Posts Tagged ‘sanity’

what if…

what if, after a century or more of beaming our random electronic garbage out into the depths of space an alien life form decided to make contact. Surely the first message would be a request for explanations about the things most strange and puzzling when it comes to the human species.

I imagine the message would be quite simple.

“Explain clowns”

Now imagine that if you answered wrong, the aliens just might eradicate us for fear of spreading the clown insanity to the rest of the sentient universe.

You are temporarily at a loss. This is not how you envisioned a first contact would go. They did not offer a course in clowns at your university and you are starting to think this is a very glaring gap in the curriculum. Clowns, you see, are a very complicated subject, once you get past the stage makeup and the buffoon pants. There are clowns and then there are clowns. You think hard and then you message them back.

Nobody likes clowns, you might hasten to tell your confused aliens, they are creepy to the point of being sinister, what with their larger than life antics and their permanently frozen faces.

“But you use them everywhere to subvert the natural caution of your children, that you might get in past their defenses to indoctrinate them with questionable propaganda,” the aliens point out. “How can you trust a person who has painted his face in order to destroy the brain’s innate ability to recognize the comfort of the familiar or the threat of the face of a predator? Anything, anyone, could be hiding behind that paint.”

Exactly, you agree, which is why clowns are passe. They are the remnants of an unsophisticated entertainment from a more primitive time. They will go the way of the historic clowns, relegated to the pages of history, like jesters of old.

“I do not believe that is so,” the alien might say, “I have watched your video entertainments. I have listened to your broadcasts. Who are these people that you revere so much that you single them out of the masses, capture their antics into electronic memory and then view them over and over again every second of your waking hours? The persona they project is every bit as fake as the circus clown with the garish red smile painted over his ghastly white face.”

That’s different, you might argue. They are entertainers, not clowns.

“Really?” the alien asks. “From up here it all looks the same. The only difference between the circus clown and the man who tells you what to think about the nightly news is subtlety.  That your clowns have become more sophisticated in their antics and more cleverly manipulative in their masks than the king’s jester of old does not hide the fact that you are trying to deceive the young, the immature and weak minded.”

Yeah, well, that’s just…., you sputter, thinking hard, that’s just….politics. Look at our movie and music industry.

“Tsk,” sniffs the alien voice from beyond the stars, “the only difference between a 500 year old Punch and Judy puppet show and the last blockbuster in your theaters is technological brilliance. That you do not recognize this only attests to your own confusion. And what is Lady Gaga but a clown with a very expensive wardrobe?”

You squirm a little bit. He got you with the Lady Gaga bit. Creative people are eccentric, you say, stalling for time.

“Oh, please. Do you think that any of your video idols act the same once the cameras are off?

No, of course not, you say.

“Then you do not deny that you feed your populace a steady diet of lies and illusions, bending all perception of what is real into an unrecognizable knot?”

Well, yeah, there is that, you admit, wondering when the first planet buster is going to come falling out of the sky. Then a brilliant idea hits you.

Wait! I know! Clowns are our teachers, you yell. They are the extreme and farcical parodies of all the facets of what it is to be human. Without them, human children would never grow up, achieve sentience and ascend into a higher state of consciousness.

There is silence from the other end of the line. You hold your breath, sweating, wondering, did they buy that?

“Wait,” says the alien, “are you telling me that all your teachers must be insane in order for your species to achieve self awareness?”

Well, not all. The best, perhaps. Crazier the better, you agree.

“Ahhh, I see. You teach crazy in order to achieve sanity. The paradox is sublime. Thank you. I am honored that you have taken the time to be our teachers. Blessed be the OnePattern”

Sure, anytime, you say, wiping the sweat out of your eyes and breathing a sigh of relief. Glad I could be of help.


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So, now that you have been accessing the infinite with your right brain (see Quantum Thinking, below) and you learned how to dissolve your boundaries (see The Liquid Fish, below) so that information flows more freely through you, you might have a few questions.

Hey, you might say, I went swimming in the craziness of my right brain, and now I have all this new information, and it feels like memories, and the memories feel like personal experiences, but I am having a hard time keeping it all separate from my physical body’s personal memories. Worse still,  all that right brain stuff is bleeding into my dreams, giving me dreams that seem as powerful as real life memories. To top it all off, I get these flashes from my right brain while I am awake. I am going crazy trying to keep track of what is what. How do you keep the memories separate?

The simple answer is: Why would you want to?

Let me give you an analogy:

There is this scifi novel in which one of the side characters is a shape-shifting  lump of quartz comprised of sentient crystals. It has this awful problem, though. It is not complete. Somewhere in its distant past, it had been shattered, and parts of itself had been stolen and scattered to the four winds. In their travels throughout the book, whenever the protagonists find a pile of crystals of a similar nature, they toss the rock into the pile, wait a few minutes and then pick it up again. The rock would be different; heavier, or lighter or more pristine, depending on what it managed to scrounge from the new crystals. The rock, you see, was always remaking itself. It was making a conscious effort to evolve into the thing it knew it once was and would be again. Being sentient, it recognized the lost pieces of itself and simply took them back.

You must be like that sentient crystal when you explore the infinite chaos with your right brain. In your exploration of the UberLibrary, every rock you discover, every stone you touch will be a a piece of ineffable perfection, but you will only keep those that vibrate to your own personal harmonics. Every trip into the vast sea will change you. Always for the better.

Hey, wait, you might say, I thought you said this safe? Now you’re telling me I will be a different person every time I come back from playing with the Universe?

Yup. Every time.

Oh, come on. What did you think would be the consequences of making and un-making the “I”? You would have to be an awfully shallow person not to be affected by it.

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You would have to have been living on Mars for the last couple of years not to know about Bella and her sparkling vampire lover, Edward, from the Twilight books, written by Stephanie Meyers one summer between wiping noses, changing diapers and cooking for her Mormon husband. The works are flawed by Meyer’s total lack of experience and writerly skills. Add to that the haste in writing and the lack of a good editor and the books become painful to read for anyone with any understanding of the art of language.

But then the genre is teen romance. The books are not meant to be good. They are meant to be consumed by young readers who don’t know any better. Its like watching a porn movie. Nobody expects good dialogue or a coherent plot. Like porn, teen romance books are meant to manipulate the reader and satisfy the immature and barely formed sexual fantasies of the average hormonally challenged teenage girl. For what they are, the books are wildly successful. Girls love them. Older women, seduced by the fairy tale, have become extreme fan-atics.

Stephanie has explained the source of her inspiration. She had a dream in which she was eavesdropping on a couple, lovers perhaps, as the man told the woman he had an overwhelming urge to kill her and every moment was a struggle to overcome this urge. Classic hunter/prey sex fantasy. The man being the predator, the girl being food. The books came from Stephanie’s need to explain the paradoxical behavior that kept the hunter at bay.

Why does Edward love Bella? To quote a fan site: “A ridiculously potent scent to demand his attention, a silent mind to inflame his curiosity, a quiet beauty to hold his eyes and a selfless soul to earn his awe.”  Classic drivel from romance porn story plots. It seems that Stephanie, herself, never delved any deeper into this idea. The unformed and inexperience heart of the emotionally immature has no real understanding of love except as some unexplained magical attraction. Which is just fine. People need to mate. Babies need to get made. The human species needs to continue.

We know why Bella loves Edward. He is the classic unattainable guy. The prince in Cinderella and Snow White. Vaguely drawn, remote, powerful, a cartoon prop to sing about and dance around. Made brainless and mindless and without will because of….what? Beauty? Beauty tamed the beast. Pure fantasy ala Disney cartoons. Bella is a nobody. A wall flower. Neither talented, nor remarkably beautiful, nor athletic, nor smart. She is…what?…Good? Every girl’s fantasy is to be pulled out of the faceless crowd and  put on a pedestal just for being who she is. Every little girl wants to be adored as her father adored her. Every child needs to believe that innocence counts for something.

We also know why Bella should not love Edward. He is a vampire, conflicted by his nature, (he’s vegetarian fergawdsake!). To serve her fantasy, Stephanie created Edward and then emasculated him, that he might dance a ridiculous dance about Bella that is silly, offensive and utterly without logic.

You would have to have been living on Mars not to know that there are as many Twilight hater blogs as their are Twilight fan sites. The hater sites are fueled and run by the spouses and boyfriends forced to submit to reading the books and watching the movies by overly enthusiastic women. Men walk away angry. The unspoken message is that you, as a man, will never measure up until you tame the wild thing inside you, cut off your balls and deny your very nature. Twilight loathing is understandable.

But I think the hate goes deeper and touches things more visceral inside the human mind. Lets consider Edward. Here we have an 89 year old magical being who is more powerful than his human counterparts, who has managed to subdue his natural blood hunger, and like a recovering alcoholic, consume vegetables instead of blood. (Really? Dear Stephanie, could you not think of anything more original than that? Vampires are not real. If you intended to rewrite the genre, why not take it to a whole new level.  Convert the mythical aversion to sunlight into an undeveloped ability to manipulate its energy. Something. Anything.) Yet, with all that age, wisdom, ability and other worldliness, we find him hanging out in a public high school, stalking virginal idiot girls.

This is like the fox hanging out in the chicken coop. Or the alcoholic hanging out in a bar. One has to question the motives. Knowing foxes and alcoholics, one would have a hard time believing their motives innocent. One would even go so far as to question that individual’s sanity. Are they a masochist, that they require the torment of being so close to the very thing that is denied them?

The real problem, I think, is Stephanie’s misinterpretation of the dream and her confusion about power and powerful things.

The universe is in a perpetual dance that seeks balance. Love is like gravity. Objects in motion alter their path to accommodate other objects in motion. Powerful things, massive things catch bodies that fall into its area of gravitational influence. Those objects not massive enough and fast enough simply get drawn in and consumed. Stephanie assumes that a vaguely defined “goodness” can keep her heroine from getting sucked into the furnace of power. A classic virginal mistake tainted by too much Sunday school propaganda. Every patriarchal religion strives to keep their women ignorant and powerless. There is nothing scarier on God’s green earth, than an educated, self aware, powerful woman, apparently.

In interpreting the dream, one must ask: what power does the woman have that prevents the predator from devouring her? The predator nature is intrinsic and cannot be subverted as Stephanie would like to believe. She created Bella but forgot to give Bella power equal to Edward’s that he might be relieved of the crushing responsibility of reining in his natural instincts so that he might be free to enjoy the relationship as much as Bella.

Edward and Bella are like those publicity stunts pulled by zoos in the Orient. Throw a lamb or a piglet into the tiger’s cage to sell tickets. Those with a religious bent love crap like this. It somehow proves the existence of god. (???) Just keep the tiger well fed and plan on replacing the lamb frequently, because instinct, even in maternally inclined big cats, is a hard thing to keep at bay.

Ah, but immature and inexperienced women do not want to be reminded that relationships are a lot of work or that predators, in the end, will eat you and that you should not date outside your own species. Where is the fantasy in that? Where is the danger? Where is the romance? They all want to be Bella. They want to be powerless and dominated. They want to be relieved of the responsibility of their own stupidity. They want men to rescue them from said stupidity. They want life to happen to them, like some cosmic car wreck, and have it all turn out fine in the end. Nobody bothered to point out that virginal and innocent lasts about five minutes and is gone from the moment you wake up in your lover’s bed for the first time, stinking of sex and sweat.

Stephanie failed to give Bella a power (wisdom, deep spiritual knowing, her own internal sparkle to match Edward’s. Something. Anything). That made Edward a sick pervert who dates his food. We usually lock those people up and keep them away from our children. The Twilight hate is well deserved.

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