December 17, 2006

Hey, Horatio!!! Learn anything?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Otter @ 1:19 pm

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), “Hamlet”, Act 1 scene 5

I remember, way back when, my defining moment in calculus. It was the moment when I realized that if I halve the distance between myself and someone else I would never reach them. The distance is 1. Half the distance is .5. Half of that is .25. Half of that is .125. Half of that is .0625. And so on. The number is NEVER zero. You will never get there. Ideas are the same.

Philosophy is precisely the same…with dangerous consequences. Any logical line of thought can be extrapolated, right? I mean, what the hell else do we need philosophy for if not to extrapolate this crap to other, possibly useful, purposes? That is significant, don’t get me wrong. And safe.

What is not so safe is interpolation (the other direction, if you were wondering). Ultimately, where do truths lay (the end result..hopefully…of our philosophy)? Well, inside you. Where else?

I guess the frustrating thing for me is the sense of disconnectedness that we all accept. Our culture — our society — is dictated to a “what is” that makes us comfortable. Safe. Provides us with a sense of belonging. And yet we feel as lost as we ever have. Come on. Think about it. Don’t you feel it, too? All too often the answer will be, “Of course not. Things are completely normal.” Look around you. Things are anything but “normal”. You don’t have to be religious or…democrat or republican…conservative or liberal to see that something is…well…outta whack. Oh, yeah, but there is one requirement for entry to this party: Intellect.

If you don’t have it, I hope you’ve already clicked on. If you do have it, I hope you plant your feet. Throw back your head and scream: WHY? Settle this RIGHT NOW!!! Anything less than my utter destruction at the hands of knowledge will do. And you thought that the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was enough? Pah!!! Come on, here we are some 10,000 generations later and we have jack fucking all to show for it. What the hell was it good for, then? I mean, other than an interesting conversation piece for your coffee shop rambles (does Adam have a belly button)? Someone pushed the “start” button. And it sure as hell wasn’t so that you could order another bullshit double latte.

Take any question. Confine it to yourself. Refine it. Refine it again. It is probably at the “chemicals in your brain” point at this stage. Oh, but those chemicals came from my parents, you say. Oh, and their chemicals came from their parents. Oh, so, my decision to whig out in a post office and blow everyone away is, clearly, the responsibility of my great, great, great, great, ad infinitum, grandparents. Right? Wow. Aren’t I smart? I just wiggled my way out of responsibility via a legal side-step. Unfortunately, I’ve missed the point. The point is that for the intelligent there is a basis…a “bottom”…beyond which there is no other beside the “self”. You could say that society is, in fact, the definition of this point. The farther back in time this point moves, the farther we are from a coherent society. This “bottom” is where we plant you on the lethal injection table. But it certainly isn’t where any truly rational person stops thinking about the “hows” and “whys”.

The point itself–the real point–is moving farther and farther back in your timeline. Um…be afraid? Your responsibility, as an intellect, is to reach back into the “proto-you” and grab hold of the anger and the dark and…caress it. Love that part of you. Give it no purchase. Deprive it of its ground. Rise above. Create better. Take the thing that twists you by the throat and understand its place. But most importantly, understand it. Look it in the face and then put it away. Do it soon. You really don’t have much time left. Just a few dozen years. How fast did the first couple decades or so slip by you?

In the middle ages babies were regularly thrown down wells because of illness or gender (inheritance being what it was). This was atrocious. People were killed for religious or political or familial purposes. Horrible. I used to think that this was a clear indication that things today were better. I don’t believe this anymore. Things are getting worse. Death and its purposelessness is vastly more pervasive. There are no longer the “noble” reasons for atrocities. Tick. Tick. Tick.

If you are compelled to have a thought. If you are compelled to have a feeling. Well, you are toxic to me. It is only the thin line between your intellect and the rest of your universe that keeps us afloat. And that thin line is shrinking.

“I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern ship building has gone beyond that.”

If you want to believe in something, you will. That is the fundamental tenant of faith. That is the basis behind every selfish act. That is the basis of life as we know it. Of procreation. Of movies and mp3 players and cars and blogs and books and pipelines and farming and plastic. Want. Need was left sitting in the dust a thousand years ago. But don’t dismiss need. It’ll be back. It will kick want’s ass every single time.

Being ready for it will be half the battle.

I want.


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