This Post Marks The Beginning Of The Fourth (And Last) Part
Of My Journal Writing
“Man tries to make for himself in the fashion that suits him best a
simplified and intelligible picture of the world; he then tries to
some extent to substitute this cosmos of his for the world of
experience, and thus overcome it. This is what the painter, the poet,
the speculative philosopher, and the natural scientist do, each in his
own fashion. Each makes this cosmos and its construction the pivot of
his emotional life, in order to find in this way the peace and
security which he cannot find in the narrow whirlpool of personal
Albert Einstein, Ideas And Opinions, 1956, p.225
As an end-of-life reflection, my story becomes more personal now. Here
is a brief description of what is to come, and why that is the case:
Most people do not live in an emotionally warm universe; they live in
a universe that is either totally indifferent to the lives they live,
or they live in a hostile one. If more people lived in a
non-threatening and emotionally warm universe, I believe more good
would get done, more compassion produced, and less violence would be the
result. In part four of my journal, I will describe, either directly or
indirectly, the universe I live in now. Everybody, in his or her own
way, already lives in this universe. For those who know nothing of this
universe, I would like to suggest that it is only a small change
in perspective away; for some, however, a major shift in perspective
may be required.
The last of my journal (all but the very end) takes place in future time (at the time when I am only one conversation away from dying). Future time posts are broken up into segments, usually beginning with a dialogue between MV and myself (MV is the voice in my head that has popped up throughout my journal writing, but has been conspicuously absent for a long time). MV and I entered into a wager back when I was job hunting in New Orleans.
Well here’s a fine “how do you do,” I just went back to my New Orleans postings hoping to find my MV wager so I could cut and paste it here, but that post is not there. Between the post “Infidels” and “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” I was supposed to find the post “The Bargain,” but it wasn’t there. Back when I started this blog I was afraid that people would complain to WordPress that my blog ought to be X-rated; therefore, I was careful to edit out some sex and anything else that I though was controversial. My wager with MV did not make the cut. Since the whole (almost the whole) of the rest of my journal is based on that particular conversation, I am posting it now in its entirety.
What I originally intended to post in this spot will have to wait (or, maybe not). My plan was to introduce the X/Y form. X/Y form posts (the posts that developed into what I call the “new model of the observer/observed relationship”) are concentrated at the beginning of my future time posts. The X/Y form morphed (the meaning is the same) into the b~b~bb structure that grounds the “new model of the observer/observed relationship.” (see https://bwinwnbwi2.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/new-model-of-the-observerobserved-relationship-concluded/ and the post preceding that one for more on the b~b~bb structure and the observer/observed relationship.) For me, the “new model of the observer/observed relationship” is a personal response to Einstein’s invitation: “Man tries to make for himself in the fashion that suits him best a simplified and intelligible picture of the world……”
MV’s Change Of Strategy—The Bargain
My One Room Apartment
I never did get a real job, but it wasn’t because I didn’t try. Just
thinking about the mileage I put on my shoes makes my feet hurt. I
was finally humbled into taking a job selling encyclopedias. I
didn’t really want the job, but they promised good money and I was
getting desperate. When it came to giving a sale’s pitch, I wasn’t
sure if I could pull it off. (In College, I was so afraid of
speaking in front of people that I never gave one speech to my
speech class. I passed the class with a D since I did well on the
written tests.) Actually, I was lucky to get the job. Many of the
people didn’t get past the first day. After the interview, I was
given a three page long dictation to memorize. On the following day,
many of the other people didn’t have their lines memorized; they
were dismissed on the spot. If it weren’t for the fact that I was
bored at night, I wouldn’t have taken the time to memorize the
shitty speech anyway.
With my books to keep me company, my nights were mostly spent
reading in my room. Having only a few dollars in my pocket and even
fewer friends, painting the town was not an option. One night was
worth remembering, barely. After a disappointing day job-hunting, I
stopped by a local tavern. At the bar, I sat next to a pretty girl.
I listened as she poured her life story out to the bartender. She
was new in town and unattached. When she said she was from
Huntington Beach, California, I thought to myself, “Now there’s a
connection, I’ve been there and I can use that to begin a
conversation with her.” Drinking my beer, waiting for the right
moment to begin talking to her, a Dylan song popped into my head. In
the song, the protagonist strikes up a conversation with a girl at a
bar and discovers that both he and she share a common hometown and
acquaintances. As I was letting the song in my head play over and over,
it made it easy to wait for the right opportunity to talk to the girl. Just
as her conversation with the bartender was tailing off, in walked
this guy who sat down on the other side of girl, and when he heard
that she was from California, he asked, “Where in California?” As it
turned out, both he and the chick happened to be from Huntington
Beach, and they shared many friends in common. That could only
happen to me!
Back in my room, I was not in a very good mood. I didn’t feel like
reading, but I needed to do something, so I sat down and started to
write. I guess I wrote a poem. Well, maybe it wasn’t a poem. The
only thing that really mattered is that it helped me get through the
Discontent is as much a part of my soul
as being human is a part of my body.
I say look to the future for salvation.
You say, wallow in your shit.
I say there is always hope.
You say the future is present now,
and shit stinks forever too.
I say you are a fool.
You say eat shit,
hope for an early death
and win paradise.
I had arrived in New Orleans four weeks before Mardi Gras. The whole
time I was there I could feel the excitement building. Every day the
city was becoming more alive with its new decorations, fresh paint,
and newly installed bleacher seats. Although I was looking forward
to Mardi Gras, I didn’t figure on any surprises. The people in the
French Quarter were already celebrating. The excitement of watching
people throw beer cans, scream obscenities, and, in general, act
like jerks, loses its appeal after awhile. I suppose I could be
speaking out of envy, since I was not one of the good-time people,
but I hope not. The week before Mardi Gras there was the pre-Mardi
Gras party. Bourbon St. and Royal St. were awash in drunken
celebrations. The highlight of the party came when this muscle bound
peacock stopped traffic and tried to pick up a Volkswagen full of
terrified tourists. Even with his drunken buddies cheering him on,
he could not pick up the car.
The thing that turned me off more than anything else was the
indisputable prejudice that was all around me. Although the black
population got the brunt of the prejudice, there was more than
enough to go around. It seemed some of the people down here were
still fighting the Civil War. Being from the north and a hippie, I
was not immune from being the object of prejudice. Not one to back
down, though, I would often walk through the black section of town
and stop to swing on one of the swings in the playground reserved
for black kids. Everybody, blacks and whites alike, gave me dirty
looks. The anti-social stigma of being the wrong color in the right
swing, or being the right color in the wrong swing, did not win me
points among the locals. Fortunately, I wasn’t trying to win a
popularity contest. I just learned to swing with my eyes closed.
I stayed with my encyclopedia job for better than a week while I
learned all the sales pitches and promotion exercises. I was one day
away from getting my first paycheck when I told the whole fucking
establishment to kiss my ass. I couldn’t picture myself as a
salesman anyhow, but the real reason I got pissed had to do with the
way they treated one of the girls who I became friends with. She was
from Silver City, New Mexico and she was counting on her promised
paycheck so she could buy a bus ticket home. The guy in charge found
out that she wasn’t going to stick around and sell encyclopedias, so
he fired her. She spent what little money she had on clothes and now
she was out of money and a job. She was devastated. I felt sorry for
her since I knew how she felt; I also had to send home for my suit
coat so I would have something to wear for the job. I guess
quitting my job wasn’t the best way to show my support for her, but
the thought of working along side garbage, like the guy who fired
her, made my skin crawl.
After kissing both the girl and my job good-by, my depression
started to kick in. By the time I got back to my apartment, New
Orleans was making me nauseous. I wanted to pack up and get out of
town, but I had already paid the rent and my suit coat hadn’t
arrived in the mail yet. Feeling out of control, I retreated to
familiar territory; I bellied up to the nearest liquor store and
bought myself a bottle. It was a pretty safe bet that I would see
things differently from the bottom of a whisky bottle. Back in my
room, before I got drunk and after putting the finishing touches on
another poem, a voice interrupted my train of thought, MV as I liked
to call it, was the voice of my insanity. And it had returned!
“What the hell do you want?” I said. “I’m not in a good mood. Do
yourself a favor and get the hell out of here.”
“Manners! Manners!” came the retort. “That’s no way to treat your
old friend. I want to help you and you treat me like a cockroach.
Can’t you be more civil?”
“I don’t feel civil,” I said, “in fact, I feel anything but civil.
I don’t need you to spoil the one thing that gives me pleasure,
getting drunk. Now leave me alone. I can drink just fine
without the likes of you around. Go away, please!”
“You need me,” MV said, “someday, when I’m not needed I might go
away. Would that make you happy?”
“Overjoyed,” I replied, “But you’ve got it wrong. I don’t need you,
especially now! All I need is a damn drink and I prefer to drink
“Let’s see,” said MV, “you’re saying that getting drunk has left you
bubbling over with joy. Right? Oh come now, this is no time for
silence. How about sharing some of that joy, I could use a
little `pick me up.’ Let’s see what you’ve written, correct me if
I’m wrong. As I recall, it went something like this:
Dark shadows fall,
the echoes of my life.
Worry, sadness, and pain,
the never ending present.
The emptiness of living is my plight.
Life is in agony,
my soul in chaotic drift.
If only mercy killings
were the fashion and
I not such a coward.
Yeah, now I’m happy. Happiness is contagious around a party animal
like you. Be careful though, you’re liable to kill yourself with
laughter. Are you sure you don’t need my help? I mean, anybody can
dig their own gave, but to make it official you need to be buried
and mourned. It appears you’ve mastered the first half. If you do
not need my help, what do you need? I tell you true, I can give you
more than you can imagine. Certainly, I can do enough so that you
will never again feel compelled to write such drivel.”
“What I need,” I said, “you will not, or cannot give me. I
need you to go away. I need to know I am not loosing my mind.”
“But we’ve been over that one before,” replied MV, “I am your mind.
Lose me and your mind will surely be lost, the best part of it too.
By the sounds of it, maybe you need the girl next door. I know I do!”
“Oh,” I said, “the guy’s prostitute in the next apartment over
must be back. It seems to be a once a week thing. Wait a few minutes
and the walls will be vibrating.”
“Nothing wrong with that,” said MV. “If you like, I can get you
girls and they won’t even be prostitutes.”
“Fine,” I said, “Bring me a girl and while you’re at it, bring me a
girl I can love. Sex is always better if you at least like the girl
you’re with and I imagine it’s great if you love her. Wait! Better
yet. Bring me a girl that everybody would love to love. Shit! Why
not have everybody love everybody! That’s it MV. How about it, can
you do that? I want to look out my window and see nothing but
loving and peaceful souls. Can you turn souls that hate into souls
that love? That’s what I want MV. Can you do that for me?”
“What you want is to turn the world into a Garden of Eden minus the
apples. Right?” responded MV.
“You’ve got it,” I said, “Now go and do it. Take your time, I’m
“If I could grant your wish,” MV replied, “what would you do for me?”
“You flatter me. What could I possibly do for you,” I said, “Be
“That’s not a bad idea,” MV responded, “If I could do the
impossible, then yes, for services rendered, I could make you my
slave. But, I cannot do the impossible, so I guess you’re safe for
now. Besides, if you really knew what you were asking, you wouldn’t
” What’s that supposed to mean?” I said.
“It means you don’t know what you’re saying. If you did you
wouldn’t say it,” responded MV. “You look out at the world and see
black and white and good and evil. Those things are mere reflections
of what’s really going on. In the real world it’s not possible for
me to do what you ask. If it was, then all righteousness and
goodness would, in a blink of an eye, cease to exist. You look at
the world and see cruelty, suffering, injustice and, if I know you,
a fiendish plot to turn all good things bad. But what if bad things
were necessary in order for good things to happen? Would you still
wish away the bad? Of course you wouldn’t! If an irremovable bond
linked bad to good how would you feel then?”
“Now who’s asking for the impossible,” I said, “there is no
plan, no purpose to this world. It’s just what works that counts, and
what works, unfortunately, is usually violent in nature. It all
started with an exploding universe and now it’s come down to big
fish eating the little fish. If you see reason and purpose in that,
fine, but all I see is the strong and smart killing the small and
weak and that’s called `survival of the fittest’ with lots of pain
thrown in for good measure. Comprende?”
“All I want you to do,” replied MV, “is admit that you don’t know
everything. That’s the beginning! I really can help if you just open
up a little. Just admit it; your knowledge is incomplete.”
“Ok,” I said, “so explain it to me, so we both can be enlightened!”
“I can’t give you the answers without you first asking the
questions,” replied MV, “a clear vision of `reality’ may be obtained
only through your own eyes, never through the eyes of another, but I
can give direction. Besides, my words–my answers to your questions,
unless they affect your heart, will not be of use to you.”
“How can you talk about the heart?” I interrupted. “You are
ridiculous. First you tell me that what I believe is wrong, and then
you say `sorry sucker, I have what you want but you’re not getting
any!’ How sublime! What a crock of shit! You talk like a madman.
God! What does that make me, a genius on the insanity scale? Okay,
you say that everything is the way it’s suppose to be, and
therefore, everything is already an expression of the good. Right?”
“That’s right,” replied MV.
“Well, the only good that can come out of this is for you to leave
me alone,” I said. “Get the hell out of my life! I’ve got some
serious drinking to do and trying to make sense out of your nonsense
is giving me a headache.”
“I’ll make you a deal,” MV interrupted. “In the beginning
you wanted a girl, and then it changed to paradise. Right?”
“Yeah, something like that,” I replied.
“Then I told you that what you wanted was impossible because good
and bad are so interconnected that one can not exist without the
“If you say so,” I replied.
“Well here’s the deal: I’ll help you understand what’s `real,'”
said MV, “and if I succeed I promise you will become free from all
scorn and bitterness. You will discover, with my help, how it all
fits together, how good and evil are woven into one reality. To get
to that place you must penetrate reality’s nexus, and that my friend
is no minor achievement, but together we will triumph. Are you up
for the challenge? All that I require for this service is your soul.”
“Say again,” I exclaimed.
“I’m offering you that `final realization’ where, by design, pain
and suffering become a necessary part of all that is righteous and
good,” replied MV.
“No,” I said, “I mean the part about me giving you my soul? Am I
missing something here? Have we made some kind of right turn? The
word soul is hardly in my vocabulary, but I still don’t like what
I’m hearing. This is important. We’re talking about my sanity now,
not just a dream!”
“Wait a minute. Think about what you’re saying,” said MV. “Get your
head out of the Dark Ages and listen to me. How can giving me your
soul be bad when to make that possible bad must become good? In the
end, you loose nothing. And anyway, look at what you get in return;
I’ll do your bidding. You will have total control.”
“I need to understand what you’re saying,” I said. “When you
say bad is good you don’t mean that bad is good relative to
different levels of badness, you mean that bad is somehow inherently
“Right,” said MV.
“And, if I discover how good and bad are inherently good
then and only then, do I give up my soul. Right?
“Yes, that’s right,” replied MV.
“If I agree to this,” I said, “you will do whatever I tell you to
do, and you will continue to do so during the entire time that it
takes for me to conclude that bad is good. Is that right?”
“We are not talking semantics here,” MV responded, “the rules of
language, the rule of non-contradiction, keeps opposites apart.
Don’t worry, we are not talking about language we are talking about
vision. When you are able to see past the rules of language then you
will see also the good and evil connection.”
“I need an answer to my question, thank you,” I said. “As long as I
believe bad is not good, I get to keep my soul and I get to tell you
to get out of my life?”
“Almost,” MV responded. “You don’t get to bury me. I need to be able
to help you along. However, if at anytime you want me to leave just
say so, I will go. I will be available if you need me, though.
That’s part of the deal!”
“I need to hear it one last time,” I said, “if I am not in
agreement that bad is good, then I keep my soul?”
“That is right,” replied MV.
“Then we have a bargain. Where do I sign?”
“Don’t be so archaic, MV responded, “We are adults here. Your word
is as good as it gets.”
“Okay, then go,” I said, “get the hell out of my life. I’ve got to
wash this whole affair out of my memory and I don’t need any help
from you to get the job done.”
When I woke the next morning, I wasn’t exactly at a hundred
percent. At first, I thought I had a nightmare, but on second
thought I knew I couldn’t be so lucky. I faced up to the fact that
my mental health was deteriorating. My emotions were pulling me in
every direction. If I really believed that MV was the real McCoy and if he could be
trusted, then from here on out I might be able to turn my insanity
around. But, if I actually believed that, I really would be insane,
not to mention I would be giving my soul, a soul I never even knew I
had, up for grabs. Anyway, illusion or not, making that deal with MV
was probably the safest bet I have ever made.
Well, There You Have It; in the rest of my journal MV and I (in future time) will be haggling over the wager’s outcome and, in the process, I will continue to cite significant past experiences (more journal posts) in order to (1) prolong my life and (2) argue my way out of the wager!