With Or Without You
Oh, how many times have you been caught thinking, “I wish I’d never been born?” It’s like the motto of the civilised peon when confronted with their inevitable slavery, so cunning in its artifice that the chains are mere smoke and mirrors, a world of bread and circuses filled with sound and colour all signifying nothing as they clamour for some sense of meaning.
And just what is that, I hear you ask? Nay, beseech! So throw open thine ears dear sinners, for a quick look in the mirror tells me that you know, that you understand, even if it is deep down underneath the veneer of personality that you believe is you. After all, you are the mere spectacle of personality playing out like a shadow on the puppeteer’s canvas, are you not?
No no no, dear Crow, I hear you cry, I am no mere robot, no mere simulcra of personhood but a thinking, feeling being, unique amongst billions of mortals.
And after all, a robot would just get up each day and do that same thing over and over, wouldn’t it? Like insanity, it arises with a surge of espresso voltage and it pantomimes through the rigorous daily motions without meaning or purpose.
Yet when you look in the mirror as you brush your teeth and think about the day, the working day that will be similar to yesterdays and the day befores, you can be certain that there must be meaning, there must be purpose. In all the possible realities that could have been, yours is the life that was granted to you…..
“What’s that?” I hear the cry! The heaven’s open and a deluge descends, a pattering of softly thudding rotten vegetables descending like multi-hued hail. Oh, do not shoot the messenger! I was not born to arrogance, merely practiced it well in the shadow of your soul’s light!
Yes yes, I hear the rancour in your cries as you wrinkle your nose at my underhandedness: “Oh, how unfair you are Crow!” Verily, how can any compete with the reality of such false narratives when we all know the world is a complicated onion of meaning and purpose, a society of spectacles that intersect our little bubbles of reality where they glide into one another through the medium of online media…..
Where we are nothing more than echo chambers to our own conceit.
Yes, even I fall victim to my own mind, stabbing myself and cutting away like a sacrificial victim until I peel the skin of perception back and wonder at the raw flesh exposed to a new reality.
“And what reality shall we pretend is real today, dear Crow?”
Shall we pretend that the Cosmos may grant gifts of fairness upon the masses? Shrug if you must, but as you wonder at the life you are given, and it’s apparent lack of justice, harmony and common sense, you must embrace the concrete – YOU were chosen, YOU were given a life.
So what more could you want? Check your privilege humanity!
Don’t sit there in the doldrums and complain, for this really is a special place despite the way the darkness might settle on the land. You are here, and you should relish it as such because, if one were to pick apart the cloying bullshit of quantum physics, you might very soon conclude that you were never really here in the first place!
“But Crow, here I am?” I hear you say.
I? Is the “I” not a construct of the shared reality that you inhabit? One I for how you see yourself, one I for how others see you, and one I for how you might really be. The three I’s of perception that has granted you the misguided belief that in the intersectionality of perceptions you are somehow an event in the Here & Now™, and that’s where you’re going to stay, not delving into some prosaic and mystical origin of time and space, the beginning place that’s nothing more than a pretence of nostalgia looked at through a kaleidoscope of “peak reality”.
It shifts in broken beauty that has nothing to do with truth.
And you wonder what it might be like to let it go? Like a balloon, rising, rising….. what will happen if you let go? How far is it to fall?
I too was once like you: mortal, dependable, stricken with a burden of purpose and meaning. I had a past and an identity, until I was driven forth from the incestuous comfort of belonging. Nor was it as simple as a commitment to something as disingenuous as truth, for what is truth but the footfalls of the Fool beyond the moment when he takes his first step?
“Ah, Crow,” you said, “Does the first step not crossed the world?”
Spare me. I’ve heard it before….. somewhere.
Would that we could all stand atop the mountain, with one foot outstretched and ready to plunge into the canyons of enlightenment, eh? For what did you find at the peak? Just empty air, while down there in the layers of soil and rock is etched the very crystallisation of history.
Your foot sinks into the rich soil of the past, marks it and thus is your position within the world noted for the millennia to come, yet you will not be present to see the lasting effect of this moment. It is like a coalescing butterfly flap that churns the world to chaos, but you will be gone.
But at least you have your hindsight, a short kind of memory that a mortal has for events of one lifetime which makes it seem like it was all so many golden days, those halcyon moments untarnished by anything like the affliction of personal responsibility that you’ve now burdened yourself with.
So you wonder to yourself if it would have made much difference if you’d never been there in the first place? You can flip the switch, like a light bulb or an electric chair, and bright illumination springs to mind as you wonder what makes you hold to the past so dear. I see it in your eyes, that you believe that you possess it. That in itself is the laughable notion. The past belongs to no one, is subject to only the distortions of the present. It wasn’t how it looks, it didn’t feel like it does now. Was it really more intense? Did it have less context?
But you were never really there, were you?
And of course you tell yourself that without it you wont be something, that you wont be you if you sacrifice that splinter of history caught under your finger nail, that you won’t be that special you who thinks and feels and is the eye of the storm. Ha! Special. Is that what you think you are? Oh indeed! The individual, the keystone of everything, the one, the neo, the one….. over and over we tumble into our own minds, a maelstrom of champagne bubbles popping to no purpose beyond God’s hilarity.
Why is it that only hilarity ensues when you claim that you matter?
Excuse me while I puke, for I seem to be a little dizzy, a little light headed……
Get a grip. This isn’t just an exercise in getting the fuck over yourself. You might think that you’ve cracked the whole “you can make it if you try stuff”. But when you’re licking the icing off the top of the cake, are you reall just licking the boot that stamps on a human face over and over, forever.
How does it taste?
“Why do you even pretend to care, dear Crow?”
Hahaha! Why? Is it possible that you have conceived of the pin prick? The needle that is about to pierce the bubble of your reality? I poke not for my own pleasureat your discomfort! Think now upon the very notion of how many universes exist without you, without your footprints in their history, without your bubble floating in their spheres!
Just how many discarded realities have you already created? How many decisions that lead to nothing, to no one, to the simple and inevitable conclusion that you perished in ignominy, that you were turned to mincemeat by the gears of a combine harvester, that you were incinerated in a freak case of spontaneous human combustion, that you mysteriously vanished while hiking through the snow laden mountain passes? Or perhaps you were the chief executioner in a fascist state who was lynched when the filthy peasant masses rose up in glorious revolution?
Or perhaps you simply fell and banged your head.
Aye, how many times a day did that happened? How many realities did you create because you perished, and how many more because you were never really there? That’s right! There are potentially limitless realities in which you died, but even more prescient are the almost infinite number of realities where you never even came into being in the first place.
I suppose that might be a comfort to some, to those who didn’t want to live in a reality where they were best friends with Tony Blair.
Or Robert Mugabe.
Or Vladimir Putin.
Yet amid the cacophony of white noise that permeates these thoughts there is a little boat of solace that floats on the ocean of chaotic interference. A thought asks “what is it not to exist?” It is not pain, it is not pleasure, it is not knowing. It is simple…. not.
So, allow me to give you the ol’ sly wink as I scratch my back side. It’s really nothing to get worried about. The universe is, after all, a big place and even the realities in which your life plays out don’t amount to much more than the tinniest of farts in an oceanic jacuzzi of cosmic dimensions.
I’m not unsympathetic, it’s just that the whole notion is absurdist comedy; what matters? What import anything? Is it hard to find purpose and meaning? I don’t care. Who knows? I might even throw you a bone. Here it comes! Are you ready? Just think, if there is a reality in which you never existed, then perhaps there is a reality in which you always exist. Maybe you are the Platonic archetype of all your other selves, the bow that breaks the wave-front of existence and all others follow in your footsteps, perhaps you could be made immortal by science and medicine, or maybe the sum of your thoughts and feelings will be preserved when they are uploaded into a permanent machine body or turned into a sentient cloud of nanites…..
Maybe you never age beyond the best years of your life and you live in that tiny percentage of realities where humanity survives until the end of time itself……
And as the serpent eats its own tail, you have to wonder if this is that reality, or if it is perhaps a reality close to you. How far away immortality in an infinite sea of realities? How far away the good life? How far away a reality where history passed by without you making any difference whatsoever?
A reality where you were never really here in the first place……
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