 to be accurate was the year that each graduating class would on average do worse than its parents generation……

that the opportunity space in our culture would no longer on average support the myth of endless upward mobility for all…..

at about 3 billion people…..

forward to the nineties….

at around 5 billion people…..

we would have to remove an increasing number of chairs for the crowded class room…..

the solution is of course the generation of a “reason” for declaring that a portion of the class would not get to play today because we just did not have enough chairs….

so they would be required to sit on the sidelines and hope for a day when we would…

but do not worry because we r clever and smart so we will be able to create more opportunity soon…..

just be patient…..

the brilliance of the human race will solve this temporary dilemma…..

meanwhile do not disturb the game for everyone else….

cause they r the source of the chairs so do not complain…..


at over 6 billion people….

the chairs come with the people who r acknowledged as the meritorious….

the rest sit on the floor and watch…..

there is a guard in the room….

and the teacher has a badge…..

they no longer add chairs….

they just take them away….


what do make of this…..

comments and thoughts…..



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  1. yesterday it was proposed that empathy was an essential ingredient to the kind of change we want in the world….

    and I agree with the following qualification….

    I believe it is necessary but not sufficient…

    perhaps there r other things which also r necessary for the change we seek……

    that when taken together we can make the claim that we have some degree of determination in outcomes…..

    that we r at cause for the change in our world…..

  2. Not sure how I ended up finding this historical bit, but it does relate somehow.

    • Xanthe on March 24, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    major cause of poverty.  

    People have to live more simply – there’s no getting around it but the top  drawers won’t do it – and  somehow it’s woven in the threads of capitalism – consumerism – it can’t  sustain itself.

    Clever metaphor – I loved musical chairs.  The music is grinding slowly to a halt like a sad merry-go-round.

  3. all beings r entitled to the same things….

    no more no less….

    they all deserve the same things…..

    modernity holds as a suppositon that we r entitled to what ever we want…….

    and some r more deserving than others….

    this must be abandoned……

    or nothing will change……

    except for the worse….

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