Was It An Inside Job?

I wouldn’t be surprised. I don’t think there were planes. Just a magnificent, sweetly orchestrated hoax in a symphony of lies.

In deep greed and perhaps a misguided attempt to unite the country (a la Watchmen) the powers that be plunged the America into an unprecedented, unwarranted war. The twin towers, a display of enduring strength after having survived several disasters, were brought down by a pair of aluminum planes on September 11, 2001. Americans were glued to their televisions with the viscosity only horror could provide. Panic attacks palpitated many an American heart and the common man cowered in the streets, imagining dynamite strung under each turban they encountered.

The powers that be, in their high silvery towers, smiled, chortled over brandy, shook cigar-studded hands in grand congratulate. Job well done, heel well ground! Instant obedience, utter solidarity under questionable leadership, total acceptance of suspect laws. Fear does that to people. Not your fault, not our fault. Seven years later, many still engage in the blind faith that suited them just well before, and others have opened their eyes and begun to wonder for themselves.

As for myself, I knew from the beginning that something was up, some game afoot. The footage of Bush in the classroom: a harried man damned to a timetable he has to meet, cursed with a devil’s deal, tarrying in the room of children who are much better company than the insipid, evil lot that somehow congealed under his wing. Price of power. The strange move of targeting Iraq made even stranger by the fact that all the people who stood to profit from the maneuver were in some way connected to the administration. Halliburton, the Carlyle group, Saudi connections, and as an aside, Silverstein (who bought the WTC a few months before the date, and after the incident he tried to get double its value from the insurance company, citing that two planes meant the policy should be counted twice. He stands to profit from the Freedom Towers 2, 3, 4. Dumb luck, damned misfortune, or calculated move? Your pick).

I also don’t think there were planes and I think the media was alerted. At least they all were playing from the same script. Two things, probably both. Bombs in the buildings. Missiles from the planes. A fly by of planes squirting strategically placed rockets, and the evil minions man the news cameras (all from the same vantage point, same orientation) and make the necessary on the fly editing. Clever. The amateur magician in me is awed at the elegant sleight of hand, incredible in scope and scale; the cynic in me scoffs with disbelief, that’s crazy! but there’s a creeping doubt tracing my nervous system. Brings chills. Makes me think of the Illuminati. The stuff that bubbles from the crackpots of them crazy conspiracy theorists? Lunacy is getting normal, and become the smiles of politicians. Perhaps the world is full of forever hidden truths, its history a strata of lies layered upon lies, sunken in its own tar pit of half-conscious guilt.

I can’t believe this turned into a rant. It isn’t a rant, really. I don’t much care. I admit I’m a bad citizen. I can’t complain about the political situation and pretty much everything else. I don’t vote. I get dirty looks for that: “You’re running the country down.” “Apathetic sumbitch!” “Go move to Canada or something!” All things considered… I would vote in Canada.



The Wall: From wherever you sit or stand, face a wall. That wall is now down, indicating bottom. You have changed your orientation by ninety degrees.

Say we are on a bustling street in some major city, perhaps New York, and the street continues for a couple of blocks to the facade of a great hotel. You stand on the street as if you are standing on a wall, and the hotel defines bottom. Take a step, tentatively at first, if you must. The street teems ahead of you, Jack striding down the beanstalk; buses crawl like caterpillars and the taxis are nervous yellow aphids. You might fear you’ll fall and crash through the hotel lobby doors in a rain of shards and concierges. The sky blue condensates with clouds the space ahead, and it is as if you are in a tube, or on the side of a cube.

You take another step, and soon you are confidently walking down the wall street, falling through the flood of pedestrians that surge upwards past you. The spirit grasps you and you start running, becoming exhilarated when the world exists only on the soles of your feet and the inexorable accretion in your field of vision. The door man swings the glass doors open in a glittering arc with a smile and a Welcome! as you plunge through.

A Bowl of Water: A pond. Find any pond. Smaller is best, at first. Lakes are all right. Oceans are cathedrals. But for now, a pond. See. It’s a pool of water that collects in a dip of earth. (Next time you go splashing in the rain, take heed where your carefree steps displaces the water. Just a thought: the Great Lakes after God decided to wash his feet in the Atlantic).

Leap into the pond. Splash about, revel in the sensation of being given slack from the reign of Gravity. Now, swim. Surge into the water, try to touch bottom. Only it isn’t bottom you’re trying to reach; you’re Icarus, trying to touch the sun. Up, up, up through cool brown reaches. Plunge your hand in smooth mud and you’ve touched the roof of the world. You, at the very vertex of a bowl that brims with a thin atmosphere that protects it from the sucking emptiness of space. Lake: ascend through the blue waters to grasp the pebble that floats on the dome above, like a balloon trying to attain escape velocity against a ceiling. The ocean: sea green awash on white sand to rocky flats that give way to terraced cliffs that fade into a darkness more unfathomable than the cosmos; swim deep enough and you drift in the void, under the cathedral of the world as strange creatures ply the currents that carry you.

Footsteps: Close your eyes in a draftless room. Preferably large. Move not a muscle. What do you feel? The floor pressing against you, nothing else. Stay. Wait. Tell yourself that there is nothing else in the world but the thing that presses against your soles like a pair of poles stretching into infinity. Take a misstep and it’s like falling to China, but plumb forever. Is it real to you yet? The danger? Starvation before you even hit bottom. Now take another step. Don’t be afraid. You will fall upon one of those poles. They appear under your feet magically, but hold in your mind that there is nothing else in the world but you and these poles that court eternity. Run. Your steps are like musical chimes, notes in some mad ballet. Leap. Bring the orchestra of feet to a frenzy, for you are rushing across a void stippled with these beams without missing a step.

I am a Map Maker, and So Are You

Reality exists, as we can plainly see.

It is just there, a waiting vessel for our proclivities. It is a realm without rules save those of natural ones governed by molecular behavior en masse. An intricate webwork of electromagnetic conversation, we spring squalling from the loam of flesh into a gallery of light and sound and sensation. The world, consisting of new and frightening apparitions, whirl past us as wild static. The barrage of confusion soon coalesces into meaning as we gain mastery of our sensory apparatuses and locomotive capability; we quickly start to effortlessly process and respond to the packets of information received from the environment.

We exist in a world where information is alive, carried by points of information called individuals. Our early experience, quite often under the guidance of biological providers of our particular genetic code, are encoded into our psyche. The language of these teachers more than not involve specific religious and political cues which imprint themselves strongly on our neural framework, and these imprints are long lasting.

In short, we do not have total control of our own mental development during our younger years, but soon enough we are able to realize that we create the world we live in. It does not create us, and if it does, if we let it, or we simply don’t know it, we are just code following a higher social paradigm perpetuated by society itself. Tick-tock. Cogs. Robots. Trapped in our own belief system as provided by our parents and our particular range of experience.

Let’s say our friend, ah, Bob, is sitting at a cafe reading his Bible. As he munches at his lunch sandwich and sips at his iced tea, around him at various tables are seated a devout Christian, a Catholic, an atheist, and an agnostic. The Christian smiles indulgently at Bob’s proud public display of faith. The atheist may think thoughts ranging from the angrily derisive to the pitying at such self delusion. The agnostic looks on curiously, possibly with a slow, confused smile growing on his face, and wonders how one could determine which is true in a world where everyone claims their belief is not a lie. The Catholic, tossing down his napkin, snorts disapproval upon his departure to confession. An Muslim, by chance, passes by and feels deep-seated frustration and anger at the perusal of the man reading  the Bible. The crackhead across the street chewing at a week old chicken bone salvaged from the garbage, with gleaming eyes sizes up Bob, from his clothes and that nice shiny watch, as a possibility towards illicitly supplementing his drug habit. Bob gets up, Bible in hand, and checks his watch as he hastens to the nearest Satanist covent, wondering how the hell the devil got such a bad rap; fruits are excellent sources of vitamin C.  No one world through no one set of eyes is the same. That is the magic and curse of the Umwelt.

What we often do not realize… you can erase the damn map. Understand what you see is only the superimposition of your thoughts, beliefs, and values onto this shared reality. You attribute the objects and events with your own intrinsic meaning and emotion. Because of this, the world is wracked with pain, irrationality, hate, anger, and craziness in general, but it also accounts for the love, imagination, wonder, and spirit of Mankind.

Semanticist Alfred Korzybski has this bit o’ wisdom that will do us well to remember: The map is not the territory.

The Cat Lady

Under the heavy curtain of the sky, two girls joyfully bound unto the empty park. The bright green of chlorophyll dominates the scene, and is draped by gray veils of rain. As they play wetly amid bright plastic and iron rails, we remain dry under a shelter’s roof and watch the lightning play over their heads.

A Cadillac pulls into the parking lot and waits for several long moments. The door opens and an umbrella appears, escorting a woman of advanced years towards us until she is also safely dry under the shelter. She carries a heavy plastic bag. She murmurs to us. My hand points to my ear and I shake my head: the universal gesture for deafness. Ahh, she nods. She understands. This town is accommodating.

She sets to work efficiently. First, a tin of water at the head of the shelter, just out of the rain. Six paper plates heaped high with dry cat food are distributed equidistantly around the shelter’s perimeter. Lumps of canned cat food are then deposited onto these piles. She coos, beckons.

From the rain-jeweled jade of summer foliage emerge, with wary tread, her wards. Parchment yellow eyes in midnight black. A calico dream. The overly cautious cream puff with a pinched face. They emerge from beneath dripping leaves to wait in the rain, the heavy droplets effortlessly leaping off their coats. Finally they dare, and come out of the rain. They feast with darting glances and nervous twitches.

I smile at them, then at her as she, umbrella abob, leaves the way she came.