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The last time
I thought about sodomizing cattle was
when I was ten, looking into the eyes of Betty Blue, our cow for the month of slaughter. No not really sodomy, I guess I’m talking about love. She was a good cow – a friendly cow. She let me sit on her back… I’m not talking about rides here cause the apathetic little thing was tied down to a tree with a 6 foot radius in which to muck about in – yes, there was shit all over the place so I can’t blame her for not taking me on walks. Yes, I remember Betty Blue clearly. She had these amazing eyes I totally fell in love with. I didn’t tell anyone but, the last three days before she was decapitated, I used to go hang out with her at night in our back garden. She was a good cow. When the men came to slice her up, she protested as any good cow would. There were five of them but despite all, when the knife ran across her neck in the name of some random god she obviously had no recollection of, she straight lifted her haunches, threw the men aside, snapped her rope and ran for dear life. A little too much a little too late Betty Blue… The damn knife had half sliced her head off and running around the courtyard only accomplished decorating the green grass and white washed walls of our home a deep, frothy red. We were all inside of course, terrified of this manic, half-dead cow. Hell, even the butchers had leapt up onto the walls and trees to escape poor old Betty Blue. She died after a couple of minutes of running and pacing. When they gutted her, I saw the last bit of life leave that body – I swear I saw her tail shiver on a windless day.
2 I was ten then, I’m twenty three now. Some people asked me why I’d use such a goddamn morbid introduction to my story. Well, simple fact is, when I was in grade school, all my teachers used to say: “You wanna write a good story boy? Well then its gotta have a catchy introduction.” An amusing anecdote, a statistic, an example or some such bullshit. So I thought cow sodomy and eventual decapitation would get my reader’s attention. I mean, who doesn’t feel a vague interest in cows and their futures right? It’s not like the time my dog died. When my dog died it was the kind of affair no one wants to really hear about or recall simply because there’s a lot of blame to go around – that and it was a really slow process. He was a nice doggie and we all loved him but looking at this world, it’s sad to see that love doesn’t go very far in actually feeding the hungry or housing the poor and all that stuff those news channels occasionally tell us about. Point of fact (and this is just an opinion) ‘love’ makes really pretty postcards with sad starving children on them. Love also does things like make documentaries, run charities and general caring of that nature. What’s the quote again? Ah yes, “It was a work of love my dear, that’s all there is to it.”
3 What love doesn’t do is any real work. That’s usually done by irate citizens who don’t give a damn about the cause but are stuck in a situation where it is their job or duty to do so. That was my mother, and the former UNICEF picture-postcard folk were me and my sisters. That dog died on our hands cause we enjoyed him just like people enjoy postcards from a loved one – take a look, read it a coupla times then toss it to the back of the drawer to be pulled out when you’re dead so your grandchildren can gape at it in awe and wonder at its significance. Jack shit. Yeah I have one of those post cards right here beside me. Haven’t looked at it in years but I know its somewhere at the back of this drawer and it’s got Kurt Cobain on it with a gun in his mouth. Funny picture. Yeah the dog though – we never cared for it. Loved it about six months then it kinda faded from sight. In the last six years of the damn things life, I’d say I met and hung out with it maybe twenty days tops. And six of those were the days before he died. My mom did all the feeding and occasional cleaning – and that too in the half hearted way of a good Samaritan who cant see something suffer - so instead everything got done in half measures. Was that Hannibal Lecter who said the tragedy of this world is that humans do everything in half measures? “They should kill me or give me back my books.”
Poor Hannibal the cannibal – all alone in a jail cell with nothing to read for years and years. I’d prefer death or the books too. Half-measures, you gotta hate them. So yeah, the dog – see how unimportant that poor sonuvabitch is? I can’t even finish his story I keep yawning through it and slipping off on tangents. This dog finally got tics all over his body; huge bloodsuckers of a vampiric nature. I remember one afternoon when the power was out and the PC was dead I glanced out my bedroom window and saw this mutt lying in a pile of dirt with over 50 of these things attached to him; little sacs full of his blood. I grimaced and went to take a shower. Anyway a week later our mother informs us the dog is deadly ill and something needs to be done. My elder sis cries and my younger sis bawls and I give the dog a bath and take off its tics. We all take turns playing with him for the last six days and he is so happy, so damn happy – shit you should’ve seen the guilt on our faces as his tired old eyes lit up at the sight of us – playful yaps and a sickly tongue rolling out to lick the hands that killed him. He died in my arms a few days later – quiet afternoon, soft breeze and all that. I think he had tic fever or something but god knows, we never took him to a vet – we weren’t that guilt-ridden. He died happy though.
This story isn’t about pets
though it may
seem that way initially – and given the number of pets we’ve kept and had die on us, I could very well write a whole novel on the subject. There was our pretty Russian Samoyed who got bit by a
5 snake. There were our ducks who got eat by our grandmother. There was our goat who got ate by our dad. There were those other ducks who caught a neural virus of some sort that ate up their brains and caused them to convulse on the ground for two days before their little bodies just gave in and died from exhaustion. There was that goat who strangled itself on the cord we tied it with – damn thing bleated all night but no one bothered to get up to check on it. We woke in the morning to find ants crawling out of its eye sockets. There were sheep (ate them); there were chickens (died of some flu – and one got smashed on the side of a wall); there were cats (run over by our uncle – one died by sleeping in the engine at night and burning to death the following morning) and there were parakeets (mostly eaten by our cats or robbed by our servant children). The others I’m not going to get into cause you might reevaluate your decision to read on– but I think as far as pets go, this is the way things are. We just tend not to look at them in this light. I mean, I doubt any of us really confess to any of these actswhich-look-like-crime-on-paper. I’m twenty three now and a lot wiser than those days. I don’t keep pets anymore as a matter of policy. Well, that’s sort of untrue. I do keep pets – but most of you know them as friends so I’ll refer to them as such. Human pets: friends are a very vast and complicated subject, but I’ll talk about some of the pets I’ve owned, and in order to play it safe, I’m going to use fake names and mess with the stories a little so no one knows who’s talking about who. Right – right?
6 Right. Wrong. You see I’ve tried this before with limited success, and when I say limited I mean it’s been a mess. Here’s the thing about friends – they never want to hear the truth. The last thing a bunch of friends want to see is the inner working of their friend cause then it wouldn’t be a friendship anymore. No siree, that’s when friendship turns into enmity and you’ve got yourself a dead dog on your hand – either that or you’ve gotta convince everyone you write fiction and talk strange. Just recently during a bunch of excursions with some friends I began ranting and raving just for kicks “I speak the truth! I speak the truth!” I wasn’t really speaking the truth, hell I was lying each time I said it. People didn’t like it one bit – maybe it’s because it wasn’t funny that I was lying and then claiming I was speaking the truth. Or maybe it was the fact that given the depth of my insanity, I might actually begin to speak the truth – and you just know nobody wants that to happen. When I say truth what do I mean? That’s a complicated one and a whole story in itself. Philosophers tackle this subject all the time – the question of truth and whether we can know it and all that. Some smarty-pants like Plato shove the truth into Care-bear land far far away where everything is perfect. I can’t blame them because as I mentioned before, the truth in this world just plain sucks sometimes. Better to see it as a bunch of shadows playing themselves out; it’s a calming thought.
Then there’s philosophers like Nietzsche who cuss a lot and tear holes into everything they’ve known and heard on ‘the truth’. I like them – they’re funny. They make me laugh and enjoy life a lot more than Care-bear land fantasies. It’s a whole lot better than some religious crap about Care-bear land being run by some giant teddy bear who knows best, is best. I’m speaking of ideal forms here by the way, sorry for the retarded metaphorical jargon about bears, but it makes sense to me. I had this nightmare you see, and it changed my life somewhat. When I was sixteen (that’s fairly old) I had a dream which involved care bears. For those who don’t know, care bears is a cartoon for very little children which involves a bunch of cute cuddly bears living in clouds dealing with issues of good and evil in their battles with umm, I forget, but you get the picture. Anyway I’m sixteen and I’m in my bed at home and I have this dream which opens up with me playing around with a buncha care bears in their jolly little homes in the clouds. Fun stuff till suddenly we hear a rumor that Gargamoyle (evil villain from the cartoon series: The Smurfs) is invading the land and capturing care bears. Naturally we all freak right? The bears and me, we’re up here in a world of ideal forms and now this bastard is apparently fucking everything up? We set out to make things right again... There’s a lot of journeying in this next part of the dream so I’ll skip over all of that (just insert some Lord of The Rings scenes here) and dive straight into the next memorable sequence. We (care bears and I) fail in our mission. We’ve been captured by this evil
8 cloaked guy and he’s put us in chains and strung us up along a dark, mountain wall (ala childhood scenes from, ‘The Black Cauldron’). The dank air permeates evil. A molten pit of lava is before us. This Gargamoyle chap – he starts unstringing these helpless bears from the chains they’re bound in, and (making sure I’m watching) he tosses them into the lava pit to scream and burn and melt horrendously. Some of them plead to me to help them but I can’t do anything. Some of them are dangled feet first so only half of them burn. It’s all fairly horrific. I wake up in a sweat and burst out crying because, rather like Betty Blue, it was intense and felt unjust. But a few sobs later I ended up in this fairly numb post-nightmare state where I reflected upon the complete madness of the dream. I knew it was important, and now that I’m twenty three I think I’ve understood it. I’ve had a lot of dreams since then and I’ve learnt one essential lesson – we control dreams. Whether they run on subconscious autopilot or conscious engineering, we are their masters – they are ours. When those bears were screaming for help, I freaked because I knew innately that I could help them. Nowadays if I have a dream in which I want to change something, I just change it with an act of will – but then again, there are times when I let things play out. I wanted those fucking bears to die because I wanted to see how the world would look without them. This has taken a long time to admit but bear with me. You see when I awoke, I wasn’t upset because the bears were dead... I was upset because I felt guilty about having killed them. Having said that, I want to clarify my position on God really quick. The more astute reader may have guessed where I’m
9 coming from, but I’m gonna lay it straight out. Care bear dreams are useful because if you replace care bears with notion of God we get: 1. 2. 3. 4. An entity we are taught at a young age to know and respect An entity which is essentially fiction created by man to fulfill a It’s obviously an ultimately ideal entity (though he/she/it can Killing above-mentioned entity is seen as evil and will cause
and love. role of educator, guide etc. have as many forms as there are bears in your head). lots and lots of guilt. Now given the fact that my childhood has given me ample opportunity to witness death, I’d say all those animals dying held a point eh? Maybe not – no point justifying it all in another neatly packaged article. All I’m trying to say is that God is dead the moment you choose to kill him. Any ideal you hold dear is dead the moment you choose to kill it. They’re all constructs straight out of care bear land. I’m not saying it’s good to kill care bears, far from it – I’m just saying I kill care bears. Frequently. The question of truth can now be answered. What I find to be true is what occurs moments after you kill off a care bear and moments before you find another care bear to play with. Sort of like pets. Sounds horrendous doesn’t it? Well I think the answer lies in having no pets at all. Don’t keep pets. This isn’t some absurd Hindu-pundit move to clear the self of all definitions. It doesn’t
10 mean you can’t stroke an animal from time to time or keep one around. It just means, don’t automatically presume they are yours and then assume the mantle of responsibility and guilt. I’m twenty three and I haven’t reached the place where I can hold onto any truth for a very long time. I love care bears just as much as Plato loved them. I do however have that twentieth century utilitarian schizophrenetic approach to life where, if necessary, I will murder my pets or watch them die from lack of the necessary audio-visual stimulation which drives most of us to thoughts/action today. This may not necessarily be a bad thing. I’m not saying I’m a bastard. I’m saying we all are but we just don’t acknowledge it, and if we’re all bastards, that word is sort of meaningless.
This story isn’t about philosophy
though. I wanted to tell you about my friends but I came to the realization that I couldn’t. Instead, I’ve found a temporary solution – I can tell you about falling in love. Remember that cow? Betty Blue? I said I loved her in the opening lines to this story. Well how do I know what love is? I mentioned her eyes and the fact that she let me sit on her back, but I’m no utilitarian when it comes to love. Love is not at all about utility, for if it was, this world would probably be a very different place. Ever since that Christ guy came along and indoctrinated us in the
11 ways of love and ever since those hippies expanded on the idea and, oh those countless thousands of others from Keats to Coelho to Shakespeare – what do with this messy issue of love? I say kill all the care bears and expand on it all over again. I think it was Nietzsche who said all philosophers do is write autobiographies in the clever guise of wise words. I’d agree with him but not with all the cuss words he threw in for good measure. Theres nothing wrong with an autobiography dressed up in wisery as long as one is aware of the fact and makes it plain to his audience. So…love and what it means to me... Going back to the cow I’ll break down how I came to love her. I don’t really know if I do, I just made it up for the sake of a good opening. That’s not to say me and the cow didn’t have those moments – that’s all true and I remember a feeling akin to love, but instead of relying on memory, lets break it down based on the actual words I used in what I think love actually is/extends from. 1. Sexual attraction/interest (the whole sodomy bit) 2. An emotional response (the comment on the eyes) 3. Shared activities (the ride on the back) I hate to be Hegelian about it, but it does seem that the first and foremost point in my analysis of love stems from the immediate sensory reaction to the sights and smells of a mate. Given the fact that we humans have this higher evolved brainstem, we take this stimulus and respond in kind with our rather unique abilities to generate (and be aware of) emotional states. Following that,
12 there’s the undertaking of shared moments together. Love – seems a little bland when compared to the towering passion of Keats. I’ll throw in a few more points. Given the fact that I was analyzing a bunch of words on paper, perhaps I didn’t do love justice. What about the abstraction love? The one which lives in care bear land and applies to things like says, love of work? Love of destruction? Love of soccer? Love of knowledge? Seems a little more dynamic than love of mate. Well care bear land has all the problems of all things to do with floating on clouds – it’s a dreamy make-believe function of the mind which has little to do with reality. I don’t believe in love – perhaps you do, and last I checked, the burden of proof lies in the hands of the one affirming, not in the hands of the skeptic. That’s not to say I haven’t been in love, far from it - I’m a notorious lover because I love the paradigm so much. Lets just admit it – flesh tastes sweeter when you have the notion of love attached to it. Men and women look sexier with love thrown in the mixture. Jesus knew he’d hit upon a big one when he declared love thy neighbor. With everyone under a massive cloud of ideals, everyone could get along and live happily ever after While all the other folks living under a different cloud could use care bear land and its constant swirling nature to manipulate the world as they please? It’s inevitable. Love – don’t make me laugh. I guess I should speak about power now but before that I must mention, I’ve been in love five significant times with a member of the opposite sex. Can’t name them for above-mentioned truth-
13 telling issues but they all knew about it, and a number of these developed into relationships of varying types. Hell, I’ve even known and experienced love at first sight. When I grew older and learnt what lust at first sight meant however, I considered changing this claim having once again woken up to find a dead care bear by my side, but for the sake of continuity, lets just say that yes, I have experienced love at first sight. It was amazing – I wanted to sing, dance, write poems and draw crappy postcards about it all. I never did write those poems though (the whole love versus lust thing cropped up quickly). No, the only poems I’ve ever really written have been about varying amounts of pain and hate.
Once upon a time I was a poet
. A fairly
good poet too. I knew what rhyme and metre was innately and I was able to express exactly what I meant to in the form of words on paper. Some of it wasn’t very pretty, but pretty has never distracted me (too long) from truth (All romantics who see beauty equating truth may exit stage left right about now). My very first poem was about suicide. The second about suicide. The third about murder. I have them all catalogued you see – I’m a very thorough twenty three year old. There are piles and piles of old copies of poems lying around even now. Some about high school; some about demons; some about gutting my girlfriend and wearing her esophagus as a garland for dinner parties. Yes dear reader, the same ‘love at first sight’ one. You see here’s this odd thing about love. As much as we humans crave for it to be eternal as it appears in that big TV screen in our heads playing reruns of Care Bears all day long, its not. Its just about as real as white
14 supremacy. What did you say? You don’t go around chanting, ‘white power! white power!’ all day long? No YOU MOTHERFUCKING BASTARDS YOU MAKE SHOWS LIKE SEX AND THE CITY THE OC EVERY FUCKING SOAP OPERA IN THE WORLD SELF HELP AUDIOTAPES CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL E-CARDS EMO-PUNK BANDS BRITNEY SPEARS ECSTACY IS GOOD FOR YOU FONDLE YOUR DAUGHTERS CHEAP PORNOGRAPHY STORYLINES MR ROGERS VALENTINES DAY LOVE YOUR PARENTS LOVE YOUR NATION LOVE YOUR FLAG DIE FOR ME OBSESSION COMPULSION TOLERANCE CRAVING HEART CAPITALIST STUFFED DOGMA TOYS SHAPED
HIGHSCHOOL DRAMA DEATH TO HATERS DEATH TO CRITICS LOVE THYSELF BUT LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR SUCK MY DICK WHILE I SUCK YOURS ALLS FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR POISON And thus indoctrinate the collective with the all powerful: love. A motherfucking meme. I’m not angry at our care bear in the sky. Love is a many splendored thing. I’m angry at the way it’s been taken out of the TV screen in people’s heads and actually been applied to reality. I mean, white supremacy is all well and good when it’s nonintrusive and non-brainwashing – I like white supremacists in limited doses. They make me chuckle and they obviously believe in what they do without causing too much damage in this particular day and age. They’re a dying breed so let them have
15 their last dance. But this love thing. Just try not believing in it for a little while. Just try telling other people you don’t. Try walking fifty paces in a human dwelling without running into it. White supremacists may kill a person of color and suffer consequences, but who’s policing people (knowingly or unknowingly) using love? No one. To be fair on love, I gotta admit, its got a far wider scope than I’ve given it – but that doesn’t justify the main at all. And besides, crux of the matter is: Someday, all care bears die. I mean, lets look at religion for a little bit. I mentioned the word meme a little earlier. It sounds like a little alien insect but its not, though close. A meme is a new term, born out of the combination of mother psychology and daddy evolutionary theory, and its grown into a fairly catchy little child. To quote from an essay I wrote entitled, ‘Ideology’: “A meme may be defined as any self-referential belief system which contains within itself the instructions for its own propagation. Memes are often described as the cultural equivalents of computer viruses.” A successful meme can be paralleled to a virus, taking up residence in its host (the human mind) and then propagating itself. Memes use communication in order to propagate.
16 Now you already see how I’m bringing in the religious angle right? Its going to be destructive, but before that, let me tell you – I’ve been a fairly religious guy. Or at the very least, I’ve been a lot more genuinely interested in religion than the average twenty three year old. I never liked Islam, this thing I was born into – not because Islam isn’t a good religion, but because I just couldn’t stand prayers, didn’t understand fasting, didn’t like the hypocrisy ever-present in its proclaimed followers, enjoyed masturbating and fornicating, and most of all – I hated having to follow orders and rules dictated by relatives specifically and the society at large in more general terms. Islam always poked its nose into my affairs when I least wished it would. When I was trying to enjoy a comic book, Islam would waltz on in through a door and say it was time for prayer. Whenever I was enjoying a good, dirty joke Islam would step in and censor some of it. Whenever I was about to nap, Islam wanted me to read the Quran in a foreign language taught by a dirty man with a beard. If I did something nice, it wasn’t because of my good nature, it was because of Islam’s guidance. If I did something bad, Satan had successfully tempted me. Apparently if Islam disappeared, we human clogs would just pause and fall down lifeless to the ground, or worse, turn rabid and run in the streets raping, looting and plundering. You get the picture. Worst of all, Islam (in the form of my grandmother) condemned me using my left hand to shovel food into my mouth. Now a lot of you are thinking: that’s not Islam – Islam is so much nicer in
17 essence. That’s a bunch of New-age crap, usually spouted by people whom Islam would label hypocrites or just really-badmuslims (remember we spoke of doing things in half measures?). It’s always the really-good-muslims who’re following a bunch of elaborate and strange guidelines to weed out all other ideologies in favor of their own. So this left hand business. I felt discriminated against and vaguely fearful of being seen eating with my left hand in front of grouchy old folks. Aside from that I tend to enjoy being left-handed. In this day and age its considered, ‘special’ and, ‘unique’ and all those other silly keywords signifying individuality. Just a few days ago I was browsing a website (Wikipedia) and their article on lefthandedness and how its got hardly anything to do with being different – and at the end of the article they state there’s a positive correlation identified between sexual offenders and left-handers. So then I spent the next couple of hours wondering if I’m a pedophiliac sexual offending type. I mean, I’ve seen my fair share of pornography and I like-a the young nubile bodies but this was stretching it a little wasn’t it? Was it? Back to religion though. I mentioned a distaste for Islam. I was apathetic towards religion all the way up to the age of seventeen when a weird twist of fate took me on a very long journey through the left-hand path of religious doctrine. It was nearing graduation time in my high school, Karachi Grammar School. I was a problem child and a bit of a misfit by this point, having woken up disenchanted from the whole: education is geared to teach you important things. I was busy
18 studying marijuana and its effects on the body and as was habit, I used to study between class-breaks – meaning I was stoned out of my gourd for most lessons. We were sitting in General class, my misfit friend and I – discussing a recent poem I’d written on the advantages of throwing oneself out the window of a second floor classroom in mid-lecture, when unexpectedly the teacher chanced upon us and, having assumed the mantle of great dictator, demanded that we declare right this instant what our final general project would be focusing on. I was significantly higher than my friend so I fixed my glazed eyes upon above-mentioned dictator and backanswered like a newborn Che, ‘It’s on Satanism’. A silence descended on the class. Being seventeen and being able to silence a classroom is quite a power trip so I continued in a rapid burst familiar to those of you who’ve hung out in stoner circles. I gave a general outline of the imaginary study and listed some main points I would be analyzing with the help of my misfit partner. The teacher was far too impressed to say no. That same day, I went home and got onto the internet with a vengeance – the power trip slightly faded but no less potent in its memory. I was going to study Satanism like no one had studied it before. The first page I opened up wasn’t an article or essay at all – it was a fictional piece. A one-page story about Satan ramming his cock
19 up the Virgin Mary while she’s carrying Jesus in her womb. The climax is Satan’s huge member breaking past Mary’s cervix to fuck baby Jesus in the head till he turns to mush and flows out of his mother. Pretty gory. That’s not the point though. Point is I discovered contemporary Satanism in all its ego-obsessed, become-a-man-bigger-than-aman, thou-art-god, do-what-thou-wilt-shall-be-the-whole-of-thelaw, might-is-right stuff - and I’ll tell you right now, stepping out of an Islamic funk, it appealed... The project never got handed in and I think misfit friend and I flunked that class, but that didn’t mean I didn’t spend all my time researching and studying all I could get my hands on. I got so entrenched, in college in the US when asked what my final project would be for an Argumentation and Persuasion class – I said it would be Satanism. Same pin drop silence… I grew to love that paradigmic shift. I mean, imagine you are God and the gnosis arises not from some silly, distant conceptual reality of Heaven, Hell, gods and angels etc. but from the individual – from laws such as self preservation and autonomy, anarchy, responsibility to the responsible with no dogma or rituals in tow. Hell the only thing you needed to be a Satanist was assume you are one. What eventually drew me out of the whole Satanism thing was a brief stint into agnosticism, mainly inspired by the fact that I was
20 having too good a time doing drugs and sleeping around in college to be bothered with issues requiring fine-tuned mental processes. Yeah you heard me right – religion is meant to be approached with fine tuned mental processes – cause eventually, the long-term goal is to unlearn and redefine it - and you can’t unlearn an idea or system you don’t have a good grasp of.
After sex and drugs
and a short period in which I
assumed I’d turned schizophrenic, I returned to studying religion and issues of a questioning nature. It was fairly accidental though; my crazy Somali roommate was obsessed with making a piece of paper balanced on a toothpick rotate using the psychic powers of his mind… I watched him pointlessly staring at this toothpick-n-paper apparatus and smoking far too much of the ganja for three days before finally asking (light-heartedly of course) where he could possibly have come up with such an idea. He pointed towards a pile of trashy books he’d pulled out of the library – various titles all revolving around the same subject: occultism and its practice. I know that sounds really heavy but in actuality, the books were fairly rubbish; chock-full of silly diagrams and get-magic-powersquick instructions with third rate psychology models and outdated scientific principles. I found it dull but I’m a voracious reader so I read them all – and what I found was that the art of what ‘occult’ seemed all about wasn’t the magic in itself – it was up-front, the art of duping other people and, secondly, a way to engineer the world in subtle ways to suit you. All the authors had
21 one main modus operandi: utilize anything to serve your purpose. They’d taken this concept and applied it to so many facets of life for so long that it had become a form of religion, almost. I liked it. Not the spin paper on toothpicks bit – but the power struggles and eclectic approaches to everyday issues. The Chicago Library right outside Schaumburg became my new haven with all its occult-related books and new-age sections. There was a lot of fluffy-bunny, furry-wiccan, look-at-me-I’m-a-black-magicianpsychologist bull shit, but for someone with the right eyes, the method and aims of the rubbish distilled, purified and crystallized into a form of goal which became quite clear. Power. I checked in a dictionary right now and it says power is possession or controlling influence. Fair enough – I can work with that one. I became power-hungry just like the others, and like many other successful practitioners, I hid the desire in the all consuming light of a, ‘spiritual struggle’ which even my above-mentioned grandmother had no qualms with. I was pure and I was focused and I was ever-striving and studying grimoires and texts and Sufism and astral traveling and the names of the Goetian demons and tantra and hypnosis and all those out-there subjects which are collectively just the one and the same: a move towards controlling influence. A lot of this stuff ran straight into the extremities of religious thought. Kabbalah was everywhere and so was Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism. Paganism, witchcraft and tidbits of
22 shamanistic practices happened by as well. Alchemy with its spiritual questing for the ultimate purity fascinated me as did studying the Lesser Keys of Solomon in the hopes of gaining a demon or spiritual entity as a guide/companion. Was I successful in any of this stuff? I’d say more-so than the average occult junkie. I had that one distinct advantage you see. I never lost sight of the broader perspective – power. I never became obsessed with one thing or the other as I knew they were all essentially rubbish aiming at a greater goal. Who cares if you could mentally spin pieces of paper on sticks? Who cares if you’re receiving Arabic texts via automatic writing from a Jewish demon containing the keys for enlightenment. Who cares if you’re able to remotely view anything within three miles of you by merely shutting your eyes. Who cares if you can bend and distort metal to your will. Who cares if you could hypnotize people and send them on transcendent (or not so transcendent) journeys through their psyches. So what if you could lucidly roam around in dreams of your own creation. Read the future, access past-lives, attain nirvana states in meditation - none of that interested me for very long – I was going for gold (as the alchemists would say). I thought I found it in this odd spiritual path dubbed vampirism by its creators/practitioners. I’ll explain it all to you in one simple paragraph. This vampire paradigm is about attaining energy from others for your personal consumption by any means necessary. Power – and not just any power; power over other human beings. I never liked politics but I believe I would have made a good politician by virtue of my inherent need to control others and gain access to anything/anyone I pleased. Remember though, I was
23 working under the guise of spiritual enlightenment and all notions of power were non-existent. I had conveniently convinced myself that all this was a journey towards something great and true. And perhaps it was... Sitting on a bench one night besides a pretty female companion, I mentioned this quest of mine in its broadest terms. My friend looked at me with the strangest eyes and said I had struck upon something fundamental – something all humans strive for, the difference being I was fully awake and striving towards the goal with my eyes wide-open while most people sleep-walk their way towards it until death ends the whole struggle. Death? I was meant to be immortal, but my quest didn’t offer me a convenient heaven-if-you-do-good, hell-if-you-do-bad scenario. No, I’d quit believing in Heaven and Hell a long time ago. I needed to be immortal in a true sense. I’m sick of this topic however, so something brand new instead. Immortality and questing towards it isn’t really my forte anymore – it seems too much like a fear of death hidden in care bear words by very large egos. Suffice to say all this strange spirituality ended violently with my death. Or at least it felt that way given the extent to which I’d wrapped myself up in illusions/delusions. I’d say I was a very foolish boy, but luckily, I have a tendency to wake up from sleep – and I have the example of others around me to cheer me up somewhat.
24 I didn’t say my ego or arrogance dissolved in the mix…
has always been an issue of mine and we can all thank
Freud for birthing and nurturing that particular care bear. Simple fact: this is one bear which is almost impossible to kill because the premises and clauses around which it lives and breathes makes it one of the greatest bears of all time. Lots of people say Freud is a sick fuck – well and good – but this particular sick fuck OWNS you. I’m not even going to get into the impact of Freud on modern/post-modern reality; I would do it complete injustice. I want to speak on the Ego as an entity. I met mine once when it had grown so large it was visible. How many of you have had that feeling where your body and mind are acting on their own volition and you are simply a passive observer of the events that unfold? That’s a fairly good indicator that you should search about to see what/who exactly is at the steering wheel. I think it was Paulo Coelho who mentioned speaking to the entities within by placing them into your left hand/right hand and addressing them in familiar terms. It sounds fluffy-bunny, but hey, I still use it sometimes. When I met my ego though, goddamn it didn’t fit in my hand at all. We’re talking about a big black shroud hiding at the very edges of my eyesight, large as a gorilla and very, very hostile. I freaked till I figured out it wasn’t going to harm me – hell it was me. Personifying care bears into visualizations isn’t very hard for an imaginative person. After all, break them down to their core and they’re all just stuffed animals walking around anyway. For the
25 longest time I thought I was very unique and original to be actually seeing abstract concepts in such a way – but then I had this brief run-in with a kid on my campus who said he’d lend me his entire anime collection if I’d just lend him my DVD copy of Akira Kurosawa’s, ‘Seven Samurai’. It was a fair trade, and in his collection of cartoons, I found a fifty episode series titled, ‘Full Metal Alchemist’. Imagine my disappointment/excitement at finding out the plot revolved around manifest archetypes of the seven deadly sins all roaming around in sub-human glory. Lust as a beautiful woman with extending claws; Gluttony as a fat, bald, mindless man obsessed with eating flesh – you get the picture. So perhaps I’m not as unique as I think I am. And perhaps all the things I think and write about aren’t as strange and unfamiliar as people assume they are. *shrug* Passing thoughts with little relevance to what I’m talking about. I’m not trying to justify or prove anything. I’m here to write my story. I said when my spiritual phase died, I died with it. Well that’s sort-of true and its all tied into the above mentioned Ego chap dressed in black. I am loathe to break the train of narrative but I feel I must reach into my extensive notes and extract a real gem written a short time after this whole, ‘death’ episode happened in order to give a clear picture of how my mind was functioning at the time.
26 So here we go:
How I met my angel (a letter to a friend)
Dearest N, Where to begin is always the hardest part. I could start from my past life as an aborigine magician named Ekhrihe but that might be pushing your patience to sit through this vaguely cinematic experience. *screen goes blank* I have had, since a long time, a massive ongoing battle with good and evil inside me, and as is likely to happen, this battle manifests itself into this world (as do most things internal). I believe I’ve done and practiced certain things which were/are and shall always be evil in nature. I’ve also done inherently good things. Sometimes I’ve believed that the categories did not exist, or if they did, only thinking made them so. Well now I’ve learnt that what I knew was quite true, and I learnt that humans, or whatever we are, cannot escape those categories lest we wish to become subhuman. I’ve been sub-human. In fact I’ve been entirely nonhuman for periods of time. Note I do not recall the stories, but the essence of what they represent. That’s kind of so you can use your imagination to fill in the gaps or better yet, notice your own life reflecting bits of what has remained true, the principles. Anyway, sub-human living is something which will not work. This should be pretty obvious but actually, the opposite is true – it’s the hardest thing to learn in a sense, and at all times I think we’re
27 challenged to be human (who we are) rather than that which is not human. Anyway, so, recently in my life I went through a series of changes internally which led to me meeting my angel. You probably recall my interest in communicating with spirits through the pendulum and mirror gazing. Twice I spoke to an angelic entity in the mirror and it told me many things, some of which I noted down and narrated to you. The rest remain a secret kept in my heart. On three occasions I allowed partial possession of my hand so that the entity could write/draw its messages out to me. Iffy results...didn’t really believe in what I was doing/what was happening. All of this was on the right track with the wrong intent. My intent wasn’t to speak to spirits – my intent was absolute power through knowledge of the unseen unknown. So I got my wish (because my will be strong). The pursuit of knowledge (in its mistaken form) granted me many things, some of which I share directly with you. I did a lot of evil stuff in the clever guise of a good aim. It was Self-deception of sorts but a necessary deception - call it a tool if you will. So I deceived myself into fighting ‘the good fight’ while actually I was practicing things which should not be done. A cumulative effect of these practices came about in the form of a dark presence invoked in my bathroom. It haunted me, terrified me yet fascinated because it was so real. I gave it a name, ‘NA-IN’. Odd, I still feel the remnants of its presence when I take its name. This dark presence I took with me to *location deleted*. It was
28 there that I realized the only way I could actually be free of it was to allow it the liberty to roam around and do its ‘thing’ which was in essence, drain people of energy, hurt them, confuse them etc. I never really got a chance to test its power. I became very ill because this thing would drain me if not provided with an outlet. I had invoked it and I had no idea what to do with it. So it got worse and worse. I could set it onto others, but you would always accuse me, or the thought of you would always accuse me, so instead I avoided people in order to protect them from me and my creation. This got pretty bad. I got pretty weak – it got to the point where I would be passing out left right n center, even in my own room doing nothing. I drank tons of Tang to keep a balance but food just isn’t enough. It was something….so hard to explain. It’s a manifestation of the self yet it feeds upon more than just what your body intakes normally. We must have a soul, for it fed upon some other substance which makes me me. Anyhow, I came over to your house that one day and passed out on your bed in the afternoon. I felt like I was dying and I had no idea what to do, and I couldn’t really talk to anyone about it because A: they’d think I was crazy B: I’d think I was crazy C: I was quite sure I’d lost my mind. Then an odd thing happened. *scenario omitted*. That was a bad move but perhaps it saved me. N faded away into the distance because he would use me to feed off other people (making me feel like it was I being fed). Also, I was convinced that I now had the
29 freedom to let it roam among others. I did this on a couple of occasions and really, I recovered quickly because I was no longer under the direct influence of N. And then at some point I just knew all of this had gone too far. I looked in a mirror and saw my reflection and hated it. I stopped seeing even you, because in an odd way, you had betrayed me. I sat at home and let the sickness set in again. I fed it as best as I could, got fucking ill again and started losing my mind, yet at most an outsider observer would see me lying quietly in my bed. The presence of the black entity was so strong though that people would automatically know deep inside that something was seriously wrong with my health (of course no one could pin point the reason why). Do I think it would’ve killed me? Yes it would have, but at some point I would’ve done one of two things…given it absolute freedom (in which case my life would rise alongside it, but in all the wrong ways) or….or is what I did. And this is what happened: I was lying in my bed absolutely ill and feverish, contemplating suicide in multiple forms. I decided to let my thoughts drift and shit this is going to be long for I remember it all quite clearly – I guess it must be writ. I spent an hour crying tearfully into my pillow. God had forsaken me (in fact, I doubted his existence) yet I called his name again and again pleading not for mercy (for by then I truly believed I did not deserve mercy) but for understanding of why I must suffer my fate. Indeed, a veritable cascade of images, memories and thoughts pierced my mind like so many shards of glass; a
30 common experience for one who has pushed himself/been pushed into the realm of, what’s the word for it? Waking terror. I think I speak of insanity – madness for there really is no other label for it. I thought these very thoughts I list here right now. I scanned my childhood searching for reason but yknow, my childhood seemed unstained. Sure, I had troubles as a child. I was a middle child – was that perhaps a sign that I had missed? Yet there are many middle children in this world and none of them (as far as I could recall) suffered the unbearable torture of being that I did. Or perhaps I was being presumptuous. There was the issue of being the single male forced to play girly games with his sisters and the inevitable distance as puberty hit followed by alienation as the longing for a brother took its course. Was this the reason I suffered? I remembered imaginary friends and spirits invoked into the action figures I collected. Perhaps that had been a mistake I had failed to recognize. Talking to the plastic figure of Donatello (for he was the most sympathetic) was odd maybe but surely not cause for madness? I was a child then after all. By this time a form of semi-lucid delirium had set in and I was crying hard into my pillow. I buried my face deeper into the darkness - the darkness of shame. I was haunted by my sins. Something was forcing me to face them.
31 I had thrown my elder sister into a closet and slammed its heavy door on the hands that tried to claw their way out. I had asked my younger sister to stand in a puddle of water and asked her to clutch an electric pole which had raised the hair on my arms just moments ago. Their distant screams echoed in the still air of my room as did the soft coaxing voice of my father in the kitchen as he molested the servant girl. I saw and heard these things and did nothing. My sins of youth were upon me but those of adulthood remained. I mention these in detail so you can clearly perceive – so I can clearly remember the moment. The how, the why that gave me the moment which has granted me respite and a chance to redeem myself – to prove to myself that I am worthy; to keep myself from the real sin of self destruction. I was still clutching the pillow when my digital watched cried out into the night signaling the passing of another hour. Daylight was due in 2 more hours and the thought of the morning sun curbed the flowing tears. A contemplative bargain was struck, (with who?) fear being replaced by the softer, slower momentum of sorrow. I should have read that as a sign, but my mind was too far gone; nothing remained in perspective yet the images still rang true. I had clarity of vision seen through the filters of a madman. Adulthood manifested itself. I recalled my last year in high school wasted away in drugs, depression and an incessant desire to binge and purge. Was that coming back? It all seemed so hazy, as if my mind refused to let me make a comparison between now and then – perhaps fearful of what it might see.
Yes I had been in this state before. No I could not recall anything from that period. I had smoked a lot of marijuana. I talked to someone for hours in the bathroom. I hurt those who loved me. I remember being challenged, feeling unworthy and choosing death. (December 4th 2000). There had been more to life than fear and pain though. As sleep descended upon me, the original questions I pondered faded away. The false hope of an early morning signaled by a lone crow cawing outside my window allowed a still gentler frame of mind to settle in. Adulthood I mused had been an awakening of sorts. Unlike others around me, I found in myself a clearer notion of self and a grander desire to see this self touch the intangible. My friends called me a dreamer and indeed, dreams did occupy the grand scale of my thoughts. It had struck me as odd that it had taken so long for me to take my odd ability to live a waking dream before finally attempting to wake into a dreaming life (for I was nearly asleep at this point). I was so far gone into dream state that I giggled inwardly, immediately alerting me to the fact that I had almost fallen asleep. I tossed and turned in the dark, urging my eyelids to open again; shivering on purpose to keep the blood flowing through the body. I peered upward through heavy eyelids and was immediately accosted by the dark mark on the ceiling directly above me. A dark mark watching me from the darkness where it dwelled. I knew this creature… Paranoia.
My body went rigid and I slowly purposefully pulled the tangled bed sheet over my head. And then the words came to me. I began to pray to God in feverish earnest. At first I couldn’t believe the words coming out of my mouth. Then I tried to deny them. I thought myself unworthy. And then, I just let it happen. I knew someone was listening nearby. I prayed for minutes on end without stopping. I didn’t give God a chance to speak or let my mind take a break and analyze the words I spoke. I spoke of forgiveness. I spoke of mercy and submission. I spoke of my evil nature and I spoke of the beauty and grace of the God I would never be able to touch but whom I insisted I would communicate with in that moment. I had completed the confessional and I let God see that I knew myself and all my failings and despite all this, I was not afraid to talk to him. I loved God despite who I was and who I had become. The dark shadow I spoke of earlier seemed to be listening too. I paid it no heed and kept speaking in my mind. Letting God know what was truly in my heart… And then it happened... An angel came into the room. I wasn’t asleep and my eyes were open. This angel was so fierce looking I swear, you would have freaked. I tried to capture its image later but I’ll never be able to do justice to what I saw. It had a Wolf’s face? And perhaps it sort of looked like a goat standing up. Its muscles rippled across its arms and chest – the rest of the body was covered in goats’ hair
34 which became part of the flames. 12 feet tall with a huge club in its hand – its dark red body surrounded by flames which extended outward into the room, casting light everywhere. It looked like Satan. Sensing my fear it came toward me with a single stride and locked my gaze with its own. We communicated intuitively i.e. there were no words spoken. It said it had come in the image I held in my mind’s eye. It said it was terribly angry at what I had let happen to myself yet I sensed no anger in its tone. It said I was killing myself once more. I stayed mute (I don’t know how to communicate to them yet). It told me it was my guardian and that I never had to fear God ever again. It said that I harmed myself and that God never did a single thing to hurt me or anyone else. God does not punish, God does not need shame and God does not need to forgive. Forgive yourself. Your pain is yours alone but your joy is that of God’s. You are not unworthy, you are the chosen one. The kingdom of heaven is here right now, this moment. This strange creature spoke to me of these things and more, instructing me as fast as my mind could keep up. In the end it told me it would protect me and never leave me. Then it turned to face the room which, despite the massive flames extending from its body, remained enshrouded in darkness. It raised its club of fire and faster than I could follow with my eyes, it hurled the club into the darkness framing the room. It did not do battle in this dimension for if it had I’m sure it would have killed me and destroyed physical space. No, it was battling something unseen on an unseen plane. The whole room lit up in ethereal flames and blinded me. I closed my eyes to save myself from the glare…
The next thing I knew, it was morning. I felt good. My heart was light and the dark shadow and the fears were gone. Had I just experienced a dream? Was that all? My mother came into the room as I pondered this and she handed me a blank piece of paper, smiling as she asked me to draw out one of my dreams. She floated out of the room completely unaware of why she acted as she did. You see N, angels act through other people when they don’t know how else to communicate. When a person says, ‘I don’t know exactly why I said that or did that, but I did’ be sure, the command came from an angel or a demon for that is their nature. They act through our thoughts; our second mind, and they leave messages signs and symbols everywhere. Now when I hear someone say those same words I know my angel is speaking to me and I pay special attention to those words for they are meant for me. Similarly, I allow myself to channel the words of angels (and at one point, demons) all the time, which is why I seem obscure often and do not know why I say certain things though saying them seems logical.
I guess you can see I didn’t die in your usual sense of the word. You’ve heard of born-again Christians turning all evangelical after they die and wake up to spiritual reality? Well take out the whole Christianity focus and that text you just read would read like the outline for most born-again Christians. I’m not saying its chockfull of rubbish or completely untrue or false – No, I’m saying its all
36 real and it all happened but its interpretation by me was rubbish due to: 1. The event being an intense ride. 2. Not giving enough time for after-thought. 3. Trying to mold a new care bear out of the recently deceased one. 4. Trying to make the experience relatable to my friend. Remember my definition of truth? Its that clarity which comes right after the death of a care bear and just before the adoption of a new one. Well I’d say I dwelled in the truth for all of eight hours after the event. It was wonderful, warm and concrete. I felt complete and, the funny thing about experiencing the truth is, it doesn’t just apply to the one thing you find it in – it applies to everything around you. We’ve all experienced those moments (I’m hoping) so I won’t go into a detailed description of what it looks and feels like (especially since I’m not in it right now). Suffice to say you learn a lot and grow vertically rather than horizontally i.e. rather than expanding on current knowledge (sideways), a new knowledge or method is acquired (moving vertically). All this talk of scales, movements and graphs has a lot to do with this mind-blowing experience I had with my friend Seraph (name changed as usual). In the summer of 2003 I spent a very short but significant period of time with Seraph in his empty apartment in NC. Significant because I got to see Snoop Dogg live in concert and significant because this one night, me and Seraph got stoned out of our gourds and came up with a means to accessing the structure of existence.
The method we came up with began with a simple graph upon which we plotted time/change on the X axis and choice on the Y axis. We assumed the tiny dot at the zero point was a human beginning a life journey. Instead of focusing on every minute choice in life, Seraph and I chose simply, marriage, death and a couple of other details which would get marked as dots on the time/choice continuum. Eventually what you got was a wavy line showing choice no. 124 occurring at time 34. You get the picture. This was one individual life, but then the simplicity itself began to perturb us. The first problem we ran into was that the Y axis was limited. Choices should work on many dimensions with stuff like multiple choices happening for multiple things at the same time. Fatalism (one option imagined by the individual to be freely chosen) seemed an unfair and outdated god model, so what we did was simply extend the line right off the page into infinity – a never-ending multiverse of choices occurring simultaneously. This helped, but we quickly ran into the problem of depth in choices – stuff like good or bad choice was confusing but we wanted to mark that on just one graph too. So we warped our Y axis further still. It now stretched length-wise into infinity and also similarly expanded breadth-wise into infinity from every single point on the line. Then there were problems cropping up with the X axis. Seraph wisely noted that time/change never stops, so, in order to track all of life on both the individual and collective level, all we had to do was stretch the X axis into infinity as well. To track multiple lives, all you then had to do was give the X axis depth – into infinity.
At this point we were too stoned and too overwhelmed to even begin to sort out the mess we’d gotten into. The piece of paper we were working on was now a mass of black ink on paper as all those infinity stretches and the lives of our relatives, cats and dogs had made their mark. We went to our respective beds and passed out. This exercise, however futile, childish and fraught with mistakes contained in it the seed of elegance though, which both of us recognized and never forgot. At significant moments in our lives, we both pause and exchange a look which says simply: remember the graph? I used the concept in a vampire novella I wrote some months after the episode, and, given the fact that I’ve already used one extract in this story, I’ll use another:
The Chronicle of Creation (XIIXIIV) (The role of Fate in life)
The functioning of Fate is a tricky subject to approach in words. To begin to understand the ways of Fate, one must first understand this – everything is happening now; everything exists now and nothing is not planned. A very basic understanding of this can be represented by means of a solid shape stretching out into infinity. This shape is made up of every possible path anyone may take in life. From a human perspective, this shape represents
39 every thought, action and event the individual beholds in life. From the moment of birth, each soul begins to follow a path from the center of this infinite shape, moving as a speck through each thought, action and event, ranging from a high school crush to rubbing one’s nose at age fifty. The only way a human can traverse the great distances of this infinity shape is by choice. Choice defines all of life, and though every possible moment in a soul’s life is accessible if one were to truly comprehend the infinite, the twin illusions of time and death make living creations experience each defined path as a new, individual and beautiful thing. There are an infinite number of paths possible for each human and an infinite number of them are taken simultaneously, yet each one is experienced to its fullest effect as the Creator intended. Fate then is merely a matter of understanding the principle of infinite choices creating paths which are all being taken and experienced now. Thus everything is known and everything shall come to pass. And expanding upon that:
The Chronicle of Creation (VXIIXII) (The conditions of existence)
All that you do not understand, you shall become. You and everything are entwined in harmony. Do good, do bad, do nothing. Do.
40 Choose in all forms. Choose through wisdom – choose through intuition – choose through emotion – choose through another. Choose. All that you do not understand, you shall become – everything, nothing and all in-between. That graph and all that it taught sure came in handy, however, its not what my story is about. I want to go back to the earlier topic of dying. I died you see, and I was reborn but I immediately placed limitations and rules to my rebirth, many of which were connected to who I used to be. Simple example: Instead of a big black ego following me around, I now had an unseen angel hanging about guiding me through signs. I still had God too, mostly because he/she/it was very convenient for interpreting events and happenings. Its like that cartoon (I forget its name) where this guy is sitting in a plane talking to his friend saying he doesn’t believe in God and suddenly there’s thunder and lightning and he quickly changes his mind and says he believes. The moment he says it, thunder and lightning clears up, so he winks at his friend and says he was kidding, he Really doesn’t believe in God. Thunder and lightning again and another quick reaffirmation in the belief of God brings it to a stop. Awkward looks all around on the plane. Lotsa laughs from the audience who skips over the significance of the message in the joke.
Fear is this amazing thing. You could almost say it’s the mother of all care bears.
The very first thing I can remember being afraid of is my dad yelling about the house. If I had to wager a guess, I’d say the memory stems from when I’m either one or two and I’ve accidentally taken a shit on a green carpet in the room I currently reside in back home. My mom verified the fact that we indeed did have a green carpet back in those days. Funny thing memory – most people don’t remember much from when they are really really young, but I have an amazing memory for such things. My earliest memory is being rested on a high surface in my blue bathroom back home. I’ve just been breast fed and placed on a high stool or something. In the memory, my mom is sitting in front of me on the toilet bowl (doing her thing) and she’s watching me very carefully (probably cautious incase I make any drastic movements) and I note that she has either very tired or very sad eyes. Fairly interesting what a memory from age one can reveal. My second significant fear memory stems from my birthday, age two. For years I’d had this image in my mind of my mother raising me up and balancing me precariously at the edge of the roof of my grandmother’s house (just off Tariq Road). I remember it is dark and there’s someone else nearby, but he/she is insignificant. What is of vital importance are my mother’s hands grasping me firmly by the armpits as my unsteady legs rest upon the low boundary wall running around the roof. I am terrified because the view is overpowering. It feels like I’m facing all of creation in the form of the starlit sky, the dark houses stretched out below and the distant lights of the city reflecting off the stray clouds adrift in the sky. Part terror from the realization that the
42 world is very big, part terror from the realization that my life is in the hands of the woman who holds me right now. I made the astute observation that it was indeed a long way down – and when your two, distances look ten times what they look when you’re, say, twenty three. When you’re twenty three, you look down from a roof and estimate how bad the impact will be, whether you can use anything to break your fall etc. When you’re two, you just know bad things will happen. Terrified of heights. That’s not to say I ever let the fact impede me now that I’m older. I’ve done my fair share of risky scrambling across rooftops and through trees. I enjoy the window seat in a plane, but that enjoyment is tainted by the (generally subconscious) desire to keep watch of the wings and engine incase they happen to explode or fail halfway through the trip. I’d mark that one down as a fear. Sorry for the tangent, what I was telling you about was my very first memorable birthday. I was on the edge you see, between life and death, and this fact scared me so bad I started to cry softly. I remember clearly my mom telling me in her soft crooning voice that nothing was wrong and not to worry, but I was worrying anyway. She took me off the wall and I remember I was still very scared and subdued while a cake of some sort was produced. I also remember feeling my mother was very, very sad, which just served to upset me more. For the longest time, I thought this whole episode was a childhood dream of mine which had somehow occupied a permanent place in my memory. When I was fourteen I mentioned it to my mom
43 and she paused, blinked a couple of times and told me that it wasn’t a dream – it was a real experience which took place on my birthday. She filled in a lot of the holes to the story. It was my birthday; something terrible was going on downstairs in my grandmother’s house. My mom was extremely depressed, largely due to the actions or words of my abusive father slowly eating her up inside. It had been my birthday and no one gave a damn. This fact in particular was upsetting her, so she tried to salvage the occasion by sending out the servant girl to buy a cupcake to serve as my birthday cake. She then took me to the roof to escape the sad realities of life below and what followed was exactly what I had described from memory. The whole peering over the edge and me crying bit and my mom being very sad – it was all real. Funny thing memory – I have no clue what drives it to store some data over the rest. I do know however, that moments of fear and moments of pain are clearly etched into my memory. Either that, or there’s just been a large amount of both in my life. I’m not looking for sympathy though – far from it. I just want to tell a story, and right now, the subject is fear. Now fear sounds like an easy subject. If I asked you, I’m sure you could make a quick list of at least ten things you’re afraid of. What’s a lot harder to do with this list is to mark out the consequences of having these fears, not just because we aren’t fully aware of the consequences of our fears but because the consequences for each item would quite easily stretch out across a mile-long piece of paper. I’m not going to list examples because it’s a depressing study calculating all the hypothetical losses one has suffered. Seeing ones life in terms of fear is depressing indeed
44 and depression is something not too pleasant. Everyone who’s been depressed, raise their hands please. *raises hand* That’s right – I’ve dealt with depression at various times in my life for varying periods of time – and it’s always been connected to fear. My first run-in with depression will sound fairly out of character, but to be straight up, it was due to underachieving in my O’ Levels in high school. I didn’t underachieve by much – I mean, I scored well enough with a couple of A’s, a bunch of B’s a C and a D but the thing was, ever since I was very little, society had drilled it into my head that my O’ Level grades would determine the rest of my life (feel the fear factor kicking in?). These grades would decide whether I ended up being a successful doctor (as I was being pressured into) or a bum on the street, spending his time indulging in drugs and fornication all-sorts till one day the lifestyle would catch up to him and a mutilated body would be found in the bushes. The newspaper headlines would read: Drug addict and Lecher brutally murdered: Family mourns. You’re probably thinking I’m starting to push the limits of reality with morbid and ludicrous examples such as the one listed above. Sorry to disappoint but that there example is word for word what my father drilled into my head throughout my teenage years. Any time there was a fight at home; any time there was a suggestion of violence either in mental or physical terms, the most oft quoted
45 words in regards to me were the ol’ murdered-and-found-in-abush story, followed quickly by an accusation aimed at my mother – because for some reason I wasn’t in control of my own destiny. Somehow it was always her fault. I’ll talk more on violence within the nuclear family later on. Right now, I want to talk about depression. My first depression was closely connected to having fucked up my O’ levels and as such, doomed myself to a life of crime, indulgence and general wormlike patterns of behavior. Luck was with me at that point in time. Not only was I fucked up in academic terms, I’d also simultaneously been dumped by the girl I was in love with (she cited differences in comfort levels i.e. it had grown too weird on her) and to top it off my eldest sister was leaving for higher education in the U.S. contrary to the wishes of my father who not only refused to aid her in any way but actively pursued the demise of such a course of action through constant fights, threats of divorce and murder. Yeah he pulled a knife on my mother – this huge carving knife we kept for slicing meat. My little sister and I were frozen in fear while my dad advanced on my mom who was holding her ground defiantly, taunting him for his inability to carry through. None of us noticed my eldest sister had slipped off to fetch her camera. She came scurrying back and snapped off a couple of photographs of my dad with the blade, which, sadly enough, my dad happened to notice. Pandemonium broke loose, and since my dad was a very strong man back in the day, he got a hold of the camera and the pictures were no more. So stuff like that was happening on a daily basis; my O’ levels were messed up and I’d been dumped. Then my grandfather died
46 followed closely by an endless parade of violence and aggression on the part of my father. Anyway, somewhere during all this, I slipped into a depression which took nearly two years to overcome. Depression is this whole complex phenomenon marked by many mental and physical symptoms. Feelings of inadequacy is a big one in there. Despondence applies to. Sadness and the inability to affect change in one’s life is a primary focus. Speaking in terms of physical changes the body runs a whole gamut of sleeplessness/over-sleeping, lack of hunger, lethargy, low-energy etc. You get the picture. Luckily I don’t have to go into explaining depression too deeply – our pop culture loves the idea and applies it to every third crappy film coming out of the film industry. So I got depressed. I got so depressed a lot of very unusual things began to take place in my life. Remember that dystopian vision of the future my father conveniently provided for me? Well selfloathing led me straight down that path. I got very involved in indulgence, particularly that of drugs. Don’t get me wrong – I hated my dad and logic dictates I should have opposed his vision completely – but depression’s got this funny effect where the more you hate someone or something the more you follow whatever suggestions they provide you. It’s the downward spiral fueled by your own lack of self-esteem and other people’s indifference. I wanted to show my dad exactly how fucked up I could become in order to hurt myself and him in the process. Depression is a complicated affair.
47 It wasn’t all about my dad though – far from it. School helped out a lot with its bullshit routine, empty lessons, arrogant teachers and dead, lifeless peers roaming around in the form of zombies or robots programmed to display X personality on their desktops. It all seemed very much like an elaborate illusion that no one aside from me could penetrate. Sure there were others fairly clued in, but they too were roaming around on ant-auto pilot spouting the occasional significant sentence without fully comprehending its meaning as they did so. For those of you who’re particularly observant, I’ll point out that the, ‘ant autopilot’ metaphor is stolen directly from a segment from this wonderful film called, ‘Waking Life’. Let me just insert that piece of script right in here:
(Main is character coming out of a subway and bumps into a girl.) Boy: Excuse me. Girl: Excuse me. Girl: Hey. Could we do that again? I know we haven't met, but I don't want to be an ant, you know? I mean, it's like we go through life with our antennas bouncing off one another, continuously on ant auto-pilot with nothing really human required of us. Stop. Go. Walk here. Drive there. All action basically for survival. All communication simply to keep this ant colony buzzing along in an efficient polite manner. "Here's your change." "Paper or plastic?" "Credit or debit?" "You want ketchup with that?" I don't want a straw, I want real human moments. I want to see you. I want you
48 to see me. I don't want to give that up. I don't want to be an ant, you know? Boy: Yeah. Yeah, no. I don't want to be an ant either. Heh. Yeah, thanks for kind of jostling me there. I've been kind of on zombie auto-pilot lately, I don't feel like an ant in my head, but I guess I probably look like one. It's kind of like D.H. Lawrence had this idea of two people meeting on a road. And instead of just passing and glancing away, they decide to accept what he calls "the confrontation between their souls." It's like, um, freeing the brave reckless gods within us all. Girl: Then it's like we have met. (They shake hands) Also to be quite frank, that whole bit about zombies spouting lines of significance which only I could make sense of is a direct reference to the character of the Joker in Jostein Gaarder’s, ‘Solitaire Mystery’. Now a lot of times people see my extracts and assume I have conveniently taken someone else’s ideas and used them to make sense of something I was clueless about earlier. That’s turning the tables on what’s really going on. The way it goes is simply this – I’m very particular in what media I consume because I always aim to recognize in other people’s work something of my own thoughts, ideas and feelings. It is a rare thing indeed to come across a work which presents something totally brand new to you – and for one who spends most of his time adopting, then killing care bears, it’s doubly rare. I’m not trying to justify my use of other people’s ideas however – I’m just
49 working on showing the reason I consume the media I do. It’s not so much a move to educate or entertain myself as it is a move to wake up – to be aware; to remember something I had forgotten or not considered. Sometimes I think that’s the reason I create songs, poems and written works. It’s so I have reference points to turn to incase I get lost. I don’t want to be an ant. So back to school. I mentioned it helped a lot in furthering my depression. I went through more labels than there are brands of dishwashing soap. I remember quite clearly my principal and teachers considered me the typical, disturbed-child-trouble-athome type since they had some knowledge of my family and its background. I also used this disturbed-child-trouble-at-home model to get out of trouble for a whole year by exploiting the staff’s soft spot for damaged goods. However plummeting grades, consistently skipping class and doing far too many drugs both inside and outside the school premises slowly changed their opinion from that of nurture-is-to-blame to nature-is-to-blame. In my last year, I was definitely just a bad kid - rotten to the core. What followed was a series of suspensions so great in number that eventually the principal requested my mom that she keep me home so I wouldn’t be expelled from the school entirely. My report card for those years speaks volumes on my slow decline: First year (first semester): Conduct: Good Attendance: Regular
Principal’s Comments: is a bright student, however, he did not take his studies seriously. He should realize that he is in ‘A’ levels now. He should give sufficient time to his studies and should work very hard. Should not be content with mediocrity. Subject General Business Management Literature Sociology Term result 65 65 44 54 Exam result 67 61 54 53 Combined Grade B C D C
First Year (second Semester): Conduct: Good Attendance: Regular Principal’s Comments: is capable of doing much better. He should work very hard as his results are not satisfactory. He should give proper time to his studies. An alarming drop in focus and motivation. This needs urgent attention. Subject General Business Management Literature Sociology 14 39 32 56 U D Term result 24 17 Exam result 71 23 Combined Grade D U
51 Second Year (Final Semester): Conduct: Good Attendance: Satisfactory Principal’s Comments: has made no effort whatsoever in academics. Intelligent but unfortunately seems to have lost focus. Subject General Business Management Literature Sociology Teacher Comments: General –did not attend class regularly. He has just given up. Business Management –refuses to put his abilities to use. Literature – Has made no effort at all. Sociology – A disappointing term’s work. It is clear that he is intelligent, it is clear that he is capable and it is clear that he hasn’t considered it worth his while to make an effort. This is a pity because his grasp of the basics are easily amongst the best in his class. Absent Absent 25 Absent Not Graded Not Graded Term result Absent 44 Exam result Absent Absent Combined Grade Not Graded Not Graded
52 It seems that not being an ant is a fairly hard thing in this world of ours. Of course you must understand, my drive towards who I was to become wasn’t a result of complete awareness and planning on my part. No, in general I was too stoned to query the hows and whys of what was going on. The times I wasn’t stoned, the sense of being trapped and worthless would surge to the point where I’d either: 1. Lie on my bed and stare outward for hours at a time – empty. 2. Contemplate suicide. 3. Get stoned as quickly as possible. You might say I was on zombie auto-pilot too – except unlike everyone else, I was a crappy ant. Weak, silent, harmful to self and others and with this really haunting look in the eyes.
I mentioned suicide
and I think it merits a little
discussion. Contrary to what those crappy Hollywood films tell you, people in depression don’t generally commit suicide. This is due to the simple fact that they are too depressed to muster the energy and will necessary to commit the act. I don’t kid; go see the statistics online somewhere. That’s not to say depressed people don’t think about suicide often. They think about it often enough. When I was really depressed, I contemplated suicide obsessively. I’d run through all sorts of hazy irrelevant details like how expressive and creative my suicide note would be; how everyone I knew would react to my death; how the blood would look sprayed out across the wall. You might note that none of these
53 things are very constructive towards committing the actual act itself. The two times I came close to taking my own life were very different from this type of depressive mulling about in your head. The first time was after a very long and violent interaction between my parents which (paradoxically enough) ended with the family leaving to attend a wedding. I opted out immediately. I was home alone and it was late at night. As soon as I heard the sound of the car engine die off in the distance, I locked all the entrances to the house, walked into the kitchen, took my shirt off and took a hold of that meat carving knife I mentioned earlier. I was very skinny due to the lack of appetite and constant drug use so it was fairly easy to aim the knife between my ribs. Problem was: which rib does the heart lie under? Should I plunge between rib two and three or three and four? I think it’s this one second of indecision that stopped me and stops others from committing the act. Before that I was really pumped and just gliding along in the act without a thought in my head. I guess if I hadn’t bothered to think about that question, I’d be dead, or fairly scarred at this point in life. To make a long story short, I roamed around the house for an hour with the knife to my chest; mind blank yet not blank enough to carry through. Feeling worse than before for being such a loser, I lay down on my bed, wanting to cry but the tears wouldn’t come. I lay like that till morning – no sleep and more school. The second time I was going to kill myself, the inspiration arose from a funny little episode that took place late one afternoon in
54 my bedroom. I had accidentally invited my stoner buddies over at an hour I’d told a couple of high school acquaintances to drop by. The stoner kids had shown up early as usual (since they never had anything better to do) and they’d proceeded to trash my room a bit due to the hash giving everyone a slightly giddy high. In midtrashing, we came across a strange brown paper bag at the back of one of my cupboards. I’d never seen this bag before, and, feeling very giddy, I proceeded to tear it open without a thought as to who the owner of the bag may be. Turns out, the bag was my dad’s, and in it, his paranoid mind had stashed twenty disposable needles and about thirty little bottles of liquid valium, presumably to save his life in the unlikely event of a heart attack or whatever his sick little brain had dreamed up. Being stoned out of our minds, our first thoughts were, hey, we should ingest some of this stuff for kicks. We snapped open a couple of the little bottles but then the sterile and medical nature of the whole business turned us off the idea. We did have a couple of bottles snapped open though, so we half filled a couple of syringes. Having accomplished this much, some genius in the group pointed out that although nothing had happened, this whole scene must look really messed up from an outsider’s perspective. It clicked for all of us simultaneously. The two kids coming over! This was the opportunity of a lifetime and we weren’t going to miss it. The doorbell rang and we hastily kicked our plan into action. Sleeves rolled up, belts tied across our upper-arms, we looked like your cliché bunch of needle-junkies.
The two innocent and fairly clueless kids walked into my room just in time to witness a mock removal of a needle half full of valium from one of my friend’s veins. The rest of us began to moan and convulse in slow motion, roaming around aimlessly muttering, “valium...valiummm” softly beneath our breaths. As you can imagine, the kids freaked. Their faces paled and the more conscientious of the two rushed up to me and begged me to stop this insanity! We’d all pushed the drug thing too far etc. etc. I looked at him with glazed eyes and asked him if he wanted to shoot up too (gesturing frenetically toward the remaining 28 bottles of valium). Horrified, the poor boy released another tirade on the ill effects of drugs. He kept talking and talking and talking so I pretended I’d lost my hearing and promptly lay down on the carpet and started whining like a dog in pain. Jealous of my acting prowess, the others began to perform weird, valium related antics too – each person trying to top the other in oddball behavior. I think the two kids lasted a total of fifteen minutes before getting the hell out of there. Later that night after all my friends had departed and surreality had kicked back in, I returned to that paper bag. You see, despite all the fun we’d had, I’d been quick to note that an overdose of liquid valium would probably be lethal, and more importantly, painless and with very little mess.
56 I did something then that most instruction manuals on suicide prevention claim is a dead-ringer that someone’s committed to the idea – I set a date for my death. December 4th. The year must have been 1999 though my memory of events in those years is hazy at best. Come December 4th and I was all prepared. I had orange juice handy, a nice clean mug and lots and lots of valium by my side. Around midnight, I smoked my final joint on the floor of my bathroom and then began emptying valium into the mug. I got about seven bottles in, then filled the rest with orange juice to make a nice 50/50 mix of the two liquids. Quick tip for people considering suicide using this method: don’t use orange juice. It doesn’t mix very well with valium. In fact you could say, it doesn’t mix at all. The concoction I had prepared was so foul I doubt even the most desperate suicide case could have swallowed it whole without throwing up. In my case, I managed three sips and one tiny gulp, followed immediately with an almost instinctive heave which resulted in valium, orange juice and most of my dinner to hurl out across the bathroom floor. I puked and dry retched for fifteen minutes after. When my head cleared enough for me to think straight, I abandoned all plans to commit suicide that night. And there you have it – my two attempts at suicide.
57 It’s not that I haven’t contemplated suicide since those days – its just never been as serious as those two attempts, so I won’t bother going into the others. Let’s get back on track – I was talking about depression.
lets focus on the people.
takes a long time and
requires either the active coordinated support of a lot of people around you or a string of positively shaped coincidences. I happened across a bit of both. Forget the events for the moment –
My mom, poor woman, was amazingly supportive and kind despite being trapped in the downward spiral herself. She’d been walking that lonely path for nearly twenty years and I must say, I hadn’t seen her crack, much. She used to come into my room often to stroke my hair as I lay staring pointlessly off into space. She never asked for an explanation and she never judged me. I think that alone was enough to save me. I did have another individual who (in a sense) saved me, though perhaps she doesn’t realize her own significance in the secret life of me. Her name I shall reduce to Z. She came into my life when the depression was in full swing. We met at the back of literature class. Usually literature class consisted of me sleeping off my high and waiting for the home time bell to ring, but this one time, things were different. You see, this rather attractive new girl in class was trying to get my attention and talk to me. No one ever wanted to talk to me because I’d developed a persona (shell) around myself which kept strangers and the mildly curious at a
58 decent distance – but this girl, Zahra didn’t give a damn. In fact, she found my persona and what lay below it interesting. Admittedly for the longest time I was a mixture of stand-offish, awkward, shy (her eyes were really beautiful) and just plain lowkey in our growing interactions at the back of the numerous classes we shared, but some part of her zest for life was rubbing off on me and I began to feel. I didn’t know what I was feeling, but it was good enough to be feeling at all. Z saved my life by liking me – she truly did. I repaid her by skipping going to the high school ball with her (which she dearly wanted to attend with me). I took the cash my parents handed out for the evening and bought alcohol and binged all night on a friend’s roof top. Then there was the time I had turned mute from all the turmoil inside – hadn’t said one word in a whole week and Z, dearest Z wrote me a note all through literature class full of encouraging words and sweet nothings to make me feel better. She had it passed back to me, then spun discreetly in her chair to see my reaction when I read it. Now I don’t remember whether I read the note or not, but I do remember looking up from the piece of paper and catching her eyes, then, very slowly, tearing the letter into tiny, tiny pieces, fascinated by the intense hurt that sprung up in her eyes. She didn’t glance back for the rest of class – she hid her head in her arms. I wondered what she was thinking... Throwing parties was a common enough affair in our high school and Z had decided to play host (along with a few others) to this party she insisted I attend. Now, contrary to what you’d think, I loved going to parties back in those days. They gave me an excuse to get trashed, stoned and dangerously aggressive while
59 simultaneously drinking in the lovely auras of normal people having a good time. When I attended Z’s party, I got trashed, stoned and dangerously aggressive and spent most of the evening avoiding Z and flirting with faces I cant put names to anymore. It was all a pointless exercise this whole party business – I used to laugh out loud the laugh of a drunken man, but what most people missed was the bitterness at the edges of its tone – the bitterness of someone playing out a role in the midst of others playing out their roles in this grotesque human ballet we call the Good Life. The next day, Z was angry, hurt and completely disillusioned. This was the first time she actually said she’d given up all hope of me coming to my senses. I was too selfish and self-involved to care about her feelings, her hopes and dreams. She was understandably upset for a while, and then, quite suddenly, for no reason at all, she forgave me for being a bastard. That simple act caused something to snap inside me, and from the very next day, I woke up from my depression. I don’t know whether it was her caring, her forgiving nature, all the trouble I caused her or the realization that my actions affected another human life which caused me to wake up. I guess you could say it was a mixture of all of the above. I could tell you about all the things that suddenly jumped in to bring me joy and comfort right after that realization – my admission to college in the States; the return of my former girlfriend; the growing independence of my mom from my dad; the chance to direct a school play; cutting down the drug use – things of that nature, but somehow, I get this feeling none of those would have existed if it hadn’t been for that one moment of realization.
Kudos to Z. However, this story of mine isn’t about redemption or soul searching or any of that really. I just want to keep it real – when so few things in life are. You know that feeling? You pause suddenly and look around you and even though you’ve spent the last two years reducing the world to its bear minimum, none of that shit is real? I don’t know whether this is just a Me thing or a twenty three year old thing. When I was younger my elder sister told me we (the human race) have this thing called rites of passage. She was fairly impressed with the idea and some of that rubbed off on me too. I began believing in this whole rites of passage thing. Its sort of like having to go off into the jungle to wrestle a lion and live on berries for twelve days before returning home to prove you’re a man. Here and now it’s sort of like teenage angst. It’s a lot of things, but I guess the crux of the matter is: it’s necessary; it’s inevitable for moving on. I’m not saying rites of passage is fate in motion – I’m saying a lot of people think it is. Later in life a professor of mine looked me straight in the eye and told me it was a care bear – the whole she-bang. She proved it with some examples I forget. Some stuff about how children were viewed as little adults back in the industrialization era in Great Britain. This same professor told me reality was a joke and that nothing was true but I shouldn’t quote her on that because she could get in trouble (that was a joke on her part too). I don’t want to completely let go of the idea of rites of passage though because it makes sense here, right now, in this paradigm, in this story. This story is a rite. Its ritual-based and it’s got a certain mass and propulsion forward linked to inevitable change.
It’s not all vomit.
There was this one really significant episode where I threw up in a friend’s room. I haven’t thrown up since. Honestly, I’m terrified of throwing up for some reason so I never do. It’s all connected to my need to always be in control, but that’s a later topic. So this one evening back when I was half-way to the mentally disturbed category, my dad demanded that I stay home rather than head out with my stoner buddies. You have to understand my dad – he always wanted me home. I’m not sure why, but my mom explained it all to me; she said it was because he loved me. Fucking love. It all came to a head when my friends showed up and I insisted on leaving with them and he insisted I stay. There was a bit of yelling – I think I trashed some stuff and I’m positive my dad carried out some silly plan of barricading the door leading out. Didn’t work too well cause I just went out the back entrance, jumped a couple of walls and end up nice and snug in a car full of smoke and, to top it all off, a large bottle of vodka. The plan was we would go to my friend’s house and get wasted. My best friend’s place. Yeah you can guess what happened next...My dad called up my friend’s parents demanding to speak to me. I couldn’t say, ‘no I don’t want to talk to my dad, he’s a dick’ in front of my friend’s parents (people get fairly upset when you challenge social institutions and lines of authority) so I took the phone and engaged in what turned out to be a very long conversation.
62 At first it was my mom (surprisingly enough). She pleaded and begged me not to be angry and just consider coming home and crap like that. She was very sincere and sweet despite the cussing and screaming my dad was carrying on fives inches away from her ear. I said no. Ten minutes passed and I guessed the yelling in her ear and my constant rebellion made something click inside her. She paused, told me I should do exactly what I felt like doing and then gave the phone to my dad. My dad and I have communication problems. We always have. I’m not sure where it stems from, but I think a part of it has to do with his whole alpha-male stance. My dad has always been a firm believer in the more aggressive interpretations of evolutionary theory and the laws of nature. Query him on any subject and he takes the way of the jungle in approaching its answer, and in this jungle world, he himself is the lion. I’ve seen my dad face tragedy like no other man. My mom’s favorite expression for it is: he took all his opportunities for a fulfilling and happy life in his hands and threw it away, willfully. I’d agree with her except I’d add one other minor, but important detail – he may have thrown everything away but he never threw away his lion status. I hate to admit it, but you have to admire a man who’s lost and destroyed almost everything this world considers important (his career, his family, his social life) and yet remains King of his Hill (albeit a tiny and sad looking hill for outsiders peering in). I wish I had that sort of strength and resolution, minus the obvious delusions. You can imagine what happened on the phone though. It was a regular battle of wills with the big, bad-ass lion out to dominate. He tried every trick in the book; threats of violence; attacks to my
63 ego, my self-esteem. None of it worked because I was at that point – the one not all people reach but everyone can recognize easily enough. I just didn’t give a fuck. So my dad did what nature had tuned into his brain – he went ballistic, grabbed my mom, got in the family car and drove over to my friend’s house to get me by force. When they showed up, I did what any kid/animal does when not physically strong enough to get into a fight. Flight. Right out the window to hide upon my friend’s balcony. Suffice to say, my dad didn’t get me that night, and I ended up getting wasted. It was actually the first time I ever drank alcohol, and I’ll admit I did it as a reaction to my anger and sense of despair coupled with subtle peer pressure. Isn’t that how we all start? Don’t drink alcohol was one of those things on this list my mom (whom I love very much) had taught all us kids from a young age. If I remember correctly, the list ran something like: 1. 2. 3. Don’t drink alcohol because it can ruin your life. Don’t smoke because it’s a filthy habit and it can kill you. Don’t ever ruin your beautiful body with tattoos.
My mom was fairly cool – she never introduced religion into the list. She never coerced me or tried to scare me or any of those other tactics parents use on their kids. She just kept it real, based on her experience and conception of reality. I respect that a lot. It’s just too bad I broke every one of her immutable rules, including later additions such as:
Don’t harm a girl by fooling around/being intimate. Don’t do drugs.
That’s not to say I don’t listen to what she says. I listen to everything she says – then I go do what I must do to shape destiny. But this is all slipping terribly off-topic. I was talking about the first and last time I threw up on alcohol. I’ll use another extract straight out of my vampire novella – this time, the words of Arsalan, my fictional vampire who happens to be not so fictional after all: Alcohol became a second favorite, though it proved to be a wholly different form of submission. It was a loss of the body - a very strange thing indeed. I first got drunk as a result of a gnawing depression and growing anger at the pressures of being different – of doing poorly in school – of dealing with insanity at home – of the loss of my love some time ago. It was high time I said, ‘fuck all!’. I proceeded to do that with ten shots of vodka straight. I remember throwing up, I remember the room reeling and the pattern on the curtain melting. I remember Axle Rose screaming, ‘I drink and drive but everything’s in sight’. I remember crying tears of woe. I remember friends telling me this was the path, this was the path, this was the path. We wore our shirts backward and hailed Kurt Cobain and finally I came to understand my life more clearly. This was destiny at work and there was no reason to fight
65 it! I became an adept that day, and the feeble White Light that had been kept lit by, ‘values’ and, ‘morality’ finally died away with a sigh. I was now hard, sexed up, a metal head, a pervert and an anti-social drug addict to boot. I found myself trapped in the spiral and loving every minute of it. Of course that’s not totally accurate, but I’ll leave that extract as it is and let others take stabs at which parts may be slightly modified to give my boy Arsalan a little flavor. We did wear our shirts backwards though, because that’s how I woke up in the morning with this incredibly foul taste in my mouth. The puke had come halfway between the curtains melting in front of me and the whole rubbish talk on the beauty of Kurt Cobain and his music – his message. Last I checked, Cobain described the band and the music as a pop version of Cheap Trick and The Knack, but then again ol’ Kurt was a bit into sarcasm and self-loathing wasn’t he? Either that, or he was keeping it real while millions of fans threw care bears at his face. Who knows...Who knows... I want to keep talking about rites of passage because the idea amuses me a lot. I’m fairly positive I’ve warped the notion beyond recognition, but its useful to keep up the pretence that I know what I’m talking about. I’m not here to tell the truth after all, I’m just telling a story. My mom’s list – that damn thing got inevitably torn to bits and its all tied into this rites of passage thing. It’s about growing up I
66 guess. Some might say it’s about following in the footsteps of the tribe. I’d disagree – it’s about steps alright, and a lot of it depends on the steps already taken by your tribe – but it’s about the creation of new steps. To boldly go where no man has gone before. I mean, we’re not called Generation X for nothing right? Its not X for empty variable, its X marks the spot! The goal we’re striving for! Right? Right. I started drinking for the worst possible reasons. The ones which make people cringe when they’re older. The reasons which end up getting listed in textbooks as classic reasons why people turn to substance abuse. Rage; depression; peer pressure; family squabbles, stuff like that. I highly recommend if anyone out there is planning on binging on alcohol, they choose a better reason and if one can’t be found, for once, I’ll excuse any use of fluffy care bears to wrap the truth up in a nice abstract package. Hell for the longest time, I started drinking because I wanted to, ‘experiment with new experiences’. Sounds a fair bit better than, ‘I’m drinking cause I’m pissed off – nobody loves me’. I’m no fool though. Once I learnt why I was drinking, I quit. Then I began to drink to alleviate boredom and, on occasion, to get laid – and I thought that was fair enough... Doing drugs which are illegal and socially unacceptable though, that’s a completely different experience. All the fancy wording in the world does little good when your girlfriend catches you half-baked and tripping on acid. Doesn’t much help if the law catches you like that either.
67 I’ve been stopped by cops more than the average person, that much is sure. I think a lot of it has to do with the arcane science of phrenology. There’s just something about my face; the deep set eyes and high, wide forehead, long hair and heart shaped lips which scream either criminal or pansy, and I’ve been busted for both. Back in those ol’ high school days full of assorted drug use and hazy memories, I remember encountering men in uniform often enough. To begin with though, things were simple. We used to meet in groups of four to ten people and get stoned or wasted in some form – that requires a fair amount of space and a pleasant atmosphere, so we used to find little-known parks scattered across the city and use their premises for a spot of revelry. Unfortunately the idea caught on and four to ten went up to three groups of four to ten. Very soon, it became impossible to step into a park without tripping over a baked high school kid napping in the grass or convulsing in his (or her) own vomit. Things really reached a head when these two guys were busted receiving blowjobs from their stoner mates late one night in a public park we had made popular. Somehow, the foursome had decided it would be a good idea to hang out on the bridge which ran over the dry pond in the center of the park – the only spot which was lit well enough for passerbys on the outside to observe what was going on. Somehow the two males decided it’d be a good idea to drop their pants, dangle their legs over the side of the bridge and let their female counterparts suck them off, standing inside the empty (well lit) pool. Needless to say, the cops happened by and broke up this little soirée. The day after, we showed up to get baked as usual
68 only to be taken aside by the gardener (a friend of ours) who told us the whole tale and recommended we stay away for a while. Things went from bad to worse from then on. We got busted just about everywhere. Sitting in abandoned apartments; sitting among jagged rocks in empty plots of land; walking home from the soccer field – hell we even got busted parked outside a friend’s house. When I say busted, I am referring to the Pakistani version of being busted, which boils down to cops harassing you for five minutes, waiting to see how much muscle power you have in terms of your daddy’s and uncle’s connections in the government, followed by eventual confiscation of your hash (if found) or simply a quick withdrawal if enough muscle is noted down. It’s not as bad as it sounds, but even five minutes worth of harassment on a regular basis can wear you down. So we started getting high at each other’s homes. Logical solution given the state of things right? Getting high in your own home has a number of advantages and disadvantages attached to it, which I’ll list here for the convenience of all those about to undertake such a venture: Advantages: 1. No more harassment by cops. 2. No more gas bills for the car (referring in particular to finding ideal smoking spots or hotboxing the car itself) 3. No more losing your stash in the grass, between car seats, leaving it behind at X locale etc.
69 4. No more annoying wind, excess heat, humidity. 5. No more paranoia related to people walking about, bright lights, general city insanity. 6. Homes have fridges, air conditioners, dark, empty roofs, water, toilets and a million other conveniences. 7. Homes have locks on the door. 8. You’re suddenly everyone’s best friend – people love dropping by. Disadvantages: 1. Homes have parents, siblings, relatives dropping by, inquisitive servants etc. 2. Homes have claustrophobia. 3. Homes have phones ringing, doorbells to answer, other random responsibilities to fulfill. 4. Drugs at home means a greater commitment to addiction and a greater commitment to friends who never seem to leave. 5. Its bloody hard to get out of home and buy essentials like food or cigarettes when you could just lie in bed and rot. As you can see, it’s a very mixed-bag-yin-yang sort of choice to make, with every advantage having an equal and opposite disadvantage. I guess all things in life are that way. I guess it all sort of boils down to personal preference in the matter e.g. when I was in Karachi I ended up preferring to do drugs alone because it would give me time to contemplate things, enjoy long silences and de-stress; all things which are hard to find in a city with a 15 million population.
70 When I was in the states in a tiny little town in the state of Ohio, I preferred my poisons in the company of many people because not only did it mean I wouldn’t be lonely, it also ensured I’d get laid.
in the U.S. is just about that easy. I mean, it
helps to be reasonably intelligent and vaguely normal looking with no obvious blemishes, warts or scars but those are all just plus points to the actual happening itself. To generalize in the worst possible manner, I got laid in the States for two reasons: 1. 2. Because I was dealing drugs and would smoke girls out for Because I had brown skin and was from very far away.
free and buy them things with drug money.
Honestly though, number two only happened once with this flaming red-head who just really wanted to know how different it would be sleeping with a darker shade of skin. She lived in this little off-campus house I frequented often because the kids living there happened to be the only kids on campus who preferred drinking hard liquor over cheap beer. It was one of these hard liquor nights that she happened to make her way out of her little dungeon downstairs and up up up to join the raucous crowd of drunkards hanging out in the upstairs living room. As she made her way to one of the vacant sofas there were hushed whispers running between all present because red-head (I forget her name) was an anti-social sort, more interested in anime and writing fantasy novels than socializing with the Neanderthal
71 types who disturbed her peace nightly with their goddam drugs and rock n’ roll music. So there she was on a sofa sipping on cheap red wine and there I was standing about sipping on whiskey sour with a hard-on in my pants looking for fresh meat – and yeah, I’ll admit it, the red hair fascinated me. Was she pretty? Well, she could be when she chose to be. A touch of make up really transformed this girl, but she was the type who rarely bothered. She wasn’t particularly tall or short. Not particularly fat or thin. She was just about average on all scores except the red hair. That, and the fact that she was bisexual. I was particularly interested in bisexuality back in those days because I’d had this amazing encounter with two bi-sexual catholic-highschool-grads-lookin-for-a-good-time-at-a-collegeparty types. It was so damn exciting seeing two female bodies clawing at each other and squealing and quivering and licking and sucking and fucking in your own bed as you stood there naked trying to decide whether Bob Marley was too chilled out for the moment. Excuse that momentary slip into a more distant past. Suffice to say, I was interested in meeting and sleeping with bisexual types. Now my personal taste in women has always been one of classic form. They need to have flesh on them. They need to have lips worth kissing, eyes you can drown in, busts which compliment their hips in proportion. They need to be very much a woman.
72 Red-head was no post-modern femme-fatale – she was just a woman who had an occasional preference for other women. I was really drunk so the next part of the story will consist of part fiction and part real remembrance. I have no recollection of how I ended up on the sofa next to redhead, but I do remember the first part of our conversation consisted of discussing neighborhoods’ in the D.C. area because I planned to go there for the winter and she apparently lived just outside D.C. I don’t remember how I got my arm around her or how my free hand found its way into her lap but I do remember she had on a tiny black t-shirt which lifted enough for me to slide my hand around her smooth, soft and relatively flat belly. I don’t remember how I actually ended up kissing her, but I do remember we shared one kiss and then she said, “Wait.” Her eyes were shining (I think they were grey) with the weirdest light I’d ever seen. She held my gaze as she downed off the remaining half-bottle of red wine – and then we made out with a vengeance. I don’t remember much of the make out session aside from the fact that we were both ignited on some really strange fuel. We weren’t just kissing; we were trying to make our two bodies fuse into a single unit. I’ll admit there was a fair amount of face-sucking and saliva exchange involved - not that I remember those details, but I do remember when we began to go crazy on the sofa, there were at least twelve other people in the room. When we both decided to get a room, there was no one in sight.
What happened in the room is hazy at best so I’ll keep it short and skip out on fictional adages. We had wild crazy sex for about an hour or so. Came a bunch of times, took a shower and finished off. During the whole she-bang she said all of two coherent sentences which actually registered in my mind. 1. 2. It’s too big, it’s too big. I always wanted to sleep with a brown guy.
Both of these have been fairly significant proclamations in my life. People sometimes accuse me of being narcissistic. It’s not an everyday occurrence because my public persona usually revolves around other people and their wants and desires. I like to make other people more aware of themselves and their issues. That and, I’d rather keep my self hidden away under layers of protective shielding. People have told me this is referred to as lying – a tool used by blackguards, pimps and public relations personnel. I just happen to be majoring in public relations. It may be a flaw, it may be lying, but it comes in handy.
Back to narcissism
action’ principle. This doesn’t
however. I’m usually accused
of being narcissistic as a result of my underlying belief in the nature of energy and its movements. I function best on the, ‘leastmean, ‘selfish-lazy-bastard’ principle – au contraire, I’m a man of action – I hate pauses – I hate full stops – I hate chapters – I even hate forming paragraphs if it’s a waste but, I balance it all off by using just the right amount
74 of energy in just the right, consciously chosen action. You see, energy is everywhere and can be applied to anything – what’s important is efficiency and personal taste. To reach optimum efficiency, one must be a utilitarian at heart. The philosophy complements the Least-Action principle – in fact, it guides its movements. To find the utility of an object, person, thing and then apply energy, what could be simpler? Well it’s not that simple. I mentioned personal taste. Personal taste or, preference is a very complicated issue because no one knows what the hell guides and shapes it. I’m not going to get into a long-winded explanation of nature/nurture theories or existential queries or religious beliefs of soul, God and all that nonsense. I’ll just tell you how I work out personal preference. Personal Preference in anything (A Recipe) Ingredients: 1. 2. Energy (at large) Expendable (personal) energy
Equipment required: 1. 2. mental processes instinct
75 Take a careful measure of 4 parts energy at large and blend it in with 4 parts personal energy. If personal energy cannot match energy at large, reject idea/task/thing. If enough personal energy and energy at large are available, blend the two together and mix into bowl of instinct and/or mental processes (Note: I include emotional responses as a highly developed form of instinct). And there you have it. A recipe to measure everything you do. Before anyone mentions it, yes, this recipe has its fair share of criticism and that’s what I Really want to talk about, not the recipe itself. Narcissism. A sort of cold outlook to things – lizard-like and devoid of anything essentially human. An obsession with self with complete disregard to all concepts of morality, ethics, society...Sounds terrible doesn’t it? Does it? I’m not saying I’m narcissistic – I’m saying people sometimes call me narcissistic when they discover this underlying philosophy which guideth the human they see before them. I am selfish because it makes complete sense in terms of the above recipe. I think everyone should be selfish. I think all decisions should be taken with regard to the individual with everyone/everything else coming in a distant second. I believe in anarchy and chaos because I believe those words will cure the world. It sounds terrible, but
76 it’s a beautiful thing and it need not be eternal. It should never be eternal. Hell it doesn’t even need to last more than the time it takes humans to doubt and question and take interest in the world they construct around them. Take interest in the world. That’s all. Now it may sound like its common sense, but its really not. The words, ‘common sense’ means no sense at all. It means a general understanding has been applied to things without querying them to their depths. ‘I love many people’ is something a lot of people say, but most of them love many people because it is common. Love your parents, love your peers, love your teachers. Its common – what a trashy word. I never love anyone, ‘commonly’. I’ve already trashed this notion of love earlier, but I’ll trash it here again. Its not that I don’t believe in love, far from it, I have my fair share of care bears. But I don’t let the care bear dictate me. And the care bear is not infinite.
– what a casual and finite notion. I’ve never found
anything more limiting than the word, ‘infinite’ slipping out the mouths of those whose very, ‘infinite’ notions may be changed over a cup of tea, a building being destroyed by terrorists or, heaven-forbid, a bad break-up with a significant other. Beware those who toss the word infinite around – they’re either fools or tricksters. I should know, I’ve been both.
Back to what is common though, and our example of love. If one is choosing to love (adopt a care bear) then one should have the decency to do it out of personal preference with regards to personal energy, the energies of the world at large and their own nature in terms of instinct and the mind. At least that way, control is guaranteed in the hands of the lover and not delegated to some farcical angel equipped with bows and arrows yeah? At least that way responsibility is in the hands of the individual. And that brings us to the crux of the matter. Individuality - a distant cousin of narcissism. We are all individuals and it’s a damn shame when we throw that away just because it threatens to challenge what is common. Whenever I’m accused of being narcissistic, I deny it. I’m not narcissistic, or at least, not more so than the average human. I am an individual though so let me emphasize again, I’m not trying to convince anybody of objective truth(s). I’m here to tell my story. In order for this to be clearer, let me tell you about my personal approach to writing and what I believe constitutes a writer. Let’s go back to being a poet. I was once a poet. This isn’t an aeryfaery claim used to enhance my persona. Its reality. I became a poet once I got: 1. 2. Over a 100 pieces of completed work compiled. Over 22 pieces that could really reach out and touch not only
myself, but others.
78 That’s how I claim to have once been a poet. I say, once because I am no longer a poet. I still write poetry off and on, but I’m no poet because I no longer have a structured approach and understanding of what it means to be one. It’s a big label and one I’m no longer a part of. I am, however, a writer. Now very often this claim is cited by numerous intellectuals as a sort of ID card or acceptance into some form of secret club where the few brilliant minds fudge about and live meaningful lives – not so on my part. I meet those writers often enough and while I never mock their claim (because everyone has to start somewhere) it is often the case that these, ‘writers’ have very little actual written material at hand. I call myself a writer because: 1. I have a collection of completed works
2. I have made accessible almost the entirety of these works to any interested publics (however small). And that’s all there is to it. That’s who a writer is. He/she writes things and makes them accessible. If there aren’t any completed written works, you’re not a writer. If you’re writing but haven’t made any of your works accessible or desire not to display your ideas, you could be a writer – but not in my books – not till I see it, know it, feel it. Of course I’m not just a writer. I happen to fall under the category of story-teller, and this has gotten me into a lot of trouble on occasion. Let me explain by recent example:
I write stories
all the time. I troubleshoot stories in my
head all day. I watch people and events with one eye to see my part in the daily happening and with another eye which molds the happening into: story. During the actual process of writing a story, I always turn to my audience and ask them for feedback well before the work is nearing completion. I don’t find it disturbing in the least to have my stories shaped by my audience – hell, I’m writing it for them as much as I’m writing it for me so why shouldn’t they have a say right? Right? Right. I was called a liar just two days ago upon showing someone the first forty pages of this story. Not just an ordinary liar – a subtle liar; a dishonest human who is out to shape things his way for reasons unknown (though a fair guess showed a certain arrogance in nature coupled with a narcissistic personality). What the accusation missed out on was the fact that I’m not just a writer – I’m a story teller. It’s not really the same thing as lying, but it’s definitely not telling the truth. I want to keep things as real as possible so why don’t I just turn the tables on this whole affair and give you a few concrete examples from within this text itself. 1. The story about our dog and the events surrounding his
death. He never died in my arms like everyone believes (and I enjoy telling this story in real life all the time). I found him in a pool of water with a bit of mud sticking to his tongue – stiff as a board and looking fairly dead-dead-dead. I don’t think I even went closer than ten paces to the corpse. I just turned back to the house and called my mom who set about working on his burial.
80 2. That list of things my mom set up for us – it’s not real, my
mom’s not really like that at all. She mentions a few of those things time and again and I’ve always created this mythos around how important they are – but they aren’t really that important to her. Really. 3. That story about the two boys and girls doing dirty things in
the park wasn’t true. It was a bit of hearsay I came across from a really stoned fourteen year old boy who was trying to impress me. In fact, there was no really stoned fourteen year old boy – I just made that up as well. So here’s the thing about being a story teller. It’s not called lying – it’s called serving the story. It draws in equal parts from reality and utter fiction. It’s sort of that whole utilitarian principle of, ‘whatever works best’. The reason I receive such heavy criticism is, of course, the fact that my interested publics tend to be my loved ones who believe that since they know me and my life they can know me and my stories as well. They could, they really could – but we don’t all live in the same care bear land, and the more care bears I dice up, the further I seem to drift out of their reach. With this particular story, I am ready to live with the criticism because I can see over the clouds. If it challenges my public’s perceptions, so much the better. But this story isn’t technically about laying down challenges (though in part, it may be) – it’s actually all about having a oneon-one conversation with someone who really gives a damn. I don’t know what inspires other writers to write, but I’ll tell you my inspiration – it’s always the pair of eyes I imagine running
81 across black marks scratched into fields of pure white. Pages and pages of things I want to say being approached by someone who chooses to read through it all. I love the closeness, the comfort, the intimacy of such a relationship with another human being. Its rather like pre-destined lovemaking. I’m not saying I’m lonely. I’m saying it’s very hard to actually hold a decent conversation in this world we live in. When I talk to people I try to keep it real, but that doesn’t last. Keeping it real requires: 1. 2. 3. Consciousness/Awareness Energy Desire
I see dead people
all the time. Drawing from
category no. 1, we have your every day zombies. Zombies are those people who are no longer all-there up in their minds. They drift about on auto-pilot with a certain sterile yet stale odor emanating from their auras. Just like the zombies of slasher films, they occasionally turn violent and feed on your brains, turning you into a lifeless zombie too. If you know any zombies, I strongly suggest you get rid of them before you turn dead inside as well. Category no. 2 gives us the all-too-familiar vampires. Vampires are kind of fun for a little while because all humans love playing around with giving and taking energy – it’s a trip. Sadly though, the world is infested with vampires who take and take and take and take and take and take and take. All they require is that one
82 invitation into your life and they will destroy you as it is their nature to feed upon others to sustain themselves. Just like the vampires of slasher films, they often have some sick sort of appeal such as beauty, posed illness, hunger – all of which are tools to draw their bait to them. The final category of Desire gives us the werewolf or Dr Jekyll/Mr. Hyde if you prefer, both of whom act on the full moon and both of whom are driven by that one obsession: Desire. Werewolves and Mr. Hyde tend to have two natures – the one which lends itself to human interaction – and the other which lends itself to an utter lack of control, violence, absurdity and irrationality. Its driving force is almost as ludicrous as the moon being any reason to turn oddball. Desire. Obsession-compulsion. The Gemini trials. Split personalities with very few reference points. The werewolves tend to be more approachable than the above two categories, but they also tend to do the most immediate and overt harm. Just like the werewolves from slasher films, the irrational impulses of the werewolf can be easily transferred to another human by means of a simple scratch and tainting of the blood. So I’m wary about who I talk to, for how long and why. I think we all should be wary – not in any mean sense, but in terms of being awake to what is going on around us, because being awake would necessarily entail not only good choices in conversation, it would also necessitate self-analysis which would inevitably lead to the demise of the zombie, vampire and werewolf we all carry hidden within our own fragile human shells.
83 I’m not perfect – far from it. I work very hard to seek perfection from way left field of my vision and scope as a human being. This allows for a lot of freedom, a lot of mistakes, a lot of wandering very far off-field but it holds in it the key to understanding certain fundamental laws of the universe and the meaning of life. One of these is simply this: You can never know or meet, ‘the whole truth’ head-on. It was Lewis Carroll who first noted this and framed it in his immortal text which I shall quote here, ‘I think I'll go and meet her,' said Alice, for, though the flowers were interesting enough, she felt that it would be far grander to have a talk with a real Queen. `You can't possibly do that,' said the Rose: `I should advise you to walk the other way.' This sounded nonsense to Alice, so she said nothing, but set off at once towards the Red Queen. To her surprise, she lost sight of her in a moment, and found herself walking in at the front-door again. A little provoked, she drew back, and after looking everywhere for the queen (whom she spied out at last, a long way off), she thought she would try the plan, this time, of walking in the opposite direction. It succeeded beautifully. She had not been walking a minute before she found herself face to face with the Red Queen, and full in sight of the hill she had been so long aiming at.
84 Not so childish when put in context of human experience is it? Whenever I have grand plans now, or even small ones, I always pause to wonder what it is I’m actually aiming at. It’s never what you think it is when one pauses to think long enough. And when one pauses to think long enough, it is very often the case that what you truly seek is hidden at the very limits of your vision – and to reach there, you’ll have to do everything backwards-sidewaystopsy-turvy but never straight. Straight paths are generally reserved for those who have forgotten how to think. It sounds completely loony, but really, how often have you really paused? I mean REALLY PAUSED without one goddamn thing on the horizon. When was the last time you took a look around rather than staring off into the oblivion? Into the TV screen of the mind playing re-runs of the Care Bears all day long. It’s not an easy thing to do and I’m not claiming to be a guru of sorts who can access layers of reality at will. No, I’m just saying I aim left and usually end up straight. I sometimes miss conversations though. The rubbish ones which have no true context. I can’t do them anymore because they seem a terrible waste of time. This is all tied into the fact that a couple of years ago, I discovered the secret of never being bored, and when you are never bored, you are always involved, and when you are involved, you simply cannot bear long, dry spells of vacuous flowing words; a steady stream of drivel from loved ones or relatives that’s meant to soothe the mind which has long ago lost its freedom – craving only the solace of companion words, thoughts and ideas which convey little meaning, simple nothings and a dash of common sense.
I would like to distinguish between tripe and the not-so-tripe, ‘sweet nothings’ category of conversation. The difference between the two is simply in the amount of physical interaction taking place i.e. the level of nonverbal involvement surrounding the words. Nonverbal interaction of a profoundly moving nature can often render a worded conversation into rambles which have no meaning at all aside from their allowance of a steady stream of non-verbal communication to take place below the surface of everyday words. This happens often enough between companions, mates, lovers etc. but it’s not given the recognition it is due. In my books, this form of conversation is not rubbish at all. It is rare though. The reason it is so rare is because touch and nonverbal communication is a dying art form in this day and age. No its not a dying art form, it’s a dead art form. Nobody practices it anymore. Nobody is conscious of their movements, no one works on their physical being and very very few of those who do actually remember to apply what they learn into real life interaction. You know those people whom a crowd looks at with envy and wonder? The really beautiful people who seem to work over others effortlessly? It’s never the words they use; it’s their unconscious understanding of nonverbal communication. Watch for it. Back to the secret of never being bored though. This profound realization came to me at the College of Wooster in 2002 when,
86 upon a sudden whim followed by the encouragement of my girlfriend, I dropped two hits of acid on a fine autumn afternoon. There were four of us sharing four tabs of acid to begin with, but since it was the first time for all four, we got impatient and angsty after experiencing no effects over a forty five minute duration. Assuming the acid tabs were duds, we went back to the dealer to complain. He was confused himself since apparently he was tripping balls even as we spoke to him. The long and short of it is, he gave us four more tabs for half price and we all dropped again. I remember sitting in a crummy little double room in some crummy little dorm with ATB’s remix of, ‘Sun is Shining’ blasting away when the drug suddenly surged into action - straight up my spine, ripping and raging through my brain and out my scalp. Everything became instantly wonderful. Blondie (she had blonde hair and I forget her name) suddenly went from being a pretty girl to being a ravishing, enticing enigma, standing there giggling in front of me and mumbling something about the color purple. We danced for a while, but then the sun called us outside to play in the green, green grass of the quad. The four of us ran outdoors – one messed up Texan, the son of a mafia hit man – one crazy Korean, born and raised in Kenya – one crazy hippie female straight out of DC – one erratic Pakistani lost in Wonderland USA. It was so damn beautiful. Those first few steps completely changed our perception of what it meant to be alive in the world.
87 The world is a different place on LSD. Colors seem richer, reality seems less vague and fairies seem to be a definite possibility. I’m not going to go into all the details of my trip – how I roamed the campus for hours and hours surrounded by the gentle hum of the structural symphony that is life; how everything shone in a new light, neither ugly, nor pure but just as it was; how leaves drifting on the ground could speak on matters of the universe or how humans conversing could seem like a farcical puppet show. There were too many significant lessons to list here, but the most important one was that there was no excuse for being bored in this system we call life. Boredom is for people without vision. Vision simply requires peering through the looking glass. The looking glass is our own creation (the human collective) and since we made it, we should be able to break it at will. That’s all. Short and simple lesson with a complete set of instructions. Break on through to the otherside and all that. Unfortunately, it’s not the easiest thing to do on a regular basis. Most people in this world are bored and helpless; running circles like clockwork orange trapped on a roulette table. Spinning spinning spinning in concentric circles working on this, looking for that, waiting for this, running to that – here, this is my relaxation time, here this is my sleeping time, here this is the food I eat, here these are the friends I will make. Boredom isn’t a cause, it’s a symptom – it’s a symptom of being unable to control the world and personal destiny. This all comes back to the fact that our modern world with its silly little notions of such things as democracy, capitalism and middle class morality have grown into nightmare slave drivers we no longer control.
I hate the middle class
. The whole notion
confounds the senses. Remember common sense? Common sense is daily derived from this growing thing called the middle class. Remember the half-measure approach to life? Doing things in half-measures is derived from the middle class. I can’t even take the path Marx took and deny the existence of such a class by lumping them elsewhere according to the laws of ownership and wealth. No, no, the middle class exists alright –it emerged out of necessity to achieve balance, equality, fraternity, brotherhood, democracy and all this other crap which tries to deny the realities of this world by claiming that at the end of the day, we’re all the same (in moderation). Humans are not the same. Humans are not equal. Humans are never ever going to stand together on a single plain and hold hands and sing qumbaya. All those ridiculous oxymorons you here such as, ‘friendly competition’ are all humanity’s attempts to remain smiling and cheerful in front of the looking glass while a part of their essential humanity dies little by little inside. Let’s go back to Nietzsche and his notions of the human weak and the human strong. Let’s go back to Sun Tzu’s, ‘The Art of War’ and breathe in a sigh of relief at the outlined principles of the functioning of armies in warfare. As water flows, as armies engage, as humans live side by side, there is harmony. Not equality, but proportion. Balance is not about achieving a shoddy 50/50 mix of all the constituent ingredients; it’s about a varying flux blending together. Again, I’ll emphasize, humans are not equal. Nothing works on a 50/50 rule – that whole notion of the middle path is there to guide us straight to Hell. It’s a complete
89 delusion to assume that humans are slowly drifting towards a destiny where all are equal. In truth, it is currently a purposeful push towards a place where the majority of the tribe live behind the illusion of equality. I’m not here to bash on the powers that dominate however, I’m here to merely reveal what currently is. After all, being a (relatively) privileged member of this world with wealth and a good dose of education, I’m right up there in the human chain of power. No, I’m just pointing out the reason why I hate middle class morality and middle class values and middle class motives and middle class actions. I’ll never be middle class because I’ll never adopt that stupid notion of balance being in 50/50 mixes served with tea. Watered down drinks and moderately fulfilling meals is not really living in my opinion, for I am not one to deny the hunger. Of course hunger comes out sounding terribly negative. Hunger is perhaps the wrong word for what I’m trying to describe. I don’t want to name it desire because that sounds more like a want than a need. This hunger I speak of is a need – it’s beyond a need – it is what keeps one alive. I think most people would recognize what I’m talking about, despite all our differences and perceptions of what good and bad is (especially in this particular matter of the hunger). To quote Siddhartha from the Herman Hesse novel, “A true seeker could not accept any teachings, not if he sincerely wished to find something. But he who has found, could give approval to every path, every goal; nothing separated him from all the other thousands who lived in eternity, who breathed the Divine.”
90 I’m not so sure about this whole fluffy, ‘Divine’ with a capital D talk but I know what ol’ Hesse is getting at. Perhaps this hunger I’m speaking of is a quest; an acknowledgement of quest. That’s the hunger – the secret hunger of adventure. Sort of like videogames. You know those vast elaborate roleplaying games where you choose a character and set off into a make-believe, fantasy, utopian-dystopian, future-past, distorted vision of the world to quest in your chosen role. I love well written, well designed role-playing games, and I think they have a lot they can teach us. Let’s take a short example of the characters you can play in these games. In fact, I had this talk with someone just some time ago: Jay says: I enjoy thinking of reality in role-playing game terms....in those games they have two basic categories......the warrior clan and the wizard clan.....each is assigned a number of points in different categories.....warriors have passion and a strong constitution to guide them but are plagued with problems related to being creative, logic, thinking etc. whereas wizard have incredible levels of intelligence, sensitivity, charm etc. Unfortunately for wizards, they are always plagued by uncertainty and influxes of thoughts...they are not as strong constitutionally. Warriors carry clubs and swords while wizards have magic at their disposal. Diana’s child says: So basically categorize to make sense of things.
91 Jay says: The point is.....we all have the same 100 points allotted to us. We just use them differently to shape who we want to be. You are consciously or subconsciously choosing the life of the wizard with all its pluses and negatives. Diana’s child says: But I don’t remember making that decision! What if I want to be a warrior? Jay says: Then you should remember each instance you chose as a wizard, and consciously (next time) make the choice of the warrior. Diana’s child says: I want to be BOTH Jay says: We all do....that’s up to the role-playing game. Some of them allow it, some don’t. Diana’s child says: That’s the thing indecision. I want to be part of everything. As soon as I begin one thing I feel I’m missing out on something else. Jay says: Unfortunately, we didn’t pick the game, or at least, there is no proof we did. You can be a warrior however...we humans are incredibly adaptable, but I’m lacking in experience to tell you whether we can well and truly be both.
Diana’s child says: Give me warrior tips. Jay says: Warrior tips? A warrior always sticks up for what he/she perceives to be the truth and makes it plain to all. In contrast, a magician sees everyone’s truths and all that entails... Diana’s child says: Why is it so anal like why can’t we invent another category? Jay says: Well good rpgs have the thief category, the bard category and many others....but all of them are usually increasingly complex variations of the original theme: warriors and wizards. It’s a broad generalization which relies entirely upon keeping the balance of power even between all members interacting in the game. Some people say we are born into our categories....and then all that remains is for us to recognize who we are. Diana’s child says: I’m destined to be a wizard. Gandalf the grey. Never Aragon. Jay says: Yes, I’m sure the sorting hat would approve. Diana’s child says: I love Aragon so do wizards seek warriors as companions?
93 Jay says: In rpgs it’s always intelligent for a wizard and a warrior to travel together else somewhere one will fail where the other would have succeeded, but good rpgs are built so that any difficulty can be overcome by differing means by either the warrior or the wizard and I think we're in the best one of them all, so really, there are many choices. Diana’s child says: Wizards. Why is it so male oriented? Why isn’t it witches and like warrior princesses? Jay says: Oh I always play the women in rpgs. They’re always higher on sensitivity points and I find it easy to use that to my advantage in an rpg. Wizard and warrior sound male but they’re actually neutral terms ...both men and women fall under them. Let’s take a real RPG example: a male wizard may have two points too low to convince a bartender to offer him a precious object. He may have to cast a spell to baffle the bartender, and then steal the object. Or perhaps pay for it with gold if he’s a nice guy whereas a female wizard with her higher charm points can get it with ease through conversation. A warrior on the other hand would have to face the bartender in a duel. He could try to buy it but due to his barter points being low, he'd be charged a lot more gold for it than the wizard clan. Diana’s child says: I’ve never dueled with any one see that’s what you miss out on being a wizard…The blood and gore of it all.
Jay says: Yeah.....I do wonder about that sometimes......a wizard has his/her battles too...but admittedly they look entirely different…then again, the few times I’ve chosen to be a warrior haven’t been all that great in the end. Diana’s child says: There are too many battles inside the head though... I think all wizards harbor a secret warrior - an alter ego you could say but lack of practice causes them to fail when they unleash it and thus they revert to there former more benign role. Diana’s child says: So how does one go about mastering the arts? Jay says: By knowing what you want and choosing carefully in each situation. If you want both, I suggest you work hard at it…By the way, do you think I’m a wizard or a warrior? (Not a trick question. just want to know what you think). Diana’s child says: WHAT well obviously you’re a wizard! Or you appear to be… Diana’s child says: But I feel like you had a falling out with the warrior way of thinking and thus you are definitely a wizard but a bitter one.
A bitter wizard.
I never thought about that before whatsherface mentioned it. I don’t feel particularly bitter though. I think I see too much. Lets take Charles Manson as an example. What lies in my soul creating an empathetic link – a complete sense of understanding of the man, Charles Manson? Am I the Mother Teresa type, kind and forgiving of all? No. Am I naïve and childish? I don’t think so. Am I a lost seeker? The kind of person who would be enticed into joining the Manson Family? Possibly. But more than that, its because I am Charles Manson himself. I’ve felt his alienation; I know what he saw in death, in fear. I’ve considered running a cult, murdering lots of people and drinking their blood. So to be perfectly non-specific – what is this symptomatic of? I mean, I empathize more easily, instantaneously with archetypes such as Manson; Lestat; Anton Lavey and his anti-propaganda propaganda. They make sense. If someone mentions Satan, my first thought is in his defense. Is this an inbuilt ‘root for the underdog’ trigger for extremities and fringe elements? What makes me connect to them? Do all humans connect to them? Do all humans hear Manson’s words, know his deeds and feel the lust and hunger? Not act on it, that much is understood, but can they feel the lust and hunger? Surely they must. What else gives rise to the emotions and thoughts that follow upon a chance encounter with such a historical marker? So naturally one must ask what elements form the hunger? Curiosity
96 and an excitable imagination says the peer sitting beside me peering over my shoulder. I say different. I say its change – I say its opposition. That’s the keyword – opposition; to fight, to rebel, to access power. That’s the hunger in my blood. And I want it. I’m not trying to justify the murder of innocent people but I do see the murder of innocent people as being part of the framework of the reality we live in. To ignore it would be folly. To fuel it however would be blasphemy, and I believe I tread that fine line in my plea for awareness and acceptance of what is. The aim is not to encourage irresponsible behavior but to awaken a sense of responsibility. Not the responsibility defined by legislation and government rule. Not the responsibility of care bear notions on TV. The reason I cited Charles Manson and Satan is because I believe both creatures contain in them a vital and much-ignored key which humanity, through its demonization of the rottenapples has hidden away through fear. Opposition. Doubt. Uncertainty faced without fear. A challenge to the status quo in a starship bound to boldly go where no man has gone before. Yes its true my dears, ‘human’ is more complex than the most complex man-made explanation for it all. I’ll admit sometimes I don’t want to be human. I want to be part of the Seraphim, given the choice. I mean, what could be better than being an angel spending eternity in the presence of the Divine (capital D) and singing its praise? To be sure in your faith. To be sure in your duty. And yet,
97 Iblis was one of the Seraphim. And he fell didn’t he? So nothing is certain except the ever-constant flow we perceive as change. The energy shifts which make one cry, result in birth, move planets, cause photosynthesis… We have proved all of these are connected, yet we have no real feel for these things. When was I a leaf? A meteor streaming across the vast expanses of space? We needed religion to give us the feeling of our (in)significance. I cannot feel my own significance – but I am not lost as a result of that knowledge. I think I’ve evolved beyond that. A lot of my evolution is tied into my conscious decision to learn how to play the guitar. Not just play it, but to excel in it. Being a student of such an instrument can teach you many of the fundamental truths about life, the universe and everything. To begin: 1. A single note is meaningless/relative till meaning is derived through the combination of other notes. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. One part creativity, one hundred parts repetition is, ‘genius’. Each note is unique and has inherent properties discernible to Even chromatic scales follow patterns and relevant intervals – One scale contains 10x80,000,000 stories and ideas. Seven Harmony is achieved through combining the right set of Memory is what builds and takes one forward. To know music theory is to know how to choose (more) freely.
an outside observer. there is order in chaos. notes and five sharps may well take a stab at creating infinity. notes, not all the one same note.
98 9. Your own songs are no one else’s songs – no one else’s songs
are your songs. 10. Specific scales and patterns carry specific meaning (relative to the user) – choosing one to work/compose in is a big decision. 11. Scales can be interlinked by following the rules or breaking them. Breaking them carries the risk of discord and agitation. The risk of discord and agitation drives invention. 12. Patterns flow in a material called rhythm/beats (also called time). 13. Music has taste, texture, weight and volume. 14. If the story/music is good, people will gladly (willingly) overlook technical mistakes. 15. If body and/or mind are not in harmony, it will reflect in the music played. 16. Perfection is not about complexity or simplicity but in mastery. 17. Original compositions reveal attitudes, values, beliefs, emotional states and more of the composer. 18. Time (rhythm) is relative to what needs to be/is being expressed. 19. Training and desire are interlinked: More desire = more training Less desire = less training More training is not equal to more desire Less training is not equal to less desire Let’s take a look at rule no. 11. Scales can be interlinked by following the rules or breaking them. Breaking them carries the
99 risk of discord and agitation. The risk of discord and agitation drives invention. Evolution – what a wonderful idea. It feels so damn goal oriented and gives meaning to almost everything if you believe in it. I’ve done lots of things in the name of personal evolution. Why just recently I took up training in the gym, which, for someone who weighs in at 125 pounds at a height of nearly six feet is a fair challenge and somewhat a point of ridicule. I went through with it however and learnt a few poignant facts worth noting down:
To cause change
applies to most things.
, one must push oneself one step
beyond the limit of what one can perform/endure. One step below that maintains you and tones you i.e. performing exactly at threshold. Anything below that is wasted effort. I think this rule
That’s sort of what this story is all about. Evolution, change – pushing the envelope just one step beyond what is within limits to see what there is to see. It’s not just about myself. Far from it. More than anything else, this story is about you dear reader – yes, you, for I am ever conscious of a pair of eyes gliding over the words I write. Isn’t that how all writers write? Even those writing into a private journal are surely aware of their own eyes moving over those very secrets, days, months or even years hence. Aren’t they? Maybe not.
100 Kafka threw all his works into the flames didn’t he? Too bad we got most of them. What that allowed however, is something akin to magic. Words words words, intimate words allow you to witness the metamorphosis of Persona – the very shape of who/what the author wishes to become. It’s an instinctual drive, this expression, and no one can control it when they write. The only real choice which is offered is to be aware of the fact, or not. I’m well aware of the fact, but this doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve chosen better than the rest. I have merely chosen. It also does not mean I am a form of demi-god who roams around painfully aware of his own existence and the ebb and flow of all things. Au contraire, by my very nature I am merely curious at best –and at my very worst, I am simply one who follows fads, trends and fashions, albeit eclectic ones. Sometimes I feel I indulge myself too much in this thing we call life; in thoughts, in feelings, and action, yet in other instances I find myself withdrawn and hermit-like, preferring alienation and the comfort of being completely alone. Yet even that is my indulgence at work – my preference of the moment I you will. Once upon a time I had chosen to be special, unique and different. And I found it lacking. I had also once chosen to be normal, sensible and very common. And I found that to be lacking. I have indulged myself in a plethora of pretty, pretty labels and experiences yet wherever I choose to look, I find myself. In drugs,
101 in friends, in God, in cricket, in the Devil, in finger paint, in class, in social gatherings, in history, in fiction. That’s what humans do – flit about like rampant butterflies from one flower to the next gathering nourishment with blind ecstasy with a sort of vague regard towards a larger scheme of the field they’ve found themselves in. But some butterflies may pause. Pausing is considered deadly because you die without your regular dose of sugar. The key then is to pause long enough to bloody well write everything down so the next time you pause, you can continue to build from where you left off rather than slipping back to zero again. That’s why history is important. That’s why pausing is important. When an individual pauses enough times, with enough rigorous self analysis and record, he will eventually find that the all important, ‘I’=’Is’ (everything), and with that in mind, the search for self must come to a complete and necessary end. Such a bold and quintessential search to be reduced to nothing in one fell swoop. It would make one sad, if one was really one and not all or none. I think this particular moment is called nirvana. If all humans reached such a state and maintained it even for the span of a few days, what would this world look like? Remember I mentioned having no cognizance of ever having been a leaf? Imagine a sudden loss of self or conversely, an expansion of self to include everything – one where you finally do know what it means to be a leaf. What would happen then? Upon reflection, I do believe such a state would have to be called freedom, however
102 paradoxical the idea may be. I mean, just look at it: being connected and a part of everything in the universe necessitates a loss/total expansion of self and thus when you are actually tied down and very much a part of everything you are finally free? And what then, if all of humanity did somehow hold onto this notion long enough to survive a few days? Would we all forget and go back to playing games despite the blatant truth which we walk about in, smell, taste and see? Well, I guess the answer is, Yes. You see, we all want to go one up on everything that exists. We want to create something out of nothing. That’s the human dilemma in part – I suppose it’s where our notion of God came up. Those who are too weak to actively create reality rely upon the steady crutch of any number of world religions to one up themselves from the universe while a demented few aim to one up that same herd by defining reality solely on their own terms – human gods as it were. Now who would you rather be? It really seems to break down to two essential variations: 1. The larger context of being a being one yet part of a whole. 2. Being a being not part of the whole but special by virtue of X factor. That’s not to say you don’t meet the odd chap here or there who claims to juggle both - being X-men special yet being part of the whole at the same time - there’s some of those too, but again, they tend to fall into one of two familiar categories: fool or trickster. I’ve never met different.
103 But let’s gloss over this entire topic for a while shall we? There are just so many words one can hear about life, the universe and everything before it all becomes bogged down with the inevitable monkey gibberish the mind starts spewing as a reaction to the heavy connotations of the conversation. This work is, after all, more of an attempt to create an endless field of ripe and fragrant flowers for busy butterflies to roam in rather than some diatribe of useful points one can file away for future reference in one of those earlier mentioned drawers no-one ever bothers to open again. A lot of people tell me I have anger management issues and my words and ideas are colored in blood-red shades of castrated thoughts. I would agree with such folks. I am an angry individual. What I wouldn’t agree with these good folks is when they proceed to tell me that I attack anything and everything at will. That’s not so true, though it may seem that way. It just so happens that this story presented before you is focusing in on certain particulars of every human experience. It’s not the whole picture. The whole picture is a crock of shit jackals will feed you as often as they can. They appear in all fields in life trying to sell you, ‘the whole picture’ and there’s really very little variation in their message though it comes wrapped up in all your favorite flavors: spiritual, artsy, technical, philosophical, scientific, drama – you get the idea right? The message, in its essence is always this: we are right, they are wrong, now incorporate our paradigm – and we do. From birth till death we will be plagued by these jackals so it’s important to be aware of the fact that aiming at, ‘the whole picture’ is not going to illuminate the meaning of life at all. No, all
104 it will do is befuddle you, fool you, trick you and force you to submit (Ah, such a keyword) to just one flavor.
is a term which refers to this phenomenon of
generative, ‘whole picture in digestible format’. It is the KFC chicken that drives whole generations of humans to think and act the way they do. That is popular culture. It consists of all the common cultural elements that exist in any given society, using the most popular media forms to spread to its targets: the masses. Simple examples of pop culture which arise can be found in all forms of media e.g. televised series (‘Lost’, ‘The Simpsons’), globally released print magazines (‘Cosmopolitan’), the internet (‘Yahoo! Entertainment’) etc. The interaction between the media used to convey this culture and the growth of this culture itself is a complex phenomenon. The most important question which arises is whether the mass media itself has the power to shape reality or is it merely reflecting changes within cultures. Let’s take a look at a popular film such as, ‘American Pie’. Films such as these portray flat characters that walk through a plot based on the single layer of narrative story telling with complete lack of subtlety and a (purposely) infantile reflection of reality. In the media, audiences are increasingly treated like children, as if unable to digest any serious issues without massive injections of sugar-layered scenarios, quick cuts and large holes filled with music composed with the mind set of a three year old capitalist (ala the ‘Emo’ punk rock movement). The complete avoidance of depth of analysis or coverage ensures that audiences are increasingly talked down to as if they know nothing or are unable to process anything too complex. Given this state of affairs, it
105 would seem that if the media were indeed shaping reality with films like, ‘American Pie’ then the only way a demand for such a product could exist would have to come from an audience whose culture demanded treatment similar to that of an infant with Attention Deficit Disorder. I would argue that the media does not have this power to shape culture but merely gives the culture volume and depth in terms of its mirror reflection. If the gatekeepers of news are biased and control what news is released and what news is repressed, this is a direct reflection of a society (via the individual gatekeepers) which believes that lies and hypocrisy are acceptable in forming a cohesive world view. Is this cause or effect? The question arises again and again yet every time it is clear that human beings both in their individual fantasy worlds and in their wider cultures seem to have lost the ambition to grow up, choosing instead to stay comfortably pinned to a wall of teenage desire, fantasy, and worldview. The cultural ambition to improve oneself has disappeared, replace by a hunger for personal satisfaction, wealth, status and power. It comes as no surprise that the media behaves and treats its audience in the manner it does. With the decline of knowledge, thoughtfulness, and curiosity in the general population and the increasingly psychopathic narcissism of our selfish global culture, we are faced with the, ‘century of the self’ driven forward by the whims of cultures living in dream worlds reflected in our chosen media, whether it be print or audio visual. Satisfied with complacency – fulfilled through the fantasy of being fully-formed
106 without work or effort - blaming others and unable to take responsibility for actions. To quote from the film, ‘Waking Life’ “Why is world history and evolution not stories of progress but rather this endless and futile addition of zeroes. No greater values have developed. The Greeks 3,000 years ago were just as advanced as we are. So what are these barriers that keep people from reaching anywhere near their real potential? The answer to that can be found in another question, and that’s this: Which is the most universal human characteristic - fear or laziness?” In our modern day global culture, the twin viruses of fear and laziness have become one of the most poignant factors in the functioning of our world. We see (ala ‘The Matrix’) only two pills – and we keep swallowing sugar.
I want a third pill.
I am that new flavor. I am a black-colored, bitter pill of Hajimola candy. You don’t suck on me often, but just enough to jar the senses. There’s no point biting in because it’ll only make you gag. What is possible is carefully timed sucks after placing the candy as far to the side of your mouth as possible. It looks and tastes dirty but its not. It is one flavor, but it’s refreshing because it doesn’t have all the flash and glam and rhetoric surrounding other candies trying to outsell each other. It knows its place. If you like it, you’ll suck on it – if you don’t, there’s never any compulsion in Hajimola. Less sugar, free of addiction or fraud and makes no claims to being better than anything else.
107 Keeping foodstuffs in mind, it’s just as hard to see the world from multiple ‘whole pictures’ as it is to try and consume lots of candies at the same time (unless you’re fond of illness and nightmares). I have a picture, its true, but it’s malleable, ductile and definitely never whole. I am not fond of chameleons so I do not suggest people walk around changing their viewpoints as they drift from environment to environment, slaves to the external influences they encounter. No – what I suggest is an internal malleability. Internal ability to adapt and change not based on the environment itself but based on the input awareness, analysis and that age-old recipe for decision making. That’s what takes you to the next step. That’s really the goal in some sense – taking that next step, writing that next paragraph, reaching for something new, forming meaning. If I had the whole picture, what in the world would prompt me to do that? People who cling to such notions are inevitably dull dull dull, lack-luster and wasted. Zombies – you know you’ve met some. You know you’ve been one for a while, you with your listless stare and feel-good, easy-to-swallow ideals which leave you wondering why the hell you feel empty inside. Why the hell do I feel like something is missing when I have all the answers? Why am I constantly driving myself to eliminate one contradiction after another in favor of my flavor? It’s only when you pause and ask yourself some key questions that the light comes back in your eyes for a moment to ponder: Am I a hypocrite? (Pause here)
108 If I am not a hypocrite, who or what is making me feel contradiction? (Pause here) Who or what have I believed to be right? (Pause here) Who or what have I ignored, repressed or vilified? (Pause here) What have I learnt? What must I unlearn? (Pause here) What keeps me dead inside? (Pause here) When did I first find myself fading? (Pause here) What did I choose in that moment to lead me here? (Pause here) What should I choose to do next?
109 There are no set rules to awakening. Those questions are but one template of a thousand others – but there’s no point in asking questions if you can’t face the world from the stand point of doubt. Kill your ‘whole picture’ for but a minute. Press it away, just let go and try the questions all over again. Pretend to be your opposing candy and see what you will see. I do it often enough. It’s painful but it’s the pain following release from a bondage one had come to rely on – suckling on the milk of an adder snake. A lot of people tell me my views are ridiculous because they suggest that nothing is ever true. That deep down inside to all the way out, from the very large to the very small, there is emptiness, anarchy chaos; a state of nihilism so volatile that the universe around us cannot possibly condone it, or indeed be a part of it. It is thus, unnatural and thus false. Those people have obviously misunderstood me and what this story is all about. I believe in what is natural. I believe in justice, truth and liberty. I just don’t ever take it for granted that all of what I believe is true all of the time - and that has made all the difference. “There are things in your head you can simply never touch” …said a man once down on his luck. I hope that never happens to me. Let’s take memory as a sample subject. Memory resides in the head. Memory is also usually perceived to be something permanent; inflexible; objective. That’s not necessarily true. Remember I mentioned I’m a story teller who blends part fiction with part reality? Truth is, we all do this principal activity when we shape memory. Some of us know its happening, some of us
110 don’t and a very small percentage of us find it amusing enough to note down on paper to give it meaning and permanence. None of its set in stone though – reality is a lot more fluid in terms of our perceptions. We have all these pillars of so-called reality – history was a straight line from this event to that one; religious books came from an immutable holy source; society was once like this and now it has progressed into this; science is the answer to all things. All this really annoys me because it takes away focus from the main: The main is that power to create is in human hands – in individual human hands. Everything that is created should be examined and appreciated or knocked about to find its worth, and what’s more important, everything must be challenged. When people tell you Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son for God, ask them who defines blood sacrifice as a sign of true faith. When psychologists tell you that ADD is entirely treatable with drugs ask them who will treat the drug addiction. Poke them in the shoulder. Use any means necessary to break it up shake it up and get people off their pillars. How far should this principle be upheld? I mean, after all, isn’t this just another pillar upon which one may stand? It’s possible it’s not worth much to every man, but if its worth something to any man, it should be available yeah? Opposition. The grand challenge to the powers that be. I’m just a rebel at heart honey, now c’mon ova here and suck on my staff of justice. Yeah, oh yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.
111 That’s not me talking – that is the lack of company which has driven me to despair. I am not the hollow man of Eliot’s dystopia, but I’m fair close to it. It’s the wind which has done me in. That and the ever constant thirst that forces me to drink the salty water that forms my current abode. I am adrift and perplexed at my state.
I wish to create words.
But they tell me all the words in the world are already in existence. They also tell me that as few as 15 alphabets in a language can serve well enough to make enough permutations to define all of reality. If that’s the case, we humans are under a really, really grand illusion – the illusion that we understand this life. How naïve of an organism to assume that a few etchings on a stone floor, not more than a foot and a half long in times new roman font set at 12, could possibly, possibly try to define ‘concrete ideas and concepts’. It’s like watching a baby peer out into the world and stare senselessly at the colors he sees. There’s just so much you can handle right? It’s not even a case of deciding whether one wishes to see more – one can’t see more and that is simply it. Simple is what was when time began. Simple is what things look like when you bring them down to their basest level. Sure its true the simplicity of a foot and a half’s worth of characters is possible of much, but no no no, it cannot be that it’s the whole story. Why think of it – add a new character to the sheet, and form but one new word and then look at the horizon of reality to find the objects right at the edge where the sun sinks – over there is the
112 meaning of the new word, and there is the start of the edge which one can never fall off. It is that vast. And I am the nomad who dwells in the ethereal realm between what is light and what is dark – the horizon, tread upon as if it were able to support the weight of a human, flesh and bone. There is no line to walk, just degrees to draw and the stars shining down with memories of the past – the way the universe once was. I will never go back, but I shall use them to navigate my passage across the abyss with no edge. It is calm in these waters. There is no one in sight. There is no one in sight because no one made it this far. The crew I was with – they perished. Saul never even made it as far as the last land outpost. His heart caved in two days before we set shore upon the lone island which stood in the midst of a sea which trembled, signaling a storm in the distance. Contrary to tradition, we did not throw Saul’s body into the tossing waves. He was a man who spent life on the sea not through choice but by necessity. It seemed wrong to leave his remains with the one thing which inadvertently caused his death – a death he did not choose willfully. You see, Saul was not your ordinary man. He had spent a good number years afloat in this wreck we all called Home. And he never gave up – he couldn’t, he didn’t have the option the rest of us had. We had all boarded Home with full knowledge of our decision, and, more importantly, we all had cardboard tickets that allowed us to leave any time we chose to disembark.
113 Saul had no ticket because he had the misfortune of being born on the ship’s deck in what is considered one of the more popular myths among the population of Home. His mother had been the pirate and his father had been the unwitting captive who happened to fall in love with the ravishing brunette who guarded his prison cell night and day. Alternate versions of the myth state that, in truth, Saul’s mother had been plain, blonde, with freckles and having just finished sleeping with the entire ship’s crew, had stumbled down to the ship’s private quarters for a little, ‘something different’. Either version leads to the crux of the matter however, which was the birth of Saul – the only child to have never known the world and land as we had all experienced prior to our commitment to Home. The lovers (as they were to be titled later) were ill-fated as most of these stories go. Upon discovery that she (his mother) was secretly cavorting with a lowly prisoner… and what was worse, happened to be pregnant with his child… well, things turned ugly pretty fast. Judgment on a ship whose mission is to sail off the edge of reality is usually fast and pays more attention to achieving the goal (‘slice the bitch’s head off’) than to any real notions of justice. Justice was one of the first landmarks Home coasted by, and since then (another lengthy fable) nobody had felt any qualms with justice making no sense – it didn’t need to. Justice which made sense was for people who weren’t brave enough to journey over the edge to see what they could see. Everyone aboard Home chose to be there because they wanted to find an edge which didn’t exist. Most of us were comfortable with the notion that the edge in fact, would never appear because as a
114 sage sitting in the inlet of the land two steps behind eternity mentioned, “There is no edge to the horizon. Some say it’s all a circle and by the time you sail back to the place you once were, everything will have changed. It will no longer be the place you once knew. I say let it be flat or let it be circle, either way, the journey has the meaning not the geography.” This made everyone aboard Home (including myself) very comfortable as it confirmed our own personal view that home was in the journey and not in the location itself. Home was our ship. I mentioned that justice held no real sway aboard our vessel – or at best, it held sway in a manner which made sense only if one stood on the bridge of the ship and gazed into the horizon long enough – a maddening process reserved for bouts of depression. As such, the story of the Lovers ended with the decapitation of Saul’s father, followed swiftly by the execution of his mother via a swift mallet to the head (back in the days of yore, convenient inventions such as the electric chair and lethal injection had yet to be discovered or implemented). As the bodies were being quartered to make for convenient shark feed, one of the butchers noticed that the swollen body of the female form was still kicking. More out of curiosity than anything else, the butcher slid his knife across the belly and lo and behold! Saul, premature by at least a month and a half was born. Justice having no real meaning meant that the boy was saved from being tossed into the sea and was instead raised to be both cabin boy of the ship as well as to remain an everlasting experiment on the meaning of a life which had never known the calm of wind rushing across land plains, feet
115 sinking into wet mud, running on pre-destined paths, structured buildings and all that was once (in all our minds) normal life. Saul never saw any of this, and for that reason, many assumed he was mentally deranged. As he grew older they avoided his piercing gaze and ignored his strange antics. When I came aboard the ship, I was fascinated, yet terrified by this enigmatic figure. He dressed in black you see, and black clothes worn on a hot summer’s day on the deck of a ship makes as much sense as killing the only female onboard. There were contradictions to the whole trip, and one just had to get used to them. Keeping this in mind, I figured the way I would learn quickest the ways of the sea would be to simply make friends with the walking contradiction that was Saul. He was older than me by at least a decade (if I had to take a guess) and that helped immensely. You may remember I mentioned having a father who’s impact on my life had been (by and large) negative. I didn’t go out seeking a father figure in Saul – it just took place naturally. He cared for me. He made sure I got time to spend on the bridge, alone, just me and the horizon in full view. I think his influence played a major role in the story I narrate to you now, though it must be noted, Saul was indeed a madman, and he and I clashed on numerous subjects with no eventual resolution in sight. He died this way so perhaps I shall never know if any of the words I spoke to him had any impact. Back to Saul’s death. I told you we buried him on land. It was a special place we dubbed, ‘Sense’ because it appeared at a very
116 sensible moment. We needed land to bury the corpse and there it was due North of our path. Sense was the last landmass we saw. We buried Saul six feet deep in its soft sand. No one cried. Back on the ship however, rumors began to run wild that Saul had been a magical charm keeping the ship afloat – that now perhaps it was time to get off while one could. The sea had turned wild – the sun shone but gave no warmth – things were grim and the world was stricken with a sickly grey. Some feared an edge may finally be crystallizing and the trip would end in a fall. Others assumed the worst – that Saul’s death had cursed the ship and we were no longer moving forward but trapped in a whirlpool whose center we couldn’t see yet. I can recall the exact moment when whispered rumors turned people fears to action. One day, I awoke to find twelve members of our crew climbing into a tiny dingy strictly reserved for short trips to land masses. I wouldn’t call it mutiny, but the twelve insisted nothing would prevent them leaving on the boat. It seemed like madness, and honestly, it seemed safer to stay onboard Home (given the state of the waters we were in) than to attempt turning back to our last port. Some might accuse me of having chosen the soft option – that’s not the whole truth. I also stayed because I firmly believed there was meaning out there at the edge which never came. It seemed worth pursuing. And besides, having been so close to Saul, I felt it was my duty to remain in his wake. This is not just because he died and I was attached to him – he also left me a fairly perplexing note, the answer to which I believe lies at the edge I have yet to reach:
The truth will still be true whether it is believed or not. I warn you dear friend the edge holds no answers, only questions. Seek not answers but questions. Did god create man or did man create god...or is man god...or is god man...man god is or...is or god man...man is or god...god or is man…not everything is supposed to have a meaning...reason maybe...meaning no...There is a difference. Seek questions, not answers. We are slaves to our imaginations. The Nous wanders, the mind shows, and the heart cannot help but feel. The mind, due to its inability to reveal that that is outside it, does not make certain the outside, but reveals the inside. Perhaps happiness is a conjured emotion? You have to imagine it for it to exist...if that is so, then I do not have the imagination to invoke it. The only way the world will be the way you want it to be, is if you are the way you want yourself to be...the best or nothing at all. Question: What is best? In a serious existence one must learn to step back and laugh at himself and all that is around him. Similarly in a jester’s existence, the jester must take his job seriously in order to keep them entertained. Who are you? Question one. It’s a start. There is an end. Question? Yes. The only way to break the pattern is to take on a different dimension. If one stays in the pattern (dimension) for too long,
118 then 'fate' will occur…meaning death will be set for a fixed date. Question: do you want to die? Questions not answers. I am not dead. I am traveling. Not horizontal, but vertical. Meet me there. Saul. Fucking Saul. He always had a way with words which left you feeling like he knew what he was talking about. What the fuck is vertical travel anyhow? I’m on sea, not in a plane. If he’s speaking of death, that not for me. I still quest for immortality. I don’t know if it’s at the edge of the ocean before me, but hey, I’ve got nothing to lose right? Right? What a laugh. Feeble petty minds struggling to comprehend the mechanics of a system they are a part of and cannot escape. I don’t envy Saul – but I miss him. It’s lonely here. And I’m so goddamn sad. It’s the sadness that makes it so hard for me to stay afloat. A normal man would’ve drowned ages ago but I am driven by application and not theory. Doing and not thinking. There must be an end to all this.
, I am a part of the ocean and Saul is my guide.
He’s not really real as most people refer to real. He’s a spirit companion – go look it up on the internet, it’s a real-enough phenomenon. Sometimes he appears to me as a cat – Meow! Meow! MEEOOOWWW! And then I usually kick the bastard for trying to help out in a situation I willfully wish to fuck up. I mean, here I am busy on the warpath of total annihilation of internal and
119 external affairs which drain me – SO WHAT if on occasion a wrong is committed? So what if somebody who does not deserve pain gets a little coming their way? I have taken enough online quizzes to have discovered the keys to my personality – I am one part hyena, two parts druid, one part poet and one part complete bastard. It comes as no surprise then that people who have thus far only experienced druid or poet are stunned, hurt, shocked beyond repair to find out that yes I enjoy watching high quality Japanese rape anime stare at myself in the mirror for hours on end pee in peoples prized lawns mock others’ religious beliefs kick a child when he’s down on his luck coerce women into sexual encounters feel no remorse for earthquake victims and generally do things which both druids and poets are not well known for. That’s not to say I’m not the ‘medicine man’ for many of the humans I meet. Meet me my dear and I shall vanquish all your woes! Trust in me, just in me and watch your fear melt away on aforementioned distant horizon! Take my hand and feel no shame! Just pull me into your arms and know comfort as never before! Walk with me, talk with me my man and rediscover and reinvent yourself! I am the medicine man and I have the cure! Why, just yesterday I spent hours with a lady friend curing her of her ills. I did the usual – sucked them into me and regurgitated sin as holy, hate as love, pain as pleasure. It is the oldest principle in the oldest of books; the alternative perspective. One must simply stand up in the wake of time and see the world for what was missed. On the meridian of time there is no injustice; only the poetry of motion creating the illusion of truth and drama. Those
120 were not my words but those of Henry Miller; a casual friend of mine who plagues me with his words. Anyway, back to the story: My lady friend suffered from the usual malady – a contrived belief in the importance of some things over others with an added social neuroticism brought on by a serious lack of self-esteem. This is a common disease which I shall name, ‘I eat my own shit’ given that the illness is entirely caused and sustained (to a large degree) by the patient themselves. To cure, ‘I eat my own shit’ I strongly believe that one must turn to an expert shit eater. Someone who does such an act not through illness but Willfully, as a means to an end. I happen to be an expert shit eater and indeed spend most of my time eating my own shit, though I bear with that of others given the right social occasion. The particular lady I am speaking of (I shall mention no names here) was suffering from excessive Diarrhea – we all eat shit on occasion but it is only when it turns distressful or beyond control that one must take steps to rectify the situation. Diarrhea (in this particular case) refers to a continual flow of shitty thoughts in the head – if not contained, in a matter of days the subject will dehydrate their own minds and eventually (given enough time) turn zombie, comatose or dead. The temporary cure (which people inadvertently apply) is to simply take those shitty thoughts and pour them all over a companion (after all, what are friends for?) with the hope that removal of shit in one big dump will bring an end to it all – a falsehood. The Real cure to Diarrhea is to readjust the internal system itself.
121 Careful examination of my friend revealed a viral infection (predictable) and as it was not far gone, we avoided a drug treatment and proceeded instead to tune her system using right thought and right behavior. This is a purely subjective affair depending on the type of shit the subject is accustomed to. After an hour or so she seemed better. We conversed and in the course of the conversation I determined that she had indeed absorbed all the medicine I had provided for her. Voila! The cure! I stick by those online studies – I am indeed two parts druid. A clean slate once more – that’s all I hope to achieve with all this meandering. I shoved a bunch of these very same words down the throat of another hopeful reject I spend my time with. They (the person) declared the work to contain no story at all. It merited reading, that much was clear, but to actually categorize any of it as literature was a defunct notion. Thoroughly de-funked, I decided to chuck it all into a trash can and continue the banter in my head but fate would have it otherwise, that is, if I believed in fate. If I believed in Fate (often seen as capital F) I would currently be sitting in the United States of America earning a fair living (enough to pay off my moderate student debts). I would probably be living in a soft quiet corner of a lush house owned by relatives who enjoyed my amiable company at dinner time. I would be invited to pray regularly but there would be no compulsion. Fate would have had me chewing on Doritos, watching Fox news and sipping on Gatorade as I planned out my future-bright spent in the land of opportunity – making a difference when and where it seemed to really matter. It would be wonderful really. Fate still offers me visions, but I shun such a silly notion. Who wants to live
122 on terms dictated to them through the system, for after all, what is fate but the grander scheme of things as ordained by the wheels set in motion by general consensus a long time ago. I shall be married by thirty two at most if fate ordains it (twenty eight at Most if I was a female). I shall have a couple of kids and I shall have a wife who likes to fuck and listen to me talk on occasion because I have such a unique point of view. I shall have a private study in which I shall secretly masturbate both physically and mentally when I am sure I will not be disturbed. Showers will be organized and will involve many products. I will step out of each shower and look at myself in the mirror and find reason to continue living though I am already dead. Fate would give me a job fairly (but not quite) fitting the role I should play in society. I would slog away but take many meaningful and well-earned breaks; maybe even switch jobs once or twice. Given such a state of affairs I would never quite make it big or earn vast quantities of riches, but there would always be enough to keep it all together. Some people would be proud of me – everyone who loves me surely would be. The others would just look at me and say, ‘ah fate! Isn’t it funny how it catches up to all people – even him’. Only my true enemies would woe and lament the loss of a worthy opponent. Perhaps they would look again and wonder – what the fuck? And then wander away to immerse themselves into life; perhaps even take me as a role model and delve into the streamlined structure of living by the terms of the system. Fate. It’s a tempting offer and I’ll admit, my youthful zest may very well wear down one day and I’ll slip into that old stream. Better late than never they say. That’s what they say right? At least I’ll have a few scars worth talking about. Look! Here! This
123 tattoo here was made when I was a venturer on a quest to...on a quest to? On a quest to what? Dull listless eyes. Empty foggy memories and disappointed companions who had hoped for a better story. “Didn’t he use to be funnier a long time ago?” one would whisper to another. “Ah but he’s sobered up a bit now. It’s a fair price to pay for all the rewards he’s reaped. Have you seen his wife?” Have you seen his wife. Dearest wifey who appreciates her husband though he is indeed no longer as funny as he used to be. Dearest wifey appreciating all the effort her man puts into educating the children and being a model father figure. Dearest wifey who understands his need to be alone on occasion – never questioning what goes on in the study - after all, the one time she had invaded his space they had made love on his desk, private papers and laptop be damned. Dearest wifey reminds me of that character in Fellini’s, ‘La Dolce Vita’. The one who’s living the perfect life in perfect serenity with two perfect little children in a wonderful yet modest abode. Husband dearest comes home one day to find wifey away. He takes a gun, strolls into the bedroom where his two sleeping children lie, aged four and six. He shoots one in the head. The other wakes and screams so he shoots the child in the throat. He then walks back to the living room where he puts on an old record then promptly shoots himself in the face. There is no suicide note. Most people press pause in the film and turn to each other with expressions of complete disbelief and shock. I am not one of those people. There was no reason for a suicide note. The reason is obvious.
124 Of course movies become famous because they show us (often) what simply cannot be. What cannot be is for a man spending twenty four years building his life in the comforting bliss of unfolding fate to suddenly break out of the mold and gun down all that had trapped him in a world of illusion. It cannot be...can it?
good...private study and
gives us the wonderful notion of
statistical probability to come to grips with such leaps and bounds of imagination. Lets see here...given the number of kids...number of years...wife’s body is still supple...shower products smell masturbation...necessities of life provided for...yes! Here we have what is known as a statistical improbability. You are all safe thanks to the wonderful world of Math! (capital M). The likelihood of someone you know pulling the proverbial gun on your proverbial ass is as likely as it is for the state of California to sink into the ocean within the next twenty years. Very, Very slim. Saul is speaking to me again. He’s non-visual this time around. I don’t believe in ghosts so I’m fairly sure it’s not the man I once knew choosing to haunt me on a whim. I don’t believe in demons and angels so his voice is definitely not one of those in disguise (Fact #643: did you know the Chinese word, ‘Jinn’ means, ‘thought’?). I’m quite sure I’m not insane but I am also sure I am hearing a voice inside my head. So what is it? Saul claims he is a higher function of my mind. Apparently, when humans gain access to important information they are not fully conscious of, the brain attempts to transfer said knowledge (a survival instinct if you will) to the human in question. The mode of transference is
125 entirely subjective to the individual at question. Some people see auras and non-existent colors which inform them of changes in the environment. A few (many apparently claims Saul) hear voices in their heads. The more imaginative and introverted a human is, the more they tend to get in touch with these voices and, depending on life experiences, culture and inspiration, they very often find themselves in the situation I am currently in. As Saul is just a function of my higher brain, I can apparently turn him off at will (and he invites me to do so right away to test the fact). Indeed it seems that he can be switched off. Not only that but things that draw attention (TV, human faces, sports etc.) automatically tune off these higher functions as well. Couch potatoes are thus suffering from more than laziness – they are literally shut-off from themselves. We must all get in touch with our inner voices and be masters of them. To be human is thus to be in control – the one centered in the matrix rather than the one governed by its laws. It seems like sound advice, but I remain skeptical of this unproven theory. There is little to go on aside from the occasional reminders that go off in the mind. ‘Ping!’ and there, my eyes do a little shifty dance to identify the source of the voice. I guess the reason we answer a metaphysical voice by looking around slightly is because we are so trained to seek a material object if a sound is heard. Remember those tales you heard as a kid? The one’s about the evil characters with shifty eyes? Shifty eyes have always been a deadgiveaway of something being not-quite-right internally. Could be...could be...truth be known all one can tell from shifty eyes is that an audio/visual experience is taking place internally. Now
126 that doesn’t mean that you can’t pick up all the other verbal and non-verbal cues to get a clue-in to what the conversation is all about. Its usually fairly obvious to an astute observer. I see people talking to voices in their head everyday and I must admit, it’s calming to know that I am not alone in this peculiarity of human function. What does unnerve me however is noting that these same people have almost no control in the control room. The voices seem to dictate action and preference. Rather than providing insight, they begin to define reality and believe that they (the voice) is the only internal voice there is. Have you ever seen someone suffering from denial? Ever notice how these people seem to be pulling words and sentences out of thin air in a stream of puppet-talk-jabberwocky-mimicry? Its fucked up man – freaks the shit outta me. Sometimes I look in the eyes of a human who is completely possessed by the voice(s) within and I freeze in terror at the realization that I am (in essence) speaking to a form of foreign entity. It sure feels that way...and then, one begins to wonder if perhaps that ol’ paradigm of demons and angels isn’t perhaps better suited to explain all this whacked out phenomenon. I mean, looking at an amazing piece of art and saying, ‘wow it looks like it’s from out of this world!’ is a lot different from looking into the eyes of your companion and realizing they’re bloody well from out of this world. It seems that way sometimes – but maybe it’s just me, an overactive imagination and far too many casual relations. Maybe.
127 It’s slow progress for me, this whole business of finding the human race agreeable. I mean, it shouldn’t be – after all, my Celtic horoscope claims that I am a pine tree sort of fellow: I love agreeable company, peace, and harmony. I am
compassionate and friendly; I love to help others. I am a natural poet and have a very active imagination. I am very soft on the inside - needing affection and reassurance. I can fall in love deeply, but will leave if I feel betrayed. The only thing in there I really associate with is the whole needing reassurance bit. Yeah I need reassurance. I’m not going to bloody well fall for some trick just because it assured me once. I need proof and evidence constantly! It must come in towering waves like a bloody tsunami of solid, solid terms; understandable terms which convey sincerity, conviction, or at the very least, a form of nominal existence. I think the reason why I need such reassurance is tied into the fact that I score: 69% neurotic 34% extroverted 94% open to experience 1% agreeable 56% conscientious Or so claims another fantastic on-liner I took to dinner once. I am completely open to experience but given my disagreeable nature, I
128 REALLY need these human bastards to reassure me my energy expenditure is worth my time. The reason I am disagreeable is quite inextricably linked to the fact that Quizfarm.com’s quiz titled, ‘Should you be MALE or FEMALE’?’ labeled me as a NEITHER. A NEITHER is quite simply: Someone who thinks neither like a man or a woman. What they are they may decide for themselves. Most people will consider them strange, alien, weird or funny. They are probably quite interesting. My NEITHER nature has, since birth, rendered me incapable of being understood by the masses who have constantly treated me like a disease. Like the Dingo virus – rare but deadly thus must be contained in a glass cage of assumed normalcy. My reaction of course is always a volatile one (Fact #754: walls made of glass shatter fast if pounded on very hard). This volatility is easily outlined in my ‘Temperament Test brought Blogthings.com!’: to you by
You Have a Choleric (Read: easily moved to anger) Temperament You are a person of great enthusiasm - easily excited by many things. Unsatisfied by the ordinary, you are reaching for an epic, extraordinary life. You want the best. The best life. The best love. The best reputation. You possess a sharp and keen intellect. Your mind is your primary weapon. Strong willed, nothing can keep you down. Your energy
129 can break down any wall. You're an instantly passionate person and this passion gives you an intoxicating power over others. At your worst, you are a narcissist. Full of yourself and even proud of your faults. Stubborn and opinionated, you know what you think is right. End of discussion. A bit of a misanthrope, you often see others as weak, ignorant, and inferior. And there we have the facts come full circle. To sum it all up in two sentences: It is hard for me to find the human race agreeable because I need constant reassurance that my energy is not being wasted as I am very open to experiences but am sadly not very agreeable in the eyes of others due to me being a NEITHER i.e. hard to define or slot down in societal terms even as simple as MALE or FEMALE. This results in people treating me as alien or weird and thus pushing me to react in a manner which is choleric - fueled by my desire and pride I label others as weak, ignorant and inferior because they cannot/will not understand me. A vicious cycle if I ever saw one. If this continues unchecked, by the time I am fifty I’ll be all alone and cursing every human I meet. Isn’t that fairly common of most old folk though? Perhaps the affliction has become more common in this modern world of ours where, ‘alienation’ has assumed fad-like tendencies. We all think we’re NEITHERS roaming lost highways with Lynchian undertones of violence, lust and despair; drama wrapped in lace stockings moist with the passionate outpouring of pride. The
130 individual self standing aloft amidst the metaphysical vomit of his own existential funk. How fucking quaint. I don’t want to be that fifty year old. Its not the loneliness that bothers me – it’s the fact that I didn’t have any other option but to turn into that bitter old man just like all the other bitter old men of this world. It’s like asking someone to willingly place themselves into a David Lynch scenario. The reason those scenes are so creepy is because all the characters have so many options but they are powerless to see them or approach them because the director is a madman.
We are all directors to our own movie plots
Or at least we should be. I don’t want to be that fifty year old yknow? I want Harrison Ford to play me as a fifty year old, not Nicholas Cage. Sadly enough, it’s those Nicholas Cage movies I really empathize with. Some day I’ll grow up to have that same sad expression on my face – a sort of slow surprise mingled with despair at how things turned out. How great is the difference between "yea" and "yeah"? How great is the distinction between "good" and "evil"? Must I fear what others fear? How silly! Everyone else is joyous as if enjoying the greatest feast, or going up the terraces in spring. I alone am drifting without direction, like a baby who has not yet smiled.
131 I alone am moping as if I had no home. Everyone else has more than they need, I alone seem in want. I have the mind of a fool, how confused I am! Other people are bright and clever, I alone am dark. Other people are alert and self-assured, I alone am dull and muddled. I am unsettled like the waves of the sea, like the restless wind. Everyone else has a purpose, I alone am stubborn and awkward. I am different from other people, Even so, I am nourished by the Great. From verse 20 of the Tao Te Jing. I feel nourished by the great Hunger. What an oxymoron. People are fools and my appetite is no longer appeased by their mundane existences. I need to feed on the flesh of humble mountain folk. I shall have great towering urns filled with blood resting by my feet... and great big hunks of juicy flesh shall be lowered into my gaping mouth, all teeth and razor sharp. I will sit atop a dark mountain surrounded in mist with a following of several hundred or so. They shall tend to their Demon God well, seeking only the finest flesh, the sweetest blood to satiate his - my hunger. When I am in need of entertainment, a
132 village girl from the lower steppes or plains shall be sacrificed in my name. I will make her feed upon the lifeless corpses of my daily brunch and watch to my satisfaction as she screams in fits and starts for days, choking back her own vomit. On the third day, she will break and feast as I do. Hunger will drive her there. Oh! How I shall laugh with glee as she drains a vacant human eye to quench her thirst, whimpering all the while as her will is broken. I will watch her get ill. Watch the belly swell. Take in the swoons as her stomach battles with the raw blood. And all the while my seven hundred will love me and serve me more and more and more till I grow weary of their servitude. Ah, but that is the way the world operates and one must simply get used to it. People of the Tao conform to the Tao. People of Virtue conform to Virtue. People who lose the way conform to the loss. Those who conform to the Tao are welcomed into the Tao. Those who conform to Virtue are welcomed into Virtue. Those who conform to the loss are welcomed into the loss. Those who do not trust enough will not be trusted. Ne’er were truer words spoken. It makes one wonder, given the choice of the scenario above, which role would you choose? 1. Demon God driven by hunger to feed upon flesh and blood. Pros: food aplenty and little to worry about except con: constant Hunger (capital H).
133 2. The serving masses, obedient, docile, driven. Pros: There’s a purpose to life. Con: that purpose is meaningless, perhaps stupid. 3. The sacrificial lamb; the martyr. The village girl. Pros: Memorable for all for time to come. Cons: pain, suffering, humiliation, torture and death. Given the options, which story would you follow? What would you conform to? If you chose: Demon God: Welcome to the real world of ego-driven, power hungry will-kill-for-fulfillment must have this must have that I will prevail I am right you are wrong fuck you and your mother because I have the money and you don’t suffer for my pleasure morality is for those who define it I am my own god self self self self self-ish. If you chose: Serving Masses: Welcome to the real world of duty responsibility know your place and no higher sweat suffer wait for godot to bring you gifts replace desire with fear antagonize but don’t publicize plebian existence self control not dead but dying step by step by step by step. If you chose:
134 Sacrificial lamb: Welcome to the real world of starving artist defunct theorist practicing difference achieve pain remorse reproach at the hands of your peers relatives black sheep with sense of sheepness but no power no voice but creative expression shunned shined on famous but dead love you for what we are not now die die die die die die die.
Methinks I suffer from partial
Suburbian Disorder. I don’t consider myself beyond self criticism and here it comes perched on the wave at its height. Suburbian Disorder is a mental disorder which essentially attacks those who have no real dilemmas in their lives. Having no dilemmas and being in a privileged position in society (hence the reference to the suburbs) will often (given the right environmental factors) force one into creation of myths and facts which create dilemma out of thin air. I pray I am not one of those afflicted with such a malady – Saul would be so disappointed. This whole work, the big ‘This’ is hiding the silent prayer (read: fear) that I don’t have Suburbian disorder hidden beneath the layers. Prayer as fear. Prayer as reflection of fear. Ever pause and wonder what you pray for? In a lifetime not far from this one, I was getting a coffee cup reading of the future. The medium I was working with turned to me and asked me to pray for something before she began the reading. I paused momentarily and came up with: ‘I pray for absolute power through the acquisition of knowledge’
135 Now let’s break that down to reflect fear (and remove some excess words): ‘I fear weakness through ignorance’ Nietzsche said to understand philosophy one must understand the philosopher. The map is not the territory as it were. A man may put down a lot to paper but that is just partly him. When I have fears, I remember these words. I am not my words and somehow that allays my need to be me here. That’s not to say I’m reverting to some Jungian Mask; hiding behind an exotic display of rhetoro-linguistic fantasy. Nor am I freeing the brave reckless god within. I am finally, finally coming to terms with the complexities which define existence – even for one mere mortal man. It is unfair (in my humble opinion) to have come this far and not make a quick comment on all the ground that has been covered already. There is both truth and lies in all the lines above and if I were asked to pick which were which, I would be at a loss. The loss would extend not from a need to cover one’s tracks but from an actual lack of comprehension of what one would define as lie and what would be seen as truth. So acceptance must come – that which lies at last is, in truth, laid to rest.
proclaims greater, greater
is an almost acceptable statement
in this particular case. Cyber punk and utopian/dystopian dreams of the eighties aside, I think transhumanism is a viable approach to better living. Shakes loose the bonds that once held you man! Intelligence piled upon
136 intelligence climaxes into an ecstatic fulfillment of human (now transhuman) potential. It’s scary, but the shivers of redefining what it means to be human are those of an oncoming rollercoaster dip. Part of you thinks it makes no sense to go careening away against the laws of nature, while instinctively your other half senses there are tracks guiding your path. A safety belt has been provided for – that safety belt that holds you safe is, ironically, your ability to think outside the box you’re in. Fuck the rollercoaster, humans are meant to fly like the angels, Or die trying... Metaphors and symbols aside, it is commonsense that change is an integral component of the known universe on both micro and macroscopic levels, regardless of the variations in animal, mineral or vegetable. As a mortal species of a fairly young age, we behave as infants in making what are essentially linguistical gymnastics to define things as ‘eternal’, ‘constant’, ‘never-ending’. As a maturing species we should consider adopting a post-toddler (age 4-10) understanding of the meaning we try to uncover from life. This life is more than the senses, and some things that mommy and daddy told me were lies. I have survived so something must be good and working. Functionality aside, its time to have a good time and explore! That’s right I said it. Regardless of all we humans have done in our collective history, we have barely begun to explore! Take drugs as an example – we still have laws worldwide which place responsibility for drug use (and abuse) in the hands of daddy government. Its mommy’s fears all over again.
137 “John? You home from work? John! Little Timmy almost swallowed a bottle of cough medicine you left out by mistake! We can’t let that happen again – its time you built a medicine cabinet with a lock.” Little Timmy was well protected by his mother because he was two years old. The question is: are you a two year old? If you die as a dope fiend on the streets of an anonymous city having sucked cock for a fix, whose fault was that? What did you say? No one told you the real dangers of drug use? Daddy lied and said a boogeyman lived in the medicine cabinet instead of explaining drugs to you? You snuck a look and found them useful, perhaps even (dare I say it?) educational? You went too far? Legalize drugs. It’s worth the death toll to grow up just a bit more. Innocence is lost but it’s a fair price for what is delivered into your hands. And drugs are just the tip of an iceberg which stretches deep into the cavernous activities of a race obsessed with maintaining its infancy. Economy based on more for me, less for you? I’m bigger so I can hold onto your toys by exercising brute strength? How about that eco-system huh? Maybe if we release enough toxins into the environment we’ll get warmer weather? How about culture? Nationalism: pride for a piece of land – a Lego paradise defined by the company that makes the pieces fit together; the territorial lines that bind you. Lick that cookie Timmy! That way it’s all spoilt and no one else can share in it. We are infantile in so many ways, but at its core we must recognize that we are infantile in how we mix and match lies and truths to ourselves. The complexities escape us as we finger-paint the canvas with our innocent attempts to make it all work.
138 We are all blameless and thus, all to blame. Being wondrous is all well and good but one of us eventually needs to fly. It is perhaps time to transform this transient life into transhuman potential transfixed to transcendence translated: transmundane. A veritable transorbital lobotomy aimed to transmogrify what was once translucent to a form quite transparent. My name is Jay, and I am the nomad who dwells in the ethereal realm between what is light and what is dark – the horizon, tread upon as if it were able to support the weight of a human; flesh and bone. There is no line to walk, just degrees to draw and the stars shining down with memories of the past – the way the universe once was. I will never go back, but I shall use them to navigate my passage across the abyss with no edge. I finally begin to understand the message Saul left for me. These words are my legacy to flight.
Contact Jay: firstname.lastname@example.org