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How Does it Begin? The Big Bang Theory

I’m listening to a podcast on Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World (Professor Professor Glenn S. Holland, Ph.D.Allegheny College)

It’s a propos because I just heard that the job I’ve worked at for the last 11 years, the Big Bang Theory is winding to a close. As long as there’s life, whenever something ends, something else begins. So the question of how our ancestors three thousand sum odd years ago thought about beginnings — in this case the beginning of everything — has a special resonance for me.

What are new beginnings? We have some sense of what it’s like for the same-old same-old to continue. We wake up and go to the same job. We stop by the coffee place and get the same thing we got yesterday. But what is it for something tobe new?

Our remote ancestors — in Egypt, Palestine, and Mesopatamia — said things can start new in four ways. They are:

1)Making something out of primal matter or chaos. The idea is that before everything there is chaos and confusion — a watery mass in which everything is mixed together. A god takes this primal matter and forms it into something new.

So one way we start something new is we take a look at the chaos we are swimming in and try to order it. This is important, this is not important. This is worth caring about, that is not. Once we clarify where we are for reals — we put aside all the equivocation, all the dishonesty, all the luke-warm water that deserves to be spat out — what we are left with is something cosmic. A cosmos.

So that’s one way to make a new beginning.

2)Killing a chaos-monster and making things out of his corpse.

This is a pretty gruesome one. A pretty Manichean one. We have to imagine we are in a life-or-death struggle with something bad. But maybe we don’t have to imagine it — maybe there are forces, both external and internal — call them demagogues, call them self-delusion, call them what have you — which strive to make it impossible for us to grow. The god in this story kills those forces and then figures out what gave them their energy, and makes something new out of that energy. Another way to begin.

3)Having sex.

Many of our forefathers and foremothers said the universe came from a god or goddess doing IT. And why not? I came from that. So did you. If we want to conceptualize the source of creation, that is a ready analogy.

Love causes us to combine with something that is different with us and issue forth something that is like both of us and also different.

We can make a new beginning like that — by overcoming our fear and letting down our guard and becoming one with something that until we did that, was something other.

4)Speaking reality into existence.

The moment we say something new (as opposed to just playing a tape in our mind of something our bosses or parents or the other kids in the class said, or something from a book or a television show) we make a new world.

I’m not saying these are the only ways to make a day or a conversation or a moment of looking at a human being or an animal or a plant of a sunset new — to make love to it, to speak to it, to kill it and use its energy, to forge its chaos into order. But they are some ways.

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Toys Afraid of Death

When Nell learned to bring her toys to life it was a nice day, but the next day they were all crying because they learned that they would some day die.

“Not for maybe a hundred years.” said Nell to Sam the Bear “And you know you’re finite and you’re not scared of the infinite non-existence that yawned before I created you, so you shouldn’t be so sad!”

But Sam the Bear and Tolliver the Barnacle and the rest wept and would not be comforted.

So Nell made the wonderful Living Bead Necklaces. Each Sixty Beads long, each bead an individual sentient consciousness, but knitted together (twelve the zodiac times five the books of Moshe) making a sixty-fold being, its sensorium braided together, its memory banks separated then flowing together, its values and emotions distinct yet harmonious.

An orchestra!

And then one by one Nell snapped off the beads and chucked them into the Nullizer, annihilating them until she had a race of singleton beads, raw atoms of consciousness.

“There!” said Nell “You’re 59 parts out of sixty dead! That’s…mostly dead! You’re only a little bit alive. How can you now fear death anymore, since more than anything else that is what you are?”

But it was that very last bit that felt important.

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Slaves of God

“The ancient Romans” said Jamilla as she snapped off the tips of the snow peas and placed them in the pan of water “Connected the notion of slavery with those spared from death. The Latin word “servus” is related to “preserve”. After a battle the conquerors by all rights could commit a massacre. But sometimes they didn’t. The spared some of those destined for death and made them slaves. The slave is the one who is saved.”

Jamilla placed the pan on the stove and lit the kindling. Orange flames caressed the bottom of the pan. Tiny bubbles started to form on the edges of the peas.

“Juanitava used to say she would never be a slave. She says she would have committed suicide, rather than be a slave. Do you agree?”

I looked at her brown eyes trying to see if she was kidding me, but she seemed serious. “No. I wouldn’t.”

“I wouldn’t either. So I lost the war. Why should I die too? Existence is the ultimate gift. The greatest gift. Liberty is good, but it’s good to exist.”

I don’t know if she meant that and never did. Years later we met on the field of battle on a distant star in the Ophiuchus system. We had both learned a lot about the complex of insects and computers that created our bodies, the permutations in space time that preserved them, and world-spanning mucelidelic structures that needed to synchronize in order to maintain the splendidly illusory impression of our separate consciousnesses.

Bodies and thoughts in motion, and constantly meeting and remeeting on the field of battle. Maybe that was the phenomenon that in their primitive, rude vocabulary the ancient poets called love.

Ambrose Bierce used to say a marriage was a partenrship of two masters and two slaves, making in entirety two persons.

Jamilla laughed and with a single stroke of her gladius removed my head.

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A Theory of Communicative Action

Why do you even bother saying something if nobody is going to like it or believe it?

Why do I? I’m not sure. Why do you ask?

I think because I worry that I say things that nobody will ever like or believe and then I ask myself — why do I even bother? Maybe there is something wrong with me.

I’m sure there is something wrong with you.

Honestly, that is a little insulting.

I did not mean to hurt your feelings BUT on the other hand I feel like your questions are taking a somewhat challenging tone.

Maybe they are.

But I agree there is something wrong with you.

I agree there is something wrong with me, sometimes. And sometimes I feel as healthy as a freshly washed turgid member!

OK now I really don’t know what we’re talking about.

AND THAT’S MY THEORY OF COMMUNICATIVE ACTION!

I love you Jurgen Habermas! Let’s be BFFs FOREVER AND EVER!

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Mystical Meaning of Shapes

Some people have claimed “Shapes don’t have mystical meanings.”
But I say — “What about a circle? That’s a shape.”
And they say: “Circles don’t have mystical meaning.”
But I say — “Start wherever you are and go exploring in all directions the same amount and what shape do you get? A circle.”
And they say: “I’m not sure that that’s a mystical meaning.”
“But it is a meaning.”
“It is a meaning.”
“A profound meaning that illuminates the nature of your life, exploring all the avenues available to you to exactly the same amount.”
“But I don’t know if it’s a mystical meaning. I don’t know if that’s mystical.”
“That’s true.”

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Christopher Robin

SPOILER ALERT — this essay contains spoilers about the Disney Film “Christopher Robin”

I went to the Disney film Christopher Robin and it was Extremely Offensive.

It has Christopher Robin be an old man who loses the Childlike Wonder of Life and he has to go back to Hundred Acre woods to meet Winnie the Pooh Eeyore and Piglet and Owl to get back the Childlike Wonder.

It has the animals return to Christopher Robin’s world to live among people.

It has Christopher Robin turn out to be a toy himself who teaches an actual Grizzly Bear to get back the Childlike Sense of Wonder.

It has a frame-picture paradox where Winnie the Pooh created Christopher Robin and Christopher Robin created Winnie the Pooh in some sort of timeless eternal present which I found Extremely Offensive.

There was a Really Offensive Part where after death Christopher Robin is greeted by Winnie the Pooh who leads him to a Hundred Acre Wood which is the Afterlife.

There was a horrible part where Eeyore is the body and Tigger is the soul and Christopher Robin is forced to choose between them.

It suggested that Winnie the Pooh was a mental defective which was also Highly Offensive.

It suggested that the animals also had other animals that were Secret Animals who gave them their Childlike Sense of Wonder but this could never be shown in the film.

There were gaps in the film during which people in masks came from behind the screen and made certain Gestures over my head, which I found Highly Offensive.

I had a dream that Winnie the Pooh came home from the theater with me and made certain other offensive gestures and chrissoms of oil on my forehead which were Highly Offensive.

It was a terrible film. It is not something i would want to see again AT ALL

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