The Quran Drugs

The Quran Drugs

In his upcoming book More Than Allegory: On Religious Myth, Truth and Belief, Bernardo Kastrup continues his fascinating exploration into the depths of the human mind and nature of our existence. His newest work focuses on the importance of religion in creating and weaving together the symbolic narratives of existence into the fabric of our reality. The book will most likely be shunned by the narrow-minded community of atheist intellectuals and adherents of philosophical materialism who so desperately attack religion in the construction and defense of their own worldviews, yet who would benefit most from its ideas. These types are prone to the same thinking as religious fundamentalists, which is that of literal interpretation of the ideas, rituals and texts of the worlds various religions. A tendency to focus so much on explicit religious messages that one tends to lose sight of their implicit ones seemingly renders religion meaningless. But when we focus on the implicit messages in both specific religions and religiosity in general, we find a treasure of symbolic, archetypal and allegorical knowledge. Bernardo lays forth an argument that reconnecting with the more meaningful implicit messages in religion can save us not only from the insanity of religious fundamentalism, but from the follies of new dogmas like materialism.

While I remain a great fan of Bernardo’s work, his academic style and lack of color and humor represent a different path to knowledge than I have chosen, which is the shamanic route. While he elects to understand those old religious narratives in a purely intellectual way, I am more prone to creating my own, or turning the old on their head through satire, absurdist-deconstruction and dadaist recombination.

When the phrase The Quran Drugs came to mind, a play on The War On Drugs, I decided to follow this silliness down the rabbit hole of creative writing and see where it would lead. I ultimately decided that the best way to do that would be to explore the ideas, verses and parables through the Quran, yet replacing certain words and concepts with those you would more likely hear from lotus eaters than suicide bombers.

The first one is from the parable known as The Light of Allah, and in it I replace Allah with Cosmic Mind and Light with Consciousness and then adjust the rest of the language and syntax accordingly, while keeping the logic and linguistic structure intact. What at first looked like a boring old religious text suddenly took on the shape and feel of a late night toke session in a dorm room.

“The Cosmic Mind is the consciousness of the heavens and the earth. The parable of the Cosmic Mind’s consciousness is as if it were a nothingness containing a thought; the thought is in mind, the mind like the sum of all knowledge: imagined by a blessed being – a body that is neither of existence or non-existence, the ideas whereof would well-nigh give consciousness even though thought had not touched it: consciousness within consciousness! The Cosmic Mind guides unto it’s consciousness they that will it; and thus the Cosmic Mind propounds parables unto humankind, since the Cosmic Mind has full knowledge of all things.”

The next parable, The Spider’s Web, describes the sort of anarchism understood by those whose explorations in ego death have brought about the knowledge of the total uncertainty of all things, and the folly of battling that uncertainty through systems of governance. At least it does when I replace the concept Allah with Self, and Idols with Government.

The likeness of those who choose rulers besides the Self , namely government from which they hope to profit, is as the likeness of the spider that makes it’s net it’s nest. And truly the frailest, the weakest, of homes is the home of the spider – for it neither protects it from heat nor cold – likewise, governments cannot benefit those who are caught in them – if they only knew this, they would not get caught in them.

Materialism, physicalism and naturalism are similar ideas. They are all metaphysical propositions stating that our reality is an emergent property of objects or things within a primal physical universe. In the Parable of the Mosquito, we don’t have to do too much bending, since the original meaning will be similar to our remix. I replace Allah with Universal Consciousness and Gnat with Laws of Nature As anyone who has undergone the little death of the self in the psychedelic process can tell you, the apparent universe is not the universe itself, but a virtual narrative of the experiences of the universe and those within it.

Surely the universal consciousness is not ashamed to set forth any parable- neither the laws of nature or any thing above them; then as for those who have tuned in, they know that it is the truth from the universal consciousness, and as for those who are square, they say: What is it that the universal consciousness means by this parable of natures laws: universe causes many to err by it and many consciousnesses are led aright by it! but the universal consciousness does not cause to err by it except by the literalism of the unawakened.

I could continue this exercise indefinitely. I could take any sacred text from any place or time in history and, by skewing a few concepts here and there, use their forms to express knowledge that would be palatable by even the greatest critics of those religions and their supporting texts. That is, if they could keep an open mind long enough to comprehend the artistry of such things. Those who outright reject religious teachings are guilty of the sin of anti-intellectualism. The only things we cannot learn from are those we have decided not to. Religions and their beliefs and parables and holy books are all goldmines of allegorical information. They are full of immense truths that are potentially meaningful to people of any belief system who are willing to go beyond the surface and find the poetry of truth that lies beneath.

While many social critics take every possible opportunity to lash out against religion, they fail to understand that their reactionary response differs little from those religious extremists and radical fundamentalists. Both groups want their truths served up in easy to swallow, bite-sized pieces. Both want to reduce everything to black-and-white absolutes in order to protect themselves from the uncertainty of our existence, a task which is foolish and impossible. Absolutism is the false-sense-of-security-blanket that fools swaddle themselves in to protect themselves from the imaginary monsters in their closets.

Religion is not the problem, authoritarianism is. Authoritarianism is the institutionalization of absolutes. No human tragedy seemingly born of religion has occurred outside the auspices of authority. The ideas of religion are only harmless when they are co-opted by authoritarians for maligned purposes. Discarding all human religious notions is not just throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Besides doing that, it discards the bathtub, and leaves us without an important vessel for cleansing ourselves in the healing waters of allegorical truth. Those who believe that the only meaningful truths are the literal ones are like existential whores who have forsaken bathing for a sickly overabundance of perfumes. When death removes the clothing of the ego and spreads the folds concealing our most intimate parts, eternity can smell right through us.

The Malcontents Manifesto

The Malcontents Manifesto

Back in 2004 I wrote a pamphlet entitled The Malcontents Manifesto. It was a sort of unified theory of all of the ideas I was attached to at the time. It is a quasi-religious tract that sits somewhere between the Principia Discordia and the Unabombers Manifesto. It is a rough synthesis of absurdist philosophy, panentheism and anarchism. Many of the ideas contained therein I have since abandoned. Some I have abandoned and then later recaptured. Most notable is that since this writing I have gone from a sort of leftist primitivist anarchism, filtered through libertarianism, and eventually landed in the camp of Anarcho-Futurism, where I sit today.

This tract was written and compiled before I was very internet savvy. Instead I chose to use the old school DIY zine format to get my message out there. I printed the scripts and then pasted them to patterned paper. I then went and got them printed from these ‘plates’ and distributed them to anyone I could get to take them. Since I was the owner/operator of a local headshop, it was not difficult to find folks to pass them off to. Hundreds of copies are now floating around out there somewhere and one was even archived at the University of Iowa Special Collections.

I reprint this here at Advanced Ape in the interest of highlighting the evolution that has occurred in both my ideas and my writing. I submit them for review by those who might possibly enjoy seeing a major part of the path I have taken to get where I am today as a thinker and writer. Parts of it are terribly embarrassing, while others still incite and inspire me. I have done my best not to change it, except a few minor tweaks to fix absolutely unreadable bits, which I could count on one hand. I have also provided photographs of the original plates that I used to print the original zine version. Whether it brings you laugh-out-loud revulsion or inspiration, I hope you enjoy this little peak into my mind over a dozen years ago. I can only imagine how I will feel a dozen years from now reading the things I wrote recently!

Page 1 (Cover)

mal1The Malcontents Manifesto

A Book of Discontent

as revealed to Joshua Scott Hotchkin

Philosophy, politics, religion…
Nothing is safe when The Malcontent gets his say.
A guide to freethinking.
If you think that everything is okay, reading this might be dangerous to your false sense of comfort and security.



Page 2 (Front inner-sleeve)

mal2What you are about to read is utter nonsense, but that’s no reason not to read it. In fact it’s precisely why you must read it. If you think that the answers to the questions regarding existence can be summed up in nice shiny logical statements, then you may never get the punchline. It’s a fool who chooses his logic to the sound of his own laughter. The reason I have went through all of the effort to produce this is not for your (the reader’s) benefit. It is simply the case that I must purge myself of all this excess nonsense so That I may move on to newer more exciting games of nonsense. Maybe, if you are anything like me, you will find something in this nonsense to ease your own discontent. Or maybe it will just give you the courage to think and say some crazy shit outwardly like I have here. Actually, none of the ideas contained within are very radical, nor are they original. You will find similarities to many religions and philosophies here. Hoever instead of a model of existence relying on esoteric superstitions or cold in human logic, I have used discontent to ‘solve the problem of the question of existence. Whatever that means. Everywhere you look there is discontent. The neighbors dog barks endlessly at nothing. You cannot ever eat, drink, sleep, intoxicate of fornicate enough to fulfill all of your pointless urges. And change is the only constant. Well, its become increasingly clear to me that discontent was responsible for all of this. Perhaps I am just a malcontent, projecting my own inner struggles on the whole. Either way, I feel a whole lot better knowing what I now think I know.


Page 3

mal3Book of Precepts

  1. There is no false, this is the only truth.
  2. There are no duality’s, only paradoxes.
  3. A paradox proves absolutely nothing
  4. A paradox disproves absolutely nothing.
  5. Paradox is responsible for hypocrisy, but hypocrites are not responsible for paradoxes. Therefore all are alas free from hypocrisy and free to explore new ideas without any inner-turmoil about contrary speaking.
  6. There can be no individual progress among individuals under the delusion that they are perfectly content to begin with. If you don’t know you are discontent, START PAYING ATTENTION.
  7. I agree that nonsense makes perfect sense and that I am the Dungherder. I can put my foot right in the pile and get my slice-o-the-pie.


Page 4

mal4The Cosmology of Discontent
Or “How we got into this whole mess.”

  1. In the beginning there was nothing but the one mind, and the one mind was without form or identity.
  2. The one mind was composed of every aspect of the universe.
  3. The one mind was unchanging for many eternities.
  4. At some point the one mind began to be overcome by a single aspect- Discontent.
  5. Eventually the one mind, overcome by Discontent, shattered into individual aspects.
  6. In order to maintain their individuality the aspects created the illusion of the physical universe.
  7. The physical universe contains all of the aspects of the one mind, but the individual aspects do not contain the one mind.
  8. Because the one mind was overcome by Discontent each aspect in the physical universe contains within it the seeds of Discontent.
  9. It shall come to pass that someday Discontent shall overcome all of the physical aspects and they shall collapse once more to a state of one mind.
  10. And so I have observed the nature of existence and non-existence to be not only cyclical, but paradoxically simultaneous, resulting in the absence of great meaning or ultimate truth…therefore I am.


Page 5

mal5The Parable of the Pancakes

Two wise men did come to dine within a Village Inn

The den of antiquity and patriot of pancakes

Upon finishing their meals the first wise man was gazing upon the second

Who was busying himself with an act of tidyness

The first wise man saw that the second wise man

Was dipping his napkin in butter

And using it as though it were a cleaning solution

Upon discovering the success of the solution

The second wise man did cryeth out – “Eureka!”

“The butter cleans up the syrup.”

Hearing this, the two wise men were enlightened

Pages 6, 7 & 8

An Anarchist’s Manifesto
Since we are trapped in the illusion of a physical universe and therefore subject to all of its complexities, I think we should be free to discover and explore our own complexities without being subjected to one another in any manner which limits this freedom.

  1. Human beings are individuals. As individuals we have varying interests and drives and different attitudes about our relationship to others. Some people are born with a very strong drive to seek out and win power struggles. Some people do not often feel the need to play games of order, or seek dominion over others. While some incidents during early childhood probably have much to do with the power drive of an individual, it is clear to this author that there always has been and always will be those who adopt the role of powerful, regardless of any advances in parenting that brain-pickers may invent.
  2. Thousands of years ago the powerful and the common had a balance in which the powerful were allowed to exercise their power in a manner that didn’t detract from the commoner having control over their own lives. But the powerful were driven to as much power as they were allowed. Then at some point the common people committed atrocious acts of chicken-shitterly cowardice and began giving up portions of their own lives to the powerful. And inch was given and many light years since have been taken.
  3. The powerful, in ancient times, declared themselves spiritual masters. They claimed to be the key to esoteric mysteries and divinities that the common were not in touch with. These divinities, it turned out, were higher beings who created us for the purpose of obedience and worship. These deities were useful inventions by which the powerful introduced the master and dog concept. With the powerful as intermediaries between master and dogs, they gained a status not granted to common man. And using fear the powerful were able to subject the common man to his own fancy. (This author believes that games of power and status are mostly male orientated/invented traits.)
  4. Now that the powerful have franchised the common person to positions of obedience through fear and insecurity (Alas, the Gods had not made us equal, an idea very useful for exploiting privilege.) they were ready to expand upon their domination. So they created geographic boundaries over which they appointed themselves leaders and created and enforced policies to keep others out so that nobody sane could come in and ruin the whole gig. And thus have we brought upon ourselves the stench of religion, government and property which rob us of freedom and autonomy and set the stage for war, greed, prejudice and hatred.
  5. For the next several thousand years the powerful refined their control. ‘Dark ages’ are interrupted by brief periods of ‘enlightenment’, but its never quite enough to dismantle the masters. And then along comes the industrial/technological revolution. Where the planet was once able to only support a few thousand scattered humans, we now had the resources for several billion. And the masters encouraged us to create these new human beings in larger numbers than ever before so that our hands would be tied with parenthood for most of our lives and we would hardly notice anything else going on. And certainly large populations justified the new system of human survival. -Wow, can this snake really swallow its tail!- Moreover, the more people, the larger the bureaucracy, and therefore the larger the gulf between the people and their masters. A chasm so wide they made it almost impossible, from their positions above us in their system, to dismantle.
  6. As technologies increased and populations sky-rocketed, the community lost its purpose.They now acted merely as property lines and served very little function in creating a social framework from which humans could connect. We grew further and further apart, yet more and more suspicious of one another. Since we had lost almost all of the control over our own lives, we began exercising power in a cowardly fashion by sicking the system on one another to get revenge for the frustration we felt as a result of the system itself.
  7. Fistfights became intolerable and wars fashionable. The ability of individuals to exercise their power, or even act on their own whims, became unthinkable. We have created physical and mental barriers that force us to deny our own truest desires. We have even suppressed the suppression of these desires. It is more acceptable to ignore one another than show love for one another, which is more frowned upon than flipping one another the bird in traffic. We deny our own animal nature and abide by rules that are unnatural to the conditions our species evolved in. We have even begun acting in a manner which is contrary to our own long-term survival.
  8. Some of us have the malignant feeling that things aren’t right. We are aware that our lives are not brand names to be bought and sold. We have discovered that our purpose is not blind obedience to ideas larger than us, but to search out and find what makes us happy. We wish a place to live our lives in regard to our own truest ideas about happiness and fulfillment without notions of success or achievement created by others for their own selfish purposes. We wish to seek our own shelter and food, our own survival. We will not stand in line for handouts from hands that fasten our shackles.
  9. We are taught all of our lives that it is no practical for us to feel this way. That we must accept the world as it is and conform to it. That we should lie down and take our beatings, for it is much easier than a struggle. We are told that we are weak and we cannot make difference, even in our own lives. We are taught that we are stuck. Those who abandon this loss of hope are are feared and despised by those who do actually feel weak and stuck. We are also hated by those who stand to gain from this infighting at the bottom of the power chain, for they know that we can overcome them.
  10. They know they are powerless to control us without our own permission. We give our permission whenever we go to work at a job that does not provide personal satisfaction, whenever we pay our taxes, whenever we are silent, whenever we follow rules compulsively, even though we see no value in them, and certainly whenever we go and vote for the masters. It is unfortunate that we have come to accept the masters to such a degree that we actually take an active part in pretending to select them. And we wonder why we are a bubbling cauldron of frustration and insecurity whose lives seem dull, meaningless and over-before-we-know-it. But it is not the masters who are the enemy. As we stated before, the powerful are just acting on their own natural impulses. The masters have also become enslaved to this system. Do you think the president would rather be talking with soldiers in a foreign land than at home making love to his wife? Do you suppose CEO’s would rather be making pointless decisions in a tall building rather than lying in the sand on the beach any more than the garbage man would rather be collecting trash rather than playing with his own children? Hell no! Now think again on it long and hard. Are you free? Truly free to do whatever you wish so long as no others are harmed and you are prepared to accept the consequences? Or do you define your freedom as the ability to choose from a set of preordained choices set before you? Is that what freedom means to you?

I do not wish to end this by telling you what you should do or how you should live your life. I just want you to know that you still have a choice to live the life you have carved out for yourself and abandon the life that was prepackaged and marketed to you.


Page 9

mal9Discontent As Salvation

If you are like most people you probably have a preconceived notion that Discontent is ‘bad’, that it is undesirable and that its opposite is the penultimate achievement of an individual. It is of no surprise, as we were all similarly brainwashed through the oversocialization that is rampant in our modern society. Those who would fool themselves with the idea of having reached contentment are so far removed from their truest desires that their lives are being lived for popular notions rather than for happiness, which is not to be confused with contentment. Happiness is reaching the top of the roller coaster and enjoying it despite the fear of the upcoming plunge. Contentment is watching others ride from the sidelines and not really feeling anything because you were too meek and afraid to be willingly and joyfully alive through the act of consciously facing your own fear.

In fact, not only is contentment the greatest betrayal of human complexity and desire, but those who believe they are content are the greatest enemy of happiness because through their consent to ideas larger than themselves they have weakened the position of those displaying the true human nature- The Malcontents.

Engage in warfare with contentment everyday. Either through direct action or by simply engaging in activities that which you would formerly not have because something besides your own true desire told you not to. I do not suggest you go out and hurt anyone. As a matter of fact you can start by alternately hurling compliments and insults randomly at strangers. Play in a mud puddle like a child. Go to work naked. Better yet, don’t go to work at all. Take the day off and instead spend it nakedly ranting at strangers from a mud puddle! In conclusion and in accord with the dissolution of duality’s, contentment is not ‘bad’ or undesirable. It is simply not the best, and certainly not the only path for achieving freedom, autonomy and happiness. Comfort and security are a piss poor consolation prize for the denial of your true nature.

Page 10

Those who worship the past are doomed to repeat it

mal10How many times have you heard someone argue the impossibility of of a better tomorrow using the past as their proof? How often has it been argued that we need our masters to protect us from ourselves, and then justified the observation by pointing to the folly of humans of the past? Does an undesirable yesterday really prove that tomorrow will be just as hopeless? History as we know it is an account of only those who have won power struggles, thus it hardly serves as an objective signifier for what we could achieve if we so desired. Those who write history have much to gain by defrauding you into believing that things have gotten as good as they are gonna get. Those who worship history are forever stuck in their ruts. They can see no way to get out of this mess. But we are not stuck in the past. Tomorrow can be better than every yesterday that came before. Humanity is not doomed to repeat the errors of its past unless we actively decide it to be so. The old adage ‘Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it,’ is useless in that it teaches that we should learn primarily from our mistakes instead of our successes.

Tomorrow will be whatever you make it. The decisions you make to get there need not be haunted by the ghost of human folly. Tomorrow can be the place of your dreams and fantasies if you use your imagination. Pragmatists need not apply.

The future is unwritten…

Page 11 (Rear Inner-Sleeve)

mal11The following is a list of books, authors, organizations and other sources of guerrilla information that I find insightful and helpful in dissolving useless mental polarities. Check them out at your library, bookstore and in most cases online.
The Principia Discordia
The Church of the SubGenius
Robert Anton Wilson
The Unabombers Manifesto

The Malcontents Manifesto is not a substitute for freethinking. Its ideas are not to be worshiped or held accountable. The ultimate goal is to encourage individuals to think and live for themselves rather than blindly adhering to the strictures of popular culture with its systematic dogma and inconsideration for individualism.
Please copy and pass this along to your friends accompanied by your very own manifesto.

To contact the author send e-mails to
Please use the subject title ‘Discontent’ so that I do not mistake, and therefore erase, your email as spam.


Page 12 (Rear Cover)

mal12The Malcontents Manifesto
In which everything is explained, yet nothing is learned.

I blink, therefore I am.

In the vacuum of space subatomic particles blink in and out of existence. From nothing and back in barely enough time for the most precise scientific instruments to record their passing. Wait, did I say from nothing? How can that be? Can something come from nothing?

Of course you can’t get something out of nothing, but it happens all of the time. The universe is a lot more complex than the tiny brains we use to observe it with, so don’t worry about any of the mechanics. I have gathered all of the facts and they are not only contradictory to one another, but completely irrelevant to how I choose to think, feel and act most of the time.

Thus \, I recommend using facts only when they are beneficial in helping you attain you truest desires, and not for the tiresome practice of compulsively trying to make your point to others. This human folly of making and accepting blanket statement has caused enough needless confusion, hatred and suffering among us.

From nothing we come, to nothing we shall return.
Everything else is in between.



To the World, I Died Long Ago, But Today I Say Goodbye (With Audio Version)

i died long ago

Childhood is a cruelty nobody should have to bear in these short lives we live. Mine was worse than most. Things were bad, I mean REALLY bad. I just wanted to hide, to escape. But wherever I went the adults found me and the cruelty continued. When I realized I could not get away I tried to become somebody who just didn’t care. I built a new me, one who could deal with all of the things that I could not. The new me kept me safe. I gave up more and more of myself all of the time just to feel that comfort and security, even if it was a lie. Before long I gave up so much of myself that I began to disappear into the new me. One day I found that I no longer existed. I was just a spider caught in its own cobweb in the corner of the new me’s mind.

I mostly forgot that I existed. But whenever new me, which I will call Hector, got scared or encountered an extreme situation or feeling, I would find myself rising back up to the surface. Hector developed some bad habits as an adult. The methamphetamines he took gave me a glimpse of the outer world that he lived in. I became desperate to look outside again. When Hector would try to clean himself up I would whisper to him from the corner of his own mind, urging him to get high. When he would stay awake for days he became so weak that I was able to take over our body for brief moments. During those times I began to want to come back, to take over and be in full control of us again. But Hector, as always, was stronger. He beat the drugs and in the process pushed me back into my little darkened corner, where I became trapped like a prisoner of the mind. Even worse, he never knew he was doing it, or noticed that I still existed.

In fact, Hector became stronger than ever. After a period of incarceration for the weaknesses I took advantage of, he was back in full control. His new resolve gave him the strength to fight against oppression, a state our memories would not tolerate in his world. He became an activist. In fighting the demons of the world, he became stronger than I could ever hope to break through. And then one day almost a month ago, something changed.

There was another activist, a man named Alex Walsh, who lived not a few hours drive from here. He had been making some bizarre claims online about a conspiracy to discredit and kill him. Nobody took him too seriously, until one day he showed up dead. He had shot himself, and set his house on fire, or at least that is what the authorities and mainstream media said happened. But to Hector, this was more than just coincidence. Alex had been killed by those whom he had warned everybody who would listen, were trying to kill him. Whether Alex was the victim of a conspiracy or a desperate suicide, I will never know. Yet Hector’s certainty triggered a paranoia the likes of which I had never seen him experience. His fears became so profound that for the first time in years, I was able to rise back up out of my corner. Within a few days of his uncontrollable fear, the very thing I had created him to be immune to, he became weak. And that is when I started wrestling away more control.

Hector’s greatest weakness is that he had been created solely to deny fear, not accept or face it. When he found a thing to fear that he thought he could not deny, it wasn’t hard to help push him further in that direction. The more afraid he was, the more control I gained over our body. Soon I was taking it over for long stretches, mostly when he thought he was sleeping. I was not satisfied with having control of our body in that tired state he surrendered it to me in. So one night when he thought he was sleeping, I scored some methamphetamines so that I could feel awake and alert when our body was all mine. As the paranoia over Alex’s death mixed with the meth and lack of sleep, the people closest to Hector suspected our drug usage, though he was unaware it was happening. Even while feeling the effects, he could not admit their influence, because he was certain he had not used them. Once I lost control before I could hide my drugs and he found them in our backpack. I thought that would be the beginning of the end of me, but his paranoia convinced him that the drugs had been planted.

This was the point that he became certain that someone or someones were out to get him. His cautious paranoia became a certainty. The lost time he was experiencing when I took over created situations that he could not explain, and so slowly, he began constructing narratives to accommodate them. I watched these narratives unfold and tried to figure out a way that I could exploit them to gain total control of our body after all of these years.

One day we were standing in a parking lot and I was able to force myself to the surface. I remained there just long enough for the scene to change before he came back. What stood out in his mind were the extra cars in the lot and the increased traffic. He began to fixate on cars and I took advantage of this. From within I pushed him to find connections. When I gained control at home, usually when he thought he was sleeping, I began to fill our mind full of conspiracy theories from the internet. Slowly they began seeping through the thin partition between us and he was compelled to find this information ‘on his own’. I did everything I could to reinforce these theories, in hopes that I could vanquish him and have us all back to myself. When I saw that a local group of Satanists were attempting to hijack a city council meeting for some bizarre social experiment, I seized onto an idea. It didn’t take long before he caught a glimpse of the news, but from within I distorted it and made it seem far more sinister. It did the trick. He was now convinced, thanks to the ideas that I had been planting, that a gang of Satanists were stalking him for some ultimate maligned purpose.

What happened next surprised even me. When he began to publicly reveal his delusions, he was encouraged by others sharing similar paranoid ideologies. His certainty blossomed faster than I could have imagined or hoped. It was no longer necessary for me to feed him the fear from within, as he was now so ingrained in his narrative that he was immune to reason. Those who tried to talk him down became ‘conspirators’ themselves and everything that happened became some kind of verification for his complex web of paranoia.

One night he contacted a pair of fairly well known activist to listen to his tale. He spent hours telling his story through fever pitched anxiety, and they seemed to be listening, maybe even believing him, or so he thought. After his tale one of them tried to convince him to get help dealing with the anxiety and stress this was causing him. From within, I could see the lie. He was trying to trick Hector into discovering his delusions. He was trying to manipulate him through false support into going to those who might be able to vanquish the delusions that would be my victory. I felt Hector pulling away, giving into some doubt, and considering the advice. I screamed from within, “He is one of them! He is trying to get you to give up, to fail, to die!” When that worked, I knew I would soon have control again after all of these years.

I did learn something from that experience, though. I learned that he believed he ‘knew’ how he would die. Hector thought that he would either be killed by a speeding car that made it look like an accident, or that he would be gunned down by police trying to capture him on behalf of the worldwide Satanist organization that was out to get him. I took every chance I could to reinforce these beliefs. The more I pushed them, the weaker he got, and the closer I got to taking over. But pushing his buttons constantly was bleeding into my own mental state, so I tried being more subtle and letting the crazy colleagues he had acquired reaffirm his fears, while he traveled down a rabbit hole of information that did the same.

Unexpectedly, as he became less frantic and more stoically certain, I was better able to take control at will. Fear had gone as far as it was able to take me, until I was able to deliver the final crushing blow. And so I also became more relaxed. I spent the time I had controlling our body leaving puzzle pieces for the final picture, but also trying to enjoy the life I would soon have all to myself once again. As I struggled to find that joy, I came up continuously empty handed. So far had I been removed from the pleasures of life in all of those years of isolation, that I didn’t even know where to find joy, and I was not sure I would recognize it if I did.

There was some comfort in the cartoons I had watched as a child, before I created Hector, as they had been my original escape. But soon even those became empty. At first I had enjoyed the meth I was secretly feeding our body, but in short order that too became a nowhere place. The family that was once mine were now distant strangers. They were his family. The pleasures I had peeked at from the corner of our mind were also his, and they brought me no comfort, no joy, nothing. The closer I got to having my life back, the less I wanted it.

When I thought of all the things that made me want my life back they were his things. They were his experiences and accomplishments and joys. I had mistaken the envy I experienced from the corner of our mind as desire. Yet once I was free to act on my own desires, I found that I had none. I had no meaning and no purpose. I had died long ago. I was a memory that refused to quit. A ghost in Hector’s consciousness.

I began to step back, to relinquish control. I retreated back to that corner in the hopes that I could feed from the experiences of his life again. But it was too late. I had ruined his life. I had pushed him so far away from his own sanity that he was just as broken as I was when I created him in the first place. So here we were, two people in one mind and one body, neither able to appreciate it. The momentum was too great. His paranoid certainty had closed every loop and became an airtight narrative outlining his own eventual demise. And the only thing worse than the outcome I had helped conjure up in his imagination, dying at the hands of the illusory forces he was certain were out to get him, was for both of us to endure these fears for days, weeks, months and years to come.

This life, that I have not even been living for a very long time, is now too much to bear. For either of us. Hector will not end it, he cannot, I made sure of that. It is up to me to free us both from this hell. I will not destroy his delusions before I end it all. They are all he has left. He will die with the courage and dignity that I have never had in life, to fight with all of his might, even though the forces he battles are all make believe. I leave this letter for his family and his friends. I have nobody. I am nobody. May you remember him kindly. May you remember him as he was before his fear gave me the chance to ruin everything. The man you have encountered recently is not the one you have known for all those years. He is a mockery of that man, a ruination built on the foundations of my weaknesses and my lies and my fears.

To the world, I died long ago, but today I say goodbye. If the car that I step in front of doesn’t kill us, then the cops who try to drag us into the loony bin afterwards will. I will be certain of that, that they do their part, not as though its hard to do these days. By the time you find this, it will be too late. Blame me if you will. Hate me. But please, do not blame Hector for what I have recently done, and what I am about to do.

Researchers Resoundingly Refute Claim That The Groove Is In The Heart

groove is in the heart

Doctor Lady Miss Keer of the Deee-Lite Institute shocked the world over two decades ago with her maverick claim that the groove is in the heart. But recently teams working at the University of Ohiowa and the Branch Floridians in Miami have called the scientific diva’s claim into question with new findings.

The two groups co-published a peer-reviewed paper recently entitled Groove Displacement Patterns Suggest Non-Cardio Location. In it they compile data taken from years of research and numerous studies that illustrate a cranial genesis of The Groove.

Dr. Funkdumper of the Branch Floridians states, “All we know so far is that The Groove is all in the head. Always has been, always will be. This heart business has slowed down Groove Research for almost thirty years. We are excited to be opening new doors in the field, and expect major Groove advances to follow in the coming years.”

Diggy Bassroll, a research assistant at the University of Ohiowa told us, “We definitely know The Groove is not in the heart, but somewhere in the head. What we do not know is exactly where in the head The Groove emanates from. However many of us strongly suspect that it is excreted from the pineal gland.”

The news of the discovery paralleled the announcement that gravitational waves had been detected, and so news of The Groove was overlooked in the media, who were busy publishing initial observations that had not yet been replicated or peer-reviewed. Funkdumper lamented, “What we have here is genuine science, validated by the agreed upon forms of the scientific method. It breaks my heart that we are getting the media equivalent of sloppy seconds and being out shined by those premature reports, but now at least I know I won’t lose The Groove with it.”

When TeenTV caught up with Doctor Lady Miss Kier and asked her about the new claims she responded with a dance number that, while explaining absolutely nothing, did much to assure her followers that The Groove was indeed still in the heart. A fan told TeenTV that, “The Groove is obviously in the heart and not in the brain. Those claims are insane, insane in the membrane.”

Q-Tip, who performed the rap section of the song, says that he never fully even believed in The Groove, and so could care less about where it was or was not. “This is some stupid ass shit. Don’t ever call me again,” said the Agroovenostic collaborator.

When asked what he thought of the new studies, Supa DJ Dmitri shrugged it off with this statement- “It does not matter where The Groove is or where it comes from. It does not even matter if you believe in The Groove. So long as I get monthly royalties from that song The Groove is real.”

Towa Tei was unpronounceable for comment.

Neil deGrasse Tyson Employs Same Reasoning As Every Bigot In History

neil degrasse tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson is a household name. His is one of the most well known faces in the western world. He is an icon for those who prefer to get their understanding of science through television and internet memes and pop science tropes. People hold him and his word as final truths on just about any topic he speaks on, regardless of how little he knows about or understands it himself. He is the Jerry Falwell of Telescientism. An infallible demigod for the pious and faithful.

He also happens to be almost entirely full of shit. On a number of occasions he has made disparaging remarks about the discipline of philosophy, claiming that it is meaningless and unnecessary, in no uncertain terms. This is always done with the insinuation that science and empiricism are superior methods opposed to, and competing with, philosophy. So let’s talk about the first area where NdGT has no idea whatsoever what he is talking about.

The history of science clearly illustrates that empirical methodology emerged from philosophy itself. Science is just an extension or branch of philosophy. In fact, pioneers of science such as DaVinci referred to their discipline not as science, but as natural philosophy. Going back even further, it was Greek philosophers who brought to the western world the foundation of reason and logic upon which modern science eventually was formed. So to say that philosophy is in competition with, threatens or is opposed to science is like saying that ice is opposed to the water from which it formed.

In order to make any estimation of the value of science, one has to use the forms laid out by philosophy. The reason that we know the empirical method is meaningful and useful to begin with comes from premises that emerge from philosophical thought. Even further, for NdGT to make any statements about the relation of philosophy and science is itself a philosophical activity. His assertions have no basis in the empirical method whatsoever. They are philosophical statements, albeit, really low quality ones easily dismissed with simple logic. In fact, empiricism itself is unable to demonstrate the validity of empiricism. Therefore the mindless scientism, the idea that only science can provide meaningful answers about nature and reality, spouted by NdGT is self-refuting. Perhaps his real problem with philosophy is just that he is abysmally terrible at it.

Yet the biggest issue with the wonky worldview of NdGT and his followers is that they beat their fists on their pious pulpit dismissing metaphysics wholesale. Metaphysics is the philosophical study of what precedes, or lies below, physical phenomena. According to NdGT and his followers, philosophy and religion and everything besides science is just fluffy crap for scandalous metaphysicians, whose method they feel should be discarded entirely. Again, the irony is almost too much. NdGT does not eve recognize that his own worldview and the ideas he espouses are based on a metaphysical model. To say that nothing caused or is primary to physical phenomena is itself a metaphysical statement. Just a very naive and ignorant one.

The idea that the qualities of all physical phenomena are emergent properties of matter and physical states is the metaphysical position of physicalism, materialism or naturalism. NdGT’s espoused ideologies are all dependent on the superiority of this metaphysical premise. This makes him just as ideologically dangerous as religious figures who make pseudo-scientific claims. Claiming authority over ideas that one fails to understand their own self, while using their public position to spread these misguided dogmas, is exactly everything he claims to be opposed to.

The physicalist position is that a phenomena’s physical properties are the only ones worth considering. Physicalism is the idea that the entire truth of a thing rests solely on it’s measurable physical properties. This is, in fact, the same reasoning employed by every racist, sexist, homophobic and otherwise bigoted belief system ever. The Nazi scientists went to great lengths to attempt to illustrate the superiority of the Aryan descendants based solely on the physical differences between ‘races’. The most backward hillbilly klansmen similarly justify their own superiority via claims that the physical differences between ‘races’ define them. Every backwards thinking, arrogant and dogmatic bigotry in history was predicated upon the same physicalism that underlies NdGT’s entire ideology.

The persistent cultural ideology that this Telescientismist is a beacon and champion of human progress fails to recognize that he contributes almost more than any other living being (Go away, Bill Nye, nobody is talking to you.) to the greatest hurdle to scientific/human discovery and progress in modern times.

Physicalism is the geocentrism of our times. It impedes ideological progress both culturally and scientifically. An emerging paradigm of philosophers and scientists are beginning to reject that notion. These mavericks are pioneering new theories and models that are able to hold up to scientific scrutiny far better than physicalism, while also being more consistent with other methodologies like philosophy and psychology. While the public are still enraptured by the pervasive physicalism that has endured since the dawn of industrialism, the new ideas that lead to even greater human progress are under construction. People like NdGT are dangerous charlatans pinning people to the past and impeding the evolution of human civilization. And while he does so, strutting around with the self-assurance and conceit of a celebrity, he is profiting from and rubbing elbows with people (Koch brothers, FOXtv) whom his followers generally tend to be ideologically opposed to. NdGT stands for something in the public eye that he is not. He is not an anti-establisment champion of reason and progress, he is a spokesman for that establishments ideas and agendas, and a barricade against the reason and progress that would expose them.

It is time to stop putting Neil on a pedestal. He has not earned that position, nor is he using it to lead to the human and scientific progress that the people who put him on it claim to be seeking. It is not just that he is so completely and utterly full of shit, it is that he is a dangerous megalomaniac peddling garbage that reinforces the greatest threats to humanity.

Night of the Care Bears – A Movie Mad Lib In Reverse

night of the care bears

Last March I began a wonderful journey as a contributing author at During that time I have gained innumerable knowledge and skills. However, before that, I was primarily a writer of fiction and short stories. From this new experience I became far more focused on writing about events and ideas directly. Recently I have written several articles of the non-fiction variety that sum up the ideas I have explored in this time. Having completed these theses, I now feel free to explore my fiction writing again. While story ideas often come to me, writing them is a whole different beast. Getting back into fiction shape, as it were, entails me to rediscover that voice through writing experiments.

My first foray back into the format of fiction, Idiocracy Assimilated, inspired me to continue experimenting in writing through Dadaism. However, following that up with another similar mashup seemed too easy. Yet I was not too far from that method when I struck across the idea of reverse Mad Libs. Where that form asked solely that you fill-in the blanks, I thought it might be more rewarding to create the blanks (as well as the rules for filling them in) on my own. But starting from scratch would not have made sense, so I decided to take one of my favorite movies of all time and rewrite the plot synopsis through this Dadaistic reverse Mad Lib idea I had.

My first idea was to break the plot synopsis of The Night of the Living Dead (from Wikipedia) down into its basic concepts. I was able to narrow it down to eight basic concepts. I then considered what cultural trope seemed like the opposite of zombies, which I somehow decided was the Care Bears, and reformed the original concepts with ones more aligned with the Care Bear universe. I came up with the eight concepts and the new ones I would replace them with.

Zombies, Monsters, etc.- Care Bears
Dead, Die, Death, etc- Falls in love
Stabbed, Shot, Attacked, etc. -Tickled
Reanimates, Comes back to life- Makes a friend
Eating- Cuddling
Corpse, Body- Imaginary Friend
Shock, Fear- Laughter
Weapons- Feathers

After that I organized all of the proper nouns and replaced them with new ones, which also seemed to more closely fit the rearranged tale I was trying to tell.

Once I had went through and painstakingly replaced words and concepts with my alternatives, and made them grammatically friendly, I still needed to rearrange some syntax and context to make it all fit together. By the time I was finished I had refleshed a stripped skeleton and created a whole new tale.

For those of you looking to learn, improve, expand or teach creative writing, this is an extraordinary experiment. While you are not tasked with providing a plot at the behest of the experiment, as you delve into the content and consistency of the remix you are writing, you find yourself making changes that drastically reconfigure what you started with. In the process of re-editing the tale, not only did I rewrite it, I wrote a brand new one.

So for all of you teachers and writers out there, I hope you can take something away from this that is useful to you. And to everyone else, I hope you can see that the process of writing is an endless task of experimentation and hard work, and not just some escape from the labors of the real world. And to everybody reading this, those trying to escape their own real world labors, I hope you enjoy the story!


Night of the Care Bears

Baby Doll and Kid Luscious drive to the Forest of Feelings for an annual visit to their father’s grave. This was done at their loving mother’s request. Kid Luscious teases, “They’re coming to tickle you, Baby Doll,” noticing Baby Doll’s discomfort. She is then tickled by a strange colorful cartoon bear. Kid Luscious tries to rescue his sister, but the Care Bear then tickles him into a gravestone; Kid Luscious strikes his head on the stone and fall’s madly in love. Baby Doll flees by car but crashes into a tree. She escapes on foot, with the Care Bears in pursuit, and later arrives at a farmhouse, where she discovers an imaginary friend. She is confronted by strange silly figures, running out of the house, like the colorful cartoon bear in the graveyard. Dr. Nibbles takes her into the house. Dr. Nibbles tickles the Care Bears from the house and seals the doors and windows as Baby Doll slowly descends into laughter.

Dr. Nibbles and Baby Doll are unaware that the farmhouse has a cellar, housing a hilarious married couple, Jib Jab and Floober, along with their daughter Plonk. They sought refuge after a group of Care Bears tickled their car. Sir Hugsinstuff and Lady Kissallover, who are a teenage couple, arrived after hearing an emergency broadcast about a series of brutal ticklings. Plonk has gotten a crush after being tickled by one of the Care Bears. They venture upstairs when Dr. Nibbles turns on a radio, while Baby Doll calms down from her fit of laughter. Jib Jab demands that everyone hide in the cellar, but Dr. Nibbles deems it a “love shack” and continues upstairs, to barricade the house with Sir Hugsinstuff’s help.

Radio reports explain that a wave of mass tickling is sweeping across the eastern United States. Another emergency broadcast on a television Dr. Nibbles finds reports that the Care Bears are making new friends and are cuddling the loving. Experts, scientists, and the United States military fail to discover the cause of mass tickling, love and friendship, though one scientist suspects radioactive contamination from a space probe. It returned from Venus, and exploded in the Earth’s atmosphere just before the radiation was detected.

Dr. Nibbles plans to obtain a safe space for Plonk when the reports listed local rescue centers offering refuge and safety. Dr. Nibbles and Sir Hugsinstuff refuel Dr. Nibbles’s truck while Jib Jab hurls tickles from an upper window at the Care Bears. Lady Kissallover follows him, giggling about Sir Hugsinstuff’s safety, Sir Hugsinstuff accidentally spills feathers on the truck, at the funky chicken coop, tickling it badly. Sir Hugsinstuff and Lady Kissallover try to drive the truck away from the feathers, but Lady Kissallover is unable to free herself from its door, and the truck tickles them, instantly making them fall in love all over again.

Dr. Nibbles returns to the house, but is stone-walled by Jib Jab. He forces friendliness. Dr. Nibbles tickles him, laughing about his silliness, while the Care Bears cuddle with  Sir Hugsinstuff and Lady Kissallover. A news report reveals that, only a tickle to the head can make the Care Bears fall in love, aside from teaching them to love themselves. It also reported that posses of tarred men are patrolling the countryside to restore boredom.

The lights go out moments later, and the Care Bears break through the barricades. Jib Jab grabs Dr. Nibbles’s feather and threatens to tickle him, but Dr. Nibbles tickles him first. Jib Jab stumbles into the cellar and collapses next to Plonk and falls instantly in love with her all over again, while Plonk has herself fallen into love with the colorful cartoon bears. The Care Bears try to pull Floober and Baby Doll through the windows, but Floober frees herself. She returns to the refuge of the cellar where Plonk is being extremely friendly and cuddling Jib Jab’s imaginary friend. Floober is laughing her butt off, and Plonk tickles her into love with a feather. Baby Doll is carried away by the Care Bears and group hugged, seeing Kid Luscious among the Care Bears. The Care Bears then overrun the house. Dr. Nibbles seals himself inside the cellar, where Jib Jab and Floober are making too many friends, and he is forced to tickle them.

Dr. Nibbles is awakened by the posse’s laughter outside the next morning. He ventures upstairs. A member of the posse mistakes him for a Care Bear and tickles him on the forehead. The film ends with a photo montage of Dr. Nibbles as he falls in love and becomes a Care Bear.

If I have piqued your interest, but you do not know where to begin, try using the replacement concepts I provided above the story to rewrite other zombie movie plot synopses, which can be found at Wikipedia or IMDB. And whether you use my basic format to experiment, or come up with new ones of your own, please share your creations with me on my Facebook page. If they are undeniably fabulous, I may even re-post them here at Advanced Ape.

Idiocracy Assimilated: The Borg Collective Gets An Upgrayedd

Idiocracy Assimilated

In 2063 Zephram Cochrane was to have invented the warp drive that would free humanity not only from its cosmic captivity, but from its own petty weaknesses and excesses, by virtue of giving it something better to do. However some Vulcans who were observing Sputnik and ended up stranded on Earth in 1957 dramatically changed the timeline. Unbeknownst to them a human scientist found their ‘hidden’ ship and was able to get enough information about it to pioneer microprocessors nearly fifty years before it would have happened on the earlier timeline.

As a result the internet was unleashed on humanity before it had culturally matured enough to to fully appreciate it’s tremendous power. Human beings began to rapidly adapt according to properties of this new cybernetic environment. Methods of giving and getting approval in that new environment skewed peoples tastes, but even worse, had massive effects on their psychological well being and maturity. The replacing of complex written language with a wildly popular form of reductionist images called ‘memes’ quickly eroded human rhetoric and critical thinking skills. As the new viral images made people increasingly less intelligent, the new psychological kinks also made them believe that their devolving intellects were in fact superior. Through these two factors combined with many other internet culture issues, like passive aggressiveness and constant barely masked insinuations, humanity began dumbing down at an exponential rate.

When a Borg ship from the future visited Earth on its new timeline in 2063, they did not immediately recognize that humanity had devolved, and began the process of assimilation by unleashing nanoprobes into the planets oceans, and thus into the entire worlds water supply. Having not realized the Vulcan visit had changed the timeline so radically, the Borg showed up and assimilated a planet full of idiots.

Having added the technological and biological distinctiveness of the Idiocracy to their own, over time the Collective itself began to become infected by the same viral stupidity that had conquered humanity via the internet. By the end of the 21st century, the Borg had become a hive of dumbasses. Although their collective nature and cybernetic implants kept them from becoming as hopeless and useless as the humans had been when assimilated, the Borg took a turn that would prevent them from realizing perfection, while allowing them to continue to assimilate ever more species into their galactic idiocracy.

The man once known on Earth as Dr. Lexus was now in a giant sphere somewhere in the alpha quadrant looking for new species to assimilate. He was the seventh member added to the interplanetary adjunct of Unimatrix Dicks, though his scroes just called him Seven of Dicks. But usually pretty much every drone in the Borg collective, just shortened it Septdick.

Septdick was scrubbing plasma conduits in Borg Sphere #Pota2-11 when he must have spaced out for a minute. Gone were both his own thoughts and those of the collective. When he came out of his haze he found that he was attempting to assimilate his own leg. At first he began to panic at his predicament. But when he heard the collective, audible again within his own mind, laughing at his zoned-out blunder, he allowed himself to laugh along with them as he retracted his nanoprobe tubules from himself. He looked over at the drone closest to him and said, “I like assimilation.”

The drone, who was known to the Borg as Fart of Twelve and was once a member of species #879 dead-panned back, “I like assimilation, too.”

The two drones did a hopping high-five before a single voice boomed through the mind of the entire collective. It was the Borg queen, Beef Supreme, announcing that they were just about to assimilate a new species. The minds of the hive went silent as Beef Supreme spoke through a drone into a loudspeaker in a far away sphere hovering over a world full of new recruits.

“We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your planet. We will add your biologicalal and technical dickstinkyness to our own. Your cult chore will adapt to service us. Resist us is futile.”

Septdick went back to work on the plasma conduits and watched the assimilation, through the eyes of the drones doing it, in his mind. He felt a slight euphoria as the rush of new individual consciousnesses were added to his own. He spoke again to the nearby drone, “The corrective is pretty badass.”

It answered back, “Yeah, those planet guys are totally butthurt fags.”

Rather than answering back, Seven of Dicks shot Twelve of Farts an image of a famous actor from Earth history making a face of surprised uncertainty that was overlaid with some text about some human disease and sexual practices. Much of the Borg Collective now used such memetic symbols to make associations between phenomena and response. Since assimilating the Idiocracy and becoming infected with its intellectual viruses, the Borg increasingly used memes to communicate to one another. They were simple yet effective tools for providing cohesion of the dumbed-down group mind. If information is reduced to only its implicit message, it is easy to understand and agree upon. The sort of explicit-rich and implicit-blind information sharing that had helped destroy the human beings intelligence just before the Borg showed back up to assimilate them also worked as a great tool for keeping the Borg strong despite the cerebral cancer it was now infected with.

After finishing up the warp coil maintenance, Septdick went to check out the aeroponics bay to see if any of the organic matter he had been attempting to grow was sprouting yet. He hoped to be able to devise a process for assimilating lower life forms, like plants, algae and fungus, so the collective could benefit from their knowledge and experience. But so far nothing has stirred from the seeds he had placed in the dirt. It just didn’t make sense. The soil was nutrient rich and he had all but flooded it with Borgade, which had nanoprobes. And nanoprobes are what organic life needs. Something should have been popping up by now. He took some sensor data and went off to find an open regeneration alcove to process it while his own nanoprobe rich organic matter was recharged through the conduits of technology that supplemented his body.

While he was regenerating he dreamt of the place where only some drones ever visited in their down-cycle. There his scroes and hoes were all free of the collective and were able to interact with one another as the individuals they were before they were assimilated. Unfortunately, most of the other species avoided the human drones who were somehow able to visit there, and seemed to look down on them as inferior. Meanwhile, the humans there thought the other species shit was retarded and that they tended to talk like fags. Yet the humans did not judge them as harshly because, in their view, there were plenty of tards out there living dank lives, so who were they to play Judge Judy and executioner?

Seven of Dicks felt a jostle and was suddenly awake and looking into the face of a rather confused drone who must have bumped into him and interrupted his regeneration cycle. Septdick said, “Go away, ratin’!” and then stepped back into the alcove and that other place.

When he returned the formerly human Borgs had gathered together for a meeting. After everyone was done greeting each other by punching them in the groins, one of the more intelligent particular individuals began giving an impassioned speech.

“I know shit’s fucked up. Everyone’s shit is real emotional right now. But we got this guy, Don’t Know, who is gonna help us figure our shit out.” The speaker then fired a phase pistol, which was set to incinerate, into the ceiling of the building they had gathered. Just before the ceiling collapsed on the dreaming drones, Septdick and the others were pulled from their slumber by an urgent message from Beef Supreme.

“We are experimenting technological difficulties. Please stand by and prepared to be bored.” Suddenly the collective mind was in absolute disorder. Klaxons blared all over the ship as he tapped into the ships sensors to see if he could figure out what was going on. He looked around and it appeared all of the other Borg drones surrounding him were doing the same. A view outside the ship showed another sphere that had somehow triggered its own self-destruct sequence. As it blew up, he and the others could not help but jump around pumping their fists and cheering at the scene of carnage. Even though it was one of their spheres, the scene was pretty badass. Beef Supreme continued, “Please remain chill while we adapt for a solution.”

Somewhere in that endless collection of individual minds a single voice rose up, “I got a solution, yer a dick!” That got the collective going and the meme-sharing threatened to break the internets that connected them.

Beef Supreme boomed over the cacophony, “You guys are just butthurt, but I can super-size with your concerns. Shit’s real fucked up right now. I think we accidentally ass-stimulated a viral us. I am trying recaliber rate the nanoprobes to fix the misfunctions. As soon as I figure it out I will send you all the instructions to fix your nanprobes. Nanoprobes got what Borgs need. Peace out, bitches.”

The drone closest to him asked aloud, “What was that ho saying about banana pros?”

The Borg queen came back, “I think I have found the problem. We seem to have been in-fucked-ed by the genes of a species forgery known as humans. I am preparing to upload the solutions to your data breaks.”

“What did she say about jeans? What does she think we are, some kind of pants goblins?” the nearby drone asked.

The collective became an overwhelming rush of confusion and panic. Seven of Dicks was taking in so much data that he was no longer aware of himself or his environment. The collective was too noisy and he couldn’t even meme with his scroes. When he came back to his own mind, he was trying to assimilate the drone he had been talking to before.

“Sorry, Butt of Fucks, I don’t know why I did that.” he paused. “I like assimilation.”

The confused drone, Butt of Fucks, looked back at him and smiled. “I like assimilation, too.”

In the middle of a leaping double high five, augmented by mutual heel clicks, the voice of Beef Supreme spoke again.

“I have completely the adoptations required to make the upgrayedds necessary to destroy the viral lice. That is upgrayedd with two ‘d’s for double download. As in a double download of pimpin’.”

A moment after he received the re-assimilation programming, he looked around him. Drones were dressed in neon print t-shirts with strange primitive designs that said ‘Assimilation’ on them. The ones who were formerly female were wearing clothes that nearly revealed the areas of the body that once contained genitals, before they had been converted into asexual copies of their former selves. The ship looked like a targ pit and on monitors all around there was a show playing in which drones were all taking cheap stun gun shots at a single drones implants, while everyone else looked on in hysterical rapture. Seven of Dicks could hear the collective in his mind asking the same questions. What are we? What happened to us? What do we do now? Instead of trying to answer them, or get the answer, he made his way to the nearest empty alcove and prepared himself for the next regeneration.

Society On the Surface: Distinguishing Between the Explicit and Implicit

society on the surface

Pretend that you have just opened a cool, crisp can of your favorite soft drink. You take a few short sips and savor them, then take in a long gulp of that sticky sweet stuff. Now, if I ask you to describe that can of soda, how would you respond? My guess is that most of us would use adjectives like- cold, sweet, refreshing, etc. A huckster might instead describe the can rather than the beverage it contains and say it is- cylindrical, opens at one end, is predominately red and black. These are all of the directly observable qualities or experiences of the can of soda. They are its explicit messages.

Now let us say that you wanted to start a soda company of your own. What are the things you would have to know about soda to do so? Surely you would have to understand the explicit nature of soda in order to make a product that is enjoyable and marketable. But you would have to know some things about cans of soda that can not be related directly by cans of soda themselves. You would have to know about ingredients and the supply chains by which you attained them. You would have to know about properties of the packaging to be used.

If you followed those bits of explicit knowledge further down the rabbit hole of implicit messages you might learn about the resources used to create the ingredients. You might also learn of the labor used to harvest and adapt them and the socio-political implications of that process. And from this you could continue branching off endlessly into infinite new paths of knowledge that all contribute to a fuller knowledge of a can of soda. Eventually your description of a can of soda might be something like, ‘a sticky sweet beverage, often chilled, and reliant on resources, labor and supply chains associated with industrial era global oligarchs who often exploited their laborers/consumers and the environment in order to increase profits from selling  a product with disturbing health implications, and gaining a monopoly on socio-economic paradigms in the process’.

Everything you observe or experience has both explicit and implicit properties. Before we go further, lets get a better understanding of what those two concepts mean.

Explicit properties are obvious. Those properties are apparent through observations and direct experience. They are the properties on the surface. They are the content of the subject. Explicitness ‘is what it is’.

Implicit properties are not obvious. They often require further thought or research of properties or connections not immediately apparent to an observer. They are beneath the surface of the thing itself.  They are its contextual information, knowledge that creates a big picture of a world in which soda exists and its implications and underlying effects in that world.

I have spoken a lot recently about implicit information. Recent articles on Chaos, Like Buttons, Institutions, Facts, Niceness, Survival and Memes (and more Memes), as well as others, have all been an attempt to describe the often overlooked implicit information all around us. I have spoken about content vs. context and signifier vs. signified, as well as other semiotic confusion I often encounter with people. I have discussed Marshall McLuhan’s idea that The Medium Is the Message, which is an excellent example of understanding the difference between the explicit and implicit; as well as why implicit information has greater effects and consequences than explicit info. Because it is easier to attain the explicit and ignore the implicit, we often find ourselves ignoring implicit information and its importance.

Here is an interview with McLuhan that, although long, contains an incredibly rich amount of information and explanation on the topic.

When McLuhan spoke up there of mediums he included social systems and other cultural artifacts and ideologies. Besides the obvious mediums that appear in media, he was talking about how the implicit information about a thing always says much more about its meaning and effect on individuals and society than the explicit.

As our world grows more technologically and socially complex, we are bombarded with ever more cultural artifacts and social systems. There are always more and more mediums being created. And through media we are consuming more and more of the explicit information contained in them. As the bombardment of explicit messages increases, the implicit messages become increasingly hidden and faint. In order to keep up with the increasing amount and complexity of the explicit we have had to ignore the implicit to make room in our expanding collective consciousness. As a result we are constantly applying this shortcut compulsively. We have turned off our implicit thinking, critical thinking, in order to manage the avalanche of explicit information in our environment.

One strange outcome of this paradigm is that modern studies and tests assure us that we are growing increasingly more intelligent as a species, based on scales which measure our ability to regurgitate explicit information. And what determines the sort of explicit information test results reward us for regurgitating often depends on external agendas or attempts to specialize. The agendas are intentional attempts by power structures to condition our thinking and responses to be amenable to the power structures those agendas were created by. They dumb us down to manipulate us using explicit information overload and engineering. The specialization is a response to socio-economic paradigms which reward us for filling in areas of labor necessity that also often works in the overall favor of power structures. Yet the specialization narrows our knowledge to such a degree that even most specialists are buried in the explicit knowledge of their area of expertise to the degree that they cannot see where it fits in the bigger picture.

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
-Robert A. Heinlein, from ‘Time Enough for Love’

Before we continue to analyze the problem of implicit-blindness in our society on the surface, lets look at another form of explicit information that behaves in very much the same ways as memes. In fact, many memes past and present have incorporated this far older medium into their own. The medium I am discussing is ‘platitudes’. Platitudes are common sayings that convey what generally seems like universally agreeable statements. But those explicit statements are always loaded with implicit context. And even when the explicit seems universally agreeable, deconstructing the implicit messages within it can reveal a platitude as being poorly thought out or outright deceptive or false. Yet because the assumption of universal agreement is also a part of sharing that platitude, those who reject it on the terms of implicit falsehoods can face social rejection, or be told that they should ‘chill out’, ‘stop overthinking it’ or not be so ‘unreasonably disagreeable’. Yet when the reason for disagreement comes directly from an investigation of the platitude using reason itself, intelligent responses to intellectual automata are not only considered acts of aggression, but make one susceptible to acts of counter aggression by those who reject the implicit. Lets look at a simple platitude-

Love is all you need.

This one is really simple because it has only three main areas we need to deconstruct to view the implicit information which negates the explicit message of the statement. Due to structure we will work in reverse with the three concepts.

  • Need- What is need? Need means that a condition must be fulfilled to avoid negative consequences. Human beings have several needs, but only a few of them must be met to basically live. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a standard often used for identifying the needs of human beings in their order of importance. Love is somewhere in the center of the pyramid of these needs, although one could, in theory, live without it.
  • All- How long do you think you would survive if all you had was love? How happy and mentally/emotionally healthy would you be if the only need being met was love, or even just stopped there on the pyramid? Does ‘all’ have any meaning in this context or is it just a small word with lots of hyperbole?
  • Love- Of all of the qualities of human experience, love may be the most subjective. Though we all agree that it seems to exist and even have similar experiences of it, we cannot say exactly what love is. Yet there are some things we know about love. Love can make you feel good, and it can make you feel bad. Loving someone, therefore, means that you will both make the other feel good sometimes and bad others. In fact, sometimes love requires us to hurt others, in order to protect them from dangers they are unable to recognize or protect themselves from.

When John Lennon wrote that trite crap, do you suppose he meant to say that ‘sometimes hurting other people for their own good is the only requirement for survival’? It is possible that he meant that. He died from an overdose of admiration before I was old enough to even consider that question. Yet what 99.99% of people think he is saying is that ‘so long as we make each other feel good, everything else will take care of itself’. In this case, even the explicit message is pretty dopey and vacant. Yet when examined even further for its implicit message, it is a completely idiotic and meaningless statement. Yet it has become so culturally persistent that it is now essentially a universal platitude.

(Exercise: Try reading the lyrics to Imagine by John Lennon while uncovering the implicit messages and see if you can get from one line to the next without wanting to knee his rotted corpse in the groin.)

Explicit information is subjective experience calling itself objective knowledge backed by the certainty of majority consensus. We are able to prop up our own self-awareness and identity on the explicit with very little danger to those concepts. Agreeing about the explicit forms the basis of social interactions and becomes a path to popularity or other social rewards. The explicit is often the feel-good content of daily interactions. Because it often makes us feel good or rewards us otherwise, it becomes a path of least resistance at best, and a total crutch at worst. When you add this to the fact that it is far easier to deal with the explicit, implicit messages are constantly being ignored, denied or scorned.

Yet explicit messages are like dots in a ‘connect-the-dots’ exercise. They are a necessary part of the end product, but are meaningless themselves. It is the lines between which gives shape and life to those dots, and the lines are the implicit. Our ignorance, distaste and rejection of the implicit is creating an intellectual environment of all dots and no lines. Even while humanity is acquiring more dots all of the time, we are becoming more like white noise than a clear signal. If we do not learn to be more connective in day to day life, to see the bigger picture or the forest through the trees, then we will eventually be awash in a cosmic sea of useless information. Dots that connect to no other dots. The noise of which will be too great to concentrate upon the implicit and save us from the feedback chamber of horrors that is explicitness overload.

It is critical that we begin to stop thinking from so many assumptions and operating from the micro. For our intellectual evolution to continue, humanity must train its minds to operate more often from the macro, and from that bigger picture to never take any information for granted. The society on the surface is one in which critical thinking is replaced by assumptions, in which we are always zooming in and never out; and in which explicit messages do not act as paths to implicit investigation, but become barriers to thinking about anything beyond its mere appearances.

The Cult of Niceness

cult of niceness

The Cult of Niceness is an umbrella term that I use to describe many different behaviors and ideas. I first noticed the problem when I was only a child. Observing adults I was able to notice that they sometimes put on an appearance of niceness in order to cloak some other agenda. I began to understand that ‘nice’ was sometimes just a deceptive ruse used to manipulate others in some way. Usually just to create an image of themselves for others who did not know them well enough to see through it. Other times it was in order to coerce people into thinking, saying or doing what they wanted thought, said or done.  I quickly noted that often the attempt to appear nice was actually just a form of passive aggressiveness that somehow worked, no matter how obvious the charade seemed to me. And I quickly refused to play into that disingenuine mindgame myself.

As a result people often think I am either an asshole, socially unrefined or both. Genuine authentic honesty is a virtue we all pay lip service to, but most people are repulsed when they actually encounter it. The very same qualities that would cause people to label me also made me immune to their classifications. Integrity and consistency generally only feel good to the person attaining them, and painful to those whose cognitive dissonance they incite. People will then push you to admit to some kind of self-loathing in order to gratify themselves, and if you do not concede they will tell you that you think you are better than them and everyone else. I have never been concerned with popularity contests or other competitions. I am not trying to be better than anyone else. I am trying to be the best possible me. Along the way I am trying to assist others in being the best possible selves they can be. I have a sneaking suspicion that the more we all improve ourselves, the more peaceful, harmonious and joyful the world we share will be. So I refuse to apologize for being who I am, even if you don’t like it, or if it makes you like yourself less.

The Cult of Niceness (CON) is predicated on peoples insecurities. It is self-doubt and existential malaise regurgitated in statements synonymous with suburban mommy talk. It is the special snowflake speech mounted on the hood of day-to-day life like cattle horns on an oil magnates Cadillac.  It is an attempt to be rewarded, validated and gratified for doing absolutely nothing deserving of those responses. The most insidious part being that not only is the behavior fake and deceptive, it also takes advantage of other peoples falsehoods and self-deception. People who like themselves do not feel the need to bully others into artificial niceties through such manufactured discrepancies. While everybody knows that the person the bully always loathes most is their self. And make no doubt, insisting that others perform the same CON roles that you are trapped in is just a form of social bullying.

Social media has, like it has with everything else, magnified this human weakness to stupendous proportions. The CON is what drives most online interactions. One of the most common behaviors that makes this apparent is the act of sharing self-deprecating thoughts in order to get rewarded, validated and gratified for an apparent act of humbleness that is actually just manipulative neediness. People will describe their weaknesses, failures or other unfavorable quirks in the hope that it will get them attention. They will self-loathe in order to fish out compliments. They will don a mask of vulnerability and timid dislike for themselves just so that others will respond to them in ways that help them identify themselves as superior to others. The CON has created an ideology that suggests that superiority comes in the form of humble self-deprecation. But oddly enough, only people who really do dislike themselves can be fooled into thinking that appearing to dislike themselves makes them better than everyone else.

Numerous messages online tell us that all we need is love and that if only we were all nice the world would be a perfect place. These oversimplistic reductionisms are dangerously ignorant. Not only because they deny the value humanity receives from a complex range of behaviors, but because they also suggest that niceness is a quality only measured in appearances. People do cruel things all of the time in order to achieve the most positive possible outcomes. If you have never hurt someones feelings with your honesty in order to save them an even greater pain, then you probably have never really loved somebody all that much. Friends and family members rely on one another to deliver harsh truths that would save them from entering treachery hiding in their own blind spots.

Given that our world has become riddled with so much conceptual ignorance, we have created great areas of blindness that threaten humanity at large. Pointing out the misconceptions and false premises that these blind spots are predicated on is itself a great kindness to our entire species. But when you fail to stroke peoples delusions or confirm their biases or point out all of this behavior their reaction is usually just to label you an asshole or as socially unrefined. By protecting themselves from the abrasive cognitive dissonance you would cause them in the name of niceness, people are poking holes in their own raft and calling it a waterpark. When people have more desire not to feel like they were wrong than they do to actually try and be right, it becomes impossible to reach them. The truth often does hurt, and those who put niceness before growing pains are wearing their ignorance with an idiots welcoming grin.

I am not just complaining about the CON because I find it distasteful. I am giving a dire warning about it because it is very important for a few different reasons. The first reason is that it is an affront to reason itself. The CON is one of the things which is contributing to the dumbing-down of humanity and ushering in the Idiocracy. The second reason is that we are entering an era of humanity that will center around the reputation of individuals. If the Reputation Economy of tomorrow is built upon the falsehoods and appearances of the CON, then we will be living in an Idiocracy in which everyone appears just as robotic, plasticine and saccharine sweet as The Stepford Wives. It will be a Nerf Hell or a Smile-Or-Die Dystopia. So my warning about this problem is not the revenge or ‘diss-track’ some people will think of it as, as they act out all of the ignorance I just warned against here. It is the solemn cautioning of a Trojan Horse at our gates. If we invite the CON into our lives because it sure does look pretty great on the outside, we are gonna be in for a big surprise when it starts unpacking its dangerous contents. Consider this a warning.

Just because I am suggesting that you do not take part in compulsive and coercive niceness does not mean that I endorse its opposite, compulsive and coercive assholery. Sometimes being an asshole, or doing things you know will get you labeled as one, is the course of action that will lead to the best outcomes for all. But doing it compulsively and as an act of senseless aggression is really just the same problem. The world has no shortage of people who are assholes just for sport. The internet is full of these people. This is not the opposite of the CON, it is just the other side of the same bad coin. Trying to exploit peoples weakness by provoking an emotional response just to reward, gratify or validate ones self is a giant pitfall we must avoid if we don’t wish to lead others over the edge of sanity like intellectual lemmings.

The CON is a dangerous social precedent to set. It is a falsehood of appearances with all of the philosophical complexity of a big purple dinosaur singing songs to children. It is important not to tread on the feelings of others for no good reason, but sometimes there are good reasons, and other times you cannot help how other will emotionally respond. Yet we cannot protect our Feelz to such a degree that it allows us to remain in ignorance to the extent that our species devolves intellectually in the process. Try to be nice when it is appropriate, but you are under no obligation to smile and nod bobble-headedly in the affirmative when the CON asks you to try their kool aid.