Notes from underground

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Archive for the tag “values”

Rational and scientific values

Twenty years ago I wrote in my diary:

Tuesday 30 March 1993

I worked in the Editorial Department because there were a couple of meetings … including some guy talking about the post structure of the university, and how it needed to be rational and scientific.

Glynn Meter asked him if that was what their values were based on, and he didn’t understand the question. Obviously he thought “rational” and “scientific” must be approval-eliciting words, and it did not occur to him that they could elicit disapproval. I left at that point and went to do some work.

That was when I worked at the University of South Africa, and the bureaucrats were always thinking up ways of wasti ng time on unproductive activities. One of them was filling in questionnaires about how one spent one’s time, and an inordinate amount of time was spent in filling in questionnaires like that, because it was thought to be “rational” and “scientific”.

Brooklyn Mall — where shopping is a virtue

My wife spotted this advertisement for Brooklyn Mall in the local newspaper today, and we pondered on the slogan. Does it mean anything? Can it mean anything?

The only thing it conveys to me is that whoever wrote that slogan has a very twisted set of values.

I usually shop at Brooklyn Mall, which is 8km from where I live.

The reason I shop there is not that shopping is a virtue, but that it has most of the shops I am interested in, and it also has 2 hours free parking. Free parking is a virtue. Shopping is (sometimes) a necessity. One doesn’t make a virtue of necessity. The Brooklyn Mall web site, unlike their newspaper ads, at least displays their chief virtue.


There are other shopping centres that are about the same distance from us as Brooklyn Mall. I used to go to one of them regularly, but then they revamped their parking and started to charge for it, so you had to pay even if you visited one shop and found they didn’t have what you wanted. So I stopped going there, and began to go to Brooklyn Mall instead. And even when the original shopping centre reverted to free parking (perhaps others thought as I did, and they noticed the fall-off in custom), I kept going to Brooklyn Mall out of habit.

But that stupid slogan might make me change my habits.


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