If You Can Simply Do Something, You Aren’t Forced to Talk About It
August 15, 1988
Kyroots read to 5:55
AKS/New Item Gallery = jcap 1988-08-12 (0379)
Condensed AKS/News Items = See Below
Summary = See below
Diagrams = See Below
Transcript = See Below
Diagram # 175 illustration
Note by WB
Rules of RR Camp
>Nothing is Episodic– because all ‘events’ are continuations, connected and don’t stand alone.
> Nothing is Cultural–look to genes–men look for place to lay blame
>If you can simply do something, you don’t have to talk about it.–In City people don’t do it but do talk about it.
And Kyroot Said…
Be warned: You gotta bend over to be a critic.
No one REALLY knows how to change, or they wouldn’t talk
One weekend thinker declared, “All change is illusionary,”
and his running partner retorted, “Yeah, but so’s all stability.”
Oh, here’s a new one I copied off a bathroom wall back in a
City dive, I mean, “refreshment emporium,” let’s see, it went,
“He who would be a sailor must first learn to navigate land”…
did I copy that down right?
One half-alert City poet put it this way, “I sometimes fear
that with man, Nature may be a bit too much. But who can imagine
her without us?”
The other night, out near where the Bushes begin, I heard a
voice shouting out in the dark to somebody thusly, “Hell, if you
ain’t worth a LOT more than you THINK you are, you ain’t worth
Never tell your children to “wise up” unless you’re
absolutely positive they’ll never become your foe. (And please
don’t make that gauche mistake of believing all children are
All bread is buttered on both sides if you’re intent on
dropping it. (Lizzy Borden took an ax, and gave her children
sixteen pats, of margarine.)
Never trust a god who’s shorter than you.
Remember: The object of City games is to establish rules
that make it difficult to score, (much less, win).
If there WAS no Code of Conduct, the Revolutionist would
have to invent one. Or perhaps, vicy-versy.
As far as certain “City views” are concerned, only a Real
Revolutionist can willfully, and cheerfully, “totally miss the
Update R-47: If it’s native to the City it doesn’t count.
You may, however, create a Revolutionist version OF it out in the
Anyone who responds to you by saying, “Well, let’s see, my
first thought is, blah-blah-blah…” is generally not going to
have a second one.
From one of those many little campfires you see dotted
around the edge of the City, I heard this stated, “If I ain’t
better by tomorrow there ain’t gonna BE no tomorrow.” My query
to you is this: Was that a comment on time, or health?
In the City the popularity of a thing depends on its lack of
The true need to conserve holds constant whether the savings
involved seem relevant to you, or not.
A one eyed Man should not have soup.
Out in the Bushes, WAY out in the Bushes, the proper alarm
clock for a weary Revolutionist is a rooster with a thirty-eight.
On the very day when his young child showed the first signs
of comprehending the use of language, a Revolutionist took the
lad into a deserted room, held him by the shoulders, and spoke to
him for the first time in these words, “I do not, I repeat, I do
not EVER want to hear anything about your ‘personal problems,'”
and the youth thought to himself, “What a perfectly splendid and
extraordinary first lesson.”
IF YOU CAN SIMPLY DO SOMETHING,
YOU’RE NOT FORCED TO TALK ABOUT IT
Copyright (c) Jan M. Cox, 1988
Document: 379, August 15, 1988
Here are two more Revolutionary rules of the camp: Nothing is episodic, and nothing is cultural. By cultural I mean what people ordinarily refer to as external pressure, something outside of a man which affects him. Nothing is episodic and nothing is cultural: these two rules are in-laws, if not blood kin.
We’ll get things started with a simple example. A man on his way to work stops at a convenience store for a cup of coffee and cigarettes and winds up arguing with the clerk. It appears to be an episode, but you may recall, for starters, that one of the things I tried to get you to see once was that he’s not necessarily arguing with the clerk; he’d just had a fight with his wife. But what I was really pointing out is how hard it is to even remember that. People are bred not to remember it. And they’re certainly not bred to carry it back any further. And that’s just a linear description of one element only. After all, what caused him to argue with his wife? Try to take it back even further and ordinary consciousness goes, “Whoa, I’m about to get a headache.”
There is nothing episodic. But consciousness as it is, as it needs to be, views life as if it’s a movie or short story with a beginning and end. Do you realize that as long as your life seems episodic, inconclusive statements are the order of the day? This isn’t theory. Look at consciousness at any given moment and it seems episodic: you walked in the room tonight, I came up to the microphone, I said let’s get started, etc. Life to ordinary consciousness is episodic, and movies and books are exemplary reflections of this. Think about it: you get to the movie theater, pay your money, go in and sit down, the movie begins, the guy is standing there and says, “Mabel, I can’t take this anymore,” pulls out a gun and shoots. It starts — but nobody’s life suddenly just starts there. In your attempted ongoing romance with the topography of Life you should be wondering why it is that consciousness sees everything in episodes. Why does that seem all right? Obviously if the movie is about the life of someone who lived to be seventy, then it can’t start at his birth and run in real time or you’d be there seventy years, and you’d never catch up. The same with a book; if you tried to do it on that basis, a library couldn’t hold it. The question is, though, why does it seem all right to consciousness for a book or movie to just start or end so arbitrarily? You open a book, and it just starts anywhere, and sure enough, consciousness jumps right in. Consciousness doesn’t say, “Now, wait a minute. What exactly happened before this?” Of course, everything happened before this and you can’t put that in a book. Everything happened to everybody before it starts there.
You should find it interesting that consciousness is constructed in such a way that it deals with all of Life in episodes and finds it proper. Consciousness never even questions it.
Back to our man arguing with the convenience store clerk. The apparent dance between them did not start when he walked in the door of that store, nor was it concluded when he walked out. But to consciousness it is otherwise. Thirty minutes later he’s at your office, looking huffy, and someone at the water cooler asks, “What’s wrong with you?” “I don’t know. It’s those damn people who work in convenience stores. They drive me nuts.” “Calm down, ol’ buddy.” It appears as an episode, a scene out of the movie that is his life. It had a beginning, a middle and an end, and to him it seems like a conclusive statement.
If there was any useful information to be found in episodes, This activity would be a waste of time. As long as consciousness sees things episodically, it will, perforce, see all influences as externally based. Now people today might say, “Okay, you’re right. Nothing is that simple. The guy was already upset when he went to the store; he had a fight with his wife. His behavior was understandable.” This explanation appears to be some basis for his anger toward the hapless clerk. It explains nothing. As long as you have only a limited stereoscopic vision of Life, you can’t move. If there was any valuable information to be gleaned from episodic consciousness, why doesn’t everyone understand or even suspect what is really going on?
All disciplines and sciences are attempts to construct a conclusive statement. And they often appear to do so, in the world of episodic reality. Though the statements seem to change over time, and what is true becomes false and vice versa, it’s looked upon as progress. When Newton said, “What goes up must come down,” there was a good feel to it because it seemed very close to being a conclusive statement in the City. It felt like, “Well, that about wraps that one up.” Even when you get into more complex areas of Life’s body, where the nervous system is really pushing up into the higher circuits, there continues to be this feeling that if we can conclude this one thing for sure, then we’re on the right track. More data will then unravel for us. Although “what goes up must come down” is no longer true because what was once called up and down are no longer of any consequence in current physics, the sensation is still to find “the” or, at least, “a” conclusive statement.
Humanity has a built-in desire, a low level nonverbal search, for conclusive statements. Religious, social and political theories are all attempting to feed this need. Through man, Life is attempting to produce a conclusive statement. And in that sense, religion and science are the same thing. Every now and then I mention sports, and one of the appeals of sports is that it gives the feeling of a conclusive statement: “The Mets beat the Angels 5 to 3 in ten innings.” Aaaah. Case open, case closed. The feeling is that here is an episode that has a beginning and a satisfactory end. Your team may have been creamed, but the game is over, and that’s the appeal. The same phenomenon can be seen with elections: even someone with no interest in the candidates will sit in a bar and tell everyone to be quiet when they’re about to finally announce the outcome of the election over the television. It’s an apparently conclusive statement.
Now let’s go in the other 3-D direction. Life has arranged itself to resist certain things. You’ve never heard this before, so listen quick. Throughout the history of man, Life has had certain groups of people passionately resist certain things, and with a great moral justification. But I’m telling you that the justification is not moral, it’s based on cellular and molecular necessities. The things I’m referring to are homicide, capital punishment and abortion. Throughout history groups of people have passionately argued against these three, and I’m suggesting to you that one of the bases for opposing them is that all three are way too close to being conclusive statements.
All the way back to the Greeks, societies have had some form of the death penalty and there have always been groups passionately opposed to it. The death penalty has always had some opposition, and I’m suggesting to you that it’s too conclusive. If someone murders another in a locale that has no death penalty, then the victim’s family will fight for him to be put to death, try to change the law, appeal to different officials, devote their lives to having him pay for his crime. It remains inconclusive. People will debate the case for years. However, if he was found guilty in a region of Life that had a death penalty, he’d be executed and that would be the end of it. The family would eventually say, “We need to get on with our own lives.” And they move on. But, can you see, it’s way too close to being a conclusive statement.
Your nervous system is wired up to think there is something holy about human life: “The gods say no one should kill another.” Or, “It’s uncivilized to take another’s life.” But you don’t know where any of that came from. One day you opened your mouth and out it came. Forget about morality, gods and the sanctity of human life. Parts of Life do not like homicide because when someone is killed it’s very close, on a small level, dangerously close to resembling a conclusive statement.
The reason I don’t talk about morality is because there is no such thing. I’m not attacking or supporting the idea of the sanctity of human life. What I’m pointing to is a reality which makes people all over the world vibrate positively to the idea that, “We shouldn’t kill one another.” Almost every nervous system on the planet goes, “Yeah!” The quite real, physical basis for nervous systems to affirm the idea that we shouldn’t kill one another is that Life cannot abide widespread conclusive statements in the same way that you can’t abide them internally. If your system tolerated truly conclusive statements internally, you’d be immobilized and Life would no longer need you because it could no longer learn from you. You would, in effect, have no need for yourself.
People feel that we should not go around murdering one another. Obviously one way this is explained by consciousness is that such activity would wipe out the human race. What your nervous system is vibrating to, in that instance, is the system’s personal desire to live forever. But, again, what is really happening is that Life can’t abide widespread conclusive statements. Unchecked, murder would very shortly amount to a dangerous number of conclusive statements. The energies those individuals were transferring are gone to Life. Murder, the death penalty and abortion can all be viewed as forms of homicide, and homicide to Life is too close to being conclusive. That is why Life has had so many passionate, outspoken opponents to these things throughout history.
Here’s another Revolutionary rule of camp: If you can simply do it, you don’t have to talk about it. Smokers who can’t simply quit, do what? DISCUSS IT. As long as you can’t simply do it you’re doomed to talk about it forever. “I’m going to stop eating so much sugar tomorrow. No, maybe I ought to stop tonight. Oh, all right, I’ll wait till tomorrow so I can get some sugar substitute…”
Again, if you can see it, the inconclusive factor is at work. To City consciousness it looks like being unable to actually do something causes people to continually talk about it. It looks like one causes the other, right? No. One doesn’t cause the other or vice versa. It’s closer to say that they’re almost the same thing, although that’s also not true. It could be described as throwing a rock through Einstein’s great curved universe and waiting until the rock comes all the way around and hits you in the back of your head. Except, of course, in the real universe you’d throw out the rock and it would hit you in the back of your head, and the sides simultaneously — one rock would have become three.
If you can take it no further right now, at least try to hear the reality of what I was saying. If you can simply do something you’re not forced to talk about it. How do people approach a new project they think they want to do? They talk about it. If Fred decides he wants to start running, he starts talking about it until he drives his wife crazy. First, it’s discussions about the proper shoes, then which magazines to subscribe to, who should he get advice from, where are the best tracks, etc. In the City, none of that matters. But you people need to know that if you would simply get up tomorrow and start running, you would never need to talk about it. In the City, people do not simply do things. “Well, I’m thinking about it,” is almost synonymous with doing it. “I’m working my way up to it, gathering information. Don’t want to start unprepared. Now I’m looking for the right shoes and learning some leg stretches.” And that is what they are doing. The nature of Life in the City is inconclusive.
Tributaries of energy run through you such as, “I should get some exercise,” and you don’t know where they came from. You just have these feelings. But the energies are not episodic, they don’t have immediate beginnings or ends. They are part of the continual inconclusive statement that is you. If you feel you need to start exercising, that is not the end of the sentence in the City. Even if a person were to start running he’d tell his co-workers how he injured his knee this morning, and what new shoes he may buy. It’s a continuing hobby — endlessly talking about it.
And how about your life? You talk about it forever. Up until this moment your main hobby in life has been “you.” And the main sound everyone makes is a whine. What is your favorite subject? “Me. But I don’t like me.” Your complaint with yourself is just another form of the inconclusive statement. If you could simply live, you wouldn’t have to talk about it. If you wanted to quit drinking, you would. This doesn’t mean you’d be waiting for someone to notice and be impressed by your changed behavior. It doesn’t work that way. If you can simply do anything you are not driven to talk about it, and conversely, as long as there is something you cannot do, you are driven to talk about it until the day you die. I repeat: If you could simply live, you wouldn’t have to talk about it.
Back to Life’s duos. Everything that seems to be of consequence is divided into twos: right/wrong, love/hate, good/bad, up/down. Things seem to run in twos and it satisfies ordinary consciousness as far as ordinary consciousness can be inconclusively satisfied. But within this duo arrangement is a low level sensation that does not seem to manifest itself to ordinary perception. It’s like a third area buffer between the contours of the first two. In the City it is ridiculous to talk about a third area alternative because things are either right or wrong, true or false, etc. Yet, built into the duo is a lingering continual interest and search to construct a third area buffer between the two. It could be seen as a cushion that’s sought to help insulate one part of the duo from the other at any given time; and the insulation is specifically for the dominant party in any given dance. The third area insulates the more powerful from the less, the more complex from the simpler, the higher from the lower.
What are these buffers? Let’s take the example of the monarch: one man ruling his people. If the ruler is firmly entrenched, secure in his seat of power, he will very quickly come up with a court. The court, his regal bureaucracy, is his cushion between himself and his people. The court insulates him from the people and when it is expedient the woes of the people will be blamed on the court. Rather than kill people every time an objection is raised, the king may simply blame the bureaucracy, an apparent third area. Let’s say, the people petition him, tell him they adore him, but that it’s been twenty years of poverty and they’re eating tar and chewing bark. Let’s assume the king was slightly mellower than in his youth and he said, “I didn’t know.” The people would say, “Really, you didn’t know?” “Heavens no. My ministers didn’t tell me. Get the Minister of Good Food and bring him here.” And the King says to the minister, “I told you eighteen years ago that I wanted the people to have croissants daily. You let me down.” The Minister knows this never occurred, and that he is about to bite the big one. The King looks at the people like he’s been let down and the people go, “Oh, poor king,” even though they’ve been the ones eating tree bark for twenty years. The court, the buffer, insulated the one in power.
Duos are continually driven to seek out a third area to act as a cushion between them. Although this sounds linear, it is not a matter of putting a duo together and a third one is produced. One classic duo is that of labor and capital. It was a dichotomy whose contours were so close, rough and immediate that they were constantly rubbing one another. Although it’s not sequential, it is a fair description to say that capital and labor, given enough time together, produce an offspring of a third type — unions. It appears that unions exist, without doubt, for the benefit of labor. That is the great misdirection because unions insulate capital from labor. It looks to ordinary perception as if unions are for the benefit of labor and capital should hate them. Wrong. Unions are to keep labor working for capital.
What about the state, in the full sense of the word, and its citizens. The third area buffer in this case is the legal system, a form of a constitution. Via the constitution the citizenry expects to exercise some amount of freedom, and have some protection against the weight of the state. The people believe the constitution is for their benefit, so they’re not kicked around by the powerful. But it’s always for the benefit of the powerful.
I’ll do two more very quickly, and we don’t have much time to do more than mention them. How about the dichotomy between god and man — talk about a dichotomy between the powerful and the powerless! This duo produces an extremely splendid example of a bureaucracy known as religion. Forget about a monarch and serfs: how about the gulf between the big vanilla, the ultimate pickle, and “little old me.” Enter religions.
Here’s one that’s even better: Man and his own genes. Man and the struggle with himself. A third area is produced and it’s not a union, not a religion, not a system of jurisprudence; it’s a place to lay the blame — “It’s not my fault.” “I wouldn’t be running off my mouth arguing with some convenience store clerk, except my wife is driving me nuts. Plus, I’m worried about my job.” “Listen, I know I’m ruining my health drinking as much as I do. But you have no idea what a horrible childhood I had growing up in that orphanage.” A place to lay the blame acts as an insulation of the higher from the lower. To ordinary consciousness the idea that there is an out there, there is a culture, and that there are external circumstances is unquestionably true. But there is no out there, and there is no culture.
Everyone feels incomplete: “I should be doing better.” It’s a dichotomy between man and his own genetic background, and man is whatever you perceive yourself to be at the City level. One of the players needs protection from the other, and the other must believe that what is being done is for its own benefit. Labor must believe that unions are there for its benefit. Since I pointed out that unions are not actually for the benefit of labor, use your great analogous gland on man and his genetic background and figure out which benefits from the “others are to blame” syndrome.