Some Statements About Elephants

I have come to destroy all that you hold dear
and plunge you into torrents of madness.
I am a plague carrier who has come to infect you with lunacy
and leave you groping in hallucinatory labyrinths.

Or at least that’s how it may seem.

Really I have come to give wet willies
so you might reach in your ear
and feel the tick that’s taken up residence.
Really I’m here to poke all of our golden treasures
to see if they’re solid metal, or just gilded pieces of dung.
If you think you hold nothing dear as far as truth
I mean to show sometimes you don’t know what you love
until someone tries to speak against it.

If culture is like a linguistic cloud
from which we draw our own programming
I ask you to consider that our anti-virus software is corrupted
and may actually leap to the defense of certain viruses.
Hopefully together we can troubleshoot.

I ask you to consider that we have already been blinded
and only by turning off the floodlights
can we trace where the sun is coming in.

I ask you to consider that our species as a whole
was infected long ago with a very odd kind of virus.
One that afflicts the host with selective blindness
to elephants.
Therefore,
people only discover the one standing in the room by stumbling into it.
One feels out very solid surfaces
though the whole is still invisible.
Arriving at an accurate description is bound to take some time
for one person discovers a long, ribbed snake that reaches and sniffs
another describes a great, flat semi-circle that swats away flies
and so on.

Onlookers become quite confused:
what in the hell is up with this mime routine?!
These people are clearly crazy
it seems like they really believe something is there!
No-one remembers who started it
but someone cracks a joke that builds into a crowd of hecklers.
Now, the curious refrain from walking up to try touching the animal themselves
“I think I’ll pass on being labeled a crack-pot”
Now, zoologists that stumble upon it think to themselves
“Well, I know I’m not crazy
but I kind of need to keep my job more than I need to describe invisible animals.”

I’m here to shout out:
“Hey! Get over here!
Fuck those naysayers!
This skin is amazing! I’ve never felt anything like it before!”

Or
a worldview is like a mosaic built of many tile fragments
some that are filters, and some that are diagrams, and some that are photo albums.
And we puzzle out how to fit them all into one frame
which we hold up like a magic mirror to check against our eyes
and decode secret truths about the world and ourselves.
It’s great fun to shuffle the pieces around
or find little new ones that fill the gaps just perfectly.
Trouble is
The mosaic-makers of the world have a tendency to leave pieces out
…If only for aesthetics.
And we all tend to fear introducing large, new fragments
that may force other pieces out just to fit.

It can be jarring to have the big picture rattled.
We would rather replace the whole thing
than walk around with a fragmentary mirror!

When you pull out the pieces and examine them in your hand
they seem quite solid, quite heavy.
They may show you something fair or ugly
but they’re beautifully crafted, and we dread to lose them.
They tell me so much!
They’re practically part of me!
I would be lost without them!
And what? Am I going to carry more than can fit in one frame?
Just lug them around in a big sack?

But I have a secret to share with you.
If you open your hand and let go
they actually don’t fall to the ground.
Mind-tiles are, in fact, completely weightless
and just hang there suspended.
Now all you do is tie it up with a piece of string
attach it to your belt loop
and they’ll follow wherever you go with no effort.
You can take whole ideas out of frame to see how other pictures work out.
If it turns out you need them again
they’re only a tug away.

Embracing a state of profound unknowing
is one of the hardest things in the world.
But I can attest that the more I try
the more feelings of freedom and focus build.
I would like to show how much fun it can be to scatter the board in broad strokes
and try building a completely different picture.

I am here to be antagonistic to all finality.
If you think you have found it, I will be your Devil.
If you believe in creation
I will be your Darwin
If you believe in Darwinism
I will be a necromancer of new heresies
and summon up human skeletons from before the time of the dinosaurs.
If you believe beliefs that divide us
are trivial compared to actions that may bring us together
then let’s play
and work together to find the truth of whatever this marvelous thing is.

I’ll be the onion in your ointment
or in your minestrone, as it may be.

If you insist your jester’s cap is a mighty steel helm that protects you from folly
I just can’t help but reach out and jingle the bells on top
and I hope you’ll return the favor

I am here to be a jester
but I wouldn’t insist unless it was serious as well.
I would be content to play in my own head
except for one thing.
I know it disturbs you
to think the town elders could get away with lying to you
as a whole
even considering their faults and foibles.
I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…
Please don’t panic and please don’t just scoff
but I must tell you what I see.
Listen, and look closer.
Those are not the town elders
those are actually masses of cockroaches
that have assembled themselves into their shape.
And I don’t think they have anything wholesome in mind for us

…That might help explain why things have been so fucked up around here.

I tell you I have not come to bring peace to the world
but a swordfish!
Which, if cartoons have taught me anything
are still close enough to the real thing to defend yourself with in a pinch.

I invite you to let go of much of what you believe
because those x-ray spex we were all handed
may just be funny glasses with pictures of bones glued on
that reveal the same truths
no matter what you look at.

I think we should hold nothing as true
except that which we’ve come to through our own efforts,
except that which has always been and speaks through the heart.
I think we should hold nothing dear
except the people we love
and by extension, the whole of humanity.
Except the ground we walk on
except the air we breath
except the life roiling around us.

I am here to tell you that there’s no reason to be afraid.
Even if you wake up in a nest of spiders, remember:
spiders feed on fear.
Even if life is but a dream, remember:
Once a dream becomes lucid, nightmares will flee before you.
There is no reason to be ashamed of being fooled
in a world where everyone has been a fool for god knows how long.
There is no shame in being in 1st grade.
With little but your own experience
Just starting out learning about the wider world.
We’re still Calvin & Hobbes
it’s still a magical world
and it’s still time to go exploring.

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