Saturday, March 30, 2013

11 Twenty-Nineth Beginning (Nanowrimo 2007) Organizing Aunt Sheila

[Do not read any part of the Twelfth Beginning as if it were a story or you will be disappointed. In 2007, my strategy for Nanowrimo was to call my efforts 'literary' and go completely non-linear, dumping ideas and references I had collected for years just to get them out of my mind and off of my desk.]

[ . . . Continuing the discussion as Barbara helps her Aunt Sheila to organize.]

Speaking of which, you should add zwyzzyr to the list.   It’s another word I made up.  Unless you think that visions come from outside of the brain, in which case, the gods told me. 

Spell it.

Z W Y Z Z Y R.  It’s the humor that underlies and is the basis of the universe.  There are kites involved.  It was a really short vision, but, as visions are wont to do, it packed a lot of back-story into the split second in which it occurred.

Okay.  I’m starting a category of words you’ve made up.  That last one gets a keyword of vision.  Have you had other visions.

Four all together.  The first happened when I was about twelve and I interpreted it in a Christian way, mostly.  There was no verbal component and no claims of dogma.  Not like when Jesus told Mom to drop.  I’ll explain that one later.  I’m in too good a mood to talk about my Mother.

These are going into Primatology, brain, visions.

Good.  One, later, was just a feeling that the universe was telling me that everything would come out all right.  I was wracked with a headache and was behind on just about everything, bills included.  It was kind of nice.  I didn’t believe a non-word of it, but that didn’t matter.  It was comforting.  I didn’t have to believe in it logically.  I could tell that enough of my mind believed it irrationally to let it make me feel better, so I just let it.

That was tangled.  Give me a minute.

Okay, what was the last one.

The last was a sudden, overarching realization that when I died there would be nothing of me left.  That memory and personality iss created by the brain and when it went, everything would go.



That’s such a downer, what did you do.

I mentally told myself to cut it out.  “I don’t need this now:” I said to myself.  I’m delivering these pizzas and I need to find the apartment number here on this dirty, half-lit landing.  I had to go back up and down a few more flights, but I eventually worked out that the number I wanted was missing from the door and it had to be this door by elimination.

So I delivered it, made change, and hustled to get the other two in the car delivered on time.

This happened while you were delivering pizza?

Yup.  And I needed the bonus money from getting high numbers delivered, so I didn’t have any time that night to think it over.  By the end of the night, I had decided that it was probably right, but that it was a conclusion that I had come to myself and no more true than any other conclusion.  And even if it was true, there was no point in worrying over it.

Later, I was kind of amused to have a vision of no afterlife to theoretically put up against other peoples “And then God told me. . . “

Barbara half smiled.  I guess that is ironic.  A vision that there are no visions, sort of.

Exactly.  I never thought of it from quite that angle, but you’re spot on.

Thank you.

I hope it’s not going to bother you.

Maybe later.  If I’m having trouble falling asleep.

Yes, that’s when the “I’m going to die some day” bug starts to bite.  Oddly enough, I’ve found that the bug bites more often if I’m not happy with my life than if I am.  So the surest way to keep it away is to figure out what I want to do and then find a way to do at least part of it.

Another, possibly two-thirds smile.  I’ll try making lists of things to keep it away.

My lists are my life!  Sheila held up an imaginary notebook, brandishing it as a vampire hunter would brandish a cross.

Barbara fully smiled.

Back to the lists.  "Gort, Klaatu barada nikto,"

That’s from an old, classic sci fi movie.  I think it was titled The Day the Earth Stood Still, but we’d better check that.  Gort was the name of the robot that came with the alien.  Gort was programmed to attack if the alien was injured.  The alien made friends with a woman and told her that command.  If he was injured, that command would keep the robot from attacking.

And of course she had to use it, and of course she almost used it too late.

Yes.  Narrative imperative.  It was also used in that campy fantasy movie with the guy with the shotgun who called it a boomstick.  Not Sean of the Dead.

Army of Darkness.  I loved that.  He doesn’t write down the invocation and forgets the last word – then tries to fake it with coughs and mumbles.  It was a cool movie. 

Yes, it was.  I’m not remembering a lot of it, now, so it may be a good time to see it again.  At least for me.

Yes.  We should get netflix.

You can explain what that is when we’ve got everything into the box, there.  Not everything explained, just everything in.

We’re getting closer than you know.

Have you been out to the sheds.


Then maybe not.

Damn.  (eyes up through the hair to check – no reaction)  ((cool))

Okay, I’m going to read this out.  It’s going under Primatology, religion.  And I don’t need a comment from you unless you want to give it.  But I think it’s cool and I want to read it now.

Sheila nodded, then leaned back with her eyes closed.

“I have a theory that there are three types of sin. 

There is the sin against your church/religion's authority - a Meta sin.

There is the sin that is pointless or patently stupid, so that anyone who will bother going to the pains of avoiding it is obviously a member of Our Tribe - a Shibboleth sin

Then there is what I think of as a Meat Sin.  The Meat Sin is defined by a square with a cross drawn in it, making two axes.  One axis is the benefits self vs benefits community axis.  The other axis is the short term benefit vs long term benefit axis.

Any behavior can be plotted as a point which will fall into one of four quadrants.  Behavior that falls in the short term/self quadrant is tempting behavior (call it quadrant one).  Behavior that falls in the long term/community quadrant requires thought, planning, and an act of will (call it quadrant four).

An individual is better off, personally, if they avoid quadrant one.   Acting for their own long term benefit is better in the long run (hence the phrase - long term benefit).  Acting for their community's benefit, either short or long term, will gain friends and support.  Other people are our greatest resource, which makes gaining support good for us, long term.

So it is desirable, from a strictly meat perspective, to shift behavior, especially the behavior of other people, into quadrant four.  It tickles me when religions, which are supposed to be based on the spiritual, end up organizing most of their sins from this meat perspective: toting up lists of good and evil behaviors that come down to lists of quadrant four and quadrant one behaviors. 

To me, Original Sin is the acknowledgement that all humans, heck, all living things, tend to slide into quadrant one behavior.  The Devil is the personification of the slippery slope toward quadrant one.  It's the externalization of the urge to do what you know will not benefit you in the long run, just because it will feel good now.

Original Sin is also the acknowledgement that Life feeds on Life.  Life competes with Life.  No matter how diligently you plan your behavior, you will never be innocent in the original meaning of the word - - doing no harm.  Even plants try to shade out other plants. 

We can never be completely innocent.  Innocent also has an implied meaning, as in innocent bystander, that is - this person should not be harmed.  Like the notion of sacrifice, this implied meaning hinges on a balance.  To the degree that someone is harmless, they should not be harmed.  Since we can never be completely harmless (due to Original Sin/the general facts of Life), we can also never be completely safe.

Anyone craving Complete Safety will not be worthy of it unless a miracle somehow cancels out their deficit of harmlessness.  Only if Someone can magically steal or eat that last bit of unavoidable harmfulness can a person be Completely Safe.

Those of us who can't find the magic to balance the equation must live with knowing that we are not innocent and we are not safe. “

I remember writing that.  I don’t remember it being that smooth.  I was unhappy with it and put it away.

I like it.  I’d like to keyword it blog.

I don’t need a blog to feed, dear.  I have enough that I’m behind on.  And I don’t think it’s long enough to be an essay.

I’d still like to keyword it blog.  That’s a comment on it’s size and style more than a statement of intent.  Although, if I ever start a blog myself, I’ll ask to post it.

You have my permission.  As long as I don’t get quoted directly.  I know a number of Christian persons who would take that as a challenge.

I’ll note that.

Thank you.

No – thank you.

[the conversation will continue still more later - it was a long one]

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