2 July, 2006

Nobody ever believes me when I say this, but we are not becoming more corrupt. Families are not degenerating. People are not any more depraved than they were in the good old days. If anything, people have become more sensitive and less tolerant of inappropriate behavior, and there is a very simple reason for this. It has become harder to hide bad behavior. Because of technology and the mass media, more people are aware of more things than they ever were before. Sure, in the past, gossip was kind of restricted to what could be whispered over the fence to the neighbor, but today, that very same gossip can be blasted all over the world.

People are not any more corrupt or depraved than they were the day before yesterday. They were always depraved. They were always corrupt, selfish and immature. There is nothing new here. Nothing to surprise or scandalize. We were always this way. It was just easier to overlook. It was easier to ignore.

We also like to idealize the past. After all, who wants to remember the bad things that happened, right? I certainly don't enjoy sitting around and remembering the depressing parts. I would rather remember the fun things that happened. The good times we had. I don't like remembering that I was a social outcast at school starting from about the age of eleven. Nobody would talk to me or be my friend. Blah blah blah. That's just as an example, by the way. Lots of things happened to lots of people in places other than school. Families that sucked. Friends who weren't really very friendly. Distant relations sticking things up other relations' assholes. Who would want to remember that?

We want to remember the good times. Remember that things used to be like Happy Days or Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best. Except things never were like any of those. We just want to remember it that way.

Or just to pick on the example of Happy Days for no good reason other than the name implies that those were happy days back then. Sure, things looked great for some of the people in that show, but wasn't that also a time of great social upheaval and segregation? Wasn't that the age of McCarthy and the Black List? Rosa Parks was an activist, by the way, and not just somebody with tired feet who didn't want to have to shuffle all the way to the back of the buss. But somebody had to be pissed off enough to get on a buss, sit in the front and refuse to move. Oh, yeah, those were just great times.

And decrying the fall of civilization is absolutely nothing new. Didn't prohibition have something to do with saving us from wickedness, depravity and having a good time with alcohol? Also, I would have to look this up in that American History text book that is still sitting in the back of my closet, but I seem to recall reading about these people who would run around the country going on and on about how we had all forgotten how to be good people. They would have these big revival meetings. They would set up tents or stand on tree stumps, and they would give these great big impassioned speeches about how we were all going to burn in hell or some such rot. Now, as I recall from the text since I cannot look it up since I just remembered I donated that book to the Friends of the Library, these people ranting and raving about the fall of Western Civilization were doing their ranting and raving in the seventeen and eighteen hundreds. Yeah, they were going on about how bad things were hundreds of years ago. People are going on about how bad things are today. Funny. You would think after all the bitching and moaning about conditions that things would either get better or worse and people would find something else to complain about. Except they are still complaining about the same crap. Funny that.

Oh, sure, I know it makes great theater. People pay more attention when you talk about how horrible things are as opposed to how good everybody has it. It can just annoy the fucking hell out of me when I hear somebody going on and on about the current level of depravity.

Just last night, hearing about how the family is in crisis. Bullshit. People beat their kids a hundred years ago. People fucked their kids a hundred years ago. Parents hated each other. Kids sassed back. Girls got knocked-up and promptly got married or went to live with a distant relative until they returned with a baby brother or sister. The state of education was simply lamentable. This isn't new. It isn't news. It certainly isn't something that never happened before. It isn't even something that people didn't complain about before.

Things are not worse. People just enjoy complaining. You've got to have something to complain about. Besides, it is much easier to complain and put on a show and make a buck than to actually do something about it. Oh, except maybe make that buck and have people buy your book. Yeah, do that.

Oh, we're going to hell. We are just going to hell. Shut up, you fucking vulture! Preying on the misfortune and insecurities of others for your own enrichment. Makes me want to projectile vomit. Put a sock through the television. Or at least change the channel. The family is in crisis and we are all going to hell, huh? Funny how we never actually seem to get there.

I should write a book.

22 July, 2006

I remember when I was a little kid that I just couldn't get my mind around the whole concept of death. Or to be more precise, I just couldn't figure out what happened to you after you died. Sure, death was easy. You just kind of went plop, and they stuck you in the ground. The part that scared me was wondering what happened next. I mean, did you just lie there? Were you stuck in this box in the ground and just couldn't move? You couldn't talk to anybody or do anything? Just lie there and spend the rest of eternity thinking something along the lines of "well, here I am in a box." That worried me one summer. It just worried me quite a bit. And, don't even get me started about heaven. That place scared me even more than being stuck in a box. Just imagine it. A place where nothing ever happens and nobody ever changes. Gave me the creeps. Seriously.

Which really wasn't very important anyway since I never took the whole concept of heaven and hell very seriously. Or to be more precise, there has never been a single solitary moment in my whole entire life when I ever considered for one moment that heaven and hell were real. Sure, I can talk about them and discuss the concept, but as far as being real places, I don't buy it. I remember as a little kid people telling me these stories, preaching to me and whatnot, and I just remember thinking "yeah, right."

So, heaven and hell were right out. Being stuck in a hole in the ground was a very disturbing thought. And, I didn't know any other options. So, this bugged me. Kept me up worrying and wondering and whatnot. I guess I eventually just kind of phased through it. The worry slowed down to a dull background roar. I mean, you can just drive yourself nuts worrying about something that it is literally impossible to know the answer to.

Actually, there was kind of an intermediary step that suited my thoughts very well. I'm not going to mention what it was because I don't want to get sidetracked here.

I was thinking about all of this relatively recently, and it occurred to me that the real thing that was bothering me all that time ago was something I couldn't wrap my brain around. It really was just the whole concept of death, which really is that point where everything simply stops. There are no thoughts. There isn't any nothing. You don't even know you are dead, and it occurred to me that this was the most outrageous thought I had ever had. Oh, I know. I'm going all self-important and grandiose here. In fact, it sounds so stupid that I just wrote that it was an important thought that I have half-a-mind to erase that line, but me being the silly little snot that I am, I am going to leave it. This way everybody can have a good laugh at my own self-important stupidity. Laugh at the egomaniac, bitch!

Anyway, all I'm really trying to get at here is that it is basically impossible to imagine what it is like to be dead because our whole existences are based around experiencing stuff, remembering stuff, and thinking about it later. None of which happens when you snuff it. You don't experience it. It just happens. You don't remember it because there is nothing to remember, and you certainly don't think about it because of the very simple fact that your poor little brain simply isn't in the thinking business anymore. And, this idea. This concept. This thought defies everything.

You don't remember being dead. You don't wake up from it like you do from a nap and muse about what it was like to be dead. There is no realization. There is no nothing.

And, I was trying to get my head around this concept recently, and I couldn't. It defied understanding because I simply couldn't imagine what it was like to not think. And, this got me to wondering if this is why people are so hot on an afterlife or reincarnation or whatnot. Because it is simply rather on the impossible side to imagine what it is like to stop. The idea is such a mindfuck that people defy it. They imagine that things go on because the alternative isn't even a thought. It is really rather the absence of thought. It is the end of awareness.

Just try to imagine it. Try to imagine what it is like to not be aware. To never be aware ever again. You can't. I bet you that you can't because awareness is what we've got. It is ultimately what we are. And, we simply cannot imagine the end of what's next.

So, okay, yeah, I think I can imagine one reason why people are so hot on the afterlife.

Me? Sorry, it is just the end. Can't even wrap my mind around the idea but there you are. We don't even have to live with it because of the obvious fact that it is the end of living. So, I'm not worried about it. Simply amused by own my lack of comprehension. Enjoy.

copyright © 2006 by keith d. jones – all rights reserved
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