Part 1: Rounds, Corkscrews and Drunks; or Fatheads, Screwups and Imbeciles
It was difficult to imagine a place more desolate than the peneplain. But Zeke Sage spent his afternoon suffering, as his physicians described it, from “Bacchanalias dipsomania”, which left his body wracked with indecision in the easy chair, from which visions arose that went one step further than the peneplain in their absence of qualities of any type. For at least the peneplain had a line distinguishing earth from sky; whereas Zeke’s mind – referred to by researchers as the “pene-pate” – merely had what was known in medical circles as the flat line.
However, knowledge of lines by circles is baseless. Lines and circles may intersect; they may run more or less parallel for a while; they may even screw one another over, but circularity cannot know singularity and vice versa.
There are those who argue that corkscrews combine both characteristics. But I consider the corkscrewed mind simply another equally unsharable experience, a third alternative then; for in order to evolve (or devolve?) from the circular to the corksrewelar at least one factor must change to ensure that the pattern doesn’t remain in a vicious circle. This suggests that the corkscrew personality is driven by the delusion of advancement – a linear delusion admittedly, and a conclusion that is also, admittedly, the result of circular reasoning. Whereas (I proceed regardless) perfectly circular minds repeat the same patterns endlessly because their memories are limited to one rotation. Thus they think the pattern keeps changing whereas, in fact, they are simply unaccountably stupid. That is, they are governed, of all things, by the delusion of having a corkscrew nature. So they too believe incorrectly that they’re advancing. And flat liners by definition have no impressions, neither of their progress nor lack thereof; but if they did manage to squeeze one off it would be a delusion obviously, therefore neither circular (if without progress) or corkscrewelar (if they believed there was some sort of progress). So with that matter clarified we can proceed.
It is quite likely, therefore, that doctors knew what they were talking about when they wrote their report on Zeke Sage. Doctor I.M. DeMeaning argued in his infamous paper “Why Stone-Drunk Meatheads Should Be Kept in Lockup” that “Sage is a stone-drunk meathead that should be kept in lockup” and more along that line. What made his paper “infamous” was that he sent it to the wront publisher and it was published in Meat Locker Today magazine and not in the International Journal of Crazies Research. Letters to the editor of Meat Locker Today unanimously complained, as one subscriber put it, that “DeMeaning’s use of non-linear weighing devices completely underestimates the protein value of the Sage cranium.” And then, like the other writers, he went on to discuss unrelated issues and trivial matters, concluding abruptly with a “Sincerely Yours” in mid-sentence.
Invited to talk at Meat Lockering ’99 Convention, DeMeaning addressed the possibility that Mad Cow Disease might be controlled by the use of psychoanalytic techniques in the meat processing plant. He was roundly booed, which sounded to DeMeaning suspiciously like a chorus of moos.
To be fair to Sage his life did not entirely revolve around booze. In fact, his life did not revolve whatsoever, but proceeded in a perfectly linear manner from the chair to the tap to the potty to the chair, which admittedly, seems circular now that I think about it. And if you consider the movements of the earth in conjunction with this three-part linearity a definite corkscrew kinematics becomes apparent.
But why DeMeaning should have expected the Meat Locker folks to support his reasoning was unknown. Anyone could tell that members of the Meat Locker Association, thanks to their long and close association with the cows, were not thinking clearly: they couldn’t deduce a pocket handkerchief if they were shown a pocket, a running nose and a hand loitering first around the pocket and then around the nose. And the trails of illogic that they blazed could never be retraced: would grow back immediately into impenetrable thickets of random association; so that trying to argue with them was like trying to read fine-print under a strobe light. (During the interval of light the eye struggles to find the place it left off, and just as it finds its starting place, all goes black again, ad infinitum). So if you wished to argue with one of them you had better be prepared to spend most of your time reminding them, and trying to explain to them, what they had previously thought, before you could ever hope to begin disagreeing with them again. Meanwhile, their minds’ eyes continued flitting about their craniums like moths, alighting here and there on extraneous notions. These irrelevancies were new holes in the dam you were trying to construct to hold together their points-of-view in the hope that finally you could begin the work of demolition with some confidence that they would understand that it’s their own damn point of view you were demolishing, and thereby achieve for yourself, at last, some satisfaction in your arguments. But alas they were never capable of identifying with any of their former arguments because they were aggravatingly free of selfishness (the concrete that holds together, that preserves even against reason if necessary, one’s own personal viewpoint). And so without this concrete no impoundment was strong enough to withstand the corrosive effects of the meat people’s selfless and unfocused witlessness, which could erode even the most well-reasoned point of view in a matter of seconds; which was certainly too meager a portion of time to begin the second half of the argument (your side of it). And most annoyingly of all (because it would falsely raise one’s boats of hope) they’d utter now and then a “perhaps” or a “do you really think so?” to pretend interest in your increasingly manic two-sided monologue.
So their manner of thinking couldn’t even be considered corkscrewed, as it failed to exhibit any pattern whatsoever, but scooted hither and thither like a baby’s scribble. However, in this it was like a corkscrew: it’s patternlessness could be described as a pattern in itself; an eclectic and ever-expanding ignorance.
DeMeaning, however, somehow managed to get the Meat People’s goats; or, rather, they had a beef with DeMeaning. It was an example of paper/scissors/rock played out cognitively. Circles beat corkscrews beat lines beat circles or vice versas, who knows, I give up. DeMeaning’s talk on the linear dead-ends of Zeke Sageism, eventually became a distraction to the distracted. That is, the Meat Association’s own pattern of patternless distractedness was interrupted (trumped) by DeMeaning’s circular thesis: “Zeke is an idiot because he drinks, which is why he drinks, to avoid feeling like an idiot.” This was the meat of DeMeaning’s 3-hour speech to the Meat People, most of whom were drunk in addition to being cow-mad and cork-screwed, and thus took the message somewhat personally.
But somehow DeMeaning saw in Zeke’s spent life some reflection of greater significance, though it never developed into a thesis quite to his satisfaction. And so he would try to reason the thing out again and again. Around and around he argued until even the most maddened of the Meat People learned the Sageian cognitive system by heart – all its pene-patic emptiness – and commenced booing (or mooing?), until DeMeaning and his orbiting secretaries were eventually booted (or mooted) linear-style out the door.
Part II: Beddoism Reconstructed
While Zeke’s linear mentality became quite popular among the alcoholic majority of the population, Beddoism’s popularity was at rock bottom. While Zekeism’s philosophy became the object of numerous scholarly treatises, Beddoism continued to draw no attention whatsoever, although a 6th grade teacher in Upper Murgh, in a fit of multicultural virtue, forced her class to perform various religious ceremonies and songs, including a few confusing Beddoistic chants (pertaining to the tax code it seemed), on an otherwise rainy holiday afternoon in mid April. It wasn’t her fault if the chanting was done without the customary Beddoistic calculator and Dictionary of Financial Terms. Because in fact the entire Beddoistic service had never been fully developed in the first place, and its belief system remained for many long years completely empty of cosmology, devoid of promise, without even a pretense of authority, bereft of the merest inkling of original insight, and obviously without purpose. Beddoes so much as admitted to his congregation that it was a tax writeoff, designed on the night of April 14th (tax day) in a fit of panic.
But despite all that, the religion, at first prospered and drew hordes of the middle class who were clearly in a muddle about the meaning of life and apparently desperate beyond reason. However, bye and bye, despite efforts by members of the church committees and women’s leagues, the religion failed to instill an iota of interest among the poor and dispossessed, which made it very difficult for the members of the church to minister to anyone other than themselves. Thus they began to get on one another’s nerves, because nobody likes being preached to, especially when it comes to issues of taxation, which makes up the majority of the Beddoistic literature.
So bye and bye, ministering ladies and gentlemen left the church by the busload and the religion evolved eventually into a perfectly effective tax exemption as it was intended. And so it loitered for years around the back alleys of accounting firms, pedaled by defrocked Sartorial priests who sold the remaindered Beddoistic texts on the sly (“under collar” as they called it).
Beddoism was only one of hundreds of worthless religions that the shady theocracy pushers pushed. But eventually shades of meaning descended on the texts, more by accident than by design; in fact, entirely by accident, just as particles of dust and carcasses accidentally accumulate on even the most peneplainic tables until eventually it becomes plastered with an uneven assortment of baroque filth, which then attracts rodents.
Indeed, Beddoism began to attract a rather odd congregation of worshippers as various tenets, dogmas and unpleasant beliefs (Damnation, predetermination, celibacy, for example) were edited out of happier, more socially active religions and came rolling along like tumbleweeds attaching themselves to the Beddoistic Maypole. And the personal baggage – the phobias, solipsisms, psychoses and dyslexias – that entered the church strapped to the backs of the congregation! Well, they placed unexpected spins and interpretations on hitherto simple ideas until the Church of Beddoism was a veritable wrath of free and not-so-free thinking, where atheists, druidists, psychoanalysts, monotheists, pragmatists and logical positivists of various persuasions gathered in a roar of babble at all hours of the day and night. And yet, unlike the Tower of Babel, it thrived and grew ever taller by zig and by zag.
Meanwhile, Zekeism also thrived, but despite the enormous number of scholarly works on the subject, the central tenet of the philosophy (or way of inebriation, as its followers referred to it) remained empty, apart from a few ribald “hymns”. Stated simply, it was “drink to excess.”
In fact, the scholars who studied Zekeism failed to share its central tenet in anything but a theoretical fashion, and were simply caught up in their own rounds of intellectual excess. The idea of getting drunk appealed to all of them, but the attainment of drunkenness dulled the thinking, which caused them to lose sight of the idea of drinking, and thus its appeal diminished in direct proportion to the volume of liquor consumed. Numerous articles derived the equation linking drinking volume to appeal diminishment (see, for instance, Doctor I.M. DeMeaning’s “Deriving a Constant in the Equation Linking Drinking Volume and Rate of Consumption, and Rate of Appeal Diminishment in Middle Aged Men” (Befuddlement Today V.3/1 p6 1998). In short, these men talked a good drunk, but … well, the headaches they bragged about in the mornings were more the result of eye strain. And the puke they left in unexpected places? Fake.
Nevertheless, these scientists represented the third major philosophical movement of the day (Zekeism and Beddoism being the other two). And DeMeaning was as much the leader of those scholars as anyone could be who leads others in a circle.
It came to pass that Beddoes himself grew irritated with his own religion, not least because it began making a minor profit. No longer the tax vehicle he’d imagined it to be, Beddoes was all for scrapping it. However, Beddoes found out that it’s all but impossible to disappoint a disagreeable mob. The more clearly he told them that the whole thing was a fabrication, a vehicle for extricating his bulk from another tax jam, the more profoundly he added to the fabric of the religion. His “taxism” as it was called became simply another tenet in the heap of scrapped tenets that was the architecture of the church. Again and again he argued, becoming ever more derisive in his efforts to rid the building of his followers, and lo and behold, the babble of disagreeableness grew louder, and attracted legions of new “worshippers”, each with his own divergent opinion or tax tip to shout back at the pastor and at the other “morons”, which was their word for brethren of the church.
Then Beddoes hit on a most ingenious plan. He invited a couple hundred neighborhood drunks (Zekeists) to attend his services (for free beer and pickled hog’s feet). And lo and behold if the Zekeists weren’t the most agreeable lot, so long as the refreshments held out. Soon enough they were agreeing with the psychobabblists (who said they were “a bunch of glazed, stewed and potted twits); they were agreeing happily with the Satanists (who said they were “goody goody two shoes”); they were only too happy to agree with the Freudians (who had nasty things to say about their mothers); and so on. At first the church tried unsuccessfully to divide into two camps: the Zekeists and the suddenly circular thinking Beddoists. But the Zekeists added their own self-critical complaints to the barrage of ridicule flung at them by the Non-Zekeists. Then out of frustration (line trumping circle perhaps), the Non-Zekeists started drinking and soon the church choir could be heard singing “100 bottles of beer on the wall”. Sure enough, peace settled on the Church of Beddoistic Babble. And it became one of the most popular bars in town, known as Zeke’s Cathedral. (Beddoes sold the church to DeMeaning’s newfound Befuddlement Institute and Grog Experimentation (BInGE) Center, which used the bar for case studies research).
Part III: Why We Need a Part Three
Studies have found that a convincing argument depends upon order and balance. One cannot simply blurt one’s free thinking hither and yon and expect people to abandon the wash, leave the kids hanging in trees and hitch a ride to one’s canopy of thought if it is not tied down carefully in at least three places. On the other hand, it is best not to build a temple or anything too permanent for housing one’s Teaching as no one wants to attract building inspectors, whose job it is to test the structural integrity of the idea. Best to throw a tarp over large areas of thought, set it up quickly, attract a few like-minders and be ready to “broaden the inquiry” (i.e., move on) if too many skeptics show up one day. Then also the inspectors can be put off with blueprints and the old line that this tent is “only a rough draft of the palace and cannot be judged for what it will become.” Therefore I have decided to practice what I preach and develop a third leg to stand this defense of three-leggedness upon.
Of all difficulties none compare to that of setting forth on an enquiry without knowing what it is into which one is enquiring. But there is nothing more satisfying then proceeding in spite of that obstacle and coming at last to the conclusion. Then one can name it, as I have done: A Defense of Three-Leggedness (and if I can remember to do so I’ll place a semblance of this name at the top of the paper). At last, I have some bones on which I can drape the cooked flesh of the argument. And the only thing that remains to be done is to write a short summary of the argument as it developed: sewing the meat of the message to the bones of the theory. Such:
It is clear that there is some deep significance to the number three. We touched on that already by noting that a tent cannot be constructed with anything less than three points of anchor. After all, two anchoring points provide nothing but a wall to hide behind, or at least a very narrow tent, where at best some socks or a poker hand can be stored. It is only with three anchoring points that a roof appears, and with it the overlooked miracle of space.
I realize now that I have tried to demonstrate the nature of mind as a three-fold phenomenon; what I call the “wave-particle thing as it applies to the mind.” That is, the nature of mind can be seen as a line, a circle or a corkscrew, depending, I suppose, on how you’d like to see it. And these three minds are constantly battling one another in a cognitive paper/scissors/rock contest that has the unfortunate effect of dragging us down with it. Because studies confirm that “we” and “our minds” cannot entirely be separated, at least not without ill effects. And no matter how we try to disguise it we are eventually reduced to the level of our natures, be they paper, scissors or rocks.
So I’ve confirmed exactly what I affirmed, and by so affirming, confirm it; and despite any evidence to the contrary this very affirmative process demonstrates: 1) singularity of purpose; 2) the circularity of the confirmation/affirmation process; and 3) the inherent balance of the conclusion to this paper. Thank you and drive safely.