virus: Windmills

Reed Konsler (
Sat, 20 Feb 1999 16:31:01 -0500

>Jake: ??? Okay. End of discussion on that topic, unless you wish to revive
>it. Until or unless it is resolved, I predict that we will be talking in

We've been talking in circles all our lives. You just think the lines are straight.
People thought the world was flat, but they lacked a comprehensive perspective.

>>>>Jake: I generally think having faith is not a good thing.
>Reed: Why?<<
>Jake: I think I have gone over this before. Faith is holding something in
>principle not subjectable to rational criticism.

What is the negative consequence?

>Jake: Hope and trust are not the same things as faith.

Each synergytically feeds the other. Without one, I have found it hard to build a reserve of the others. It is possible, but a table with two legs isn't very stable.

>You confound faith with hope and trust

I never confound. I recognize the resonance between these entities which allows one act in the role of the other...just a one member of a team can take over when another member falters.

>you confound justificational reasons with rational criticism.

I never confound. I admit that I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "justificational reasons". I'm clear on "rational criticism", though.

>Jake: By placing unecessary, and potentially detrimental limits on rational

What is the negative consequence? Think like a debater. What's wrong with unnecessary and *potentially* deterimental limits? Marriage is such a thing. Are all such things bad? My flow chart of your argument has yet to show any connection with a negative consequence. Were this a formal debate, you would loose on technicality.

Of course, formal debates have time limits. Also, people tend not to coach the opposition in the middle of the fray, in a formal debate.

[E gad! I feel a huge digression comming on!]

That's why I gave up Debate, eventually. I switched to sales speaking and won a state championship (if I'm allowed to brag about the good ole' days). I bet that doesn't surprise you. There was a single overriding rule: "No contenstant may use any props which they did not make with their own hands costing more than $50 total." By the time I got to the state level, almost every person had bent that rule. One girl's father owned a printing company, and she had used their resources to make some really flashy stuff. Creative interpretation? I suppose we expect that from salespeople.

Lots of props. Very intimidating. I was selling Breyer's Mint Chocolate chip Ice Cream, and my shtick was almost all talk. I had a small balance to compare the amount of chips with the competition. I had (imagine the naivete) a three page photocopied handout describing what the common ice cream ingredients were, what "emulsifiers" were for, why most ice cream needed it, and why Breyer's didn't.

Oh, and it was also my favorite flavor of ice being quite a connesuier of such things. I was selling like a teacher.

We were being judged by people who were interested in salesmanship in the abstract, not by an actual "consuming public"... adults that were giving their time to an "educational" process. What they saw was what we all see when we focus on salesmanship: rule bending, creative interpretations...

Some of the students even made a game of it, lampooning all the uneasy things that people do to get you to buy something. One woman was so outrageous...seductive, flattering, semantic...that she had the audience buckling with laughter.

And there I was, goofy looking in my burgundy knit wool tie passing out photocopies and earnestly telling people why they should spend a few more bucks to buy quality ice cream...the kind I liked. I melted their poor little adult education oriented hearts. I talked about natural ingredients and embodied purity.

I apologize for that digression. Who cares, right? It was so long ago, and such a trivial thing...but you're right...I have always been a salesman hawking my wares, a confidence man. I knew it then, and it disgusted me. I wasn't interest in manipulating people, I was interested in truth! I was interested in goodness, right thinking and right action!

Fuck Religion!
Fuck Art!
Fuck Postmodern Literary Criticism!
Fuck Fantasies, and drug induced delirium! Fuck the talent as a writer, as a teacher, which everyone I've ever

know has forced me to see!

I am not a fucking whore! I am a rock, and I will speak only the purest truth.

So when I went to college, I did the right thing, I became a scientist. And was there ever TRUTH! Tests and studying, arcane symbolic representations. And the lab work! God, yes! A chance to test my truth against reality, mano a mano. Me and the chemicals. Purity


And I was fucking brilliant at it! I out-thought my advisor. I intimidated graduate students. I was the shit.

So they sent me to Harvard. This is the place they send you when you've become too much for other people to take. It's an inverse prison...a dark humid bag full of rabid animals. Who can teach the people with whom no one can argue? No one. Just stick them together and let God sort them out. Let them bleed each other until they get the point...and God help us all if they don't.

Becuase some don't. Some people just go on and on. They never find anyone or anything that can break their will, find their soul. They never get that chance to see the face of God, however you imagine that to be. They never have the chance to touch humanity.

Thank God that is over. Not Harvard, I mean. This is a really wonderful place to work, and there are scads of interesting people to talk to and lots of opportunities to demonstrate a little human decency. I mean that mind. Thank God I am no longer the person who saw things in those terms....every person a knife looking for my kidney.

Maybe, in the end, this whole discussion is about me, not you. Identity is like that, a watery thing. No boundaries. We are each always talking primarily to ourselves anyway, I firmly believe. In that sense, you are right...this whole circle focuses on my pain, confusion, and irrational reason.

The thing is, you sound exactly like I used to be, Jake. You use the same words and the same tone. Aloof, skeptical, you're debating from an altitude. And I feel drawn to it again, like an shaking addict. Higher and higher!

But the crash, man! The crash. I prefer to keep my feet on the ground these days. People tell me they like me better this way. Sober.

>There is one I, the purposeful essence, which persists through time.<<
>Jake: At best, I might see that as an undifferentiated version of what I said
>here, though I cannot be sure:
>Jake: >The things that hold it all together in coherence are value,
>>narrative, and worldview. I will tell you if I think of any more, but that
>>sounds like a powerful list to me. Everybody, even the faithful, engage ALL
>>these elements.

Have faith. Have faith that it means the same thing. Have faith that we agree even if we use different words. Have a little faith. What is so hard about that? What is so wrong with it?

>Reed: Perhaps that is faith?
>Jake: Not the way I see it. But if you think its faith, then I guess it is
>for you.

Actually, I've asked a number of people about it recently. There are so many would be amazed! Faith is like a kaliedscope containing everything. It whispers to you in the voices of people you pass on the street...not a magical's just a way of thinking, like algebra...a way of focusing on what is significant to each of us. It's a way of finding the places where people intersect, and building from their...a way of reducing boundaries. Faith is like a big smile, the milky way, writ large across the sky.

That's my perspective. I find that the vast majority of people share that faith. But maybe I'm just selling it to them: an answer in the form of a question.

>Reed: If so, it does serve some use. For instance, this
>faith allows the future me to fulfill promises and contracts which I
>make in the past. Would you disabuse me of this delusion? I have
>a soul. When I marry, it is my soul and not my mind or body which
>is is a contract of my very essence. Tell this to your wife,
>and then tell her you think it is irrelevant mystical mumbo jumbo.<<
>I don't use the word "soul" seriously and neither does my wife.

Well, whatever works for you guys. We find it vastly improves our sex lives to take "soul" seriously.

>We don't believe in supernaturalisms...we love each other...

Ah, but Jake, what does Love really mean? Isn't that just a word which "seems genuine" but which is, in truth, nothing at all? It all sounds like mystical mumbo jumbo to me. Love isn't real, Jake, it's all biochemical whatchmacallits and genetic predestiny, right? Love is irrelevant, intangible, infinte, unbounded. You can't have any kind of reasonable debate about love.

>I am sorry, I just don't think I can make it through the rest of your post.
>We only agree in the vaguest generalities, and even then, only somewhat.
>Explaining myself to you is entirely too cumbersome. I have tried as much as
>I can. The effort is overwhelming and seemingly pointless. You seem to want
>some philosophical discussion, but only on your terms. Otherwise its just a
>[shrug]. Except for more mundane vagaries, and simple pleasantries, your
>terms are not acceptable to me.

I understand. I'm sorry I couldn't help you more. I hope you find what you're looking for. Just try not to shit on people on the way, hmm?


  Reed Konsler