Residents of a small Mennonite town were sent into deep existential angst on Wednesday when a sign went up in town offering ‘Free Dance Lessons.’
“As a Mennonite I’m obligated to take anything that’s free, but also as a Mennonite I’m obligated not to move my body to the sound of any sort of music. Alas, this is the lot that Mennonites have been handed,” said David Rempel, 25, of the Sommerfeld region, who had just completed a Master’s degree in philosophy at Asuncion University and had recently returned to work cleaning the stalls at his father’s dairy farm.
The signs offering free dance lessons appeared all over town in the middle of the night, causing considerable consternation in the town’s population the next morning.
“This is more or less what Nietzsche called ‘Amor fati,’ which is the resignation to love your condition and fate, whether good or bad,” remarked David, treating a nearby udder with teet dip, while his father Klaus spread the straw and nodded in agreement.
“Free dance lessons,” continued David, scooting over to the next set of udders, “are exactly what 19th century Danish existentialist Soren Kierkegaard was talking about in Fear and Trembling! The sign creates a dilemma for us Mennonites in the very core of our existence and identity. Once I saw that sign I finally got what Kierkegaard meant by ‘subjectivity as truth’!”
Klaus, having not a clue what the heck his son was blathering about, just shrugged his shoulders and smiled, grateful to have some more help around the farm. Meanwhile, David kicked the manure off his boots, ran into the house, and came back with his weathered copy of Jean-Paul Sartre’s philosophical tome Being and Nothingness.
“Sartre talks about this, too! When a Mennonite is offered free dance lessons, he is forced to act in what Sartre called ‘bad faith,’ a concept similar to self-deception, whereby people conform to social pressures rather than their authentic self!” David said with great enthusiasm to his baffled father.
Having milked all the cows, and with a new sense of angst that he will likely never fully comprehend, Klaus nodded his head and said, “Najo dan,” and proceeded to start the tractor.
(Photo credit:by kirinqueen/CC)