Ol’ Notey Rides Again

 

We are all victims of human convention.
I cannot imagine a world in which I do not love you.

I have to imagine unfamiliar things. Whole realities out of a speck of an emotion. Because I’m somehow disgusted with continuously being myself.
Really, the world is fine. It doesn’t care about you anymore than it cares for its lowliest creature. The world is communist and it is capitalist, there’s plenty for everyone but get it while it’s hot – ya dig?
It doesn’t matter.

Strangely, there are people who believe they can direct the course of events and to some extent, they can. In as much as they can control themselves in an event, they can control the event. Truly, this is glorified surrender. The events take precedence over all of us and we are merely a part in a now larger situation. The only difference for us is we get to experience experiencing it in real time. This manifests all kinds of shit but I only want to bring up the humble confidence it presents in a few people I’ve met.
If I may steal your imagination; think up a person who is a little older in life, has seen decades and known some of the back rooms in the world. Someone who has unmistakenly seen the skeleton of life. They are aware of their insignificance yet, within the context of their own life, are the protagonist.

Personally, I conjure my father and most of the men in his generation.
Hard-headed people raised without much finesse in regards to emotion.
How does that empire of cognitive dissonance maintain its foothold in a ceaseless stream of amorphous energy?

To make order out of chaos is to appear powerful.
Travel is just carving fresh neural pathways.

If I am only a conduit for my emotions and have limited control over them then this hatred is not mine. It is the Universal Hatred and it will use me as it sees fit. Or, all people and maybe all life across the spectrum of consciousness feel hatred and have found ways to cope with a nuanced emotion we all feel from time to time.
Which one seems like a conducive behavior for building a civilization? Which one seems like the mind of a child?

Are emotions the real world or do they cloud the real world?

Can scatter-brained notebooks be their own medium?
Do I have to fit all this bullshit into a type of art?
Am I just lazy?

How can you choose a side when your enemy needs you worse than a friend?
When do people become monsters?
And when did you become god?
Barking orders from your horse
High up in the clouds.

You’re so high in the clouds.

With a permanent marker you draw lines and borders,
Separate this from that.
Royalty among the common phenomena –
But if you point to anything and call it your castle
You don’t rule much do you?

You’re so high in the clouds.

Sometimes the walls whisper about things I’ve done
And I need to go again
Everything reminds me of a better time
I never had.

I’m so high in the clouds.
Rode my sadness to the top of the sky
And the whole world is blue.
The whole world is blue.

 

A woman’s words can go right through me. They have so many times.

Because I use philosophy as a shield for my emotions, the thesis of today’s nonsense will be whether or not it makes sense to hold humanity to a higher standard.
First, you know what I mean by higher standard right? Virtuous, intelligent, compassionate, critical – shit like that. Does it make sense to pursue that? Does it make sense to assume people will never be more than complicated apes who exist to procreate and kill? To consider humanity as an “Evolutionary cul-de-sac” as George Carlin does?

I’ll tell you why it matters:
If we accept that the pursuance of virtue is what we should be doing throughout our lives then we must define those virtues (probably what all the arguing is about) and can’t be justifying our way out of practicing those virtues. If something holds true enough to be followed for the duration of a human life, shouldn’t it be true 100% of the time? 2+2=4 is true 100% of the time. If you’re using Arabic numerals and human math symbols, that is. Does it stand to reason that alien math, if it is the same at all, will probably be written differently than how we express ours?
Again, is anything true 100% true all the time?
Probably not.  I could be cynical but I’m reading a big, bold ‘PROBABLY NOT’ from our query.
[I’m aware that this is not a complete argument. I’m also aware that in philosophy, once something is dissected all the way down it’s versimilitude ranges from “Maybe” to “Kinda”. I mean philosophy isn’t a hard science so disagree if you want. It’s encouraged.]
Human perception depends on context. Your personality aside, your brain is a human brain with human parts interpreting sensory information through human channels. No escape. If our construction of reality depends on the context applied by our perception of our own perceiving apparati then how can anything we perceive be fundamentally true?
IT CAN’T
That’s how.

Did we develop all these virtues for controlling huge groups of people? It shouldn’t be counted out. Wouldn’t that be evidence for people being nothing but complicated apes aiming for the best shot at continuing their end of the gene pool? Control people, control resources, control prosperity, control progeny. There’s logic to it.

Is it some kind of dualism shtick? Are we infant, subconscious animals trying to ascend to a plane of infinite truth and beauty? Are we just currently toiling with ourselves as I toil with myself, trying to make a better me? Trying to make a better Us?

Is it just my flawed and incomplete perception of things?

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Ol’ Notey Does a Page From the Book

I’m a dirty, filthy man. A philandering yet desperate know-nothing poet faker nihilist white-privilege pot-head who has a problem with everything. I concentrate on the negative. There’s a lot to my inconsistency. I like short sentences and I probably hate you. Or what you represent to whichever group of disenfranchised people I agree with today. At least what I think you represent. What a drag. Another hyper-intellectual dumb-ass. We’re everywhere and we know everything. We’re worse than Big Brother with a magnifying glass and a televised probe in your orifice. We hold cosmic measuring sticks to the pillars of your morals and decide if they’re plumb. We make sense in these lands.                                            (see cause length doesn’t tell you if something is plumb)
All day.
We make sense of nothing.

Authenticity is elusive, perhaps by design. How can something be fake? What is that feeling we have chosen the word ‘Fake’ to describe? Something that is acting in a capacity we know to be without substance? All works of great cinema are fake. Or does Fake not share its realm with the imaginary? Does Fake fundamentally denote a lack of viable substance in a given behavior (or item) that renders it tasteless and offensive? Does a theatrical production cross from ‘Imaginary’ to ‘Fake’ when it cannot maintain the reality it has constructed? What then, are the prerequisites for maintaining a reality? Surely, this knowledge would be useful to have.
And people with cameras and money have it.
People with words, images, and sounds have it.
Why don’t you?

My phone is a symbol of my sexual anxiety.
It’s gross.
Sorry I don’t have an essay for you but it’s true.
It might be the same for you, maybe a little bit.
That would make me feel better
But at least
That’s the truth.

I miss when my friends were more of an amorphous group
Rather than a series of individuals.
We all suck alone.
Maybe not.
Sure feels that way, though.
I’ve been wrong before.
Is that positivity?

 

If Art is alive it is definitely self-aware.
It consumes,
It grows,
It dies,
In parts, never all at once.
It knows if it ever went
All at once,
Everything would be gone.
And that won’t happen for a long, long time.

UNIVERSAL HEAT DEATH: THE MOVIE

Or a painting of a black canvas.

I’m a bad writer by all accounts. I’m pretty bad at a lot of things. However, I am Human and the most Human thing anyone can do is make mistakes.

I come from a generation of artists who grew up reading artistic analyses of artists who came from a generation of artists who maybe were part of creating the last raw art. Now Art knows it’s Art and it has participators who add to its living narrative. It’s really cool if you think about it that way but it’s also a little unnerving knowing almost anything I create will refer to things other people did first.

Time happened.

Is the Wing-Dings font the only relic of literary Dadaism or are they the cave-paintings of the first cyber-people?

Cyborg Culture is gonna be nuts.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could assume that if a person dresses themselves and drives a car they are of a sound enough mind to understand that rape and slavery are bad? That discrimination is something we did for a while but gave up because it sucked for everyone?

Shit is gonna get mad weird in the next few decades. I’m excited and nervous. It’s gonna be a big show and we’re all gonna die.

See you there.

 

 

 

 

Pantheon Contracting Co. Down and Out in the City of Dis

The hostel Lizard-face sent us to was a modest building containing a series of surprisingly cozy rooms for rent. The demonic clerk gave Garnf and I our key and toured us through the common areas of the establishment.

“Everything is so ordinary in here.” I said. “Not very hellacious at all, if you ask me.”

“Sir, this establishment is what you would consider ordinary because it does not belong to the natural residency of Hell.”

“What do you mean?” I asked as a let my eyes wander, causing my head to bob around like a broken pez-dispenser.

“This hostel is strictly for visitors to Hell. Not the clientele, nor the labor department are allowed to touch this building. It is outside the jurisdiction of Lucifer himself.”

“How come you can work here? Are you not a…you know…a…”

“A demon? Is that what you mean? For your information, James, I am a banshee AND I am a candidate for a transfer program between several eternities and in order to complete my prerequisites I must attain a certain amount of work-hours in each eternity. Also, for your information, James, angels are terrifying too. So before you assume every scary looking being you run into in the afterlife is a demon, maybe read one of the books, okay?”

I looked down in a shame that I barely understood. All of this was so foreign and confusing. Then I recalled Lizard-face’s assumption of my character and my head sank still further. I was confused in perpetuity. But how could all of this be so different? How did all these demons have a progressive mind-set? I figured discrimination was invented by demons. Given confidence by angry confusion, I voiced my comment.

“I thought discrimination was invented by demons.” I said offhandedly.

The clerk stopped, her body rigid with focus. She then turned around. What appeared to be her human features blurred slightly as she tried to contain herself.

“Oh and I bet you believe Frosty the snowman invented ice cream don’t you? You mortals, and especially you humans, seem to think you made up everything good and demons invented everything evil. What kind of irresponsible thinking is that? How could a group of beings consider themselves the center of the universe and maintain that they are innocent? Is that how you think? God created Good and Evil just showed up? You’re a hapless mass of virtuousness that accidentally causes a bit of  collateral damage here and there? I’ll tell you what you are: You and your species are a bunch of degenerate flesh-bags with limitless ignorance and weak instincts. You should all be ashamed that you exist and apologize to whatever Gods you follow for being such a burden on even the most insignificant portions of creation. Though it is my job to welcome you to this place, I wish I could bar your entry into anything decent for the rest of eternity. I hate you, Jim. I hate you and everyone that looks like you. Even baboons, Jim. Fuck baboons, and fuck you. – And over here is the communal kitchen, complete with all types of cooking implements and ingredients for whatever atrocious meal you develop a craving for.”

“Your segues are seamless, ma’am but why did you show me the kitchen? If I’m dead why do I need to eat?” I asked, trying to get myself back in decent standing with the clerk.

“Jim wait.” Garnf tried to catch me before I prompted the following response:

“Okay, Jim. Here’s how it works.” She paused to relieve some of the pressure building inside her. “You’re dead and you are in the Eternities, this is true. Dead people don’t need to eat, sleep, breathe, cry, pee, sweat, blink, read, or diddle their desires – but they try because that is what they are used to. Now, let me ask you this: would you rather be fucked with a crowbar covered in flames and barbed wire or would you rather live a hollow existence composed of even less satisfying moments while you foam hideously as you fill with desire for something better?” She said this as she leaned forward, beginning to tower over me.

“Those both sound awful. I really don’t like the idea of having sex with a crowbar, let alone a crowbar covered in flames and barbed wire.”

“Exactly. You feel that way because you were mortal. You were mortal and you are weak. Too weak to accept the full punishment for your misdeeds so you have something like a payment plan to pay off your transgressions on Earth in the Hellish Lands. You can’t even be dead without being on a lay-away plan. It works the same for aliens, only I don’t say ‘on Earth’ to them…and I speak their language, not this phonetic garbage that comes from your confounded tongue. – And this is the game room…for games…that you play…in a room. Do you get it yet? Here are your keys, go away. See you around G.” She nodded to Garnf.

Her discontent was aimed at me, doubtlessly, but her friendly goodbye to Garnf struck me as odd.

“Do you two know each other?” I turned and asked him somewhat embarrassed.

“Yeah we went to Dis Community College together. I never learned her public name so I called her Ma’am because she scared me too.”

“I wasn’t scared of her, Garnf, I was startled.”

“Yeah and Janis Joplin is sharing a milkshake with John F. Kennedy on the moon.”

“Are you making fun of me?”

“It’s the only fun a demon can make. See, Jim, demons are like girls – they just wanna have fun!”

I looked at Garnf with incredible curiosity as to what forces could create such a preposterous creature. Then we laughed.

We laughed about that for a few minutes. Real belly laughter. It was the first time I felt okay with being dead. It was the closest to home I’d felt in a long time. Then my environment crept back into my psyche and I leaned against the wall, savoring the moment. Even though the hostel looked like a haunted house rented by a murderous grandmother with fantastic taste in macabre home decor, it felt like any place in the world with a decent friend. It was warm, it was loving and it was full. If only for a moment.

We took ourselves and our stuff to our rooms. My room had the odd air of any guest room. More like the archetype of a room then a room itself. There were neutral colors, non-threatening furniture items, safe patterns, generic light fixtures and no chance of ever being stimulated by the aesthetics before me.

I noticed just how lacking in vibrancy things were in Hell. How things were so similar to Earth but somehow lessened. The blankets weren’t as soft, the lights weren’t as bright, nothing worked at full strength. This whole plane was like a hollow shadow of life.

“Perfect. I’ve been thinking too much anyway. That sort of thing will kill me one day, I swear.” I laughed after I realized how absurd that thought was now. I thought about it for a moment, over-thought it for a few more, then laughed again. Maybe being dead wasn’t so bad after all. I was laughing in Hell.

How bad could it be?

Consoled, I drifted into a shallow, restless, fake sleep but it was close enough. I knew tomorrow would be a day I would need whatever kind of rest I could get. Tomorrow, Garnf and I would explore the City of Dis. I was almost excited.


 

I got up the next morning and noticed some things immediately. I didn’t feel rested and I did not have to pee. The other things I noticed were that I had an erupting caffeine headache and my mouth tasted like a hot rodent died in it. I ran to the bathroom to wash my mouth out but there was a line, so I ran to Garnf’s room to see if he had a glass of water.

“Hey, hey G, do you have a glass of water?”

“I AM A DEMON. I DO NOT REQUIRE WATER but I do have a canteen that was left on the train by a person who was dreaming about being dead. ”

“I have no idea what that means but you are the owner of an amount of potable water?”

“Certainly, Jim.” Garnf reached into his satchel to reveal a canteen that did indeed have potable water in it. I drank it.

“Garnf, this doesn’t taste very good. It sits in my mouth kind of like a loogie.”

“Jim, I don’t know how long it’s going to take you to grasp the fact that you and I, us, we are in Hell. Things suck down here, pal. Hate to break it to ya but nobody besides the residency finds their dreams in Hell. It’s Hell.”

“The water from another plane of existence isn’t even good here?” I asked legitimately confused.

“You were from another plane of existence and Hell is already messing with you. Why would a far less complicated compound be able to withstand infernal forces? In fact, wouldn’t Hell be the antithesis of an ocean? Unless you’re afraid of oceans that is…there’s this aquarium down here that’s pretty cool actually. It’s got sea creatures from all kinds of stuff in it. I have met leviathan!” Garnf said proudly, completely digressing.

“I never read that part but he seems like a real jerk.” I said as I rubbed my head and decided to prepare for the day in some way or another.

I stood up, scratched my head authoritatively and searched my thoughts for something to focus on. My first thought was coffee.

“Garnf! There’s coffee in Hell right? We can at least make coffee can’t we? Sweet Mary Mother of a tax evasion scheme, there has to be some decent coffee down here.”

Garnf looked up from his memories of the hellacious aquarium and a strange ripple crawled across the place a normal person’s pectoral muscles would be. His faceless head was bobbling wildly. It was gross.

“Actually, my dear friend, I stole some of the train station’s coffee on my shift yesterday. Lucky for us, the Golden Train Station exists outside of all eternities. Time doesn’t even enter that place. It’s awesome. It’s going to taste bad though. All the water here is less than desirable BUT I have a plan. See, there are parts of Hell that use…counter-intuitive methods.”

“Oh good! A statement without any conclusion! The wonders I shall do with this!” I barked back at him. Somehow, his faceless head turned toward me and I was quite aware it would have had a serious look on if it could have.

“Allow me to elaborate: What do you think happens to a masochist when they go to Hell? They surely can’t be tortured by the general methods. Someone who revels in pain must be made to feel the utmost comfort – the submissive be made to dominate. Hell is just a place to force square pegs in round holes. Which means, if we get all the way to Masochist’s Plaza we’ll surely find something supernaturally delicious in the way of water!”

I was almost shaking with joy. “We can find coffee down here? We’re going to have a decent cup of Joe!? Holy snot, I haven’t been this happy since I was alive!”

I dressed myself for the day in a grey shirt that used to say “Jim’s Construction” but now said “Pantheon Contracting” and a pair of jeans. After all, I wasn’t here to impress anybody. Then we locked our rooms and left the hostel. Garnf took to a rhythmic gait and I followed suit, feeling grateful to be prowling Hell with the likes of the streetwise Garnf. More than that, I was grateful to be heading toward something so reminiscent of Earth. What’s more human than coffee? Babies? Poop? Corrupt politicians? All of them sit below the mighty roasted bean on the hierarchy of human endeavors I say.

“That’s what I think too. Only not so anthropocentric.” Garnf said in a tone that sounded like we were speaking out loud the whole time.

“Hey, how did you – you can read minds?”

“To be fair, I didn’t know either and it looks like I can only read your mind. Maybe it’s because we’re such good pals!”

“I am sure that’s it.” I said through a stout frown. Now he could read my mind? Things were just feeling less invasive and weird. Now my faceless but headed demon companion can read my mind? This was about to be a long job.

“Coffee first.” I kept telling myself over and over again under my breath.

“How far until we reach the Masochist’s Plaza?” I asked Garnf, noticeably disheartened.

“Not much further now. I’m not sure exactly though. Everything in Hell is a little further than you think it is but you show up a half hour early so you can wait for it. A big part of being here is having your desires remain unfulfilled.”

“No problem! I am a walking testament to a half-assed pursuance of desires. I’m basically the human equivalent to a bucket with a hole in it.”

“Why would that put color back into your voice, Jim? You’re a weird guy, you know that?”  Garnf’s left peck eyed me suspiciously.

“Yeah I suppose I might be.”

“No time for that! We’re here, err, the plaza is just over there.” He pointed to an expanse set between a 24/7 gym, ten liquor stores stacked on top of one another, a harpie taco cart and Build-a-Fear workshop. There were lines of what looked like street vendors on either side of the plaza with beings running back and forth and dispersed among them were creatures writhing in self-inflicted pain on the ground. “See those things that look like street vendors on either side of this depressing relay race? One of those has the water we need to make our timeless brew.”

“You should sell that stuff. You’ve made me want ten cups of it already. What do we do? just go up and grab it? Can you steal in Hell? Is it the same thing?”

“Sort of. Stealing is definitely stealing but no one really cares. The whole economy of Hell is run off slave-labor so all the value is compulsory and fake. Besides, if you steal enough you just ensure you have a place to stay down here. If you steal too much they’ll plop you in Tartarus and we don’t want to go there.”

“Why not? We’re in Hell. Does it get worse?”

Garnf paused and turned toward me. His voice became low and grave, his eyes squinted and he put a powerful hand on my chest.

“It gets so much worse, Jim. Tartarus is where the Titans and Rakshasas and Nephilim and all manner of horrible creatures, too uncivil to be with the damned were placed during the merging of the One Hundred Hells. If you go to Tartarus, you stay there. Waiting endlessly for eternity to stop being forever. You have any idea of how long that would take?”

“Forever?” I chanced a guess.

“Bingo, kid. Get yourself together, we’re gonna grab some water but be subtle about it okay?” Garnf’s cautionary hand on my chest became a friendly arm around my shoulder.

“Who? Me? Why do I have to? I’m new here.” I protested.

“That’s why you’ve got to do it. I’ve got seniority.” Garnf was smug.

“No. You have to show me how to do it.” I played dumb.

“In Hell, I’m Chris Tucker and you’re Jackie Chan. Got it?”

“What? No! Rush Hour!? Garnf!” At the sound of his name, Garnf stiffened like a frozen green bean. “Go and get us some water for coffee! I command you!” I was almost shouting.

Garnf walked to the plaza in a fixed path aiming for the far left side of the line of street vendors. I was diabolically enthused to be the master of a demon. Though my guilt began to take root somewhere in the back of my mind, I focused my attention on Garnf as he walked mechanically to the vendor with water.

The minutes drug into eons as I watched. Feelings of youthful tomfoolery rooted in my stomach. I felt like we could be caught at any moment. A bead of sweat appeared on my brow and my posture became stiff. I was openly staring at Garnf the whole time. A mix of anxiousness and glee shot through me every time I looked around…was I…having fun? No, not yet. Couldn’t be. Back to business:

Garnf walked directly to the cart, blocking a few masochists on the way, and he grabbed the container of water directly from the gaze of the vendor. The vendor, who was a small imp smoking a big cigar, yelled something unintelligible and shook his fist at Garnf. Garnf perceived this action as a threat and capsized the water-cart, spilling the water that wasn’t stolen all over the imp vendor and the surrounding area.

“Oh shit.” I said with my hopes juxtaposed. I assumed the vendors would rise in a coalition to maul Garnf while simultaneously believing that nothing would happen at all. I bit my lip attempting to mentally prepare for both outcomes.

One of the vendors, a harpie, yelled from across the plaza.

“You bumbling doofus! You grandmother diddling, swine licking ass-cap! Get outta here!”

Garnf turned his faceless head around so it was facing toward the harpie. I’m unsure about what happened exactly but the empty countenance of Garnf’s peculiar noggin must have frightened the harpie enough to have the creature move its cart several yards away. Garnf kept walking with the same pacing as a corpse with cybernetic implants. His slow, methodic gait eventually brought him face to face to face with me. His eyes lost their dutiful glaze and he looked somewhat perturbed by his damp condition but he handed me the water.

“Great work G, let’s get outta here before that harpie gets gutsy.”

Garnf looked confused though his mind was working to fill the gaps in his memory with deductions.

“Did you have me acquire this water for us?” He asked like a parent who knew every answer to the questions they were asking.

“Sure did, bud.” I said, pleased with how the situation turned out.

“Did you tell me to flip the cart over and piss off the harpie across the way?”

“Nope. That was your individuality seeping through your gravely scale skin.” I said trying to fill the words with as much pride as I could.

“We’ll talk about this when we get the Hell outta here. Cheese it!”

We looked at each other, looked over each other’s shoulder, looked behind ourselves and took off in completely opposite directions. After an awkward shuffle we agreed on a path of escape and took off. After running a few blocks, we found an alleyway to catch our breath in.

The neighborhood we found ourselves in seemed like Harlem the day after a rain storm. Everything had a touch of grey. The faces of the damned looked passive, like what was bothering them happened a decade ago but they couldn’t get out from under the specter  haunting them. There were plenty of people who looked like the attendees of the Lyceum. Bearded, robed characters speaking half-heartedly about virtue and paninis. This part of Hell seemed to be without nefarious characters or demons. In fact, I think I saw Copernicus and Carl Sagan having scones at a cafe.

“What borough  of Hell is this?” I asked with the confidence of someone who had the potential answers narrowed down to three.

“This looks like Limbo.” He said, somehow avoiding all three of my guesses. “Yeah that’s Carl Sagan. This is totally Limbo. You will probably find this borough the easiest to relate to. ”

“How do you figure? I’m not a scientist or a philosopher.”

“Yeah but you are infected with a pessimism that pervades every iota of your essence which should align you comfortably with all these educated, virtuous, hair-splitters.”

I pursed my lips and stared at Garnf with all the disappointment I could muster. My face could have made a puppy frown.

“See? You’re already wearing the popular expression of the neighborhood. Let’s go to the cafe and make some coffee, huh?”

“I don’t know if I’ll ever get the hang of this place.” I said as we started off to the cafe.

The atmosphere inside the cafe was an amalgamation of 1950’s American interior decoration. Red stools, long counters and shiny tiles under fluorescent lighting. The back was an open area with exposed 2×4’s and other building materials with a sign that said “Under Construction”. We walked up to the counter to ask for use of the stove but there was no one behind the counter. Garnf rang the bell on the counter to no avail. The space was without employment and therefore, without rules. Garnf walked around the counter and began the process of warming the water. Basking in our victory, I lounged on one of the red stools.

Suddenly, a shadow enveloped me.

“Can I help you?” My confidence was renewed by our slight victory and I was so overwhelmed with it, I didn’t think to look up.

“Yeah, you could get your compatriot out from behind the counter where, I’m sure you could assume, only employees are allowed.” The voice belonging to the shadow was terse but patient.

Feeling like busting a couple of chops, I asked “If you’re so worried about that why did you leave your post wide open like you did?”

A little less patiently the shadow said “Because this is a widely known establishment in this neighborhood, only a demented demon infected with syphilis would think to mess with the House of Lies. Since you two haven’t caused harm, merely overstepped a boundary, I would consider having you desist and be done with it.”

“What’s the big idea, man? Can’t you let this -” I turned my head to look the shadow in the face. Once I accurately perceived exactly who’s face it was, I fell out of my chair. “Oh my God! You’re…you…the…beard….ummm….you’re…sorry…I didn’t realize you were…”

From the stove behind the counter Garnf hollered “Who are you talking to, Jim?”

“Plato.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bite My Tongue

If Hatred is what you take from this, I am sorry. That is not my intention. My intention is to communicate something simple and basic to people who may not have the means to articulate the thought themselves. Something of a linguistic downtrodden – If I wish to blow my horn. Ego is a slippery concept to grapple with and in light of that, I’ll drop the self-aggrandizing speech.

How do you keep living every day?

How do you take in the maddening amount of information humans produce – most of that which is communicated being violent or awful in other respects –  and keep thinking this is okay? How do you watch the world grow and twist and shake and still get excited to go to the movies?

How do you look on without being filled with overwhelming disgust?

Before I answer that, let me take you down a rabbit hole.

Progress is something we seem to cherish around here. Americans love progress. “Where are we going, Tom?” “The Future, Leroy!” Those boys are standard Americans, made in the factory basement of patriotism and they love progress too.

buddy-christ

Jesus loves progress, America, and Tom Petty.

 

The way we frame progress tends to be spoken in terms of growing from small to large. Decent model, we’ll use it. As progress happens physically, it must follow that mental progress be made to cope with, master, and conceive of other situations in which to install progress. Because we are growing, our habitat or immediate area grows as well and because of that, our minds change. We think of things in a series of relationships as opposed to linear deduction. Not to say we do away with linear thought, but we have to account for more things with thinner threads of relation so the lateral aspect enters regardless of how linear a person can be. This results in your thoughts reaching further than your immediate area, then to your local community, then maybe to your city, state, nation – and we’ve stopped at the world.

At this point, we are aware that our actions affect people across the globe. Not in the abstract way either. You burn your garbage? You’re changing the world for everybody. Maybe not a huge change, but honestly few of them are. Your actions are affecting things globally, like some kind of hippy ecosystem or something. I never would have guessed.

Being globally aware, we have inherited problems. We’ve also developed problems over hundreds of years but didn’t have the perspective to see our actions as harmful; not negating our responsibility but definitely siding our actions outside the realm of the malicious. I mean to say we aren’t evil.

Monkey face

This is the face of Evil

We have all these complicated problems and anyone worth their salt probably wants to fix them. Even people who aren’t worth their salt probably want to solve them. Good, right? Sure but it gets a little wonky when our minds are engaged in heroic endeavors all the time. You’ve seen the movies.

If a person is focused on solving global issues all the time it’s easy to lose sight of your community. Likewise, if a person works all the time they tend to neglect their home life. I believe the phrase is “You can’t see the forest for the trees.”.

This shit happens to me all the time.

It manifests as a paradox that I dress in a Lovecraftian horror suit.

Allow me to outline it: In the name of progress we grow our sphere of influence to contain the globe. Because the totality of events happening on the globe can’t be solved one at a time, due to their relating in astounding complexity, we have a situation like a machine made up of millions of smaller machines. The big machine isn’t functioning at 100% capacity like we need it to. The big machine relies on the functionality of the smaller machines. Several of the smaller machines break at once, in relation to and because of one another. Fixing the smaller machines breaks the other machines. The situation we’re left with is that our large machine is always limping somewhere below 100% capacity.

Broken Machine

“You’re supposed to fix the machines, Jim.”

The other problem with this is we have scaled our thought to the large machine and the large machine is within our ability to comprehend but not to alter without affecting the status of our own lives. Imagine if Gods built the world and became horrified of their influence in it. Everything they created annihilated something else. Every step they took, something died. No matter how careful they were to preserve all things, all things decayed as if the gods existed outside of the creation they built.

World on Fire

“Fuck.”

How does one move for progress when each movement results in destruction of something one desires to progress?

Back in real life: How does a person make an informed decision for the good of the world without implicating themselves in an offense against it?

I’m sure you’ve seen a Kung-Fu movie, or The Matrix. This is some “There is no spoon.” type shit, I get it. What I’m trying to get at is: If this is the case, why do we still base our philosophical lives on the virtues of progress? If progress is, at best, a series of events that we attach a positive word to, and we know it’s not really there, why do we act like it is? Because the Western mind is linear and this linear mind has brought us to our highest level of incompetence.

Socrates

“No, you’re incompetent.

So we’re left with a few questions: How do the gods exist in harmony with their creation? Do we exist in harmony regardless of our thoughts to the contrary? Is humanity unnatural? How can unnatural things exist and there still be an unbreakable natural law? Why do we not blame the wolves for eating all the rabbits? For being selfish? We know it isn’t their fault because they do not conceive of things such as fault? Why do we manicure a smaller universe for ourselves?

All things are related. To touch the puddle on the side of the road is to touch everything it touches. In this ecosystem of thought and action and all other things, every step we take is both endless chaos and perfect harmony. Just because you feel good about something doesn’t mean it’s objectively good. Both the worlds of Comedy and Neuroscience can tell you about this. How often does a comedian say something that makes some people in a room feel great but others may wish to persecute the comedian? A neuroscientist named Anil Seth can explain to you all about how the world you perceive is the “Best guess” of your senses.

The world is bigger than your conception of it, for if it weren’t would we not have mastered it already?

I for, one, can’t stop myself from biting my tongue.

So what do we do about gun control? Abortion? Wage-slavery? Colonialism?

Maybe peel ourselves away from our anthropocentric ideas of our stewardship for the universe and simplify our self-image. Maybe accept some chaos and maintain a modest order to ensure that generally, things are okay. If everything is eating and dying proportionately, the biosphere as we know will continue right? Is that even the best solution? I don’t know, I still bite my tongue.

Here’s that Anil Seth video.

Pantheon Contracting Co. 2: Cannonball to Hell

“I’m here to check your ticket, sir…and my name isn’t Jim. Yours is, sir.” A voice slithered out of a mouth never meant to utter English words.

“He..here you go…hey can I ask you something?” I turned to look at the owner of the slithering voice and saw a large, swollen belly covered in hairy scales. Choosing to look down instead of at where I assumed the eyes of the demon would be, I saw cloven feet underneath a vulture’s legs. Though I was approaching the point of nausea, I looked up toward the face of the demon and, to my joy, there was no face. Just a blank patch of hairy scales in the shape of a human head. I leaned back and began to smile, pleased with myself for keeping composure in front of a demon. As I was congratulating myself, the demon’s stomach creased and ooze began to come out of the crease. The crease finally gave way to a mouth heavily populated by fangs.

“What is your question, sir?” Asked the demon’s stomach.

I threw up.

“Sweet Nephilim, man! How do you think this sort of thing affects my self-esteem? It’s not great, I’ll tell you that.”

“I didn’t mean to be so rude, I’m just so astonished by your…umm charisma.”  I tried to recover my good graces.

“It’s because I’m so hideous isn’t it? That’s why all the humans throw up when I check their tickets!” The demon began to wail inconsolably.

“No no no. It’s because you have such a powerful presence it upsets our mortal tummies. Come on, cheer up. I’ll tell you what: why don’t you go and admire yourself, tell yourself you’re quite handsome a few times in the mirror, really get wild with the compliments and I’ll go over my ticket so you don’t have to worry about it anymore than you have to. How would you feel about that?”

“You…you’d do that for me?” Salivated the demon.

“Of course. What’re friends for? What’s your name there, bud?”

“My name is Garnf.” Garnf tried to put on an air of professionalism as if he hadn’t been crying a moment before.

“Garnf, huh?”

“Yes, master?”

Garnf’s behavior became like that of a puppy sure to be adopted.

“What? Oh no no no.” I tried in vain to back the conversation up.

“I forgot to mention, if you say a demon’s true name, you control them. Haven’t you read the books? Or even Kierkegaard? If you label me you – never mind.”

“My name is Jim. Why did you tell me your true name then?”

The demon made a face like the one that gets made by elderly women when accused of foolishness.

“Maybe I thought we could be friends? Is that such a difficult thing to grasp? A demon who wants friends? It’s not the Old Testament anymore, Jim. Wake up.”

“Of course I meet the only liberal demon on a train barreling toward Hell. Who could think it different? Fine Garnf, if we’re going to be friends you can’t call me master and you have to help me with a few things.”

“Like what kinds of things? I’m not so great at a lot of things but I can crochet, knit, cook a mean pasty, play chess, deliver an infernal cherub, balance a checkbook and I know several types of sacred geometry. How can I be of service?”

“Can you read a tape measure?”

“Why would you measure tape?”

“Can you lift a board?”

“I can lift the tectonic plate Mt. Vesuvius is on, Jim. I can lift a few boards.”

“You’re hired. I don’t know how to pay you.” I said sheepishly.

“We’ll figure that out, new friend! I’ll tell you all about Hell if you’d like.” Garnf tried to squeeze into the seat but his outer limits were a bit too far out to fit inside. After he blew out an amount of air that would impress a leaf-blower, his girth had shrunk to the point of accessing the seat. Once he squeezed inside, he allowed air to re-enter his body – the stench of his pungent intestines was overpowering as his body grew to its original size. I threw up.

The rest of the train ride to Hell was an extended period of physical discomfort with the occasional relief of Garnf’s strangely practiced humor. He had a civilized manner to his disposition that came as an important break in the cavalcade of horror that was the descent through the lower dimensions.

Garnf talked about various neighborhoods in Dis, the terrible lake-effect weather, great places to buy food, the redundancy of grilling in Hell, and plenty of other less pleasant items of conversation. I began to commit some of my surroundings to memory. This was my first train out of the Golden Station after all, I wanted to remember it. I looked up first.

The ceiling of the train was the rib-cage and spine of some humongous many-legged basilisk with dark grey webs between ribs. Immediately horrified, I looked across the aisle of the train, this view mainly being of the wall. I was vaguely comforted by the almost Victorian look of this part of the train. There were ghastly paintings on the wall, a few newspaper clippings of venerable characters from Dis and a list of upcoming matches related to some sport I couldn’t get a hold of. This part of the train seemed to me the most ordinary, or Earthly, I should say. With renewed constitution I looked to the opposite wall. This wall was similar to the one across the aisle, except for my expanded view of the worlds outside the train. They were horrible, endless chasms of chaotic miasma hurling its deformed visage at the barriers of sanity itself. My liver tightened and my teeth began to itch as I stared into the void, terrified. Garnf handed me a grocery bag and gave me a look of approval, which was also the first time I had seen his eyes. They sat where a human’s mammary would be; this sight coupled with all the others contorted my stomach in such a way that I was convinced it would throw me up instead.

“I’m going to get some sleep Garnf, before I die some more.” I said with the tranquility of someone who has accepted a life of indefatigable madness.

“You really don’t understand much about being dead, do you Jim?” Garnf asked with some genuine concern.

“Tell me about it later.”

“You can’t sleep, Jim. You’re dead.”

“Well I wanna pretend. One last time, Garnf.”

“Living creatures sure are silly.”

“I can’t pretend if you’re talking all the time, Garnf.”

“Just tell me to stop then! You know my name! Sheesh! …oh no wait -”

“Garnf! I command you to be quiet!”

“mmmmfffmfmfmfmfpft” Garnf tried to speak but his mouth seemed to betray him.

“We’re gonna get a lot done buddy. See you when we get there.”

“mmmmmfffmffmfpfft! HMPF!” Garnf crossed his arms over his face and looked as if he were trying to sleep.

“Of course the demons can sleep but I can’t. Of course!” I complained.

“You’re not being very quiet, Jim.”


The train came to a stop at a station that looked like the maw of a gigantic skeletal sea-creature. The theme of the train station’s decor was bones, bones and charred flesh. The kiosks seemed to be living creatures made wretched through some kind of servitude. The damned were herded to and fro by creatures so disgusting, it would take scribes eons to decode the profanities needed to describe them. By this time, I had grown slightly accustomed to being surrounded by the most awful visions of things it hurts to imagine, or, at least they didn’t surprise me anymore.

As I stepped off the train a lizard-faced demon in a nice blue suit asked me:

“What brings you to Hell, desired patron? Business or pleasure?”

I was taken completely back by his courteous demeanor.

“Well…I uh….business! I’m here for business.” I flopped the words out of my mouth.

“What exactly is your business in the City of Dis, Mr…?”

“My name is Jim and Jesus sent me here to do some construction work?”

“You’re the guy Jesus hired? Holy Heck where does he get off having a soft-spot for you mortals? Do  you have the paperwork he sent you with?”

“Yeah here you go. Garnf! Come on!” I howled as I handed Lizard-face my paperwork.

“Here I come boss!” Garnf garbled from the luggage rack.

“Pantheon Contracting Co.? Jesus Christ, Jesus, you’ll do anything to outsource some labor won’t you? He was a carpenter, you know that? Now, God’s only son won’t even lift a board. I think it’s a shame myself but I only run the Public Relations Department down here, what do I know?”

Garnf, with a voice now sullen with duty and a brow of a focused cro-magnon shouted from several yards behind Lizard-face.

“Did you say lift a board, boss? Garnf do what is commanded of Garnf!”

Garnf proceeded to hoist the nearest board to him high over his faceless head. Unfortunately the board he grabbed was a support beam for the new tunnel addition to the ticket office currently under construction. The frame of the whole structure began to shake as its integrity became rapidly less secure. It began to creak and buckle as Garnf continued to triumphantly hold the board over his head. His victorious image was buried under rubble to where the expressionless face he had above his torso-face was the only thing above the brand new ruin.

“Garnf, get out of there and don’t leave my side.” I said without a modicum of patience.

“Well, that seems to take care of the question of where you’ll be starting your efforts here in Dis, eh?” Lizard-face said with some condescension.

Lizard-face continued: “Here is the standard newcomer information packet. It comes with a map and a quick overview of the neighborhoods in Dis and even the outer suburbs. These items should answer all your questions should you come up with some more. Which I’m sure you will. You seem, to me, to be the type to be confused in perpetuity and I can only imagine your concern as you walk the streets of our fine city. I’ve taken the liberty of placing a marker on the hostel downtown. I’m sure they will put you up for the night. Oh, also, I have a running tab for your work-related activities.”

Lizard-face turned around to maintain his post at the receiving end of the train. After a few steps, he spun back around.

“Jim, are you familiar with Karma?”

“Like my good Karma?” I said with a wink.

“‘Good’ may be a stretch, but yes. In Hell, your currency is like a bet against your Karma. The more good Karma you have, the more you can purchase. The worse your Karma, the harder it is to obtain goods and services through conventional methods. Don’t forget that, okay? Everyone tries to sin in the home of sin and they don’t realize that the market is already flooded with that sort of thing. A discerned lack of conscience is what it is down here, Jim. That’s the problem but you didn’t hear it from me. Good luck Jim, maybe I’ll see you around. Maybe you’ll lose your soul to Ammit, who knows? It’s a big underworld out there.”

 

With that, Lizard-face turned around and stood attentively at his post. I looked back at Garnf as he was finishing his crawl from under the rubble he created. After he caught up with me, we decided to look around before we made our way to the hostel in downtown Dis. Honestly, I didn’t like Hell very much so far but it did feel good to be somewhere besides Kansas City. I let a small drip of joy work its way around my soul as we entered the mouth of Hell.

 

 

 

 

Pantheon Contracting Co.

First off, it’s all real. The world behind the world, the occultists, the creepy rituals to summon faceless demons, angels, super Buddhists, octopoid fish-people, Atlantis, Olympus, Valhalla, the heavenly abodes of the Jade Emperor, alien entities of unspeakable magnitude is all real. They have lives, they do things. One of the things they do, is outsource their labor to me: My name is Jim, I build divine structures.

In the beginning, I was just Jim. I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and I didn’t do so well in school. If you ain’t book-smart you better get the other kind of smart, so I did that. I became a construction worker and, to my surprise, I was good at it. One day, I died.

Upon the day of my death, I was taken up to the Golden Train station of the Heavens. This is the nexus from which a person can go to any heaven they find the most agreeable. I grew up Christian but after seeing the blasphemous ways inanimate objects pursue of their own accord, I became an atheist. If you saw a reciprocating saw bite a nail and launch both blade and nail through the window you just finished installing in an architect’s house, you would question your faith too. I was a good man, I didn’t deserve that. Anyhow, I was at the Golden Train station, waiting for my boarding call when a cloaked figure came up to me.

The figure was bathed in light from the pristine train station. The whole place seemed immaculate, even the baggage claim area. In this stranger’s presence, the train station was a symphony of pleasant colors and sounds. The place smelled good too. That never happens.

“Jim! Hey buddy, how are you? Have you been to one of the eternities yet?”

“Sorry if I don’t remember you but who are you and how do you know my name and my itinerary?”

“Jim, it’s me. It’s Jesus, bud! The big J.C., Ol’ Dangly, hung like this:”

Jesus held his arms out like they were on the cross in imitation of the common joke.

“Well, hot damn. You really are real, huh?”

“I’m as real as you…which isn’t saying much but how about we start where we are, huh?”

“What do you mean?”

“Listen Jim, I’ll do the thinking right now. You pry open those little ears and soak up what I’m about to say.”

“My ears aren’t little…but okay.”

“Here’s the scoop, pal: This is the season of plenty. By that I mean, we have plenty of work to do. See, the heavens are a little backed up with clerical work so we haven’t been able to get to our remodeling phase.”

“How do gods get backed up?”

“Look, Jim, if you think it’s so easy you do it.”

I stammered a bit.

“Yeah you’re probably feeling overwhelmed aren’t you? I live in this constant anxiety. We all do. Does that seem heavenly to you? No. It sure doesn’t. We gods have shit to do that doesn’t include counter tops and framing jobs, okay? Do I have your permission to be a little behind on things right now? Sir?”

“Jeeze, sorry Jesus. I didn’t mean to -”

“Yeah yeah yeah, you’re forgiven. Just cool it with that stuff alright? I have enough shit on my plate.”

“You have shit on your plate?”

“Okay Jim! Fine. Have it your way! Dad-dammit, I hate people sometimes. I was going to send you on a job to Elysium to help rebuild the Olympic course but you’re going right into the tough shit. Here’s your boarding pass and some vouchers for everything you’re going to need. Get on your train, smart-ass. I’ll call you later.”

A cellphone began to play “Hold on Loosely” and Jesus was pawing at his robes trying to find it.

“Hello? Yeah this is Jesus. Of course it’s Jesus. It’s always Jesus. No, I don’t want gorgon insurance! I don’t give a damn about gorgons. I don’t even hang out with Perseus anymore!”

Jesus hung up the phone with an exasperated look on his face.

“Anyway, Jim I gotta run. See you in Hell!”

“Wait…you’re sending me to Hell?”

“I told you it wasn’t my first plan but you just had to play coy. Now you’re going to Hell.”

“Are you kidding me? That’s crap! I thought you were all about forgiveness and -”

“Jim, you’re not damned. You have a job. The Infernal Government needs a ton of work done in the city of Dis. Since you’re dead, you can go anywhere for however long so I sent you to Hell to fix the damn city. See what I did there? Jesus the jokester they call me sometimes. I do stand up every Tuesday at Shiva’s Bar and Tap. Speaking of which, if you do a good job in Hell, you can help fix Indra’s Web! Lord knows that place is a sty. Anywho, get on your train Jim. Call me when you get to Dis.”

I flipped through my paperwork and found my boarding pass along with the vouchers Jesus promised. Tucked in one of the envelopes were some tax papers and 100 business cards promoting a business called Pantheon Contracting Co. with my name on the bottom of the card. Underneath my name was a phone number I didn’t know I had. I looked around for the most evil looking train I could but I was so spun about, I didn’t know which way was up.

“ALL ABOARD!” Shouted a demon.

“Oh okay, I’ll go that way.” I said to myself as I attempted to wrap my mind around what was happening. I had been dead for 5 minutes and I was already going to work? What kind of afterlife was this going to be? Even though I was a little upset about being conned into manual labor by one of the saviors of mankind, I was happy that I had a direction to go. I found my train, puked in front of the demonic conductor, and boarded.

The other passengers on the train were a few lost souls, shriveled and defeated, some woeful, a couple of incomprehensible demons who’s very presence made me feel squeamish and ill, and a couple of kids that died in their early 20’s and who were partying at the front of the car talking about seeing Jimi Hendrix play live and there were also a few cats. I tried asking a cat what it could have possibly done to end up on the train to Hell but one of the demons tapped me on the shoulder before I got the words out.

“Hey buddy, even dead cats don’t speak human.”

I threw up again.

“Pshhh, people man. What would Lucifer even want with a bunch of dunces like you?”  The demon scoffed in a charcoal voice.

My head was spinning too fast to come up with a reply so I gurgled a bit and swallowed it. I decided I would try to sleep on my way to Hell. Dreams in the afterlife have to be cool right?

Turns out, you don’t need to sleep in the afterlife so I stared wide-eyed at the blurred dimensions between the Golden Train Station and Hell. On my way to rebuild damnation…I had only been dead 5 minutes…how did I get caught up in all this already?

“Dammit Jim. What did you do?”

It’s the Hate Parade!

I don’t get as many chances to listen to loud music as I used to. I hate that. I hate you for that. That doesn’t make any sense and that’s how you can tell Hate is truly present. Irrational motions of violence are where Hate lives. Short sentences, senseless gibbering, foaming anger, instinctual fury all run down from the swamp of Hatred in black lines through obsidian rock gored on older boulders – the bones of the world. Make no mistake, Hate runs this world as much as any act of kindness. For they are one and all push this godless machine foreword. Not godless. Without God. We have no needs for the structure of relation to be up to those greater than us. We made the scale. We installed the base program and so the Universe exists as we see it. The only thing we cannot see through is ourselves. The only thing we cannot do is be less human. We’re as Human as it gets. It’s gross and I hate it.

When you employ Hatred you get the chance to watch Hate grow and mature – if you water it annually. It’s great. Hate becomes comfortable, easy even. Everything makes sense. As a bonus, you’ve acquired a new hobby due to your ability to detest anything within bounds of your Hate-field: Hatethusiasm.

Sometimes a person becomes so excited about Hating the thing it Hates its Hate becomes contagious and often really funny. Hence the Comedian.

Hate makes you smart in a lot of ways. The Dark Side is half of the Force. Half of the shit that forms all the shit, is the Dark Shit. My point is: There’s a lot of Sith Lords who are brilliant Force-wizards just like there’s Yoda. Some kind of Wisdom in Cruelty perhaps? Maybe just a sweet metal song. Anyway, Hate has a lot to teach the interested student. The closer the pupil comes to Hate, the closer it comes to calculated detachment, power dynamics, charisma, discipline and more than a few others. All the Bad Guys throughout all of time were emissaries of Hate and they had the skills to fight all of the champions of justice – no matter who’s side you were on. Basically, I’m doing a bad job of telling you the negative end of he spectrum is as fundamentally evil as an electron. It’s just negative. Neither one is better. That’s why every story is about the eternal conflict of Good and Evil, the two are eternally conflicted because neither side can triumph.

I mentioned something about the base program earlier. I’ve been thinking about the brain as a computer lately and have allowed the thought to be assimilated into my speech. When I mention a program or a similar computer-y word, I mean in it as a metaphor. Check it out: Hate is just a portion of the operating system one installs. As in: Hate is merely a piece of the general outlook a person prefers to maintain. What this works out to is that Hate is a constituent of the criteria by which we decide to assign things meaning. The meaning is still established, all is as it should be. There is no primordial agreement that the meaning has to mean anything so the constituents are universally irrelevant. Since we are not aware of our presence on the universal scale we have to sort this out with terms we’ve all decided to try and understand.

Right, so I believe I’ve established Hate as a force of considerable magnitude.

Can we all agree that Love is a force of equally considerable magnitude?

Like, without going into it kind of agree?

Cool. Hate=Love.

Let’s dive into some similarities. Hate and Love both make the bearer obsessive. “I can’t stop thinking about you baby.” “I can’t stop thinking about murdering you in front of your family.” Hate and Love both fill the host with incredible power. “That guy doesn’t give a fuck. Everyone Hates him but he still comes around because everyone is afraid of him.” “I love Billy the Thundergoat! She comes around and licks everyone on their faces!”

The magnitude is the same, the effect is different. The two move in similar ways but opposite directions.

I dunno man, I have no irrevocable proof for these assertions. I’ve just been thinking.

I’ll probably clean this up one day and have a demo-blog like a cool kid.