Sunday, December 26, 2004

The once and future cause

The future causes the past, I am convinced of it. You might say, that is impossible; a thing's cause must be in the past. If a ball flies through the air, for example, the cause is that a split second ago I applied a sufficient amount of force with my arm to send it aloft on its trajectory. But consider this: maybe the ball's motion is the cause of my throwing it. For in order to get it up there, I had to throw it. I am totally compelled to do so, if the ball's motion is to be accounted for.

The future already exists; it is all around us, impinging on us, forcing us to do things for no reason that we can imagine. But the Shadow knows—the shadow of things yet to come!

Saturday, December 25, 2004

The opposite of shrubbery

I just received an e-mail that evidently has been going around for years with a story about how Einstein supposedly humiliated an atheist professor by showing him that a "good" God could not be held responsible for the existence of evil because evil could not properly be said to exist, just as in physics cold does not exist; it is merely the absence of heat. And evil is just the absence of good. This story is a well-known hoax, and as Einstein was something of a skeptic, it would have been out of character in any case for him to make such an argument.

But all that aside, does the argument have any merit? Basically it is saying, there's no dualism here! Good does not have an opposite. It is a physical entity. It's like saying, what's the opposite of shrubbery? Okay, I cannot think of a word in the English language that means "the opposite of shrubbery." But somehow we do have this word "evil." It has a linguistic meaning, certainly, as books have been written to explicate it: Paradise Lost, for instance. But if we follow this line of argument, we are to say that all these people who write about such a subject are under the spell of maya: they are writing about an illusion, something that has no real existence. Thus the famous "problem of evil" is solved by denying there is a problem to begin with because there is no evil. Well, you are going to have difficulty persuading people who have been tortured in prisons of the validity of this argument. In their worlds, evil exists and there is no doubt. Maybe in my world I can have the luxury of maintaining the non-existence of evil; I have not been tortured in prison and there is probably no incident in my direct experience throughout my life that I can specifically attribute to being caused by something so radical as the E-word.

However, I'm not going to take the position that Evil does not exist. I'm going to say to the torture survivor: I respect your experience of reality enough to admit this category to my lexicon. To say that to say something is good is not like saying it is shrubbery. To have any meaning whatsoever, "good" has to have an opposite. To say something is evil is actually to make a positive statement about its qualities, and not merely to make a meaningless noise. It rather gets my attention, in fact, and triggers a visceral response.

This says to me that there is some connection of this whole subject with the body. Perhaps the impulse to deny the existence of evil is related to the desire to just have done with the body per se and all its attendant frailties and indignities. Which brings us back to Hamlet: the desire to end "the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to." I'm sure Einstein would have something more to add at this point, but I am done for now, although the country is not yet done with malevolent shrubs.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Too late

It's too late to fix things, I'm afraid. They're too far gone. Oh yeah, the Man has got it all buttoned down. You're high and dry, without a word of warning, just helplessly hoping and rolling like a stone.

But seriously, isn't that kind of a relief? You can just give it up and let it be. And figure out what you want to do instead. Like get a new gig, all right? Because it's just too late to do anything else.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The last postmodern

The last postmodern sat alone in a silent white room, reading the tiny irregularities on the spotless, pristine walls. There was a knock at the door.

He hesitated. Nothing had penetrated his silence since he could remember. With trembling hands he turned the knob. There was no one there! But beyond the doorway he could see a marvellous vista of vast, verdant woods and flowering gardens. Everywhere a riot of vegetation engulfed the eye with colors and a burgeoning excess. In the trees he could see shadowy figures flickering as if transported in some kind of trance or dance. Intoxicating perfumes assaulted his senses and a distant flute seduced his ears.

Realizing that this earthly paradise was not as susceptible to interpretation as the white room, he stepped back into his hermeneutic heaven and shut the door.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I am waiting

I am waiting. Do you wonder what am I waiting for? I am waiting for that which I do not know. We are all waiting, as in the Rolling Stones song, "for someone to come out of somewhere." Just that. We don't know who they are or what they will bring. Maybe that someone is ourselves, about to emerge from the forest of our own night, and surprise us with a taste of otherness from within.

We wonder while we wait, and wonder why we wait. Eventually time disappears, and all the possible reasons for waiting evaporate, and all that is left is ourselves, calmly poised on the edge of a moment, simply and utterly waiting.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


I have been using the word enheatenment for awhile and I suppose I must have originated the term, as I don't find it anywhere on the Internet when I google. It means the corollary of enlightenment, for with light there is surely also heat, and if you expect to see celestial visions or shake hands with God, the temperature is going to rise. In fact, you might want to consider how much it could rise when you flick that switch. Do you really want to be incinerated for a few flashy moments of incandescent cosmic vision?

So do turn on, but dial it up gradually. Feel the heat, then dial it up some more. Let what needs to melt, melt, before you crank it up for the full effulgence. Get enheatened, by all means. It's a warm groove.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

True history

Having read The Da Vinci Code and now seen American Treasure, I realize that history as it is written is a vast distraction. The real history of any import has to do with secret organizations like the Knights Templar and the Freemasons, which have over centuries been harboring hordes of ancient treasure dating from the time of the Pyramids, and of course the Holy Grail itself. And these coveted items are squirreled away in church basements and the like, just waiting for those who are skilled enough to follow clues that have been placed on the dollar bill and other inconspicuous places.

These books and movies, of which we will doubtless see more, must themselves be messages implanted into the cultural mainstream by shadowy figures to awaken the human race to the hidden mystical currents underlying ordinary life. Be not deluded that because these mind-bending ideas are now being delivered through the popular media, they are somehow less credible than what is enshrined in history books.

Be warned. Heed these cryptic cyphers and follow them to the limit, or be engulfed in the miasma of error masquerading as truth.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Less is more

Less is more. We hear that. Just what does that mean? It seems to come out of the perception that when enough is too much, then less than enough is about right. Thus if I don't get enough to eat, that would be preferable, and if I don't have enough money to pay for the meal, so much the better. I hope the restaurant will be understanding if I'm a little short on cash tomorrow, knowing that actually my giving them less is better for them in so many ways. Because after all, they didn't give me enough. So I will still be hungry and they can continue to sell me less and less and make more and more.

Yes, let us be wary of getting enough and thus bringing progress to a standstill. We might even have to stop reincarnating to fulfill our desires, if they are all satisfied.

Less is more. Remember, it's not just good business. It's the right way to live.