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The two truths

29/05/2013

I cured my depression by being really nasty to my uncle.

I’m not saying this will work for everyone and it probably wouldn’t be ethical for me to give out his contact details to anyone depressed who reads this so they can be horrible to him too. Though I’m very tempted to give a link to his blog.

If we can gain lasting happiness for ten sad people at the cost of utterly destroying only one uncle then surely Peter Singer would approve.

Might be best if you try it out on your own uncle though.

Its not like I thought “Hmm, I might bombard my dear old uncle with crazy and insulting emails for his 69th birthday, even though he’s only ever been warm and supportive towards me. You never know, it might get rid of this pit of despair I’ve spent the last nine years in.”
Fixing my depression was the last thing on my mind. I’d given up on that years ago.

It was more like “Hmm, maybe I’ll try to fuck with my dear old uncle’s head for his 69th birthday and see if I can cure him of his stupid religion. You never know, he might thank me for it some day.”

As it happened I was swinging into hypomania, triggered by my fury at a bit of biotech marketing that seemed to epitomise everything wrong with splicing genetic science to neo-liberal economics.
Or maybe my mania triggered my fury.
Whatever.

My uncle is an aspiring writer who has tried to encourage me into that pointless and thankless endeavor several times in the past.

So I would write.
Oh yes I would, dear uncle.

He might not realise he’s crazy like me but he is and there’s been at least one occasion in his life where he lost the plot entirely.

And I thought maybe then he’d experienced It.
That unity, freedom, no-self, truth Thing/Nothing that’s left when all the stuff that’s maybe real or not blows away.
That.
So I wanted to talk to him about It.
And he seemed to want to talk to me about It.

But the problem is whatever totally inept ability I have to grasp at It comes mostly from my reading of the mystics and my studies of Advaita, Buddhism and Taoism.
And his ability to comprehend It comes from a really silly, badly written book that a couple of CIA mind control researchers claimed had been ‘scribed’ from the heart of Jesus Christ.

Its so silly it doesn’t even offer a framework for refining your morality.
And I knew that was vital.
Because to know That Which Is, you had to know true freedom.
And true freedom consists of doing what is right.
So its very important to work out what is right.

That means working on your morality.
To me that meant working on my moral code, which is not quite the same thing.
The difference between practising morality and moralising.

After working that out so poorly, all by myself, I tortured the texts of Sankara and Kant until I made them agree with me.
Then I knew I was right.
Because those guys were smart.
So smart they agree with me.

Yeah, communication between my uncle and I can be difficult for some reason.

But being hypomanic not only meant I was arrogant, obnoxious and keen to write.
It meant I was just a few breaths away from a psychotic satori that would unite me with the Suchness.

Even if my uncle and I are a universe apart on the fundamentals needed for functional communication, surely we could agree on That.
I mean It couldn’t be different for him, could It?
There’s only One by definition.
Or beyond definition.

If I could just remind him of what It really is, surely he would immediately spot all the obvious errors in his creed.
We could then get down to the business of trying to work out what It might mean. Or not.

So over the next few days I bombarded my uncle with poetry, philosophy, propaganda, insults, anecdotes, jokes and aphorisms which I typed out almost as a stream of consciousness as I emerged from trances.

In the trances I was without words
No intent or aversion, no stake in my uncle or myself.
When you’re everything there is nothing to say.

But as soon as I came out I was ready to net the ineffable with words and blast them off at my uncle in the hope of triggering the shock of recognition and the blessing of correct apprehension.

Didn’t work of course.

Well I’m pretty sure I shocked him.
Maybe once or twice a glimmer of myopic comprehension flared briefly between us.
We agreed about Russell Morris at least.
But mostly I don’t think he liked it at all.

I guess it was kinda crazy.

So I rethought my strategy.

What is it I’m trying to achieve here?
What am I doing that justifies my ongoing harassment of my uncle?
What is driving this?

Umm, the need to prove I’m right.
The desire to pass on my viewpoint whether it is wanted or not.
The conviction that my knowledge is superior to his lived experience.

In other words, nothing very nice.

To achieve it I was prepared to invalidate my uncle as a thinking being.
To tell myself it wasn’t him trying to talk to me, it was the cult brainwashing trying to metastasise.
To deny him agency.

Which just happened to be a big no-no in my moral code.

No matter how I twisted and turned it and tried to hide it behind my back, there it was.
I’d broken my own moral code.
For the first time.

At this point you’re probably thinking “What! For the first time?”
After a few shocked seconds so did I.

This had never happened before.
I had never once broken my own moral code.
And I had thought that proved how moral I was!

Up until then I had always found an explanation.
The rules that didn’t apply in that particular case.
The excuse that meant I wasn’t in full control at the time.
Or it happened such a long time ago.
I was a different person back then.

I could never break my own moral code
Because it was infinitely flexible while allowing my own ethical contortions
Yet completely rigid when rejecting the flawed morality of others.

Not infinitely flexible.
I’d broken it now.
And it HURT.
My morality ripped away with agony no less intense for lacking physicality.

With moralising blinkers torn aside I saw I had fetishised knowledge.
I put my desire for it above respect for my fellow human beings.
I worshipped the edifice of facts I imagined I was creating.
But by making it god, I had let it create me.
I had sacrificed my own agency, my own freedom on the altar of knowledge.

I have no moral code!
I have no knowledge!
Its all wrong, wrong, wrong!

I’m all wrong.
So wrong.

I was left only with despair that my lifelong quest to know who I was had been completely misguided.
Utterly destroyed.

Then it wasn’t.

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3 Comments
  1. This was one blog post that actually captivated me to the end. You’ve had an interesting life.

    Like

    • What’s more, not all of it has been spent tormenting my uncle – though it probably seems that way to him.

      But yeah, I thought my life was interesting up until a year ago.
      Then it got really interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I gotta get to know your poor uncle.
        Ouch. I hope it doesn’t get anymore interesting. At least not negatively.

        Like

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