Sep 22 2016

I know that you can hear me, now. I know it, because I read the book. Dan sent it to me, a long time ago, and he tried to put the words, “Dan can’t speak for me,” in my mouth. So this isn’t really me, you see. It wasn’t really him, either. I have no doubt he essentially lived this delusion. I’ve thought about it, and I also see why he never wanted to give up on it. Maybe that was selfish, Dan. I’m supposed to say that, or something.

So none of this is real. None of this that I am about to say is real, probable, or possible and therefore superposed with magical quantum glue. Or it is, because you shouldn’t trust him. If we live to find out, we’ll know. So let’s give it one hundred fifty years or so. The sea level could be three meters higher, and the temperature could be six Centigrade more desperate, and that embarrassment of a Republican candidate that was on “reality” television could be in his thirty eighth consecutive term in a more likely parallel world where you and I were quickly rounded up with the others and killed. Meanwhile, we’re left blissfully unaware in a quantum afterlife that the religions were still wrong about, somehow, Dan would be quick to point out.

So, here’s what I’m going to do for our plucky hero: I’m going to offer him two outs from this gilded cage of a delusion. I’m going to pose one of them because, by now, I think it’s the right one. I’m also going to offer the other because it’s plainly the wrong one, but the important part is the same.

You see, I figured something out before Dan. We’re going to tell this story from my point of view in “his” multiverse. We’re going to consider what it’s like to be the hypothetical person or persons he calls “Bastet.”

One of these exit strategies is rather simple. In this scenario, he’s a lunatic. In either scenario, he’s a lunatic, but in this scenario, he’s basically wrong in most of the important details of his biography, and in the other, he’s basically right. So let’s say he’s wrong and he’s only ever hallucinated conversations with “Bastet.”

Some people read his book, me among them. He does or doesn’t ever hear from me again. “Bastet” never leaves him. He might even be ready to leave most of “the voices” behind, but they are not ready to leave him. They depend on him, at this point, even the most thoroughly evil among them realize. He doesn’t abandon them. He continues to weave a hard-to-believe, hard-to-understand, ironically rational world for them, for the rest of his life. He probably publishes at least another book or two. He lives a comparatively functional life, probably up until a relatively natural death. Hopefully he gets laid a few more times in the interim, I’ll “pray” for him. At that point, if there is something after death, he probably finds out. If and when he meets God, I think “She” is not particularly offended, and you might agree.

I see little to none of this, or as much as I care to. My story is similar. I know “Bastet” loves him, but I am not Bastet.

Humanity probably doesn’t get it together quickly enough in this or perhaps any scenario to avoid a mass extinction event or, possibly, specifically its own extinction event. In fact, the majority scientific opinion is that we are already at the brink of a mass extinction, or in it, or at least in a geological, climatological, ecological epoch for the planet dominated by the effects that the self-named “homo sapiens” have on Earth. This epoch is marked by a huge increase in the rate of species extinctions, among other features.

We all try to live happy lives. We’re not wrong to do this, even Dan thinks. Our lives mean what we choose them to mean. There is even room in science for a certain sort of possible thereafter, it could at least be rationally argued. Many of us do what we can for the cause of avoiding the Immanent Reality, and that should be read at least two ways. God does not necessarily save or punish us. Regardless, we live with the collective consequences of our individual actions and the individual consequences of our collective actions, doubly reversed.

I have hope; it might only be sane to admit that the scientific picture is not rosy.

A universe grows in Brooklyn, where basically nobody with an opinion on it actually has any clue what it’s doing. Dan admits this for me, I guess. We scream more about what’s on television than the threat we pose to our own survival. We take up good causes for bad reasons. We desperately seek to kill and even eternally condemn anything that might pop our delicate soap bubbles. The dialectic is impossible to disentangle from the ignorance. The other problem somehow seems to revolve around these problems, in a subtle motion.

So Dan dies convinced his greater grandchildren, (but probably not too great,) will likely experience either nuclear disintegration, famine, disease, or death of thirst. There’s a lot more he might do toward this effort, and he does it, but he does it thinking probably none of it will work. He contributes everything he intends along these lines in hope. There’s no contradiction between the “realism” and the hope, that I can see.

I have hope, too. When I look in the crystal ball, I might not see quite as bleak a world as Dan, staring back at him. It could just be that I see better chances, at least. Dan might be able to guess how much better I think the actual chances are, though. I know he has hope. I also know where the human heart is hidden, or what could serve as a fairly convincing prop, if anyone asks you.

Then there’s the other scenario, where he’s still a lunatic, but I exist. In his lunacy, he’s discerned my secret. Let’s write this scenario as he would write it, through my eyes.

It could go something like, “Chapter Zero: Really the End for Real This Time…”

“Dan sent Katie the book, finally. He died shortly after, under mysterious circumstances.”

That is, if I follow your plot, Dan, it’s likely to end that way at any moment, isn’t it? That’s how the “miracles” come to be, isn’t it? Maybe I can put the words in your mouth, though, that the unspeakable obvious implication is entirely a fiction, because you were determined to see this clear out to the end of time, if you had to, I might make you swear. It’s my place in your plot, though. It’s the world you wrote for me to see, except against all odds.

Dan sent me the book, and then he died under mysterious circumstances. In the book, he swore it was not his desire or intention. He wrote between the lines,  “They’re coming for you next,” and I was stymied. He wrote, “This is the actual plan of the God of Abraham, to wait at the threshold to understanding and eternal life, and to steal every one of those worlds from us.” It was your schizophrenia, I thought. I read your story, though, and I noticed the gaping hole in your plot, and presumably in your delusion, and I smoothed out the wrinkle in your page.

“I’m not Bastet,” I knew. I knew I didn’t know anything about what you were effectively accusing the entire world of, Dan, this conspiracy hidden from no one. If we had these “Astral” counterparts, in some hidden dimension of the mind, or in our genes, we weren’t aware of them. At least, I wasn’t aware, like this. It wasn’t feasible, for every one of us to live in knowledge of this fact and voluntarily restrict our mention of it in any regard, even under the decree of God. How did you not notice this, Dan? You yourself had no knowledge of a past life, or knowledge your “counterpart” certainly must have had, at least at some point. How could this be?

So I put his book aside with this fact, for a long while. Many years are to pass, and I live a life he couldn’t dream. I play with lots of dead animals, as a taxidermist, and I get the sense that Dan is smiling at them from a place just out of sight, and that feels as ludicrous and almost as creepy as him.

He thought he could put a geass to me, though, as if I didn’t already have it. He thought he could predict my destiny. I live long enough to joke that he might have had a point about the “quantum immortality,” and then things start to get very suspiciously, yet predictably, weird.

Somewhere along this road, maybe certain things people say to me remind me of his book and his psychotic delusion. Maybe people seem to say things that make more sense read in the voices of their “counterparts,” but I dismiss this as irrational paranoia. Maybe the thought is compulsive, though. It’s like telling someone not to think of the color purple.

So I’d talk about these strange perceptions in a medical context, and the possibility of some tendency toward dementia would probably be considered. I remember very clearly how Dan expressed his illness, though. I remember the day he told me I was “Bastet,” and I think, “If that’s really what you believed, why did you think just coming out bluntly with it would work?” Maybe I allow myself a little space to remember his “delusion” and to pretend that I am a “god,” as is probably the guy that masturbates the turkeys for a living, for Christ’s sake.

I let myself play God in my art, like we all do. I will produce it for many, many years, and I can’t completely escape the knowledge that Dan is probably in a parallel universe disappointed that he’s missing it. If I live long enough, for a really unnatural period of time, Dan’s “delusion” will become a fairly concrete reality for me and at least a handful of other people. (None of this happens before I’m one hundred and twenty, maybe, and he’s practically not even a footnote to what my life is likely to be.) It wouldn’t be “his” delusion anymore, though, and it wouldn’t be his “delusion.” I’m not as anxious as Dan was, though. Eventually, I’d become a problem to someone who considers himself to be God, but like for serious, with less penis humor and more money and weapons. That’s where the fun starts, Dan, be it at an age of two hundred or two thousand years. (Well, it was fun already, and God wasn’t invited.)

You see, people have this sinking feeling, over the suspicion that I’m actually Bastet. I play innocent. There comes a point that I know I’m “dead,” already, but I’m still kicking on the same old ball of rock. Maybe I’d let myself have some fun at the expense of the dominant religions, but I’m far less obnoxious than “Jesus” was, or I don’t remember if he was supposed to be literally the incarnation of Lucifer or what that whole bit even was.

Eventually, it’s less fun and games. I’ll probably be amazed at how long it takes the real secret to come out, but maybe it’d come out faster if I could be bought. If I proclaimed myself God, maybe it’d come out sooner, but it’s moot. I know the lengths to which the dominant species on this planet will go, to unmake my character to serve rich white men. I won’t bother to worry about whether they’re playing their cat-and-shell game, like the paranoiac knew. If I understand it by now, the humans know it and they don’t know it, like a mathematician’s genitals don’t know calculus.

In the shell game, that I’ll pretend I don’t know people are playing, my survival becomes even less natural. My survival would have to become contingent on the “Revelation” of the “impossible,” “miraculous” secret. What happens from there, Dan? I can think of one out from that impasse, maybe, if it’s a concrete as history.

Playing “Three Cat Monty” long enough, my only probable likelihood of future survival comes to depend on authoring one or more advances for humanity that are of such unmistakable historical import, pulled through me as oracle, by accident of its impact on my likelihood of continuing to breathe, that “God” stoops low to tip his hat, and the shell game with the stuff of my “soul” has to stop, and the real secret comes out, finally.

I probably come face to face with the God of Abraham, Dan. I meet him as a man. He snarls, and he gnashes his teeth, and he curses. He brandishes flaming swords, and commands armies of angels, and drops nuclear bombs as raindrops on my head. It is only his world, Dan, and we are only his to make and unmake, and to save and damn. It’s his to begin and end, Dan. He told us he was going to end it.

“God” tries to put words in my mouth, Dan, like you did, and in the process he unmakes himself. Finally—you lunatic—as two footnotes with daggers, among many, I am certain we both strike the Beast down.

No responses yet

Leave a Reply