The Long Road that Leads to Laughing at Folly

A brief discussion with a Buddhist leads to a rumination about distress in general–not just the distress of conscious humans, but that of every tadpole and blade of grass, and even of inanimate stone being worn down by the flow of water, and the molecules of water striking blows against that stone as they are carried past by the current.

On the basis of 200,000 years of collected human thought and the experiences of our own lives, it seems clear that personal death is perfectly final. There is no afterlife, no reincarnation, no separate world where souls and spirits continue to exist after a living thing dies. People have fabricated speculations about such things in order to comfort themselves and other people, and ruthless types have exploited such speculations in order to acquire material power, influence and wealth, but even devout Christians agree that they are just speculations. Christianity is about faith rather than proof, and a poll once showed that about 63% of Christians don’t want proof of God’s existence ever to be found, so that they can continue to base their lives on faith. That’s neither here nor there and is outside the scope of this post. Those of us who choose not to bury our own minds alive in self-abasing subservience to faith are completely right in accepting that personal death is in all ways and absolutely the end.

The Buddhist (in comments here) stated that human suffering serves the purpose of helping us grow and learn, and is therefore salutary. You can read my response for yourselves. Personal death causes not only our consciousness to vanish permanently and forever, but thereby wastes all of our learning, which means that it wastes all of our suffering as well. And this extends to everything that has ever suffered, including those much-buffeted molecules of water.

One thing I must mention is the unimaginable suffering of the sun. We know now that the sun is a vast nuclear conflagration that devours itself in a frenzy of self-destruction in such physically huge proportions that we can’t even wrap our minds around it except through the most superficial and flimsy of scientific concepts. The sun also emits solar wind, which is tantamount to the sun tearing off chunks of its own flesh and flinging them out continuously in all directions. The earth and all inner planets are completely wrapped in sunmeat. Yet having our earth wrapped in this sunmeat is the precondition of the earth being even habitable by any type of life. I really don’t want to ruin your Christmas in advance by discussing on September 24th what the vomitously revolting implications of that are. If you have a mind to think about it, go ahead, but if you’re smart, pretend I never even said anything.

Yet I can’t pretend to myself that I don’t know what I happen to know. The unimaginably repulsive underpinnings of nature stick with me, and the only relief I get is laughing heartily at all the airheaded treehuggers who worship nature as if it were actually something benevolent, not realizing that nature is rooted in self-harm by the sun so extreme that it is beyond our ability even to form a concept of it. It was in fact such airheads that, through the means of their various temples and covens, that robbed me of my future and my entire life in the distant past. What is left to me in the fewer than five full years before my fatal heart attack is the laughter, and the knowledge that they were always fools.

The Road to Happiness

Either someone once told me, or I had the psychotic delusion that they had told me: “Revenge is divine.” Indeed, there are people who firmly believe that holding grudges is a virtue, and that lifelong hostility to someone who has done you wrong is a requirement for a righteous life. To such people, taking lifelong revenge is expressing yourself as someone created in the Maker’s image. Still other people believe that you should forgive all wrongs done to you because it’s God’s job to take revenge on your behalf. They, too, believe that revenge is divine, and just approach the concept from a different angle, with different ethical implications.

You already know, from having read this recent post, that I am of exactly the opposite view from those people. I am far closer to the view of pagans, who think in terms of karma. But I also disagree with pagans about the ethical implications of both karma and revenge, as well as some cosmological ones. If we really do have souls that are ruled by their need to discharge karma, then revenge is motivated by that specific spiritual concern. That would mean that revenge is something of the soul and not of the living. You’ve probably read in this very old post that I consider our souls to be something separate and different from our living selves, often with interests inimical to our living interests. The fact that souls infect us with a pre-birth greed for revenge in the guise of their own enslavement to karma would only serve to make both revenge and karma utterly repugnant to me, and make me get as far away from them as I can.

So that’s what I do. I actively avoid both taking revenge and discharging karma (if karma exists). I live the life of a purely living man, with no spiritual or religious accoutrements or limitations, seeking the only thing that all living beings truly seek of our own accord, which is happiness. My search for happiness is more limited than that of most people, because I seek happiness only in the present moment. That proves to be an incessant, ongoing exercise of detoxification. If I ingest something toxic through my eyes or ears, I rush to purge it same as if I had ingested it through my gullet. It’s not the same procedure, because no one can truly purge what has entered his mind. It stays in the deep recesses of the mind forever. So the proper procedure is to quarantine that toxic experience so it has minimal impact on the rest of the consciousness, unconsciousness and nonconsciousness around it. You know I believe one way to do that is to discontinue any experience that brings it to mind or draws upon it in any way. Another way is to reformulate it in terms of its essence, because explanation is inherently destructive of the thing being explained and robs it of all of its power (as per the critical realism described in this post),

And it works! As I find myself immersed deeper and deeper in the life I’ve always wanted to lead, in a community in which I always belonged, I find myself steadily approaching happiness, partly because I can quarantine and thereby detoxify the toxic moments of my existence. Gone are the lingering hurts that would wound me over and over again like demented revenants. For the first time in ages, I have cause for optimism.

The future looks bright.

Distress and the Conqueror of Despair

The old school of psychology back when snakes used to have legs talked about two types of stress: estress and distress. The former is positive stress caused by constructive exertion, the pressure of peak performance and being in the middle of doing something well, the expectation of success for you and yours. Distress was all the bad stuff, ranging from frustration to privation to being abused. The summary version is that estress is good for you and you need it, while distress is bad for you and you don’t.

You’ve already seen this post in which I explain that, by passing through despair and conquering it and making it my servant, I managed to achieve some semblance of serenity and begin creeping toward happiness in the complete absence of hope. The rules are different for a person with that mindset. Someone who builds their life around hope will accept distress and sometimes even seek it out in exchange for what will, hopefully, turn out to be a better future. But my future is today, because there ain’t nothin’ going to happen tomorrow that’s worth sacrificing the present for. So, to me, any distress is plain wrong, and the greatest harm that anyone can do to me is not to thwart my plans–I have none–but make me experience distress in the present moment.

I just experienced significant distress because someone managed to push my buttons. The details are not important, because I despise gossip and don’t want to be the next Perez Hilton. Quite the opposite. But, subsequently to having had my buttons pushed, I discovered that the person in question was not being genuine. Rather, they are someone who deliberately seeks to cause distress in other people because they enjoy seeing other people in distress. it brings them pleasure. Which actually reduces my distress and makes me sad for them. From a personality point of view, someone who enjoys causing distress to others is the lowest of the low, and hardly deserves to be called human. I now feel like I got upset at a donkey for braying. It’s silly to get upset at a donkey for braying, because the donkey doesn’t know any better. It’s just an animal, same as the “person” who deliberately pushed my buttons for fun.

Long story short, I have sought safety in severing all further contact with the person who is of the kind who do me the greatest harm–and it’s important, especially if you’re a Wiccan, to note that I say harm rather than hurt because, to someone living in the absence and rejection of hope, distress in the present moment is true harm in the Wiccan sense. Christians are free to tell me how they see the difference between hurt and harm and where, in their view, what I’ve described here falls.

Until next time.

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.