Stuff from the original Project Reason Forum and/or Sam Harris Forum...
Little House on the Moral Landscape
The Parable of the Running of the Adulteresses
Alternate Ending for Deep Space Nine
Some shorter items appear below...
T'was the night before Election Day 2016…
'Tis the last Trash Night maybe ever. I just carried out the offerings confident that we can count on one more visit from the Trash Fairy. Our fairy will come and make all the things we don't want magically disappear. After tomorrow, I just don't know.
I only mention it because I spotted a neighbor in the heavy fog sitting motionless at the curb next to his bins. I called out, "Tis late and getting cold, neighbor! What task remains of your offerings? I will lend a hand. If not, go and sleep the sleep of the blessedly rubbish-free."
He looked up with watery eyes and said, "Stand down sweet savior. My mission is as fixed as my bin lids."
"What mission be that, oh fixated block-mate?"
"Every week, we place our offerings of the things we don't want at the sacred curbside and they go to a magical out-of-sight and out-of-mind place. We never see them again. I don't want tomorrow and I don't know how to throw it away! With such incredible powers, the Trash Fairy cannot fix this apocalyptic debacle! Then I shall offer myself and go to this magical out-of-sight and out-of-mind place, too."
"You tempt me, fraut neighbor. I would sit with you and know the glory of such oblivion but it is my turn to perform the sacred duty of bringing in the bins after our offering is favored and taken."
I quietly stole some brandy from another neighbor's house (the one with that leaf blower) and left it with him. I headed back inside. Once last glance down the block… I'm not sure if that was two or three more huddled figures or just a trick of the fog.
Maybe he's right. Sure makes you think. "Our praises to the Fairy who takes away our sins! We will come rejoicing, bringing in the bins!"
On a Trek-related note, a new workout franchise is appealing to geeks, nerds and trekkies to get out of the basement more. It's open 24/7 and all the exercise gear is dressed up like props from Star Trek. The friendly staff wears starfleet uniforms and Trek plays on all the video screens. Live long and perspire at the He's Dead Gym.
…walk into a tavern. They are deep into an argument about communion.
Brother Ray: “Where does it say that the Body of Christ should be cooked first?”
Brother Bob: “It says we eat of His body. I assume it’s talking about His meat, right? It wouldn’t be the skin or the bones, would it? And meat should be cooked first, right?”
Brother Ray: “It only becomes His body during the sacrament, right before we eat it.”
Brother Bob: “The altar could have a Golden Spit.”
Brother Ray: “Besides, it’s already baked. It’s bread.”
Brother Bob: “So it’s baked bread that turns into uncooked meat.”
Brother Ray: “It’s just symbolic. We weren’t there. No one knows what He tasted like. I’m sure He tasted divine.”
Barkeep : “Your pardon, Brothers. What would you like?”
Brother Bob: “Two very large goblets of wine,”
The barkeep serves up two large goblets. The friars break into a Latin incantation in Gregorian harmony, which prompts the barkeep to keep his grip on the wine.
Barkeep: “That was very nice. Can you pay for your wine, too?”
Brother Ray: “No, that’s the Blood of Christ now. You can’t put a price on it.”
Brother Bob: “It would be a sin.”
Brother Ray: “And since we all have to pay for our sins, it would be cheaper to just let us have it.”
Brother Bob: “It’s just blood now, anyway.”
The friars reach for goblets but the barkeep scoops them away.
Barkeep: “Fine. I’ll put them over here until they change back. How long before it wears off?”
Brother Bob: “I dunno.”
Brother Ray: “We can wait and find out. You probably wouldn’t be able to tell.”
Brother Bob: “We can tell.”
Barkeep: “Both of you clear off! What did Christ ever do that was good for business?”
Brother Ray: “Come to Mass on Sunday and line up in front when we do. You’ll see. His sacrifice paid for your salvation. And He bought you a drink.”
Brother Bob: “You can hide the raw meat in your cheek. If you’re real quick, there’s a big bowl up there you can…”
Brother Ray: “It’s baked. I’m sure it says somewhere that baked is fine. Barkeep, why don't you slide those back over here? We'll check if it's de-substantiated yet.”
Barkeep: "I suppose I'll have to. Can't pour it back in the keg until I'm sure."
Brother Bob: “Hang on… (gulp) wait a minute… (gulp) I think… maybe… it’s changed.
Brother Ray: “Really? It's turned to desub already? Are you saying you’ve witnessed an un-miracle?”
Brother Bob: “I don’t think it’s as miraculous (gulp) as it was a minute ago. What do you think?”
Brother Ray: “Hang on… (gulp) No… No, that’s definitely still blood.”
Brother Bob: “You think so?... Let me try some more… (gulp) yeah… (gulp) yeah your right.”
Brother Ray: “Sure I’m right. Watch when I hold it up to the candle. See that shiny pattern on the table there?”
Brother Bob: “Sure.”
Brother Ray: “I can still see the Virgin Mary.”
Brother Bob: “On the right there?”
Brother Ray: “No, on the left… turn your head this way… See how it hits the knot on the table?”
Brother Bob: “Oh yeah… well, your right. I can’t argue with that.”
Brother Ray: “What’s the matter with you?”
Brother Bob: “I think all this blood has gone to my head.”
Two kinds of nihilism
The Old Nihilism…. as described by the somber, condescending voice of Dick Cheney, over scenes from Metropolis and 1984…
“The world of the nihilist is an empty, drab and pointless place. Life is meaningless and concepts like loyalty and fidelity can find no purchase in a mind that knows only fear and lust. The nihilist stumbles through a grey world without the clarity provided by the pure white light that illuminates our reason and reveals the shadows of the dark places where Evil lies in waiting. No such moral beacon exists for the nihilist. Nihilists gather together on Sunday Morning to watch paint dry and to listen to the sound of no hands clapping. Love, trust, sincerity… what would a nihilist do with such things?”
The New Nihilism…. as described by a cheerful and smiling Betty White, over scenes of a meadow full of bunnies and kittens….
“Too many of us are spending our lives in a world so full of meaning that living in it is like traveling down a road that is cluttered with so many road signs telling you the way it is that you can’t see and enjoy the scenery. Pull off that dusty old road and head into the wilderness. Why not live your life in a fresh, clean, meaning-free universe. Each of us has a chance to see what the universe can mean to us right now in our lives. Let love and trust find their own path to meaning with those around you one day at a time.
Why spend four thousand years reading about what the universe meant to everyone else? When you judge for yourself, everyday is Judgment Day. Why not wake up each morning and open your eyes and greet that first inrush of photons with a smile and a “What’s all this then?”
Finally! A new technology that makes, at long last, LED TV’s look old and stupid! And with a screen so flat it has no profile whatsoever. It’s QUANTUM TELEVISION!
Tiny rows of sub-microscopic black holes generate a picture by gently sucking the ambient light out of your living room. …along with 99% of household allergens.
A special interactive guide shows you when your favorite Quantuum show is on or, which channel (but not both at the same time)
With Quantum TV, you’ll always be uncertain about what you wathched or if you watched it yet or whether it’s a rerun or not. Such things don’t matter with Quantum TV. It doesn’t even use wasteful messy matter.
With eleven dimensions, you’ll see all the action, at a distance, without the constant fuss over where your own molecules are. Or will be.
Rush at indeterminable speed to any store that you can localize and DEMAND… QUANTUM TV!
(some Quantum customers' comments)
“I bought one of these and I can tell you they are NOT worth it. When it goes wrong, that’s when you hear about the halflifetime warranty."
"The service department said it was my fault because I set both the resolution and decay rate to Maximum. The next morning, the TV was gone and there were six Quantuum toaster ovens in its place. They have a knob labeled “particle anihilation-toast/muffin. What am I suppose to do with those?”
"Why did my new TV come with table lamps? Do i have to use them?"
Service Department reply: “Yes sir, thank you for the question. That’s right, the brighter your room is, the brighter the Quantum TV picture becomes. And no, sir… you do not want to turn off the light… never, never do that.”
re: Best Prices Rx for God
For the God who suffers from occasional omni-impotence,
There is now Meta-Viagra!
Now there is help moving that immovable object!
And, when God's will chooses it to be moved!
(Pillars of fire lasting more than four hours may require a blood sacrifice)
Closer to Truth? It's At the Beach!
I have for many years now been catching episodes of Robert Lawrence Kuhn's TV series Closer to Truth. It appears on PBS at odd hours, usually an early morning slot before the yoga lady. Kuhn talks, very slowly, with academic folks about the nature of God, consciousness and reality. Many of his guests have also done The Boss's podcast. In this show, the heavier the subject, the slower the speech. I've seen most of the episodes. I've learned some things and my mind has been opened to some new questions that I never asked before.
For example, how do these folks feed themselves? They carry on as if spending years pondering the finer points of Christ's Incarnation or extended consciousness is their job. Why would anyone pay someone to do this? It's plain crazy. I assume they are all on some kind of welfare program. They spend or blow their stipend on a fancy wardrobe, which is why they are often seen gorging themselves at hotel buffets.
Mr. Kuhn usually finds these heady folks hanging out at four-star vacation resorts sipping cocktails on the balcony overlooking scenic splendor. It will be an 'event' with a title like, Conference on the Long Term Security of Eternal Uncertainty About Stuff. Once on this silver-ladled gravy train, no one wants to get off. That longevity is assured by avoiding Results at all costs and maintaining the illusion of incremental Progress. That's what most engineers do, and I have to wonder if that is what is going on here in the banquet room as well.
How does one judge the product produced by their combined efforts? For example, what if God, in being timeless and eternal, saw all of time and space at once and could tweak things in the universe like pruning a cosmic shrubbery? Not to be harsh, but I've heard that notion and more from band mates after a couple of sugar cubes and a ninety minute rendition of Tobacco Road.
To be fair, it must be hard to work out complex problems while dazzled by a sunlit mountain range or a thundering shoreline or sunset on a forest trail. The comfy chairs, the gorgeous wood paneling and brilliant stained glass make for lofty surrounding that do not manage to lift much of the conversation from the mundane. It might sound more intellectual if overheard from the next booth of a local pub or a Chuck E Cheese.
Instead, Mr. Kuhn visits places like an Institute for Theological Research where people think hard about Christ's divinity or how a three-being monotheism works. I'm left wondering who mows all that grass and pays for the landscaping. The facilities seem way out of scale with the importance of the problem. There's plenty of room for lots of people to think hard about more pressing concerns. I think issues of the Trinity can be handled at a roadside kiosk or with an RV with a trailer.
Once someone admits that they are offering a theological explanation of theology, the conversation becomes too far from truth. I want to know why theology is a given before I can care about God's body parts or questionable habits. Even when the subject is consciousness, I still have a problem with the givens. They postulate a preposterous thing and argue over who has a preposterous enough idea for how it could work. One more round of cocktails might lure the Truth close enough to pounce on it.
I exaggerate a bit. It is cool to find such a show anywhere and I am a fan of many who have appeared on it. However, I would place these conversations in settings where normal people discuss such topics. Some of the best chats about the origin of the universe take place on a wooden bench in front of a row of tumbling dryer windows.
On God's Side
Brother Ray: “How do we know if we are praying to the right God?”
Brother Bob: “When we win.”
Brother Ray: “What if we lose?”
Brother Bob: “Then we have faith that we are praying to the right God. Even as He tests us and challenges us with doubt.”
Brother Ray: “Is there a newer God we could switch over to? One that always wins?”
Brother Bob: “No, that’s not how it works. That’s why we have to win everyone over to Christ. Once we are all on the same side, our God will have the biggest army possible, all wars will be over instantaneously, and we will always win.”
Brother Ray: “If we were all on the same side, how often would we fight?
Brother Bob: “Constantly. There would be no one to stop us. The struggle will be maintained in endless wars fought in the blink of eye and always ending in victory. We will bathe in a constant rush of victory that will roll like orgasms through the body of Christ. Faith is how we get there”
Brother Ray: “Well, that certainly sounds worth it. All we have to do is shut up and not think about it, and we’ll get sin-free orgasms.”
Brother Bob: “I can’t stop thinking about it.”
In my neighborhood, this year's Halloween falls on trash night. Instead of having parents and children out celebrating both and tripping over each other, we combine the festivities.
The usual activities like riding the recycling separator and the Scissor Out the Greasy Parts of the Pizza Box Contest are cut short so we can send everybody out on a once-in-a-childhood adventure that we call Trick or Waste Treatment.
The children set out at dusk with a big sack of their own trash. They go door to door in search of the Trash Fairy. They ring the doorbell and shout, "Call the fairy! Take my trash!" All the neighbors answer their door and say, "No fairies! Go away!" Then it up to the youngsters to make a plea for the neighbor to take just one piece of trash from their sack. Often, it is a promise to rake the leaves or get better grades. Some neighbors make their own demands like a promise to read a book. The neighbor then cheerfully takes one piece of trash and slams the door.
Big smiles and social approval await the child who brings home an empty sack. They fall asleep to dream of the Trash Fairy coming in its big iron sleigh and taking their unwanted things to the Forgettable Oblivion. Parents lie awake wondering if their children's stuff will ever reach the Promised Landfill. If we were sold a bill of goods, we'll never find it now.
It’s an Eternal Life.
Chuck and Phil were neighbors and pals for 61 years. Both were God-fearing Christians and led a good Christian life. No matter how much their sinful nature managed to intrude, they always acknowledged their weakness and begged for forgiveness.
When the rapture came, both Chuck and Phil were delighted to find they made the cut. They enjoyed the Thousand Year Reign of Christ and breezed through the Final Judgment Day before settling in for their eternal life in Paradise where they are still neighbors.
That was five hundred billion years ago.
“Were you thinking of doing anything else today aside from worshipping God?”
“I don’t know, I was going to ask you.”
“What’s the matter?”
“I was feeling nostalgic for the old days. Remember when we had free will? Temptation was everywhere and everyday was struggle over the fate of our eternal soul. Those were exciting times.”
“I remember the pressure and anxiety. Once I learned that I was a sinner, I spent my whole life being miserable about it. I dreaded every day as I awaited death and judgment. Every night was just like the night before my third grade math exam. You want to go through that again?”
“But you did okay. You’re here. You passed the exam.”
“Yes, but I didn’t know I would. Not knowing for sure was the worst part.”
“Sure, that was awful. Still… do you ever wonder how much more you could of gotten away with and still got here? It would have been neat to know.”
“I never had a sense that I was in the clear. There was always some doubt… some sin lying around somewhere that hadn’t been forgiven or maybe I was too lustful. I figured it was obvious that some amount of lust was acceptable, but how much? That was agony. I’d rather forget all about it.”
“I miss lust. That was my favorite. These perfect lust-free bodies wear well, but sometimes I wish I’d feel a twinge somewhere. Anywhere.”
“They are great for worshipping, though. And glorifying His Name.”
“Yep. And singing His praises. Perfect pitch and all… “
“Yep… So, what do you want to do? We can play some shuffleboard and then get some manna…”
“If I play one more game of shuffleboard, my head is going to explode.”
“Your head can’t explode. It’s perfect.”
“Yep… You want red or black?”
There will come a time in our eternal lives when the 15 or so billion years of creation are just a distant memory. We’ll look back on it like the carnival that came one perfect summer night and filled our heads with sights and sounds. We’ll look across the heavens and feel just like we did the next day looking across the empty parking lot where it all happened.
This is what we want to be ready for?
The Corona Brexit Impeachment Peace & Warming Wildfire Fungus of the Brain.
I'm sure I need not elaborate.
That, or something like it, will be the explanation cited by alien archeologists who will, one day in the distant future, examine the wreckage we are preparing to wreak now.
They'll say, of all the little primate-manned rocks in the galaxy, this one did have quite a party. They'll be right. The party is already winding down.
While the things around us are advancing, they are also degrading. Our stuff is futuristic but cheap. While the bag we brought it home in will last forever, the stuff does not hold up well when exposed to a corrosive gas like oxygen, or when in the grip of 1g of gravity.
Our younger generations were born into an already lesser world. When was the peak of the party? Who's lifetime can claim to crest the wave of human civilization? Who saw the best it got? Not to brag but I think it might be my ilk- the lagging edge of the boomers. We should realize that we are ephemeral time capsules of What Was Possible. The children need to be told before it all slips away.
It's time for us booms to stand up, get out in the streets and shout, "I remember flexible vacuum cleaner hoses! And flashlights that don't have to be knocked against something to light up.!"
There are plenty of other things to mention. Nuance, time for nuance, album sides, patience…
I'm asking our patrons, grayed or not, how good did it get?
One Day in Birmingham…
I was part of a crew of lads doing a retro-fit system in a monstrous house next to Goose Turd Lake in Berm-ing-em (we were trained to pronounce it). It was an all-day job of planting speakers in the walls and ceilings and fishing wires through the studs and attic. I remember this job because the client's missus was standing in the tennis court-sized kitchen. She said, "Hello, I'm the six-foot Swedish trophy wife. Welcome to my prison."
She was very funny and treated us to scoffing/entertainment as we put speakers in the wine room, cigar room, exercise room, game room, bar room, walk-in closet and etc. "It's all for Right Wing Radio. Everywhere… like a warm blanket of BS", she said.
When it came time for the remote demonstration, I showed her how I set up a duplicate set of pages for the screen. One that was techno-heavy and Star Trek-looking for him and offered my own human-friendly blend for her. She liked it. She trained quickly and had more ideas for it. Her TV Guide pages don't show the porn channels and there is a kill switch that blocks the radio from the non-boyish parts of the house.
She said that her hubby-warden can't know about this. I showed her how one button will always be there to switch from his to hers and back again quickly even if they are sharing the remote.
I asked her, "How shall I name the button? It has to be something he'll never think to push."
She thought for a second and replied, "Family".
"And the return button?"
Overheard in my neighborhood…
Code Enforcement Officer: Sir, I need to ask you about this statue you've placed in your yard.
Home Owner: Isn't it great? I spotted it at a flea market and got it for twenty bucks.
CEO: Can you tell me what it is a depiction of?
HO: It's a brontosaurus. It's a miniature, of course. This is a genuine Sinclair Oil dino statue from long ago. I grew up near a gas station that had one. We all climbed on it and had a blast.
CEO: Blasts are not my jurisdiction but I'm afraid you will have to meet our new code requirements. We don't want your statue causing any confusion by sending mixed messages.
HO: Are you kidding? It's an advertising mascot for gasoline. How can it confuse anybody?
CEO: We have to consider the big picture in a historical context. And in a chain-link fence. We have to explain to youngsters why we exploited the remains of dinosaurs and the world they lived in and sold them as gasoline for our own profit. Children climb on it and complete the message of hominid-supremacy to anyone who is privileged to be driving by.
HO: This is starting to sound like more short-sighted big-government over-reach. After the fence, what else do I have to do?
CEO: By law, you must provide an information kiosk that uses the three most-spoken languages in your voting precinct and places your statue in a greater historical context than as an octane rating for making doughnuts in the courthouse parking lot. And that it is an unfair depiction that diminishes them in scale. Then, of course, you'll need an audio version for the blind and visually challenged.
HO: Wait a minute. Why do I have to explain the statue to people who cannot see the statue?
CEO: They might have a companion that tells them about it. That's how misinformation is spread. I've seen the utoob videos this sort of thing can inspire. I assume you have liability insurance?
HO: Do you mean my homeowners' policy? We never got hurt on this thing. Not badly, anyway.
CEO: I mean a Civil Unrest Policy. You know… riot insurance. You'll need the minimum no-fault coverage at least.
HO: It's not my fault. The dinosaurs were killed by an asteroid 65 million years ago. There are none left to offend.
CEO: That is just the sort of identity politics that keeps us from empathizing with each other. You don't have to be a dinosaur to feel sorry about their situation. We can own up to the eons of mammalian-privilege granted by that asteroid. Tomorrow, the city's public works crew will paint Lizard Lives Matter in the street in front of your house.
HO: No, no… it turns out they were birds.
CEO: See what I mean? 65 million years is a long time to wait for justice.
"Alice! Illicit fart engine!"
The White House communication folks used artificial intelligence to create the perfect bullet point for Trump and his spokespeople. This is to be blurted out whenever an opponent has spoken for twelve seconds. "Alice! Illicit fart engine!" is easy to imagine spoken by Rudy or Kellyanne or even the mighty T-wrecks.
The point is to derail complexity before it has a chance to be expressed. The T administration turned to AI to find the one universal phrase that could derail any topic. A phrase so aggressively obtuse that no matter how hard anyone tried, no one can find its context, connect it to the conversation or compose an appropriate response. "Alice! Illicit fart engine!" See how the phrase remains meaningless even in a paragraph that explains it.
This physically endears some listeners whose attention cannot endure twelve seconds of continuous work. The relief from brain laboring will, with repetition, become a pleasurable feeling associated with the talking heads who use it. The blurt is followed by tiny logic. If this, then that. If all the logic is tiny, some folks will find that it further endears the user because it treats them with respect and reassures that things are simple.
Simplicity has become courtesy and complexity has become rude and presumptuous. Simplicity is in high demand because there is not enough time for complexity. Most TV interview questions come with a caution about how many seconds can be spared for the answer. What's the hurry? Can this haste be ascribed to any external factors? Is there less time now then was two hundred years ago?
Fans of complexity find this frustrating. No matter how fast a fan of complexity can talk and express their complex views, a non-fan can say "Alice! Illicit fart engine!" even faster.
That is the ultimate mission of the T-team- to defeat complexity by eliminating the long time frames that allow it unfold. This can be done without ever winning an argument or defending one's reasoning. By shrinking the public canvas, only the tiniest pictures can be seen. Only the quick and tiny voices can be heard. That makes social media the preferred forum and journalism's practitioners into enemies of the tiny people.
They not tiny in stature. They are short in thought. Inside their brains, their minds cast a tiny footprint. Many who have done their best to serve the Tiny Administration have found the shoes too tiny to fill. The goal is to Make America Tiny Again but any sympathizer of complexity knows that America was never as tiny as the T's have already made it.
It is time to admit that the war is on and that, no matter which side you're on, some of those around you see you as the enemy. Combat will take the form of imposed inconveniences, closed doors and urine-spiced tacos.
Knowing friend and foe will not be easy though there are some methods of determining who are the tiny people.
One way is to use an existing audio recording or make one of your own. Find an app that allows increasing playback to 130% or so and listen to what happens. Try it on one of The Boss's podcasts for a references. Notice how he sounds goofy. Now try it on Rudy or another popular T-spokesperson. It's not goofy. It sounds like a cranky toddler who doesn't want to go to bed. Their reasoning unfolds like crazy cookie-jar alibis. Emotion makes its musical and even jazzy. Try this on the folks around you. Use any topic and make a reading on a scale from childish to just goofy.
An easier if less precise test is turning on a drum machine. Adjust the tempo until it seems to drive the speech along. With tiny people, this is easy. With The Boss, for example, it is impossible. Tiny-ness is synchronized. It has a pulse. This is a less certain measure of tiny-ness since many complexity-sympathizers have learned to 'do' tiny-ness when needed.
We should hear the pulse as war-drums and an indication that the T's are gaining ground. Newer PBS documentaries have drum machine behind the narration. We can't watch a nature show without a shuffling pulse to shovel it into our brains? Complexity's inner perimeter has been compromised. We're getting tinier.
The best method is simply to listen. Tiny people use words with magic powers. As if a word is an actual attribute of what it describes. For example, if seven out of ten people would now use the word 'crisis' to describe events at the border, the T's can use the word's power to make us tinier. A crisis demands a quick response from a decisive commander. Thoughtful has failed or there wouldn't be a crisis, right? Dry, complex pictures with a lot of detail might be more true but tiny pictures with a pulse might as well be true. In a thirty second race, which one is going to be true first?
It is true that the universally-derailing bullet point came from artificial intelligence. In the tiny world, it is as true as it needs to be.
This experiment will require three jumbo cans of non-dairy dessert topping. Shake vigorously.
Starting as the base your neck, apply a generous coating and work upwards to the top of your head. Unless you’re Bruce, you should be able to completely incase your head with one can. Once completed, you will have enclosed your brain and most of your sensory apparatus in foam. Now, from the inside, all of the universe is dessert topping. Grab a towel.
The second can must now cover the Earth. It can’t of course, so the next best thing is to make it look like it is covered by covering all the eyes that look at it. The entire human race must be covered, so, you must stretch the can. For each person, only the slightest spritz is to be applied directly onto the iris. Even then, it will have to be a really tiny spritz. Now, for the people of Earth, you have a universe that is just slightly clouded by foam. Dessert topping isn’t the universe, it’s just something people carry around with them that effects the way they see it.
The third can must now fill the universe. This will be quite a stretch. Even at, say, a half spritz per galaxy, you’re going to be in big trouble real fast. One molecule per star cluster, max. You’ll need special equipment. Now you have a universe that doesn’t even notice it has a dissipated can of foam in it. And no one else will, either. The can doesn’t cover it.
the Princess Phone Syndrome…
It is much simpler to break open the existing “circle” of the narrative and insert a new piece into it than to try to start a whole new circle. Then that newly inserted piece can slowly change the circle by being a part of it. There are few examples of this in our history that shine as brilliantly as the Princess Phone. Others would say Jesus, but no.
Jesus fell short of the standard set by the Princess Phone. That’s why we all know a watered-down, half-baked and ineffective Christian Messiah today. In the end, Jesus could not change the narrative. He gave up and said, “I’m tired. I’ll be back later.”
I think that He is embarrassed about the resulting farce that His half-Assed efforts began. Too embarrassed to Show Up.
Like Jesus, plastic had an uphill climb with the narrative circle of society, too. It met with fierce resistance. Handling it will make your fingers black and oily. Everything will be brittle and smash. It will cost jobs. But unlike some Messiahs, plastic did not give up.
In order to creep its way into the circle, plastic had to look like things that were already in the circle. Plastic things would have a texture of wood grain or leather, or imitate ivory or iron. It endured years of jibing as a cheap imitation of “real” things.
And then, She arrived. Here was unabashed, shameless plastic. The Princess Phone. Plastic for plastic’s sake. Not an imitation. Sensual, emotive and welcome. The circle broke open and plastic rewrote the book.
Obviously, Jesus tried, and like so many before Him and since, failed.
They were no Princess Phone.
Bruce & Me in 2007
Bruce: Nhoj, do you think that pure science, clinical as it is, can provide a “myth” that will keep people inspired to continue improving, advancing, developing? I don’t see it. It all leads to cynicism. Pure religion (yeah, I know), on the other hand, can provide a vision of glory, of hope. Modern religion needs a good enema, but if you throw the baby out with the bath water, I’m not sure I like the residue that is left in the bottom of the tub.
Me: I know my words tend to be briny, but you’ve missed the rubber boat, Bruce.
Inspiring people to improve, advance and develop usually results in the myth shredding in the changing wind unless it too can improve, advance and develop. All of science was inspiration at first. Cynicism, like the enema, unleashes the imagination.
Visions of Glory have long ago been revealed as hypnotic spells used by the leisure class to convince the populace to keep powdering their butts. Science is egalitarian and requires no leisure class, which is why it has always frightened the elites. They’ll say that science threatens the established order (the fire) and the crowd will rally to keep the fire going by fueling it with scientists. Science is a threat only because it means improvement, advancement and development for the elite, and that might have to include toilet training.
I stand on deck with many here who keep saying that science is worse than useless for providing any myth with or without a vision of glory. (Let’s not mention the H guy)
The point is, there’s no myth/campfire/drainplug/metaphor unless we believe that there is. It has no independent existence beyond our belief in it. I must become okay to believe that about our beliefs. We can’t be babies about it anymore. Not with nuclear submarines lurking in the tub. We have to put our pants on and believe responsibly and try not to get green radioactive shit all over the place.
Imagine the opening session of congress, led by George Carlin, in this prayer…
"We gather here to recreate the myth that we will believe in, and swear upon no one’s blotted wood pulp that all may share it freely.
Like us, our myth will remain humble and free of glory. Only mortal contributions will be accepted and only through normal physical means of delivery.
Look at each other and say with me…
We are the creators of our myth.
The myth is a sham, a façade and a fraud.
The myth is frail, fallible and flatulent.
The myth is ultimately false, underlying-ly feral and unreliably free.
The myth is full of faults and easily fouled.
There is no significance to how many times the letter f appears.
The myth is a farce but the farce is ours.
Long live the farce!"
That’s what we have to do, Bruce. Do you have the training pants for it?