Intelligent Selection: Rethinking the Way We Evolved

intelligent selection

I am not a scientist. This article is not an attempt to create a scientific hypothesis. I am a shaman, and the following ideas are a philosophical exploration combining the paradigms of evolution and non-duality.

Evolution is change over time.

Non-dualism is the idea that mind and body are one substance.

Materialism, the current metaphysical model under which most mainstream science, philosophy and psychology rely on as the underlying premise of their hypotheses, tells us that our mind (consciousness) is little more than a complex illusion arising haphazardly out of the complexity of matter. It dogmatically insist that everything you think and feel is just some side effect of having a brain, which itself seeks only to trick us into taking care of our bodies. In evolutionary terms this care is referred to as ‘fitness’, and materialists insist that the ‘illusion of mind’ produced by the brain has no purpose but to seek fitness. Our joys and pains, our ecstasy and despair, all of these are just meaningless phenomena whose purpose is solely to survive and reproduce. You are not important. You are just a link in a causal chain that has no purpose or destination. Everything is an accident and your existence means absolutely nothing.

As you can imagine, die-hard materialists are a lot of fun to talk to at parties.

The materialist model of evolution, known as natural selection, similarly insists that evolution occurs only to increase the fitness of a species. It has no value to individuals, but is just a way of nature seeking further complexity by favoring the survival of mutations that increase fitness. Once again, materialists want us to believe that evolutionary adaptations are just random events, meaningless and irrelevant to individuals, serving only to increase the complexity of almighty nature.

The Judeo-Christian model of evolution is called intelligent design, and its proponents claim that evolution is the gentle push of an all-powerful, human-like deity perfecting its creation over time.

In both cases, evolution is something happening to individuals and species by an external force, for the purpose of fulfilling its own momentum and desires. Natural selection and intelligent design both presuppose the same idea, that is, that change over time is imposed by something outside of the things which experience and manifest that change.

What I propose instead, is that the things experiencing and manifesting evolution are at least partially responsible for the changes/mutations affecting them.

When I write fiction I generally start from a basic idea. A scenario and a few characters prime my creative pump and as I begin writing, the narrative seems to unfold before me as I hustle to keep up with a story that is marching along from the momentum of a single push I made. The same happens when I write music or make visual art. The process of creation is often like pushing a boulder down a mountain. Once you unlodge the rock from its resting spot and get it going a bit, the rest of the journey mostly takes care of itself. Yet this does not mean you will be able to control the path, velocity or final resting place of the boulder.

Non-dualism states that consciousness is the fundamental source of reality, not matter. This is not reverse materialism, as matter is not considered an emergent property of consciousness, it is simply the language which expresses the symbols and archetypes of consciousness. As these symbols and archetypes become more numerous and complex, so does the language which expresses them.

This is what I mean by Intelligent Selection. It is the idea that as the individual and collective symbols and archetypes increase in complexity, the narrative itself evolves towards complexity. And this change is manifested in reality (nature) slowly over time. Evolution.

Unlike the evolutionary paradigms that require something external to that which is evolving, Intelligent Selection supposes that how we live, think and feel creates a momentum which selects traits for the fitness of individual experiences over time. In this model we are no longer floating in a sea of meaningless accidents with no purpose. Our reality and our selves are very real. Our experience is not just some illusion, but a quest to see harmony and pleasure, and to create more of it over time for ourselves and those who follow in our footsteps.

Intelligent Selection eschews the inherent nihilism of natural selection and the predeterminism of intelligent design. It puts our experience and will at the forefront of our existence, rather than relegating it to subservience to the experience and will of an external agency. We are not accidents. We are the story of eternity unfolding itself through our individual experiences and interactions. The universe is a stage in which we write our own parts, expanding on the narratives of those that came before us, while setting the stage for those who will come after.

Only intelligent selection is able to accommodate the narratives of the objective and subjective. It is inclusive of science and spirituality. It does not compete in a brutal environment for dominance. It just takes the best parts of all that we know and combines them in a way that contributes to, rather than detracts, from those narratives.

Understanding the ways in which our symbolic and archetypal narratives create the reality we experience is a way of taking a more conscious approach to guiding our own evolution. Unlimited vistas of experience await us, and we are lucky to be participants in their creation. Evolution is not something happening to us; it is a tool for us to get something happening.

Please submit your appreciation and/or criticisms in interpretive dances, paintings and poetry.

Why Niandra LaDes and Usually Just A T-Shirt by John Frusciante Is Still Brilliant

john frusciante

In 1995 one of my best friends asked me to drive him to the airport. Since he had a nicer car and the airport was out of town, I drove him in that. Another mutual friend joined. His trip was an extended stay in South America where he had chased his college freshman sweetheart, so he was not planning to be back for a long time, and as such bequeathed us the remainder of his weed stash. After dropping him off we decided to take the long way home, twisting our way through Des Moines and its outlying areas. We were young, free and high as fuck. Somewhere in our journeys through human cemeteries, industrial graveyards and parks and lakes we started going through the cassettes in the car. One was labeled Beastie Boys/John Frusciante, and although we had never heard of the latter, the Beastie Boys was a definite go. Then at some point the tape flipped and so baffled and entranced were we, that it was several songs before we were even able to share our amazement and befuddlement at what was happening to our ears and minds.

For the next few years I worshiped that album. It was so profoundly brilliant and different, while also technically simple, that I never tired of it, even after listening to it repeatedly. I would borrow my friends four track cassette recorders and attempt to replicate that sound and that feeling, and attempt which never bore success. Yet it was where I cut my teeth in the recording and writing process and its inspiration as a piece of audio art was massive in my own musical formation.

In March 1994, when the album came out on Rick Rubin’s Def Jam Records, Frusciante had terminated his role in the Red Hot Chili Peppers and was living in severe disorder with a profound heroin habit. However he maintains that the album, despite its baffling surrealism, was made before his addiction took over his life. With the exception of Running Away Into You, the album was recorded during 1991-92 on the Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic tour.

“I wrote [the record] because I was in a really big place in my head—it was a huge, spiritual place telling me what to do. As long as I’m obeying those forces, it’s always going to be meaningful. I could be playing guitar and I could say ‘Play something that sucks,’ and if I’m in that place, it’s gonna be great. And it has nothing to do with me, except in ways that can’t be understood.”
John Frusciante

in 1997, two years after I first heard John’s first solo album, I found out that he was going to be playing in a place an hour away from where I lived. I did not own a car and the weather was pretty nasty, so hitchhiking was not an option, so I eventually talked my mom into taking me to a college town bar to see a junkie play strange songs. And as it turned out, we both had a great time. John was just recovering from his addiction and he stood on the stage like he was there to haunt it. He seemed too far gone and broken to have even made it up there, but when his brilliant guitar playing began, followed by the existential caterwauling of his emotionally overloaded vocals, he came right to life. I cannot recall all of the details of that night. I remember ‘Your Smile Is A Rifle’ and Nirvana’s ‘Moist Vagina’ from the setlist. It was part of some touring funk thing called NutFest. Yet although I cannot remember the details, I can remember the feeling vividly. I can remember tears of what I think were joy. When I recall that night to memory I am not flooded with scenes and sounds and facts, but with a more pure sense of abandonment, bliss and longing.

Frusciante released a second album, Smile From the Streets You Hold, earlier that same year, reportedly for drug money. While the album does not have the purity and innocence of Niandra, it does still carry a sense of internal crisis, desperation and self-abandonment that could be felt in the first album. It is not even close to its predecessor, yet it is still a much better album than what RHCP or most mainstream rock in general were doing at the time, by light years. It is harsh and incomplete, but it is also honest and apologetic in a tragically authentic way.

After this Frusciante sobered up and continued recording solo albums, and while they are definitely interesting albums, none of them have the emotional/spiritual force of the first few. They are tame by the standards of Niandra and Smile, and do not carry the same sense of bizarre, tragic immediacy.

I continued enjoying Niandra and giving his new albums a chance. During my years in retail I found that most people could not tolerate the vocals for long, so if I had some browsers straggling too casually for too long, I would throw the album on to quicken their purchase or departure so I could sneak down to the basement and sneak a toke. Before long he rejoined RHCP and I was initially impressed. Yet after a few more albums that received heavy rotation everywhere all of the time managed to suck all of the life out of that bands music for me. And even though none of his more recent works has ever touched me the way his early stuff did, I still cherish all of that great music from his early period both solo and with RHCP, and am glad he finally got out of the latter (hopefully) for good.

“I’m forever near a stereo saying, ‘What the fuck is this garbage?’ And the answer is always the Red Hot Chili Peppers.” -Nick Cave

Before I get into why the album is still brilliant, let me comment briefly on some specific songs.

As Can Be – The opening track begins with a frenzied string blitzkrieg, a loose weave of crisis melodies, and then sort of settles into a vulgar love song once the lyrics kick in, with lead guitars winding throughout like frantic bumble bees carrying streamers.

My Smile Is A Rifle – What begins as an experiment in melancholy quickly evolves into an even deeper musical misanthropy, like a lost coffin rocking in the waves of an alien ocean. The opening lyrics, in contrast is a message of strange silver linings. The vocals descend into utter madness and one cannot be sure if he is being playful of making a cry for help. The pitch shifting, screeching and squealing is the vocal opposite of American Idol, removing all flash and skill and replacing it with pure emotional dadaism.

Head (Beach Arab) – Combining harp-like melodies below frantically picked notes soaring over brilliantly sophmoric solos, the song blazes a path through you before you can figure out what it has evoked in you.

Big Takeover – This Ren Faire rendition of the Bad Brains classic manages to use frenzied layers to make up for the lack of pace of the original, and in doing so becomes its own song, just as powerful as the original.

Curtains – The image of curtains suggested in the title befits the surrealist drama of this simple piano/vocal ballad. Its absurdist lyrics make sense on a level that cannot be comprehended outside of the context of the music and album as a whole. Building throughout, the song almost becomes a standard Daniel Johnston rocker, before twinkling out in a sprinkle of high piano notes.

Running Away Into You – This is one of the most brilliant pieces of music ever committed to recording. A tale of lust and love and longing and everything in between, it uses reverse tracks, loops, speed and pitch shifts and a bunch of other audio novelties to paint a portrait of desire through a chaotic kaleidoscope of symbolic sounds for the emotional highs and lows of romance.

Mascara – Essentially a standard acoustic rocker from the onset, the song later takes on a far stranger shape of a circus sideshow, and continues to twist back and forth between the two feelings that leaves you a bit discombobulated like riding the aural Tea Cups at a musical amusement park. Eventually ending with a lyric about underwear full of blood and a pretty guitar outro.

Been Insane – This song is kind of a baseline for the entire Niandra LaDes half of the album. A multi-layer acoustic rocker with elements of both standard rock alternating against Syd Barrett surreality.

Skin Blues – An instrumental showcase of soaring stringed sonics. The closest my own experiments ever came to Frusciante level are a really cheap version of this.

Your Pussy’s Glued To A Building On Fire – The most inappropriate lullabye ever written, or the most colorful love song ever penned? Both. And more. Highly suggestive gives way to the overall contextual frameworks and becomes highly evocative of a range of emotional and spiritual longings instead. So good, it actually is repeated in a different but similar version right after the first concludes. “YOU LITTLE DUCK HOUSE!!!!”

Blood On My Neck From Success – This is the song Kurt Cobain would likely wished he had wrote himself. The confession of a musician coming to terms with the ugliness and hypocrisy of creative fame, it is all threadbare and barely manages to hold itself together, which is exactly how John was feeling at the time. Yet no amount of saying that in straightforward terms could ever explain it like this song.

Ten to Butter Blood Voodoo – The final song from the first half of the Niandra LaDes portion feels lost and far away. It is like the Flaming Lips, if Wayne Coyne became a manic depressive guitar god who ditched the rest of his band and decided to write a song that said ‘fuck you’ to his whole life.

The tracks from here on belong to the second part of the album, Usually Nothing But A T-Shirt. The songs themselves vary in length, complexity or any other binding codes. They are listed only by their track numbers, and where vocals are employed, it is rarely with any credence to the traditions of singing. Where there are discernible lyrics, they bend and break into fragile poems never meant to be read by anyone else. These are snapshots of the unanswered questions inside the mind of a young artist and shaman. They are delicate, beautiful and at times eerily creepy. These songs blend together to form a sort of meditation on the elasticity of human emotions, or as a spiritual seance to call up the inner truths we are most afraid of. I will not go into a track-by-track analysis because they are not meant to be taken that way, and there is more to be said of them as a whole than as individual pieces. Which is how Frusciante intended the whole album.

So then why is this album just as poignant today as when it was first conceived, and maybe even more so? As I have explained in the past, we are a society living only on the surface of our own reality, rapidly consuming explicit messages while denying the underlying implicit information that underlies them. Niandra LaDes and Usually Nothing But A T-Shirt is a refutation of this shallow view of reality. It eschews literal interpretation. Its explicit presentation is meaningless collection of low quality noise. An attempt to understand the work on any kind of empirical basis would only render it more confusing and meaningless. It defies the literalism of our scientistically materialist culture.

Today’s popular music is all show and no substance, comparatively. Any attempts to day to be so wrecklessly experimental would be done in the sterile setting of academic aesthetics, based on preconceived forms and pieced together with the precision of mathematical axioms. No artist would dare be brave enough, even in the case that they were inclined, to make such a messy piece of art. It’s beauty is not just in it’s imperfection, but in its seeming ignorance that attempting to make a perfect piece of art is something that should be taken seriously by the artist.

Our culture is steeped in a dogma of technical precision and direct messages. Niandra LaDes and Usually Just A T-Shirt is the opposite of the values underlying our society. It caters to nothing, begs nobody’s approval and only says anything to those willing to work out the interpretations for themselves. While our society on the surface spoon feeds us bite sized truths, this album makes you wiggle out every little illumination on your own, but never promises to reveal any final answers about itself. It is not what it is. It is the unique experience of everyone who listens to it. It is tarot deck of audio archetypes for the emotional and spiritual truths that give us each our own meaning and purpose in life. It is musical shamanism lovingly and painstakingly delivered from the depths of one mans psyche. It is monumental work of art and a forgiving and fragile childhood-like heresy of the unexamined dogmas we hold dear.

Little duck house, indeed.

 

 

From the Ashes of A New Moon

Madison curled her toes as brave autonomous flames tested their freedom outside of the fire pit and sent their tendrils rollicking in her direction. She took in the potent smells of the hardwood and dried dung with olfactory aplomb, turning her head to follow a wisp of the smoky perfume. It was a learned aesthetic preference. In the world where her childhood had lived such smells were merely historical footnotes. Now that world was gone and the habits of the world before it had come full circle. A bat swooped down to snatch up a moth that had revealed itself in the fire’s trembling light, and drew her attention upwards. Although she had developed a pleasure in things like the scent of burning excrement, the sky was a book of revelations she could never quite get used to. Ever since the OMG, reality itself had changed, and no place was that more evident than when she gazed upon the two moons above her.

“Your brother should be here soon, Maddy. I am going to fill the kettle and grab an extra cup. Would you like anything while I am beneath?” asked Jayden, the woman’s husband of nearly sixty years.

“Popsi…”

“…ICE COLD,” he cajoled along with her. It was a very old joke between them. It had been even longer than they had been married since anyone had drank an ice cold Popsi. The memory of sugary things always excited an almost primal urge in them, but over the years they had learned to appreciate even that urge. Anything that mutually connected them to the old world was welcomed, as it was the only remaining evidence left that they had not gone absolutely insane.

“B-R-B,” he said, again summoning a past that had become even less than the threadbare memory that preserved it; and shuffled down into the tunnels whistling an extinct melody.


The OMG had blanketed the skies with ash for fourteen years after. During the first six months the skies were almost completely black and the world beneath them either died away or plummeted back down the ladder of human history. When the first noticeable light began making its way through the post-apocalyptic smog, the sun was entirely unvisible as an object. Its rays stretched out into the ash and clouds and the focus of its fiery beams dissipated over the facing hemisphere and beyond. Refraction, or something like that, the last surviving scientists had said. While the moon still was still noticeable as a celestial object, it no longer held all its singular glory as a glowing orb in the sky. Some other trick of light and matter had caused the moons beams to split as they passed through the suffocating atmosphere, which created the perceptual effect of dual moons. The old priests, the scientists, had tried to explain the effect. As years passed, those who had been frightened right out of their old belief systems, as well as the new generations, began to believe that there actually were two moons. In fact it was the birth of this new moon, they believed, that caused the OMG in the first place.

Despite the protest of surviving academics, experts and authorities; the belief in the two moon theory became widespread. And so fourteen years after the entire thing began, as the ashen curtains began to part, two beautiful moons sat defyingly obvious in the gloriously deep, open skies. Absolute faith in the methods, models and myths of the pre-OMG world were abandoned and the oldest human truths began to replace them. Beliefs are not based upon reality, as the world of their childhood had imagined, but precisely the opposite.


“Don’t even try to sneak up on me, Connor. You have the grace of a wooden bull and are likely just to hurt yourself again,” Maddie called out at a slight rumbling in the near-distant darkness.

“Hush it, sis. These are the creaks of an old man, not the squeaks of one who sneaks,” Connor rhymed in his equally charming and infuriating way. Slowly, achingly, he ambled up next to her and took a seat. “Where is Jayden?”

“Fetching refreshments. He will be back shortly,” she answered. “Lovely night. Thanks for coming over.”

The two of them sat in silence waiting for Jayden. The three of them together represented nearly half of the surviving humans from before OMG. So far as they knew, from the small portion of the world they had contact with, at least. That is why they had gathered on this night. To prepare their final report to the council of elders. It would be the last time they would meet and their final edicts would breathe one last breath into a world that they were too old to recognize or shape any further.

Little sparks were pushed by the smoke up to the tops of the trees only to disintegrate into the night sky. Like man, they had been born of a great fire that reached with all of its might for the heavens, only to come floating back down as ash. Someday that ash would mix with the earth to create fuel and a new fire. Such was the cycle of things, growing and collapsing, gasping for new heights in which to set new fires, and then falling yet again. Where the ego of man saw this unending cycle in the terms of successes and failures, the world recognized the process as rebirth and renewal. A chance to begin afresh and become something entirely new. Individual humans measured this as a failure or loss but the great mass of human consciousness renewed itself through these events like the rising and falling of waters in the fountain of eternity.

Jayden returned to the fire with a great rumbling of laughter, “If you two aren’t the most serene geezers the world has ever seen…” he trailed off back into a fit of coughing and laughter.

“Grab me a Popsi while you’re up.” Connor joked. The three of them were a trifecta of anachronism and they reveled in that mutual difference even more as their days grew shorter.

The three of them sat around sipping a tea made with herbs, roots and bark. It was no Popsi, but it was still a special treat in this world of diminished resources and practical rationing. They caught up on personal and family news and gossip and occasionally drifted off into bouts of silent fellowship. The spring sky was full of insects and the flying mammals who ate them. While most species of birds had not survived OMG, and those that had crept cautiously through the shadows of the food chain, bats had fared quite well in the new landscape. Their whirling dives and aeronautic playfulness were endlessly fascinating. As they wove dizzying paths around one another they flew through the dual beams of the twin moons, like some fantasy story from the old world, or a science fiction Halloween decoration.

“Yesterday Viv got back from Melvinville. She says the journey took them only two days. When we first came here it took a full four days of steady travel. As the years have gone by that number has halved. I don’t see any other explanation. The world is shrinking.” Maddy stated her opinion confidently and waited for an argument to counter her suspicion, but none came. The two old men made barely perceptible nods of agreement.

“What the council wants cannot be done. It is a fools errand. When even the world shrinks to fit the beliefs of those living in it, no edict from old farts like us is gonna mean anything to anyone,” Jayden lamented quizzically.

“You are right, you are both right. We are all too wrong to be right anymore. We are obsolete. Museum pieces. The younger people have humored us long enough.” chimed Connor.

“So we won’t go?” asked Maddy.

Her toes curled again at another escape of flames in her direction. She drank in its warmth and smells. Life was good. Even when it wasn’t. The acrid aroma of the fires fuel sent her spinning back into herself. The night was music. The bass sounds of frogs and the groaning of dying and growing trees mixed with the high pitch sounds of insects filled the nights natural auditorium. In the harmonic center a cacophony of other living instruments filled the aural spaces. The music was alive under the twin conductors of Earths two moons.


Carson sat alone at the great table that once seated many of the greatest survivors of OMG. The five remaining seats around him stood empty. The final meeting was a bust. He didn’t blame them. He wouldn’t of come either, if he didn’t live here. For some unknown reason he pulled his tired old body up onto the great wooden table and lay on his back. Looking up into the clear blue sky he relaxed for the first time in over sixty years. It felt good. Life was good. Even when it wasn’t.

Transcendence Day

Waking the Fuck Up- Transcendence Day

I cannot help but to notice more and more people awakening to new spiritual ideas. The surprising thing is how most of these people are coming at their truths independently and not as the result of some group or movement. I feel very strongly that humanity, nay, Universe, is on the cusp of a great evolutionary leap in consciousness.

I have talked about many of my ideas about this coming paradigm here and elsewhere sand intend to expand upon them more in the future, so there is no need to type them here. The interesting thing is how closely the things I hear more and more of begin to echo my own prior thoughts. Sometimes the language is slightly different and sometimes the similarities lie more in metaphors than direct ideas, but we are often barking up the same tree.

In both literal and metaphorical senses, I agree with most of what is talked about in this article. Mostly I would only amend one element seriously and that is that control over our physical realities will not happen as a matter of choice, but upon reaching The Human Singularity.

If that last link sounds fluffy and new agey to you, then perhaps some similar sentiments from scientists would be more enlightening to you.

The closer the singularity comes the faster humanity will change as individuals and as a species. Where the human biological form has shown increasing mutations we begin to see other differences begin to emerge. I have long argued that autism is a harbinger of something in store for humanity. As the Human Singularity comes closer I expect we will begin to see more anomalistic and Fortean style phenomena occur as well as major changes to the total human form.

This does not mean we couldn’t use a little push, though. Barring that, we could at least stop being pulled in the wrong direction.

Within minutes of posting this, another article along these very same lines popped up, so i will add it here and let you make the connections.

Spirit Quest

spiritquest
When I was younger it was a habit of mine to experiment with psychedelic drugs. I felt that these experiences opened up new vistas of thought and creativity within me. It had been years such I had done such a drug, until a few months ago. What I found was that the experience no longer opened up any new doors of perception from which to step into brave new worlds. However, it did reawaken the desire for me to re-explore the limits of my own thinking apparatus. I considered many alternatives from meditative yoga to sensory deprivation, but none of these appealed to me because they seemed to lack extremity. I recalled several books I had read, fiction and non-fiction, on Native American cultures. One of the things that always fascinated me most was the spirit quests in which an individual would fast in isolation until they were visited by their totem spirit guide. This was generally an animal of some sort that represented an individual’s link with the natural and/or spirit world. Why I didn’t necessarily believe in the religious aspects of the ritual, I saw how such an action could open the mind to new insights.

I spent two weeks making preparations for the outing. Although most Native American cultures used the spirit quest, they tended to vary in their pattern from tribe to tribe. Instead of choosing just one of the many, I attempted to blend these customs while personalizing it with my own ideas. The plan was to spend six nights and seven days alone in an isolated patch of forest without food or water. Actually I originally planned to take along a flask for emergency purposes, to be used only in a life or death situation. I read about the human bodies limitations regarding food and water, and decided that I was pushing the envelope. I didn’t want to die in this experiment. I decided to ration out a very minute portion of water each day to prevent total dehydration, while still allowing the lack of fluid to push me over the edge of normal bodily functioning.

Only one friend was willing to help me with my journey, the others were all too afraid for my safety to participate. The plan was that my friend would drive me the location and hike into the woods with me so that he would be able to locate me on the seventh day. I explained it would most likely be the case that I would need physical and mental assistance getting out of the woods. The night before I was to leave I visited with family and my closest friends. Those who were not aware of my plan were not made aware as I didn’t wish to alarm anybody. I then prepared letters and a will should anything unexpected occur during the outing. Finally I went to my favorite restaurant and ate an entire plate of Pad Thai. I should not have done that. The large meal stretched my stomach and would make the fast more difficult, as I learned later. I was careful not to drink any alcoholic beverages, as I didn’t wish to dehydrate prematurely.

The final preparation was to secure tobacco, and a carving knife to make a ceremonial pipe, such as been used in the Native American spirit quests. I set to bed early, but hardly slept a week all night due to anticipation. The next morning before the sun rose, we began the hour drive to the large wooded area I had chosen. When we arrived dawn had just received the day and the sun lit our way through the forest canopy. We hiked a few miles into the woods to an area I felt I would be left undisturbed in. My plan, were I to encounter hikers or such, was just to hide to avoid contact with other humans. My friend bid me some encouraging words and then left me alone with the flora and fauna of the forest.


The first day I was very eager, for what I did not know. I had used fallen branches to create a large circle which I would be confined to. I studied my surroundings, and tried the best I could to name all of the plants and trees I saw. It was obvious I did not know many, and I made a promise to familiarize myself with such knowledge after the excursion. Only in the evening did the hunger become a distraction, but it was not yet bad as it would get, I knew.

After a mostly uneventful day I fell asleep early nestled in a nest fashioned from dried leaves. I dreamt about a spiral staircase, which I climbed both up and down in seemingly infinite stretches without ever reaching anything. When I awoke to birdsong, I interpreted that the spiral staircase of my dreams represented not only DNA, but the spiraling nature of our infinite universe, in which there was no beginning or end.


Upon awaking I allowed myself half of my daily water ration. After that I began looking for a branch from which to carve my ceremonial pipe from. The Native Americans always spoke about finding a piece of wood that spoke to them and revealed the shape waiting to remain when all excess was stripped away. I looked for such a branch, but determined after several hours that I could not hear wood. So I picked a piece that seemed easy to carve due to a lack of knots. I spent most of the day slowly whittling away on the piece of wood, and what finally emerged was a crude but working pipe whose stem and bowl could be separated. I located some juniper berries and used them to dye the pipe, and then I thought to attach some feathers I had found using thin strips of soft bark, but the result was ridiculous and the adornments were removed.

As darkness fell I finished the other half of my daily water portion, and entertained myself by singing as many songs as I could remember the words to. I fell asleep to the sound of owls protesting my rendition of Paul McCartney’s ‘Band on the Run’. That night I dreamt of clouds that could coagulate into the imagined forms I saw within them. For whatever reasons many of these forms were cartoon characters I had remembered from my childhood.


Awaking the next morning on the third day, I could find no meaning within my dream. The third day started with severe hunger pains. As I had the morning before I immediately drank half of my daily water ration. I found it difficult to focus on anything but my hunger. I didn’t have the luxury of the previous day’s activity to occupy my time and my thoughts, or the enthusiasm of the first day. I paced within my circle into the afternoon. As the afternoon went on my will to continue faded rapidly. I cursed my self for setting upon this course of action with no plan for escape. I continually thought if I could just eat but one little insignificant cracker, everything would be okay. I realized the pacing made the hunger worse and sat down at the edge of the circle staring into the woods. I noticed something out there, a sight familiar from my childhood. It was a gooseberry bush. I knew it was early in the season so the plant would not be incredibly fruitful, nor its fruit ripe yet. I began to make every excuse I could to justify leaving my circle and breaking my fast with these berries. Before sundown I convinced myself it would be okay to eat a few of the berries. I picked about a dozen berries and ate them rapidly, and washed them down with the second half of my water ration.

Somewhat satisfied I lay down in my nest and recalled favorite stories until I fell asleep late into the night. That night I was aware of several short dreams, but did not remember any of them. I slept in a little later on the fourth day, and fought every attempt of my body to awaken until it could be put off no longer. It must have been shortly after noon. I had gotten confident in my ability to gauge time during the day by the suns position overhead. I drank my usual water and tried to think of something to occupy my time. My mind was over-ridden with doubts about this spirit quest. I became angry at myself. Within a few hours I decided to ditch the whole experiment. I would gather several handfuls of berries drink plenty of water and hike back to the road and hitchhike home away from this nightmare. I was eating the berries as fast as I could pick them and washing them down with my canteens contents. I must have eaten three dozen or so berries and consumed all but a day’s ration of water when I was inextricably stricken with feelings of shame and remorse at my own weakness. I went back to my circle, lay in my nest and cried for what seemed an eternity without emotional or mental content. Somewhere in this catharsis my resolve to continue went on. As I began regaining control of myself, I considered forcing myself to vomit the berries up, but I knew this would increase the danger of dehydration. I reassessed my situation. I knew I could survive the remainder of the trip with no water. I also realized that while I had broken my fast, the three dozen or so berries were really quite inconsequential as far as nourishment goes. I might still experience some revelation in my time left. I began to doubt very much I would meet with a spirit guide, but I thought the experience would still teach something useful.


I sang songs of my own devising late into the night. I sang songs to the moon and the stars and all of the plants and animals that lived in the forest. I sang songs to those who came before me and those who would follow after. I sang songs of beauty, love and joy. I sang late into the night and into the early morning until I sang myself asleep. That night I dreamt of a civilization of intelligent humanoids called Dandrites who had evolved from a single speck of my own dandruff. Within this relatively short dream I dreamt the entire course of Dandrite existence from beginning to end. I dreamt of the experiences and cultures of Dandrites in different regions. I even dreamed of some Dandrites who were my favorite throughout their history. The dream spanned millions of years, but in my reality lasted probably only an hour or so.


When I awoke the fifth day it was just before noon. I was thirsty, but the aching for food and water was only a dull undertone. It was as if it was merely a symptom of my body but no longer part of my conscious or subconscious desire. The need to cheat my fast had subsided and I began to accept the environment on its own terms and not as a barrier to my expectations. Squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and other animals no longer seemed to move about frenetically. I saw them living within their own patterns, related to, but independent from human ideas about time. I realized their apparent scurrying was only them reacting to their life spans. I envisioned the squirrel accumulated just as many experiences in its life as I did in my relatively longer life. The sun was bright, even through the tree cover.

Occasionally I would stare into the sun, mesmerized, before becoming alert to the danger involved. Each time as my eyes retreated from our nearby star, my vision was flooded with the rods and cones that make up our sight. At the time, however, I did not think of them in these concrete scientific terms. Instead I saw them as subatomic particles floating about the atom that was my eye. Lost in these thoughts I unknowingly returned my gaze upon the sun. Revelations collided! Now the sun was the nuclear center (nucleus) of an atom in which all other things in our solar system from life to matter were merely subatomic particles. It followed in my mind that many solar systems (atoms) combined would make up a galaxy which was like a cell, which when combined made up the single body of our universe. By god, a God! Universe. And we are merely its most minute constituents acting out our part to preserve the body of the divine. What then of the cells that made up our bodies, our matter? Did this process repeat itself fractally in both directions micro and macro? Was there no end to small or large, infinity to oblivion? Or were these all just incomplete thoughts, confined by the apparatus of my perceptional and analytical capabilities? I saw at once that all truth I manufactured would be just that, manufactured. If the closest thing to a perfect thought could be so flawed, what then of the thought of a perfect thought? I began laughing hysterically. I had the sensation that I was not an individual within Universe laughing, but an individual tuned into and channeling the laughter of Universe. I grokked in fullness. Who is the great master who makes the grass green!

When at last I bifurcated from the laughter of Universe, I noticed it was nearly dusk. All of the thoughts of the day seemed to occur within mere moments, but in truth had been stretched out over nine hours or so. Like the other inhabitants of this forest, my pattern of time was no longer conforming to human standard. I wondered if this changed my very nature. Was I still myself or a new probable version of myself? The thought ‘probable’ sent me spiraling into yet another aspect of awareness. Was the very idea of individuality, of nurture and nature, completely flawed? Was it that I was not simply a product of my meat and its experiences, but a function of probability? I did not confuse this thought with destiny. Destiny is predetermined. Were all things simply a function of probability, playing out every possible action and generating experiences to fill the void of curiosity of Universe? If so could people and their actions not be labeled ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but merely probable? Was Universe and eternally cyclical infant learning from its discoveries and mistakes? What then of those who acted in deviant ways. Did they weaken the overall cells structure and thus compromise the health of the universe. Could misaligned egotistical beings create a sort of cancer in the flesh of Universe? After thinking these thoughts I realized the prejudice or polarity of my thinking that labeled cancer as ‘bad’. Would not the learning process of the divine require obscenity as well as beauty? I mulled over the idea of my life being a matrix of probabilities acting in the interest of a single grandeur intelligence. Universe!


Some time later I fell asleep. I did not dream. When I awoke at dawn I did not wake into the consciousness of my being. I was a disembodied spectator observing a narrating the experiences of my flesh. From such and angle I was poised in front of and above, looking down upon myself. A peculiar thing occurred in my observation. The ‘self’ I looked upon was a two dimensional image. It was as though physical reality was a cartoon, and perched above the vision of myself was a thought bubble of the like used in comic strips. It said, quite simply, ‘ACME’.

Immediately the barrier between myself and my disembodied consciousness dissolved. The next thought did not belong to me, and it said, “How I feel, now know you.” I should not have recognized that voice, for it belonged to a fictional entity that had never been given a function such as speech. The revelation of its identity was tantamount with significance of its appearance. I had found my spirit guide, and it was none other than Wile E. Coyote.

“Of the nature of existence, insight you have gained. But of the self, much have you to learn.” It was Wile E. Coyote, now standing right before my eyes. All of our surroundings were two dimensional replications of reality like a cartoon. Rather than the lush forest, we were now in a desert sitting upon a cliff overlooking a highway. “To be knowing of all things and their futility is a truth, but tis not a lesson from which the will of action benefits.” Wile E. Coyote, my spirit guide, talked just like Yoda. He went on. “Not a proper motivation for action or inaction is futility.”

After saying so much he lifted an anvil that had recently materialized and dropped it over the cliff to the road far below. I looked over the cliff, and though faint, recognized below The Roadrunner eating a pile of birdseed Wile E. had left there as bait. No paying attention to the scene below, Wile E. spoke to me again.

“Because meaningless our lives may be in the scheme grand, means not our lives are to ourselves meaningless.” As Wile E. spoke these words, The Roadrunner had noticed the anvil and exchanged places with a trampoline that had not existed moments earlier. The anvil hit its new target and was sent careening back to its place of origin. “Undefeatable The Roadrunner may be, but of this truths essence, my will is not.” The anvil came arcing overhead with great speed and hit the wise but blustering cartoon coyote on the head. It bounced up and down repeatedly striking Wile E. and pushing him further down into the ground with each blow. Just before the final blow sent his head beneath the rock surface he spoke his last words to me. “Thus is life.”


Having met my spirit guide, I felt spiritually renewed. I removed my pipe, put it together, and loaded it. I took long drags and turned in a circle blowing smoke in all directions and offering the smoke as a gift to Universe and all that I held sacred. The smoke carried my prayers far away, eventually dissipating and becoming part of all things. I sat still for many hours interpreting the truths my spirit guide had shown me. Although there really was no meaning to life, there was no reason to live under such a pretense. Life would only be as meaningful as I lived it, and to live was to live without fear, hatred or greed. Universe was not mine to use, but ours to share. Peacefully, under two thirds of a moon and millions of stars, I fell asleep.

The God Pill

the god pill

“All I am saying is that perhaps the universe is just one diverse neighborhood of human beings. Each solar system or planet would be like it’s own insulated family or home. Although the neighborhood has constants in the core values and culture, there are a number of advantageous or disadvantageous differences in each specific household. That is why one kid may end up hanging from the end of a rope he tied himself at the age of sixteen while the kid next door grows up happily and becomes an astronaut. If that is the case, then how do you think Earth humanity would rate as far as producing happiness and success is concerned?”

“This might be the wrong address, Mike.”

“That’s what I am saying, Andrew. Shouldn’t it be our goal to be the ultimate humans on the ultimate planet? Obviously we aren’t doing a very good job if…”

“No, dude. This might actually be the wrong address. I was a little jooky when I took down the address earlier and I had just given him my phone number. I think I just wrote down the last digits of my phone number.”


They had come in contact with the man from a strange message left in a library book. Andrew had checked out a science fiction novel about a man who made a pill that had the strange effect of making the person who took it gain absolute belief and faith in God. Although the God varied depending on the preexisting beliefs of the person who took the pill, it gave the person awe-inspiring hope and dedication and seemed to improve their lives, albeit often crippling their capability to be rational. Scribbled on page 235 of the book was a message:

‘Do you wanna see God?’ -with a local 515 phone number behind it.

They drove around behind the state fairgrounds in the old dark industrial neighborhoods looking for a house where an unknown man lived. Large ominous structures seemingly constructed of pure frustration and anger floated like angels of industrial death in the background. In the gloaming of late dusk, small flashing lights often blinked out from the shadowy monstrosities like demons winking a cruel warning to anyone who might consider entering such an unnatural structure. They turned into a little neighborhood where the poor souls who lived among all of this spiritual cancer huddled hidden inside their miserable homes. As if waiting for actual cancer to release them from this nightmare. Andrew kind of liked it.

“Well, we have the right street anyway. The guy told you it was a blue and brick house. I don’t think there are too many houses with that questionable combo so we should be able to find it.” Mike said in his usual hopeful way.

Mike already sorta believed in a sort of God. Andrew had always admired this about him and wished that he could as well. Andrew had grown up with a militant atheist father and a dedicated reborn baptist mother. The atheism of his father had stuck but he felt guilty for not being able to empathize with his mothers beliefs. They seemed more admirable and peaceful than her fathers while also seeming ridiculously juvenile. He had longed to find some compromise. The man at the phone number had promised Andrew that he would find exactly what he was looking for.

They only had to drive a few blocks before they found the blue and brick house. It was immaculate. In the dull looming night it seemed to glow of its own internal energy. Everything was well kept and appeared fresh. It stood out against its surroundings like laughter at a funeral. A man who appeared to belong in such an out-of-place place answered the door and invited them in. He wore a neat gray beard and wire glasses on a small head that adorned a giant fuzzy sweater many sizes too large for him. The walls were covered with religious imagery from what appeared to be every known religion of man. He invited them into a sitting room and offered them to rest on a giant over-stuffed couch that was covered in a heavy knitted material just like the sweater. In a chair in a corner a woman about the mans age and equally awkward sat slowly rocking in a chair and knitting. She was rocking in time to some kind of swing jazz and her eyes batted a hello at them.

“I won’t keep you boys too long.” the man said in his deep husky baritone. The voice was disproportionate to the visual image of the fuzzy little man. “Here are two pills, one for each of you. They are a gift from me. I made these myself and can assure you they are absolutely safe. Their effect is identical to what I described in the novel you found at the library. That is all that I can tell you. These pills are yours to take at any time should you choose to.”

After some small talk the man then escorted the two out of his strange home, explaining that it was ‘dance night’ and that he and his wife were eager to get to their weekly gyrations. Mike and Andrew got in the car and began driving back to their place on University. Halfway home Andrew suddenly pulled out his pill and popped it instead of waiting like they had planned. They both sat silent for several blocks. Finally Mike broke the silence.

“Well, how is it? How does it feel?”

Andrew smiled coyly. He did not yet have precise words to attach to the experience so he gave a bit of a chuckle and then answered, “Like a verb, Mike. Like everything I thought was nouns are actually verbs.”

All of his life Andrew had been taught that The Divine was something to either be only laughed at or to never be laughed at. Now he was seeing a new truth before him. God is laughter.

This story was originally written as a submission to ‘Juice’, a Des Moines, Iowa local magazine, and was called ‘He Who Laughs, Lasts’. There were certain guidelines that had to be followed which made the story particular to the area, but I am unable to remember the details of them.

Jumping

jumping

The jumping began in my dreams. These dreams were incredibly vivid although they were never the same dream. Only the jumping connected them. At first the jumps were very small but as the dream would go on I would be able to jump in exponentially accelerating leaps and bounds. Over time I was able to jump great distances from the onset of the dream. It seems that I had learned the skill in that other world and could now perform it without question. In some dreams I jumped to escape and in others just for the sheer joy and beauty of the activity. The jumping was accompanied by a weak sense of being able to float. As if I could will my mass to such a low density that gravities effects on it were weakened dramatically; but not totally. For a very long time these were nothing more than highly welcomed dreams. But then I began an experiment.

I began with the assumption that physical reality was an illusion of consciousness necessary during this stage in the increase of complexity. Not that it was an immutable truth. I also had a hunch that dreams were the more pure form of our consciousness; untethered from physical reality yet interchangeable with many of the symbols, archetypes and experiences within it. More simply put I began to believe that the wall between dreams and reality was not so great as to keep me from jumping over it.

There was a long period of failure. My initial attempts were the most comical of all. I began by trying to jump in place. My efforts to will the concentration were mangled sums of physical strain. I realized with much internal laughter that if my plan were to shit myself with enough force to nullify gravity, this was the method to pursue. That, however, was not my aim. So I began studying and using yogic techniques to escape the space-time velocity of my mind and enter the realm of pure mind while still awake. As pleasant as that was it was just another form of dreaming. One night during this time I had one of the jumping dreams again and I remembered an important fact. The jumping always began with running.

I fucking hated running. It seemed like such an animalistic form of narcissism that I had no interest in it. Nonetheless, I began running. A lot. And I kind of liked it. Not at first, of course. At first it was dull and painful and frustrating. The constant movement of cars, bicycles, pedestrians and other runners made the chore seem more like a burden than an exercise in evolving. So I began running outside of town on trails or through woods and other open spaces and soon it began to make sense. It was not just about running. It was about becoming aware of the environment, I had to anticipate each footfall in those rugged terrains and adjust accordingly. Suddenly running became an activity of my mind as much of as my body. I later learned to adapt the techniques to rural situations but the feedback was too much to learn the basics in.

By this point I had really gotten into running. My first step into jumping was developing a sort of rural parkour. Trees and rocks and watersheds provided the perfect places for my growing sport. Like a perfect animal I was able to negotiate the wilds physically beyond the abilities of any other living human I knew of. And from this the jumping just sort of emerged. I soon found myself taking great leaps followed by several more. I was a pouncing machine, like a supernatural big cat, able to leap in greater bounds with each successive one until the treetops themselves were visible to me. I began to become aware of a feeling that accompanied these actions. It was constant deja vu. I always had the sensation that I was just at where I now was. But this was happening every second as if I were experiencing time as a linear progression of loops. Becoming aware of this feeling caused me to concentrate on it to the point where I was soon unable to jump beyond just superior human abilities.

I had an inclination to understand the dynamics of what I had been doing in the woods so I began fumbling through mathematics, biology and other scientific disciplines to understand it. What I was led to believe after much research is that what I had been accomplished was technically impossible because the human brain was not capable of operating the body machinery at optimum enough levels. The basic ingredients for these abilities lied within the machinery but the programming did not allow processing to access memory at a high enough rate to maximize sufficient uses of available energy. Science seemed to suggest, in the end, that humans could not perform these feats because humans could not perform these feats. It was a futile exercise in recursive defeatism.

One day I was sitting around smoking cannabis and decided to try staring at the dial clock on the wall for an entire hour. For the first half an hour it was the most boring fucking thing I had ever done. Slowly it began to become disorientating until the hands of the clock disappeared altogether. Only by thinking about a time would the hands emerge to evidence it. By concentration I became able to move the hands in such a steady pace as to keep time. Or at least keep it steady. I have no idea if my internal sense of time that powered that clock was anywhere close to objective time because at the end of the experiment I fell directly to sleep. Before that, however, I began to sense another form of dissonance in my relation to the clock. If I was controlling the hands of the clock not only was I controlling time but by controlling the relative physical positions of the hand I was also controlling space. Suddenly the clockwork of entire Universe both inside and outside of my mind were perfectly in synch. So much so that I realized they had never been distinct to begin with. I realized that both time and space and all of reality were a product of anticipation and then I just sort of napped out.

When I awoke I went for a run. As I ran I began to anticipate every movement before it happened until my self awareness was such that my anticipation no longer had to be informed by the known physical laws. If I wanted to jump several meters over a few acres of woodland I just created a mental image of the action in which every point across the arc of the jump was anticipated just a moment before my body arrived there, but my anticipation was always formed by new data and new perceptions along the way so that I could make necessary adjustments. I ran all night long into ever more complex maneuvers and jumps into the morning when I think a farmer might have spotted me. I decided to head home.

The walk home was full of many revelations beginning with the realization that I was not tired. Well, I was a bit tired but that was because of how long it had been since I had slept; however I realized my body was not tired. As if it had suffered no indignation at such a workout. I began to wonder that all of my life my body had been made to serve under my limited brain but rarely did my mind have access to it. Now it was as if my body were obeying the mind alone in those intense moments and was therefore not restricted by the physical realities which brain was a constant subject to. Brain and body were necessary to create the conditions in which mind needed to evolve but our consciousness was not to be limited to them once we had mastered that reality. Religion, science and politics had been attempting to master that reality since the dawn of humanity but for the express purpose of controlling it and not for escaping it. To become more than meat we needed new priorities. And fast.

My first priority became then to share this with the world. As I ran at night I began to formulate a plan but then I one night I became aware that I was not alone. At first my mamallian instincts were of fear and paranoia. I could not make out this other thing or being that galloped through the wood with me. Soon this gave way to competiveness as whatever it was seemed to posses skills even far beyond my own. Eventually though it became kind of a dance. We leaped together in what can best be described as melodies and harmonies and as the beauty of that sank in I began to laugh as loud as I ever have; tears streaming down my face at the sheer excitement of it. Through my own laughter I began to hear another voice laughing and I was suddenly overcome with what can be best described as a sense of love the likes of which I had never known. I became overwraught with this to the point that I needed to stop and just let let that moment overcome me. And so I did and when I came to my senses she was sitting there beside me.

“Nice night for a run, no?”

She was beautiful in a sense so deep that it could not be accounted for by physical beauty. She seemed to glow of joy and self-possession and knowledge all of which she radiated as a simple matter of fact of her being.

“Who are you?” I asked.

She laughed. “I am you and you are me and all is one. I thought you had figured that out by now?”

She continued laughing but it was not perverse as in mockery. It was joyful and sharing and inviting so I laughed with her and that kinda answered my question.

“Okay, I get it. But who are you in that other sense.”

“My name is Satori and I am like you. A jumper. It started in your dreams, didn’t it?”

We talked well into the next morning about our experiences. The dreams, the jumping, but most of all the mind. She explained to me that there were others, too. Not everyone jumped. Some flew, some dived and some did things that wouldn’t make sense in the waking world. But they all had one connection. They had started in dreams. She said that humanity had begun to wake up from the limitations of its waking physical reality. That some of us were already beginning to move beyond this plane of existence altogether into another place of pure mind. Like a world of dreams but with distinct seperate consciousnesses interacting of their own free will. Finally she told me that she would likely be going there soon and that I would follow.

“You will have to say goodbye in your own way. Once you are gone it will be as if you never existed or they will concoct some permutation of reality in which you died amongst them. And not all of them will follow. Sadly, most will not. It was necessary for that reality to create an abundance of interacting minds in order to produce those that would be able to progress past them. Many of those entities you call humans will just go on living as they always have until slowly when all of the great minds have evolved past them they will begin to stagnate and regress in that limited reality. I believe you have already seen this happening. It is unlikely that many if any people you know will join us in the new plane on which we will exist. So say goodbye however you wish but just remember that you will either be forgotten or your absence excused by conventional means. Telling them about all of this will not be of any use to them. When it is your time to move on you will meet one like yourself and prepare them for the journey as I have done with you.”

She embraced me in a way that went beyond physical. We temporarily became as one and shared everything we had ever known and I learned more from her what would be happening to me. This embrace seemed to last an eternity and I awoke that afternoon alone in the woods. There was a young man running through the forest. He ran right past me in great leaps and bounds hardly making any noise except the sounds of self satisfaction with his newfound abilities.

I go running every night and watch him without letting him know that I am there. He is progressing fantastically although differently than I did. I hardly belong to the waking world anymore. When I am not running I am sleeping somewhere out of the way living in those dream simulations of where I am heading. I have written this all out many times and then destroyed it. Should anyone ever find this it will seem like a work of madness or fiction. Nonetheless I am compelled to write it if only to understand it myself.

I cannot concentrate anymore. This world, this reality…it is like a stranger to me. It is like the sensation of pressing ones thumb to their finger in heavy gloves as opposed to without them. The young man seems to have come to understand as much of the mystery he is embroiled in as he will on his own. Tonight I shall jump with him.

For what it is worth, I love you and will miss you very much. Even when we become one anothers memories or fictions. If I don’t see you on the other side I hope the end is not too hard on you. It may not be too late for you. We are all children but somewhere along the way we lost our imaginations. If you can recapture that from your dreams you too may just have a chance to grow up with us. So find love of your dreams so you may yet find dreams of your love. Love will bring us all back together to a place where we cannot harm one another and instead act as coauthors of the most beautiful existence we can imagine. Love beckons and now I shall go be with it.

p.s. You are about to bomb yourselves back to sticks and stones. Try not to do that. You are all responsible for that reality. Even children keep their treehouses clean.

We Are Everything

we are everything

Objectivity is the illusion 
That has facilitated our evolution
Singular truth
Is no longer the solution
Subjectivities rapture
Destroys the delusion
Cleanses the spirit
Removes the pollution
A time is coming
A revolution
Of consciousness
And new illusions
You’ll need a key to pass
So remember this saying
I am not a thing
I am everything
I am not the eye that sees all else
But just an eye that sees itself
God is not a thing
We are everything

Advanced Ape

advanced ape

“I have been thinking a lot about dying.” I said

“What, like killing yourself?” Her voice was genuinely concerned but her expression betrayed none of that. She was beautiful when she smiled at him, so he didn’t mind the inconsistency.

“No. Not really. I mean, I think about that but it doesn’t seem like an option. Just that if it happened, it might not be so bad. I just don’t think I belong here anymore. I feel like I am supposed to be moving on, seeing what comes next.”

“What if there is no next? What if this is it?”

“That would be unfortunate considering how well this is turning out. And I do not just mean my bad luck. The whole thing. Everything, everybody; especially everybody.”

“What about me?” For just a second her expression changed to hurt. Rejection.”

“I love you. I thought you already knew that?”

“I do. But I am not real, you know.”

“It doesn’t matter.”


The wings were made of a thin, black, shiny material. Like a child’s cape in a Dracula costume. The structure beneath had been constructed of cheap disposable chop sticks, duct taped together. A harness of kite string was attached so that it could be worn. It was an impossible contraption but he knew it would work if he put it on. Those were the rules. He climbed onto an old metal platform with stairs that had been abandoned by the mobile home it once served. With a mighty push he leaped off and began falling even more rapidly. Just before he hit the ground a wind rustled through and caught beneath the wings lifting him into the air. Looking down he saw their expressions of disbelief and amazement. Smiling smugly he did a few circles around them and slowly came to the ground. They were gone. Folding the wings gently and then placing them gently under his arms, he tried to remember what the tallest building he could possibly get to the roof of was and then began walking towards it.


“You again.” I sputtered half contemptibly and the other half sardonically. I hated it when I showed up like this to bother myself when I was trying to be alone.

“Feeling sorry for yourself again?”

“Maybe. Or maybe I am just feeling sorry for everything and tired of feeling sorry for it.”

“That wouldn’t make sense to anybody else. Why do you insist on being understood and at the same time insisting on flying in circles above everyone.? Tone it down. You have to land sometime. You are drifting away inside that fancy mind you are so proud of. What good will it be if you cannot figure out how to build stairs and a door for others to access it with?” People tended to think I was unduly argumentative and confrontational with them. If only they could see how I talked to myself like this maybe it would make sense. Maybe not.

“I keep trying. But every time I think I have, Universe puts up a shiny new escalator next to it and I stand there watching as they pass by; laughing about things I cannot seem to understand..”

“Maybe you should build the stairway at the top of the escalator?”

“Then Universe would just build another escalator next to that.”

“If you insist.”


Everybody in the house is either away or asleep and he is bored. He wanders through the house exploring and rifling through things while trying not to disturb anyone. His room is in the basement but he has made his way up to the second story floor. In the center of the that top floor there is a closet. Opening it he finds a warehouse of items left behind by past residents. Things that were kept in case their owners should ever return for them or in the case a new occupant might find use for them. He starts at the top pulling things from shelves, then hanging racks and finally ends up on his knees rifling through the stuff on the floor. There is nothing here that he wants. Taking a final look before moving on he notices a small square panel on the far wall. Curious, he pries at it’s edges. It opens revealing a small crawlspace that he just barely manages to squeeze into. Half the crawlspace is a dirty wooden floor covered in what must be centuries of dust and cobwebs and the other detritus of the passing of time in closed forgotten spaces. The other half, however, is a dark opening going straight down. He pulls a cigarette lighter from his pocket to illuminate the empty, darkened space. There are steps attached to the wall but he cannot see anything below. Positioning his body in the cramped space, he manages to adjust himself to make the descent. Climbing slowly at first but not getting anywhere, he picks up his pace. After awhile of not getting anywhere he slows back down and drained of his curiosity and bored with this jumps from the steps and plunges…


“Are you feeling any better tonight? Or are you still contemplating the Great Beyond?” I try to imagine her not like this but like her real self. Dirty, sick, angry. Petty, childish, self-absorbed. She must be those things from time to time, but I have never seen it. Maybe it is for the best.

“I am not feeling anything tonight. I thought that might be nice for a change.” I lie.

“You lie. You cannot do that. That is part of your problem. You never turn it off. Of course, it also makes you endlessly fascinating. Fascinating and terrifying. Its like a haunted house, isn’t it? Despite the fact that it is frightening people line up to get inside. Yet nobody wants to live in a haunted house.”

“There doesn’t seem to be that many people in line. In fact, most of the time it is just me standing there in a silly costume and a bullhorn which I often find myself yelling into the wrong end of.” I am proud of this answer but I am a bit dazed as she is not usually this metaphorical with me. She has been showing up less often and I try to convince myself that it is probably for the best. There is a soft melody and I realize she is singing. I cannot make out what she is singing but I become so transfixed by it that I do not even notice when she stops until she speaks again which may have been seconds or eternities later for all I can tell.

“Do you know why I am here?” she asks.

“Probably because you don’t know any better.”

“Yet I am not really here, am I?”

“Obviously. But that is because I don’t know any better.”


He is not there. There are things happening. Events. People. Nouns, verbs, adjectives and the whole shebang; but he is not there. Time passes. Things progress, sometimes jumping from one scene to the next. Seamless and seemingless. None of it appears to matter but he cannot stop paying attention because he is not there and he cannot remember this ever happening before. Or maybe it is because he has no choice since he is not there to control himself. There is more of it and he wants very much to enjoy it, or even despise it; but he is not there.

He is in a new place far away. He has just moved there but he cannot remember why. There used to be something here, or at least near here, that he wanted. Whatever it was he either cannot remember it or it is not here now. It occurs that either way it really does not make any difference, the results are the same. Like every time before he finds a job and makes friends and explores the differences between all of the other places he has ever been. Those differences have begun to seem less pronounced and this time there is almost none of it at all. It is always the same no matter where he goes because he is always the same. He cannot objectively observe his own growth. He has become the forest which cannot see itself through the trees. The forest, he thinks, would be a nice place to live next.


“Who are you?” I demand, trying to be brusque and in charge of this apparition.

“Does that really matter? Do you even care? You never seem to stop running away in that head of yours, so why should it matter where or who you run to?” I once saw a picture that was supposed to represent what the average human being would look like. This is as close as I can come to describing this androgynous, amorphous illusion. The voice is much the same.

“Alright, fair enough. What, then, do you want?”

“To ask you that very same question. What do you want?” Its eyes bury me in a corner where I cannot escape. I remain silent and those eyes remain vigilant. They are not really eyes, though. They are not really a ‘they’. It is a mirror in a pitch black room that may or may not exist when nobody is around to turn the lights on and look into it. Whatever it is, I cannot escape it. “What do you want?”

“I want to turn the light off.” As I say this I know that I cannot, ever, turn the light off. I can close my eyes and pretend that it does not exist but always there will be bits of it seeping into the corners of my eyes where the shades no longer cover. “I want it to be fair.”

“Then you are a child.”

“Then I want it to be easy.”

“Then you are a fool.”

“Then I want it to be meaningful.”

“Then you are an ape.”

I laugh. It laughs. Everything laughs. Or is everything laughter? For a moment I think that it must be the latter. If everything is laughter, what of the sorrow? How is sorrow if everything is laughter? Now everything is sorrow. Even the laughter is sorrow and I ask myself if this is paradox or irony. Now everything is paradox and irony simultaneously. This thought makes me laugh and once again everything is laughter.

“You could do that for forever, you know.” It quips.

“Because I am just an ape?”

“No, in spite of that.”

Silence. Darkness. Nothingness. At its center a small point of light appears. It grows slowly at first then exponentially faster until there is no more more darkness and only light. The light collapses suddenly and there is only darkness. Once again the pinpoint of light appears. Expand. Collapse. The process repeats itself, each time more rapidly than the last until the process becomes non-linear and simultaneous. Infinite. The vision gives way to a gnawing sense of hunger and curiosity. They are at odds. The hunger wants to consume the curiosity but the curiosity cannot allow itself to be consumed, less it may never understand the hunger. It is like an ontological knife fight in a cosmic alley with opponents matched so evenly in skill and determination that it can never end.

“What if I do not want to be an ape?” I try to sound confident and confrontational so that it knows that I am in control, even though we can both see clearly through the falsehood.

“Then you must advance.”

“Can’t I just quit? Seems a helluva lot easier if you ask me. I grow tired of being a mind attached to meat. The meat asks so much of me that it makes itself a prison. My mind can see far beyond the bars but the meat cannot slip through the narrow openings. Just how do you recommend I advance under such conditions?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t do it.” It is gone.


He knows that he is dreaming. He can control the dreams but he cannot escape them. Occasionally he tries and just finds himself slipping through recursive layers of his subconscious mind. It becomes disorientating and so he just gives in and wanders into the next dream. He sees himself climbing up a platform with crude childish wings attached to his back. She is there watching the other him. He walks up next to her and asks her what he is doing.

“He is trying to advance.” Her smile is like a mirror catching the light of infinite stars. If he closes his eyes or turns away she will disappear. Afraid to blink he takes turns closing only one eye at a time while opening the other. Each one is a setting sun, or a rising sun; depending on the light she reflects back to its source.

“You are not real.” I whisper, afraid speaking will make me blink.

“Yes and no. I exist and I do not. I wear many faces but none of them are mine. You have created and destroyed me countless times. I am always the same and always different. Only one underlying truth remains. I am your desire and you try fulfill me with whatever you can find but if you look more closely you will see a you-shaped hole where none of these ideas fit. None of them can ever fit. Instead of plugging the hole with the next closest shape, as you have been wont to do, you need to move on.”

“You mean end it?” I ask, unable to hide the fear.

“No, I mean to advance. The hole you try to fill is not a gap to be covered over but a door through only which you may pass. To advance you must pass beyond that which you have formerly tried to fill with self-pity, fear and sorrow or by shoving others in front of to give yourself an excuse not to pass through.”

“Then how can I pass through? How can I advance? What is the secret?”

“There is no secret. There is nothing hidden. To advance one does not find what was lost or hidden. To advance one must create that other place. The past is a pastiche of different perspectives from the present but the future does not exist. It is not written. It is not etched in words or memory and has no blueprint in what has come before it. To advance you simply start putting one new idea in front of the other and stop worrying about who is following you or who is by your side. If you get the knack for it you will advance without ever knowing it and lay a path on which no other may follow. However, they can learn from it. They can be emboldened to lay their own paths of advancement.” she pauses and smiles at me again.

“Do not be surprised that many will or can not do that. Like you they started out as apes and had no idea where they were going. In fact by way of concluding that they had already arrived most of them insured their destinies had no destination at all. There is a reason you are here and only you know what that reason was. In arriving it has been forgotten so it will be necessary for you to recreate it.” Suddenly, she is gone.


I sit at the keyboard hoping she will come back soon. I know she will. But the next time I will give her a new face and not reconfigure her from the forms of other faces I have already met or created. I will give her every imaginable form possible and I will not stop until I must, if that becomes the case. While the other apes try to shove their visions of her into their own ape-shaped holes I will pass through my own with infinite capacity to create her in whatever carrot-on-a-string shape I can imagine to keep me moving on; because I am an Advanced Ape.