The Scroll of the Violin

The above is the title of a book, and of a poem in that book. This post is not about either, but about just one idea in said poem. Ready?

All complex systems contain a bit of ‘waste.’ You can call it inefficiency if you like. By a complex system I mean any of these: an ecosystem, a living organism, an economy, a planet, a culture. I could go on but I’m sure you get the general idea.

The scroll of a violin is unnecessary. I hypothesize that it originally represented splits in the wood where the strings were caught. (That’s just a guess.) The point is, our culture always puts a scroll at the end of the violin – an inefficiency that we can clearly afford, because ‘we like it’ and ‘we’ve always done it that way.’

Multiple-petal roses are inefficient too. There is more ‘show’ than necessary to attract pollinators. We deliberately grow these inefficiencies because we like them.

An economy should have some inefficiencies as well. There should be alms for the poor, and enough extra cash so that life is a bit more than work, breathe, eat, and die.

Now for my point. In our (Canada, USA, Britain, Europe, much if not all of South and Central America) economy, the excess capacity of the system is being withheld by the rich. Everyone else is losing ground daily.

The economy could give each of us the equivalent of a ‘scroll’ or ‘double petals,’ but it does not.

The Ontario government was recently defeated on a budget that increased taxes for the top two percent, introduced an additional pension plan, and committed money for transit. The opposition parties defeated that budget bill and now we’ll have an election on it. My point here is, once Big Business and Mister Rich are at risk of giving up some of their excessive free cash, they will fix the system.

(Big Business is like Monopoly with a couple of important differences: when you have enough money, you can buy changes to the rules of the game. So you do change them, in order to get even more money – which has to come from ‘everybody else.’ Big Government already has the power to change the rules. Mister Rich lobbies both of them.)

I end on a note of near-despair. So much power, from so much cash, taking all it can from everybody lower. Pretty soon there will be no scrolls, no violins, and no roses – at least none for us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *