Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

the gentleman from tralfamadore

“’nobody likes to think hes being used,’ said rumfoord. ‘he’ll put off admitting it to himself until the last possible instant.’ he smiled crookedly. ‘it may surprise you to learn that i take a certain pride, no matter how foolishly mistaken that pride may be, in making my own decisions for my own reasons.’”

– winston niles rumfoord

kurt vonnegut, jr.
(1959) the sirens of titan.
chapter 12, p. 285

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

the greatest lie

most children are lied to by their parents almost routinely. its a security: lie to your child, and they will be happy, and you will remain in control. its a common way to raise a child it seems and most parents must find that this is sufficient and that it works. peace.

eventually that child grows up. and the lies no longer work anymore. for example: we know that we arent going to turn into a cow if we eat too much ice cream. and so on. thats just silly. and by challenging that lie, one is then free to eat as much ice cream as he or she desires--the control is gone, the bar has been lifted. nothing can be done or said to stop them now.

thats the thing about lies that are used to control (all lies are used to control)—once they have been defied—exposed—that control is dead, and freedom (chaos?) may take its place.

there are some lies—however—that a child will hold onto until the very end—until the credits begin. like a lover who just cant believe that their significant other wants to call it quits. probably the greatest lie to a child is the one about that jolly fat man in a red suit who flies around the world with his sleigh and reindeer and plethora of presents for the children of planet earth: santa claus. heard of that one? it was a sad day when i finally understood and was told by my parents that santa claus was not real. christmas would never be the same. i could never be excited about it again. one of my greatest childhood excitements was gone, and would be gone forever.

but it was a form of child control: youd better behave yourself in church and around the family or youre getting shit in a sock for christmas! same with the easter bunny. and the tooth fairy is such a crock of shit: be a good sport about daddy ripping your teeth out, and youll get a quarter under your pillow in the middle of the night. whoop-dee-doo. and then we learned that this was all bullshit, and then we could act like brats again on the holidays. chaos.

peace.

there is another form of control that is slightly more subtle, yet easy to pick up on if youre secular enough. that ladies and gentlemen—of course—is religion.

religion is a terrible thing—at least the roman catholic religion as i understand it from 20 years of having followed it. youd better go to church! had better go to confession! had better go to sunday school! had better take communion! had better behave yourself! had better not eat meat on fridays during lent! had better dump 10% of your monthly paycheck into a basket every week! or else!

or else some dude sitting up on a cumulonimbus cloud in a white robe with a big golden crown who made everything in the universe because he felt like it and apparently cares about what 6.705 billion human beings are doing down here—which is farting around and making way too much whoopee with way too many other human beings and combustion engines—is going to condemn you to spend the rest of eternity in the center of the earth with another dude with red skin, horns, and a trident who is his sworn enemy and was defeated in a galactic battle for the ages who has also been condemned to the center of the earth. guess he should have fessed up a little more cash on the sabbath day. naughty naughty.

and we wouldnt want all of that for you now, would we?

and it is lies of that kind that are so dangerous. they scare little boys and girls into being good little boys and girls—that is to say, overly and ridiculously moral. my definition of moral is this: defying everything that makes you a human being by instead being unarguably obedient to your parents, schoolteachers, and government. that is whats called being a slave—an object, a piece of machinery.

and we wouldnt want all of that for you now, would we?

whats even more dangerous is when those lies are dumped into the brains of somebody who may have lost some of their marbles along the way (anybody who believes in god must have lost their marbles somewhere along the way, i think). because there are lies not only to intimidate—to control—but to offer comfort in times of hardship. god loves you. god is there for you. god is listening to you. god wants to help you. there are some people who are sick and dying; who may be sitting in a bathtub filled with red water and razor blades, who will hold onto this lie until the very end—until the credits begin to roll—who truly believe that they will be saved from their torment—which is apparently caused by some dude with red skin, horns, and a trident, who chills out in the center of the earth—and will someday find themselves in better circumstances.

and then they die of cancer; and then they die because there is no more red water to go around inside of their plumbing; and then as their conscience goes kaput, that persons family is left to wonder why why why?

why did god take grandpa with colon cancer? why did god make my daughter turn her wrists into hamburger meat? why didnt god save them? well the easy way that religious types and horny clergymen get out of that one is with this: god deemed it so. it is his will. it is what he wants. and thats what we should want, too. and then everybody gets angry at that poor old guy chilling out on a cumulonimbus cloud up up in the sky, in a white robe with a great big golden crown.

a lot of people have got to be angry at him these days.

and then life goes on and god gets forgiven—lucky him—and then everybody goes back to loving him, yet again. until he decides to fuck somebody elses life up, yet again. chaos.

quite a vicious circle for somebody apparently so loving. but hey, if youre the commander in chief of the whole fucking universe, why mess around? besides: its got to get boring watching everybody get along all of the fucking time. got to fuck some shit up somehow and watch the world burn. now THATS entertainment!

the point is this: religion and ideas of a god can certainly be used to scare the hell out of you—it scared the hell out of me. and thats the point, apparently (thou shall fear thy lord). but other ideas about religion and a god can be comforting, too. but it can only be just as comforting as ideas of santa claus, the easter bunny, and the tooth fairy. and just as transient. god is not there. there is nobody listening. and nobody is going to help you.

and just as one-by-one, i felt let down as the ideas of the tooth fairy, the easter bunny, and santa claus went kaput, it is when i defied that final—that greatest of lies—that i felt let down most of all. for, despite my endorsement of loneliness, it was when i acknowledged that i was truly alone in this universe that i understood how much religion had comforted me when i was feeling hurt and alone—just as much as any lie could—and how much i relied on it, and how there were times where id believe the lie to the very end—until the credits began to roll.

fortunately, upon rejection of this carefully conceived and crafted lie that i had been born into with no choice whatsoever—however—i  realized that i could never be let down again.

there were no more lies left to believe in.

peace.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

you are now entering the city of brotherly love

“but his head no longer sheltered ideas of how things could be and should be on the planet, as opposed to how they really were. there was only one way for the earth to be, he thought: the way it was.

“everything was necessary. he saw an old white woman fishing through a garbage can. that was necessary. he saw a bathtub toy, a little rubber duck, lying on its side on the grating over a storm sewer. it had to be there.”

kurt vonnegut, jr.
(1973) breakfast of champions
chapter 12, p. 103

Monday, April 6, 2009

hitchhiking with kilgore trout

“‘i cant tell if youre serious or not,’ said the driver.
“‘i wont know myself until i find out whether life is serious or not,’ said trout. ‘its dangerous, i know, and it can hurt a lot. that doesnt necessarily mean its serious, too.’”

kurt vonnegut, jr.
(1973) breakfast of champions.
chapter 10, p. 86

hoarding disorder

“…but outside—i never feel lonely. even if nobody is around—just the birds, the creatures, the trees, the sun, the moon. at night, it is so peaceful, with the stars…”