Tag Archives: The Denial of Death

MURDER!

Mrs. N. had no intention what so ever of writing anything more here until her triumphant return from her visit to various dystopian European countries that, although they may have magnificent gardens, happy populations, and 21st century mass transportation systems…. are, my government informs me, misguided Hell Holes of Socialism tottering on the brink of collapse.  All that changed this morning.

As the sun rose I armed myself with rake, bucket and weed puller and headed out to crawl around my extensive perennial beds intent upon ridding them of weeds.  Engaging in active meditation if you will.  All was better than well as I noticed that so very many of my favorite perennials had self seeded themselves in dozens and dozens of new places, as if by some magical intention.  I was busy happily crawling around from shrub to shrub, plant to plant, popping out dandelions, stray grasses and weeds, picking up the odd fallen magnolia leaf when I came upon it.

There was no mistaking what happened here.  It was clearly cold blooded murder of an entire family of children.  Lives, barely begun, snuffed out by some evil heartless fiend who cared not for the suffering his actions had wrought.  I asked myself… “Who could have done this?… Who could have so little regard for the lives of others?…  I had no answers, only theories.  It could have been the evil serpent, the black snake who I permit to live unmolested in my giant mulch pile of magnolia leaves.  (Am I to blame?)  It could have been the raccoon who, so different from you or I, prefers to venture forth at night, wearing his mask, and praying with his little hands to what Gods I know not.  (Should I have shot him as my neighbors do?)  I don’t think I will ever know the answers to any of these questions, but, even if I did, it would do nothing to bring back the tender little lives that were ended so abruptly, and so brutally.

I thought about the endless news coverage of the bombing in Boston and its aftermath.  Hour after hour, day after day of coverage of every angle, every nit picking detail of everything and everybody involved.  Interview after interview, witness after witness, expert after expert…. and it made me ill to think that such a promising species should end up so hideously deranged.  This morning it was all talk of the Death Penalty.  Yesterday it was all talk of ending the quest to write a decent set of laws to deal with immigrants because, after all, the Boston bombers were immigrants.  The day before that it was all talk of the defeat of legislation to make firearms less easily available to the mentally ill and to people with criminal records.  Earlier today I read that two studies now point to a rather dramatic increase in autism in mothers who consumed drugs like Prozac to “balance” their “unbalanced” brain chemicals.  Who could have possibly guessed that taking drugs to alter the functioning of your brain could fuck up the developing brain of your unborn child?

Sometimes, times like this, times when there doesn’t seem to be any corner of sanity to crawl into with my blanket to suck my thumb and mumble to myself…  things oddly start to clear.  I find myself laughing at something stupid, and rejoice, in my heart, that I am somehow, or, some way, wired to appreciate the stupid (rather than ballet, or, liver pate).   That I cannot only see that it’s all the game of black and white, but, understand that for either side to win would be truly monstrous.   For either side to win would ruin it all.   For either side to win would be the end.

Before I came in from the garden today I decided to do a little patching of some bare spots in the lawn.  Anyone who follows my musings here knows full well the “problems” I had last year with moles turning my manicured lawn into swiss cheese.   Rather than poison, trap or otherwise end their little lives last year through murder I turned for council to the one place that has never failed me.

I watched The Godfather once again and, as usual the way to move forward became instantly clear.  It was after Sonny was hit at the causeway and it fell to Tom Hagen to tell his Godfather what everyone else seemed to already know.  He informed him that his oldest son had been murdered.  Upon hearing the terrible news Don Corleone said this…

“I want no inquiries made. I want no acts of vengeance. I want you to arrange a meeting with the heads of the Five Families. This war stops now.”

Instantly I knew what to do.  I left the moles in peace and met with the shrubs, flowers, trees, insects and birds… and a grand peace was made between us all.   This spring all the moles are gone.  It was when I was spreading some nice soil around the bare spots left by the mole tunnels and raking in some grass seed that it came to me.  I realized that I was getting out of the country just at the right time.  That I was removing myself from the endless blather of the talking heads on television who will continue to go on and on about the Boston Bombing until…. the natural end comes to the story.

What will the natural end be?”  you ask….

Remember the coverage of the police firing hundreds and hundreds of rounds of bullets into the fishing boat the fugitive 19 year old brother had taken refuge in, in some guys back yard?  You will know that the end has arrived when you hear on television that the owner of the boat has shown up at the police station with this question.

“Hey… Who the fuck is gunna pay for all the fucking holes in my boat?”

At the beginning of Chapter One of “The Denial of Death” Ernest Becker writes…

 “In times such as ours there is great pressure to come up with concepts that help men understand their dilemma; there is an urge toward vital ideas, toward a simplification of needless intellectual complexity.  Sometimes this makes for big lies that resolve tensions and make it easy for action to move forward with just the rationalizations that people need.  But it also makes for the slow disengagement of truths that help men get a grip on what is happening to them, that tell them where their problems really are.”

Kiss, kiss

Mrs. N.

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Mrs. N. (goes on tour)

Mrs. N. is busy packing her suitcase for her upcoming European tour.  In a little over a week it’s off to The Netherlands for the Spring Tulip Festival and a visit to Keukenhof Park, the worlds largest flower garden.  Anyone who has read anything on this blog knows full well how Mrs. N. feels about her flowers.  If we have time, since we are in the area anyway, we will try to make a short visit to Holland.

Mrs. N. chose to begin her “Tour of the Absurd” in The Netherlands because it was the home of “Tulip Mania”.  Back in 1637,  a single tulip bulb sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman.  You have to wonder what they were thinking.  It is generally considered to be the first recorded speculative bubble.  The Dutch, it appears, had never heard the phrase… “What goes up must come down.”  They have that in common with Wall Street Bankers.

The people of The Netherlands are known to be an unfriendly people.  They are also known for their “Coffee Shops” that openly sell dozens of different kinds of marijuana, hashish and hallucinogenic mushrooms.  Mrs. N. is having a very hard time understanding how a population of people could simultaneously be unfriendly AND be enjoying the benefits of inhabiting what should be a perpetual Woodstock.  Something is amiss.  Even the popular phrase… (“You know what they say about the Dutch… they don’t amount to much.”)  doesn’t explain this curious phenomena.  Mrs. N. intends to get to the bottom of this no matter how many “Coffee Shops” she has to visit, or, how long the research takes.

From there it will be off to Heidelberg, Germany to visit the childhood home of the greatest epistemologist of all time.

René Descartes in an early example of the internalist approach to justification wrote, because the only method by which we perceive the external world is through our senses, and that, because the senses are not infallible, we should not consider our concept of knowledge to be infallible.   Sergeant Hans Schultz, going one critical step further, fully recognized the fallibility of our senses and stated the obvious.  He is widely considered today to be the Father of the Anti-evolutionary Psychology Movement.  It is also believed that Ernest Becker’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, “The Denial of Death” was but the culmination of work originally begun by Hans Schultz.  Both men were known to be avid bowlers.

After paying our respects to the work and memory of Professor Schultz it will be on to Dusseldorf and the Neanderthal Museum.  Neanderthals had something called an occipital bun.  An occipital bun is a prominent bulge, or projection, of the occipital bone at the back of the skull. Occipital buns are important in scientific descriptions of classic Neanderthal crania.

When Mrs. N. was a teenager she knew a person with an occipital bun.  He, lets call him Rudy, was 18 years old while the rest of us were younger.  18 was the magic age for purchasing beer and hard liquor in New York State.  New York State was 3 miles away at the time.   Rudy, occipital bun and all, became a very valuable person in spite of his curiously shaped head.  Indeed children can be cruel to those who don’t quite fit in, and jokes like… “Hey, do you have to get an estimate before you get a haircut?” must have stung.   But, that’s life when you come into the world with a head that looks like a watermelon, I guess.  Unfortunately for Rudy the rest of us eventually turned 18 too and he found himself in the same position the tulip speculators did when the market went bust.  My visit to the Neanderthal Museum in Dusseldorf will be a way of paying my respects to an unfortunate individual who provided me and my teenage comrades with beer and hard liquor during our formative years.  I was thoroughly snookered on alcohol he procured for us the night I met my mate of going on 45 years.  If it were not for the liquid courage he provided I might never have made that first move that resulted in a wonderful marriage.  In return for his kindness he was made fun of.  There was no justice.  No one was equal then.  No one is equal today.  No one will be equal tomorrow.

Rousseau tells us…  “The one who sang or danced the best, the handsomest, the strongest, the most adroit, or the most eloquent became the most highly considered; and that was the first step toward inequality…. Social imbalances occur because of differences in personal merit and the recognition of that merit by others.”

Immanual Kant wrote…  “From the crooked wood of which man is made, nothing quite straight can be built.”…

Sigmund Freud wrote…  “The tragedy of evolution is that it created a limited animal with unlimited horizons.”…

There remain a few days before my departure.  Should any of my readers have suggestions with regard to my itinerary, please feel free to comment.  …And NO, I won’t bring you back any seeds.

Because I don’t want to end up here

Kiss, kiss

Mrs. N.

 

 

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Happy?

What is man but the animal who steadfastly refuses to believe he is an animal?

I read with interest the other day that both “postpartum depression” and the “Mid-Life Crises” are psychological conditions that only exist in modern “Western” cultures.  Can you imagine my surprise?  All along I assumed, as I was informed by our health care professionals and their allies down at the pharmaceutical research laboratories, that they both were simply one more example of that seemingly ubiquitous condition commonly known as “a chemical imbalance”.

The picture you see above is, if we are to be honest with each other, the TRUE depiction of what it means to be an American.  The Great Seal of The United States of America badly needs updating.  It is wildly inaccurate.

Capitalism and Consumer Culture have not increased human happiness.  There, I have said it.  What we are left to determine is not what we want, but, what we “are”.  What we want is determined and taught to us by culture and, as we all should understand, culture is the pack of lies we, collectively, agree to pretend are truths.  What we are… are animals.

Wilhelm Reich astutely observed that “all human belief has essentially the same message, namely that we are something other than animals”.  That helps us understand what Ernest Becker said in The Denial of Death:  “No mistake- the turd is mankind’s greatest threat.”

…”Our beliefs attempt to distort the apparent truth, which is that nothing makes sense, nothing rhymes, and that we are all rushing toward the the soon to be forgotten compost heap.”…

So, what can I offer you?  How can I help the unhappy toward greater happiness?  In truth…. nothing.  My life makes no more sense and is of no more value or consequence than yours, or, the next guys.  But, I can give you this to contemplate.  The following is an excerpt from the journal  of one Captain James Cook, written in 1770, upon his first meeting with the local inhabitants of a primitive land that would come to be known as Australia.

…”They appear to be in reality far more happier than we Europeans; being wholly unacquainted not only with the superfluous but the necessary conveniences so much sought after in Europe, they are happy in not knowing the use of them.  They live in tranquillity which is not disturbed by the inequality of condition; the Earth and sea of their own accord furnishes them with all things necessary for life, they covet not magnificent houses, household-stuff etc., they live in a warm and fine climate and enjoy a very wholesome air, so that they have very little need of clothing….. In short they seem to set no value upon anything we gave them….

“There were several early accounts of the Natives themselves who were baffled by the obvious unhappiness of the European arrivals.  They did not dance, sing, or celebrate.  They laughed very little unless they were intoxicated.  They had no magic.  No miracles.  The Australian Aborigines, who lacked any signs of pathological anxiety when they were first encountered, were struck by the perpetual agitation of the Europeans, their dumbness about the happiness contained in nature.”  (from, “In Search of Happiness” understanding an endangered state of mind)

We were never cast out of any Eden.  We were just tricked into believing there was something better.  We “made up” all that apple & snake bullshit just to cover up the fact that we, of our own free will, chose to be such greedy assholes.

 

 

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