Q: Why write?
A: I get a lot of satisfaction from playing god, so to speak. I get to place characters of the chess table. I get priviledged access to what they will be thinking, how they will behave. I get to shape their world; I get to throw in a sudden wind or a ray of sunshine as if it were a theatre prop. If I wanted to, I could inject a flying saucer to scoop up the protagonist when things become their most dire. Mostly I won't, because that gets cheesy and the readers will protest: 'it's not fair.' So I settle for small details mostly, I can write in bits of garbage in the alleyway, and they take on extra significance, perhaps metaphorical significance merely by being there. The reader knows that they are inhabiting an artificial world; every word is placed in sequence by design. The fun, for them, is interpreting it. The fun, for me, is putting it there, to be discovered by the perceptive.

"Art has the power to change the world..."
"Sometimes I wish we could get back to grunting and hooting at each other, instead of all this bullshit..."

(Is it true that thought is defined by language?)
(We have reason to believe that this is true, yes. For example, there is a tribe in the Amazon rainforest, that has no word for any number after two. They count, 'One, two, many.' They also have incredible difficulty with most mathematical problems. They do, however, have a name for each of thousands of native birds, and can identify them with breathtaking rapidity and accuracy...)

1.Language is transitory. Reality is simultaneous. No matter how quickly avant-garde writers write, no matter how many words dropped punctuation missed abbrev. etc. etc. they cannot capture the truth of Moment, that it is all at once. Consequently, (although the cause and effect here are muddled and can't be established), we conventionally perceive our world in transitory glances, flitting from pinpoint details. Razor-quick statements of fact, as opposed to sitting, wide-eyed, letting the world sing to us as a choir. Such an activity could be called meditation, and it only really becomes accessible to us after persistence and training.

You have to be careful, as a writer. I mean, I've had people write to me, who are just-- beside themselves. Really angry. And they're like: 'How could you kill [character] in chapter 8?! How could you be so cruel?! We didn't see it coming!' Y'know, people take it seriously. That's one thing about books, man. Cause and effect. Like, you can't do something before it is seen. Suppose Steve the protagonist is about to be murdered with a hammer from behind. Either he has to turn around just in time to see the hammer descend, or you, the writer, have to push yourself out of his skull and see that hammer from an omniscient perspective. How can you do it otherwise? How can you write a completely unforseen murder? How can you write a real murder?

I remember when I first Marx in college, and... it was a revelation. It was ecstatic. I ran around, I wanted to share this new understanding I had with everyone... it seems hopelessly optimistic now, but I remember, I bought a dozen copies of the Communist Manifesto, and I gave a copy to my uncle, for his birthday... and he was so good, he just gave me a funny look, but said thanks... it was just that feeling, that moment of Eureka!... everything made sensFALSE.
I remember when I was saved, it was just after my divorce. I was drinking, y'know, just questioning my life, wondering where I was going. And i started reading the bible, and it was just... Wow! y'know? It was a revelation. I could see how God loved me, and that there was a plan for me. I was on his path, y'know? I needed to know that, it was such a relieFALSE.

('what i wanna know is this', he continued. 'why is it that all of the political movements, all of 'em, originate from books? and here i'm including religious books as political, because that's all they are when you get down to it. And all these political books, they all start with a HOW PEOPLE ARE, y'see? like, a retelling of history, whether it's adam and eve or class struggle, or the selfish savage, and then HOW PEOPLE SHOULD BE, y'see? cause an' effect, wrapped up in a neat lil' bow... an' if you aren't how the book tells 'em you should be, you're an enemy, y'see? i been kicked outta every church an' every club, cause there's nothing that they fear more than aberration...')

2. From each object we perceive Effect from a past narrative of Cause. The garbage is there because somebody dropped it. The tree is there because somebody planted it. The impact of a bomb comes first, followed by its sound, its former location, and its meaning. Thus we are writing lines of logic in reverse: the present perceived reality sits at the end of the sentence, at the period. From there we give it meaning.

'it's a good thing they made history so malleable', he said. 'Otherwise politics would be obsolete.'

Q: How did you find that the brain interprets information?
A: Well, it's quite interesting, what we found. 90% of the information coming through the senses is discarded. You, for example, might not be aware of your tongue inside your mouth, or your big toe, but if you hear me say the word, 'toe', you will once become aware of it. If you're unfortunate enough to live near a slaughterhouse, you may find that your perception of the stench diminishes, and only become aware of it when your guest begins holding his nose. All this information, if left unfiltered, would be rather distracting, perhaps to the point where we wouldn't be able to function at all.

All lies can function only through omission.

All art functions as omission, as perception filtered through the artist's mind, discarding the senseless and illuminating the meaningful, promoting insight... Politics functions as an attempt to impose cause and effect... to identify problems and promote solutions, and thus to create morality.
(yes, but-)
Consider this cover story of Newsweek: "How we're wired for Spirituality."
(or is it our language that's wired for spirituality, for temporal explanation, for unwinding cables of cause from our perceptions, discarding what we think is meaningless in a hopeless rush to anchor the present to the past, to impose the safety of morality and to send the rest to hell-)
Excuse me-
(Keep in mind that every tribe on Earth has given themselves the label 'The People'; keep in mind that every lofty text has gathered its own group of enforcers. Every religion is a religion of peace in its own words; never in its actions. So what's really going on, outside the words? How long are we going to keep busying ourselves with mere alibis?)

"Art has the power to change the worlFALSE??
"What man fears is not evil, but indifference."

(If we can talk about a machine, a thing that responds to stimuli, that thinks in albeit very simplistic terms, we have to understand how it orders the perception of cause and effect, and how it defines morality. Human beings form its constituent parts, but they are ruled by their own moralities. You hire one as a worker in your bagel shop. A starving man walks in and asks for a bagel because he is starving. A human being, conceivably, will make a quick calculation. A bit of food could save a person's life, could alleviate pain. Giving away food = Alleviation of pain. If you could find an employee that sees all things as they are, untarnished by present ideologies or conditioning; a literal example of the noble savage, he will certainly give away one of the store's dozens of bagels. Certainly this won't do. Mechanical thought imposes policies to circumvent the individual's initiative. It's now against regulations to give away food to anybody. The punishment could be minimal, but it's enough to throw your employee's equation off. Giving away food = Pay cut. The machine has replaced its employee's cognition with its own. And of course, you can bring ideology into the mix as well, and the reason this starving man is hungry is because he is poor, and he must be poor because of some personal failing or wickedness. And it's easier to believe that pain is deserved than it is to believe otherwise. When John Locke or Adam Smith wrote their treatises on Capitalism, they didn't mention the starving man.)

'Humans have a distinct sense of fair play. We trust that cause will follow effect. We make judgements based on what we expect will happen due to our actions. If in Act III, our protagonist is suddenly crushed by a 500 pound weight, the audience will either laugh or leave in protest. We expect that things happen for a reason. We demand this from our narratives. We demand more from theatre and literature than from the outside world.'

"If there is one thing I could say to spark Revolution, it would be this: Never Trust God."

Today's Assignment: What would politics look like without books?


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