Tuesday, June 30, 2009


It is hysterical to me that conversations about intelligence can be had with a straight face. There is an abyss there, a place that exist beyond our own human-centric notions and needs, and somehow we are completely blind to it. We run around on a plateau with our eyes shut. One day we will drop over the edge and that will be that. That is what comes of running around blindfolded on a plateau, it’s like a game of Russian roulette, you can be okay for a maximum of five rounds before oblivion snakes its hand around your ankles and pulls you into the darkness. We are only just barely beginning to understand the workings of the human mind, and even in these studies, there is little hope of finding an objective truth. The assumptions that are made at the beginning of any undertaking have direct bearing on the results that such an undertaking will yield. The beginning is also the end.
Where we start determines where we will end. And we as human beings begin all undertakings from the point of view of a human being: can we eat it, can we wear it, can we fuck it, will it cause us to experience emotional well being, or a more comfortable material existence? Will it perpetuate the species, or advance our treasured ideals? We are only interested in ourselves. We assume that we are the crown of creation, the best direction that evolution could have taken.
And what if this is not the only world in which life thrives? What if this is just one direction that evolution may take when restrained within a certain set of conditions? Not the best, or the most unique, or the most special, just one of many?
So much of what we think is colored by the idea that there was a supreme maker and that we were the best that he could do. Let’s suppose that we accept that our ideas about a supreme maker are all egotistical fancies, stories that any schizophrenic would tell themselves, or any available listener, to justify that alluring suspicion that they are special. We want to be special. We have created a mythos or two to give credence to our specialness.
Each individual human wants to be the best, the most adored, and these desires that color our most personal impressions of the world around us also worm their way into the expressions of the collective. The village, the state, the nation, the race, the species….mine must be the best. My existence is justified by my righteousness, my righteousness is justified by the existence of a creator whose existence is implied by my own. Everything that I come up with that originates from my humanity ends with my humanity. It is an endless feedback loop.
It is hell.
It is life as a human animal.
We may ask: what is intelligence?
In the case of humans, Intelligence is a process of evaluating information based on currency and relevance to the human intelligence rather than on detail or accuracy. Our intelligence is self centered, self serving. Our intelligence is the ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience. We are all about profiting ourselves.
But suppose that we are just one direction that evolution may take under certain conditions. Suppose that different conditions dictate different forms of intelligent life. The values that arise from that other evolutionary process would be different from our own. What is important and useful in material, and intellectual and even emotional terms, to one system is not shared by all systems.
Sometimes the interaction between a pair of intelligent systems is profitable for both systems. Sometimes it can profit only one and not the other, and at other times it may be neither harmful nor beneficial to either system. Not in any obvious way. Given that situation, how then would we measure intelligence? How would we define it?

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Friday, June 26, 2009


In the times before time had grown into a solid beast lurching blindly in a single direction, people began to be formed. The people were made out of music and, as soon as they danced and writhed and howled, they were expelled from the time before time because it is as natural to enter the time beast now and again as it is to sneeze after smelling pepper. Like a yawn which stops the heart, the people become locked in the time beast and they walked and hunted. They felt cold and hunger, desire and jealousy, strength and fatigue. Then, locked inside the time beast’s belly, they lit fires to warm themselves and they killed flying things and other walking things and ate their meat.
When their most immediate needs were met, they considered their situation and wondered how they might escape the time beast. Sitting by the fires, dreaming and cleaning bones with their teeth, they pondered their existence. They wanted to ask one another; what had happened? When did they become people who walked and hunted? How had they become so small that they could bleed and feel tired?
While they wondered, they worked the earth in their finger tips and made little figures. They traced pictures in the sand and on the walls of the time beast, wondering, imagining, trying to remember who and what they were. The wondering welled up in their hearts and they opened their mouths to let it fly out and it made a sound.
They found that they could make many sounds. They could scream and chant and murmur and whisper and hum. And when they did this together, they felt big again, together again. Sitting by the fires, humming and loving one another until a sing song of moans became silence and the silence became pained screams and the pained screams became the wailing of tiny new people, they carved the bones of the other ones who walked and the other ones who flew into whistles and flutes and pulled their skins taut to make drums. That was how the people began to make the music.
When they made the little music they could hear the big music; the ancient grandfather of the little music that they made. The grandfather came into the belly of the time beast and made bubbles of no time where the people danced and moved as they had before being swallowed. They wriggled and twisted and rolled and moved in the bubble until the time beast burped and set them back to growing older and weaker. For a while they might feel too tired and weak to call the grandfather back. For a while they would rest and practice with their bone flutes and skin drums and hum quietly as they dozed. Then, when the wonder welled up within them again, they would make the music again, invoking the big music with their little music, and when the grandfather was invoked, they were once again as they had always been; they were the music that made the people who made the music.
They were the father who was the son who was the father, the snake that had swallowed its own tail, a circle with no beginning and no end. They were the formed and the unformed, the made and the unmade, something and nothing locked together in a needful embrace. And then, before too long, they would fall out of eternity and find themselves in the belly of the time beast. Then they would toil again; walking and hunting. Then, when the bellies were filled and the flesh was warmed, they would rest. And as they rested, they could wonder again…

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Dreams of Monsters

What could I tell you if I could remember no dreams? I’d have no tongue to wiggity wag because I’d not remember this here fantasy where I dream of dreams forged from words. They say that it is most restful to sleep beneath three feet of ice nestled within two down sleeping bags with a wool cap clapped over your head and a little air hole dug through the snow, just snoozing away in the ice mother’s belly. They say that all the action of sleep happens during the REM cycle, all the Freudian fun that allows you to wake up and say,
“ I dreamed I drank a chocolate shake through a straw.”
But the psychologists and dream analysts know that what you were really dreaming about was fucking your father. You only remember it as drinking a chocolate shake because the brain makes things right for us when we wake up, makes it so that we can feel like a healthy drone and not some deranged maniac. There is however another cycle where the very deepest of sleep occurs and to catch these elusive z’s, they say that the best place is beneath snow or in a Turkish cave or on a whaling ship with no heat and just a thin blanket between you and the North Atlantic chill. So they say. They say that the dreamless sleep is the most restful, and who am I to disagree?
I have seen the light that burns in the darkness, the light from nowhere that burns behind closed eyelids and comes with the hum and buzz of the eternal. If you listen to it deeply you will evaporate completely, so you resist as often as you can, being identified with this dream of mortality, this dream of ATM machines and airplanes and dish washers and pop stars. But if you were to give in, to let go, then what would you be? Nothing you could talk about here, where if you told them that you saw great monsters of light shifting and changing shape in an electric light parade jungle to a music that needs no ears to pander to, well then, they would just say that you had been dreaming about fucking your mother. (And maybe that’s exactly what you would be doing.)
Or if you could tell of the time that you were a giant with purple gray tendrils rising from your crown and your body was interlocked with that mysterious other and you sang songs with the voice of a pipe organ, songs that turned purple and black and neon green and glowed through the infinite darkness, then wouldn’t they just say that it was a dream about replacing your mother so that you could be with your father?
But what, what if that was not the dream. What if that pipe organ song is the reality, the dream weaving machine, the stone dropped into a pond that makes all the little ripples that we think are the real world. What if having a mother and a father is only the dream of a mushroom headed God that comes from many and none and returns to many and none.
How could you remember this truth in the middle of dreaming that you must make it to work on time and your children must be picked up from school on time but a woman in the train station won’t help you with your ticket and you are stuck there for much longer than you would like? Is there any way to describe the translucent limb extending through space time that suddenly got crimped and caused this nightmare to be my life?
Me, a tiny pin drop of light. A partial opening in the eyelid of a titan who gently sleeps, twitching tortured through the rapid eye movement cycle of slumber, invisible limbs quaking, metropolises plunging into the sea, planets melting, civilizations crumbling, and new stars bursting into brightness to warm little clay marbles on a black tablecloth under which a wild black dog sits snarling, insisting you stay on the table spinning and rolling, for the truth of what you are is too monstrous, too mammoth to be explained to a little pin head of dream stuff like you. Your story, your life, your play on the stage of the Goliath mind will come to a close, and you cannot begin to understand what you are or what moves you, you can only be shoved across the board like a chess piece moved by a sparkling effervescent tentacle that wants to forget what it is and rest for a minute in your strange strife.
The grass is always greener on the other side.
The grass is always greener on the other side.
The grass is always greener on the other side…
So monsters dream of being human, and humans dream of fleeing or being monsters. If I were not a dream thing I could not speak these words, for the thing that sleeps has no tongue, no eyes, no ears, and wrestles with an eternity of stillness. I am made to do the things that it cannot do for itself. I am made to do the things it can only dream of.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Wish In Five Minutes

With five minutes what can I do? I do what? Five minutes? I do five minutes. What? I can. What I can do: five minutes. Five minutes of my time which will eventually become five minutes of your time. Your time. If you were born in 1981 then this is our time. OUR TIME. I am not a Goonie and I want to go home, you say. But there is no going home. I know that. Home will be different, home will be gone. Home will be a golf course or a desert. We are here, in the underworld with the slimy skeletons of dead pirates and the shiny coins thrown down a well by many starry eyed wishers. We are swimming with the wishes and the fishes down below the feet of the walking dead, the ones above ground. And I tell you that this is OUR TIME! We can do something now. In our time. Our moment. Our adventure. A chance to live for a moment, like a moth drawn in to peril by the exciting glowing filaments of a light bulb. It is the electricity that draws us into this peril. You wish to escape peril. You wish to go home. But home is gone and this wish that you made, it’s right here, with my wish and all the other wishes that sleep with the fishes now that they are dead dull copper dreams with the face of Abe Lincoln stamped on one side. Now I can hold it in my hand. I take mine back, because it didn’t come true, and now that I have it again, I will be the one to carry out my wish. I’m my own coin now, you see. I am the currency with which dreams are bought and lost and stolen and smashed. I am a coin that keeps turning up. Lucky for some, unlucky for others. Now I won’t get tossed. No heads no tails. No tales to tells. I am that I am. This is what I do with five. With five alive I sing and strive and dive and dive deeper into cavern sweeter where pale fishes swim with tails of silver and gold, swish swishing in dark pools. This my proof that I do yet live, for dead men tell no tales, and I more than tell them, I sprout them from my rear side and watch them wiggle and squiggle and slip and slide. The trick with a tail is not to let it fall off, which it wants to do, but send it back up and around on the figure eight for snakes merry go round. But you must not let snakes get stuck in your head. Then your looks can kill doll, turning all your company to stone with fright. Then they wont call you doll, doll, they won’t call you at all and behind your back they’ll say “beastie”. Then what can you do? You call it, Heads or Tails? But I say I wont get tossed. Naw Naw. I’ll hold it this time, cause this time is my time. OUR TIME. No time like the right time. Left or right. Up or down. In or out. I wont get tossed. I am not this I am not that. That’s what I can do. There is what a man can do and what he can’t. I can do it all, being from no man born. I’m a creature of the NOW. The mammas and the papas wave their fingers at me and say, "Now, now!" I let their fingers wag. They wag since I’m getting out of hand. I’m slipping out of hand since those finger won’t quit wagging. Wagon at the Dwagon. But the dwagon pulls the wagon. Pulls the wagon in five. In five minutes my time, Earth time. Earth, Air, Fire, and Water time. This is my wish. This one right here. And you know what? I’m taking it back, because it didn’t come true. Because now it’s our time. And with our time we can make wishes real.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Chewing The Moral Fibers

What if my father had not despised chewing gum so? He said to me when I was a child that chewing gum was despicable and that all chewers of gum should be executed. I liked gum. Perhaps if he had not said this, then maybe I would have agreed with him that Niggers and Jews should also be lined up against the wall. I might have swallowed hook line and sinker the notion that there was a world wide conspiracy in progress being orchestrated by sixty rich families that would stop at nothing short of a bloody revolution resulting in the destruction of their lineages. I may have accepted without question that the human race was created by a more advanced civilization of beings to provide a work force that would mine the gold which they needed to power their space craft. But he pushed me over the edge with the chewing gum issue. This was the first matter on which I was willing to disagree with my father, the first thing which made me feel that it was okay to defy him. I wanted to chew gum. I did chew gum. I did this despicable thing and nothing happened. The righteousness of the world did not come slamming down upon me like a dump truck full of text books. My father did not shoot me in the back of the head. He did not even ground me. He only shook his finger at me and said,
"I better not find that on the floor or anywhere else but in the trash can."
Maybe once or twice he did find it on the floor, but as it was not clear whether it had been my error or my sister’s (not clear to even my sister and I, or, at least on my end, I truly believed I was innocent and believed her when she said that she was) nobody could be punished and life went right on ticking. I chewed it and I REACHED INTO MY MOUTH WITH MY FINGERS AND PULLED ON IT TO WATCH IT STRETCH FROM MY TEETH FAR OUT BEFORE MY EYES, THEN STUFFED IT BACK IN MY MOUTH AND CHEWED SOME MORE. I was told not to do this, but I wanted to, so I continued to chomp and smack away and even learned to blow bubbles that would burst and cling to my face as a sticky pink film and sometimes it even made its way into my hair and had to be cut out.
But I was not executed, nor were the scores of other children I was aquatinted with who were as despicable as me in their gum chewing habits. We continued to exist. And because my father had been so extreme and severe in the way he spoke about chewing gum, it seemed likely that anything else that he said might be equally ludicrous. I could probably marry or even just fuck a black man today (even though I was passionately warned against it), and send our smiling photo to my parents in an email headed, “Me and My man Jamal at Golden Gate Park”, and still suffer no consequence. My Dad probably would not disown or kill me or Jamal (though he promised that he would when I was seven). He would probably even let him into the house on Thanksgiving. He might even play computer games with him, Jamal could be an Orc and my Dad an Elf and they would go on missions together and play for hours and life would go on. We couldn’t listen to rap music while we visited without my fathers head exploding and sending his crunchy brain matter flying through the room as if a bag of pork rinds or Funions had burst, in which case there would at last be a tragic fatality and we’d have to sweep up the mess. But the criminal (me) would go on listening to devil music with Jews and Negroes while chewing gum and buying the things that keep the rich getting richer behind those imposing locked doors in tall dark towers far from sight. Being as extreme as they were, my father’s words burned a hole right through my psyche, a hole through which all manner of things is capable of passing without causing me to shout,
"Off with their fucking heads!"
A hole deeper and darker than Alice’s, with tunnels which branch off into Wonderlands of every kind and color, where every wrong lives with every right and they exchange hats like teenage girls trading bangles. An infinite network of possibilities that would be closed to me if my father had bought me chewing gum at the Nickel And Dime and patted by blonde pig tails.

Labels: , , , ,