Permission Granted Darwin Leon \
“I just want to bring you out so you can be more like me, so you can have fun and not let anyone bring you down,” yelled the garrulous young woman into her cell phone at Manuel’s Internet Café On South Beach. She had been preaching at her cell at the top of her lungs for over a half an hour without the slightest consideration of anyone around her, as if she were a mad woman with no one on the other end.
Not that she was an exception to the growingly vulgar crowd that cares less about common courtesy because they have never heard of it. The world shall soon be a vast phone booth, I thought as she went on and on. There is no room for quietude on this planet: Every place is filled with callous individuals broadcasting their personal business to everyone within ear shot – some of the personal loudspeakers can be heard a block away. Once in awhile there is an exception, someone speaking so softly into their cell phone that you cannot make out what they are saying even when you are sitting beside them, but this lady was definitely not your quiet type. She is the sort of friend you put on speaker instead of hanging up on her, to just let her talk nonstop while you prepare and eat dinner, do the dishes, and go to the bathroom too. And if there is a pause, you say, “Uh-huh, and then what?”.
“You always let people get to you, honey,” the loquacious creature continued, “but you shouldn’t listen to them. They just don’t want you to have fun. And you know why? They don’t want you to have fun because they aren’t having any themselves. They could create their own fun reality like I have if they wanted to, but no, they want to be miserable. Don’t pay any attention to them. Ignore them. They don’t care about you anyway. Don’t let them bring you down. Listen to me. Be like me. I’m having fun right now in South Beach. You ought to come down here and have fun, honey, and I’ll help you put your head together. I had lots of fun last night at Mansions, the most fun club on Washington Avenue. They had a reception for Obama there. Wow, Oprah endorsed him. We’ve got to vote for him now! When he gets elected we will get more stuff to have fun with. Hello? Hello? Mary, are you there? Yes, I was saying, you should be more like me. By the way, you know that fun guy we met at….”
“Por que no te callas!” I felt like shouting down the blablative little broad – she was short, squat and broad of girth. But a true gentleman does no such thing, even if he is the King of Spain confronted by a blabbermouth like Hugo Chavez. Of course the King would have his security evict disturbers of the peace; a kingly gentleman without such means would get up from the computer at the Manuel’s Internet Café On South Beach, pay the tab, quietly leave the premises and return to his humble castle.
No doubt the King of Spain has a quiet place to meditate in the royal quarters, and I would too if my abode were not a humble studio in the South Beach ghetto. As it was, my hood was relatively quiet when I got home, so I brewed a pot of catnip tea and proceeded to brood on the usual weighty matters, perusing at first my used copy Edmund Husserls’ Cartesian Meditations. My eye fell upon a passage another reader had heavily underscored:
“When, with the beginning of modern times, religious belief was becoming more and more externalized as a lifeless convention, men of intellect were lifted by a new belief, their great belief in an autonomous philosophy and science. The whole of human culture was to be guided and illuminated by scientific insights and thus reformed, as new and autonomous. But meanwhile this belief too had begun to languish. Not without reason. Instead of a unitary living philosophy, we have a philosophical literature growing beyond all bounds and almost without coherence…. The philosophers meet but, unfortunately, not the philosophies. The philosophies lack the unity of a mental space in which they might exist for and act on one another.”
Incoherent, indeed! Everyone is jibber-jabbering and no one is really listening. I put down Husserl and picked up Arthur Schopenhauer’s On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason. No matter how chaotic metaphysics might seem, at least in principle we may assume that there is a sufficient reason underlying true science:.
“The importance of the principle of sufficient reason is exceedingly great, for it can be called the basis of all science. Thus science signifies a system of notions, in other words, a totality of connected, as opposed to a mere aggregate of disconnected, notions. But what else unites the links of a system? The very thing distinguishing every science from the aggregate is the fact that its notions follow from one another as from their ground or reason.”
Schopenhauer complained that “a clumsy charlatan like Hegel is confidently stamped” as a “great philosopher…. Thus German philosophy stands before us loaded with contempt, ridiculed by other nations, expelled from all honest science, like a prostitute who for shameful remuneration sold herself yesterday to one man, today another. The minds of the present generation of scholars are disorganized Hegelian nonsense; incapable of thinking, coarse and stupefied, they become prey to the shallow materialism that has crept out of the basilisk’s egg. Good luck to them! I return to my subject.”
The optimistic pessimist returned to his principle in vain, I speculated. Germany was destroyed twice but the Spirit rose from her ashes. The confusion of thesis and antithesis in a synthesis beyond good and evil has had a lot of luck, for its primitive spirit still persists in the creative-destruction of our world. The Spirit has run roughshod over every individual, but each individual member of the Category of One still thinks he has a chance of being the heroic exception to the grinding rule, the Superman incarnate.
“The Spirit like the Sun rises in the East and settles in the West,” I recapitulated Hegel’s progress. The sign of its success is the swastika, Sanskrit for “Good it is.” The Eastern swastika is good luck only when its arms are bent in the correct direction. The world religions arose in the East and gradually tempered the Northern barbarians in the West. Judeo-Christianity is of course an Eastern religion, I recalled. The Spirit rolled over the West. Regardless of one’s faith or lack of it, everyone raised in the Western culture cannot help but be Judeo-Christian. Everyone in effect is more or less Jesus the Christ of Personal Salvation. God has been murdered, but the King of Jews, a form of the Great Spirit, lives through all individuals whether they are aware of it or not. So it would seem that in reality we await not the resurrection of Christ but rather the resurrection of the God murdered by a weird synthesis of Greek and German philosophy.
Everybody might be Jesus incarnate, but our postmodern age does not seem to like Jesus, I surmised, recalling the comments I had received on the last chapter of my living novel, Tracey Flagler, which I had posted on the Internet. I am no Jesus freak, let alone a Christian, but I do believe that Jesus was the sufficient reason that held Western civilization together even when people were killing each other in his name.
Personal saviors have always been expected during troubled times; a single messiah appears, whether on a white elephant, white camel, white horse, white dolphin, or white whale, to rally the forces of lightness against the forces of darkness, and to begin a new age on white desert sands or white glaciers, or perhaps on the white foam of the ocean of milk.
Our postmodern age thinks it is the New Age all ready, that the Aquarian Christ is about to appear, or perhaps is presently living in London or Tehran or New York, awaiting a massive invocation. Until then the message is coming through channels loudly and clearly: the individual is god, and as such cannot die and creates its own reality. The sole objective of this god is to enjoy itself; that is, to have fun without end.
In my opinion, it was that New Age attitude that led to Tracey’s suicide. And after I discovered her alabaster corpse in stiff repose on her bloodstained bed, I felt compelled to expose the body of evidence that belies the novelty of the New Age and refutes its delusions of grandeur. Hedonism, egotism, narcissism, and so on will not save anyone for long. It seemed to me that the god within the New Age individual, whose sole purpose in life is the pursuit of fun or joy, is really a god spelled backwards, chasing its tail around a vicious circle.
Everyone cannot be the savior who saves herself. There must be an “objective” god, a social god or divine focus if people are to get along and be relatively happy. And to that end individuals are going to have to make a few sacrifices, are going to have to suffer from time to time. I presented Jesus in my latest chapter as the person in whom a monopoly over things spiritual was established, and opined that the New Age was profoundly antithetical if not overtly hostile to Judeo-Christian culture. Judging from the comments I have received from New Age cultists, my assessment was correct. Christianity is perceived as a masochistic slave religion, whose leader picked up a cross and participated in his own torture and death.
“Jesus could have destroyed the Romans and the priests, but he chose to commit suicide-by-cop,” said one commentator. “He did not really die, and the martyrs did not have to suffer, for everyone creates their own reality, and nobody really dies. Everybody is responsible for what they get and they get what they deserve. It is stupid to suffer for others. Our mission is to have fun. You can try to bring us down, but we won’t let you.”
“OMG-D” I exclaimed, after rereading the comment over my catnip tea. “Maybe the Messiah is alive and well, hidden away somewhere in the world after all.”