(with thanks to Alan Grant)
Down long, claustrophobic corridors, rough walls chafe your hands as you wake from electroshock haze. This isn't home! Where are you? How did you get here? How can you escape?
Then you hear it. The hysterical howling. The gibbering cacophony. The whispered secrets of the universe. As you enter a grimy hall, the lunatics writhe about like maggots. You know where you are: in the asylum!
But...what is this? Two straitjacketed horrors seem less dissociated than the rest, more focussed on each other and their conversation than on their frenzied, lurid surroundings, as though they might actually utter something intelligible! "Impossible," you realize. And yet you press through the madding mass to hear...
"Ego consciousness isn't a part of Nature's evolution, but a radically new way of thinking invented to cope with life in a collapsing bicameral civilization around 1,000 years B.C. Mankind is now on the brink of another cultural meltdown. The sheer complexity of global civilization means that the old ways of thinking are breaking down. Only a leap to a new form of consciousness can prevent nuclear war or other planetary disaster in the near future."
"I've already seen this theme of salvation through metaphorical thinking, or 'consciousness' (created by the uniting of left and right, or higher and lower, brain functions) in many other sources, from ancient Zen Buddhism to a host of new-age self-help groups. Objectivism has no monopoly on this truth and often sounds like a denigration of intuition, feeling, and the subconscious. Surely you appreciate these right brain functions; I know you advocate a fusion of left and right, so isn't our disagreement only a semantic, tempermental difference? I'm just more mystical, while you're rationalistic."
"I define 'mysticism' as 'creating problems where none need exist' -- either to close the mind of a victim, or to make it seem the mystic 'solves' the problem he created. The technique is routinely and often unconsciously used by politicians, priests, lawyers, gurus, and anyone else inflicting a parasitic living on decent people."
"But I'm not promoting or excusing parasitic stupidity or evil. I'm just looking for explanations. Why are 'evil' people 'evil'? Aren't they a product of their genetics and environments, forces they didn't choose and couldn't control as infants?"
"No!" Consciousness is not dependent on the past! We CAN choose between right and wrong, and I don't even care 'why' evil people do what they do. All that matters is their behavior!"
"But aren't we condemned to constantly fight evil if we can't control it through first causes?"
"Goodness can only be freely chosen, not manipulated into being."
"If only life were indeed so black and white!"
Feces-stained, you've fought through the clutching, screaming hord of madmen to stand before two idiot-savants (or are they just idiots?) pondering the imponderables of social justice and Anarchy (in this bleak and hopeless squallor!) Sadly, you realize they must be as mad as the rest... They can't lead you home!
"Plato's 'higher ideals' have led directly to our present sick society. We now serve not natural 'laws', but the supposed higher notions of communism, fascism, socialism, nationalism, democracy, philosophy, and religion, ALL DECIDED FOR US BY SOMEONE ELSE! So if you're a russian and you don't agree with Marx's communism, Lenin's communists will kill you. If you're a muslim and don't agree with serbian fascism, Ratko's 'tigers' will kill you...
Natural law for conscious minds is simplicity itself: 1. It is wrong to initiate violence. 2. It is wrong to deceive. Everyone in the whole universe knows that, but we still kill each other! We're all so hoodwinked by the parasites that we give away all our power to them through politics, religion, and economic subjugation..."
"I agree that if those two laws were followed by everyone, there'd be no inhumanity, but they aren't followed by everyone, so good men are forced to participate as best they can in corrupted social arenas to improve things.
And holding Plato responsible for the actions of all corrupt people is immensely unfair; to be consistent you'd have to hold Christ responsible for the crusades and the inquisitions, or Nietzsche for the nazis, or Einstein for Hiroshima and Nagasaki! Corrupt men will manipulate any system of thought to 'justify' themselves. Anarchy, Capitalism, and Communism are all only as good as the people practicing them!"
Your mind spins. Is it the asylum's oppressive hopelessness that totters your equilibrium or is it the rantings of the two psychotics before you? Do they offer hope or bespeak the inevitability of corruption? Fearfully, trembling, you lean closer to hear...
"I'm not saying everything Plato taught is evil. The point is that he used self-contained, closed-system logic, which always ends with some people repressing other people, whether religiously, politically, or militarily. And the Christ myth is only a rationale for subservience to one's masters!"
Mesmerized with horror, you panic and try to scream, but produce no sound, or is it carried away on the putrid asylum air's raucous din? Why do the idiot blatherings of these two doomed maniacs fill you with dread while simultaneously seeming to point the way out of dementia? What do they know? Where is the way home?
"The true essence of the Christ myth lies in the principle of transcendence over history, genetics, even ego itself. And it's a catch-22 that if we automatically reject all Platonic (or other) authority we close our minds to the good teachings while if we follow any authority blindly we run the risk of being taken advantage of! I guess this paradoxical conundrum lies at the very heart of our existential situation, doesn't it?"
"Look around you! This 'existential situation', this asylum, this world, is what you get when you put a monkey in charge of a typewriter, or stick a paintbrush up a baboon's butt; this is animal stuff! But we are HUMAN. We aren't really like this! We're supposed to be logical!"
Then... it comes upon you. It slithers up your leg, shivers down your spine. You fight, terrified, but are finally engulfed in it absolutely and you SEE. You don't want to; it burns your eyes, it fries your brain, but you finally see that if there is to be heaven or hell it will be found inside these walls, for there is nowhere to escape to! You are already home...
1999 - 2000