Broken Will, Lost Soul

RE: 8/12/2018 article of “Broken Guy goes down with plane” from the Los Angeles Times

However bleak and and fatalistic his views on Death of God and Nihilism might be, the one definitive thing German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche knew was this: “Anyone who has a why to live can bear also any hows.” How reassuring it is because it means that even if life presents you anything but shattered dreams, aborted hopes, and clipped anticipations for whatever you try to work out, as long as you still hold steadfastly onto a sense of purpose – that is a why to continue this so-called “life”- your life will not end in nil, or in crash such as the man I read about in the newspaper today.

His name was allegedly known as “Richard Russel,” according to his bantering with an airport controller during his audaciously precarious aerial heist of an passenger aircraft he had stolen from Sea-Tac Airport in WA. He was reported to be a 29-year old former ground service agent at Horizon who had also run a bakery with his wife until 2015. It is reported that he died in crash on a wooded area on Ketro Island south of Seattle, WA by saying, “I wasn’t really planning on landing it.” The plane did not hit any structures nor did it cause any collateral damages to private properties, since the island itself is underdeveloped. The whys and wherefores of Russel’s quixotic joy ride have not yet been manifested in the course of the current FBI investigation, but judging from his communication with the controller, he might have been suffering from existential vertigo in which he had lost a sense of purpose, a why for continuing his life in dealing with demands of tasks that everyday life had imposed on.

In case of art imitating life, Russsel on the passenger aircraft reminds me of Don Quixote who, on his beloved Rocinante, gallops toward the huge windmill to vanquish it, a stereoscopic symbol of pompous hypocrisy of life that generates nothing but the ills. Foolish, yes, needless to say. But heinous or even insidious? Hardly so. Stealing is one thing, but ending his life out of emotional distress is another thing, as they are apples and oranges in the sense that he meant no fatal harm on anyone by using the stolen aircraft as a weapon of mass destruction as in the case of the terrorist carnage of 9/11. I wonder what might have gone through his mind in the cockpit of the plane as he was nearing to the end of his life: a phantasmagorical display of his memories that he had collected through life, willed or unwilled? Perhaps, being a pilot of the plane might have given him a tactile sensation of being capable of piloting his own life, that ineffable stupendousness of capability, which would have given him the equal dose of confidence at the spur of the fateful moment.

Playing a pseudo psychiatrist is not my forte, but it is viable to think that Russel ‘s contemporary strains of life and postmortem malady that anesthetized his Reason and thus emboldened him to do such a foolhardily venturesome act at the expense of his own life are something that we can feel pathos at the least. And that is why I find it hard to criminalize him by putting him into a moral/ethical Procrustean bed, which also brings me back to an act in Macbeth:

“Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage; and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”

Hostages to Franchisers; on No Poaching Clauses

Re: July 10, 2018 article of “Fast-food hiring practices are probed” by Jeff Stein of The LA Times

Working at a fast food store is often the only possible choice of laboring men and women out of steady, well-paying employment under unfavorable circumstances that push them to choose provisional jobs to eke out living, just as some of aristocratic and educated middle-class men used to work at the docks at a harbor in Victorian England. To add insult to the injury, be it ever known that any such worker who finds himself/herself in the labor limbo gives hostages to employment security in exchange of his/her sovereign principles, dreams, and wills.

I was appalled by this article of modern-day version of indentured service term called “No-Poaching Clauses,” which restricts managers from hiring employees from another store in the chain. Such arbitrary employment practice oppresses not only the livelihood but also dignity of employees working at well-known fast food franchises in the U.S.

By binding employees only to one store in the chain, an employer violates the quintessential elements of what makes us human: to quest for freedom of will, will to meaning, and meaning of life. Anyone striving for a new opportunity in life should do so to achieve individual values of life of which the acquisition of sustenance is indispensably requisite.

Forget sectarian political tendencies and partisan ideologies that are nothing but airy doctrines and demagogic campaign leaflets that are not in touch with the reality. Although it is reassuring to learn that there are at least seemingly some conscientious politicians (thank God for exerting their statesmanship on the existential matters of citizens’ daily lives) who are investigating such proprietorial contractual clauses, there should be many more bipartisan politicians willing to join the force to voice out the injustice done by the employers of the franchises and stop the exploitation of their workers at once.

Never forget  “The laborer is worthy of the reward.”