I knocked them back because... who gives a shit? Or to put it another way, we're at the town meeting, called because a thirty metre tsunami is due in an hour, and a voice pipes up asking what the council's going to do about the cracks in the footpath that the tremor caused. And the guy's got a point: the cracks are so bad that you could fall and break your hip. But in the face of the tsunami... who gives a shit?
Actually that's just our little world. Truth is, back in the real world everyone is rolling their eyes, catcalling, and otherwise laughing their heads off. Broken footpaths, the collapsed bus shelter, and what-about-the-insurance, is all they want to talk about - and who is this dickhead blathering about a tsunami? What tsunami? Doesn't he watch the news that guy? Sheesh! If there was a tsunami, they'd tell us. The worst is over - they said so on the news!
Yeah well, we'll leave them to it. We're having a whole other conversation, and there, between 30m waves; and bits and pieces of broken infrastructure, one of them is a topic worth discussing and the other is a mere series of clues pointing to it. Can you dig it?
Still, a little nagging voice says that maybe it won't be so. What with the death cult following the Fabian creed of gradualism, perhaps there won't be a tsunami at all - just more run-of-the-mill rollers wearing away, wearing away. Dig it - it's the condemned man keeping his fingers crossed that he won't go before the firing squad and will instead be sentenced to hard sodomy for the term of his natural life. "Oh thank God, it's only daily rape." Whew!
But really, as if the death cult would be so rigidly doctrinaire. If gradualism suits, they'll use it. And if a world war is what's required, then dandy, cue the fire bombing. Or whatever! - they're nothing if not versatile. As if the people who control our education, media, and government are going to leave any bases uncovered or otherwise resile from anything because, well, "That's just going too far..." Besides, there's just too much now and it's there for anyone with an ounce of curiosity to see.
Just to be precise, I figure we're in for an unholy trinity - Economic Collapse: 426 trillion imaginary dollars. Never mind the 'recovery' - is everyone familiar with a 'head and shoulders' curve? Okay, so we're at the shoulder and now comes the long drop, all the way down. Cue the, um... 'Great Recession' is it? Ha ha ha. I guess that's like a Great Depression but with more hype. And more deaths - six million in the US alone last time around. Global Pandemic: A fake virus treated with a vaccine that's no such thing. Will this be the greatest act of mass murder in history? Sure, why not? The CFR/Bilderberger mob has already declared that five billion dead would be just dandy. World War: Iraq, Afghanistan, even the coming smashing of Iran - all sideshows. The big game? Russia v Nato. And are Ladbrokes offering odds on Israel nuking someone? If evens is the best you can get, it'd be worth laying a hundred bucks on.
Any one of these would qualify as an event of unparalleled wickedness. And we're going to get three! Yay - fans of history, rejoice! And sure enough we, who ordinarily prefer history at a bit of a remove, ask the question - What's to be done?
Well, we must oppose it! Fight Fight Fight! Well... there will be fighting and no mistake. We'll meet the enemy and he'll be us - the streets will run with blood and the death cult (looking down from their corporate boxes) will roar with laughter. Who said there's East and there's West and never the twain shall meet? He didn't own an Armalite obviously. East/West - North/South - Muslim/Christian - white/coloured - rich/poor - military/civilian - It's time to do the us-and-them cha-cha, and all to a rat-a-tat beat. Buddha was bullshit and his so-called "middle way" nothing more than an excuse for Hegelians to smash two opposites together. Bring on the Revolution! And cue the impossible voice-over guy - "This revolution has been proudly brought to you by International Banking."
If people want to pile in on that, good luck to them. I'm sure the death cult won't have seen them coming. Meanwhile where I live, in this cardboard cut-out town, in a cardboard cut-out state, in a cardboard cut-out country - with Rupert Murdoch in charge of the paper, scissors, and Perkin's paste - ain't nothin' gonna happen. Between the bang and the whimper (with no third option), it'll be "A whimper for me please. And how much is that? Ten trillion dollars? Um... okay, just one then, and not so big thanks." What nice manners we have, even for our rapists.
"Hey nobody, what's that in the title, about Les and Pascal having a bet or something?" Oh yes, I do thank that imagined fellow for reminding me. It seems that in setting the mood in the first couple of paras, I've done my usual trick and written a thousand words already. But rather than quit and come back, I'll just plough on.
I have Les pegged as today's Hunter S. All he lacks is an editor to sort out his possessives, contractions, and plurals, ha ha. Sorry Les! (He also lacks Thompson's uncannily accurate descriptions of the paedophocracy, which until Jeff Wells laid them out, I'd always taken as a variety of metaphor. Those stories about Thompson? Well, if Operation Mockingbird and Laurel Canyon got funky together, and the result was a natural child, what would that offspring look like?)
The above is not me dropping any dark hints about Les. I have as good an ear for falsity as anyone, and I've yet to hear Les strike a false note. There are real people in this world and Les is one of them. Or to put it another way - I wouldn't bother discussing Les if I thought he was bullshit, or insubstantial, or any other epithet. I come here not to bury Les, but to praise him (backhanded, of course...)
That being said, let's carry on - the point of the exercise here is merely a continuation of me turning Les' discussions of the coming tsunami in deus ex machina terms around in my head and wondering at them from different angles. And that's when Renaissance man, Blaise Pascal, stuck his tuppence in. Primarily Pascal was a mathematician who, amongst other things, built one of the world's first calculating machines, invented the science of hydraulics (and the syringe specifically), and was otherwise the founder of the modern theory of probability.
As if that wasn't enough, he was also a religious philosopher who spent the whole latter half of his life cloistered in the Jansenist convent of Port Royal. Cloistered or no, he never forgot the libertine friends he'd made during his 'worldly period', and with them in mind (and as you might expect from a mathematical expert in probabilities) Pascal sought to appeal to their scepticism by way of a simple bet with what's now known as Pascal's Wager. Here's Encyclopaedia Brittanica -
Pascal assumed, in disagreement with Thomas Aquinas but in agreement with much modern thinking, that divine existence can neither be proved nor disproved; and he reasoned that if one decides to believe in God and to act on this basis, one gains eternal life if right but loses little if wrong, whereas if one decides not to believe, one gains little if right but may lose eternal life if wrong. In these circumstances, he concluded, the rational course is to believe.
It's hard to believe I know, but I'm not the only fellow who turns things around and comes at them from different angles. Brittanica again -
The argument has been criticized theologically for presupposing an unacceptable image of God as rewarding such calculating worship and also on the philosophical ground that it is too permissive in that it could justify belief in the claims, however fantastic, of any person or group who threatened nonbelievers with damnation or other dangerous consequences.
Good point. But you've got to love this - "...it could justify belief in the claims, however fantastic, of any person or group who threatened nonbelievers with damnation or other dangerous consequences." Ha ha ha, that sounds like every religion ever invented doesn't it? It certainly sounds like the Christian church.
Unsurprisingly, with Pascal effectively an adherent of a Jewish sect (er... that would be Christianity), the whole discussion is one of what's-in-it-for-me, driven by the twin carrot-and-stick prospects of the fear of damnation versus the promise of a glorious eternity. And me, I have to ask the question: What sort of insecure God is this?
If a fellow was an incarnation of Francis of Assisi (say), leading a life of perfect virtue devoted to the well-being of all living things, would Pascal's God get angry with him if he didn't know who He was? Absolutely! The Christian God (besides being a slavish adherent to the old bullshit maxim of 'ignorance of the law is no excuse') is a jealous one who visits the iniquity of the father upon his children to the fourth generation merely for failing to acknowledge him. Jesus Christ! As if a God who's every kind of 'omni' wouldn't be above such petty concerns? Where's the serenity?
Bugger it. Why don't we turn Pascal's wager on its head - and plug it into Les' deus ex machina while we're at it? And so: given that Les' manifestations of supernature are not insecure and do not demand we tip our hat every time we sneeze; given that a shit-storm tsunami to end all shit-storm tsunamis is definitely coming, and if anything was ever going to warrant a deus ex machina response, this is it; given the rightness of Epictetus' discussions of 'what is in our power' (thanx Kikx), with stopping a tsunami not being one of them; and not forgetting yours truly being a Buddhist of his own description, attempting to embody the right end of the continuum (at the top of the page), we arrive at the following 'thus' -
Supernature or no, if one sheds fear and desire, and acts with reverence for all things as if they were possessed of supernature, if right, one gains all that might be hoped for, but loses little if wrong, whereas if one embraces fear and desire, and effectively reveres the self, if right, one gains little beyond the ephemeral, but if wrong... "Hey, the ocean's just gone out. Let's go down and look."