Sunday, August 3, 2014

Camping Screed

I wrote this by hand on paper while camping, way out in the woods.

Best to All,



When we last left our hero he was sitting on the outermost outskirts of the ailing US Empire in one of the last undeveloped regions of its eastern seaboard.  Surrounded by the vast miraculous beauty of a landscape at least vaguely akin to what the long extinct sabertooths and giant sloths saw, he pondered an injury of several months ago, which had altered his mobility, perhaps forever, and struggled to be deep.  It was easy to get lost in petty reflections and frivolous musings, not to mention the urge to masturbate--in fact, he knew he was a bit of ephemera on a planet that was changing at a very alarming speed thanks to the advance and abundance of humanity, currently teeming on a saturated globe, their selfishness stoked by capitalism and technology, and the fears and material urges thus magnified.  Well, there was nothing he could do about it, though there was always good cause to fret.  Due to global warming, caused by coal plants and cars (and the methane farting out of cattle asses) many big cities would be heading underwater--but for half the people, the Republicans, it was too painful to face so they made up reasons to hate the other half of the people, the Democrats who kept annoying them with facts.  Indeed, a psychological diametric had taken hold in which half the people believed one list of things and the other half believed another such list, and the two lists contradicted each other point by point.  Every night and every day it went on and on, going nowhere while the sea kept rising up and the status of human beings as dignified creatures went down and down (actually, our hero thought this had bottomed up some time ago).

With the stupidity of humanity almost incontrovertible (there was always a large reserve of genocides, wars, inquisitions, oppressions, and run-of-the-mill rapes and violence to fall back on, along with the associated miasmas of denial and fanaticism), there was little hope for the benevolence of the Creator.  In vogue in realms cosmological of late was the theory of infinite random universes, obviating the need for any sort of Creator, intelligent or not.  Any hope for a Good God/dess was desperate relying on polytheism and balancing the atrocious state of affairs with the admittedly amazing aspects of life.  How this good deity cohabitated with those monstrous was pretty much beyond reckoning, requiring a leap of faith that would make a stylite ecstatic.  You had at least a hypothetical archetypal standard of Good, measurable in various ethical ways, say by contrasting freedom with slavery--and yet this hypothetical was a pretty lonely place.  Someday humans--or whatever humans turned themselves into by combining with machines--might invent an angel by filling a robot  with the right kind of advanced software, tantamount to the  best of the brain; but it seemed more likely they would invent the Devil first.  In fact, Dostoevsky had said that, if the Devil did not exist, people would have to create him.  And so far that had proved resoundingly true.

So what to do, how to be, and what could really matter?  Dumb apes had evolved with forelobes just large enough to create outliers:  the rare inventors and thinkers, who managed--sometimes--to tweak reality--but the stupidity at the core of the collective human beast remained.  Ants were as adaptive as humans and even had farms and advanced ventilation, disposal and social systems.  Individually an ant and a typical human were pretty much the same--born into a framework of inculcated habits--these were effective, true, but substantially rote.

Faced with a big dumb stubborn mass driven by a few outliers, mainly rich people and the geniuses they tapped, there was little our hero--or anyone--could do to shift the momentum of fate.  Even the powerful rich people driving the herd were prisoners of the collective ideology, which was yet another manifestation of the old greed-and-peasantry thing.  All you really could do was throw out sparks of wisdom and hope, somehow, a fire got lit, and that it erupted into a transformational conflagration.  And so, our hero wrote and wrote, but he had the feeling something was still missing--and what that something was, he did not know, or was too scared to face.

He wiped a swatted mosquito off the paper, dodging its smear with his pen (not!) and reflected on whether Buddhist compassion allowed the swatting of mosquitoes.  The Native Americans seemed to have it more right, but that was a pathetic generalization over a thousand separate cultures; and appeals to shamanism as understood through his eurocentric upbringing would be similarly flawed.  Nevertheless, spirit guides seemed the way to go.  Jungian archetype sort of things, but less lofty.  Beings perhaps like earthy guardian angels, intimate and personalized.  Such spirit guides could be purveyors of the Good, allies in seeking it and so on.  In fact, he didn’t know where the poems he wrote came from, or even the screed he was currently penning--so it all kinda made sense.  Whether the spirit guides were separate entities or parts of his own mind was irrelevant, at least until he died, and then he’d know the difference--or not.

He invited his guides to watch over and guide him, and help him seek the Good, what else to do?  There was compassion below it all, call it Buddhist or Christian or whatever, and yet as soon as you labeled it, people grew possessive and standoffish and fought those who labeled Compassion differently, and then none of them ended up with any Compassion for any of the others, except in the “I had to kill them to save them!” kind of way.

So, he kept it at the meta-religious level, the generic, so everyone could agree and enjoy and be Compassionate to each other and seek, through whatever God or guide they desired--

The Good.

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