FORMULAS FOR SALVATION ARE RECIPES FOR EXTINCTION
By John Kaminski
A thousand pages later you remember
what it was like before you began
the story, before the dusty jacket
snagged your eye's unrealized thirst
from the musty case of forgotten textbooks.
~ The Brookfield Gulf (1980)
(By the author)
So many times I've forgotten to say thank you, caused an argument, or offended a friend, and seldom gone back to say, "My stupidity" or "Sorry for the confusion; this is a minor matter, and you are too important to lose over some trivial disagreement". In these moments we always think there'll be a time when we can answer these questions again and soothe these difficulties.
But most of the time there isn't ~ people die, or drift away, and those we care about ~those we would have liked to keep as friends permanently ~ slip into our foggy past, unseen and unheard from until, years or decades later ~ when the world has utterly changed and there's no way to reach them ~ they pop back into memory with the force of a sour hurricane inside your chest.
Countless times these past years, a score of them and more, I've chided myself to write this note or that to some teacher or student, or friend or lover, by whom my life has been significantly enriched. But I seldom have. The present is inexorably driven by conjecture of the future and obligations to the past are too often relegated to a rainy day that never comes. The worst is when the obituary clipping of someone who treated you kindly arrives unexpectedly. The moment that is too late for apology brings with it the unbearable silence of self-reproach. Sorry Uncle Eddie.
Even worse, perhaps, is not knowing what happened to these misplaced benefactors, nullifying the possibility of a renewed friendship, or at least the satisfaction of saying thank you, even if you never know the outcome. The discontentment of our lives is largely minimized by avoiding these insoluble and regrettable dilemmas, and I don't know about you, but I've had far too many of them, and blame myself for most.
The psychology of friendship hinges mostly on common interests. We relate to those who agree with us, and fight with those who don't. Occasionally enemies become friends through intense discussions and mutual respect for logic and clarity, not to mention good intentions and charitable hearts. Never worry about losing a friend who isn't honest, but rue the day when you lose one who is, no matter how offensive or preposterous his or her candor may be.
I haven't kept any religious lunatics on my emotional payroll because they already know everything and can't learn anything. But I've learned that good character doesn't hinge on good education. There are people who are not that bright who are excellent human beings, and people with multiple advanced degrees who definitely are not.
All these years I never found anyone to be totally in synch with, except a stray priest, defrocked doctor or depressed poet here and there. I always thought almost everyone I ran into was trying to do the wrong thing, to gather wealth and bask their egos in influence and celebrity, and we see from the deteriorating condition of the world that I was right, and everybody else who looked down on me and thought I was crazy, maladjusted and wearisome was wrong. Krishnamurti and others told it right with the same song ~ what does it mean to be perfectly adjusted and wildly successful in a world gone insane?
That doesn't mean we shouldn't try to learn things, but maybe we all should spend more time thinking about what this knowledge we seek so fervently will bring to the world, and how much of the world and our lives we will destroy by seeking it.
The fact is that anyone who flaunts their wealth in these poisoned days is an accessory to the mass murder of unsuspecting innocents, their fancy cars and sumptuous mansions tainted with the blood of exploitation, the sorry legacy of the lies we have all been taught to believe.
The things we were forced to learn in school were mostly false, manic stabs in the dark to answer questions we still cannot pose accurately, trying to solve a dilemma we cannot answer, except to cling to the fantasy of our choice, and declare everything else illegitimate. Most of the world thinks that's the formula for our salvation, even as the weight of the evidence of human history reveals it as the recipe for our extinction.
When you dig deep enough, and forswear blaming somebody else for problem we ourselves create by our own false aspirations, we find to our shock that we ourselves are the fallen angels, that following the work of renegade thinkers like Dwardu Cardona and Ev Cochrane we learn that the Earth itself is the alien invader of our solar system, brought here from the eternal darkness of the universe to fulfill some glimmering promise that was never seen before, and likely doesn't exist in any other place in any other time.
But try telling that to some woman counting numbers and fondling the baubles on her fingers and the rubies in her mind, and you get thrown out of the park for insubordination or at least left alone a lot.
What is the purpose of blaming others when the problems are ourselves? Wouldn't we do what presidents do when offered trunks full of cash? That is, take the money and run. And thumb your nose at those who are starving for not being shrewd enough, or cynical enough.
Of course, most of us don't desire to bugger little children ~ or sometimes kill them and eat them, which seems to be the great secret beneath this so-called legislative rectitude in Washington.
All this is meant to say that maybe thinking too much about the driving force of human endeavor is just too dark and dirty to contemplate, as we try to kill something that can't be killed, which is the inevitability of our own deaths.
How far down the wrong road do we have to go to know we've chosen the wrong path?
By postulating afterlife fantasies or calculating travel plans for future incarnations, we ask all the wrong questions, and obscure the more important puzzle of what exactly are we doing here now and why exactly are we doing it?
All of human history has suffered from this misperception, from the time of Thoth luring people out of the trees with cooked food right down to last week's Oscar-winning movie reinforcing the notion that if we just kill enough people, even if they're already dead, we'll feel better and everything will be OK.
And foremost among the things I forgot to say? As much as I miss you since I drove you away, because you couldn't abide what I had to say, I would not have changed a word I said. Life is too short to be disingenuous, and counting rubies inextricably intertwined with the blood of unknown innocents and is not now and never will be the best way to use life up.
We need to re-examine what it is we think we know. Freud was a cokehead who molested his own daughter, invented his case histories, and primarily regarded his efforts as key to the Jewish sabotage of the whole world;
Einstein stole all his calculations from his wife and then abandoned her while inventing the false science of quantum theory; and Marx simply listened to his rabbi while writing a book about money that failed to mention he was paid by the richest man in the world to keep his name out of it.
This twisted trio invented the artificial reality upon which all our activities are now based.
Today, somewhere in addled academe, someone has come up with the notion that changing our atmosphere to methane will make it easier to survive in the poisoned air of Ganymede, and, if that plan doesn't work, the current version of Freud, Marx and Einstein ~ Ray Kurzweil, now in cahoots with Google ~ is convincing the movers and shakers that we need to become robots in order to extend the insatiable kosher exploitation scheme to other planets.
Just once before you croak, entertain this notion: that maybe civilization was never meant to cohere, that maybe we should have stayed feral and innocent like jaguars in the jungle, never once thinking about guilt or other social schemes like electric lights and data streams. Because once we had created those abstractions and framed our perceptions in those terms, the world that nurtured us began to rot and die.
And maybe, hard as it is to swallow, it was the rejection of the idea that our lives were finite, and the subsequent invention of all sorts of ways to deny our deaths that compelled us, all this time, to ask the wrong questions and consequently fail to see that the joy of life is in the living of it, in the giving thanks for it, and to ask for more is sheer delusion and utter ingratitude, which, as we speak, are destroying every single thing we hoped to love.
The whales know this, but we do not.