When victory is within reach but just beyond grasp, that is how the full might of God tickles.
So it is with the limits of reason and awareness, even when aided by strange chemicals from secret laboratories. With all its vast, cosmic powers of imagination, the human mind is confined to the skull like a genie in a bottle.
My Brain Don’t Always Work Too Good
I was initially told that God made the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th. Actual days. Conveniently, He made the sun early on, and separated light from darkness so we could keep count.
Also believed in Santa Claus much longer than did kids who were otherwise pretty average. This and other beliefs were a sort of cage for the potential to be naughty. If Santa Claus ain’t watching, who’s to say anybody will be nice?
I now realize there’s no God, that intelligent design is a lie, and the universe is random and chaotic, letting its tiniest components make all the rules without even knowing it. I get that. It’s just that I was raised from such an early age to believe – and believed so earnestly for so long – that even though some of that stuff might be true, something else was more true; even now my subconscious persists in believing in Noah’s Ark, no matter how reasonable I get. It’s as if my imagination got a fresh paint job when I was 25, but the old lead undercoat is still poisoning the house.
Naturally, that makes it confusing when I realize (for the hundred zillionth time) that my brain doesn’t function properly without help (Intelligent Design? Why not design a proper intelligence then?). I’ve been adding chemicals to my brain pretty much nonstop since I was a toddler, so you’d think I would have put that together by now. Yet I persist in believing my mind can be trusted.
Don’t laugh. You’re doing the same fucking thing right now.
“Food is a Hell of a Drug”
Eat the wrong thing for breakfast, and your brain is fucked for the day. Eat the wrong thing for dinner, and tomorrow will be a continuation of the nightmare you’re about to have. I used to eat at A&W, and for nearly a year I thought there was a future for me in selling shoes and washing dishes. Food is a hell of a drug.
I eat a lot of dead animals, and have noticed something. The animals that run around eating bugs and grass while they’re alive, tend to taste better than the ones that have lived their whole lives with their noses smashed up each other’s diarrhetic asses, eating their freeze-dried & reconstituted ancestors.
Correlation is not causation. It may be just a big coincidence that happy animals taste better, that fair trade coffee & chocolate are less depressing, or that Benedict XVI looked so much like Emperor Palpatine. Or none of those things are coincidences. Even without a God, things still seem to relate to each other in this world.
Things appear simpler when you remember your medicine. I don’t just mean drugs, but that is a piece of the puzzle. No, medicine is a much bigger word than most white people I know are prepared to understand. For that matter, so is “healthy.”
My medicine involves drugs (like THC, Cipralex, psilocybin, caffeine, etc.), but also includes nutritional balance, sleeping properly, reading Edgar Allan Poe or Allan Watts (depending on the season), feeling loud music, enjoying perpetual childlessness, and dealing with occasional fits of contemplative silence on the toilet.
Yours is probably similar. Deviate from your medicine at your peril. It isn’t exactly the meaning of life, but maybe it’s the sea that will eventually dump you, gasping, onto the shore of life’s meaning. Eventually. Maybe.
If you don’t like life, you might have eaten something you weren’t supposed to. Bad medicine. Can’t speak for everyone, but when I eat eggs, I feel fantastic; a coffee in the sun, and I’m elated. Good medicine. Basmati rice – once a joy – now makes me an irritable threat to the people I love.
Poverty As Medicine
A degree of poverty has been helpful to me in this. Like any other medicine, you can overdo poverty. You can be healthy and penniless, but to do that you need either land and the strength to work it, or sufficient skill and hunting grounds for sustenance.
Ain’t nobody got time for that. It’s how gorillas live, and all they do is eat and fuck. What kind of life is that? Actually, that sounds pretty decent. But you know… ambition and stuff.
Just like poverty, you can overdo wealth. With too much wealth I would lose touch with the transience of being, and run an extreme risk of believing life is under control. That belief would be the death of reason in me. Hell, I once lost sight of the transience of being with no more than $800 a month and a bug-infested room in Parkdale. Imagine how much Reality I could ignore if I had Mitt Romney money.
If done right, poverty keeps me mindfully afloat in the river of the universe, instead of trying to stand still against the current like some stupid, drowning rich man. If done wrong, it makes me curse all the reasons I can’t build a dam.
Emperors have cut their wrists in despair, but Sixto Rodriguez is somehow happy. He knows the value of things, and the limits of their worth. If you’re one of the 6 or 7 people who still don’t know who Sixto Rodriguez is, stop what you’re doing now and find out immediately. You will be glad you did. The guy lives and breathes what is sometimes called the “virtue of poverty.”
Of course he isn’t technically poor anymore, but he still lives that shit hardcore.
Money Makes Me Mad. Moreover…
It makes sense that money makes people crazy. It might be our craziest invention. It has no intrinsic value, except that it serves as a conduit of value. We have nothing else remotely like it, because everything else in the world has intrinsic value.
The potential value of money depends on everything else in the world, yet I would give up so much of real value for more of it. I’ve sacrificed years of my life for it, and now I’m left without enough to buy the time back.
Money is quite a dazzling fucking thing in that light.
Kingdoms run out of money sometimes. Whatever else they might have, they crumble for lack of money. A house can’t fall apart for lack of inches, but a kingdom can fall apart because it doesn’t have a measuring stick for all the stuff it does have.
That happened once in France. I read about it in a book that came out shortly after the Bible. They went from kingdom to republic, to dictatorship, to empire, and back to republic again. They did in less than 30 years what Rome couldn’t in 10 centuries. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but the Republic of France came damn close.
I read somewhere else that Marie Antoinette never said a word about cake. Apparently that was a rumour, no doubt the work of labour unions.
Maybe “Let them eat cake,” was some kind of euphemism for “Kiss my sweet, powdered, royal ass.” Maybe she did actually mean “The peasants can kiss my ass.” We’ll never know, cuz we weren’t there. All we have is a heavily edited historical account.
And absinthe, thanks in no small part to France. There’s a genie in a bottle for ya. Better medicine than cake too.