Monday, July 09, 2007

How Soon is Now?

Zdzislaw Beksinski

Silver service sugar bowls and china cups in flood
Prints from brown fingertips and philosophies of blood
Children of the empire born and left to ride the tide
Of anger held at bay by force; the coin stood on its side

Heads that roll and tails that turn your name in to the thought police
Men that can’t see past the dotted line that marks their trouser crease
Wading in with sjambok law and the wrath of Calvin’s vengeful god
burning pages of what might have been tomorrows lightning rod

Diagonal lines on maps decreed to be your natural home
By stripes of any colour chosen, by shining teeth of chrome
words and will ‘tween thought and deed and the need to be released
from the weight all the blood and bone by arrogance deceased

And struggle blind to no avail in the net in which you’re caught
to wave your flag for the new country but that which you are taught
Will send you home in a plastic bag and eyes more cross than nought
Your afterlife as solid as the god for whom you fought

In the name of all that must be obeyed by you and me and Michael
But not by those who ride the gleaming one-trick unicycle
Spewing forth great gouts of cash to the applause of drooling nations
Who cannot find the piece of mind to change the fucking station

Flip the dial and cut the cord that holds you to the motherland
And standing on the haunted hill look back - perhaps to understand
That all you are, and want to be, cannot be held by arbitrary borders
And those who’d have you believe in all those invented mental disorders

That keep you chained to the remedy, the bitter pill of patriotism
That keeps you and me on either side of the cumbersome cultural schism
And promotes the manufactured need for laws that rely on the sales of gun
And keep us on the spiral course to the centre of the sun

So burn your flags for the wicker man and tomorrow’s cold sunrise
And raise your crystal glass to the Empire’s slow demise
For it is in the period of decline that we learn who we really are
And the light is shone on shadowed fruit once hid in a jar

Strange fruit that hangs from that fictitious tree of Adam’s original sin
Putrid waste of national pride best shed like leper skin
A weight undead but best well read to ward against the future
A race of men whose patchwork skin does not require a suture

To see that he is just like me in anguish and in laughter
And the only god to be revealed lives not in the hopeful hereafter
But here and now in this bitter slice, this razor edge of time
That calls us yet to lift ourselves out of the primordial slime

And stare back into the eyes that have us chasing fairy tails
to wipe the dust from the lens that bends and ultimately fails
to deliver us from the fabricated ethos of ‘this is what you need’
and walk the path that runs between the house of honourable thought…
…and the garden of ethical deed.


gregra&gar said...

"our afterlife as solid as the god for whom you fought…To see that he is just like me in anguish and in laughter
And the only god to be revealed lives not in the hopeful hereafter
But here and now in this bitter slice, this razor edge of time
That calls us yet to lift ourselves out of the primordial slime"


Anonymous said...


before i can add anything remotely intelligent to this conversation, i need you to clear up one section for me: it's in the final stanza.

are honourable thought and ethical deed part of the 'fairy tails' .......??


Pisces Iscariot said...

Thanks Greg - I knew you'd enjoy those bits.
Red: assuming your question is rhetorical: surely there are people out there still capable of honour and ethical behaviour???
...and they call me cynical :)

Anonymous said...

no pisces - i'm not quite that cynical if you want to ask me about marriage - yes, THEN i am happy to do cynical.....

it was a valid question. because i am curious how you are able to walk that gap of human nature between the mindless horrors we all are capable of committing and our capacity for honourable thoughts and ethical deeds .... ?

i mean truly, though this might read a certain way - it isn't about us or them because if we segregate, we begin the path of errors, do we not ? so instead, we have to look within ourselves and see the entirety - our depravity alongside our humanity in its highest expression. have you not ever experienced that moment of feeling: " oh god, i hate what i do, what i am and yet i continue on doing it ...?" to paraphrase Paul.

hmm....... i will have to think more about this one. btw: enjoy the linking tremendously - some good laughs and some interesting information. I am in complete agreement regarding the use of Riddlin - mostly because in my own personal experience and advocacy for mental health, i have learned that ADD and ADHD are truly just co-morbid symptoms to a greater problem ......

cheers, pop tart man ........ i'm STILL laughing over those pious and trashy tarts....


Pisces Iscariot said...

Call me simplistic, but I believe that there are those who do not come from a core of wanting to 'do the right thang'. We hold within us the capacity to override and justify (the psychopathic tendency) and most of us do want to be liked/admired by those around us, but the purest force behind ethical behaviour must surely come from the need to like ourselves?

NBarrows said...

the persons that stike the most fear are ones that do not know they are evil.

Pisces Iscariot said...

Hey mr barrows, good to hear from you...
I believe we need to stop using the terms 'good' and 'evil' when describing the world - these two four-letter words have been warped by newspeak (the axis of evil etc)
These words also go to reinforce the fucked-up judeo-islamo-christian model of the world.
Rather than describe your most powerful and illustrious leader (Dick Cheney) as 'evil', I would describe him as corrupt, both financially and morally.

Anonymous said...

call me simplistic - or call me fucked up (wouldn't be the first time) but i believe that human nature, being what it is, animalistic, ISdepraved and lacking in morals. I could point out many examples, but you do a fine job here on your blog.

So where does taking the higher ground step in? finding the honourable within each one of us ??? to me it just doesn't happen because we desire it to be so (now that IS a fairy tale) ...... we are not capable of decency without outside intervention, pisces. Give me a good and moral man, and I will return him to you a depraved animal.

So yes, I am saying - wherever you stand on the spectrum of 'belief' or stand not at all: belief in a power higher than yourself; that power being benign, all - knowing and moral; helps us to find this elusive path you describe. In my opinion.

As my psychiatrist once told me, "Never believe in the good intent of others. For the heart is a wicked thing, full of evil (yes that nasty word) and depravity."

sometimes depraved
sometimes not

Pisces Iscariot said...

heh, see, therein lies the problem: morality cannot be prescribed; psychiatry is the sales department of the pharmaceutical industry.
I have much more faith in a psychological approach, viz: There is only one place to start, and that is with the god that resides within your own skull - there is nothing else to believe in, the world did not exist before you were born and will cease to exist at your death. What happens in between is all you have; and therein lies the answer to everything.

Anonymous said...

well my psych doesn't prescribe me morality - though he does give me some damn good drugs - -(and if the pharmaceutical companies were so interested in creating diagnoses such as mine - then why the hell have they not bothered to create a decent drug for my disorder - frankly I'm tired of using 'piggyback' meds meant for brain seizures, depressives, narcoleptics and so on and so forth...)

so if my skull tells me on a regular basis that hope is dead and death is sweet relief ..... then what else shall i believe in? the goodness of others? the higher ground? do-gooders and their well intentioned thoughts??

just read my post on my sister's pack of dogs ....what makes you think we are any better or any different??? plenty of genocide examples to go around pisces - all it takes is one Mona the Murderer and the rest of the crowd falls into place .......

hmm - interesting: the world did not exist before i was born, yet here i can sit and call my mother, who certainly existed before my birth, run my hand over my grandmother's letters; pick up a braided grey lock of my great grandmother's hair ....... yet none of these things existed did they? death of two: yet something tangible of each left behind for me to grasp .......

a conundrum to me based upon your limited definitions ... death? ahhh always the rub of the non believing ...... what makes you think death is an end? and why would i ever want to return to this living hell just to prove a person wrong?? let you guys figure it out on your own ..... i've got an eternity to prepare for......

hey - next time let's use science to argue this: entropy, chaos theory, the laws of matter ...... now that would be interesting....

gregra&gar said...

Call me whatever you want, but my sense of morality is, quite practically, based on behavior that is beneficial to symbiosis with the nature of my environment. No supreme being or pulpit spouting — just empirical evidence of the quality of our existence in that light. Unfortunately, within western society, nature is to be conquered, so everything moral in my practical sense is seen as crackpot at best, anti-corporate terrorist at worst. Getting along with society alienates one from oneself unless one forms or joins ones own, off the grid tribal society of kindred hearts and minds with self-sustenance through such practical behavior foremost.

Red Dirt Girl, No matter what position in the universe you posit, there will be just as much larger and smaller, faster and slower than there is anywhere else. We are always in the middle. Cosmic enough fer ya? Beginnings, middles and endings only count in horse operas while nature just keeps on feeding on itself. Part of being symbiotic with the planet is being good food. Maybe our most beneficial function.
I'm glad to serve.

Anonymous said...

hm G&G ....

your empirical sense of morality might work in your symbiotic environment, but obviously the opposite also is true: an empirical lack of morality also works within the human environment, rises to power, fame, fortune - all the while feeding on the lower echelons - benefiting the immoral as equally as your off the grid tribe benefits from its like-mindedness.

For cosmic, let's look at this: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction .....

Without a beginning - how do you know you've reached the end? or that you are currently floating in the middle for that matter?
Without immorality, how can you define your own morality?
Without parasites how can you justify being symbiotic?
And without bad food, how would one define what is good food ?

As for the planet, honestly? I've never asked it what would be best for it and would not dare to assume knowledge otherwise. On the evolutionary time scale i'm not even the beginning of a blink .... i think planet earth is rather indifferent to all of our positing , don't you?

Pisces Iscariot said...

Three different philosophies here - I don't wish to convert anyone but will make one last observation, perhaps to clarify my observation that the world did not exist before you were born: the brain has a fundamental difficulty in comprehending its own non-existence, it therefore needs to create a hereafter, to give its own existence meaning. For those of us existentialists (for want of a better term) it is important to look to the positive (the alternative is too bleak), not to do so is to ignore the smiles of our children; the smell of green; the light that shines on the inside of your skull with the dawning of understanding... the soaring of music that takes us to the core of the creative spirit.

Anonymous said...

truce ..... my brain is dead tired ..... and left feeling rather ...... ambiguous.

gregra&gar said...

The planet earth is no more indifferent to our existence than we are to the existence of the cells in our body or the milky way is indifferent to our solar system.

The only edibles for the immoral among the "lower echelons" are still on the grid bound by their dependence to the beginning and end story.

Because something may have an opposite, ie parasite/symbiot, does not imply anything about beginnings or endings — just continual change that looks like death to one attached to the form.

"In death, the many become one; in birth the one becomes many." — Rabindrath Tagore

Pisces Iscariot said...

Nice quote :) but are the many conscious at the time of becoming the one? Religion says yes; existentialism says no.

gregra&gar said...

When you have no dreams at night, who knows that in the morning, as opposed to forgetting ones dreams?

Pisces Iscariot said...

Day-dreaming is far more satisfying

Anonymous said...

sigh ........

G&G: my only purpose in pointing out the existence of opposites was to point out that you have no idea you are a 'moral' being until you define its opposite 'immorality' for yourself. Therefore, there seems to be a need for one's human mind to define itself, its parameters, by choosing or defining what it is not.

As for the time argument. Actually there is none in my book as I absolutely agree: time is a construct of the human mind. Man cannot fathom that the Divine is, was and always will be.

"For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either. The ends of things and their beginnings are impregnably concealed from him in an impenetrable secret. He is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness out of which he was drawn and the infinite in which he is engulfed."

- Blaise Pascal, In Time/Infinity

or consider this:

"... you cannot experience yourself as what you are until you encounter what you are not. This is the purpose of ... all physical life."

-Neale Donald Walsch

but this one I especially like:

"Man is only a reed, the weakest in nature; but he is a thinking reed. There is no need for the whole universe to take up arms to crush him: a vapor, a drop of water is enough to kill him. But even if the universe were to crush him, man would still be nobler than his slayer, because he knows that he is dying and the advantage the universe has over him. The universe knows nothing of this."

-Blaise Pascal, "Pensées"

I think the last one nicely illustrates the indifference of the universe to us, dear G&G.

now, truly, i've had enough ...... carry on, friends; carry on ......

Pisces Iscariot said...

Red, there is nothing to carry on... I have been unable to grasp your point(s) here, and this is due (I believe) to our different points of reference.
Your original question seemed to be: how do we act ethically/morrally when all around us people are tearing eachother apart?
And my answer remains that it is within us (each individual) to define his own path, but that the need to be liked and to like oneself is the strongest motivator - an optimistic viewpoint.
From there we seemed to wander off into religion and psychiatry, points to which I merely reacted.
Perhaps we are only argueing with ourselves.
I sense a certain exasperation on your part so wonder if perhaps my reposes were read dogmatic or aggressive - my intention was mearly to express my understanding of the world.

Anonymous said...


I am neither exasperated nor feeling you to be dogmatic or aggressive. At times my responses are due to circumstances that fall far beyond the realm of blogdom.

I agree with you in this: each of us (the "3") are responding to your work from a different perspective / basic philosophical viewpoint.

One: this is absolutely necessary considering we are three separate 'entities/identities'. Two: my intent is neither to persuade you to 'come to my side' nor necessarily help you 'see' it my way. I'm only expressing my own opinion.

You must see this as a credo to your work: you have managed to stimulate quite a discussion here that ranges far and wide, incorporating many topics. Isn't that, ultimately, what is needed in this world? More talk, more exchange of varying ideas? More acceptance of where we differ rather than stressing conformity of thought?

I disagree with your supposition that the need to like oneself and to be liked is the strongest motivation for self-actualization and the foundation for 'moral' behavior.

I disagree with G&G's supposition that his 'moral' behavior is the result of responding to what is most beneficial/symbiotic to his environment. In part because he relies on empirical evidence whereas I rely on experiential / intuitive evidence.

I posit that man himself, left to his own 'nature' is an animal and thus acts like an animal: some are prey, and others are predators. This to me is the most basic instinct of life. To rise above our innate nature? Well, obviously, I believe in a higher being, not necessarily espousing any particular pulpit. I am animal, and I am Divine. To what extent which one of these 'identities' expresses itself depends entirely upon my choice: to indulge my animal instinct or to seek understanding of the Divine within me and my relationship to him/her. My motivation? it is the Divine within that calls me into relationship with him/herself.

The rest, as they say down here in the south, is just gravy.......

Pisces, I seriously doubt you could ever offend me. I regard you and your work with much admiration and yes, even affection. You are an old friend on the blog. This to me is just spirited 'red dirt girl' debate ....

Carry on? oh - lol - that's because men always want to have the last word in an argument ........ hahahahaha.

peace, red

gregra&gar said...

I disagree with G&G's supposition that his 'moral' behavior is the result of responding to what is most beneficial/symbiotic to his environment. In part because he relies on empirical evidence whereas I rely on experiential / intuitive evidence.

empirical |emˈpirikəl| adjective based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic : they provided considerable empirical evidence to support their argument.

RDG I respectfully submit that your disagreement with me may be because of your interpretation of empirical, I meant it to convey your exception exactly ("I rely on experiential / intuitive evidence.")

Me thinks you doth protest to much …

Anonymous said...

thanks G&G

always good to know someone's got my back !!!

and a dictionary handy when mine isn't working!!!!

though i still disagree with your symbiosis.

gregra&gar said...


Pisces Iscariot said...

Excellent! I heard someone say recently that philosophy is useless it has something to fight against :]

Anonymous said...

G&G - ????

"but my sense of morality is, quite practically, based on behavior that is beneficial to symbiosis with the nature of my environment

Part of being symbiotic with the planet is being good food. Maybe our most beneficial function.
I'm glad to serve."

oh - maybe I misunderstood ...... I thought you were giving me an example of moral behavior that was beneficial to symbiosis with the nature of your environment - you know: serving up good food.

did i miss your point?


Pisces Iscariot said...

Thank you dear frienda for making this the longest comment string so far - unfortunately this queue is now closed. Please return tomorrow for more exercises in philosophical futility.

Anonymous said...

ahhhh pisces - where's that optimistic existentialistic attitude of yours ??? futile?

make love not war .....