Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Desk Soldier


The salaried worker is worried. Unconsciously, he worries the day will come when he might have to use rational thought. If, as the years go by, such a day does not come, he will relax in his routine and perhaps forget that unfamiliar sensation when the light of reason suddenly illuminates his mind. He will finally almost convince himself that intellectual insight is imaginary and not applicable to the real world.

On rare occasions, however, a task that requires reason to complete will land on the desk of the salaried worker. This is a provocation to fight – not a war – but a mental battle with reason for arms. When this duel cannot be avoided and if, after the confrontation, victory ensues, such an event is later remembered as one of those moments when the mind caught a reflection of itself. 

A ray of light then suddenly shines deep into the cave where the salaried worker is chained with his face to the wall, looking only at the shadows of equally pathetic figures that he is convinced make up the world. The bright light of reason catches his attention and makes him doubt; he is intrigued by its source. He ought perhaps to get better acquainted with it if only he could but for his heavy armour and the chains that tie him to his office desk. 

Most of the time, the dreaded encounter never materialises though; for some pretext or other it is called off or directed elsewhere, to the great relief of the desk soldier. He can then safely resume the routine tasks that allow him to put his mind on hold throughout his working day and throughout his life. The salaried mind grows rusty from lack of exercise and before middle age the desk soldier is usually no longer fit for such a struggle. 

With every passing year, the likelihood fades that the desk soldier will be able to gather the determination to pull his visor down again and lift his lance to engage his mind. Before he knows it, the salaried worker will drift into complacency, staying predictably on the safe road that leads to retirement and old age.

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