by Lester Gabriel
ONE – END
All at once, upon the same time, not so long ago. There were certain things one did and allot one simply did not or let others, who knew how to it, do. Surely there has been a time, where none did things simultaneously, things just happened after each other, and rarely next to each other. Or so it seems. Certainly events took place simultaneously and also there must have been many parallel dealings. But what I am talking about here, is a time where division of labor was in full and total effect. As Plato recognized in 380 BC, the origin of the state lies in the natural inequality of humanity, which is embodied in economic specialization. In The Republic he comments: “Well then, how will our state supply these needs? It will need a farmer, a builder, and a weaver, and also, I think, a shoemaker and one or two others to provide for our bodily needs. So that the minimum state would consist of four or five men….” And since, ever after, many a bright mind has acknowledged the division of labor to be essential to the productivity and prosperity of mankind. Then again, Marx labeled it a necessary evil and signaled that increasing the specialization may also lead to workers with poorer overall skills and a lack of enthusiasm for their work, of which alienation would be the tragic result. Such alienation has surely occurred. Indeed, what is it that I am looking at and working on so closely? A bigger picture lost. Not to mention, the generalization of the abilities of our tools, which have somehow taken over the specialization of our labor. Things have surely changed! Assisted by ever increasing technological inventions and innovations, mankind finds him or herself still more capable of directing several things at once. The age of simultaneous action has arrived. Where one can look trough several windows, be in many distant places at the same time, work on a number of projects concurrently and act upon more than a few impulses in chorus. All the while further estranged from the origin of things – do kids still learn that glass is made of sand? – mankind controls, handles, grabs, taps, touches, drags and drops as if equipped with as many arms as the Hindu goddess Kali, who is, by the way, considered the goddess of time and change. One single man can now, at once, be a farmer, a builder, a weaver, a shoemaker and one or two others to provide for his bodily needs. And here it is worth mentioning Fate Norris – not to be confused with Chuck Norris, the original one‐man army ‐ of the Skillet Lickers, a hillbilly string band of the late 1920s, who developed a geared mechanical contraption with footpedals that enabled him to play guitar, bells, bass fiddle, fiddle, autoharp, and mouth harp. Also I need to mention John Rambo who was dropped into a Vietnamese jungle to rescue prisoners of war. While there, he managed to kill every single Russian soldier in the occupied country, retroactively winning the Vietnam War for America. Not to forget Freddy Strunk, a young armless wonder and juggler, who was completely self‐sufficient, tossing a regulation horseshoe with his feet, making a ringer every time! And last but not least, Timothy Carey who was kicked in the ribs by Karl Malden, stabbed with a pen by Marlon Brando, shot himself in the head with a blank during a live stage performance; was beater up by Richard Widmark on the set of The Last Wagon; faked his own kidnapping and ransom note during the filming of Paths of Glory, pulled a gun from his lunch box on the set of theGodfather II and shot Coppola (with blanks of course); brought John Cassavetes over to his house, put him in a dog attack suit and let three rotweilers attack him, yelling words of encouragement from the next room, “It’s not you they hate, it’s the suit!!!” A Turkish proverb states: “You can not carry two melons with one arm”, but I beg to differ! We have arrived at a time of the two‐melon‐carrying‐arm, the independent entrepreneur, a sickening hands‐on DIY culture, an ever‐growing global survival mentality, the adulthood of the multitasker, the one man‐band, the one‐man businesses, the one‐man army and soon: the one-man world. Announced by the recently diseased voice-over legend, Don LaFontaine, the one man who’s voice has introduced over hundreds of thousands trailers, spots and commercial, a new episode, set in the near future, or near past, where each individual will aspire or even acquire a world to him or herself, will soon come to a theater near you. And this particular episode of real life fiction, depicting man’s completed autonomy, titled “ONE”, will re-feature a contemporary Dr. Robert Morgan, as once played by Vincent Price in “The Last Man on Earth” alongside self-sufficient legends and pioneers, such as Henry David Thoreau, John Seymour and Claire Wolf. We will be shown each of the selected characters in a world of their own, alone, roaming abandoned, desolate cityscapes, overgrown by wild vegetation and inhabited by even wilder animals, until the sunset and the evening breeze sets the perfect stage for a couple of word: “The END”.