Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Beverly Hills Gets Real

From Beatrix & Rex

1. The Care And Feeding Of Zombies And Vampires

- Excuse me. We were making a bet. Are you a writer or an actor?
- What did you say?
- Writer. Because of the pen.
- If I have something so inefficient to write with I must be doing something more important than being useful. You win.
- What do you write? Really important things?
- Stories from my life.
- How is your life important?
- Well, you got it right from the start: because it is useless.
- Your life is useless? Nothing happens?
- No, a lot happens. For example last week I visited a law office at that high rise building over there. I'd gotten an email a month before from a L.A. video journalist saying she was writing a book on dangerous woman and wanted to make my wife its centerpiece. She proceeded to ask me if I had documents about my marriage, wedding certificate, was I still married or divorced, would I testify in court, were the stories I'd written about my wife truth or fiction? I replied she sounded more like a private detective than a journalist, and asked how she heard of me.  She knew a girl from her new age church who knew the Beverly Hills doctor who married my wife and now wanted to divorce her.
- Your wife married another man without divorcing you?
- See? Things happen in my life. I wrote the journalist a couple weeks ago that if she would like to meet I had arrived back in L.A. from Israel. The next day I received an email from the doctor, my first contact from him. And the following day his law firm wrote me, asking if I would visit them.
- What did they want?
- Help them prove my wife was not legally married to the doctor so he would not have to pay a divorce settlement.
- What did you say?
- I didn't see how I could help the doctor. I didn't like the idea of helping people who harmed me. If he was willing to do something about the disruption his arrival in my life had caused, we could talk.
- Did you mean money?
- Yes. Or something else. I like stories to continue.
- What did the lawyers say?
- They'd ask their client.
- And then?
- The doctor never answered.
- Why?
- Because I'm a useless sort of person when everyone is expected to be useful. I was writing with my inefficient pen about vampires and zombies. Want to hear?
- Everyone likes vampires and zombies.
- Of course they do. We live doing things without end, accumulating more and more things done, each for its own sake. Instead we might have been working towards finding friends, falling in love, making life beautiful and fair. Working towards being able to stop working. A vampire can't stop seducing his victims. It's his work. He doesn't want their love, their beautiful society. The union he seeks isn't mental. He physically incorporates his victims into his own body by drinking their blood, and by the death of his victims he excludes the possibility of resting even for a moment in a new society. He must go on, always go on, finding new victims, always doing without rest. That is what makes him a symbol of our times.
- But you do things too, like what you did with the lawyers.
- Useless things. Ridiculous things that don't lend themselves to infinite accumulation. Vampires and zombies both are creatures who do things without rest. Doing without rest, they might as well be dead. A life of restless activity is equivalent to death because it excludes the good of life. Zombies are flesh eating corpses animated against their will by a magician, whereas vampires are corpses animated by the blood of their deliberately sought victims.
- And what are you, vampire or zombie?
- Resisting being either. The doctor and lawyers are vampires who'd like to drink my blood.
- What about your wife?
- Vampire.
- Vampires want to make you into a vampire too.
- That was the 19th century, the new, self conscious consolidation of the murderous doers without end into a social class. Since the 20th century we have zombies. Zombies express the idea that society itself has become a machine for making masses of individuals into doers without end against their will.
- Why does society create zombies?
- Because society has come to be based on doing without end.
- Don't think me a child asking why over and over, but why is society based on doing without end?
- Once it begins, it increases. People only doing understand and cooperate better with people doing the same kind of thing. This translates into monopolies, which, disrupting society, force even more attention to doing. History draws this fatality out of human nature.
- From everyone's except yours?
- A writer wants to write beautiful stories, and when done rest in the beauty created. A mother like you wants to live in the midst of the love of her family, not accumulate children.
- If useless people, as you call us, exist the whole society is not vampires and zombies.
- No. But our flesh and blood is their food and drink.
- Will you write this down in a story?
- Sure. I don't think anyone can use it for anything.
- How do you make money?
- I don't make money.
- How do you live?
- It surprises me that I do. I'm turning into a new kind of monster, a combination zombie forced to go without sleep and vampire squeezing out stories from the lives of the useful.
"Monseigneur, you who turn everything to account, have, nevertheless, one useless plot. It would be better to grow salads there than bouquets." "Madame Magloire," retorted the Bishop, "you are mistaken. The beautiful is as useful as the useful." He added after a pause, "More so, perhaps." (Les Miserables, Victor Hugo)

2. On The Bus

- Sir! Sir! Sir!
- Yes?
- How old are you?
- 57. How old are you?
- It's 25 cents if you are 62. You have to pay 1.50.
- 57 is close enough.
- The rule is 62.
- The idea behind the rule is to get people to ride the bus who otherwise wouldn't. I am complying with the spirit of the rule.
- Either pay a dollar twenty-five more or get off the bus.
- I'll get off the bus, if you give me my quarter back.
- I can't give you your quarter, it's in the machine.
- You're not obeying the rules of exchange. If you won't provide service, my money should be refunded.
- If you call the bus company, you'll get your money back.
- When? One day? One week? One year?
- You'll get your money. You know it.
- I'm not so sure. You're holding me to strict observance of the age rule, and I'm holding you to strict observance of the rule of payment only for services rendered.
- I'm tired of arguing. Take a seat.

3. Cohorts

- What do you two do?
- On that subject I heard an interesting story...
- He's a philosopher.
- The story was told by an internet executive. He met a man at Davos, attending the meeting of the World Economic Forum. He could see right off this man was brilliant. Well, everyone there had to be special, rich, famous, powerful, successful, but he didn't know this guy. If he had had on his person one of the new wearable internet devices, in seconds a photo would have been taken, image search conducted to match the man to the photo, identification confirmed. The internet executive found out later that this man had made an important medical discovery. What conversations they would have had had he known it! Now though with the new wearable internet technology it need never happen again.
- I also studied philosophy. But then, somehow I became interested in statistics.
- My friend the philosopher you're talking with is like you. He's always on the internet checking how many people read his stories.
- Do you write stories?
- At the moment I'm trying to tell you one. Suppose the executive had his internet glasses on. They snapped the doctor's picture, delivered his name and biography to the lenses. He's happy, but what about the doctor who'd chosen not to identify himself? Now he has to go through the same old questions about his discovery and hear the same repetitive comments he's heard a thousand times from strangers.
- A conflict of interest.
- The internet executive said he wanted the man identified so he could do his job better, that he was in a competition to the death for information. The doctor, however, for whatever reason, was off duty, conversationally speaking.
- But they have to talk about something. And more information has to be better, right?
- If they are working together on making a conversation. But maybe that is the wrong model. Maybe working is not something we should be doing with conversation.
- What should we be doing?
- Sara?
- What?
- You've heard this already: "Peanut Butter Entropy". Can I repeat it?
- If you don't mind repeating yourself.
- I don't mind. We stir in the oil that's floated to the top of the peanut butter jar, forming swirls, ridges and valleys. One kind of order, the kind we don't want - the oil on top of the peanut mass - is replaced by another. Every added increment of movement of the spoon changes the portiion of peanut butter in contact with the spoon, and transmits the movement to, revises the status of all of the past changes. When you stop stirring, the progressive growth of change ends. When you stir the other way, the new order you have created, the swirls, ridges and valleys, is destroyed. You might think you'd simply undue all the change and return the peanut butter in the jar to the state it was in when you began. That doesn't happen, because going the other way with the spoon, you are no longer connecting with the relations built on relations that created the swirls, valleys and ridges. Instead your movement interferes with the order you'd created moving the spoon in the other direction. Understand?
- Yes, I do.
- Imagine two people meet each other at Davos. They each have their separate lives, a cumulative building of effect on effect, like we see in the peanut butter jar, when moving the spoon continuously in one direction, counter clockwise or clockwise. One person, though, wants to get the most out of the conversation, and thinks there ought to be a technology to doing that, a set of rules for doing it best, and a mechanical technology to help him do that. The technology with its fixed rules, like those governing the back and forth exchange in the marketplace, forces the spoon to be moved in the other direction. Not only is life interrupted, it's broken up.*
- It's not the technology itself as it imposes conventions you're worried about, it's the particular rules for conversation?
- Yes. Technology used to make conversation into work.
- Can't the technology be used to inspire an art of conversation, a game of conversation?
- It can, but it's isn't.
- Why not? What's the problem with technology that technology can't solve?
- The problem is not with the technology, the machines themselves, but our technique of conversation. With how we meet each other in public. We aren't doing it right.
- Our wrong rules cause the destructive back and forth? Then how do we let each other go in our own direction?
- First, we have to know that's what we want, and not accept the ritual of work as a cure-all for our individual frustrations.
- Ok.
- In Thomas Pynchon's book Against The Day a character who doesn't himself seem to have forgotten anything meets one person after another, all of them extremely angry at things he's supposed to have done. He wanders around the city and finds himself in an intersection where strange activities are taking place. He's advised that he must atone, and the people there can help him. Atone without guilt, he asks? Yes. The two, atonement and guilt, need not be related. Ridiculous, right?
- Yeah.
- I'll tell you a story I've repeated many times. I don't mind repeating it. When I quit film school I worked as a proof-reader for a woman's fashion magazine. In those days printing was still a mechanical process, and since I was in the midst of it I decided to write and oversee the printing of my own book. A little detective story was the result. Within a month the book was written, printed, and 500 copies sold by me personally at a table on the street in Westwood Village. I didn't myself have a copy of this book, and a few years ago I wondered if I could find one for sale on the internet. I was surprised to find many copies for sale, from 60 dollars to 200. It only took a minute to discover the reason for the high price: used book dealers had decided that my story was the unknown first novel published by the fairly well known writer of violent crimes stories who had taken as his pen name my real name.
- Wow.
- I knew about this writer already because several years before I had typed my name into Google and discovered an article written by someone with my name about traveling in Europe buying and selling old watches between dealers. There were only maybe a couple dozen people doing this very specialized job, myself one of them, so this was a practical joke, played by a man I learned from his biography famous for playing practical jokes.
- So as you had inadvertently taken credit for his fame, he retaliated by taking on your life!
- Yes. The Rex Miller Cohort: that's me, this Rex Miller, and all the other Rex Millers, affecting each other on the internet. The fame of all the others increases my fame, and vice versa. We have nothing meaningful in common. Only a matter of names. What do you think: am I affected by the other Rex Millers like the character in Pynchon novel is affected, has to atone for the crimes of that other person people say he is?
- I admit there is some similarity.
- I'll point out two things. First, the strange relation is created by technology. And second, there is no competent rule determining the relation.
- Competent?
- Imagine a conversation. A typical American conversation. We talk about work, we talk about money. We talk about working for money. This is what we have in common, show to each other when we meet to talk with each other. We have that in common, but I don't live for money, and you presumably don't live for money either, yet that is what we talk about, jarring each other clockwise to counter clockwise to clockwise with each exchange of words. What if we all met instead like the Rex Millers? Tied to each other, living in the same place, with the same rules, but in fact, not really? Atoning for the sins of other people. What if being of the same nationality meant that, and only that?
- And?
- Using then using our technology to help on the conversation: what would that be like?
- I have no idea.
- It would be like how we do art, make something, tell a story. We let all the things we thought we knew float around in our imagination, related to each other, but not really. There was such a person as Rex Miller, the sum of all the things he did and experienced. Putting him together was done with rules, like a sentence is put together by rules of syntax, but that way of organizing doesn't work any more, not since I have to go out in public and speak to this stranger, the collection of experience that goes by the name Rex Miller is now not rules, not syntax, but content.
- What kind of content?
- The kind where you have to atone for crimes you didn't commit, where you have to live with people who affect you, who you are forced to be responsible for, but are not you.
- Ok. The different kind of rules of conversation: what are they exactly?
- You see, what we want is to keep the spoon moving in the same direction. First Rex Miller. Then the Rex Miller who is affected by the actions of the other Rex Millers. Nothing is forgotten, the second continues the movement of the first, nothing is destroyed by the plot development. The story goes on.
- A really bizarre story.
- The bizarre characters, repeated in their cohorts but different, are appreciated for themselves, as a painter loves colors and a writer loves words. The conversation continues.
- Where does it end?
- When in the conversation each can say the same thing.
- Without deviating from their own directions. Does that happen?
- Do you agree with me this far?
- If I say I agree with you you'll say this is a technique of conversation? A technology of conversation?
- Yes. I'll concede it to be a weird technology, if that makes you happy.
- It doesn't! And internet technology could be safely applied to it?
- Do you agree?
- Won't we be multiplying the weirdness in the process?
- And maybe the agreement at the end.


4. See You At Starbucks

- It can't be true.
- Three different people hired to write a screenplay about terrorism and Indian mysticism at the same Starbucks? Come with me, we'll see who's there. One though may not talk to me.
- Why not?
- His therapist warned him not to.
- What did you do to him?
- Talked.
- It must be nice to be paid to have a conversation.
- I'll pay you a dime to get you started.
- Thank you. What should we talk about? The screenwriters at Starbucks? Are they all crazy people with psychologists?
- Yesterday one of them waited for closing time and asked for the left over sandwiches. He drove away in his brand new luxury car.
- You saw this?
- He offered me a ride. I asked him if he didn't think there was a better use of time for someone who could afford that car than waiting around to get stale sandwiches for free.
- What did he say?
- It's always good to save money.
- That's how he got rich. What about the third screenwriter?
- I haven't met him.
- Are you sure he exists?
- The other writers say they know him.
- Weird.
- Things happen at that Starbucks.
- Maybe I should go there. I don't have any pals.
- I thought I made a friend at another cafe I go to every morning.
- It didn't work out?
- Me and the world seem to have different ideas of friendship.
- What's your idea?
- What's yours?
- Someone I can rely on, I can tell my troubles to, won't lie to me.
- That's not friendship. Aristotle said there are three kinds of friendship: for pleasure, for usefulness, for living well. You're describing family, "bonding". A completely different aspect of life.
- Says you.
- Says Aristotle.
- I think the girl at the cafe - it was a girl? - didn't think you liked her. In my experience when you like someone liking is returned.
- Could be a misunderstanding.
- Yes. Here's your dime back.
- Why?
- I don't want to cheat you. You don't seem satisfied with the service.
- I'm used to getting conversation for free. For the extra dime something really special...
- Take the money.
- Alright. See you at Starbucks?
- Don't think so.

5. Funny Books

On the bus this afternoon, on my way to see the movie Francis Ha, I was reading this book that claims language, technology, in fact, all civilization is destructive. Better get rid of it all.

When I get off I ask directions from the first guy I see, tell him about civilization, reading the book and missing my stop. We're stuck with it, he responds. I say obviously he's smarter that the writer of the book, who three to five times on every page talks about our immiseration, corruption, destruction, defeat by civilization, laying down a massive amount of gloom and doom, when according to him what civilization is keeping us from is sweetness and light, pleasure and satisfaction. Civilization is time, time is repressed desire, he says, but isn't all this complaint an explosion of repressed desire? I'm supposed to share the jungle with this guy? I prefer the ordinary man on the street, victim of civilization, to this would-be savior from it.

What did he think he was doing writing this book, producing an example of the technology of thinking with language, that repudiates the technology of thinking with language?

Is he out of his mind? How does he not know he is out of his mind? Does he think he is giving us the last word on the subject, and after him, silence reigns?

There is no reason there cannot be a technology of language used to defend us from the technology of language. But language which is repetitious, expressive of misery and oppression, is that a likely candidate to get the world to shut up?

Technology takes something defined, puts it in relation to something else defined, and sees what happens. Then sets up the relation of parts again, sees if the result repeats. If it does, and that repetition is useful, the parts are attached, so as to make convenient a deliberate repetition. That is what a machine is, a convenience for creating repetition.

Civilization, according to the book on the bus, creates a division of labor. People become limited defined parts put in fixed relation to each other and repeatedly producing a defined result. The writer of the book is a specialist in writing books about the undesirability of the division of labor. He doesn't know that what he is doing as a specialist in writing those books is funny. This is because he doesn't know what comedy is.

Comedy is a technology.  One defined human behavior is put in regular relation to another, a machine is got going for the sake of the expected result.

The parts of his book writer's comedy machine are: (1) his claim that division of labor and technology are ruining us (2) his being a civilized specialist using technology of language.

The machine set in motion, part in sync with part, produces the expected result: a writer writing against himself.

That is funny. What exactly is funny? Why was the man on the street funny, in the sense of seeing the machine and sharing his laughter with me, and I could live in the jungle with him and not the man behind the book on the bus?

Let me run my machine of civilized thinking a moment. Let's say the victim of civilization has some distance from civilization which the writer lacks.

What creates the distance? Laughter. And what is laughter? Laughter is language jamming. Ha. Ha. Ha. Response to the world. Response to the world. Response to the world. Laughter is a machine run amok.

Laughter wakes us up. Wakes us up to what? Wakes us up to technology being used against itself.

How does it do that? What does it mean to wake up?

We wake up from being a body, a part of a machine that responds constantly to the world, another part of the machine. When we remember, and desire, we are responding to images of the world not presently experienced. We are no longer responding directly to the world. We can do this before we learn language. Animals can do it also.

We civilized creatures, going by written records, have not been laughing for very long. Maybe the Greeks invented laughter 2500 years ago. It is a new technology. It is learned early and easily, and not specific to human beings, as everyone knows who's witnessed their pets laughing at them.

Comedy is a machine that, setting technology against technology, protects us from the dangers of technology, from technology making us stupid. We laugh at stupidity.

We laugh at the sight of us losing knowledge. In laughing we do something, we use technology against itself. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Comedy is a show of losing knowledge. But we respond to a sight of gaining knowledge, not like comedy by doing something, but by not doing anything. We rest, and call the sight we see while resting beautiful.

Rest in beauty returns us to our pre-civilized state where with reflection and desire we could free ourselves from being a machine, from being a body in fixed relation to the world around it. We rest and feel safe with what we have learned by the practice of civilized technologies, language among them.

Or something like this happens. Talking about these things is a developing technology. But still, facts are facts.

A fact is anything that happens. A fact is what we experience.

The fact is beauty exists, laughter exists. If the world is becoming more humorless and ugly, and technology is making the world humorless and ugly, the fact is we have the technology to do something about it.

That we aren't using the technology, another fact, what can I say?

Isn't it funny?

6. Married To The Business Of Buying

I kept hearing I'd got myself into an impossible marriage. No one admired me for it unless I showed them a picture of my wife. I kept hearing I was doing an impossible business and this almost everyone wondered at and approved. The wife was a wild, ambitious, story telling and story concealing Hungarian. The business was buying and selling old watches to other dealers doing the same. I tried to explain to all concerned that both impossible undertakings were both possible in the same way.

When you are married you don't have to look for someone to be with. When you buy and then sell things you don't have to look for something to buy: you are married to the business of buying. With my wife, my business was keeping up with her continual changes of mind about whether she wanted to be with me. Life with whatever new sort of person she had decided to be at that moment had to be renegotiated, re-bought, this work paid for by her with the pleasure I took in her company. But I had given up buying and selling watches, and she doubted I could be depended on in this business of marriage:

- You don't love me.
- I do.
- You don't.
- What you love about me is what makes you think I don't love you.
- What's that?
- The way I do business. The way I married you.
- How did you marry me?
- When I sold watches, though I like watches and put every watch on my wrist, I wasn't attached to any of them. I liked the business, finding them, getting rid of them as soon as I could.
- You're saying you plan to get rid of me?
- That's just it: like one watch didn't interest me, the watch business did. Because you change your mind all the time you are not one wife, but a whole wife business.
- I love you because you think of me as a business? That's a new one. Who says I love you anyway?
- You do. You love me because you see you are an occupation for me, not a possession.
- If you work for me why don't you do what I want?
- I said you were my work, not that I worked for you.
- What's the difference?
- I'm working on you, not for you.
- I'm working on you too.
- You see? 
- See what?
- As long as were both being paid we can't get tired of each other. Eternal love.
- You'll see.

7. Beverly Hills Yard Sale

A very attractive woman, showing off her well maintained form in tight running gear, she must have been about fifty years old. Sitting outside at a patio table eating pieces of grilled, marinated chicken with her fingers. She says to me sit down, hungry? Have something to eat. I sit down. I say I'm surprised to see someone like her holding a yard sale.

- Why?
- You don't look like you need the money.
- Sometimes it's good to get rid of things.
- Where did the clothes come from?
- They belonged to my French boyfriend.
- What happened to him?
- He died.
- How old was he?
- 35.
- He was living with you? Why didn't you marry him?
- I had many husbands.
- What happened to them? Died also?
- No. I divorced them.
- Why did you do that?
- I don't believe in being unhappy.
- How did they make you unhappy?
- The first got old, lost interest in everything.
- You included? And the second? How many were there?
- Four. The second was in a lot of pain. Complained a lot about his back.
- The third?
- He was alright. But he played around with other women.
- The fourth?
- He was nervous, worked all the time, didn't come home.
- So you married once every seven years?
- Yes, that is about right.
- And the boyfriend. Were you unhappy with him too? That's why you didn't marry him?
- I wasn't with him long enough.
- How did he die? You didn't kill him?
- No.
- You wear your men out.
- You could say that.
- But you take good care of yourself. You run.
- My current boyfriend is less than 30. I have to keep in shape. I'm "sexting" him now.
- Meaning sex text messaging? Your boyfriend, the dead one, must have been about my size.
- Yes.
- I'm worried about wearing clothes from one of your men.
- Why?
- You know the line, losing one husband is bad luck, losing two looks like carelessness?
- No. Who said that?
- Oscar Wilde. OK. I'll risk it. I'll take the jacket and the shirt.
- They suit you.
- That's what I'm afraid of.

8. The Conrad Complex

Now I like every member of this family and I am going to write bad things about them. It is because I like them that I am disappointed in them. I wanted my wife's mother and father and brothers to help me hold onto her, and instead it turns out they approve of her leaving me behind in search of more lucrative business.

First, the dog, by the name of Conrad. He is important to the story, because his character is easily drawn and, according to my wife, pretty much the same as my own. This fearsome beast is not affectionate and hardly notices attentions, he loves to eat, he sits drowsing on the porch before the house door, rousing himself to bark at the gypsy horse carriages when they pass by on the street. He is tricky: he loves to go out into the village streets. When you come home, he will placidly wait just inside the yard for you to swing open the gate, then leap into a run and be out on the street before you know what is happening. Deceptive, love of roaming, unaffectionate and distant except when there was a prospect of food. My wife thought all this about me, seriously and not seriously. More the list expressed her dissatisfaction with my character. But like the dog Conrad, I was part of the family, I belonged to the house. When in her rages she would throw me out, the family house would immediately seem empty, and she would want to call me back, and would do it too, if her other plans allowed.

Her love for Conrad was very strong. When the family all sat down to the table for dinner, she would ruffle my hair and shake me up. Her father would comment, "The Conrad Complex".

My wife was sensitive to betrayal of her affection by her dog, and had a similar story to tell about her father. When she was a young girl she was her father's favorite. She used to spend all her time with him, and even slept in the same bed. But when she was 12, he changed towards her. Her mother was jealous. He expelled her from his room, and it seemed from his heart too. It hurt her very much.

Despite this, they were very close. My wife told her father almost everything that happened in her life, holding back not the smallest personal detail. According to her, her father had taught her to use what power in the world she had to best advantage, and he approved of her marriage to the very much older billionaire first husband. According to her childhood friend Barna, he also seriously expected his child to take care of him in his old age with the proceeds of her liaisons with men. Also according to Barna, her internet computer expert brother Robbi's first web site offered escort services, and she was the first girl he listed.

When I recounted this to my Budapest Professor friend, he explained that I saw too much in these things. Sex was bought and sold, it was usual and ever-present. My wife's family was just more open and direct about it. He liked to have female companionship when he came to Hungary from England to do research, and he expected he would have to pay for it, in one way or another. In fact, those very words I had heard from the mouth of my wife's ex-boyfriend.

He had arrived one early evening at my wife's apartment, where she was holding a small kitchen knife and waving it about, demanding I return the dress and Ipod she said she knew I had stolen. This was really crazy, and I had been through its like before. The ex-boyfriend, whom I recognized from a dinner party at the country house not too distant in time, chased me down and cornered me, threw a punch at my chest, and demanded I give him my wallet. I reminded him I knew who he was, and handed it over. I said I would get it back soon, the police were on their way. He said he knew how to handle the police. And that if I wanted to live with his ex-girlfriend I had to pay, "just like everyone else."

Later the truth came out. The missing articles had been taken by the ex-husband who had been visiting her. They were his gifts to her, payments if you will, he was taking back because she was undeserving. He had confessed. The professor too had been caught in a crisis of payment. A lover had had an abortion, and had gotten permission to take the fetus home from the hospital. It became, between the two of them, a symbol of his murderous selfish ungrateful unwillingness to marry his lover. She buried it in his front lawn. He dug it up, and reburied it in the nearby forest. Then dug it up again, when he worried it would be stumbled upon...

9. Mystical Experience And Spiritual Experience

- Is there any difference between mysticism and spiritualism?
- I would use mysticism and spiritualism to refer to different things, mysticism more about short lived "mystical experience" and spiritualism to a whole continuous ethical way of life.
- Give me some examples.
- A mystical experience can be as sudden and simple as working on your computer all evening and stepping outside, looking up at the moon, and you're out. You feel a relation to the moon, but neither the moon nor yourself is an object of your attention. Your own altered state has caught you.
- An epiphany.
- Yes. Now compare spiritual experience. I told you this story...
- We love your stories.
- I was living in Budapest and my wife, urged by her ex-boyfriend, had decided to rob me with him. He showed up at the apartment, gave me a few demonstration pushes and jabs, and demanded I hand over my wallet. I did, saying I'd see him at the police station in a few hours. That's what happened.
- You knew him.
- Yes.
- He wasn't afraid?
- This is Budapest, corruption is omnipresent. He told me he could handle the police.
- What happened then?
- My wife and her friend the robber left, I called the police, who arrived, asked questions, decided they'd drive me to the station. I was told to take a seat on a bench, and as I predicted, robber, with wife, soon were escorted through the door into the station lobby. They went into a room off to the side, the door closed, and I waited. Now for the spiritual experience.
- In the police station?.
- Yes. Unlike the experience of me and the moon, I wasn't particularly aware of my relation to the world. I was aware that I was certain nothing had changed in my relation to my wife. That what was happening here was entirely without significance.
- You didn't feel betrayed by her?
- No. I was used to being betrayed by her. It wasn't interesting.
- What was interesting then?
- Holding onto love.
- You were astonished you could do it, and that was the spiritual experience?
- Yes. The experience of no change, no matter how much appearances changed.
- You weren't ashamed of being duped?
- No. If anything I was somewhat grateful.
- Grateful for being robbed by your wife?
- Grateful I could find amusement sitting on that bench, watching the closed door behind which my wife and robber friend were negotiating with the Budapest Police.
- But didn't you want anything? Why did you call the police in the first place?
- I had to report my passport stolen to apply for a replacement. And I wanted to see what would happen.
- What happened?
- The police came out, handed me my passport, asked if I was satisfied.
- Were you?
- My wife marched out of the room and without turning her head left the station. I knew I'd see her again.

10. Kabbalah Center

- What is in it for me?
- The Kabbalah will enable you to get the maximum of joy and happiness in life.
- I have all the joy and happiness I need. Will it get me money?
- It will teach you to want only enough money for what you need.
- I don't need the teaching, will it get me the money?
- Why are you so concerned with money?
- I'll be out of money in a few weeks. Can the Kabbalah teach me how to live without money?
- If you need money, it will enable you to get it.
- I believe it has enabled you to get money, but it is different for you.
- Why?
- You are speculators in advice giving. Your center's little book says the secret is "sharing", and you make a living sharing the secret with unhappy people, a good number of whom will share their money with you out of gratitude.
- What is wrong with that?
- What happens when you share with happy people? They take what you offer and go on to the next sharer. Isn't that the destiny of Kabbalah sharers not in the business of Kabbalah selling?
- You can take the high road and not care. It is the inner self that matters.
- Well I'm concerned about that too. Am I not the instrument of your determination to share? You don't really love me, right? Your inner self love my inner self? I don't see love in your eyes. It seems to me you don't offer me either love or money.
- Again money. Stop thinking about money and love will come.
- And how am I to enjoy love if I am dead?
- Are you serious?
- Sure.
- Read the book, and let me know what happens.
- You mean if I am still alive.
- Jokers like you don't die so easy.

11. Jews In Beverly Hills

At the market yesterday afternoon I got into a conversation. The bearded, warmly dressed, self composed man obviously was not from around here, and was looking over the selection of left over breads he says because where he is living he has no way to store or cook food and ends up throwing out expensive breads if he buys them. He has come back from Europe, to receive hospital treatment. When he asks me from out of nowhere if I am Jewish, I ask him if he is staying at the house and temple a Jewish group operates in the neighborhood. He is. I ask him if he knows the family I met at the cafe, mother and two sons, one an actor, the other an aspiring genius. Yes, he is there, yes they are there too. Something must have drawn me to him: he has been greatly disturbed by this family, he just got finished writing to his friend in Finland about them, she can hardly believe such people exist. They're common here in L.A., I say. What do I think of them? I don't know, but they seem to be playing some game. When I heard some lower tones escape from the younger son I asked him, the genius with the high fluting voice why he talked so funny. He answered that old men and children like it. So then why not talk to them that way, I said, and, if you can, talk to the rest of us like we do? He said he wasn't sure if he liked the way I was talking to him. He might have to reconsider talking with me, in general he only liked the people who like his mother. And I don't, I ask? The last time I talked with his mother, we had this conversation:

- Do you know where in Los Angeles I can get a good hamburger?
- I don't eat out.
- But you are from here.
- If I ate out I wouldn't want a fast food hamburger.
- Do you know where the best hospital here is to get an operation?
- The most famous ones?
- Yes
- Sure, I can give you names.
- Yes, give me them. I need an operation. That's why I came here.
- You came to Los Angeles to get an operation without any idea of particular doctors, treatments, hospitals?
- Yes.

Hearing this the man at the market produces a groan of disgust. The rabbi where he lives is taken in by these people. The temple gets taken in by people like them, when they should help people like you, he says.

- They aren't interested in people like me.
- Why not?
- When I first returned to live in Los Angeles, just about two years ago now, after seventeen years living in Europe, thrown out by my wife in Hungary and back in the city with not a friend or relative, staying in the hostel in Santa Monica, I thought to go by a temple and ask them if they could introduce me to people, so I could see what I could do here. One rabbi from a temple on La Brea told me flat out that since I wasn't a member he had no time or resources to involve himself with me. Another rabbi, whom I had met briefly at an opening celebration the year before with my wife when she was interested in Judaism, said he remembered me but since I was not a member he had no time or resources.... At another temple on Beverly, I was invited into the kitchen, offered food, told by an affable man with burning dark eyes that it wasn't my fault, but I was going to hell. Who's fault was it? I ask. Your family's. They didn't educate you to be a Jew, he explains. At a Santa Monica branch of the organization that operates the house you and the family stay at I go in to ask the same questions, and am invited to the rabbi's house for a Sabbath dinner. Various people who fail to identify themselves ask my story, and wander off without a comment. We eat outside in the garden of the rabbi's house. I go inside to wash my hands, stop at the book shelves in the living room to look over the books. A few papers are sitting on one shelf and I take them up, a print from an internet site on the subject of public perceptions of Israel. A man approaches me and shouts, what are you doing?

- Reading.
- Who said you could?
- Who said I couldn't?
- Those papers are private. Do you always look at other people's books in their houses?
- Yes, in fact, I do always, when I am invited over.
- You weren't invited to invade the privacy of the rabbi.
- Why was I invited?
- What did they tell you? Who invited you?
- The rabbi.
- He doesn't want you to do what you are doing. Who are you?
- Who are you?
- Get out of this house!

Incredible, says the man in the market. Love your neighbor, says the commandment. These rabbis should be ashamed of themselves, they are supposed to be religious people. Where is their kindness, sympathy, where is their love? I say they are not people of religion, they are politicians, who normally have no shame and would have difficulty telling you what shame is. What a world we live in, he says.

12. Bad Girls And Broken Machines

Everything important will come. Just sit here and watch and wait.

The writer of the best seller "Bad Girls" is in the arm-chair beside mine, her publicist from England in the chair angled towards us. I can hear everything they say. It's not a problem for them.

They are talking about means of getting the book to stay on the best seller lists as long as possible. The anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death is approaching. They will be participating in the celebration at an exhibit of lesser known photos at a gallery across the street.

The book according to the author is meant to teach ordinary women the secret tricks Bad Girls like Marilyn Monroe play to get men to do things for them. Such as give them gifts, marry them, fall in love with them. The web site dedicated to the book illustrates this with the trick used by the ordinary good girl who recently caught the prince of England by wearing a transparent dress showing her undergarments.

The author is a psychologist who goes on talk shows, and gives private therapy to those with love problems. Her audience and patients are broken machines, and she knows how to fix them.

The Good Girls aren't supposed to become bad, only compete better with the Bad Girls by using their tricks. Fair and open competition. Men are machines, women are machines, the more you know of their functioning the better you will do.

Competition evidently is for the natural resources necessary to keep the machines working. Love is one of these resources. It is produced by certain machines movements in contact with other machines in movement.

The Bad Girl is a damaged machine that works specially well in getting things that as a machine as a whole it can't use. The Good Girl adjusts her mechanism to the efficiency of the bad girl, but keeps in mind other requirements.

The psychologist author says that poor Marilyn Monroe was traumatized in her past by not having a father. Bad girls usually have father problems. The famous "Sex-Siren" used allure which is a good thing for something bad, uselessly attracting one man after another.

All this is familiar to cafe patrons like myself. You are bad because of something that happened to you in the past. Repair yourself by understanding what people did to you.

In the other corner of the cafe is someone not presently living telling a different story: no bad man can hurt a good man, no bad woman can hurt a good woman, no bad woman can hurt a good man, and no bad man can hurt a good woman. (That covers it.)

Something in the expression I see in the faces of strangers says they remember a time they were not machines. Tells me I am not bad now, only have forgotten myself. I interrupt the two women in their conversation.

- I know something about Bad Girls.
- Really?
- Yes, I was married to one. I think you are wrong.
- Why?
- Men are not tricked by them. Not exactly. What you don't understand is that the men you call "Sitting Duck" victims of Bad Girls are just like them willing to pay with the poor functioning of their mechanism as a whole for a thrilling technical efficiency in the matter of love. They are a couple of machine breakers. They love breaking machines. They love breaking the machine of love.
- You're a writer?
- As well as a broken machine can write.

The women get back to the business of book promotion.

13. The Guru Of Beverly Hills

- Have you seen Teddy?
- Last night at the market.
- His mother sent me to look for him. She's worried.
- That he'll give away all his money?
- He's not answering his phone.
- Probably avoiding calls of his friends asking to be paid back. I wrote him a message this morning.
- He borrows money from you?
- Yes. You too?
- Yes. He never pays back.
- And because you're camped out in a corner of his living room you can't insist.
- I'm trying to move out. How much does he owe you?
- Only a little. I've written stories arguing debts don't have to be repaid.
- Then why do you ask?
- Debts don't have to be paid between friends. I don't know if he's a friend.
- Why? He wants to help you.
- There's something vicious in the way he handles money.
- He's not vicious. Every day his mother gives him money, and every day he gives it away.
- What is his relation to the people he gives money to? The day I met him a couple months ago I asked him to sum up the wisdom he claimed to have achieved studying Jewish texts, and do you know what he said?
- What?
- He'd learned that the only people he should care about were his family.
- Then why does he continue to give away fifty or a hundred dollars everyday to strangers?
- Yes, Why? What is he up to? He goes from one desperate wanderer of the streets to another, gives a dollar, two dollars, five, and moves on. He is careful not to know them, not to establish obligation. There is no past and no future to the multitude of transactions he repeats all through the night. It is a perfect market economy, exchanges that are nothing but a succession of relations between enemies.
- But he's giving away money! What is he getting in exchange?
- A sense of power, of importance. He's getting people to listen to him lay down the rules of religion, only god is real, lust is an illusion, everything is lust. He gets distraction in his own battle against the illusion of lust, gets delay of his inevitable going to strip clubs with you and your other friends.
- But he really tries to help people.
- Paying a dollar or two each before he goes back to his million dollar Beverly Hills apartment to sleep through the day, rest for his next hard night's work giving away money and going to strip clubs.
- You'll never change him.
- See that open top bus, Hollywood Tours? They drive thousands of tourists around the city. Imagine an extension of the business where the buses take the new class of American super rich around to the haunts of the dispossessed and desperate, deboarding briefly at select corners so they can hand out dollar and five dollar bills, along with their few well chosen words of advice and encouragement, then reboarding the bus and on to the next corner. The future of our country.
- The people won't allow it.
- You won't allow it? Living in the corner of this guy's living room?
- It won't be long.
- Meanwhile, in Hollywood, where they used to sell movie star maps they've updated to selling maps marked with corner stops of the charity tours so the great American people can wait there to receive their hand-outs. You know, you can stop me making a fool of myself talking like this.
- You like Teddy.
- Sure.
- You know how to talk, to write. He knows money. He uses what he knows.
- He can't save the world through money when money is what's destroying it.

14. Spies On Spies

- What are you writing?
- About that woman you saw me with at Starbucks. Who you said looked at you like she hated you.
- Did she?
- Yes. She told me she hated men like you. Had a boyfriend once... I'm writing about you too.
- What about me?
- I'm writing again about the Internet.
- It's an obsession.
- The Internet is a model of craziness. I'd asked the girl on my left what she was reading. A book about a psychopath. What kind? Multiple personalities. Did she know, I asked, that some psychologists think that a real case of multiple personalities hasn't been proven to exist, that patients, knowing that psychologists look for multiple personalities, put on a show of having them?
- What did she say?
- Nothing. She was the sort who didn't want to encourage people of my sort talking to her.
- What sort are you, is she?
- She's a seller of beauty, I'm not a buyer, not qualified with money to be seriously in the market.
- You should treat women just like men.
- I don't?
- No. You are rude to men, but nice to women. I treat everyone the same.
- Rudely?
- Yes. If they don't like it, too bad.
- You're not qualified to talk to her either. The other woman you're disqualified with, the one you saw me with yesterday, I ended up talking to for four hours. She sat down next to me outside here, asked me if I was a doctor. She told me she was afraid of dying, had a fatal disease. No one would go to the hospital with her for the operation. If she didn't get it, she could die any time. Her mother wouldn't come. Her father died insane, without a will, there was this lawyer who says her father wrote a letter assigning her mother 40 percent ownership in the apartment she lives in, she didn't know what to do about it, didn't know what happened to all her father's money, tens of millions of dollars, a private detective wants two thousand dollars advance to look for the money, her mother won't pay, offers him half of anything he can find...
- Are you going to see her again?
- You like that type, I know. You want to give her advice, tell her what god says she should do. Deliver messages from god to you to the girl. If I pass her on to you I should get a commission. Unfortunately she hates you.
- Is she coming here?
- She'll probably sleep all day after talking all night.
- What about her disease?
- This is the interesting part. After about the second hour of talking with her...
- What did you say?
- Tried to get the details. It turned out that the mother who didn't care about her was calling her every night, it would be ungrateful of her she said not to appreciate it, that the doctors were telling her that she did not have the fatal disease, that only an operation could prove that she did not, that her mother had promised to leave in her will the 40 percent ownership in the apartment, which turned out to be worth 1.2 million dollars. Rich, not dying, loving mother, living alone in a million dollar apartment.
- I want to meet her.
- You wish. And what about your rude talk? And anyway, weren't you telling me yesterday the opposite? I told you how I picked a fight with the guard at the Hammer Museum.
- I don't remember.
- Closing time, I had to leave the courtyard where I like to go read sometimes when I'm in Westwood. I didn't like the way he talked to me.
- He talked to you like a man.
- I replied to him like a monster. One monster to another. I felt like fighting. Gave him a piece of my mind, which was on the corporate ownership of UCLA which controlled the museum and hired psychopaths like the him, the guard.
- You called him a psychopath?
- Sure, wasn't he? Aren't you, isn't the girl with the million dollar apartment?
- What about you?
- I told you before, I'm the only one in the world who's not crazy.
- Your problem is you want to fight the world. The Torah says you have to be devious, clever. You make peace by deceiving your enemies, placating them, calming them.
- Yeah. And you just told me I shouldn't be nice to girls. Which is it? Should I fight them or make peace with them?
- It all fits together on a higher level you can't see in your way of thinking.
- Only disclosed to the select. Ok. That brings me back to networks. I'd read this piece by a Toronto sociologist who claimed that it was a myth that the internet was isolating individuals. In fact, he wrote, people were still leaving their computers to meet in real life, but with not a mere handful of connections, now with thousands, they could choose the best person to go to for a particular purpose. The internet was deepening social connections, not weakening them. What do you think?
- I use the internet to meet girls.
- To be rude to them. You go through them quick. You're a psychopath. Actually, that's my idea: the internet is turning the whole world into psychopaths. Deliberately put on multiple personalities. Think about it. What's the difference between what we're doing here, real conversation, and sending messages back and forth on the internet?
- It's faster.
- Chat can be fast. No. The difference is that before you respond you can think: should I respond to someone else first? You can think, will anyone else see this message, if it is a public post? You can think what kind of image of yourself you would like to promote. We're like spies, gathering information from secret redoubt, who if we respond at all first put on a disguise before the in-person meeting to making a message drop.
- I don't understand.
- I mean what you just told me: people want to do the work of god, be devious, clever, make peace with the world by applying to it highly thought-through, the most placatory response.
- What's wrong with that?
- I like your first idea better, being equally rude to everyone. That's more like conversation. You keep talking to the same person looking for something you can agree on, don't stop until you come up with a single statement that applies to all you both have said since the conversation began. In systems theory, according to the guys I watch on the internet, conversation builds a model. The model is a statement, "if this then that", which when you run the experiment of putting in everything both of you have said, works without exception.
- Then what's the model here?
- Psychopaths. Multiple personalities. The rich girl who takes attitudes to the world to placate it, one after another, which don't make any sense when added up. You with your advice from god to be a politician with the world but be rude to every individual in it. Every individual who goes out to meet one of thousands of contacts and have a deeper, more devious, clever and psychopathic experience.
- You're negative. You'll never get anywhere.
- How can I when every time I meet someone I meet with this deep-connection deviousness, calculation of peace making, everyone doing maintenance on their personal network. I like to fight.
- Do you every ask yourself why?
- Of course! I like to have conversations, to reach agreement, to make a model of life.
- What good are models?
- That's like asking what good is knowledge, what good is art, what good is truth.
- What good are they? All we need do is love.
- Love all the multiple personality psychopaths in the world. That's why you wander around Beverly Hills all night giving the desperate a dollar or two.
- Yes.
- And go back home to your mother, to your own million dollar apartment, to the control center of your network of psychopaths.
- We're all psychopath.
- To end this conversation I propose a model, a definition of "psychopath".
- What is it?
- A psychopath is someone who doesn't know that not everyone has a multiple personality. A psychopath is someone who doesn't know everyone is not a psychopath.

15. The Presidents

- When does the bookstore close?
- Ten.
- Sit down here, next to me. Help me with my essay.
- You mean rewrite your essay.
- Whatever. Are you going to sit down?
- I'll sit over there.
- Why? You don't like me anymore?
- You oppress me.
- Then why are you with me?
- You're nice to look at. You're amusing.
- Go to hell.
- Send me your draft by email.
- Why should I send an email across the room?
- I'll work on it on my computer. Take it or leave it.
- You better do a good job.
- Or what? You'll fire me? What's the essay about?
- Comparing the speeches of Kennedy and Obama.
- What do you argue?
- You can read it. I'm sending it now.

- Now you sit down next to me?
- It's only temporary. I've fixed your homework.
- Send it to me.
- Did already.
- What did you think?
- Just a lot of talk. But similar, as you say.
- What did you think of my writing? And what's wrong with the speeches? They're good.
- Your writing is fine, in your usual poetically incoherent way. The Presidents' speeches are something like lies.
- Why lies? And watch out, if you keep insulting me.
- You watch out, if you don't want me to go back to my nice safe chair.
- Go ahead. What good are you?
- Good for editing your essays.
- Why are the Presidents' speeches lies?
- Because, unlike you, they don't show any spirit.
- Do I show spirit?
- Too much, and the wrong kind.
- What is the wrong kind?
- You keep telling me I don't love you, so you believe in love, right? It's real, it exists? It's something good?
- Yes?
- And you believe in self-discipline, work, study, ambition, right? Otherwise how could you always be insulting me for lacking it?
- You're a lazy bum.
- Let's say you are President. Not a lazy bum. You want to do the right thing about the economy, about the country's wars. You want to work toward a world where people love each other. You've made speeches about it. But what do you know from your own experience about overcoming pressure to do something else? How strong are you at defying the demands of other people?
- And that, according to you, is spirit? Defying the demands of other people?
- And defying your own urge to compromise.
- How is that not in the speeches?
- A leader needs authority, needs to speak from strength gathered from his own experience resisting demands to compromise. The Presidents' speeches are eloquent appeals to group members to be a better group members, to push each other to be better within the group.
- But that's fine.
- It's not. Because when the time comes the President is threatened, intimidated by enemies and political opponents, unless he has spirit he will not have the strength to resist demands to compromise.
- Find me a speech with spirit.
- Look up Vaclav Havel. Or get up and find his books on the shelves over there.
- Don't have time. Why do I have the wrong kind of spirit?
- Your spirit is mere defiance. It doesn't get you to do the right thing.
- Says you.
- Who you defy.
- Why not? You're not the President. You're just jealous. Those speeches are good.
- I'm going back to my chair. Read Havel.
- Send something to me.
- When I get back to safety.
- It's not that easy to get away from me.

16. Possibilities

- I've got a question for you.
- Alright.
- First I'll tell you another story. Not the one I want to tell.
- Why tell it then?
- You'll see. Last night, when the cafe closed, that's one o'clock now, I was crossing the street right there, and a beautiful woman leans out the window of her shiny new car and asks,
- What's wrong?
- You don't want to know.
- I do. Where are you going?
- Not far.
- Can I give you a ride?
- Really?
- Yes.
- Then yes.
 I slip into the front seat and look over at this smiling strikingly good looking woman.
- Look at you.
- Where do you want to go?
- The market, three blocks down Beverly. Aren't you afraid I'm a mass murderer?
- You?
- I guess not.
- What's wrong?
- Nothing interesting. I'm a happy guy with practical problems.
- Everything will work out. Here we are.
- That's the story, the first story.
- I like it.
- I don't like it. Nothing happened.
- Something will.
- Two days before, I was sitting where you're sitting now, and this guy comes over, he's about 27, 28, says,
- The battery on my phone is dead. Can you look up an address for me on your computer?
- Sure. What's the address?
- 417 Holt.
- 417 Holt?
- Yeah.
- That's strange.
- Why? Is it far?
- No. I used to live there. Are you going to visit someone?
- Yeah. A girl.
- I gave him directions, he thanked me and went off. Now today, before coming here, I was at this little cake shop in Silverlake, that's ten miles from here, I go to just about every morning for coffee. And who walks in?
- The guy.
- The guy. I look up and he's walking right up, putting his hand out to shake mine, says,
- Remember me, 417 Holt?
- What are you doing here?
- Visiting a friend.
- Another friend.
- Yes.
- What do you do?
- What do you mean?
- What's your job, how do you make money, if you make money?
- I manage escorts. Do you know what an escort is?
- I was married to one. 
- You were?
- I might be still married. She's disappeared.
- And then what happened?
- That's the story. The story so far. The end of the story is this question I want to ask you. I see three possibilities. First, the guy was a detective, showing himself to me to see what I'd do.
- Why would a detective do that?
- Maybe to scare me into doing whatever he'll ask me to do later.
- Like what?
- I don't know. A Beverly Hills doctor my wife married without divorcing me is being divorced by her now and he doesn't want to pay. I'm not being cooperative.
- You think this guy following you is working for the doctor?
- That's one possibility. I don't favor it. Another possibility is that it's simply a coincidence. My old address. The second meeting. Escort business.
- What do you think?
- I don't favor that explanation either. There's another possibility.
- That harmonies have been created in your life, are revealing themselves. Telling you something is going to happen.
- Formal repetitions, suggesting more to follow. My life is taking on a style. A style not created by me but by the world. But this I don't get, this business of the world making itself into art. That's my job.
- Maybe you should take a vacation. Sit back and see what happens.
- But that's my complaint! Nothing happens.
- You say nothing happens after telling me these stories?
- Like I said to the woman in the car, I'm happy with my self, my stories, couldn't be happier, it's the practical things...
- Everything will work out. You'll see.
- I'm used to being the artist. What am I supposed to do while I wait for the world to work its style for me?
- Something will happen.

17. Night Beverly Hills

- Hey, come on the number 18 bus with me. Two in the morning, just the right time. You'll get an education.
- In what?
- You'll board a kind of circling hotel, a dozen or so shapeless figures sleeping hunched over, sprawling out of their seats, in rags. When you get on the bus the driver averts his head so he doesn't have to look at you.
- Doesn't know what he'll see!
- That's right.
- Free market economics in action. Thank you, I can doing without seeing more of it. Do you think the madness will ever end, or we are approaching the end of the world? I mean, from here on out the world will be stuck in this groove until the end of time?
- I see signs.
- What signs?
- From Anthropology, a distant star of science. Science is our problem, of course.
- Of course. Why of course?
- Levi Strauss, Claude, not the blue jeans maker, invented what he called "structural anthropology". Rituals, myths and customs involved elemental oppositions, life and death, individual and society, man and woman, day and night, which could be arranged in many patterns. Individual people and things were in many categories at once. And there were obligations to be performed by those in one category for those in another. The result was balance of exchange between individuals and stability of the society as a whole. A kind of unconscious art went into the construction of the systems of class associations and exchanges between classes which showed great discrimination and observation of the things in the world and types of people, differing from our science in one important respect. Our science proposes new structures or arrangements, new models, in addition to present elements and relations. These proposed structures are hypotheses, then tested by experiment.
- So the primitives were stuck at one level.
- Yes. But they had a great advantage our us and our science.
- What?
- The practical purpose they used their science, their social art to achieve was social stability. The art expressed, taught, reminded of exchange and reciprocity. Our science, aiming at more knowledge of the world, expresses progress in place of balance.
- Science also has a practical purpose. You've told me many times there's no reason it couldn't be put to use to create reciprocity and stability and balance.
- The distant star science of anthropology seems to be moving in that direction. After collecting for hundreds of years information on these primitive societies, finding that things were never exchanged one for another, but instead as gifts made in the general structure of balance and reciprocity, finding the total lack of markets within communities, now anthropologists are asking simple obvious questions. For example, now that we know we moderns are pretty much on our own in having markets for free exchange, is it true that we are also alone in fighting wars?
- Primitives don't fight wars?
- Strangely counter to our prejudice, right? This hypothesis, new model, has now been tested against all the available evidence.
- And?
- Almost never was there a war tribe between tribe, army against army. Violence was local and individual, in retaliation for theft, for taking away a husband or wife.
- You're suggesting then that wars of armies against armies are wars of progress, on the model of modern science?
- Yes. It seems like warfare is an art that is formally identical, involves the same model of progress, of acquisition, as that of our science. Without our science, we'd be without wars.
- I don't think we're going to give up doing science.
- Science though can be turned to the practical use of understanding ourselves.
- We can't arrange knowledge in the stable patterns like myths and rituals and customs.
- We don't have to. We shouldn't anyway. We need a kind of scientific knowledge we can use to protect ourselves from the art of science, from the idealization of progress and acquisition that the practice of science otherwise teaches. We need to break science's monopoly, using against it its very own results.
- Go back to nature because science tells us we must?
- Primitive societies are fixed, to us with our scientific spirit arbitrarily and unacceptably fixed, stable because of balanced exchanges, but also almost always with some elements of hierarchy: upper, middle, lower, reflecting ritual: those who direct, those who follow, those who decide which ritual when.
- Then science is an example of directing which rituals when? Of upper class role?
- You can look at it that way.
- Do you look at science that way?
- As it is now, science in fact is not progress, not social progress. It has fit itself into the basic three class hierarchy, hierarchy being the only truly primitive element of the so-called primitives' arrangements. On the basis of this primitive hierarchy scientific society achieves stability. No matter how much equality we establish in law, what balances we try to establish in relations between people, tolerance, equality of races, religions, sexes, we turn those relations, under the hierarchical control of science, to progress and acquisition. We leave people free to make exchanges or not, and if not, we let them ride the buses in a circle all night.
- An ugly world we've made for ourselves. Go on. Tell me something positive, what we can do.
- Use science to find the rules to prevent wars. Begin with the two rules of the 19th century political theory of anarchism outlawing employment as part-time slavery and invalidating ownership without use. There certainly are other rules. We have to look for them and also, this is very important, we have to stop looking, know that the purpose of life is not progress and endless acquisition, but the good we progress towards and acquire things to get a hold of.
- What good? Did the primitives have it? Some at least?
- They must have. But, as the song says, love is the only thing there is too little of.

- A lot of this I don't understand. Primitive societies are complex. Something created that complexity. And they are knowledgeable, right? About medicinal herbs, etc? What happened to the science, experiment and observation, that they used to gain their knowledge, make their societies?
- It was lost. Like we lost the philosophy, arts, theater of the Greeks and only began gaining it back 2000 years later.
- Ok. And our free market: you say it is part of the hierarchy where science plays the role of upper class. Explain that some more.
- Free market economics says to the scientists: hands off our hierarchy!
- Who says?
- Ritual. We learn to do things without knowing why, and then when someone asks why we do it, we answer, that's how it's done. We do it because it makes us feel safe and powerful.
- So we got back our creative science, and at the moment it might have been turned to society, to creating what you called a technology of good, the ritual of the free market arises to block that development.
- Unsuccessfully.
- Yes. English, American, French revolutions came one after another. Science is at war with itself. And now?
- We have our leaders in politics, in the Universities, practicing the free market hierarchical science, allowing themselves to investigate everything but how people trade with each other, how people like or don't like each other. The results might hinder the regular function of the other two classes, those who work and those who manage workers. What workers and managers do must be left as it is now, unconsidered, learned without knowledge, learned ritually. Meanwhile, we have real science teaching us how free trade in primitive peoples is exceptional to their ordinary life of gift giving, done only between enemies, that only scientific hierarchical societies like ours, where managers and workers, buyers and sellers deal with each other in a constant state of enmity, fight wars.
- Do the leaders know what they are doing? Don't they care they are ruining people's lives?
- At the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the infamous manager of transportation for the Nazi's final solution execution of millions of people, the prosecutor forced him to admit he'd been taken to a concentration camp to watch through a peephole the mass gassing of hundreds of naked men women and children. He said he fainted. Then went on to do what was his job and he was proud to do. The prosecutors wanted to get him to admit that at one point at least he had done the bad his group participation demanded of him and rewarded him for while he knew absolutely that what he was doing was wrong. Suppressing individual knowledge of bad in exchange for rewards from participating in a group is one definition of evil. With time and distance, however, the individual resistance is overcome. Not forgotten. No. Every element finds its place in the repetition and hierarchy that is working out so well and creating so much power for its scientific directors.
- So they don't care about destroying people's lives. They don't think they are. The system is responsible, the hierarchy. It's just the way things are. They aren't evil.
- Do they look evil to you?
- No.
- Do you believe they themselves feel evil?
- No. But you imply with your Eichmann story that they do know what they are doing.
- They do. There's not the slightest doubt about that. In the U.S., in the European Union, our own economists tell our leaders the economic theories they put into effect are false, but they do it anyway. The free market is off limits. The hierarchy exerts its authority. Existing relations between people, as enemy to enemy, cannot be challenged. Ritual does its work. The stability of society technology creates helps them accept as inevitable, as "what's done", accept all that in the life of enemies living among enemies once long ago terrified them. The ride on the bus is long past. All is well in this best of all possible worlds.

- So what's next? Will science free itself from the hierarchy?
- How should I know? We can make war the basic relation between people or we can make peace. There are precise techniques worked out for doing both, though the techniques of war are what we are more familiar with.
- What are the techniques of peace?
- Last night I went with a friend of the Beverly Hills Guru to a celebration of the Feast of the Tabernacle, something like that, a Jewish holiday where you eat in a tent. Doctors, speculators, talking about their possessions. One guy talking about dying. What is one to do with this? We talk about basic human relations, meaning here that behind all the concern with possessions, of owning one's own dying and death even, is the fundamental relation of mutual hostility.You cannot share the doctors' and real estate speculators' possessions any more than you can share that other fellow's death. You cannot do anything with them but propose exchanges. You cannot talk about anything except in relation to building up castles of possessions as safety from the fundamental danger each confronts the others with. You cannot express any liking without that liking entering into a calculation of how it can fit in with a life of defense against the danger of other people. All that is lurking behind the small talk. It never goes away. The Beverly Hills doctors and speculators go under the tent roof and celebrate the good life. I'm there, invited by a speculator, introduced by the Guru, but am considered only long enough to see whether the fortifications are secure against danger I might present. This is what life is supposed to be in this place I was born and raised in, the best the technology of social war achieves.
- And the techniques worked out making peace the basic relation between people?
- Peace is a practical concern, is a tool, a product of politics. The basic relation between people is desire, liking. Rules manages that liking to create peace. Liking has to be managed.
- Why?
- We have to educate each other to like what is best. We are not born with the knowledge.
- That education is the technology of peace? The technology of good?
- Yes.
- Couldn't you educate the Beverly Hills doctors and real estate speculators?
- If they could have seen me, or anyone else even for a moment as a possible friend. The fact is they can't. They can't get past their fundamental expectation that relations between people are those between enemies.
- Teach them.
- As their enemy, teach them?
- Everyone is their enemy. Be a friend. Teach them friendship. Tell them stories. Show them another kind of life. They're your people, after all.
- My kind of story to them is a fairy tale, a tale of the world that cannot be recreated in the unchallenged hierarchy of warfare they build their lives on.
- Then what?
- Then foundations collapse.

18. The Guru Of Beverly Hills 

- He's cookoo.
- That's your professional opinion?
- Yes.
- You're really psychologists, both you?
- Yes.
- On what basis do you make your diagnosis?
- Practical. Going by what you've told us about him. His failure in love, failure in work. His wife left him, he's never had a job.
- I said he gives away all his money and sent away his wife.
- He suffers from delusions of grandeur. Narcissism.
- He does. But he knows it. Told me himself.
- Then why does he go on doing the same things?
- Hatred of the world.
- Which is cookoo.
- Or simply another kind of vanity, egomania, delusion of grandeur, narcissism, whatever you want to call it. Seeing himself not seeing the world.
- Which is cookoo.
- Then everyone is crazy.
- Some more than others.
- What if with his giving away money, wife dismissal, night wanderings among the dispossessed he really is religious?
- He's still cookoo.
- If being religious he is holding onto beautiful ideas, fighting to hold onto beautiful ideas, being willing to go crazy to hold onto beautiful ideas, isn't he doing something good?
- You defend him because he's your buddy.
- He says he isn't a friend. Says he can't be counted on because he won't establish connections with people he doesn't believe are real.
- The people aren't real or the connections?
- Both.
- That's not crazy?
- A standard religious observation. True in its way.
- Maybe you need professional treatment. What do you do?
- Have I sent my wife away do I not work do I wander around at night?
- Well? You should write about your friend. You are writing about your friend.

19. Private In Public

- I'll say good by. I don't know if I'll ever be back in Silverlake.
- Where are you going?
- Beverly Hills.
- Well, I'm sure you're not someone who burns bridges, and can come back with your friend here.
- I do burn bridges.
- What are you going to do to the guy? Your friend.
- He's not my friend. Just another victim of our social stupidity. I'll put him in a story.
- What will you write?
- Something inspired by the anthropologist Levi Strauss. Know him?
- No. I'm a retired building inspector. If someone dug up a corpse maybe I'd have to look up an anthropologist to decide if the land had to declared a protected historic place. Is that his book you're reading?
- No. Last in a series of Swedish detective novels from the 60s and 70s. This one has a pornographic film producer murdered by the father of one of his actresses whose life he ruined, then the prime minister of Sweden assassinated by a victim of heartless economics. We think we have such a different way of life from the primitive peoples. But you know, things haven't changed much.
- How so?
- Instead of human sacrifice and cannibalism, people exchange things. They'd kill each other if that would get them better exchange, only don't kill each other because that will interfere with the efficient accumulation of property through exchange. At least that's how we explain to ourselves what we're doing. It's far from the truth.
- Why?
- The primitives Levi Strauss studied gave gifts to each other, following detailed rules about who to give to and when to give. Since they lived in a closed community, enough would indirectly find its way back to every giver to make gift giving possible. Despite the human sacrifice and cannibalism of our constant exchanges, we are no different from the primitives in our gift giving. Without it our economic system would collapse. Want to get back to work? Or should I go on?
- Sit down in the shade.
- Do you have coffee? I left the house in a hurry to get away.
- I can make a pot. Back in a few minutes.

- So. You're not coming back to Silverlake.
- This is our last conversation. But you'll finish building your walls someday soon. Where did we leave off? Alright. We do our human sacrifice in our exchanges, trying to get the better of each other. My idea is that we make each of us our private community and make it mobile with these exchanges of property. Each exchange creates a new neighborhood in which we calculate whether we can start making gifts, and get gifts in return enough to live, though not in direct exchange.
- I don't see that.
- An investment is a bet that what's been bought, or produced out of purchased labor and parts, will be able to be sold at a profit.
- The exchange aspect is human sacrifice and cannibalism, but the investment is like the gift giving in a community of gift givers.
- Exactly. Everyone really understands this. We trust in the future, or more accurately, we trust in our scientific calculation of which arrangement of property is likely to create a community in which gifts will be made back to us.
- I never looked at it like that. Interesting. Technology applied to primitive customs.
- Scientific cannibalism. The last line of this last novel in the series of Swedish detective novels is: Marx had it right. You asked what I'll write about my "friend". First I'll write about Silverlake. The mystery of why everyone is covered with tattoos. Skin is the boundary between private world and public world. Why write a symbol on that boundary? Why give an image of yourself to the public? What do you get out of it? Is it a tribal identification, or only an ornament?

And I'll write about the courtesies of the girls who work at the Lark cake shop which vanished as soon it was obvious I was going to buy only one small coffee a day. One of the girls seemed to offer friendship, but that vanished too when it was clear I couldn't support a life with her or even alone.

I thought a long time about her. I was sure the offer of friendship was real. What if the courtesies were also real? What if social media posts detailing what we have for breakfast are not mere superficiality, but real attempts to bring oneself out into the world when we felt isolated, with no one really paying attention to anyone except for practical purposes? What if a social media breakfast message was the most real thing in the morning, and the 'how are you today?' at the cake shop also real, and the friendship of the girl also real, and the tattoos also real openings of a conversation?

However I found within days of moving to Silverlake conversation couldn't be. No one wanted to talk. They looked up from their computers or phones asking what I could possibly be doing in their lives, what sort of spam was I arriving in their inbox. Same goes for the hospitality offered by my "friend" up the street here. Most of his living was in making his private house public, renting parts of it by the day through the internet. His invitation to stay with him was a gesture supposed to bring good Karma, bring reward, financial reward in particular, remaining within the primitive but shifting from cannibalism of exchange to gift economy.

If the courtesies, the tattoos, the offers of friendship and hospitality really are gifts, there must be a community of gift giving. If you go on giving without expecting return, or even forseeing return, someone has to be in the community to give you something or you'll be drained dry. The tattoos, courtesies, invitations, social media breakfast posts were constructing imaginary communities.

Last week I got invited to a Sukkot celebration by a real estate speculator I'd met in the company of the Guru of Beverly Hills. The Guru's another story. I met the speculator this time by chance walking by his house. The invitation to his sister's house he said was a "mitzvah" a good deed. He said there was a dying guy there I should talk to.

Same week I met at Starbucks a woman who told me and anyone who'd listen she had a deadly disease, her family wouldn't come to the hospital with her for an operation, no one cared about her, she couldn't trust the doctors, all they wanted was her money, which turned out to be considerable, she lived alone in a million dollar Beverly Hills condo, and it turned out the doctors were telling her she didn't have the fatal disease and she wouldn't believe them, her mother called her every day, had bought here a new computer a month before which she hadn't picked up at the Apple store because an employee she thought was discourteous to her. Free from interest in getting at the truth of life, complaining totally without concern with the people she made her complaints to, she waited for something to happen.

All the same pattern: private life opened to the public, then closed off without development. No conversation to be held with the tattooed. No further courtesy with the courteous, soon not even a hello at the cake shop, no friendship with the friendly. And what accounted for this? I think it really might be the judgement that no community with me could be constructed. No magical community. I didn't have the funds for it.

So I'll burn my bridge back to Silverlake writing this. Our last conversation at your front yard. You know what I wanted from all these people?

- What?

- Real conversation.  Openings to somewhere, anywhere. No. Not anywhere. Not someplace that leads right back here. Ask a businessman why he does business, he'll say it's a creative act. Creates what? Jobs for people. The businessman's private act of creativity is a public job creation. But the job creation comes back from the community in some unknown manner, a fatality of an economic system that is protected to act in accord with its spontaneous order. In fact, when you look closer, put all the private creative acts of businessmen together and the public result is the loss of  jobs, and even deliberate economic destruction if that is part of the creative act of making money. If other people's generosity doesn't meet with the same immediate reward as their own, that is alright, It is not part of the system of mitzvahs, good deeds, home invitations, courtesies that the gift giving of private self gets an immediate compensation. All in time will work itself out.

A billionaire recently made public his private opinion that it was unfair his secretary paid more tax than he did. He didn't offer to pay his secretary's tax. He didn't offer to pay his 100,000 employee's taxes, which he very easily could do, employees he pays so little to that a large number of them don't have enough to eat and receive free food from the federal government. The billionaire makes his gift, he's satisfied the world community gives him back in its magical way, his employees too, in time, will be rewarded.

Our modern economic system, so advanced, turns out gets its justification from the so-called primitive "gift economy". Private life being made public is behind it all. Not functionality, not efficiency, not stability. We're people helping people, just as before.

- We're people helping people kill and eat each other.

- We're people helping people kill and eat each other. Yes. We apply our scientific thinking, we operate the gift economy with an experimental attitude, and the result is a sort of stability. It works*, but has no connection to the technology of making better and worse lives for human beings. We use our technology only to perfect human sacrifice and cannibalism. I'll write something like that. Maybe expressed a little better. Depends on whether I think my gift is being done in a community, whether something will come out of it magically that can support me and my gift giving.

Last night before I can open the door to Starbucks the kid working behind the counter is signaling me to come in. He tells me the rich woman with her diseases has asked them to stop me coming there. The world was not returning her "courtesy" with me, had not paid her back for making public her private life, I was harassing her, the law should be callled on me. So the staff had to decide, which of us do they support, or neither.

- What did they say?

- They 'had my back', were on my side. They knew her, were going to ask her, not me, not to come back.

You see? Sometimes conversations do get started.

--------

* The two economies, market and gift, function as a set of cycling rituals, cycling within themselves and from one to the other: money making leads only to more money making, gift giving only to more gift giving. But money making can be done to enable gift giving, and gift giving to increase money making in a "karmic return". The destructiveness of the continuous public war of the exchange economy, creating habits that get in the way of sympathy, is recovered from, at least in imitative form, in the private gift giving of courtesies and invitations, defined as private because of negligible public exchange value.

20. Almost Fiction

- Where are you going?
- To the library. Come along.
- What are you going to do there?
- Use the internet. 
- What happened to your computer?
- Don't you remember? I broke it. Third computer I broke in 3 years. 
- Do they let you use their computers?
- Well, that's a story. I went in, showed my expired Beverly Hills Library card. They asked for a gas bill, phone bill, house deed, birth certificate...
- Birth certificate?
- I'm exaggerating. Hanging over the reception desk was a huge sign: "Customer Service". You know how I subject everyone I meet to whatever I reading, so I said,
- I'm not your customer. Customers and merchants deal in an exchange economy. Pay this now, receive that now. Each tries to get the best deal out of the other, customers try to pay as little as possible and get as much as possible, merchants try to provide as little as possible and be paid the most possible. Customers and merchants are enemies. In the days before the world was taken over by business school graduates libraries had patrons. Patrons entrust gifts to an organization which later distributes gifts to the public, a relation between friends rather than enemies, a gift rather than exchange economy.
- If you want to renew your card you'll have to present proof of residence.
- You said that. Aren't you listening? The people of Beverly Hills have entrusted the library with the gift of their money and yet the library distrusts its "customers", assumes they are professional thieves and they want to steal five books and sell them for 25 cents each if they're lucky and work hard.
- How did you get the card you have?
- I asked for it.
- What proof of Beverly Hills residence did you show?
- I don't remember. My arrogance?
- What would you like to do at the library?
- Use the internet.
- To use the internet you don't need a card. See the service representative at the computers.
- Can I help you?
- The robots over there under the customer service sign sent me here.
- Why?
- To talk to another robot?
- Are you calling me a robot? I don't like being called a robot.
- I understand. If you really are a robot you can't help acting like one.
- Do you want me to call security and have you escorted out?
- The world is full of places to be throw out of and this is only the second time this week it's been offered.
.- Why shouldn't I have you thrown out?
- Why don't you just let me use the computers?
- You can. Read this screen. You can read?
- No. I came to the library to learn. Can you read?
- Yes.
- Read me what's it says on the screen.
- It says to use the computer you have to make a one dollar deposit. Do you have one dollar?
- No. Why else come here and have to deal with -  not robots, don't worry, but something a lot like them at customer service?
- If you just want to use the computers go back to reception...
- You mean customer service.
- Whatever. And ask for a computer card.
- They gave it to you?
- Yes. Here's what I'm going to type into the internet.
- Read it to me.
- You and me are talking. You speak first.
- What did you do today?
- Thought a little about you.
- What?
- The way you give away money. What you expected from it.
- I take care of the people in my life.
- I meant the people on the streets.
- I've stopped.
- I know. But I'm still thinking about it. Your real estate speculator friend says you did it to feel powerful, you suffered from a kind of megalomania.
- Let him think what he wants.
- Your motto is, "Think For Yourself, Act For Others". You don't concern yourself with whether the practical things you do for others changes their thinking. You don't want to change anyone's thinking.
- Maybe I did. But if I changed anyone, it was just one person.
- You acted for others, you gave help expecting nothing in return, directly or indirectly, neither in an exchange economy nor a gift economy.
- Gifts come from God. It wasn't in my hands.

21. Discovered

- You look like you're somebody. Are you?
- I guess so. Everybody's somebody. Who are you?
- I'm looking for a great writer to discover.
- You can be first in line.
- Are you a great writer?
- In my way.
- What way?
- Read for yourself. I'll give you an address.
- No. I don't have time. Tell me what you write about.
- My last story was about an anarchist revolution in the United States. A philosopher...
- Too many words.
- Girl gangs take over.
- How long is it?
- 25 pages, about.
- Too long. Summarize.
- The story begins with a substitute teacher entering a detention facility in....
- No. Don't have time. What else did you write?
- I wrote about my wife...
- Where is she?
- Unknown.
- Tell me about her.
- You can read the story. Give me your phone. Here

- This is boring. What's special your wife? A gold digger. Your anarchy story is better.
- The anarchy story, the wife story, all my stories are the same.
- Why should anyone read them then?
- The style.
- Is it a great style?
- In its way.
- What way? This is the second time I've asked. I won't ask a third time.
- The wife story is an anarchist story, the anarchist story is a love story. Love and anarchy you could say is my life story.
- Love and anarchy. Good. A tag line. Tell me your life story.
- If I ask myself whether my life has been a success, leaving L.A., going off to look for friends and love and something worth doing...
- Where did you go?
- Europe.
- Go on.
- I found everything I was looking for...
- But it wasn't what you expected.
- No, it was much better than I expected. The problem was, nothing lasted.
- Why not?
- Will you let me say 2 or 3 sentences without interrupting?
- Depends.
- Anarchism in politics is the application of two rules: anything left unused is free for others' use, and no one can employ another. The same rules can be applied in love: possessions shared, neither using the other for practical gain. As you can decide who to work with, you can decide who to love.
- There's more to love than sharing possessions and not using each other.
- Yes. Love has to be there first. The anarchist community and romance are both ways to make love last.
- You said nothing lasts in your life.
- Nothing lasts forever. If you know the rules to live with love, in an sense love is portable. You can leave one story to pursue another, and if you like, if things work out that way, return and apply the rules again. The first week I met my wife she warned me if I didn't watch out she'd disappear for two years and teach me a lesson..
- How long has it been?
- 2 years.

22. The Lower Depths

- The rule is, when you make yourself into a machine you agree to be treated as a machine.
- Whose rule?
- My rule.
- People can stop making themselves into machines and be people again.
- Am I supposed to wait?
- Yes.
- And while waiting I die? Assuming you're right and it's even possible for them to stop making themselves into machines. You know the play by Gorky, The Lower Depths? About a flop house in turn of the 20th century Russia? The question is raised: are these creature, the tenants of the house, the inhabitants, are they still human?
- You think you can treat people like machines because they have made themselves into machines and as machines have lost the ability to remake themselves into humans?
- It's an idea. You're running a sort of Beverly Hills flop house here. You've got me in one corner, and you've got your childhood friend living in other corner, a limo driver who boasts of never having read a book in his life. Do you know what we discussed last night while you were off administering to your flock on the streets?
- What?
- English grammar. He claims to be religious, has a copy of the bible laying around with his things. He says intentions and words and thoughts don't matter, only actions. It's not that he is against hypocrisy. I don't think he knows the word. Rather he wants to be able to act by rule, without thought. He was making fun of people who say, "Joe & me", "me & him", as not knowing the rules. I informed him there was an ongoing dispute regarding this question. "People dispute about grammar? he asked. Yes, they do. There is the "generative grammar" school that says many different rules are used to construct sentences, which when completed cannot be seen to satisfy any set of rules. The resulting sentence, composed according to rules, breaks some of them.
- Did he understand?
- No. Do you? I went on. If you want to tell a story of going with your friend to the market, you can express the idea of going together with, in which case there are not two subjects, but a relationship between them. In English grammar, the expression of going "with" directs you use the form "me," or  "him", instead of the subject form "I".
- And did he understand that?
- No, of course not. Do you? Put aside the question of grammar. The real question is whether you try to produce actions that satisfy a rule, or you use rules to choose your actions, not sure how they will turn out, ready for something new to result, like the sentence we complete not knowing in advance how we are going to do it.
- So the people in the lower depths...
- Like your friend the limo driver Christian grammarian who never read a book in his life...
- The people in the lower depths, having made themselves into machines, can act by rule, but have lost the ability to create new sentences by assembling them, choosing each word by rule but open to a result that will not satisfy all the rules?
- Congratulations.
- Thank you. I don't have to worry then you'll treat me like a machine?
- For the time being.

- Guess what I was thinking about today?
- What?
- Your saying your friend David, the sexual pervert lying real estate speculator, had the wisdom of Solomon.
- I didn't say that.
- You did. You said you were a fighter for the truth, he had the wisdom to look behind appearances to see the truth.
- I don't remember. What did you do today? Besides.
- It's been a filled up full moon day. At the Century City Shopping Center I was asked by a filmmaker if I could come to the last minute first test screening of her new film. I was available. I'm always available. At 6:45 I'd found the side entrance to the screening room of William Morris Endeavor, big time movie agency. Funny name, raises the question why its a struggle to be William Morris. Know what Cary Grant said to the fan who told him he didn't look like Cary Grant: "Who Does?" The filmmaker was standing by the door on Camden Dr, "You made it," she greets me. I ask her about the movie I'm about to see, she asks me what I do. Write teaching stories. Teaching what? That's the problem, not teaching anything that'll help anyone make money. But the last story I wrote maybe somebody would make into a movie, about an anarchist revolution in the USA, it teaches how to keep everyone from making money. Maybe that would sell. More people are arriving and the filmmaker turns away without a word to greet and meet. Fair then that that I walked out in the middle of her screening and made my way back from Beverly Hills to Century City. I walk along streets of houses and was thinking what a nice quiet safe neighborhood this was when I hear a man talking loudly into his phone behind me and running footsteps. I stop to let him catch up, ask what's going on. He says he saw a man get murdered, the killer run away. Where? On Beverly Glen, around the corner. He called the police, waited 15 minutes, got scared standing by the bleeding dead body the murderer would return, and went to his house on this block. The police finally came, told him to go back. I let him run on ahead. I followed at a distance, was in time to see the body being loaded into a fire department ambulance.
- Why did it take so long?
- Police arrive in Beverly Hills in 3 minutes. This was across the border in L.A., where apparently it takes 30 minutes to respond to a murder. If you can't make them money at the movies they turn their backs on you, if you can't die in Beverly Hills they'll let your corpse bleed on the street. If you're a perverted exhibitionist real estate speculator some people will slobber all over you with dog like loyalty and say you have the wisdom of Solomon. A prostitute, actually my wife, once told me she always could find one quality in her customer to like and ignore the rest of the package.

23. I Discuss The Jews With The Limo Driver In The Corner

- Can I ask you something?
- If it's not personal.
- No. About the Jews. You're Jewish, but you're calm. All the Jews here in Beverly Hills are nervous all the time. They're dishonest. And unbelievably cheap. Can you explain it?
- Sure. They don't believe in beauty. They live for doing. They never stop doing. They're nervous between the time they finish one thing and begin another. They don't exist outside of doing things, and existing enough only to know they don't exist confuses them.
- You've confused me.
- They exist, but only in relation to things. They exist in a property relation. The property relation is an attachment to things. It is not a necessary relation.
- Why not?
- When you stop doing things you can rest in the beauty of the world as a whole. You can never rest in relation to particular things.
- Why not?
- Because things destroy each other. They have to be protected. They wear out. They wear you out, because only a thing can have a relation to things. So you are reminded you are a thing that has to be protected and wears out. If you are the thing that goes by the name "Money Worshiping Beverly Hills Jew" you want to increase the number of things you are attached to.
- But what does attachment mean?
- It means feeling safe having things around you.
- Why?
- Property is something to hold onto in a changing world.
- But you said we can never rest in relation to things. Things wear out, have to be guarded.
- Yes. That's why people who live exclusively in property relations have to keep on gathering more things around themselves. Getting more things, and money which symbolizes the ability to collect things, they seem to be becoming safer. When they stop for a moment they're nervous about founding their security on things which are unreliable. They go back to work making money, the only time they really feel safe.

- Have you seen this?
- What is it?
- Demons called up by devil worshippers.
- You think Jews don't just worship money, they worship the devil too?
- The best trick the devil played is making people believe he doesn't exist.
- You believe in the devil?
- If you look on the internet you'll see.
- Why do I need to look on the internet? The most characteristic thing human beings do is destroy each other. They force each other to become things, become unable to love. What job is there for the devil to do? If there was any species that could never offer employment to the devil it's ours. What we need is a god to save us from ourselves. Have you seen one on the internet?

- Here's the problem. Social life rewards honesty and punishes dishonesty. This is called enforcement of being good. But social life also rewards dishonesty and punishes honesty.
- Why?
- Because pretending to be honest also gets you the social reward for being good. And being dishonest allows you to profit from deceiving people.
- We have reasons to be good and bad. Everyone knows that.
- We have social reasons to be good and bad. Because we are educated by society when we are too little to know what we are doing, be conscious of our learning the rules, we ascribe to a god our reasons for social behavior: a good god, or "God" when we are honest, a bad god, "the devil" when we are dishonest.
- Honesty is religious.
- Social honesty is religious. Personal honesty is something else. In personal life the truth is our material, our tool for problem solving and invention. A lie restrains our creativity.
- So truth in social life is rewarded and punished, but in private life only rewarded?
- Yes. Do you see what this means?
- Tell me.
- We live with others to learn from each other, but we pay a heavy price: we learn that honesty which is always good in private life is only sometimes good in social life. From the perspective of private life, social life as a whole, rewarding both honesty and dishonesty, confusing us about what it means to be honest, seems to be the devil's work we've collectively taken over.
- Which is why he can't get a job.

- Sometimes people can be too smart.
- People like me.
- The devil doesn't want to work for us, he wants us to work for him.
- Worship him.
- Yes.
- So you still think the Jews worship the devil.
- Some of them.
- For example, your strip-club friend, the real estate speculator?
- You know him?
- Yes. A couple weeks ago I was walking on my way to Starbucks when by chance I passed his house as he was riding up on his bicycle. I'd already met him with our host one midnight at the market. He insisted I come to his sister's house for the Jewish festival, the feast of the tabernacles. First he had to take a shower. He showed me in, put me out on the balcony to wait. I'm telling you this, because soon I hear shouting from inside, "Police"! "Stop where you are!".
- He's a volunteer Sheriff. He does that stuff all the time.
- Then he appeared completely naked out on the balcony, said "Nice to see you're Ok", and went back to the shower.
- So he's a homosexual. I wondered about him. He pays the girls to let him rub them, but doesn't want any more.
- He's protecting his public life from private life, making sure love of truth has no chance to develop.
- I don't understand.
- Do you know how the Jews became famously good at making money?
- No.
- They gave themselves complete flexibility negotiating the dangerous waters of honesty and dishonesty in public life. They kept their private lives separate. Your friend the speculator...
- He's not my friend.
- Of course, he's no one's friend. The Beverly Hills Jew, let's call him, in the service of making money has gone further, has eradicated private life. He wants to keep a distance from girls. He wants his contact to be deniable, to himself and others, wants its meaning to be negotiable.
- I showed him the video of UC Davis students sitting quietly down on a campus square being pepper sprayed by para-military units.
- They were ordered there by the University Chancellor. I'm familiar with it.
- Do you know what David said?
- What?
- "Better nip them in the bud."
- Childhood and youth, formerly preserves of private life exempt from adult glory in the massacre of human nature. No more.
- And you don't think that's devil worship?*

- If there was a devil he might keep me company. I have more than 10,000 social media connections, but haven't got a single email in the past week. I am the world's worst networker.
- What are you doing wrong?
- Do you know why I criticize the Jews?
- No.
- They guard the border between being in-the-network and out. They keep record of the rules of the crossing, guide the passage across the boundary. And they are not doing their job.
- I don't know what you're talking about. What border?
- We were talking about it: between public and private. The Jews are the sanctuary for the rules keeping private life safe from public life. Our world has always been the devil's creation: social life equally motivated by honesty and dishonesty, honesty of private life under threat of vanishing. In private life you share. In public life you trade. Networking is all about trades. You send messages so you can receive messages.
- You don't send messages.
- I do. They aren't answered.
- Why not?
- I can't reward for completing the trade or punish for not. I'm always a stranger across the border, and networkers don't share with strangers. Any relation to a stranger out of the network other than complete disregard depends upon private life being preserved from infection of public life. It is natural to care about any human being, but in our devil's world most people don't.
- And Jews care about people outside their network? Weren't you saying the opposite?
- They are carriers of practices that keep you capable of it.
- And they aren't practicing.
- No.
- What are the practices?
- Ways of keeping in mind that the distinctions we make in life are unimportant.
- What's important?
- Love.
- Doesn't sound like Judaism to me.
- You can blame the Jews for that.**

* We humans are the only species that organizes itself to hunt, spy on, manipulate and kill each other.
** Blame seeks to educate ritualists to adjusting the rituals they practice. Ritual practice is learned without self-consciousness, and adjustment of ritual is done by eliciting passionate, unselfconscious response. If people are open to reason, you don’t blame, you argue, you persuade. When people, because of the completeness of their ritualistism, are not capable of being reeducated by either blame or reason, you detach yourself with laughter and pity, and when you’ve had enough of that, turn your back and go elsewhere.

more: Dear Google


24. The Association Of Anti-Semites In The Century City Shopping Mall

 - I see your bag. "Organization for Anti-Semitism". I'd like to join. I just got my first email accusing me of being a Jew-hater so I am confident I can submit impressive credentials with my application.
- "Association For Combatting Anti-Semitism".
- I see now.
- Are you Jewish?
- Sure. I've been writing stories about Beverly Hills. I'd like to outdo in provocation Philip Roth in "Portnoy's Complaint", even Celine in his World War II era pamphlets.
- So you write a blog.
- I deny it. I say I write stories.
- Soon everyone will write a blog. I write one.
- I can't help it if the world is filled with psychopathic exhibitionists. So you won't pay me to make fun the of the Jews. But can't you give me some referrals, know your enemy, right? I'm new to this business. You guys at the Anti-Semite association must know people willing to pay for first quality anti-Semitic stories.
- What do you write in your blog?
- You mean my stories.
- Your stories.
- I write conversation. I had this one at the shopping center about two minutes ago. I spotted coins lying unattended on the pavement, leaned down to scoop them up, and a guy standing nearby commented:

-That's one way to make money.
- Not a good way. Proceeds are meager. Know a better way?
- Yes. If you are an artist, I suppose you are, you'll spend you life trying to sell a picture for ten dollars to someone like me who turns around and sells it for a million.
- I know an even better way to make money.
- What's that?
- Sell the painting to the guy who sells it for a million then take the million from him. This has the advantage of making a profit out of connections established through social conformity that you think so much more valuable than actually creating anything together with the advantage of punishing someone for making profit in that destructive way.

- You're not only an Anti-Semite you're a social theorist.
- I'm a man of many qualities all of them valueless. Except maybe to Anti-Semites, and you won't help me with my application, I can see it in your face.
- Good luck with your blog.
- My stories!

25. The Rich

- The Royal Princes I drive for laugh at the our lists of the richest in the world.
- They're right.
- Why?
- Our richest use corruption of politicians, monopoly, deception to covertly get their money together. They have a mere 50, 60 Billion. Rulers of countries can use armies and police to openly rob everything.
- How much do they have?
- The dictators of the Palestinians, of the Iraqis, said to have had over 100 billion. Current dictator of Russia a little less maybe. The Saudi royal family, owning the oil fields, in the hundreds somewhere.
- Hundreds of Billions of dollars?
- Yes.
- The richest in America have 50 Billion?
- Around.
- Why can't they help all the poor people with nothing and no place to live?
- They can.
- Why don't they?
- They think that would be rewarding failure to play to game.
- What game?
- Money making.
- Why do they care about a game when people are starving?
- They have a theory that the game can't be played well unless there are severe penalties for losing.
- Why do they help at all then?
- They would like more people to be able to play. The more people the more interesting the game.
- They are right that if they give away money only to poor who do nothing that isn't fair to poor people who work. Or do they have enough money to give to everyone?
- They have enough money to elect representatives to every political office in the country. The representatives could then pass laws to ensure everyone place to live and food to eat. And then people could set to work voluntarily for the joy and discovery of it.
- Why don't the rich do it?
- They love the game that loaded them with billions. They don't want to end the game.

- Why?
- Why don't they want to end the game?
- They have everything.
- They have pride attachment to things doesn't hold them back in the game. The rich don't really like things. You know what happened today? Our host took my hat and gloves and dumped them down the trash chute. He said they were luxury items. I shouldn't be frivolous, I should be studying.
- He told me..
- The hat was a fedora from the 50s, with a silver broach with small semi-precious stones sewn into the band above the brim. It was a gift from the manager of a thrift shop in Silverlake. The gloves I found at 3 in the morning at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Wilshire, near the Beverly Hilton hotel. I'd just arrive from Tel Aviv, the so-called friend I was supposed to contact once I arrive wouldn't come to the phone when I called, so I was walking around all night until Starbucks opened at 5. I'd been doing this for days, nights getting near freezing. The gloves were strong, supple, fit me perfectly, and were a ridiculously deep violet in color.
- He said they were girly. You shouldn't wear them.
- They were a gift that appeared magically when needed. Both hat and gloves were gifts, had stories behind them. People who only see the game won't allow objects to hold them back. Objects are counters in the game of making money. They don't have beauty.
- I understand you're hurt to lose your things.
- It's the stories, that the stories end this way.

26. Call A Thief A Thief

- You saw he was wearing a hat tonight? And a new watch?
- Yes.
- And he saws he threw out my hat and gloves and book because they were luxury items.
- Why did he do it?
- His story now is he wanted to shake me up. In other words, an act of violence. Violence is justified only in self defense. Usually it is in unjustifiable defense of a self image. That is what he was doing.
- What image?
- Wise and holy man, agent of god's will. God wanted him to destroy my hat and gloves and book.
- He says he will pay for them.
- We'll see. You know the street guy Ron?
- Yes. The guru says he's adopted him.
- He looks like he wandered into Beverly Hills from forty days and forty nights in the desert without food or water. Beard down his chest clotted with bits of grass and dirt, clothes rags and tatters, probably not taken off for months, years is not impossible. He walks up and down Beverly Blvd, from Ralphs at Doheny to Starbucks at Robertson. He's a good customer of both.
- He pays?
- Sure. He has money from the Guru. You should see it. "What drink can I get started for you, Sir?" they sing out to him at Starbucks.  His smell extends about 10 yards in all directions. Everyone pretends nothing unusual is going on. Same at the deli counter at Ralphs. "Can I help you, Sir?"
- No one says anything?
- No. I said once to him, "Congratulations on your purchase!", but no one laughed. Isn't the adoptive Ron the double of our Guru? He wanders up and down the same street, doesn't sleep on the sidewalk in but at an Beverly Hills apartment a few blocks down, changes his clothes once a week, not once a year, but commits radical crimes against expectations of public behavior, gets away with it hardly noticing any consequences. The same thing accounts for both of them.
- What?
- Money. Nothing matters anymore but money. At Starbucks, at Ralphs, here at the Guru's million dollar apartment, no one can say a word as long as payments are being made and received. There's a rule of silence.
- He says he will pay you back.
- As I said, we'll see.
- Are you going to ask him for it?
- Break the rule of silence?
- What's the point? You know he's crazy.
- The government is bribed by corporations, economic conditions are created that force people to speechless conformity. Everyone has his excuse, everyone is pressed by the conditions created by everyone. If individuals are going to have a chance to remake their own lives on a different basis they'll have to break the rule of silence. Public manners are preventing change, so public manners have to be challenged.
- What are you going to do?
- Call a thief a thief.

27. TV News And Rabbi At The Youth Center

- I know these guys.
- What do you know?
- I talked with four of them at the beginning of the year. In their office on the other side of the wall there. I'd just returned to the United States, been sent over by another Beverly Hills Rabbi to see if they could find me something to do. But they only kept asking me, over and over, if I were a child molester.
- What did you say?
- After about the fifth time they asked I asked if they were child molesters. It was people like them, religious directors of youth centers who molested children, not people like me. They asked me if I had any documents proving I was not a child molester.
- Will you go on camera?
- What's the point? It's background information. I'd like you to pursue the story. I think they're evil guys. Money worshipers. They think god wants them to make money, that they can use god's own money to buy him off for any crime they commit. You see? The network won't broadcast angry statements like that.
- I decide what goes on and what doesn't.
- Better read the nice little story I wrote about them. Here, I'll write the address.

28. Rabbi On The Street

- Hello Rabbi. We meet again.
- Where do I know you from?
- The night before last. You were being interviewed by the TV news. You saw me and took my picture. Is there some reason you've pulled your car over to talk with me this morning? Would you like to walk with me to the market?
- Where do you come from?
- Here.
- What's your profession?
- It's a mystery. What's yours? Child molester?
- I know where you live.
- You know where I live, you know what I look like. You know everything.
- Why don't you come see us?
- You don't remember me?
- Come back.

29. Conspiracy

- Look at that thing. The new Center For The Performing Arts.
- Looks like a giant cardboard box.
- Paid for by the publisher of TV Guide.
- The box that held the garbage he dumped on the American people.
- Yes. See the cracks? Ventilation for the air conditioning equipment, the architect claims, but I think it is to taunt all the street sleepers in Beverly Hills who spend their days at the library here next door. The city will give them a box to sleep in, allow them to hang out here, but they shouldn't get too warm and comfortable.
- You have an explanation for everything.
- Sure, what else am I to do?
- You're at a library. You could read books.
- I'm at what's called a public library. You know, we are educated to go out in public and expect that something will happen, something unanticipated. The people we meet will bring out surprises in our lives. That's over. Now when we go in public we find that nothing surprising happens. Everyone, however much they've grown up to expect something good and new from meeting each other now, afraid of losing their livelihood follows strict rules of conduct, not only in work, but in private life too.
- I'm not sure I know what you're talking about.
- Ever talk to any of the hundreds that live on the street in our beautiful city of Beverly Hills?
- I've tried.
- Then maybe you found out that most have families, often wealthy families. They're street wanderers because the public economic principle of acting as if we're enemies who're making deals with each other, giving each other jobs buying and selling things to each other, has invaded family life. The people on the street came out losers in deals, didn't correctly reinvest profit, had no marketable services, so were simply ejected from their families.*
- They're mostly crazy.
- Made crazy then by the economic principle of everyone being everyone's enemy but pretending to be friends, made crazy by being the least practical of people put in circumstances that even the most practical couldn't handle.
- They're always talking of conspiracies.
- There is a conspiracy against them, but it's not secret. The people who profit most by the endless buying and selling things and renting ourselves as slaves to each other meet publically at published times and places. The mystery is not in the actual planning to direct this system to profit the people who are meeting, but why, when we continue to go into public feeling anything is possible from each other that is no longer true.
- We believe in conspiracies because we can't face up to the fact our public life is gone.
- Yes. We can't communicate to each other not only because everyone is afraid for his life and can't relax for a moment from buying and selling and renting each other out to each other, but also because the former public meeting places have become controlled by the people who openly conspire at published times and places. You can write and publish messages and be read and heard by people like yourself who already think pretty much like you do, but the newspapers, magazines, electronic broadcasting which at one time had a more general audience are now owned by the publically conspiring and only publish announcements of terrifying events, causes for which are never investigated. Because the stories are never followed up they dull the audience into thinking that, since despite continual bad news the world doesn't end, nothing really has to be done after all.
- A conspiracy theorist went to the Los Angeles Airport this weekend and opened fire on federal security agents. What do you think about that?
- In the 19th century anarchists, depairing from the loss of public life, threw themselves into a campaign to assassinate representatives of power.
- And what happened?
- The Russian revolution.


30. Somebody Out There Likes You

- If you are not interested in punishing, only in protecting yourself from future recurrence of the same type of behavior, then the important thing is not what they did, but the question, is there anything we know about them which would tell us they wouldn't do what we suspect?
- So it doesn't matter if the CIA remote flew the airliners into the World Trade Center and set off previously prepared explosives in the building when the planes hit, it only matters if we know anything about the CIA that leads us to believe they wouldn't do it if they thought of it?
- Right.
- I was watching a video about food additives, and I checked the ingredients in yogurt. The non-digestable artificial sweetener Aspertame was in even the non-diet variety, along with sugar. The conspiracy theory video would have us believe the giant food corporations are deliberating re-configuring our bodies. Aspertame increases appetite, and is being added to make us want to eat more of the product adulterated with it, literally used to addict us to it.
- Is there any reason to believe the giant food corporations wouldn't deliberately try to addict us to their products?
- None.
- A trainer of the sales staff at a Rodeo Dr. store selling designer bags told me his job was to teach the staff to teach the customers brand loyalty. I asked him
- Why should anyone be loyal to a brand?
- In the modern world people feel good with products that are associated with ideas they can identify with.
- What ideas?
- Luxury. Workmanship.
- Shouldn't people feel good about their relations with each other and not their relation to things? Love and care about each other?
- That's not my business. My business is letting people know about our products and the happiness being associated with them can bring.
- How are you different from a drug dealer?
- I don't break the law.
- You sell people a destructive form of happiness.
- You have your view, I have mine.
- Brand loyalty is like Aspertame, an addictive, artificial additive to the actual product. What brand did he represent?
- I didn't ask. I think it is an interesting question, use of conspiracy as thought experiment rather than possible history, to ask if these brands and companies are reconfiguring products as person substitutes. We can't be loyal to people who we know will stab us in the back for a dollar, but the products truly are loyal to us, they want us never to leave them, they want to be everywhere we go, inside us being ingested and hanging on outside us.

31. Spirit In The Corner

- How long have we been talking?
- Five hours. I'm trying to do something for you. I hope you appreciate it.
- I don't really know what you are promising to do for me...
- No more negativity! Promise me that.
- Sure, I promise. It's not like I have anything else to do. I have this recurring dream. I've written a book that I have forgotten I've written. I have to remember what it is, then I'll be able to find what happened to it, or if necessary, reconstruct it. I have another dream, a variation, where I've forgotten a friend, an essential friend.
- What do they mean, do you think?
- That I haven't been paying attention. Take all these young people coming and going while you were instructing me how to become famous.
- I said no cynicism. Do you want me to leave?
- Stick around. These kinds, they are different from us, and from the way we were when we were their age. They don't judge each other. Fat, ugly, they accept everyone. Shouldn't I be paying more attention this phenomenom? Do you know how they do it?
- They look, and look away.
- In general. But what do they like about each other when they choose someone special to accept in their lives?
- The same as we do.
- Maybe. Then their public general acceptance is insincere. The fat and ugly are acceptable, for public life, but not good enough for selection into private life. But maybe they are sincere, and private life is like public life in being a kind of game, one with different rules, in which fatness or ugliness may or may not be disqualifications. The rules for making choice may involve money, job, status, character type, a whole configuration, but we call the decision process a game because it is not fundamentally rooted in the physical, not rooted in the deciding individual's body. The rules say accept everyone in public life, the rules say accept a special kind of person in private life. Everyone gets a chance to rise from public life into private life, depending on which private life contest they enter. I was at UCLA yesterday, the Research Library and followed the sign at the door to a lecture in progress. The subject was DNA testing of American Indians to determine eligibility for public benefits. The professor speaking, an American Indian herself, was against DNA testing, seeing it as an example of materialist science. She was an expert in feminism, public policy, population genetics, technology, history of science, indigenous peoples. Her objection was that identifying her people by chemical structure was inconsistent with their own self identification as spiritual.
- What did the audience think? Were they kids?
- Mix of students and professors. A UCLA economics professor asked her if she thought Chomsky's reduction of language to rules was another example of materialism invading the spiritual realm. Since I was standing next to him at the time I corrected him about Chomsky. I explained that Chomsky was an anarchist who liked to repeat he had no idea how language really works, that the rules of language production he believed in were a tool used to produce something unanticipated. On the subject of theory being a tool, I told the economics professor that his entire science was destructive, economics was built entirely on a material assumption that things were to be fought over for possession. Study of trading things between people could never produce any knowledge except of how human nature corrupts itself, which is a kind of knowledge, a dangerous knowledge.
- How did he like that?
- Said I was extreme. There were some useful things in economics. I expressed my doubts. He gave the examples Marx's theory of surplus value, the flow of capital. I replied Marx's ideas could be better expressed in non-material terms. He said everyone in academia believes he is right, just like me. I would fit right in. He hoped I was willing to believe he was right about some things. I said I didn't. The lecturer had identified herself as expert in her many different fields, strangely according them all equal status, and his insistence on my tolerance reminded me of her. And it was something like all these kids according each other equal consideration, in public life at least. In the case of the professors numerous scientific fields something similar was happening. The kids make a private list of select qualities, but it is not based on physical desire, though that may be one component. Actually I have doubts about that, that it is even there as one component. Physical desire is not a game. It is real. Spiritual life is also not a game.
- And it is real.
- If you speak about the physical world and the spiritual world in the same breath you raise questions of causal relation between the two. Causal relations are found when you look at the world of separate things knocking against each other. The concept has no meaning in the spiritual world. Thoughts don't cause thought, in ourselves or others, we can only imagine it only by assuming an unseen material intermediary handing over the effect of one thought to another. We imagine though without difficulty that thoughts can be simultaneous, my thought and your thought appearing (out of nowhere) at the same time. In fact, language is based on the assumption and intention that it is possible for this to happen. Language is a tool used to produce such result. It is not a game producing set results depending on known variations of play. Still with me?
- No. But go on.
- In our democracy, in any democracy defined as a state where government does not express preference for any one definition of human nature, the sciences have their own democracy, each their constituency and practitioners. But the spiritual isn't a science, any more that love is. Games are played to learn to love, to remind us to love, correct our failures to love. Etc. The kids, like the professors, have the spiritual off in a corner of private life, where it is just as infected by the material that occupies public life.
- If you are right their private lives are played by rules. But you don't know these kids.
- No. Do you?
- Not really.
- Yesterday I thought it was about time I look up someone from my family.
- You weren't paying attention to them. Like in the dream.
- Last time I tried a reconciliation of what amounts to decades of estrangement it was a disaster. I assumed new attempts would end the same. Maybe that was mistake. So I decided to look up my favorite relative, a cousin with whom I had never had a single real conversation since childhood. I didn't know him except that he loved games, but that was enough for him in my dream awakened mind to rise above the general family idea. I do have a general idea of my family, and they of me, that's the problem. I never was in the private life of the family, was tolerated democratically at best, really not even that. Whatever the rules for private life were, love had a real part of it, but was locked in a corner. This favorite relative: he was different. He was getting more out of the game that he should. It verged on something spiritual, like the Bhagavad Gita's "knower of the field". Yesterday I decided to look him up.
- And?
- Google gave me his obituary. He died last year. He wasn't much older than me.
- I'm sorry.
- I learned he was living in Nevada. My stories on the internet have been regularly visited from Nevada. I wondered if I'd had some indirect contact with him or others in the family.
- Do you think now you were too hard on them?
- The kids accept everyone, my family nominally accepted me, they gave me a chance. But private life as game was unacceptable to me, unacceptable to my fanatical insistence that the real thing, love, the world that language creates, be kept pure, be respected. I couldn't communicate these ideas to them. I didn't have the words, and wouldn't have been understood if I did. The kids here though: their games have given them much greater ability than the people we grew up with to see the complex structure in social relations, to see the kind of thing I am talking about here. You know, the more complex I make my stories, the more they like them.
- So you're hopeful.
- I promised.

32. Outcasts

- Making buying and selling the foundation of life ends in mass insanity and mass violence. Some people find themselves the loser in every transaction. They are left with nothing. They become outcasts. Try however much to feel for them, the nature of your relation to them is contaminated by your habit of treating all transactions as acts of war. You help but feel you shouldn't. You wonder if maybe you are wrong to help at all.
- It's unproductive.
- So all these outcasts, they never stop talking of roles. They try to make a place for themselves, to compose a life in talk and in fantasy. Over and over they do this, but with no real practice behind the talk and imagination. They are outcasts given nothing to do and have no prospect of ever being given anything to do. In their lives there is no ritual, no repetition of doing the same thing to give them a sense of power over life. Eventually all the powerless fantasy and talk fails in its purpose of maintaining hope, the intoxicated excited talk is followed by total silence. In modern terms, the manic episode is followed by depression. It's like an artist in full flow of his work succeeding, but finding the world is unchanged, gives no response, grants no new love, and feels his art to be useless and everything and all to be useless.
- So the outcasts are kinds of artists.
- Artists without audience. If you want we'll go around with the Guru one night, see the Beverly Hills lower depths. I'll show you the desperate with their self definitions. The Beautiful Wronged Woman. The Beautiful Man. The Inexhaustible Fountain Of Small Talk. The Effortlessly Comic Teller Of Uncensored Life Stories. The Agent Publicist...
- The one who promises to make you famous. You left out the Guru, doing you the favor of dispossessing you of your luxury item hat gloves and books.
 - Yes. And the big topic of being outcast that the Small Talker avoids, the ugly lives the Beverly Hills Beauties are living. I haven't told you this, the day a couple of months ago the Guru and I met he also got in with the rabbis down the street. Apparently they are a team in battle with the devil over my soul.
- That's crazy.
- When you start from a foundation of war in every act of buying and selling, and with buying and selling being the foundation of every human relation, people have no choice but to win if they are not to fall into outcast status and go insane. They're manic and depressed, they're paranoid that friends and family are pretending and in reality are bought with money, they're made schizophrenic by the general inconsequence of life resting on continual renegotiation. Fantasy, the human faculty for forming hypotheses to be tested, with practical activity denied the outcast floats free as delusion. The only thing which prevents their insanity is being able to do an actual job which roots in reality the role they present to themselves and each other.
- Isn't that good enough?
- Whenever jobs or social regularity in general are threatened we can expect more people to be confronted with falling into outcast status, and can expect the unreality such status results in to be expressed. We can expect otherwise normal people to be willing to kill where previously they were merely willing to dispossess. The transition from kill to dispossess is rapid. It is happening more and more frequently.

33. Guilty Games

- Well, what do you think of our new Performing Arts Center?
- I like it. Beverly Hills is complete now as an pretty image of destruction. On the corner, bright tall Lichtenstein aluminium sculpture of a flame. Behind it, fenced yard for electrical equipment. Behind that the theater, the cardboard box that brought the garbage incinerated by the flame powered by the generators.
- Are you an architect?
- No. Are you?
- I'm a physician. This is my son. You don't like it but you come here anyway.
- The library on the other side of the palm court is the real center of the city. That is where you'll see the very poorest in this richest of all cities.
- I don't know about Beverly Hills being the richest city. The poor live on the streets because the in-patient clinics for mental illness were closed down. The director of Bellevue Hospital in New York predicted it would happen.
- Only some are insane. The rest are being driven insane by never being safe.
- Do you know them?
- I stay with someone who does.
- A social worker?
- No, just a man who gives them money.
- And you write about him?
- I have.
- What do you think can be done about the situation?
- Nothing, unless everything is changed.
- What do you mean by everything?
- Many of the people idling by the library here have families. The problem is their families rejected them.
- Why? Because they were different?
- Because they were different, in some ways better, but primarily because they didn't make money, couldn't make money or wouldn't make money.
- Money is the root of all evil. So what according to you should we do?
- Take responsibility for the world we create, for the new American institution, new invention, of millions sleeping on the street.
- How?
- You belong to the American Medical Association. I've read that it is the biggest political lobby in the country. Lobbies bribe government officials. The sum of all the bribery, from your lobby and the others, is politics in which nothing counts but money. The result is the millions sleeping on the street, some of whom are over there on the other side of the Palm Court.
- People are self interested. It's human nature. Physicians are interested in their own interest, same goes for everyone.
- Except you know that in this case, as you've told me just now, that serving your self interest is part of an economic practice that leads to a terrifically bad result. Your profession is healing, not money making. Your profession is not a game. I'm tempted to warn you, in the spirit of the guillotine, to watch your head. I can't completely grasp this yet, can I show you something I just noted down?
Games are not the purpose of life but a means to an end. In science we play with the world and call it hypothesis testing. We use tested hypotheses to do things, make things, know what to expect.
Sometimes people know that the game being played itself is destructive of life, they have kept on playing even when the hypothesis has been tested and shown to be not in accord with reality. For example, the hypothesis behind present economic policies has been disproven, but according to the players stopping the game will bring unpredictable results and cannot be considered. It is insane to keep playing a game that teaches us to do what destroys us. But there is satisfaction in participating and directing something big, at the cost of personal discomfort, precisely when it is known the game destroys society. For when the insane game in reality is destructive of society it can be no other than personal reward involved. The balancing of personal cost in witnessing destruction and personal gain from playing the game with pleasure is what constitutes self consciousness, and with consciousness comes responsibility.

34. Revolution In The Lower Depths

Yet it is decisive that the experience of the eternal, in contradistinction to that of the immortal, has no correspondence with and cannot be transformed  into any activity whatsoever, since even the activity of thought, which goes on within one's self by means of words, is obviously  not only inadequate to render it but would interrupt and ruin the experience itself. -  Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

- Why did you want me to read this passage?
- The experience of the eternal is what is lacking in how we live now. We live for doing. We make tools to make more tools.
- Maybe we like to live like this.
- It wouldn't be so bad except that we compete with each other in the making of things. A love for making things doesn't make us want to make things together.
- Why not?
- Because we don't see the good of it. We only value making things.
- But we could.
- Yes. We don't because power over things is extended to the desire for power over other people. Each tries to make his relation to others serve his own private interest in making things. We compete against each other.
- We become atomized, isolated, hostile.
- Yes. I wanted you to read that passage because it is wrong. The eternal can be expressed in action as a longing to return, but that requires seeing the world as a place not where you do for the sake of doing, but do, and learn how to do this as efficiently as possible, for the sake of not doing, for making a return to the eternal.
- When you don't know how to get the eternal mixed up with your doing things you feel alone and futile, trapped in meaninglessly doing for the sake of doing, doing not for yourself and not for others either. But what if there was a way you could get the feeling of the eternal in life with others by doing what you are already doing, but doing it in common?
- I thought doing in common was blocked by the habit of seeing people as things to made to serve your interest as maker of things?
- If you say to yourself, me and all the other doers for the sake of doing know what it means to do what we do. We have that in common, and with this common knowledge there is a task we can set ourselves in common that doesn't depend on anything else: the destruction of all that is in the world that hinders doing for the sake of doing. We respect our own individual natures and expand them at the same time.
- We recapitulate our own loss of individuality by destroying what's left of individuality in the world.
- We go over our own personal story, we enjoy the exercise of the power of doing, and we get a sense of the eternal in sympathy with our fellow doers for the sake of doing. Totalitarianism is the collective, bureaucratic task that destroys all those not in the group of fellow doers precisely because these holdouts still presume to do for the sake of not doing.

- My turn, you guys. Look at this.
- What?
- The Billionaire Jew Soros, how he conspires to manipulate currencies and destroy the world's economy.
- He doesn't conspire. He is openly on record that the banking community of which he is a prominent part is knowingly destroying Europe and America's economic stability.
- How do you know?
- He wrote and published an article in The New York Review Of Books last year saying so. And I have briefly spoken with him several times.
- You?
- You think it is impossible, someone like me dumped here in the Beverly Hills lower depths? I asked him why not support the Occupy protest movement. He said he sympathized with the pain of the protestors, but changing the system when it is already stressed leads to greater disorder. His business is to predict the direction of market swings and profit by them, succeeding in this both in upturns and downturns, in fact helping the market go fast in the direction it is already going, even if this means destruction of the marketplace.
- What good does destruction do him?
- The weaker participants are destroyed. The surviving stronger monopolizing investors like himself buy up the devalued assets of the destroyed, then invest to bring on the upswing. Monopoly and concentration of wealth.
- Wikipedia says he gives away billions. Why does he do it if he is out to destroy the world?
- He is someone who makes money for the sake of making money, does things for the sake of doing things. Another time I talked with him...
- Ha.
- Don't believe me, see if I care. Another time I talked with Soros...
- Where?
- Budapest. Central European University, the school he founded and paid for. He'd given a lecture in which he said economists couldn't account for or control the economic system currently in operation. I asked him didn't he think it was time to start talking of looking at basic economic relations and asking which kind make people happy. He was silent, then answered that he included happiness as one factor in the calculation of investment for profit, a certain amount of happiness might be necessary to maximize the efficiency of the process. Everything for him was for the sake of doing, even happiness.
- He's evil.
- Hannah Arendt defined radical evil as behavior we can't forgive, and we can't forgive what we can't punish, and we can't forgive and punish what we can't love. To me, Soros is a case of doing for the sake of doing kept going by the imagination that he is part of a mass movement of doing for the sake of doing. He imagines that he with faceless and countless others is working together to convert all the hold outs, the remnant of those living for happiness, not doing for the sake of doing. He gives away away billions to causes that help people enter the system of doing for the sake of doing, as another form of investment. The poor protestors in the occupy movement have to be helped too, but unfortunately they make the mistake of challenging the movement he belongs to of doers for the sake of doing.
- The revolution will come, and sweep away evil people like him.
- Well, to be honest, when I talked to him, when I looked him in the eyes I saw a madman. But I felt pity for him. I found myself tapping him on the shoulder even. It is possible, for me at least, to pity, to imagine reformation, punishment and forgiveness, of someone who can only find human community in the collective mad destruction of human nature.
- You said three times. What was the third time you talked with Soros?
- I asked him for a job.
- What did he say?
- He's busy.

35. The Chosen Few

- What's wrong?
- I've been fighting with a bad mood. Maybe caused by reading Plato's 'The Laws', the long dialog he wrote in his old age in which an old man specifies humorlessly the best practical form of government for a new colony. It is about 700 pages Plato seems to kept himself continuously in a bad mood to write.
- Tell me about it.
- Unlike the city Plato imagines in 'The Republic', this one would not have property held in common. It would be overtly religious, with four classes unequal in property ownership, and would have a fixed number of lots for a fixed number of citizens. Only one male descendent could inherit the lot, and if no male born and surviving one would have to be adopted.
- Like primogenitor in feudal times.
- Yes. It is a property arrangement meant to be stable, and unlike in 'The Republic', to respect individual desires in private life, at least the life of private ownership of property. Private feelings for other people however are not respected in the arrangement, as even if you were lucky enough to be a citizen - slaves and merchants were not - only one of your male children could become a citizen, and your female children would have to marry a citizen to acquire the privileges of citizenship.
- I think I like our society better.
- Well, the idea expressed that only one aspect of private life - property - would be respected in the political arrangements is fascinating to encounter in our times, because it is exactly the nature of our present political arrangements. Rules of property are legislated to be un-challengeable and citizens taught to consider it sacrelige to change them. For example, it is out of the question to consider application of anarchist rules of property (no one may be employed by another, no possession of property without use). On the other hand, no regular arrangements are made to respect personal relations of friendship or love. Like in our present society, if economic conditions demand then your own children are left to be propertyless, with this unquestionably assumed to be fair and right.
- Not by everyone.
- By those it is accepted by the arrangement is religiously maintained: the religious element is the sense of property relations being unquestionable, as if dictated by god as a certain and permanent form of justice. 
- I know you. Displaying your bad mood is the beginning of a talk. Maybe it was the same for Plato, his thousand page bad mood. Am I right? I'm right.
- Though an old man himself when he wrote 'The Laws', and writing mostly words voiced by a humorless old man, Plato was not lapsing into senility*.  He was practicing what the philosopher Leo Strauss called esoteric writing, apparently saying one thing but meaning another: expressing the unsuitability of a society based only on religion and property by showing how that building would look when rigorously executed: joyless and fundamentally unjust. Hiding his secret message in plain sight, conceivably even laughing at the thoroughgoing boldness of his own trick, Plato goes to the extreme of having his old man propose the very dialog of dull words we are reading as a model of how citizens should speak with each other.

- Still see the Guru of Beverly Hills?
- Every day.
- Did he ever pay you for the things he stole?
- He keeps putting it off with excuses. During the week he promises everyone he knows money payable only when he gets it on the coming Wednesday. When the money arrives they make their demands and clean him out. From Thursday until he gets his next installment he has nothing, no money  for his coke and cigarettes and he borrows money, often from his prior beneficiaries, which money he repays on Wednesday, but only if demand is made.
- Why does he do it?
- He constructs a family through money relations, ties established by promising and owing money. Everyone has to stick around to get their money from him. He feels he has a home.
- He has a lot of people who want their money, borrowed and promised.
- Imagine him like the old man in Plato's 'The Laws', constructing a society that incorporates a few religious principles. The relgious principles are not applicable to all. The Guru has a flexible attitude to who is considered a home, with respect to property relations. He permits himself to steal from those who object to his homemaking generosity.
- Like you.
- And his mother. As long as we object to the religious principle that underlies the property relation that founds his home colony, we are not entitled to property, just as in 'The Laws' non citizens, even some of the family of citizens, are not.
- You don't find that strange?
- Here is a quote from Leo Strauss:
The genuine refutation of orthodoxy would require the proof that the world and human life are perfectly intelligible without the assumption of a mysterious God; it would require at least the success of the philosophical system: man has to show himself theoretically and practically as the master of the world and the master of his life; the merely given must be replaced by the world created by man theoretically and practically.
The religious principles that get attached to property rights are rules reasoned about but separate from what Strauss called "revelation". Revelation is literally what is revealed: not seen at the moment, but comes to be seen through some action and the passage of time. Revelation assumes something is lacking - what is going to be revealed - and assumes that something has to be done to get it. The religion that gets attached to property relations is fixed in the form of rules, and goes nowhere.
- I suppose the Guru is always talking about God, what God wants, etc.
- He is.
- Why can't the religous rules give property rights to everyone? Under, as in your example, the anarchist rules?
- Could be because there is not enough property, but we know that is not true. The real reason is that strangers are not loved.
- Why not?
- Because in such societies no one is going anywhere.
- Where should they go?
- Where something will be revealed. Where a stranger's nature will be revealed.
- You said you're talking of our society too. We go places. We learn new things about the world every day.
- And what did Leo Strauss say? We may be on our way to becoming the master of the world with our knowledge and technology, but are we masters of our own lives? Do we know the laws of how we come to love, know, think?
- Neuro-biologists are working out laws relating our thoughts and feelings to brain states.
- But remember: revelation is the experience of something lacking brought into being. That cannot be expressed by a law relating something we have now and can describe to something else we don't have now but can anticipate and give even now an exact description of, feeling to brain state or brain state to feeling.
- We can predict "revelation", maybe, but not describe what it is.
- Yes.
- How does this relate to strangers and property?
- To think it reasonable to share property with a stranger, you have to be persuaded that a stranger can come to be a home for you.
- Men and women fall in love, get married, have children. Falling in love is a revelation.
- Yes. But old men don't expect to fall in love. They don't want to leave home. Scientific knowledge, technical knowledge, doesn't lead to revelation because it doesn't supply the personal lack.
- Why not?
- Because you don't make a home with general rules. You make a home with people.
- Why is that different?
- Making a home with people takes you out of the world.
- Why?
- Because laws about the world do not speak to why you want to have revelations in the first place.
- But they are revelations?
- Yes. But as I said, not of a kind that teach you why you should have revelations, why you should get out of the world of things related to each other by laws.
- The revelations between people teach that revelation in itself is good. Is that important?
- Couldn't be more important. A society only of science cannot explain why we do science.
- We do it because our genes program us to want to do it. For evolutionary advantage.
- Things described by laws related by laws to things described by laws. Explanation without revelation, because it doesn't explain revelation, shows a failure of scientific explanation to account for life. The most that can be said without an account of revelation is that we want what we want because of historical conditions.
- And making a home with people, having revelations about people teaches us? What?
- That it is the fundamental good.
- What? Revelation itself? Not love?
- Not love. Revelation itself. If everything has its lawful cause no thing has any certain value. Without revelation, all we know is we must protect our homes first. We know only enough to want to protect our ability to do what we do. We love because evolution wants us to. Evolution also wants us to kill when required. All we know is that we are something doing something, and what we are has to be protected by giving ourselves a society and a home. Religion teaches love is also our good, but without understanding those we love, that is, without the revelation of understanding - and that means understanding of revelation - we make religious rules limiting rights to property to those chosen few who are already loved, and of those, only those we have room enough for in our homes.**

- So, I guess you read about it, there's this psychopath over in Irvine, at the University Of California, where he is a professor of neuro-science. He was doing brain scans of psychopaths and since people his whole life were telling him he was a psychopath he did one of himself, and guess what?
- The psychopath has the brain waves of a psychopath.
- You got it. But no problem, he says, he knows he doesn't love anyone, doesn't have the proper feelings for his family, but a good upbringing has taught him the rules and allowed him to be relatively secure. Pyschopaths have to be both without sympathy and insecure to really get violent. In any case, the professor says, there's nothing wrong with violence, everything is context, in war it is fine.
- Love is a lifestyle choice. Like wearing brown shoes instead of black. Murder too.
- When it is a recognized profession, when you murder those outside the protection of property rights. Within the circle of protection, no one, not only self-certified sympathy-less psychopaths, can say why they should be protected against each other. Religious education enforces their unquestioned obedience to the rules.
- But people like your Guru of Beverly Hills make up their own rules, draw people into the circle, throw them out.
- He didn't have the luck of the professor to be born into security and a clear path in life. The Guru brings people in and out because, he says, no one can really help anyone. We are all guilty, he says, so no one is guilty. When one does harm, we all suffer. When one does good, we all benefit. The arbitrary circle of property rights has its own mystique. He makes an exception for those passing money back and forth with him continuously on a daily basis. They can be helped, are helped immediately by security of the deep tie between them. His best friend at the moment is the woman his mother calls 'The Whore Of Burton Way', a 50 year old divorced Orthodox Beverly Hills Jew dressed in a peasant outfit who, the story goes, through her violent craziness had her children taken away from her. She wanders around to all the Jewish aid organizations begging money "for her children", she says, children who live with their millionaire father, himself the director of a Jewish aid organization.
- What does she spend the money on?
- The stock market, restaurants, who knows.
- Do you know how they met?
- I'm guilty of making the introduction. One night around midnight I stopped by the market to see if the Guru was hanging around in the parking lot as usual. I spotted this woman in a peasant outfit going up to one man after another asking if he was married, would he marry her, was he Jewish and if he wasn't would he agree to raise their children as Jewish...
- Was she joking?
- The men she followed out to their cars thought so, or that she was crazy. When The Guru came out of the market with his bottle of Coke she had zeroed in on me, and I was telling her she had the wrong man, I had no money, but this guy newly arrived, he was perfect for her, an Orthodox Jew like her and a psychopath like her.
- You said that? Wasn't she angry?
- What's there to get angry about? Psychopaths are the living gods of modern times.
- And then?
- And then they started seeing each other every day, talking about getting married, where they would live, etc
- Seriously?
- Seriously, of course not. They're two psychopaths. The Guru is already married, though years ago he threw away his wife and moved in with his mother. When his fiance found out he was living on an allowance and had no access to the family millions she eliminated him from consideration as husband but kept up daily contact with him so she could squeeze a few hundred dollars out of him every week.
- "For her children".

More about Leo Strauss: Street Politics
More about money and psychopaths: Capitalism & Compulsion, and

Critics of  'The Laws' are sensible of a want of point in the dialogue and a general inferiority in the ideas, plan, manners, and style. They miss the poetical flow, the dramatic verisimilitude, the life and variety of the characters, the dialectic subtlety, the Attic purity, the luminous order, the exquisite urbanity; instead of which they find tautology, obscurity, self-sufficiency, sermonizing, rhetorical declamation, pedantry, egotism, uncouth forms of sentences, and peculiarities in the use of words and idioms. They are unable to discover any unity in the patched, irregular structure. The speculative element both in government and education is superseded by a narrow economical or religious vein. The grace and cheerfulness of Athenian life have disappeared; and a spirit of moroseness and religious intolerance has taken their place. The charm of youth is no longer there; the mannerism of age makes itself unpleasantly felt. The connection is often imperfect; and there is a want of arrangement, exhibited especially in the enumeration of the laws towards the end of the work. The Laws are full of flaws and repetitions. The Greek is in places very ungrammatical and intractable. A cynical levity is displayed in some passages, and a tone of disappointment and lamentation over human things in others. The critics seem also to observe in them bad imitations of thoughts which are better expressed in Plato's other writings. (Benjamin Jowett)

** A working definition of evil: knowingly taking benefit from serving the interests of one's group at the cost of a known loss of ability of oneself as individual to be revealed to another individual and have another individual be revealed to oneself.


36. I Discuss His Psychopathology With The Driver In The Corner

- How was your day?
- Pretty grim. Been reading this book* by a psychiatrist out of communist Poland about psychopaths. It describes them as a political epidemic.
- Whatever.
- They pressure everyone else to become like them, in business and politics. Start wars, destroy economies, enslave...
- What is the definition of a psychopath?
- Someone who doesn't share or care about the feelings of others.
- It can't be. I don't believe it.
- You don't believe anything I say.
- If you are right I am a psychopath all day. I don't care about anyone.
- I know. Nice to hear you say it.
- I'll look it up.
- Go ahead. The psychopath makes others into psychopaths by destroying the conditions for sympathy between people. They pressure you to lie, betray trust, at the extreme use violence. They've done it to you. Well: is the definition right?
- Yes.
- The psychiatrist from the former communist world wants psychopaths to be understood scientifically, not emotionally, not condemned with moral judgement. Scientific judgement does an analysis of psychopathic characteristics and then works out plans of prevention and treatment, ways to end epidemics and prevent new ones from arising.
- If he is right we are all insane.
- Some more than others. Scientific thinking has been known for thousands of years to be connected with the psychopathic personality. Science studies the relation of things to things, so do psychopaths, the thing they are in relation to the things other people are. Psychopaths want to bring all the things into a relationship that gives the thing that they are the best opportunity to do whatever that thing does. Now, here's the funny part. Classifying someone as a psychopath is an act of psychopathology itself.
- Why?
- Can you share the feelings of a psychopath who is defined as having no feelings?
- Defined as having no feelings, or not sharing your feelings?
- Very good. A psychopath is not at all times a psychopath. The psychological metaphor, of the behavior like a physical disease, has things backward: the diseased individual does not spread his disease by means of social institutions. Rather the social institutions create the disease. If so, there is no disease, no lasting thing of human character: take psychopaths out of the social conditions that destroy possibilities of sympathy, and once again they can sympathize.
- Society made me into a psycho and I'm a normal guy. Alright, no problem. I'll be normal with my friends, psycho with the psychos. Better watch out.

(read more: The People We Like To Call Evil and
Get Deported)

* 'Political Ponerology'