So I was thinking today about an argument I've been reading about in The Name of the Rose, about the nature of laughter. There is a character who believes that laughter is the tool of the devil, because humor is dismissive of the beauty of God's world, and because mocking the devil trivializes him, which gives him power.
At some point today, I was associating this very, very important, almost life-or-death argument with something I heard on NPR. I wish I could remember what it was exactly. But I was thinking about the vital-seeming nature of the question, and the ambiguity of the arguments within the context of the times. Meaning how real these problems seemed then, and how frightening the implications, given the way spirituality worked at the time. The possibility of pleasing or angering God through laughter mattered.
The NPR piece was, I think, about environmentalism. Specifically, I think, it was about whether higher gas prices would actually be BAD for the environment, because it would encourage the use of even-worse-for-the-environment alternative fuels. (Ever heard of liquid coal? Doesn't sound good for Mother Earth, does it?)
Not really related at all, right? But what I was feeling, very strongly, was that this is a truly important question to which it's almost impossible to find an answer right now. But in the future, someday, (a thousand years from now, if we're still around), every schoolchild will know the answer to this question; no one will have arguments about it. No one will even ask themselves this question anymore.
This made a lot more sense this afternoon. My hands are cold, and I'm kind of tired and distracted.