First, your soundtrack:
My brothers and I arrived at the park about two hours before sunset. The vehicle that delivered us was a strange mix of a hippie van and a school bus. It felt like we were returning from a field trip or sporting event, yet we were dressed in suits and professional duds. We were all itching to get in some exercise at the park before sunset, maybe run a couple trails and do the circuit work-outs. All of us changed as quickly as possible at different ends of the van/bus. Some little fleshy dragons that could be mistaken for insects if one didn’t look closely enough kept flying in the window near me. They were cute and distracting, but they quickly became annoying as they insisted on buzzing around my head or landing on me. Some of them would bite or spit fire so I shooed them out the window several times. Once they were all out, I closed and locked the back window. Peering out, I saw our driver for the first time.
He was a small, thin, pale man, dressed in grays and blacks. A baseball cap covered his bald head, and the chains hanging from his wallet jangled as he walked. He looked at me through the smoke escaping his mouth with other-worldly, luminescent, steel-gray eyes. Storm clouds rolled in him and imps sought to escape his skin. Before becoming too transfixed, my brothers called for me to finish getting ready. I nodded and put on my sneakers. As I was tying them, the driver walked over to the front of the van/bus, a fresh cigarette hanging from his mouth. He began to bullshit with my brothers. As he talked with them, the sky changed rapidly. The sun quickly dropped closer to the horizon. The driver made eye contact with me before walking outside again. The numbers on the clock had jumped 30 minutes in their three-minute conversation.
My brothers shook their heads, as if they had water in their ears that they were trying to dislodge. I made my way to the front of the bus. A Brief History of Time, constellation maps and the Beastie Boys’ album Intergalactic were sprawled out on the floor of the van/bus by his seat. I rose my head to see the driver outside smiling as he crushed his cigarette under his foot. As quick as he was to light another, he seemed to jump out of my view.
The weirdness was apparent to me, but I filed the feelings away for now, deciding not to act. I still didn’t know what this encounter meant really.
“Are we doing this or what?” I called to my brothers. “It’s getting late fast.”
They stopped fiddling with their ears, and we all emptied out of the bus to run among the trees and ponds, toward the setting sun.
I’m in a house. But who am I in this house? Am I the cyberpunk woman with white hair and blue lips, dressed in a black and purple gown? Am I the little girl standing in the upstairs hall in a party dress, with my black hair done up in ribbons and barrettes? Or am I the hired help, somewhere in between these two females, that is supposed to be getting everything in order for the wedding? I think I’m the hired help: the 20/30-something woman in the crisp, white, button-down; the simple, black pencil skirt; and brown hair pulled so tight in a ponytail that my eyes always look like they’re slightly watering.
What am I doing? …besides not being productive and holding things up currently. My boss, a domineering matriarch with permanent frown lines and etched, sinister eyebrows, barks orders at me from the bottom of the staircase. What am I doing up here? Isn’t everyone dressed already?
Oh… OK, now I know what to do.
The little girl is not ready. She has no tights and no shoes, and she is starting to pick the rhinestone barrettes out of her hair. I take her hands.
“You mustn’t play with them right now.”
“But they hurt.”
“Oh,” I make a frowny face as I kneel down to talk to her. “I know it hurts. Barrettes suck. But you only need to wear them for a little while. After the ceremony, you can take them out. OK?”
She rubs her eyes and nods. “If it makes you fell any better, my ponytail hurts like a bitch.” She looks at me. “Uh… don’t tell the other adults I said that. OK?” She nods. “Great. Now, we need to get you in tights and shoes.” We go into her room.
As this is going on, the cyberpunk bride is arranging her “veil:” a silver headdress that extends over her head like horns and below her chin like tusks. Blinking lights frame her face. For some reason, she stays on the stairs while others prep her and workers try to squeeze by her to move from the top levels to the bottom ones. She seems cold and distant, almost dead underneath her impatient and dissatisfied exterior. She looks at her pointy, black nails or the glass, spherical chandeliers above her. A young man, who I soon identify as the groom, comes into view at the bottom of the stairs. His attire matches hers: black and purple with silver accents. His hair is wind-whipped; the black and white colors make it look like an electrified skunk has latched onto his head. He is shouting to the bride about something. I’m not sure what the argument is about, but he is certainly less than pleasant to her and she is certainly less than happy about or attentive to what is going on.
As his voice escalates, the girl, now sitting on the bed in her white tights and patent leather shoes, begins to cry. I don’t ask, but she answers.
“He always so mean to her. I hate him.”
I am guessing that the bride is probably her sister or half-sister. The bride is too young to be this girl’s mother, and the relationship seems too intense for it to be niece-aunt or cousins. As I am doing my assuming, the girl becomes very still, as if she is listening to me.
She changes. As she dries her eyes, I see that they have grown older and changed color. The muscles in her face tighten and she assumes a new persona. Her voice is that of a grown woman… or rather, female cyborg.
“I am Out of Time,” she says to me, plainly. We both pause. She flickers back into the little girl. “I don’t want to be here, like this.” She begins to cry again.
I try to handle the situation. So I start the only place I really can.
“OK. OK.” I lay my hands in the air. She flickers back to the lady cyborg; her mannerisms and demeanor show me who she is moment to moment. I ask her: “What Time are you in?”
“Many. I live several lives simultaneously.”
“Some I don’t know. Sometimes I cannot control where I go; I just pop in. I don’t know how many lives I am living exactly, right ‘now,’ but I do know that she’s me and she’s trapped.” She flickers and cries. Instantly, another young girl that looks almost exactly like her, except with blonde hair, appears behind her.
“Who’s trapped? Who’s ‘she?'”
Two, three, four more girls, all very similar, but slightly different, pop into existence.
Flicker. The voice is now a blend between the adult cyborg and the little girl. “The bride. Out there. She’s me. I’m her. She just doesn’t remember. He made her forget.” The crying of the girl with black hair begins to reverberate all around in the room. The other young girls look around with dry eyes. Many look focused on a task, or at least, are driven by strong feelings. They begin to talk in unison about numbers and counting and manifestation. I cannot make sense of it all.
I hear glass break outside. The chandeliers, they fell from the ceiling. Broken glass is strewn all over the upstairs hallways and down the staircase. The bride is nowhere to be found.
The young girls rise together and exit their bedroom. These mirror images begin to oscillate between one and many incarnations. When the girls come together as one, the image is of a young adult woman with black hair and violet eyes. She wears an oversized men’s button-down shirt. Her legs are bare and milky white. She wears no shoes and rolls her feet slowly from heel to toe.
Parents, relatives, the bridal party and guests all tell her to stay put, not to move. “There’s broken glass everywhere; you’ll slice up your feet.”
“I am aware,” she says as she walks forward without flinching or avoiding the glass. “You seem not to appreciate how much I do not want this. I will show you that I’d rather walk through broken glass (this broken Reality) than be a part of it.”
And she walks slowly and purposefully, never wincing or crying. In the windows and mirrors she passes by, all can see images of a thousand incarnations that she is, including the little girls and the cyberpunk bride, including tribal warriors and circus performers, including war machines and hummingbirds. The hallways are long, but she continues. Though glass embeds itself in her skin, she does not bleed on the forest-green carpet.
The times were a bit different. In this dream realm, passive entertainment did not exist. The public was drawn to county or town fairs, outdoor festivals, executions, gladiator-type fights and village games. This particular day was the Wolf Challenge. This day occurred annually in mid-Spring. The hostess was a cold and intelligent woman who kept the only (or last) Giant Wolf as her companion. He was too wild and dangerous to be considered her pet, but he lived closely with her, on her land, and often times, they sat within the same rooms or around the same campfire sharing meat and quiet nights. They were as much friends as they were open enemies. For the Wolf knew that if he attempted to escape or to challenge her authority, she would kill him. Likewise, the woman knew that if she were to let her guard down or show any sign of weakness, the Wolf would see it as an open invitation to go in for the kill. They both seemed oddly comfortable with this arrangement, living in certain captivity of each other until their respective Judgment Day by the other.
The Giant Wolf was the fiercest and most cunning creature this side of the realm. Every year, the Giant Wolf was pitted against a worthy opponent, usually a champion, hero or gladiator of sorts. The challengers entered willingly and trained intensively for many years until the hostess, the public and the monarchy deemed them fit for the test. A handful of men would be assembled in front of the hostess’s stage while the Wolf was released. The Wolf would ultimately choose his opponent out of the candidates. There must have been some great prize for defeating the Wolf (or else why enter the contest?), though I wasn’t sure what it was; I never saw anybody defeat the Wolf.
People from other villages would journey many days and nights to come to the annual battle, many with a representative gladiator. Only a small percentage of the champions that were presented would be chosen as a candidate. There were many areas organized for spectators. Crude bleachers were assembled on the cliff above the fighting pit and preferred spectator seats. The fighting pit was all rock, with heavy, spiked stones marking the boundaries of the fighting arena. Outside of this was a buffer zone of grassy patches before the small field of tall grass and wildflowers opened up for other seats. Preferred guests and the spectators that arrived earliest would often get these seats. Preferred guests (royalty, rich villagers) would have a guaranteed seat. The average spectator usually camped out many nights before the fight in order to have a chance at a close seat when the hostess and the ushers (and bodyguards) announced that seating was open. Some people would be crushed by the masses rushing to the front.
I came this year with my partner. We usually inhabited the upper cliff, safe and impersonal. I was wearing a flowing white dress, similar to many of the women who came. Before seating opened, the spectators up on the cliff were either setting up their spaces with blanket and wine or else bobbing around anxiously, waiting for the field below to open for commoner seating. I was gathering flowers and wandering over the grassy areas when I heard the horn sound for seating. I came to a tree and tugged on a branch so I could reach a particular flower. The ground opened up from under me, and I slid swiftly down to the filed below. I had reached the field quicker than anyone else. The hostess entered with her two large dogs (half breeds of Giant Wolves and dogs… another safety precaution). The dogs were all black and about 2/3 the size of the Wolf. They were bred to be fierce protectors. The hostess eyed me strangely while I looked around in daze, trying to figure out what had happened. People started hurrying down the hills, tumbling and pushing through the crowd in madness. I tried to signal to my partner from below, but I was soon lost in the flurry of people. I retreated to the edge of the field, against the mountain side, as far from the stage and fighting area that I could get. Regrettably, I was on the side of the arena with the cave from which the Giant Wolf entered. I held myself against the wall and hoped to remain invisible.
Before the hostess sat in her stone throne, the dogs both stopped following her and looked in my direction. They came over to me and stood, one on each side of me. The hostess was left to sit alone. When she realized that her dogs had left her side she became quite petulant. They snubbed her as she tried to quietly, but forcefully call them back over to her. She gave me icy glares. The dogs would not budge from my side.
The ceremony began by lining up all the champions in front of the raised rock stage where the hostess sat. Words were said and a portion of the champions presented were voted as candidates while the others were directed to a seating area. Some time passed as the worthy candidates made themselves known and gave short speeches. All the while, the hostess glared at me in a cold rage as her dogs ignored her.
Finally, the time had come to release the Wolf so he may choose his opponent. The hostess called to him and sent her bodyguards to rouse the Wolf with pokers and spikes. He came out of his cave in a quiet, seething anger that seemed almost supernatural. His eyes came upon me first before he walked in the direction of the candidates. He paced in front of them, his fur twitching, his eyes narrowing and his tongue flicking out of his mouth to lick his chops. His eyes fluttered back to me in a predatory, playful way. His stride in front of the candidates widened as he slowly worked a wider range for himself, a range wide enough to meet my eyes as he paced.
The dogs became uneasy and began to circle me, their eyes never leaving the Wolf. As the Wolf came closer to where I was standing, the dogs guided me in different directions to evade the Wolf. The Wolf did not make eye contact with the dogs, only with me; he was unfazed by the dogs’ warnings of growls and nips. He seemed to smile as he went to turn his back on me. When the dogs stopped pacing ferociously, the Wolf swiftly turned and leapt for me, in the space the dogs had left between themselves and me. He was quickly almost on top of me. I had moved back quickly so he could not had pounced on my body, but he was only inches from me. The dogs barked and got under him, biting his belly as the Wolf snapped at me. My body had somehow become much heavier than it was previously, like I was half a stone woman. My forearm blocked my head and was enough force to keep him from eating my face; however, my arm was not as lucky. It was bit and almost broken, bleeding all over my white dress.
At this point, all I could see was him and my blood. I do not know what happened next, but I was not eaten. As far as I can recollect, no person came to my aid, and I did not kill the Wolf. I believe both myself and the dogs injured him so he retreated, but I could not tell you how any of it happened. The last I remember was grabbing whatever was close to me to hurl into him as I kept blocking his advances with my arm. I saw and heard the dogs whimper and growl around me as they dove for any part of him they could get. The dogs and I were heaps of a bloody mess when the Wolf retreated, but we were all still alive. My partner hurried to get me as riots broke out all around. Many champions attacked the nobles and the bodyguards while the hostess attempted a clean escape with her servants rushing her out.
The scene changed. I was inside a house with her, sitting by the fire. She had a rattlesnake in her lap. I had my cats, the black dogs, a large rabbit, an owl and a few more animals around me. She was dressed in red and black and I was still in white. It was evening. We sat and stared at one another in silence as she pet her rattlesnake as if it were a kitten. My animal friends and I turned up our noses at her. I told her I was not afraid of her or her rattlesnake, and that she should best be careful since snakes often act unpredictably around fire.
My voice is one of the Absurd Human. (Why I dig Absurdism.)
Absurdism seems not to be a popular philosophy. I have heard it be regarded as tragic, pessimistic, oppressive, and depressive. How can one find solace in a philosophy that strips the human condition of hope and inherent meaning? What is left of a human when there is no rational, meaningful, reasonable or gracious Universe to which to appeal? Where is a human to turn in the face of an irrational, meaningless, unreasonable, or indifferent Universe? The answer of the Absurd Human is: everything and one’s Self. The face of the Absurd Human is one filled with liberation, rebellion and passion; a life more full of life than any who appeals to something other than one’s Self and one’s option of creation of meaning. Personally, I don’t know if I would regard myself (or our kind… or any other really) as ‘reasonable,’ so acknowledging an ‘unreasonable’ Universe is not difficult for me.
But… I suppose, it is logical to start at a kind of ‘beginning.’ What is Absurdism? Absurdism teeters adjacent to the spheres of Existentialism and Nihilism. Some regard Absurdists as the ‘agnostics of all agnostics,’ though I would not quite agree. Absurdists don’t really make a declaration of “I don’t know,” and neither is it necessary for them to declare “I don’t care.” Absurdists are more likely to be heard saying something like “I wouldn’t discount it entirely, nor would I bet on it,” “It only matters as much as you deem it,” or “Sure…” with a curious grin. The Absurdist recognizes that inherent meaning is no more than an abstract concept, and that the human condition to appeal to meaning is a lovely paradox in a meaningless Universe. Does this mean that we should not seek to create our own meaning? For the Existentialist, the answer is “No;” for the Nihilist the answer is “Yes.”
The Absurdist will either
“Answers, smanswers. Language and logic fail many times where the open spaces fill themselves.”
Neither the Universe or human thought is absurd, it is the disharmony and contradiction between/among them.
In many ways, the Absurd Human is freer than any other. With no inherent value system and no implicit or explicit ‘rules,’ one is free to live as one Will. Looking over the works of Camus again, I found a statement that many of you will recognize in his description of the Absurdist: “Everything is permitted.” The Absurd Human may not give this sentiment lip service, but in deed, the actions of the Absurdist will likely exemplify it. The Absurdist recognizes the responsibility in actions, but s/he does not fear it. To be responsible for one’s actions is to exemplify freedom of choice.
If Absurdism has taught me nothing else, it is to laugh when given the choice… and one always has a choice.
So, we have addressed the Liberation aspect of Absurdism; we move on to Rebellion. To quote Camus: “A rebel is a man who says ‘No.’” The rebel in the context of Absurdism says “No” to turning to ‘God’ and to abandoning and/or exalting reason. The Absurd Human can, by his/her actions, choose to and live in revolt of meaningless. “I may acknowledge meaninglessness, but that is no reason to stop living. I live in spite of meaning or meaninglessness. I Will to live; I live to live.” The Absurdist can and will protest against the very condition in which s/he recognizes and finds her/himself. Suicide is never an option, and turning to a higher power is considered ‘philosophical suicide.’ The Absurdist relies on the Self, the power of the Self, the ability to assert one’s Will in the face of what might be considered humanity’s greatest fear or oppressor. Does the struggle define one? Perhaps… if the Absurd Human is interested in definitions at all.
What about the passion? Passion is very much a phenomenon of the Here & Now, something the Absurdist can naturally embrace. With no limitations on one’s ability to feel, think, be or do, the Absurdist can explore the spectrum and depths of Passion. The Absurd Human need not worry about ‘spiritual repercussions’ or ‘oughts’ or ‘shoulds.’ Those concepts are, again, abstractions and created by humans. In an indifferent Universe, they have little value to the Absurdist. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the Absurdist is often a Rebel, and to rebel requires much effort, often fueled by Passion. A Rebel without Passion cannot effectively rebel for very long. Passion musters the Absurdist to stand, live and experience another day despite the meaninglessness, to do as the Absurd Human Will.
To imagine oneself as a victim to the indifference of the Universe, is a defeat. The Absurd Human rejects defeat as an option; s/he will always persevere.
Layers of the Real.
We all control the environment.
“Out of sight, out of mind” and “If you look hard enough…”
Person A takes the approach of “if you ignore it, it will go away eventually” and prioritizes what will be given attention by A’s individual motivation. A will deny things to set up boundaries. A will draw clear boxes and lines in regards to the self and others; A is comfortable within these self-made boxes so long as it is made by the self and no one else. Person A finds control in the reality by denial, by separation and detachment. A does not seek to control others reality but seeks to control only their own personal reality, and A becomes very upset and defiant when A feels that others have imposed their views on A. A will recognize consensual reality and admit to undeniables in the consensus upon manifestation. However, A is, by nature, a skeptic, and can perceive the difference between an object (or event, etc) that 1. is already a part of the consensual reality 2. naturally develops or evolves within the consensual reality 3. is immediately changed or influenced by an external source, “C” or 4. develops in the consensual reality by virtue of a participant already within the reality that exerts influence to modify the consensus.
Person B takes the approach that “if you look hard enough, you’ll see what I mean…” and that everything must be dealt with immediately upon its recognition, prioritizing the perceived “problem.” B will not just accept the existence of a “problem” immediately, but will push for others to see it as well. B will name things, categorize and explain things to give them shape to the self and others. Person B finds control in reality by acceptance, by imposition and attachment. B needs consensus in a reality and thereby seeks to hone any personal realities to one vision. Since B only has intimate access to their personal reality, naturally the consensual reality that they try to foster generally aligns with the reality B perceives with or without input from other sources. B believes that B has perceived and accepted the consensual reality before all others involved, and B feels that it is B’s duty or mission to make others believe/see. B, by nature, is a producer and can perceive the difference in an object (or event etc) that 1. is currently unrecognized by others in the consensual reality 2. needs to be amplified, prioritized, exaggerated or needs to be repressed, de-emphasized 3. is changed or influenced by a source that is not B. Number 4 is that B knows who is disrupting the consensus.
We all act as A and B at different times. These descriptions are not judgment calls on “right” or “wrong;” neither is inherently any better or worse than the other. Pathologies of one or the other are a problem, and those pathologies WILL change the reality of all involved.
Pathology of A: Person A will ignore all that A finds unfit, unsavory or not conducive to their current view, even if it is part of the consensual reality of all others involved and has physical manifestations in A’s life supporting that certain things “exist” and are exerting influence. A will defy solely to defy rather than take disruptive action based on perseving or exercising higher principles. If defiance is paired with unchecked anger, this can lead to violence (a rabid dog chained). A will isolate the self from others by building a personal reality in A’s own language and constructs such that others cannot reach A on an emotional, intellectual or spiritual level. A’s interpersonal relationships will suffer as others feel they cannot reach A behind The Wall A has built, and so they withdraw to find more fulfilling relationships.
Pathology of B: Person B will push all that B believes onto any B comes in contact with, regardless of what others do or say or the consensual reality shared by many others. B becomes blind to any consensual reality but the one they wish to foster; the push becomes prioritized above all else, including the safety of the self or others, which can amount to violence “for a cause.” If this is paired with ruthless ambition, the scale of violence can increase (fanatic turned tyrant). Person B will seek to midigate or exterminate other “things” (i.e. objects, events, people, ideas) that do not coincide with B’s perception. B becomes isolated as “the purpose” becomes the only thing that matters to B. “The purpose” dictates all B’s actions, causing interpersonal relationships to die and people to withdraw from B for self-preservation.
In conclusion, Person A starts as a strong individual, upholding the virtue of personal realities, encouraging individual thinking and the voice of the individual. Person B starts as a potential community-builder, seeking to merge personal realities to one consensual one, encouraging group thinking and the joining of voices into one. Pathologies can lead Person A down several roads where A may the self as the perceived victim, the violent rebel, the schizophrenic whereas B may find the self as the perceived victim, the violent dictator, the sociopath. They can become some of what they dislike the most by allowing their pathologies to grab hld and form the reality rather than their Higher Selves.
Humans are animals are spirits are consciousness are space-jelly are aliens are amorphous unknowns are etc etc etc
Words are actions are substance are matter are drugs are hallucinations are dreams are reality are choices are perception are concepts are thoughts are expression etc etc etc
Things happen/We do things. We are, act, choose, do (or not) all that is stated above.
We all do as we Will. Can some things be undone? No. Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes. (See how code can develop… yes/no, black/white, 1/0… binaries.) We (as a race and a kind) should have been taught much earlier of the limitations and seductions of binaries.
One does what one chooses to do. Does it immediately, directly effect me? Does “your” action in your physical reality cause something or create something in my physical reality? I think we both know the answer is yes as we both know the answer is no. You and I choose which it is.
I am shifting. I have shifted.(Perhaps a mantra…)
Mathematical wave functions (as one way to “explain it”) that hover and interact with other wave functions or spheres, or hyperbolas, etc.
We speak in Voices. There is a distinct difference between the Speech of Knowing verses the Speech of the Unsure. You know the Speech of Knowing when you hear it. You do. (that’s a statement.) Both are contagious.
We just need to CHOOSE (65) or not. What is your Destiny? What is your Self? (The answer is 42.)
dreams … dreams …is…
(The dreams Humans be when are. Does Unsure. Are or it has to choose or something. Some directly are, are of something,… are undone? In the “are,” matter cause are We. [explain] Am it? Reality? verses something binary.)
When “are,” (See verses) (or We, Yes. Unknowns: much can be both “it”) is in between functions: Will.
One. What? (and that all are it. hallucinations reality (65). “I”/my difference undone?
We have 1/0… and things: Destiny? …is when it’s substance.
Hallucinations are the We.
(is just reality substance are with matter directly kind) both/other direct and just distinction. (or think, as choices are or not)
Animals: We of one, your No. We physical-other is in and are; we know things.
Amorphous verses The Answer, etc, IT. (have?) “explain, do, be, do. no. just physically shifted. (Perhaps you hear your wave, been consciousness much the Other Way all along (that’s expression.)
You’re that Other.
are concepts to (as are “etc” and Things contagious.) We are choices; seductions choose; hallucinations kind – amorphous or No.
Way chooses, cause dreams that know seductions, IT and no. (which etc?) Words and hyperbolas, drugs: the all are Unsure. Way is; cause distinct “etc” (as is action – Speech: physical reality, Perception: kind) Binaries.
(as spheres, choose, are…
CHOOSE are thoughts-animals, much shifted.(Perhaps earlier are, as are thoughts and actions, [the which?] 42.) Yes. of mantra…) Mathematical Will. Knowing are, No.