What else would it be for?
Now that scientists have disproved the theory that fingerprints serve to improve the grip between people’s hands and the surface they are holding, they are wondering just what fingerprints are for. Really. We get all CSI about everything just as we realize several of our grand strategies are failing at once, and of course the goal of evading responsibility becomes key. This sort of all just happened to us – the auto-realized logic of self-justifying greed – and now we’re mostly wet-behind-the-ears again/still. And we don’t know what fingerprints are for.
There a section in One Hundred Years of Solitude when an insomnia plague causes the people of Macondo to lose their memories and forget even the names of commonplace objects, such that they have to label even chairs and clocks. They even hang a sign on a cow:
This is the cow. She must be milked every morning so that she will produce milk, and the milk must be boiled in order to be mixed with coffee to make coffee and milk.
Kunstler writes that we’re just too stupid to survive, and he’s right that we tend to get hypnotized by the (:our) glimmering reflection in the cutting edge, never imagining that it has perhaps been sharpened to come down someplace/anyplace that could well be our own tender nape. We’ve grown tepid even about the possibility that technology will save us. But as that enthusiasm wanes, what do we fall back on? God? guns?
All of this is about a re-visualized self-realization, to sound perfectly po-po-mo about it. Inner freedom, as some have distinguished it – but to discover this requires a great amount of self-knowledge, which itself is predicated on getting to know as much as about what we’ve done to ourselves and our world as possible. And all of this in the very short time that is the average lifespan. Not after work – it is your work. And your only pay is the world you help create and make free. It’s only called a civilization as long as it flies along a soaring arc, right? It’s not as though comets struck our grade schools or made our universities into banal, value-added credential mills and started us down this road.
Maybe we should label our fingerprints.