Saturn runs out of road. Evidence of dysfunction or merely the circle of life?

October 2, 2009

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Saturn or a hearse?

As most of you know, the Saturn car line is likely going out of business. The next model year will probably be its last.

Why are we surprised? A brand has reached its end. Nothing more. Nothing less. This is not an uncommon event. On the contrary it happens all the time. Everything is transient, including you, me, your children, your dog, the trees in your yard, even your favorite pair of blue jeans. All we are is dust in the wind…

In this context the short lifespan of a value-priced automobile hardly seems remarkable. To some extent even the potential demise of General Motors has no grander meaning than its time had come.

People tend to pass judgment on dying brands as flawed or deserving of their fate. Sometimes that’s fair. But what about successful things that come to an end?

Take the long running TV show, Mash. It could have kept going. The show had the viewers and the accolades. Conceptually, there are always more incoming wounded…or battles to fight. But just as the “show must go on” it must come to an end. TV shows have relatively short life spans, even the best ones. As do powerful regimes, bustling towns, grand buildings and yes, alas, even the best people in the world: Kaput eventually.

I believe looking for scapegoats is a natural reaction to our own fears about dying. We are the only living creatures to be aware of our mortality. Knowing this sad fact causes terrific unease. If only we could understand our purpose and place. But since we cannot we obsess over the mortality of things like banks, corporations and automobile manufacturers like Saturn.

Steff\'s Twitter

2 Responses to “Saturn runs out of road. Evidence of dysfunction or merely the circle of life?”

  1. actually, knowing we are going to die is very liberating when you think about it.
    it forces us to make the most out of things and not get caught up in the silly stuff. i know it’s caused me to walk away from a few jobs because they were simply a waste of time. and time is not something anyone wants to waste.

  2. SRP said

    Jim-
    Knowing we are going to die is liberating intellectually but emotionally it frightens me and probably most of us…On the other hand knowing everything must end does take the onus off of staying on top and the sting out of losing!

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