Dun Runnin

As I lay in bed, trying to fall asleep, a sentence popped into my head: “Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.” Someone with whom I shared that sentence said that it’s funny if taken literally, but of course its real meaning is metaphorical. Many people who are unhappy dream of just picking up stakes and going elsewhere and starting brand new lives–starting all over again. Some actually try to do it. Of course, it never works. Some part of unhappiness arises from a person’s own flaws, and, wherever she goes, she takes those flaws with her, causing the same sorts of problems as made her unhappy elsewhere.

I’ve spent nearly a lifetime running away and trying to start over. It never worked for me. Getting rid of my computer was yet another attempt to change my life and eke out some happiness by changing external circumstances. It was a total failure. So I’m done running. I’m going to try accepting that I just am the way I am, and I shall still be me no matter where I go or what I change about the world immediately outside me.

“Sorrow lies in the house,” said Buddha, so he left the house. But those of us who are not Buddha have to accept that the house is our own skin, and there’s no leaving it. So here I stay, dun runnin. And in staying I find a new burst of serenity that will last as long as it lasts.

The Joys of Estupididad

On Black Friday, my brother saw a 50% off deal on a refurbished desktop, so he asked me whether I wanted it. The idea was that he would pay for it, I’d start using it as soon as it arrived, and I’d give him a bit of money each month until I had paid him off. There were only a few units left for sale and they were going quickly, so I had to make a decision pretty much instantly. Without thinking about it, I said yes. The computer arrived on Tuesday and I’ll pay my first instalment out of the December check.

I’ve had some time to reflect on why my top-of-the-head decision was to have a computer again. My two-plus months without a computer had begun well, with me feeling liberated and alive, but had gradually deteriorated until I was mired in ennui. I found myself increasingly watching television as a substitute for my old computer activities, still stuck at my desk but passively staring at the display instead of interacting with what’s behind it. The absence of a computer turned out not to be a long-term improvement. I had nothing to lose from having a computer again other than the ever-keener awareness of the pointlessness of existence. While that awareness is our species’ most authentic experience, I find that I cannot sustain it for 16 straight hours a day, week after week.

So here I am. Hopefully, you’re still here too. Let me know how you’ve been doing.

Hiatus

About 10 days ago, I decided to try selling my computer. I posted online ads and, no matter how much I reduced the asking price, no one made an offer. But I needed to get away from the computer in order to stop being its slave, so, about a week ago, I erased the hard drive and left the computer and my printer on the stairs not far from the apartment door. When I checked a few hours later, it was gone. Someone now has a nearly brand new i3 4130 computer and a nearly new inkjet printer, and I hope they enjoy them.

My father has an extremely old Dell laptop that i gave him some time ago, and all he uses it for is to skype once a month with a friend overseas and to watch live score tennis updates from time to time. I borrowed it from him in order to make this post, but don’t foresee borrowing it from him again too often. It’s his computer and I don’t really miss mine. Although I now spend most of my time vegetating, I still feel liberated and much less troubled than I have been for some time.

My bank was pulling some strange crap with my prepaid MasterCard, so I told onlline banking to close all of my accounts and then destroyed my bank cards. That was also about a week ago. Yesterday, I received a phone call from a number I don’t recognize, so of course I didn’t answer it, but some checking led me to discover that it was my bank branch calling. They and their devoiusness can go straight to hell. As far as I’m concerned, I no longer have a bank account and don’t need one.

I managed to take another trip out of town, but for only one day, and the last six to eight hours were pure hell. The powers that be very obviously want to dissuade me from ever taking a similar trip again, so they put me through the torments of the damned on this one. But, even though I recognize that they were trying to manipulate me, I realize quite independently of that that they can do the same thing again any time they want to, so there is no point in resisting their manipulations on grounds of principle. No more trips out of town for me, because I can be in hell right where I am as opposed to having to go out of town in order to be in the same hell. Which means that I shall never again have a chance to feel alive and have, for all purposes, effectively died four years earlier than I was going to die anyway. Which in the end doesn’t matter.

I might borrow my father’s computer at some future point in order to come back and say hello, but it won’t be any time soon. I want to thank all of those who have been supportive in the time I was actively blogging here. Be well, and sayonara.

In a Serene Moment

Experience is a funny thing. Most of our experiences relate to the external world and what we see and hear and touch. The stuff of experience is the physical objects outside our minds. Yet, even if those physical objects have an objective existence (and that depends on whom you ask), experience is not objective. It is entirely subjective and consists on how that external world happens inside us. This keyboard and this computer display that dominate my everyday life are, in my view, concrete things outside me, but their reality to me is the feeling of the keys striking my fingers, the sight of what is on the display and its peripherally-noticed fringes, the aftertaste of the coffee in my mouth, the sound of the televised soccer game and my window fans in the background, and many other things wrapped into the single thing that is my consciousness of this moment. Because what I really have is this moment; and my life within that moment, despite its physical and external roots, happens entirely in my mind. And it happens indivisibly, wrapped up with the feelings and memories and random snippets of thought that pass through my mind while I type this entry, all experienced as one thing: me.

Which brings me to an important point: we cannot avoid experience while we are conscious. No matter what we do, we are experiencing each moment, and that expeirence adds to the stockpile of our past, which continues to live within us through accumulation. Ultimately, we are constructive entities that build our own consciousness brick by brick over the course of our entire lives, changing in each moment because that moment adds yet another brick to the edifice of our experience. (I could say “self-experience” but that would be a redundancy. All experience is experience of ourselves.) That happens to us willy-nilly as we live, because we can do nothing about our experiences happening or being cumulative any more than we can arrest the passage of time.

There is a very important implication to the inevitability of experience and the accumulation of experience. The implication is that it doesn’t really matter what you do, because, no matter what you do, you can’t help doing something, and the edifice of your next subjective moment is steadily being built. Some people make a big deal of having “better” experiences, which range from jumping out of airplanes to photographing Angkor Wat to giving birth to performing on-stage as the next musical superstar to simply getting a report from their assets manager that their assets have appreciated in this quarter. But the content of experience doesn’t really matter. Anyone who lives and does anything is building himself, involuntarily and helplessly but also in a salutary way, because no amount of physical privation and hardship can deprive even an indigent man of his constructive journey through life.

The lesson? Don’t worry about what you do. Don’t make bucket lists. Don’t yearn for the unreachable opulence that informs the lives of the wealthy. Don’t feel starved of recognition and fame. Just live, and count that all living has equal value in the end, and accomplishes the same purpose. I say that to myself while in the middle of yet another fifteen hours of sitting at this computer today, and it makes me content.

What do YOU think?

NOTE: This is a repost.

Stories from Amos: The Well-Travelled Woman

If you’ve been reading this blog, then you’ll understand why this particular post by another blogger really hits home.

Mother Hen Diaries

Though she had rarely travelled beyond the County line, Marjorie Weisenheimer never viewed herself as a homebody. The second youngest of ten children, Marjorie had watched her elder siblings marry and move away, and with each successive marriage over the years, she quietly plotted her own escape between the pages of the National Geographic Magazine. Marjorie was going to see Greece. She was going to visit Athens. The Parthenon. Marjorie was going to wear a blue swimsuit one day, and she was going to dip her feet into the clear waters of the Aegean. This she knew with absolute certainty.

What was less certain, however, was how long her parents had planned to live. As successful as her father proved to be in running Amos State Bank, that is how unsuccessful he was in maintaining his health.  Between obesity, cigars, asthma and eventual heart disease, Old Man Weisenheimer lived a shockingly long life in a…

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The End of Death

I went two days without posting anything, and some of you might wonder whether I went out of town again. No, I’ve been here all this time. I’ve just been true to my statement of not feeling any pressure to talk or write because there are no negative consequences if I stay silent and I know that my few regular readers not only have their own lives but will be patient with me to the extent they remember to read what I post here. But I have still been violating one of my key personal rules by thinking about the future much more than I want to. That trip out of town was so revitalizing that I want another one and am spending far too much time thinking about when a good time to take it would be.

The focus of the trip, both past and future, is something that people who are still members of society might consider pathetic: a hotel room. The hotel room I had on my last trip was basically an ordinary, if nice, hotel room, with a good view out the window, efficacious climate control, good lighting, a clean bed, and really good coffee. But it was my own space, which I controlled completely as long as I stayed within the hotel’s rules, where no one was allowed to parent or belittle me, and where I did not need to permit entry to anyone unless I so wished. And my physical and mental health in that hotel room were utterly perfect, as if I lived in a novel epoch in which I were no longer the slave of little white prescription tablets and the buttholes who prescribe them. In that hotel room I experienced autonomy, and, even though the dream of ongoing autonomy is forever lost to me, having a brief spell of autonomy still brought me back from the dead for a brief time.

Of course, the same effect could be achieved with a little 200-square-foot bachelor apartment no bigger than a hotel room. I could easily have perfect health both physically and mentally on an ongoing basis at no harm to anyone. The real key is no longer being trapped in shared accommodation with incompatible housemates, where I must endure being inappropriately parented and constantly denigrated and reminded of the fact that people think I am a worthless cripple; as well as no longer being forced to remain in a city and conurbation I have come to despise because of its people. But the perversity of the powers that be requires me to remain trapped here, and so I must find a way to escape for brief periods of time once in a while. There can only be a handful of such escapes between now and that fatal heart attack in late 2019 or early 2020 because of finances, so, of course, they will be the focus of all my thoughts while I rot here in this chair at this little plastic table my computer display sits on.

It is ultimately the perversity of my own nature as a living bag of meat that is the topic of this post. I decided rationally a long time ago that hope is destructive, that any efforts I made would be futile because they would be thwarted, and that I need to achieve resignation and serenity. But the brute animal inside me refuses to stop hoping, refuses to give me peace from futile effort, refuses to stop forcing me to engage in the stupid waste of planning for tomorrow. It is really the same contemptible bag-of-meat brute animal instinct that forces me to continue breathing and eating and defecating and sleeping against my will. And so, ultimately, I am the slave of the animal in me, which obeys its own Hollywood movie morality despite the truly human morality of peace and acceptance that I would rather choose.

I guess the only true horror would be if I turned out to be immortal, and so did my father and brother, and this hell of entrapment continued forever. But not even the evil filth that controls society can make that happen. No matter how they seek to abuse me, sooner or later I am going to naturally and effortlessly find the peace of nonexistence, and be free not only of them but of everything. It’s something to look forward to after all.

A Word to You About Media and the Law

This morning, I had a massively old-fart moment thinking about something that was, even being completely fair to every generation, truly better in the Good Old Days than it is today. Back when snakes had legs and I was young, news media people were permitted to protect confidentiality of their sources. If someone asked a reporter not to tell anyone who he was because he was afraid of the unjustified consequences of having his identity made public, the reporter could agree to it safely, because he knew he wouldn’t be forced to violate the confidentiality. There was even a court case in the 1980s in which reporter Michael Harris was on the witness stand in court and the opposing lawyer asked him to disclose the identity of a confidential source. Harris refused, and the opposing lawyer didn’t even ask the judge to force him to disclose it, and the judge never said a damned thing. Regardless of what the law formally said, it was just accepted practice that, if a reporter agreed not to tell anyone who you were, he wouldn’t be forced to.

People probably don’t remember those long-ago events because things are totally different today. Partly thanks to the aftermath of September 11th, there were famous cases in which American judges did order American reporters to disclose the identities of confidential sources, and, when they refused, the judges sent them to prison  You probably don’t remember any of that, either, because that’s now old news too. Today, it’s generally accepted that nobody can say anything confidentially to the news media and expect to remain anonymous, with the result that every statement made to the news media must be assumed to be totally public. That leads to the news media simply never finding out anything that people don’t feel safe in disclosing to the whole world, which, frankly, turns some otherwise smart and capable reporters into clued-out idiots. This is one reason why today’s “news” is totally a combination Entertainment Tonight and Question Period in the House of Commons.

You can guess without me telling you what I think of the whole thing. But there is an additional component that applies more broadly than to the news media. Certain non-media professions, such as lawyer and priest, have always had not only the right to keep certain things confidential, but the obligation to do so. Lawyers mostly still retain those obligations and rights, and, judging from my eight and a half years working in legal support, protect confidentiality obsessively. But what if every competent adult had the right to preserve confidentiality? It would have to be carefully managed to prevent abuses and frivolities, but laws or even a constitutional amendment could be drafted that carefully described the specific conditions under which any American (or Canadian) citizen would be safe in keeping secret something another person had told him, even if a judge could potentially order them to disclose it. That would force everybody to think hard about what it was safe to tell someone else confidentially, as well as what they could agree to keep confidential. And, although most people are already pretty good at thinking, some extra practice at thinking hard never hurt anyone, plus there would be an additional element of trust and freedom in prudent private conversations, a greater amount of interprersonal responsibility, and the necessity to exercise sound judgment just a little bit more.

So how about it, legislators? Are you reading this, and what do you think about drafting a bill?

On the Fine Art of Being Helpless

There is a special skill involved in living when you are completely powerless and anyone on earth can do absolutely anything they want to you and get away with it. I’ve already talked about some elements of that skill in various other blog posts. The key, however, is to try to achieve complete detachment from everything, including breathing. You cannot live anything like a good life knowing that any random person on the street is completely free to take your breathing away with complete impunity, unless you genuinely stop caring whether you can breathe or not. And it is the minimal brute animal functions, such as eating and defecation and sleeping and breathing, that are the hardest to stop caring about, because the brute animal inside all of us makes us unavoidably attached to those things for as long as we are alive. Yet detachment from them is essential if you are going to live a 100% vulnerable and helpless life, which is the life I am forced to live.

There is also a special kind of good cheer involved in living at absolute suffrance. Any career lowlife who broke into this apartment and cut my throat would just get an attaboy from the police, so, if said lowlife refrains from doing so, regardless of his reasons, it is entirely through his choice that he refrains, and I have nothing to do with it. That leads to a constant awareness that every moment everywhere, 24 hours a day, is a mortal danger to me that I can’t do anything about. Yet it has been 39 years since anyone has laid a finger on me physically, despite absolutely everyone being completely free to do so, and there is a kind of comfort in people’s forbearance from venting their natural inborn spitefulness on me just because they can.

The theory side of things is that viability is directly proportional to being able to help yourself. The more you can help yourself, the more you are able to survive. I have literally zero ability to help myself, which makes it an amazing miracle that I survived for even one hour after I was born, let alone that I have survived for more than half a century. There is a lesson in my life story about the aspects of the nature of reality and human life that standard theories about such things don’t account for. But I leave examination of that lesson to those who have some motivation to help the rest of the world, which I don’t.

 

On an Important Decision About Writing

Someone asked me today why I have stopped writing fiction. I told them that my motivation for writing fiction had been bound up with using the fiction to escape poverty. Although I had enjoyed writing fiction for its own sake, that enjoyment had been infilitrated by the hope of living on a normal income from writing fiction instead of being trapped on a government handout that is less than half of a poverty line income, and the enjoyment had become inseparable from the hope. Then I read about the late Philip K. Dick, who had been one of the best writers of his generation, and certainly the best such writer of science fiction and fantasy, but, despite having had several novels published, had spent his whole life on welfare anyway. That made me lose hope of sufficient income from writing fiction, and, when the hope died, it dragged my enjoyment of writing fiction into its grave with it. So you could actually say that my enjoyment of writing fiction is currently buried alive in the same coffin as a corpse, so that it will eventually suffocate to death under unpleasant circumstances. There’s nothing I can do about it, so I’ve accepted that I’ll probably never feel motivated to write fiction again.

But why is it that I never did get published? Same reasons as about 10 million other English-language writers have never been published, many of them better writers than me and more deserving publication. The lesser reason is that the publishing and magazine industries are fall too small to have room to publish all deserving work. The bigger reason is that publishers and magazines are businesspeople, and businesspeople are sterile, which makes them spiteful toward those who are fertile, purely out of unconscious resentment. No successful businessperson ever created anything. What they do is exploit enterpreneurs, inventors, technically creative people and artistically creative people in order to make a million times more money off those things than their creators do. But despite the great wealth and fame and opulent lives of businesspeople, at their core is a bitterness they are not aware of, the bitterness of being barren and obliged to be parasites. This bitterness is probably exacerbated by the fact that they do ruthlessly exploit creative people, which they do in order to retaliate against our fertility, and which in turn makes them retaliate even more spitefully.

I’ve come to the decision that I am going to reject all commercial opportunities I might get for my writing in the future. It’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever get any, so this isn’t something I spend all my time fantasizing about; mostly, I don’t even think about it at all. But I am prepared for all the weaselly, dishonest arguments that business parasites will throw at me–that I can make money if I let them exploit me to make a million times more money for not doing anything of true value, that they can deviously arrange to have my disability checks cut off in order to put pressure on me to play along, that they can frighten my unsophisticated father to tears and use him to put pressure on me to knuckle under, that they can even steal my work and lie about it and get away with it because I can’t afford a lawyer. I’m not going to disclose my strategies in event of such conduct just in case there are businesspeople reading this post, but I’m completely ready for them in peaceful and lawful ways. I’m always peaceful and lawful, and also have a peaceful and lawful plan in place in case anyone makes up stories to the authorities, counting on the authorities being bigoted enough against someone with the label of schizophrenia automatically to believe any lie they’re told about me by a scumbag fatcat who has a privileged position in society. It really is great to have all the bases covered so I can don’t worry, be happy. And it’s even better to have conquered despair about my writing and be in a position to accept it just as what it is.

Dreaming Dreams

Back when I still had the dream of autonomy, I sometimes imagined what I would do if I had my own private residence. One of the dreams I had was about having pets–which would also require me enough money to pay vet bills. Here are three pets I used to dream about having:

1) A Great Dane named Brutus. Even if the dog were female I’d name her Brutus. I love the fact that Great Danes are so gentle and low-maintenance, as they need very little exercise and very little space, and form strong bonds with their personal humans.

2) A mouse named Morsel the Second. The original Morsel happened in 1993, when I was minding a former friend’s pet snake. I bought a mouse (really a white-furred, pink-eyed rat tht looked like a mouse) to feed to the snake. But the snake was ill and refused to eat, so the poor mouse spent several hours hiding in a corner of the snake’s terrarium. I bought a cage and put the mouse in his own cage and gave him the name Morsel. He resisted all the therapy I tried to administer to him and remained a fraidy little mouse until he passed away a few months later. But Morsel the Second would never go anywhere near a snake and would get the best mousey life it could.

3) A miniature cactus named Cosimo the Second. The original Cosimo I bought at a flea market in 1995, but I think I didn’t water him often enough even for a cactus, so he died. The second Cosimo would get the best care a miniature cactus can get.

What are your dream pets?

On Being Alive and Being Dead

My trip out of town lasted far longer than I had expected. I had planned to be away for only part of one day, but it ended up being nearly three full days, with not only comfortable but nearly opulent facilities to sleep, eat and relax. Even though some negatives emerged from that little vacation, I have no regrets about any of it, because, while I was out of town, spending much of my day sitting in a hotel room drinking superb coffee and gazing out the large window, I was alive. Not felt alive, but was alive, same as I had been dead before I left on the trip and am merely comatose now.

Before I get to the negatives, let me give you the biggest positive. You already know that I experience brain fog on a daily basis and the episodes are sometimes prolonged. Well, during those three days out of town, I didn’t have even a split-second of brain fog, or even a hint of almost any mental health issues whatsoever. The only issue was a tiny bit of avolition when I thought about walking to the nearest hairdresser’s to have my hair cut before I took a shower, but the hair salon was too close to take a city bus or taxi there and just barely too far to walk, so I didn’t get my hair cut. And here’s the big one: I had forgotten to bring my medication! Yes, boyz ‘n’ gorillas, I spent three days not taking any meds whatsoever, including my psych meds, and felt perfectly healthy in every way. After 23 years as a high-functioning and accurately self-observant mental patient, I can be fairly sure when I’m not having any symptoms, and I certainly notice when other people are reacting to seeing them. Nothing whatsoever like that happened during those three days.

About two hours after I had returned to this apartment, however, I began to have brain fog again. I resumed taking all medication, even taking higher booster doses of the psych meds in order to build the serum levels back up, and the brain fog has intermittently abated since then. Something about my normal living environment is the real cause of my mental problems. Except that I am stuck in this environment because I lack the funds to escape, so I’m stuck being mentally ill when it seems that all I’d need to do in order to be mentally healthy is relocate somewhere outside the Greater Toronto Area and find a private residence I don’t have to share with anyone. The latter is the real problem, because I’ve done research on rents throughout the Province of Ontario, and a private apartment would be unaffordable for me absolutely anywhere except in the farthest reaches of Northern Ontario, where there is no public transit to speak of and you have to drive three hours to the grocery store, which I can’t do. So I’m stuck here being sick. Ever heard of a sick building? I live in what is personally for me a sick city, sharing a sick apartment with sick roommates.

My initial plan upon returning was to turn my back on my old life and just wait patiently until I could escape again for a few days. The plan was to save up money until Christmas Day by simply not spending money on anything I didn’t absolutely have to spend money on, including more than minimally expensive food. But I’m also experiencing a kind of equanimous lassitude about life in general. I have no problem just sitting at my desk, staring passively into space without even using this computer–which is the main reason I’ve toned my blogging activities down to one post a day. Although I am absolutely not “depressed” (which is in many cases an over-abused excuse to prescribe antidepressants), I also feel very little motivation to do anything. When Christmas Day rolls around, it’s doubtful that I’ll have the motivation to walk to the bus station for the bus out of town.

At its peak, my now two-week-old blog had 138 views in one day. Yesterday it had 21. That doesn’t bother me because nothing bothers me. But I am happy that those who really do have an interest in reading what I have to say, are continuing to do so, and I intend to stay in touch with you as long as I’m able. So see you tomorrow.

A Vegetative State

The brain fog is becoming extreme. I’m spending about 13 of my 16 waking hours each day having brain fog. As a result, I nearly continuously stare off into space motionlessly, unaware of my surroundings, with stupid movies playing in my head. I don’t even remember the movies a second after they’ve ended. And I haven’t been outside the apartment at all since returning from out of town in the early evening of August 29th, so almost three full days.

My vegetative condition has little practical impact. I have no responsibilities until my next doctor’s appointment in about two weeks, except maybe to go buy more coffee grounds for the household coffeemaker, which takes five minutes depending on the lineup at the cashier. The brain fog even makes the time pass without my noticing, so that the day goes by quickly. I am not distressed during the periods of brain fog, and the only drawback is that my father occasionally expresses concern about my lack of focus on the external world. That’s really just him being 74 years old and having spent the first 25 years of his life in East Europe and being too old to adjust to anything.

But there was a new development just now. My brother baked a large, circular cheese pie and invited us to sit down and eat. I thought it was dinnertime, so after eating I took all of my evening medication, including the perphenazine. That will mean falling asleep at the start of evening and waking up in the middle of the night, fresh and rested. Which in itself doesn’t matter, except that it’s the first time I’ve lost basic function such as being able to tell which of the three daily meals it was. Shall I continue to deteriorate until I completely lose the ability to feed myself, notice that I need to urinate or defecate, or even become aware that my father or brother are speaking to me? Am I headed for a totally vegetative state where I am never aware of the external world at all?

Stay tuned and I’ll let you know.

A New Beginning

I had intended this to be a diary blog with diary-style content. Over its first eight days and 25 posts of existence, however, it has morphed into something entirely different, a wide-ranging personal blog. So I thought of going back to the blog’s roots and turning it into a true diary, but the blog in its current form had proven to be of interest to a wide variety of people. I couldn’t argue with the results: more than 330 views and 51 followers in a mere eight days, which I’m told is fairly rapid growth. So I’ve decided to recast the blog as what it already is by giving it a new title and changing certain basic things about it. If you’re already a follower, please tell me how you like the changes. If not, please tell me whether the blog appeals to you as it is now.

The Hegemony of Deaders: Where Wicca Goes Just as Wrong as Christianity Does

Jack Saunsea’s blog features a recent entry entitled Are You a Tool?. You can read the post for yourself if you want to know what it says, but it led me to reflect on one of the things I consider most valuable and important: the autonomy and freedom of the living, of which we are so often deprived by various agencies with interests inimical to our own. Chief among these is the Christian, Moslem and Jewish God, who demands that our lives serve his purpose instead of ours, and thereby exacts self-abasement and life-sacrificing servility from us under threat of having us endure torment forever after death if we don’t obey. But pagans are no better, as they serve the interests of pagan deities, be those deities Osiris or Diana. In their case also, the deity is not the same as the worshipper, so that, at some point, the deity’s interests are guaranteed to diverge from those of the worshipper, and the worshipper will inevitably be ordered to sacrifice herself in order to benefit the deity. So the practices of Wicca are no less pernicious than the Christian “humbling youself before God.” In both cases, a person is forced to throw away her life for the benefit of something that is not even alive.

My term, “deaders,” refers to all self-driven entities that are not alive. These include God, Osiris, Diana, and some people’s conception of our own souls. I’ve heard the lying trope that “your soul is you” and scoffed at it many times. Your soul is NOT you. It is something completely different from you, something just as eternal as you are temporal, and therefore something that wants different things from your life than the ones you want. The living seek happiness during our brief lives. Our souls, meanwhile, seek to make us suffer for the sake of harvesting “experience” in order to discharge “karma.” That is pernicious exploitation of the living and is simply evil and wrong. Something should be done about it.

Yet what can be done about it? Probably not much. It’s unlikely that anyone can live without being infested with that parasite called a soul. We shall always be unhappy and tormented because of the Machiavellian manipulations of our own soul-parasites, which partly control us and deprive us not only of autonomy but of meaningful choice. That my own deader is permitting me to write and publish this is a wonder, but there is no doubt that it’s one step ahead of me even as I do so. Ultimately, the living are defeated by the very frauds that pose as our essences.

One thing we are able to do, however, is to stop believing the lies on which all spiritual leaders since the dawn of our species have cynically agreed in their public statements: the falsehoods that our souls are us, that we have some kind of debt to those who would exploit us just because they are spiritual rather than living, and that the servility to deaders that grants power to spiritual leaders is of any benefit to us, their flocks. Even if we are powerless to avoid unhappiness, we can still avoid being deceived. Ultimately, the only thing any of us has, and cannot be robbed of, is her conscience. It is in the name of that conscience we all share that I ask everyone reading this to defy the servility that those who would exploit us, demand of us. It might not do us any good, but the misery that deaders force us to undergo would be cleansed by the denial of our consent.