Saturday, January 11, 2014

Poetry, or The Wager

Let's say it starts out with a quiet little village up somewhere in the mountains you know. The old barns and horses and barbed fences and yellow grass, all you pass. Like Suches; such a place! It's sweet and treasuring, and you have fond, fond memories up that way. Say it starts with that.

You find yourself walking along a path of tiny stones and sandy dirt and grass roots and dried ants and moss occasionally. The trees start growing overhead and reach out to push each other away, one of those all natural frenemy deals that works. They all share while all taking as much as they damn well please. You see, we like to think the world of nature is a pleasant place of fairy creatures inordinately gay with sprite-satten toadstools streams counseling right on by. But it isn't like that. It's a competition among equals, respect and ownership of mistakes. Self-judgment with full justice before ever deceiving the rival, these are combined in the figures of those trees overhead. All of nature is this way. It's not war. It's not love. It's releasing into the flow while still having faith. And if we die, we were already going to, and that's just how the next crew has to play it, so you give them that, because they are also your equals, your flesh absorbed in the next participants in the deal. So we release into the flow not only our fantasies and our hopes, but also our clinging to this world.

It's all right up there in the trees, in how they struggle with one another and abhor one another and terrorize one another and pollute one another and invade one another, in all those things who live. There, in all that massive network of life, are equals.

This is how it all starts. It starts in places like this, what we might call a true life. There is that moment in your life where it clicks just enough, and just right, that you know you're alive, you're human, and you're actually here and now. And it's a lovely, earthy, decomposed smell; trees gently sweating nectar; birds nakedly whistling sexual demands; firm, yielding soil underneath your feet. It's a moment in time that calls you forth and, immediately, informs you that you are now on the clock counting down. You are now losing it, falling slowly back into your seat, then bed; it's getting weaker, each it. You now have to find as often as you can all the experiences in life whose intensity and savor can, for another moment in time, call you forth right out of that quicksand hole you're making within the ground.

These are all distractions. These are all diversions, each and every escape from the inevitable. Sex. Fluids. Roller coasters. Gambling. Trolling on the Internet. Sexually harassing weaker people. We all have our diversions; we are all sinners, precisely because each one of us has our little diversions to keep us away from the despair we feel, because we have lost it, each it. We have all taken to desecrating our little village and our walk. We drive through the mud, we toss our waste as we do. We let people bankrupt our trade, and let ghosts become lessors, letting homes become possessed. And so the rot goes, and the life of nature where respectful equals dueled justly but always for destruction brought about all kinds of diversity is overtaken by the rot of gloating exploitation. This is not the survival of the fittest. This is their destruction.

All because we are all afraid of something that's all too true about who and what we are. We are all going to die, and we are going to always die sooner than we hoped, until we learn to stop hoping, and then you will always die at the exact right time.

Because if you do not know the right time, then you will never know if you got as much happiness out of that shot as you could. You will always be gambling away your fortune, the possible fortune of having all of it. To you, you who do not know when you are going to die, you will have missed out on all the fun. You're always left behind, always trailing, always just one last spin away from. . .

But if you do know the right time, and you die right on time, then none of this is for you. You are free, finally free to now approach everyone as an equal in a mutually shared act of destruction, and so kill one another at the appropriate time in the appropriate way with the appropriate level of pain. Every single thing and being in the entire material world: all treated with a solicitation for consent. You only do as much harm as each thing consents to be harmed, with no ideological questions, no false consciousness, no coercion, no emotional misgivings or regrets.

Now, thinking about it that way, it sounds so absolutely ridiculous, doesn't it? See how perverse we've become? Even our heavens have clauses. But when someone offers a really compelling idea of truly radical solicitation of consent where the mathematical calculations of utiles for every perspective matches into a possible world, and every one consents as every one solicits, where there really is an acceptable zero sum game—it's a joke, right?

That's the one, folks. That's heaven. But don't you see? Why don't you actually believe in it? Why do we do such stupid things? We are alive and we fuck over one another, dirty ourselves and worship shit. This is why we eat shit. We say it. Eat shit. We mean it. Eat shit. Each one of us. We do this to ourselves, because we don't believe in the slightest that the infinite happiness for the infinite infinity of the world is possible. We don't believe it at all. And that's why we collectively dislike Pascal's Wager and come up with deceptively boring and conclusively baseless rejections. You can't accept people know why they do what they are doing when they resist this idea of heaven, so don't bother asking them. A sinner is always going to lie to you until ready for confession. No, don't bother. So here's the truth.

The Wager challenges us to just go for it. Sure, it's such a ridiculously absurd idea. An infinite totality where even the emotional sensitivity of a quark or a cockroach or a galaxy cluster is respected, and where all these give consent at the same time. Not a yesyes nor a nono, but always it is all Yes in him. But look at what this ridiculous idea is saying. Isn't that infinite happiness? And isn't that so much better than the heaven you were not long ago just about willing to embrace? Come now, don't be smug: just because you sneak in that your heaven isn't a fantasy but informed by cold hard science, and so a world without ghosts is the best you can hope for, doesn't mean you don't believe in heaven. My idea is all the more ridiculous to you, but then just think back and honestly see why: you gave up on the infinite happiness a long fucking time ago. You lost your faith. You lost our way.

So, the Wager gets us. Look at all of them who will just avoid it altogether. Better things to read, sorry. Better arguments to study, bro. They don't want to be reminded that even if they do not believe in hell anymore, they already believe in prisons. They already built detention centers. The walls of surveillance and control and discipline are all there. There are parents out there who keylog their own kids. Monsters. Let them play. These are all the chains we get away with. These are the chains we forged immediately when we became humans, when we had to put on the clothes of the things that didn't have to die but for what we did, linking us to the things we kill out of turn and inappropriately. We believe in these chains. We do not believe in hell, but we do believe in Guantanamo, we do believe in cubicles.

That's all things we don't want to accept, because it means we can never really discount—can we?—we're right now in chains just at the edge of our reality. Spiritual chains, chains magical enough to disrupt our perception of the reality. And who believes in magic anymore? Not me, I do illusions, deceptions, mirages. Whoever could do something like, to us, must really not like us. Why put us in chains for something we didn't do? Wait, hold on, who ever said I believe in any of this, anyway? I'm just saying, hypothetically speaking, why punish us this way? Why put us in chains, to feel that weight dragging our arms down? Why not just end us and annihilate us? Never bother with us? Why create something just so it will suffer!?

Because, so the Wager says, infinite happiness for the infinitely infinity. You asked for this.

You just don't remember it.

But we're here to help you.

Just like you asked.

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