Saturday, March 31, 2018

Life's a Bitch & Then You Die (Pt. 2)

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who aren't here yet) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.

                                   THE AGE OF UNLIGHTENMENT?

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Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Stars
Marie-Louise -- My beautiful muse and back scratcher 
Iggy -- My designated Sticky
Dana -- My designated gentlereader

"Truth is everybody is going to hurt you: you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for." —Bob Marley 

Dear (eventual) Stickies & Great-grandstickies,

"I got a question. If I'm a bad guy and I know it, maybe even like it, ain't choosing to do the wrong thing the right thing?" -Iggy

This was the question asked by your imaginary representative a letter or two ago that I'm just getting around to directly answering. Sorry, you know how I get.

Hello, my name is Mark, and I'm a blatherskite.
Hi Mark.

Blatherskite or nay, I do strive to be logical. Let me begin by stating that if you are suffering from antisocial personality disorder (APD, diagnosed or not), what follows will be a waste of your time. APD, incidentally, is the official name of what's wrong with you if you're a sociopath or a psychopath.

Surprisingly, to me at least, from what I can tell neither sociopathy or psychopathy is a recognized diagnosis. It would seem that I've been ill-informed by TV and the movies. Huh! WebMD has an interesting article as to the difference betwixt soc and psych.

"Life's a bitch, then you die." —Tony Daniels

"I teach suffering, it's origin, cessation, and path." —the Buddha

"The human system is cursed with pain because it is a self-conscious system." —Thaddeus Golas

"Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering — and it's all over much too soon." —Woody Allen

Before proceeding, I must acknowledge a debt to Jordan Peterson. Hopefully, by the time you read this, he will have gone mainstream. The world will be better for it. What follows is something I've been thinking about and refining for literally decades. Dr. Peterson's utterances, however, have provided much-needed clarification.

Regardless of whether you believe that when life ends, an afterlife begins, or, that's that, or, you're keeping your options open — inevitably, yer outta here. (Yes, Mike, I acknowledge that the technological singularity may, eventually, be a thing, but in the meantime...).

While you're waiting for your deletion, life, even if you have Kim Kardashianish Karma, will regularly sink its teeth into your big, round, biography.

Ain't it great? We the people polarized do all have something in common.

The question is, what's the best way to amuse oneself while waiting for the inevitable? If you're an after-lifer odds are whatever tradition you've chosen will include a set of Rules&Regs — problem solved.

If you're a that's-thater, or you're keeping your options open, there are choices to be made. I am of the opinion that while there are many choices, all fall under one of two categories. Up or Down, Alleviate or Aggravate (my prefered names), _______ or _______ — label them as you will.

If suffering is a given, you can choose to alleviate it or aggravate it.


"If I'm a bad guy and I know it, maybe even like it, ain't choosing to do the wrong thing the right thing?" There are infinite variations of this question generated by infinite states of mind that range from having a bad day to having a bad life to being a full-blown psychopath.

Bottom line? You make things worse, you aggravate suffering, often including your own.


Alternatively, you can choose to "do the right thing" — if possible, and if you know what it is. The devil, as always, lives in a comfy, beachfront condo in the details and he's laughing at you while presiding over a world-class cookout. 

Bottom line? You might make things better, you might relieve suffering, you...

[Wait-wait-wait. Sometimes, often, choosing to do the wrong thing feels damn good and...]

Absabalutely, Dana. But victimizing someone else brings more suffering into the world. So, ultimately, does victimizing yourself. Assuming you're not an addict of some sort, occasionally getting loaded, be it via chocolate or alcohol, is harmless. Getting drunk or overeating every day is gonna get ugly, and fast, and likely to affect the kids you share the playground with. 

[OK, but if choosing to do the right thing only might make things better...]

It will almost always make you feel better about you, that is to say, alleviate your suffering.

[Wait-wait-wait, it can't be that simple. What about...]

Maybe it can. Poppa loves you. 

Have an OK day.

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©2018 Mark Mehlmauer   (The Flyoverland Crank)

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