Tag Archives: #absurduniverse

Dear Mudge, Giving Thanks

Dear Mudge,

The corptocracy hijacked holiday, Thanksgiving, is nearly upon us. Is Black Friday now the celebration and not the humble acknowledgment that our prosperity stems from both luck and the hard work of ourselves and those around us? Do we now give thanks for Amazon Prime? One of conscience must feel sickened by such cultist display: the tribe of greed and avarice. How to combat this distasteful trend? More on that below.

Oh, ‘Mudge, politics & religion are two subjects that are rarely discussed here. I’ll admit, I have recently been watching Rachel Maddow and delight in her delight. She just can’t stop smiling these days. But the way of things, the indefensible, dogmatic loyalty to that reprehensible IBI (incoherent bloviating imbecile) In Chief, and the backward-thinking, blind-eye behavior of that ancient tortoise leading the Senate makes me feel like I’m witnessing an agonizingly slow train wreck: the demise of democracy.

All things pass. I suspect this one will too. What the U.S. will look like on the other side of being shat through the ass of that Asshole, who’s to know.

~~~

I’m learning about Thumos. It’s an ancient Greek term which has no equivalent in the English language. I’d relate it as being the spirit of pursuing self-honor, where head and heart align. I’d qualify the discussion of such terms in that they can only now be freely debated as we’ve identified the N-1 philosophical belief layer and have decided to exist here, at least for the time being. I’d care to know your feelings on this assumption.

In your appeal to choose a pursuit post-fantasy, and having lit upon delivering kindness, I say, why the hell not. There’s so much godawful misery in this world, if you pull-off a Valentine Smith and succeed? (Even in attempting to be kind, would you not also succeed?) At least you’d have found your Thumos and that, in and of itself, is a noble feat.

How can I help?

AbsurdUniverseSiliconIngot

I leave you with this: Sans stone, silicon is a metalloid into which, I would submit, we are etching our legacy. So, with keyboard-hammer and chisel-like wit we’ll leave our marks upon the box canyon walls of the internet.

Were you to enjoin your altruistic ideal and spread compassion, and this coming Thursday may provide you an initial step, volunteering at some banquet supporting the disenfranchised and dispossessed, you may also leave a legacy of kindness. And that would be an honorable pursuit, indeed.

Warmly,
‘Mole


Writer’s Log: 2140

Writing is caring.

Writing is, above all, work. But in order to write you have to care, care enough to put pen to paper. Care enough about your characters, your story to do them justice—to write them real.

But if you don’t care, about anything, that’s a problem.

Thumos-PlatosChariot

Plato’s Chariot: Appetite and Spirit reined by Reason

Recently, in a comment to TomBeingTom, I exposed a thought I’ve held for some time: of the concept of contextual layers of personal belief, (or disbelief).

Currently, myself and our Desertcurmudgeon appear to be psychologically dwelling in the outer-most context of the Absurd Universe where all things are meaningless. This setting represents the absolute and final stage of the philosophical interpretation of existence: All Is For Nought.

Recent correspondence between he and I have briefly explored this theory with an underlying current that attempts to retreat from this the Existential Edge. And that’s the crux of this thought. Somehow, if we’re to exist at all, we must forgo the beating of death’s drum, pull back into the light of some meaning, any meaning, to which we can grasp.

If I want to write, that is, learn to write well and practice the art, I need to find some means to divert my eyes from the constant nihilistic allure of the Absurd Universe.

CallOfTheWild

I just read a Smithsonian article about Jack London. The man lived like a champion and died at forty years of age. 40! And accomplished a dozen life-times of adventure and writing. Wow, what a remarkable man. I wonder what he believed in? Deep in the Klondike winter of 1898, did he contemplate the Absurd Universe? What meaningful ideology did he adopt that drove him to seize life as he did? (Thumos?)

Clearly, residing here in the outer valence shell of the atom that is the Universe is no way to live. Contracting one’s belief system back a level, perhaps two, is a deed that must be done to allow any kind of fulfillment or enjoyment in this life. However, divesting too many philosophical layers would lower one into the throes of theology, surely not a level any rational human would accept.

But a layer or two would be nice. Back to some practical stratum where I can ignore the nagging Absurdity and focus on caring about the characters I’d like to write about.

 


Dear Mudge, Spicy or mild

Dear Mudge,

People think the Northwest is nothing but conifer trees. Around here, we’re covered with temperate trees which have recently shed their billions of leaves. Red and white oak (you recall the post about acorns from last fall), big-leaf maple, birch, elm, alder and others have dropped their coats blanketing the yards, streets and sidewalks. I walk to and from work and have had to wade through such drifts of deciduous dandruff. While suspended, the colors were vivid. But now, mixed with rain and ground to paste on the pavement, they’re as slippery as snot.

I don’t think much about god(s) for the same reason I don’t think about Leprechauns or mermaids. In my earlier decades I used to spend hours on the topic (including Leprechauns and mermaids). Now, I gravitate toward more concrete topics with my one deviation being the contemplation of the heat death of the Universe and the end of everything.

In regards to Mr. Houston’s quoted—quoted quote “When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing. He believes in anything.” I disagree. My analysis has resulted in the opposite conclusion. My research has concluded that, given that the Universe is absurd, there is nothing to *believe* in.

However, people, in general, are programmed to believe. To believe in whatever, take your pick… Belief is a survival tactic. And surviving is Job One.

I’ve chosen to forgo belief (and I’m waffling on survival).

Those words were selected with intent. I’m convinced humanity is pre-programmed. You, me, we are pre-programmed—by DNA. In fact, we ARE the program and DNA is the code.

Why do you and I (and others no doubt), reject all meaning, yet become irritated with others for the stupidest of behaviors or transgressions? Programming. They’re behaving outside our idea of acceptable norms. Why do we create and obey the rules, protect the Commons (pick up dog shit), and generally treat each other without open hostility? Programming. DNA has made us this way.

When we reject our programming, it’s hard. Unless you’re a sociopath (or a psychopath), we are genetically predisposed to conform to certain behaviors. I’m a firm advocate of E.O.Wilson’s The Altruism Gene, else humanity would still be roving in small bands across the African plains, not giving a shit, really, about one another. But we do give a shit. And by doing so, by caring, I think we react to others when they themselves fail to care. We’re programmed to care. Society is built on caring.

Behind my eyebrows you’ll find—a program—that I’m trying to rewrite.

I propose that by rejecting theistic tendencies, you are also rewriting your own program. And, as we’ve explored, we re-programmers are a lonely lot. Most would merrily plug along with DNA choosing their future.

In my personal re-coding efforts, I’ve not performed the exhaustive analysis of the existential options as I believe you have, but, I’ve tried a few. One I’d like to explore now, since thus far I’ve found none that fit me well, is the Epicurean philosophy. We are, after all, still here, so we’re not fully divorced from our programming. And if we’re not going to fully reject DNA’s sway over our lives, we might consider some thought experiment which, if nothing else, provides us momentary happiness.

What are your thoughts on Epicurus and his buddy Titus Lucretius? I know that Seneca both adored and despised Epicurus, but I’m hoping we could dwell on, oh, good drink, fine food (spicy and mild) and mind-bending drugs for a while. (Oh, and for Duke and Phil’s sake, we could discuss SEX, too.)

Epicurus


Dear Mudge, Dog Turds

Dear Mudge,

You find me well if also jaded. The jading, I must admit, is my own fault.

You mentioned the concept of God in your last correspondence. Ha, you don’t start with the small things, do you? Right to the heart of the world with you. Why God, you ask. My personal observation of such a question comes down to two connected concepts: ignorance and power. I think I’ll focus on the first.

Neil deGrasse Tyson presents the best, if rather long video on the topic of God and ignorance.

Essentially, at the edge of our understanding, where ignorance begins, humanity chooses to believe in a fabrication rather than to let the absence of information dwell.

I attribute this grasping at an impossible notion to originate from three separate sources.

  1. Stupidity. You know I drone on about this, but half of the population (nearly four billion people) is cursed (blessed?) with an IQ of less than 100. The concept of “God” is certainly an easy one to adopt, don’t you think? These folk may not be capable of believing in anything but.
  2. Solace. The Absurd Universe it a cold, callous and uncaring thing. A God that listens (we assume), that periodically grants wishes (serendipitously), is everywhere, knows everything (of course!) would be a helluva lot better shoulder to cry on when your parent, child, or (gasp) your dog dies. A meaningless universe less so, no?
  3. Stubbornness. You have the smarts, you’re not suffering, yet still you cling to dubious dogmatic doctrine. These folk, I’d wager, have emotional investment in a deity they just as soon not abandon.

Geeze, listen to me blather on. It’s your own fault you know. Flip on my analysis mode and I’m off to the races.

I mentioned that my own jading being self-inflicted. The above theories on religion are a perfect segue to my listlessness. Were I one of the above mentioned peoples I’d at least have an adopted, if false purpose. Having analyzed my way out from under all such nonsense, however, I’m left with that indifferent universe staring me back in the face. Jaded? Yeah, against my own existence.

But, let’s not get so mired down in such talk. You responded with a set of pastimes that bend your mind away from your own personal void: humor, music, dogs and weed. My own dog, Katie, a dedicated Labrador, gone these last six years, and I were a team. The one topic I feel compelled to discus is feces. I taught Katie to “party large” before we went beyond our yard, walking the ‘hood.

Rather than say “go pee” I opted for a humorous “party”, to which she’d oblige me. Party large came later, but no less successful.

In a society where dogs must be walked and shit shoveled, else crap coat the soles of shoes everywhere, what of the tragedy of the commons? That is, even those of us emptied of meaning, sucked dry by the absurd universe, still find ourselves adhering to society’s rules. Why?

It’s finally getting cold and weathery up here in the Northwest. October was a banner month of cold nights and sunny days, perfect for walking (albeit dogless).

Your friend,
‘Mole

BlueLeash


Dear Mole, A Potato Has No Inertia

gene couch

Dear Mole,

Your missive finds me well, albeit chronically jaded.

The word jaded makes me think of mopey teenagers, but to my knowledge, there isn’t another word in the English language that more closely aligns with my current state of utter contempt for the vast majority of concerns most people consider vitally important.  Don’t even get me started on “passions”.

I share your enjoyment of good licorice, excepting those nasty, vaguely licorice-flavored, syrupy liqueurs that the Italians seem to enjoy so much.  I’m of half-Italian descent, so back in the day, if the only spirits available were Sambuca or Anisette, I’d drink it begrudgingly, enjoying the alcohol half and barely able to stomach the essence of Good N Plenty half.

It’s funny you should ask whether there are any simple pleasures that I employ to counter my debilitating ennui, because just this morning, I thought to myself: “Would life be worth living without humor, music, dogs and marijuana?”  This rhetorical question didn’t pose much of a conundrum, of course, since my answer was a resounding “No!”  Nowadays, I almost exclusively enjoy passive pursuits.  I can watch TV, listen to music and laugh at idiots without expending one iota of precious energy.  If it weren’t for the dog and his curious desire to get out for a good run every now and again, my muscles would probably have atrophied months ago.  Though I’ll only be turning 50 next year, I already feel exhausted and done with most of life’s pursuits.  Romance?  I suppose I had a good run, but those days are over.  I’m just too tired and antisocial and not particularly libidinal.   Writing?  I think I blew my wad on that pursuit – when you complete something as monumental as Notes From The Avalon, there’s really nowhere else to go from there.  But all kidding aside, my passion for the careful arrangement of words was never about the writing, but the topics about which I wanted to express myself.  There are no such topics left.  Philosophy, religion, politics, psychology and sociology no longer hold any fascination for me.  They are just fancy words for homo sapiens’ ludicrous and futile attempts to convince itself of its invented significance.  So what’s left?

Besides the aforementioned pleasurable time-wasters, there’s observation.  I still find being a passionless, impersonal spectator of humanity’s cornucopia of absurdity to be an outstanding way to pass an afternoon.  The Human Zoo.

Since I’d bet dollars to donuts that you are also an avid observer of human foibles, I’d be interested to get your thoughts about one of the most ludicrous notions mankind has yet concocted: the notion of God, with a capital G.  A personal, emotional, jealous, capricious supernatural entity responsible for the creation of all that is.  What could have given us such an idea when there is literally not one scintilla of evidence?  And is this related to our desire to pay undue fealty and adoration to human authoritarians?  Nothing is quite as odious to me as a power trip, no matter the motivation, but I seem to be a rarity among my kind for feeling thusly.  Why do people feel compelled to elevate others to positions of extreme power and authority and then clamor to publicly display their sycophantic feelings?  To me, this is the equivalent of enjoying the application of a jalapeno enema.  I know you have a pretty good grasp of the human psyche, so I hope you can shed some light on this question.

Cheers,

‘Mudge


Dear Mudge, Black Licorice

Dear Mudge,

I love black licorice. That weird multi-colored bridge-mix. Australian soft. Whips, dips, spirals and the archaic but cherished Good n’ Plenty.GoodnPlenty

One of the reasons that I enjoy this candy so much is that, for a moment, when I eat licorice I forget about how absurd and pointless the universe is. The flavor is ancient. Anise, fennel, and even the licorice root itself (which is actually bad for your heart), provides that distinct flavor and odor. I’m sure it’s been in use for millennia.

But even a mouthful of candy-coated black-colored unctuousness cannot compensate for the feeling of falling into the void of futility that gapes like a hungry maw. A mouth that hangs open for every diverting thought I send its way—The Universe is Absurd it whispers.

What simple pleasures do you find that ease this sense of emptiness?

Your friend,
‘Mole