Writer’s Log: The Scientific Case for Evil

Back cover blurb:

Dr. Tern Wallace hoped his discovery would prove the afterlife. Inter-dimensionality combined with the Universe’s compositional gaps left room for the “otherness” many thought composed the spirit world. That and the decades of research, the divorce of two wives and the estrangement of his children were worth something, weren’t they?

He flipped the switch and the intricate customizations of the MRI machine began to whir. His subject, an irreconcilably mad dog, donated by the local pound, lay drugged within the humming doughnut of induced gravitational waves. His computer screens glowed. Where there should have been the almond shaped amygdala he found, nothing.

No, not nothing. He had suspicions as to what had replaced the brain’s fear center. Here was proof.

Dark matter. The stuff of astrophysicists, the missing matter of the universe, it theoretically surround us but was kept at bay by our own observable matter inexorably pushing back. Yet, its existence, induced to leak across the impenetrable boundary by the cruelty, the torture the broken German shepherd had endured at the hands of its owner, was undeniable. Evil existed.

Indeed, evil existed, manifested from dark energy, dark matter and, from what Dr. Wallace could tell, was spreading.

The machine spun down. Unfortunately, the side effects of the machine’s interrogation included the death of the subject. He would have to expand his research.

He needed other subjects. Human subjects.

He reflected upon his options. Could the mere thought of experimenting on humans mean that he, himself, had succumbed to this dark infection? He dismissed the notion. Science required information. How could science ever be thought of as evil? Tomorrow he would call his contacts at the asylum.

Waltzing Matilda – quiet coercion

I’ve been fond of the song Waltzing Matilda since forever. Whistling, strange words, catchy-tune, what’s not to like.

There’s a history of the song, of course, which depicts a rather unpleasant story about sheep shearers, a strike and the pursuit and suicide of one of the shearers near a pond.

The phrase, Waltzing Matilda is suppose to mean go on walk-about with your kit (swag, including your tent). But, I think there’s way more to the phrase that what we innocently take on. Reviewing the lyrics: (wikipedia)

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his “Billy” boiled,
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”

Chorus:
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda,
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his “Billy” boiled,
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”

Down came a jumbuck to drink at that billabong,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”

(Chorus)

Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred.
Down came the troopers, one, two, and three.
“Whose is that jumbuck you’ve got in your tucker bag?
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”

(Chorus)

Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong.
“You’ll never catch me alive!” said he
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong:
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”


You’ll notice that each time the stanza, “You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me”, is spoken, there’s a specific directive implied.

  • I’m gonna drink my tea.
  • I’m gonna take you, sheep, kill you and eat you.
  • You’re commin’ with us, says the troopers to the swagman.
  • You’re all gonna follow me to the grave, says the ghost of the swagman.

That last one is especially poignant:

And his ghost may be heard as YOU pass by that billabong,
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.

Is Waltzing Matilda, ultimately, a euphemism for dying? Not a very happy tune, now is it?

Creating vs Consuming

[Originally posted five years ago.]

I have a wise neighbor, Mike. We were chatting about various things and the concept of the creative process vs the consumptive process came up. Here’s a brief synopsis.

When you consume it’s like burning fuel in a fire. To retain the emotive high you get when you consume you must feed the flame. You buy a pair of shoes, they’re new for a week or two, but then they’re not—and you have to buy something new to keep that consumptive itch scratched. You consume a mobile game, a TV show, a movie, a blog post, a magazine article or a book as soon as you’re done, you want more. The flame of consumption cannot be allow to dwindle and die. Consuming becomes an addiction. In the case of oxygen, water and limited food intake, consumption is a good thing, otherwise, well, you die. But consumption of everything else becomes a losing battle—the inferno of your desire to gobble up those unfulfilling objects and experiences—will never be appeased.

In contrast, I give you the creative process.

When you create—anything—that creation becomes an established part of you. If you write, or paint, sculpt or build something the end product of your effort, even if the physical object doesn’t endure, will extend you. That is, the fact of its creation will always exist within you. You made it. Creation is an additive process. Every time you create you extend yourself beyond your prior boundaries. If you produce media art like pictures, music, or video, or you create motion art such as dance or activity/skill based (skating, skydiving, surfing, climbing, etc.) you are creating, you are adding to yourself (and to the world).

It’s somewhat ironic don’t you think?

  • Creation, the act of giving of yourself and your efforts to the world—adds.
  • Consumption, the act adding stuff onto yourself—subtracts.

Writer’s Log: 2350

  • February: Crawled out of my cave, looked around and crawled right back in.
  • March: Bah!
  • April: Still nope.
  • May: Fingers itching, must be vaccine side-effects.
  • June: Fuck me. Alright, alright, just quit squeezing my frontal lobe.

[Back cover blurb]

A-Nihilists: Tribe of Annihil-Nation

Members of a growing anti-society movement continue to expand their attacks against anyone and everyone. If you believe in anything, God, morals, society, human rights, animals rights, Save-the-Planet, free school lunches — you are a target. A-Nihilists are here to destroy you and everything you believe in. They live solely to convince you of the absurdity of existence.

Kamus joined at fifteen. His first act involved the explosive destruction of an I-15 bridge that spanned the Virgin River in St. George, Utah. It didn’t go well. He and his partners underestimated the concussive power of one-hundred pounds of ANFO (ammonium nitrate & fuel oil). But mostly, it was the too-short fuse Kam had used on the M-80 that detonated the makeshift dynamite.

Mistakes are often the best teachers. That is, if you can survive them.

Years later, that first lesson became a seed of doubt.

“If my purpose is showing you your purpose is bullshit…”

Sisyphus’ map of tiny, perfect things

I’ve posted about Albert Camus’ philosophy regarding Sisyphus and how imagining him happy is a way to look at one’s own mundane, plodding life.

And I’ve also mentioned how Groundhog Day’s Phil Connors embodies Sisyphus.

Nice artwork, eh?

Well, I recently watched a campy, but fairly endearing story that takes both of those themes and includes them in the script.

“The Map of Tiny, Perfect Things” (Amazon Prime) does a pretty good job of depicting the trope of being stuck in the same day for eternity. It may not be worth watching more than once (like Bill Murray’s film), but it’s worth at least one viewing.

What struck me, of course, is that this connection I’d made between Phil Connors being Sisyphus was one I’d shared prolly four years ago. And it was cool to see the theme exposed in a film.

There’s the map of perfect things (places)