For the first ten and more years of the intertubes, I was basically uninterested. I had some exposure to it from researching cases on Lexis/Nexis and one absolutely mortifying experience with the chats on AOL, where I was slimed by invitations to go off into private rooms with people to have computer sex within five minutes of logging in. I mean MANY private instant messages... bing, bing, bing, bing, bingbingbinginginging.... I would ask people about the state of the internet occasionally, but it never sounded useful enough to bother defending against mashers to investigate for myself. I think Old Uncle Dave pretty much taught me how to get around on the tubes, by emailing me links to articles that showed the falsity of the official story about 9/11.

I remember him linking me to something at Tom Paine dot Common Sense. Something so appalling and indicting of our government that it shocked even my already-jaded idea of the depths of their perfidiousness. I felt compelled to email the owner of that site and demand to know who he was, how one could have any confidence in his assertions, just what the heck was going on here. He responded that he had X number of years experience as a journalist and was abashed by my inquiry, didn’t know how to assure me he was reporting on something actual and not just fantastical. He admitted he could not SAY anything that might persuade me he wasn’t making it up.

It was just a few moments after reading his reply that it struck me I’d never had anything persuasive enough from anyone in any media. All media were constituted of people who were bound by law to tell the truth and nothing but the truth on pain of life imprisonment and permanent disgrace for themselves and all their ancestors and all their descendants... not even omitting their pets. Except for those who were clearly telling whoppers for the entertainment of fat women who wore curlers in public, all media, INCLUDING fan magazines, were the gospel truth. EVEN when I already knew they were lying, my default stayed set to they’re-telling-the-truth. EVEN as I had been telling people for decades that journalists were CLEARLY just going to the government and reporting verbatim what it had said to them, that default was not reprogrammed.

There is a reason your intellect can tell you one thing and your conditioning continue on as if it had never heard of your intellect. It is one of the things you manage to get the insight to overcome when you get serious about, say, Zen... serious about waking up. You have to have been able to assess that the unremitting suffering, sometimes punctuated with flashes of spirit or nostalgia or joy, will not ever be transcended unless you work very hard on YOURSELF. No amount of work out in the world cuts it. EVER.

How old was I before this poor victim of my outraged sensibilities finally snapped me out of my stupor? I think I was fifty-one. I have something of an excuse from already having some fifteen years of the Zen intensive by that time, and long years away from TV and radio and newspapers, and so wasn’t given to contemplating that sort of thing. I could tell easily, Zen or no Zen, that, except for Sculder and Mully, TV was poison. Old Uncle Dave and I called each other during the commercials in X Files to rave about the wonders and horrors, giddy with anticipation and speculation. That was stone cold FUN... and somehow IMPORTANT... not mere entertainment.

And late night TV was a bit of a help with the agonies of insomnia... as long as there was a remote to flee commercials. Commercials had been anathema to me since earliest childhood. The level of offense was unendurable even then and only my youth allowed me to endure it. We got, on my account, a device, pre-remotes, called a Blab Off. You hooked it up to your TV and a long cord with a toggle switch at the end of it would allow someone on the couch to turn OFF the sound during commercials. Commercials were never okay with me, but the programming became as not okay with me over the years.

The dispositive moment came when someone was being executed at San Quentin. Late night programming had been interrupted for coverage of the event. Shots of the demonstrators. Interviews with the famous ones. Breaks for earnest discussion with pundits. Any news flashes as to the victim’s physical location at any given moment. An open connection to the Governor’s Mansion. It was as this lively broadcast was in full swing that I noticed the hairdos had unconsciously slipped back into their smiling news delivery faces, resumed their native banter style, having forgotten the gravity of the situation, that the resolution to not even watch only late night TV and X Files came over me. Never to tune in again.


But I didn’t come here to nag you about your boob tube thing.

I came here to mention that suffering humans have in common a deep-seated urge for apocalypticism, for a fascination with doom, a kind of yearning for it. I was able to name this because someone on George Noory’s show brought it up the other night, but it has been in my mind for quite a while and that interview, I think, just helped me find a way to express it more cogently. I guess we’ll see.

I’ve seen myself, since that email exchange, since the days of Dave simultaneously trying to haul me onto the tubes and out of my CONSCIOUS decision to try on not being such a contrarian about the filthy pigs in DC, so habitually suspicious of everything they tried to put out to us through hairdos. It was a Zen thing, an attempt to verify for myself there was NOTHING compulsory about that attitude, that mode of relating, and I could pick any one I wanted, including none. 9/11 turned out to have been the all wrong time to take that approach, or the all wrong option for use of it, but I was raised by the tooth fairy, conditioned by this world, so, frankly, was in no condition to judge. Or maybe it was the only one that stood a chance of teaching me. Karma is funny that way. But I was vexing the living snot out of Dave with it. Believe me, he’s made me pay for my reluctance to believe him many times over since then. Paybacks are a bitch.

By the time of my impertinent email to that truther type editor, my great edifice of Zen practice was showing cracks so large one could bodily squeeze through them and a type of visceral alarm from the dissonance in cognition becoming as large as planets bashing into each other like a cosmic billiards tournament was beginning to turn me into a major case of OCD. I was becoming hyper-vigilant and it wasn’t ebbing. It was escalating. I was slammed back into my leftist ground from my carefully-cultivated perch above the fray, seeking wildly for reinforcement of what I always only thought I knew. By the time I found Brad yelping about the stolen election of 2004 it felt as though someone were giving me a full body massage with the very elixir of life as lubrication. Terra firma! OMG OMG OMG

Never mind that terra firma is one of the loudest alarm bells in all of Zen teaching, I could not hear it over my panic. I really CAN plead extenuating circumstances, being decked by a neurosurgeon and then having my wits drained out of me by my thyroid, but, strictly speaking, I should have heard the trumpets blasting as a result of my feet finding a ground.

It was ALMOST as though they dreamed up 9/11 for the SOLE purpose of ruining all my hard, hard, hard work on myself. A thousand times it occurred to me to worry/hope that I was in a coma somewhere and this was all naught but the tortures of limbo in some hospital bed somewhere. Excuse me, a coke-addled drunk who didn’t even seem to want the job runs for president, let alone wins, let alone gets it stolen for him... TWICE...? You can see how this might’ve come up.

So I guess it’s turning out that the terra firma isn’t that firma terra—more like successive boulders jutting from the cliff face and giving way not long after I find purchase each time—still a seeming eternity to me anyway and ignominious and as uncomfortable as hell—all leaving me wondering if my feet will not finally completely lose interest in footing altogether like that moment when I decided to turn off my TV forever. Pft. Fwoosh. Gone.

You can’t get anything even impersonating reality passably with this terra firma affliction. If you need points and authorities and a community of agreeable types to settle down and function, you might as well just go back to TV. A different flavor of hypnosis is NO less lethal than the one already put there for the masses. It just feels so chic, or so rarefied, it actually serves to keep you more insulated from reality than all those poor hicks whose existence you lament, or bash, or belittle in furtherance of your own pathetic brand, the one you only call real.


For everyone who has not been born enlightened, it turns out there has NEVER been a way to get in touch with reality, except to listen to people, find the ones you can trust to tell the truth, even if they’re wrong, and begin to piece together your own vision of the real that way. Unless one turns to mysticism to learn to drop the scales being glued to one’s eyes from earliest childhood, that’s the best one can do.

This can never be driven by ANYTHING but devotion to truth or it’s pure waste. Few ever seem to recognize the lethality of picking how they wish to view the world and each of the bits in it. If this is based on attraction to it, or its harmony with what one already thinks or thinks one knows, or the advantages of being seen to hold such and such a view, its hipness, its chicitude, its popularity, its sweetness, its nastiness, its whatever-suits you on the moment, pft, whatever comes out of it is based solely on the nature of that attraction and will correspond not at all with actuality. People miss this crucial, ridiculously simple, distinction ALL the time. So even back when we really did have journalists trying harder to tell us about actuality, it was already seriously skewed by both their preferences and our preferences. If we don’t like the cut of their jib or their turn of phrase for whatever reason we don’t even make of it what they made of it, completely apart from which view, if either of them, was correct.

There have been a minimum of trillions of such departures from the actual in the course of every human life extant, and this DOES mean, unequivocally, that the world is COMPLETELY deluded. Hallucinating. Psychotic. The best we can do is align ourselves with those whose psychosis feels less threatening in its seeming benignity. It only feels that way. It’s AS lethal, just seems less violent as it kills. But, hey, we try.


It is perfectly plausible that none of these big disasters we hear about ever happened. HOW would we know if we didn’t have the wherewithal mentally or financially to go to the places and check? We wouldn’t. We’d just believe it because it was on TV or on the intertubes and somebody we like said so. For all we know, Fukushima Three blew up and caused a 9.0 earthquake and a horrific tsunami. Or it just blew up and took a lot of homes with it, and all that tsunami video is produced in an effects lab. Or there was never a Fukushima at all. There might even be a continent nobody knows exists because anyone who happened upon it was never let go and all images of our planet from space are altered before we get to see them. I mean, probably not, but for all you KNOW any of this and more could be the actual.

You’re too busy scrambling for money a privileged few make out of paper or metal and charge you for. You’re too busy insuring they can get anything and everything they want—no mater what—to take this problem seriously enough to transcend it. Humans are warlike. You don’t work; you don’t eat. Presidents have to kill people. Power corrupts. Jesus loves you. We used to be monkeys; now we’re humans. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Living well is the best revenge. Spanking children causes violent adults.

Nothing is real. And nothing to get hung about.

Or is it?

If it isn’t, why are you so fascinated with, attached to, all these apocalyptic scenarios? Why are you riveted on discerning the shot that heralds World War III, or radiation poisoning, or Corexit, or Peace Prizes, or supervolcanoes, or 2012, or the Rapture, or the descent into global fascism, or Chavez’s health, or polar bears, or polar shifts, or astrophysical alignments, or comets, or asteroids, or the economic collapse, or all of these and much more? Wanting only to identify the kill shot?

Why don’t you budge?