HAVE TO HAVE BRIGHTNESS
A lack of time, no peace of mind—
the i in silence recalls the solitude I have learnt.
You cannot, in that sparsest of cells, relax—
you cannot sift right from wrong.
I have listened to the talk of others,
often it is tedious and unenlightening,
but stories always have stories of their own.
Avoid the high and mighty—
for they will dog you with the persistence of poltergeists.
If you are tempted to compare yourself to others—
shush—shut up—shut your bleeding trap—
don’t go listing all the differences you’ve so keenly observed,
you really don’t want to appear bitter or superior,
that’s a lose lose situation that is.
Dazzle. Cast about a light.
Please. Because underground,
where we seem to have to reside,
obscurely and ordinarily,
the only meaningful ambition is illumination.
Of course, the world is full of tricksters—
and they will always be drawn to the bright lights,
to those that shine. No doubt,
they will attempt to rob you blind.
Be a hero—be bright.
If your flame is doused, reignite.
Start a wildfire. Burn the dark to a white ash.
All that time on trial, conducting my own defence—
the pretence, it was wearisome. I wasn’t bright. No.
I couldn’t even dent the darkness of my own thoughts
with a glimmer of something. I hadn’t the imagination
to escape myself, let alone anything else.
I tutored myself in loneliness, you see.
Beyond this expanse of concrete, right here,
where we exist right now, there are children beaming
brighter than the Governor's searchlights (those liars
of light—really, they’re black holes that’ll suck you deeper
into the obscurity of your cell). Those kids,
they are street lamps. We are not,
we are self-condemned. Those kids
are stars in an ever expanding universe.
Now, I try to live peacefully with myself,
in this situation of my own making.
Life is still a confusion, yes.
I light and relight the pinch of light I have inside me—
it might take, you never know.
All I mean to say
is take care.
Try to live brightly.
each daisy chain-translated 5x through 5 unique languages in the form of a poem
THE WISHES OF 9 NOBODIES - The contents of the first 9 Amazon Wishlists
of customers with the username 'Nemo'
5 Google/Bing Translations of Max Ehrmann's poem Desiderata each daisy chain-translated 5x through 5 unique languages
The United States Military Academy at West Point,
New York - March 6, 1974
Everyone is a lending library, a bookshop, an author and a publisher. Each of us purchases and borrows what we need or want. What we take we incorporate into the storytelling of ourselves (the texts we keep on shelves of selves). Everything is fiction. If there were 'non-fiction' we would understand everything, there'd be a handbook to make sense of it. We are stuffed with fiction just as kaleidescopes are myriad with coloured glass. Thought is a linear fiction, its flow is relentless and never branches: it's all that's experienced by each of us, still it is a construct (of our own making ). We experience ourselves like the turning of the pages in a book. We experience everything else as libraries and bookshops. Everything is alien, and we are each aliens. There is no certain purpose. We rely on the veracity of our needs: mutual need being the foundation of societies (there is no definitive mutual need, or we'd be one society bound in its fulfillment). Even the most basic needs of man (water, food, shelter and procreation) are not agreed on. And wants (those tricksy things) will lead us all astray. If we accept that we each know nothing, that everything we believe to be known is a guess (as likely to be wrong as it is to be correct), that everything beyond our individual experience of being is nebulous, then we might be kinder. AM I? CAN I? SHOULD I?
What we refer to as the Physical World (that fiction of our senses) is a forum - we debate and negotiate what we call Life there. All language is physical, of the Physical World. Everything but our own self is physical. Sound is waveform, and light too, et cetera. Our so-called Senses are bodily (there is no evidence to the contrary but our own believe in our own existence, which is more faith than anything). We choose to agree that everything exists. A willful act: is it enough to be deemed 'a certain purpose'? Descartes thought so -
Ac proinde hæc cognitio, ego cogito, ergo sum, est omnium prima & certissima, quæ cuilibet ordine philosophanti occurrat
This proposition, I think, therefore I am, is the first and the most certain which presents itself to whoever conducts his thoughts in order
I think, therefore I am. It follows, I have thought of you (of he, she and it), therefore I can choose to accept you might exist as I do. It seems not to matter if this acceptance is a falicy, if you are an element of my own narrative of being. What I accept is Reality. Yet, WHY IS IT I CANNOT MAKE MY REALITY WHAT I WANT IT TO BE?
Judge Randolph: *Consider yourself
Kaffee: *Colonel Jessep, did you
order the Code Red?*
Judge Randolph: You *don't* have to
Col. Jessep: I'll
Col. Jessep: You want
I thinkI'm entitled to.
Col. Jessep: *You want
Kaffee: *I want
Col. Jessep: *You can't handle the truth!*
Col. Jessep: Son, we live in
a world that haswalls, and those walls have to beguard ed by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You?You, Lt. Weinburg ? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury.You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words asthe backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as apunchline . I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and thenquestions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damnwhat you think you are entitled to
The chicken or the egg? The question or the answer, which comes first? It seems obvious, an orthodoxy - we ask the question and recieve an answer. But this is only true of tests - and all tests (like school exams, medical exams and driving tests) are 'call & response'. You should have the answer to the question before it is asked (exams are often feats of memory, of demonstration). Simply, you cannot answer a question without already possessing an answer (and a wild guess is an answer - an answer is always right or wrong, but right or wrong there is always an answer). Also, answers are plural - everything that is not a correct answer is a wrong answer, and there can be a plethora of correct answers. Questions are always singular - though they tend to occur in strings, one question suggesting another infinitum. So, questions are meaningless as we always have our answer beforehand: and, answers are a haystack of needles. Why should we question then? When questions overwhelm us, over-complicate everything (isn't that the way it feels?). Shouldn't I already possess an answer to that? (And that.) I do. But. It is the composition of that answer into a language, into some communicable form, that hampers my giving it. And, anyway, don't questions and answers exist as tools to help negotiate the choice to accept there's this Universe of things that be beyond our own definite being? If I don't question, accept my own answers (be they right or wrong), my existence continues, right? Well, yes and no (a typical answer). Why do we choose to accept the Physical World? Why do we in doing so choose to believe in the/a Cognitive World (that each thing is/can be experiencing existence as we do - or experiencing an existence in parallel to our own)? It's because we have to. Why? Because there is birth and death.
Okay, let's say there is only what you experience - that everything other is a fiction of your creation - and, in this case, I am talking to myself or, more accurately, I am saying nothing to nobody (I am silence, zero - I am the Oozlum bird flying about in ever decreasing circles until...Pop!)
Then, it is my experience that things I want/have can dissappear and never be regained. Also, things I have never before experienced can appear. I have experienced no control over these two events. If they are a fiction I'm creating, I have no understanding of it, and must accept I (the i in silence) exists beyond something other that is unknowable, the actual author of the story I'm experiencing. If that is the case, then I too am a fiction (not just to you, but of myself) - which is a mode of nonexistence.
Now, in acceptance of the mutuality of existence (we're all in it together) - don't we experience infancy, youth, the whole process of aging. We know that we are born, concieved and incubated inside of women who are our mothers, seeded by men who are our fathers. There's Genetics, there's heredity, there were Dinosaurs and a time before Man. We can account for our bodies, and most other things that are physical. We know of Death, eventually. Those we seem so desperately to need are suddenly gone, and the need is revealed to be a want - a want that is almost unbearable to endure in its extant state, an unfulfillable absence. Nobody returns to assert that our experience of existence continues after Death. That all that's other must go, depart us, suggests we (each) will quit too. This you might think is a good reason to not accept the Physical/Cognitive World order. But, in either case (just I or I and You), Death (and 'before being concieved' - of) is the ONE question that has no answer we possess - or, it is the only question to which all answers are wrong (unprovable).
We must question because not to is tantamount to Death, to non-existence, to pointlessness, futility. There are those who circumvent the despair of not questioning by accepting a wrong answer in the vain hope it is proven to be correct (these people are widespread, they adhere to religions, cults of opinion, to vehement ideologies etc.). Yet, everyone (even those with 'afterlife' answers) continue to question despite ourselves - we have to. WE HAVE TO BECAUSE ASKING QUESTIONS WE HAVE ANSWERS TO IS ALL THAT MAKES EXISTENCE BEARABLE AND CERTAIN.
The nature of your actions-and of your ambition--will be different, according to which set of answers you come to accept. These answers are the province of metaphysics--the study of existence as such or, in Aristotle's words, of "being qua being"--the basic branch of philosophy.
No matter what conclusions you reach, you will be confronted by the necessity to answer another, corollary question: How do I know it? Since man is not omniscient or infallible, you have to discover what you can claim as knowledge and how to prove the validity of your conclusions. Does man acquire knowledge by a process of reason--or by sudden revelation from a supernatural power? Is reason a faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses--or is it fed by innate ideas, implanted in man's mind before he was born? Is reason competent to perceive reality--or does man possess some other cognitive faculty which is superior to reason? Can man achieve certainty--or is he doomed to perpetual doubt?
The extent of your self-confidence--and of your success--will be different, according to which set of answers you accept. These answers are the province of epistemology, the theory of knowledge, which studies man's means of cognition.
These two branches are the theoretical foundation of philosophy. The third branch--ethics--may be regarded as its technology. Ethics does not apply to everything that exists, only to man, but it applies to every aspect of man's life: his character, his actions, his values, his relationship to all of existence. Ethics, or morality, defines a code of values to guide man's choices and actions--the choices and actions that determine the course of his life.
Just as the astronaut in my story did not know what he should do, because he refused to know where he was and how to discover it, so you cannot know what you should do until you know the nature of the universe you deal with, the nature of your means of cognition--and your own nature. Before you come to ethics, you must answer the questions posed by metaphysics and epistemology: Is man a rational being, able to deal with reality--or is he a helplessly blind misfit, a chip buffeted by the universal flux? Are achievement and enjoyment possible to man on earth--or is he doomed to failure and disaster? Depending on the answers, you can proceed to consider the questions posed by ethics: What is good or evil for man--and why? Should man's primary concern be a quest for joy--or an escape from suffering? Should man hold self-fulfillment--or self-destruction--as the goal of his life? Should man pursue his values--or should he place the interests of others above his own? Should man seek happiness--or self-sacrifice?
I do not have to point out the different consequences of these two sets of answers. You can see them everywhere--within you and around you.
The answers given by ethics determine how man should treat other men, and this determines the fourth branch of philosophy: politics, which defines the principles of a proper social system. As an example of philosophy's function, political philosophy will not tell you how much rationed gas you should be given and on which day of the week--it will tell you whether the government has the right to impose any rationing on anything.
The fifth and last branch of philosophy is esthetics, the study of art, which is based on metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. Art deals with the needs--the refueling--of man's consciousness.
Now some of you might say, as many people do: "Aw, I never think in such abstract terms--I want to deal with concrete, particular, real-life problems--what do I need philosophy for?" My answer is: In order to be able to deal with concrete, particular, real-life problems--i.e., in order to be able to live on earth.
THE NEEDFUL CHOIR - 4 Youtube Reviews of Stephen King's Needful Things
with manipulated audio
[the following audio tracks were constructed using the 4 Youtube reviews above - no other source audio was used - they are best experienced with headphones]