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.

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 CopBlock.org. 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.