Maximalism

Recently navigated your definitions of words like journalist, whistleblower, imminent, and due process? The government has.

And the government will. Because words are open to interpretation. Let’s posit that last word means a type of dance where the meaning of a subject is explored through body motion. So the justices of our Supreme Court all dance in conference, and the best dancer on each case writes the opinion. Each justice has their own style, according to their philosophy of interpretative dance.

The number of political prosecutions of whistleblowers is not shocking. But entirely lamentable, but ill-conceived and dangerous. In general, the justice system has that dysfunctional tendency to follow society’s generally dysfunctional tendency toward excess. More is better, so more jailtime for any crime, betterest!

This simpleton’s view infects the whole system. The supporters in congress want indefinite detention for certain detainees and enemy combatants. They won’t call that automatic, extrajudicial life-sentencing. That’s what it is. And so on.

Thing is, it’s an easy definition. You don’t have to think about it. “Give me as much as you can give me,” that’s an easy criteria. Coming up with some other way of figuring how you’re doing is hard.

But it’s seldom the best measure. Nobody would read an essay designed to be as long as possible. Movies that push the limits of my attention see me skip over their dormant stretches in a sort of triage of film enjoyability. A long, scenic establishment shot that adds nothing? The editor should have cut it to less than five seconds. It’s a beautiful shot, but it ruins the flow, like this paragraph would if it went longer.

Maybe the Guinness Book of World Records has to answer for its crimes. Without checking, my guess is most records it tallies cover only quantities. From my childhood I recall things like tallest human (though shortest too), longest or tallest hairdo, person with the most bees on them.

The call to achieve in America tends to center around being number one. That was apparently the goal of the Easter Islanders, to be number one at carving their idols. Anecdotally a bad idea.

World’s richest person. Outperforming other stocks. The biggest toy dies with whoever wins.

Maximalism is the worst criteria for selection, other than all the others that have been tried?

This isn’t greed, though. Calling it greed would again be maximalist. And it’s defeatable. By showing better outcomes than maximalism. By showing a cultural decision not to obsess with maximality.

That speaks to looking hard at wealth, and unraveling the distance between the quantitative value of money and the qualitative value of money.

The premise is that having more money that has less qualitative value is worse. The conclusion is that many of the maximalist schemes of businesses and individuals are wholly dysfunctional not just to the masses, but to the very wealthy fools themselves. That they are engaging not just in societal harm by their facial greed, but that they are harming themselves.