Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Fool Machine Collective Birthday Song

to be recorded this weekend for posterity

One year less of life to live,
one year less of life to live,
one year less of your short difficult existence on the face of this infinitesimally small planet and soon you'll be in the ground decomposing all alone or maybe your friends will die first and you'll have no one to talk tooooooo-
One year less of life to live!
(How many more?)

The Fool Machine Collective Birthday Song

to be recorded this weekend for posterity

One year less of life to live,
one year less of life to live,
one year less of your short difficult existence on the face of this infinitesimally small planet and soon you'll be in the ground decomposing all alone or maybe your friends will die first and you'll have no one to talk tooooooo-
One year less of life to live!
(How many more?)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

this assignment made me re-evaluate my childhood

Interior
The carpet is dirt and everywhere you look there is brown brown a dark forest of brown and there's no way out. There is a chimney but that's where the birds hide and you don't want to the birds to get you because they'll peck your little eyes out and make you sick. Don't use the doors the doors are all locked and and broken and they'd fall if you tried. So just lay on the floor and look up look at the little yellow lights all covered in web and dust. They don't shine on anything. There is no light. You can't see the old creaking furniture waiting to break and snap and cut you and give you splinters in your eyes. Stay away from the chairs because they're the meanest and given half a chance they would gobble you up.


Basement
The worst part about the basement is the air which is damp and moist. It's the air at the bottom of a well. And there are noises, strange little noises which could be the house settling, distributing its weight on the foundation, but which could also be a million tiny bugs you can't see. The cracks in the walls let them in, and they might find their way into your bed, and into your clothes. You'd never know until it was too late. The room is oppressive; it weighs on you. It makes you want to curl up behind the recliner and never ever leave. You would just become a part of it, another fixture, covered over with dirty carpet and sawdust.

Crawlspace Chris Zdenek


The Crawlspace is dead. A fat guy killed it. Clogged it up with his giant hairy body so nothing could get past. The air could not flow, it pooled, and caused the crawlspace to suffocate. Damn fat. The earwigs did not like this. They loved the Crawlspace. Scores would gather and dance on the wood beams, swim in the dirt, and raise their families in the muck. The filth was a Paradise. It will be missed. No more cold ground, or white webs, or pitch black. The earwigs will leave the crawlspace, and devourer their way through flesh, bone, and of course, fat. The feast will cause a confusion as to what is human and what is vermin. Once there is no more fat, the earwigs will be free to leave. Free to burst out of a square opening, an opening large enough for a fat man, and into the over-world. They will be forced to live in a world of light.

Inside House Chris Zdenek


The knob is sticky. Dried Brother's blood changes the color of the knob. What was once gold is now brown. The window in the door is broken and cut him. His blood covered the glass and dried. The window and door were originally used to separate the kitchen and garage, but the window is broken now and the garage is in the kitchen.

It smells. It's not a unique smell.

The carpet is blue but full of toenails. The walls are blue but covered with small hairs. There is something dumb on TV.

The kitchen/garage, living room and a bedroom are all the same room, and it's small. There are three doors in this multi room that can't open. Nobody has ever wanted to open the bathroom door. People are behind the other two doors. They are asleep and will never touch the knobs.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Attic

In the back corner of the oldest child's room there was a door to the walk in closet - and in the back of the closet was a door to the attic. Up a wooden staircase like wood off a ship, still creaking, uneven, slightly swollen here or dried and splintering there - the walk up was narrow and the ascent caused arms to go out instinctively, reaching for walls for balance and guidance in the dim light. Fingers met with the crumbling surface of bricks and sticky cobwebs. Familiar was the attic's ceiling which was at its highest point in the center, but lower and lower on either side. Unnatural and unfamiliar was the utter lack of ventilation, which started over the mouth and and nose like heated gauze and slowly grew more viscous and cloying with every step. The single unlabeled box and rusted gold Christmas ornament were quiet witnesses to the unchanging light and time that passed most rapidly in the daily life of a spider and most reliably in the unimaginably subtle changes in the wearing and eventual decay of the corners of the room. But the most singular, and even most alarming, (after a person became uneasily aware of the their labored breathing) was the worn child-sized rocking chair, seemingly made of the same wood as the floor. In fact, coming up from it almost organically - as though the room had created it out of some unknowable necessity - certainly not made for a visitor, as most anyone who approached it did so reluctantly and with a feeling so strong in their gut that they curled their toes in their shoes and clutched some part of themselves in an effort to remain upright. It was almost as though there was an odor surrounding the chair- the way a person would stop at the exact distance from it and a look would cloud up their face in a new and ugly way. Once the chair made its presence known in the soundless room - it was impossibly to turn away from it without being convinced of a click clicking on the floor - the chair rocking back and forth just enough, as though a child with tiny toes and tiny pointed shoes sat in it, pushing off with an unsettling regularity. A guest would look away from the chair and then turn back to it, sick with expectancy, certain it would be rocking just that tiny bit, despite the lack not only of a breeze - but of any real air at all. Nothing but a kind of permanent stillness - so still as to resemble a death. But with that chair there, threatening to move, there was almost a new whisper - one of hostility, the moment before violence, but with a control that made even the strongest observer feel small and undeniable human - a sudden awareness of blood and fragility of bones, thin connections to the heart and of soft places like the throat, the very bottom of the belly, even the arch of the foot...and anyone who had visited the attic began an instant move away and most certainly a descent down the stairs backward - hands again on the walls - reluctant to turn their backs on the little chair, the seat of which curled upward like a toothless smile and seemed to watch them go - down, down one simple step at a time - until they finally had to turn and take the last few stairs at a leap while holding their breath.

The family room to the South of the main entrance may also be regarded as the yellow room. Yellow curtains, yellow carpet, and yellow apulstrary on the furniture. The condition of the room is not decrepit, in fact, it is quite the contrary, the sterile condition of this room would inform one that it is indeed a room claimed, but not occupied. The air is still and suffocated. The condition and presentation of the furnishings is so matriculate that one walks carefully in this room. One dares not breath. As a mortician prepares the superficial layers of a rotting corpse for a funeral presentation, one must prepare the outer most layers of their begrudged soul for the presentation before the community.

The door way to the basement is small and strangely shaped. Visitors often mistake it for a closet. Making one’s way down the stairs one must watch their head from obstruction from the corridor that directs the stairway. Only when one makes their way to the bottom are they able to view the basement. A picture of a benign and ghastly clown hangs crooked between the dirt and brown leafed clouded window. A large orange chair, the singular area of comfort, among the many boxes and hard corners remains torn and unintended as it drops foam from its left shoulder. A platform holding a most violent and miniature raceway hangs by a contraption created by an eccentric mechanic. Its very presence promises possible dismemberment.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

8480



Interior.

The air tastes like iron and rust and sugar. The carpet dirt waits. The face on the wall is peeling and faded, but the disappointment in its eyes is not abated by the blood trickling down from forehead to sandals.

Healthy and easy recipes are bound up with digested american classics and stories of courage, soft- and hard- covered, and set into the headboard of the bed like lungs in a ribcage. Two windows, four walls, a closet, and a door.

The living room is not. The furniture is large, boxy, and wooden. The end tables are end cabinets, packed with losing magazines and papers. As the World Turns plays on an oak encased color-TV. A sweating tumbler of iced-tea and bourbon sits by a homemade ashtray with a golf ball handle on top of a squat table behind a loveseat parked three feet from the TV that holds the sleeping form of Cancer. On the edge of the puffy couch opposite the loveseat sits Cancer, snapping off the ends of green beans (the ends go in a trash bag, the middles in the metal colander sitting on the coffee table) with her daughter Pneumonia who sits cross-legged on the floor on the other side of the table. On the couch next to Cancer sits Cancer, wearing a moustache and a hat cocked at a jaunty angle. The gauzy white curtains of the bay window over the couch let in just enough dry and dusty sunlight to catch the eyes of Crib Death lying on a bed of pillows on a blue chair. Hepatitis-B and Overdose sit around the formica table in the kitchen picken’ at the crab Suicide and Suicide pulled out of the bay.

Next to the kitchen the dryer spins and from the couch in the living room I can hear the zipper on my grey sweatshirt tapping the door.

Attic.

Smoke. Splinters jut out of shoddy plywood, painted white as an afterthought, looking as though a chain of magnifying lenses extend from the wood to the eye of the viewer, giving the impression that the slightest forward movement would impale the eye, but upon stepping back the effect dissipates into the haze that caused it. Smoke. An arched ceiling, a single window, a curtain covering a hole cut into the side of the plywood that creates the 5 x 5 room in the corner of the attic. Smoke. A mattress lies flat in the center, sinking into the floor. Cutting through the dirty window is the sort of moonlight that one sees late on the night they realize that one day they will die. Muhammad Ali and Superman stand toe-to-toe in the ring, frozen into their final blows, barely illuminated by the single red glowing ember that freezes and binds everything in the room, trapping it in the smoke.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sarah's Singularly Dreary Description of Her House


Inside of the house:
At the right time of evening, a suppressive sun-sucking blue light seeps in through the window of the room. The blue moan only seems to further darken the ugly wood paneling that reaches from the floor to half way up the wall. The navy-blue stripes that complete the wall from where the wood stops up to the ceiling are as confining as prison bars. The large, moldy-pumpkin-colored, velvet couch, under the window, becomes a monster of cushions, capable of pulling anyone down for a suffocating slumber that paralyzes the body and strangles the mind. The doorway of the room exposes the light that is visible throughout the rest of the house. It is only a teasing glimmer of what resides outside of the jail that this room resembles.

Basement:
Again with the ugly wood paneling, only this time it encompasses the entirety of the walls, illuminating the image of a rabid beaver’s den. The musty brown carpet and stupidly low ceiling instantly make you feel as if you have just walked into the beaver’s trap. The overpowering brown color in the room is thick as mud. The nauseating smell of canine still lingers in this room like a stain; a ghostly reminder of the dog that was once imprisoned day after day in this murky den.

Friday, July 31, 2009

John's Singularly Dreary Descriptions of Rooms in His House


Inside the house:
The two sectioned living room was once full of others furniture, dinner table with removable portion, a couch, cushioned seat faded eggshell white with splotches of brown and a television. Now it is mostly devoid of life, littered with random chairs, crisp pieces of used paper dust covered books that are piled on shelves and cascading out of china cabinet drawers. Rugs are stapled to the windows to keep out the sun, a stand up bass lies down with it’s strings coated in dirt and sweat. A light switch moves up and down but creates no light going on or off, a black chest full of shirts sits open in the middle of the room. Hundreds of records pressurized and warping packed into crates, the vinyl scratched.

The attic or crawl space:
The stairs are narrow and many, creaking at every step, first straight then twisting near the end as you enter the room. Down the center a tall man can stand but the more to the side one wanders the shorter the height allows. The floor boards are all removed in patches revealing weathered 2 by 4s, installation and electrical wiring. There is a small window at each end, allowing in just enough light on a clear day to see shadows and the silhouettes of bodies in motion. To one side an antique play-area-alcove for one or two children. Now all dusty, chalkboard cracked and lying on the floor.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Das Alte Buch: oder Reise ins Blaue hinein


The true fairy-tale opens up with its child-like tone and its play with the wondrous, an area of our spirit into which other kinds of art and poetry cannot find their way. Our first, and most sacred relations with nature and the invisible world, the basis of our faith, the elements of our perception, birth, and grave, the creation around us, the necessities of our life, all this as fairy-tale and dream and cannot be resolved into what we call rational or consequent. Hence the sacredness and strange mysteriousness of all old romances. The creation, the origin of good and evil, the fall of the angels, redemption, call it what you will in Greeks, Gentiles, Jews, and Christians, the fresh originality of legend as well as of our closest everyday life, if we take the world in a sacred and serious way, is a fairy-tale.

-Ludwig Tieck
Translated from his 1835 novella "The Old Book and the Voyage into the Blue"

Saturday, June 27, 2009


We just received a comment on Dina's blog entry about The Chicago City Cemetery. And in this entry D. R. Torri mentioned The St. Johannes Cemetery located in Ohare Field. I never knew of the cemetery in the field. I know that a retired Fireman one night trapped me in a Dunkin' Donuts and told me many stories about burning houses and tricks Firemen would play on each other, like hiding a dummy in a closet and telling people it was a dead body. This retired fireman also talked extensively about how the first Mayor Daley annexed all of the land for O'Hare, even though the land wasn't technically in the city of Chicago. He talked about how "connected" the Mayor and the Governor were at the time. So I learned a few things on that long night in the doughnut shop, and I would often tell this story halfheartedly to others. Halfheartedly because I never took the time to look up any of the facts. So here we are now, present day, and we receive this comment about the cemetery snuggled inside the grounds, and the turmoil and court cases between the city and the St. John Church. There is much about sacred ground, relocation and interment. I don't know if all of this has been solved, the last article I found was published by the city on May 8 2009. This battle intrigues me. Even though I fear cemeteries are overflowing and taking over the world, the idea of removing dead bodies from "sacred" ground and putting them somewhere else, in my more romantic mindset, is perfect fodder for Poltergeist type happenings to occur. The employees of the Control tower all turn around for a moment and when they turn back all the planes are in a corner of the runaway stacked on top of each other. Little girls get sucked into the monitors in the terminal hallways. Little boys have battles with the toys they have brought to the airport with them, think evil clown.
Men looking in mirrors in the VIP lounge accidentally shave off their faces. Little short women are at all the gates yelling, "Don't go into the plane!" Then they change their minds and start yelling, "Go into the plane!" Then finaly during a wicked storm, where there is no seconds to be counted between lightening and thunder, skeletons and half decayed bodies begin to emerge from the cracking runways.
This is where my mind goes when I think about sacred ground nestled inside an airport. Here are some links that tell perspectives of the actual story.

A blog about the situation

St. John's accusation against the city

Chicago informs the relatives of interment.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Musician and artist Marilyn Manson often talks and bases his music and artwork around the way people are fascinated with death, as well as fame (in relation). He comments on how people will use death to gain a certain immortality in the minds of others (fame). His stage name is a reference to Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson, one a symbol of fame (and early death) the other of murder. He has further commented that people are willing to die and kill if they know enough people are watching, to gain this immortality or fame. This extends into a social comment on martyrism, television, and the hypocrisy people show between their fascination and thus promotion of death, and their decryment of violence.

More produce that will one day decay or stay fresh forever

I returned a bag of groceries
Accidently taken off the shelf
Before the expiration date
I came back as a bag of groceries
Accidently taken off the shelf
Before the date stamped on myself

Did a large procession wave their (Did a)
Torches as my head fell in the basket, (large pro-)
And was everybody dancing on the casket? (cession dance?)

Now it's over I'm dead and I haven't done anything that I want (now it's over)
Or, I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do

I will never say the word
"Procrastinate" again; I'll never
See myself in the mirror with my eyes closed
I didn't apologize for
When I was eight and I made my younger brother
Have to be my personal slave

Did a large procession wave their (Did a)
Torches as my head fell in the basket, (large pro-)
And was everybody dancing on the casket? (cession dance?)

Now it's over I'm dead and I haven't done anything that I want (now it's over)
Or, I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do

(So) So I won't
(Sit) sit at home
(And) anymore
(And) and you won't
(And) see my head in
(And) the window
(And) and I won't
(And) be around
(And) ever anymore
(And) and I'll be up there on the wall at the store

I returned a bag of groceries
Accidently taken off the shelf
Before the expiration date
I came back as a bag of groceries
Accidently taken off the shelf
Before the date stamped on myself

Did a large procession wave their (Did a)
Torches as my head fell in the basket, (large pro-)
And was everybody dancing on the casket? (cession dance?)

Now it's over I'm dead and I haven't done anything that I want (now it's over)
Or, I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do

Now it's over I'm dead and I haven't done anything that I want (now it's over)
Or, I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do

Monday, May 11, 2009

Zodiac Story told by Natsuki Takaya


This is a version of the Chinese zodiac story as told in Fruits Basket. It touches a bit on my fearism, and some death themes. I think its a nice story:



Once upon a time in a particular place there lived a person. The person was alone for a long, long time. After leaving the mountain this person learned that many, many people lived below it. But the person was still alone. Even with a thousand powers and a thousand lives and a thousand memories. The person learned that such things were different from what most other people had. And thus developed a fear of other people. A fear of getting hurt. Despite having many powers, the person was afraid of being different from others.
One day a cat came to visit. The person was bewildered by the sudden visitor. The cat bowed his head reverently. “I have humbly watched you for a long time,” he said. “You are a very mysterious person. I cannot stop being attracted to you. I am merely a stray cat, but please let me be by your side. Please Lord God.”
From that time on, the cat kept his promise, he never left God’s side. Not even for a moment. And that made God very very happy.
Suddenly, God had an idea, “I see, maybe I can get along with others as long as those others aren’t people. If they know the same feelings that I do, maybe I can have a pleasant banquet with them.” God wrote many, many invitations, and sent out many many invitations. As a result, 12 animals came to see God. God was thus surrounded by 13 animals in all. They all held a banquet every night the moon sparkled. They sang and danced and laughed together. And God too laughed out loud for the first time. The moon quietly watched over the inhuman banquet. But one night the cat collapsed. Nothing could be done. His life had run out.
They all cried. It made them realize, that some day everyone would die. The banquets would come to an end. No matter how much they enjoyed them, no matter how dazzling and precious they were. God recited a signal chant, and drew a circle on a sake cup. God made the cat drink, and then spoke to everyone. “Our bond,” God said, “I will now make it eternal. Even if I or all of you die an rot away, we will be tied together by an eternal bond. However many times we die, however many time we are reborn, just as before, we will have our countless banquets. We will all be friends, until the end of time. We will be permanent.”
Everyone nodded empathetically. The rat was the first to drink. Next the ox, next the tiger, next the rabbit. All in order they shared the drink of their vow. When finally the boar drank, the cat started to cry his breath faint.
“My Lord God, my Lord God, why did you make me drink? My Lord, I don’t want eternity. I don’t need permanence.”
Those words were unexpected. To God and the others, they were words of rejection. It devastated them. They scolded and admonished the cat. Even so the cat spoke, “My Lord God, my Lord God, I know its frightening, but let us accept that things end. I know it’s sad, but let us accept that lives depart. My Lord God, I know it was only for a short time, but I was happy to be with you. If one more time we both die and are reborn, and if we meet again. I don’t want to only see you in the moonlight. I want to see you smiling under the light of the sun as well. Next time I don’t want to meet you with only those of us here, I want to meet you while you are smiling within a ring of people. “
The cat twitched his tail one last time and died. But no one cared about the cat anymore. They were filled with the sense that the cat had betrayed them.
Sometime after that, one after the other, the others died. Finally after the dragon died, God was left all alone again. And then another day came, a day when even God died. But God wasn’t afraid, because God was supported by the promise made with the others. “Again. We’ll hold our banquets. Once again, and as many times as we want. For as long as we wish, without changing. I may be sad and alone now, but everyone is waiting on the other side of our promise.”

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Strange is the world




Strange is the world 
Why should men 
Receive life in this world?
Men's lives are as meaningless 
As the lives of insects 
The terrible folly 
Of such suffering 
A man lives but 
As briefly as a flower 
Destined all too soon 
To decay into the stink of flesh 
Humanity strives 
All its days 
To sear its own flesh 
In the flames of base desire 
Exposing itself To Fate's Five Calamities 
Heaping karma upon karma 
All that awaits Man 
At the end 
Of his travails 
Is the stench of rotting flesh 
That will yet blossom into flower 
Its foul odor rendered 
Into sweet perfume 
Oh, fascinating 
The life of Man 
Oh, fascinating

-The Spirit's song from Akira Kurosawa's "Throne of Blood," the truest adaptation of "Macbeth" on film.

Asat

Asat (Sanskrit) [from a not + sat being from the verbal root as to be] Not being, non-being; used in the Indian philosophies with two meanings almost diametrically opposed: firstly, as the false, the unreal, or the manifested universe, in contrast with sat, the real; secondly, in a profoundly mystical sense, as all that is beyond or higher than sat. "Sat is born from Asat, and Asat is begotten by Sat: the perpetual motion in a circle, truly; yet a circle that can be squared only at the supreme Initiation, at the threshold of Paranirvana" (SD 2:449-50). In its lower sense, asat signifies the realms of objective nature built out of and from the various prakritis, and therefore regarded as illusory in contrast to the enduring Be-ness or sat. In its higher sense asat is that boundless and eternal metaphysical essence of space out of which, in which, and from which even sat or Be-ness itself is and endures. Asat here is parabrahman-mulaprakriti in its most abstract meaning.
-From the Sanskrit Dictionary. The tree is called: ashvattha.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We Are The Lucky Ones


As a companion piece to my dark and dreary musings on the fear of the unknown, I present to you now an excerpt from Richard Dawkins' "Unweaving the Rainbow." It deals with some of the things we've covered in our fearism posts - pre-birth, birth, death, etc. - and offers a different perspective on the unknown.

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.

The present moves from the past to the future, like a tiny spotlight, inching its way along a gigantic ruler of time. Everything behind the spotlight is in darkness, the darkness of the dead past. Everything ahead of the spotlight is in the darkness of the unknown future. The odds of your century being the one in the spotlight are the same as the odds that a penny, tossed down at random, will land on a particular ant crawling somewhere along the road from New York to San Francisco. In other words, it is overwhelmingly probable that you are dead.

In spite of these odds, you will notice that you are, as a matter of fact, alive. People whom the spotlight has already passed over, and people whom the spotlight has not reached, are in no position to read a book.

After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with colour, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn't it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked -- as I am surprisingly often -- why I bother to get up in the mornings. To put it the other way round, isn't it sad to go to your grave without ever wondering why you were born? Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be a part of it?
Excerpt from RichardDawkins.net.
Image by Dani Jones.

By the Void!



I’ve come to think that fear of death is nothing more than a biological mechanism that evolved to keep us alive. None of us has any recollection of the situation before birth. I have yet to meet anybody who feels traumatized by the state of affairs before they came to exist. If existence is far superior to non-existence, we should have negative reactions to non-existence regardless of whether it occurs before or after our lives.

Which brings me to a question: would you prefer to die tomorrow or never have existed?



This is from the blog Philosophy of the Void. I love the word void. This concept interested me when it was brought up in rehearsal. That there is nothing to fear of non-existence, that the time before you are born should be the same as after you are dead. It all seems a little too simple, but still interesting, and not the common way of viewing life.

Patterns, Change, and Rituals, makes the Death go away!


Every once in awhile, when writing I will focus on a character that is obsessed with one detail or one activity (a ritual). Writing this type of study helped my own mind calm down, while simultaneously building an exciting wall of endurable anxiety around myself. In the writing I could feel my mind and vision narrowing like someone has physically put blinders on me. It made the rest of the world and all my real anxieties dissipate for awhile. What if I didn’t have that release? I sometimes think I would lose my mind, and losing my mind, in my mind, goes hand-in-hand with death. I often acquaint losing my mind to the old figure of speech, “on the edge.” In my anxiety about losing control the “edge” is certain death. Here is some segments I selected from a paper on OCD I found online by Matt Shollenberger, Ph.D.

1: Obsessive-compulsive disorder is actually two disorders: the obsessive part is unwanted thoughts, while the compulsive part is rituals born out of these negative thoughts.

2: Obsessions are repetitive, intrusive, negative thoughts that cannot be stopped, and are rarely controlled through will power. They tend to be uncontrolled thoughts driven by fear; fear of
contamination, fear of not doing things perfectly, fear of harming oneself or others, or fear of death.

3: People with OCD may fear that their negative thoughts may cause a person to be harmed, which causes them more fear and anxiety.

4: Other rituals may have nothing to do with the obsession plaguing the OCD mind. For example, a person may suffer from morbid thoughts and in an attempt to calm himself or herself, that person may walk three times in a circle reciting the alphabet backward. The person may be fully aware that his or her compulsive ritual has nothing to do with thoughts of death, yet he or she cannot stop.

5: Part of the treatment involves teaching the person the irrationality and uselessness of his or her rituals. Treatment in counseling may involve teaching the person more logical, effective ways of combating his or her fears and anxieties.

6: Change is not accepted in their routines, and when it is forced upon them they may become depressed, anxious, or angry. Part of therapy may involve teaching acceptance of change and understanding of the unreasonable demands OCD allows people to place on themselves and the world.

This idea of changed is now stuck in my head. I don’t yet understand how to incorporate it, but change is what our center figure may be fearing more than death itself. The unknown, as we have mentioned a few times in our rehearsals. Simple change and rituals are concepts we can easily explore. Setting patterns and breaking them.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009




This is a small and abridged segment from Allan Feldman's "Welefare Economics and Social Choice Theory, 2nd Ed." It is somewhat disturbing to me to know that there is a clear calculus for a man's worth. This is only one of the models presented in this book.


Chapter 11

LIFE AND DEATH CHOICES


1. Introduction

…what if the population changes? For instance, what if a set of individuals {1, 2, . . . , n} is attempting to choose between alternatives x and y, but x will kill off some of the people, and y will add additional people?


In fact, this is an extremely common question that policy makers and economists face almost every day. For instance: Should a state spend $5 million replacing a highway if those repairs will likely result in 1 less traffic fatality in the next year? Should a government spend $10 billion on AIDS drugs if those drugs will prevent 1,000 deaths? Should a government prohibit a sport or leisure activity if that sport creates a 1/6 probability of death per play (e.g., Russian roulette with a 6-chamber revolver)? Should it prohibit a sport or leisure activity if that sport creates a 1/1,000,000 probability of death per day (e.g., downhill skiing)?


Is it better for a country to have a higher population or lower? If it is better to have more people, should this be done by encouraging births, or increasing life expectancy? If it is better to have fewer people, is it better to reduce birth rates or increase deaths? …

2. Economic Model

The Money Value of a Life Placing a money value on a life in legal disputes is an ancient practice. The modern Anglo-American legal treatment of accidental killing, which started in the mid 19th century, typically provides that dependents of a deceased person may recover for pecuniary losses they suffer, especially lost wages the deceased would have provided. The deceased is primarily viewed as a money making machine. The value of his life is mainly given by lifetime income or earnings, possibly net of expenses needed to maintain the machine (e.g., food, clothing, etc.), possibly discounted to present value, and possibly augmented by the value of non-paid services provided. This can be called the human capital approach: the person is valued as a (human) money making machine.


The human capital approach to valuing lives, however, ignores how much the deceased himself would value being alive.


3. A Formal Version of the Economic Model


We will now develop a relatively simple model to show how one individual “computes” the value of his life.


In this model there is just one person, so we will dispense with an identifying subscript. There are two time periods. In period 1, the planning or ex-ante period, he decides on how to allocate his spending. He can spend on consumption, on precaution, or on insurance. Between period 1 and period 2, the ex-post period, events unfold, which leave him either alive, or dead. The probability that he ends up alive in period 2 depends on how much he spends on precaution in period 1. If he is alive, he consumes the amount he chose in period 1. If he is dead, the amount he would have consumed, plus the value of any insurance policy he bought, is bequeathed to his heirs.


We use the following notation:

x = consumption in period 2 (or part of bequest, if he is dead)

y = precaution expenditure

z = insurance expenditure

w = x + y + z = initial cash endowment

q(y) = probability he is alive in period 2

V = face value of any life insurance policy he buys


We assume the q(y) function is nicely behaved: 0 <>

y, q(y) increasing in y, concave, and smooth.


We assume that the cost of life insurance would reflect the actual odds that he will die, so that z = V · (1 − q(y)). That is, the price of insurance

is “actuarially fair.”


f (x) = xα if alive

g (x + V ) = (x + V )α − K if dead.


Anti-Life Equation


The Anti-Life Equation is the fictional equation for which the DC Comics villain Darkseid is searching in the Jack Kirby's Fourth World setting. It is for this reason that he sends his forces to Earth, as he believes part of the equation exists in the human subconscious. Various comics have defined the equation in different ways, but a common interpretation seems to be that the equation is a mathematical proof of the futility of living.

loneliness + alienation + fear + despair + self-worth ÷ mockery ÷ condemnation ÷ misunderstanding x guilt x shame x failure x judgment n=y where y=hope and n=folly, love=lies, life=death, self=dark side
Darkseid first became aware of the equation approximately 300 years ago when he made contact with the people of Mars. Upon learning of the Martian philosophy that free will could be defined by a "Life Equation", Darkseid postulated that there must exist a negative equivalent[1].
Jack Kirby's original comics established the Anti-Life Equation as giving the being who learns it power to dominate the will of all sentient and sapient races. It is called the Anti-Life Equation because "if someone possesses absolute control over you - you're not really alive."[2
By speaking said equation, Darkseid can insert the full formula into people's minds, giving them the mathematical certainty that life, hope and freedom are all pointless. According to Oracle, who barely escaped the "full" effects of the Equation by shutting down the entire Internet just in time, the Anti-Life Equation further states that the only point in anything is to conform to Darkseid's will[3].
the Anti-Life Equation is revealed as a living shadow-based deity that corrupts and destroys everything it touches.

First Paragraph of First Chapter of "speak, memory" by Vladimir Nabokov

"The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour). I know, however, of a young chronophobiac who experienced something like panic when looking for the first time at homemade movies that had been taken a few weeks before his birth. He saw a world that was practically unchanged-the same house, the same people- and then realized that he did not exist there at all and that nobody mourned his absence. He caught a glimpse of his mother waving from an upstairs window, and that unfamiliar gesture disturbed him, as if it were some mysterious farewell. But what particularly frightened him was the sight of a brand-new baby carriage standing there on the porch, with the smug, encroaching air of a coffin; even that was empty, as if, in the reverse course of events, his very bones had disintegrated."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009



I remember when I was very young, five or six, I was troubled and could not sleep. I was overcome with a confusing sense of dread. My mother, hearing that I was up, came out bleary eyed wondering what I was doing out of bed. I remember telling her that I was afraid of life. My mother quickly told me that life is nothing to fear and it was death that I should be afraid of. I was then sent to bed.

 

The thought of being afraid of life lingered while I laid in bed that night. I don’t know what I meant by it. I want to say that I sensed the burden of choices that were ahead of me. Choices that seemed so important. Choices that would shape who I am and what I would become. I felt paralyzed by those choices. My eyes grew weary but my mind raced as I stared at the ceiling. I was afraid. I had no idea how I would make any decisions for myself. I was afraid that I would grow up lame and would have to own my lameness. I wanted to hit a reset button but there is no reset button. I tried to turn my mind to other things. Towards friends, a funny joke, fart sounds. I’ll be stuck with my decisions and whatever I become. In the end, death will come and finalize all of my decisions. They won’t be able to be taken back. I’ll die with them. Outside a car drove by, it’s fleeting lights washed across an otherwise dim and still room. 

He has a black bean inside him, at the base and center. Tissue floats out from it, translucent white and waving from his underwater belly. Sometimes when he is sleeping I think I could pull it out of his eye, slide my finger down his nose into the pinky flesh and scoop it out like a pellet, hard and coming out with a curl of my finger, dropping to the floor- his death that he was born with. But it is deeper down and untouchable, waiting and not spinning or jostling and not making sound. Absent sound. Absent movement. Almost confident. But mostly just nestled – a sure thing- more certain than anything. I want to pluck it out but all of his soft insides curl around it, humming.

Stage Directions for a Fearism


Three people stand on stage, each walking on pieces of bright tape that have been made into circles. A fourth, outside person, tears a piece of tape from one person’s circle and everyone stops to watch. The torn person changes direction while the others change the way/ the manner in which they are walking. This repeats for all three circles until each person is essentially walking back and forth on a disconnected circle (a line). Each time the walkers get to an end of the line they change direction and they change their manner of walking (as though if they change their manner, their circles will be made whole again) until finally, one by one, they step off their lines and are completely still.

Clif knows a third person who is afraid:











Fear of bad newspaper headlines, Mayan numbers, climate change, loss of polar magnetism, and/or large objects hurtling from space at mindbending speeds:

 
is the fear of
global catastrophe
is the fear of
that which is beyond control
is the fear of
the loss of control
is the fear of
being defenseless
is the fear of
not being able to prevent the end of this existence
is the fear of
there not being another existence
is the fear of
non-being
is the fear of
death
 
 
It’s 1993 on the T.V. and he has wrapped himself up in 1994,
v-necked and allowing for deep breathing and openness and interconnectedness, but he recalls:
 
driving in 2001, listening to 96x; hearing the friend of a classmate on the radio telling him an
asteroid has a date with the planet some night in 2017 and in
 
2009 he sits and starts to shake and thinks of
armageddon commercials,
reports of rising waters,
the pot-smoking engineer playing
Dr. Mario and warning him that the poles are losing their ability to point a compass north and
he just shivers and
runs in circles, but not away from the
global catastrophe that awaits.
 
Running in circles, not cutting through the floor, not stirring anything but the air in the sitting room, exerting control over nothing he fears, in the air or space, because the
air and space are quite beyond his control, he quite involuntarily becomes nauseous and falls, quite lacking the self-control to prevent himself from vomiting on the hardwood, violently, eyes tearing,
 
on all fours, insensible, he thrashes about, searching for something upon which to steady himself, he finds the T.V. stand to be wheeled when he tries to lift himself up, it slides, the T.V.
  falls,
he is
defenseless,
unable to prevent flashing/singing 1993 from crashing down upon him in high definition.
 
There is a fire now.
 
1993 is broken and so is his shoulder.  He has also received quite a blow to the spine.  He cannot move, other than to quake and tremble with a b + c - d=y (let a represent the thing you won’t tell anyone, b=smashing force, c=the dark, d=dignity, y=you), as he watches the flames lick up the walls, but he does not scream out because all of his energy has run up into his mind to consider this:
 
he
did not exist before birth and he was unable to prevent being born, thus he will be unable to prevent what is shaping up to look a lot like impending death, thus he is as unable to prevent the end of his existence as he was to prevent its start,
 
and unless you have been in a slightly prolonged death experience you cannot challenge the fact that he could, or would, have been thinking such things Mr. or Ms. Reality-Cop, which, you of all people should know, is impossible because you are dead and probably unable to read internet bloggings,
 
burning alive is probably no good, there is a shard of glass he could bleed himself out with, but he is clinging to every second,
not remembering the time before he was born, he worries
there
will be no existence to follow, and
so he must savor the exquisite pain of what remains.
 
1994 is turning to ash around his body, v-neck not having much to do with breathing anymore and there is nothing to sweater because his skin will no longer let moisture pass through its blackening pores.
 
His thoughts are all that is left, but they seem to rattle around, trying to shake the idea that he will cease to be. 
 
They solidify on an image of what is not even the color white nor the absence of light nor bright nor black.
 
The 90’s and all other decades become irrelevant as the neighbors dog runs out of the buildings front door.  He is cold because they cut off all of his hair and his head looks much larger than his body.

Fearism Story: Fear of others


The Fear of others is the fear of judgment is the fear of rejection is the fear of loss is the fear of being alone is the fear of having nothing is the fear of being nothing is the fear of death


Janet is so scared all the time. People people everywhere, she hates people. She doesn't want anything to do with them. Why do they talk to her, why do the look at her, why do they, why do they? No peace for Janet, always people, but never peace. A person will talk to her and look at her, and she knows, is absolutely certain. She is clearly not good enough for people. People are much better than Janet, they are much more firm and smell so nice, look so fine, taste so ripe and sound so clear. People hate what Janet lacks. They say, "she isn't like me at all."


Janet has a secret. She tried once. To be with others, but people rejected her. People wanted nothing to do with Janet. People gave Janet loss. She greeted loss, and loss stuck with Janet. Never left Janet's side. Loss became a close friend to Janet, holding onto her ribs. Janet carried loss around and it would climb up her ribs and into her ear and speak the only word it could say. Alone. Alone Alone Alone Alone. Janet was alone. There was just Janet. Just Janet. Alone. There was nothing else in the world. Janet had nothing but Janet.


As Janet drifted in her void, she looked around the nothing and a thought came to life in her head. "If everything is nothing, how could I possibly be something?" Panicked, she scrambled to define herself, her role in the void. Something that had purpose, meaning, texture, but it was useless, there was nothing. All Janet could do was become nothing. All Janet could do was turn to death.


Hi Death, I'm Janet


Hi Janet I'm Death


Pause


Janet?


Yes Death


Would you like to become me? Would you like to be Death?


Gee Death, I would be honored.