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1847 97044 05/02/97 Copyright J. M. Cox 1997
One Pilgrim’s Progress
One man started off studying things —
then moved to reflecting on them —
then on to pondering them —
and finally on to realizing that “realizing what was going on with them”
was the sole useful method.
So, see, don’t give up hope just yet.
One man had two sets of underwear — one annoyed him and the other didn’t.
Then one day someone asked him why he wore the first set if it bothered him,
and he didn’t have an answer. But he still had two sets of underwear!
One day a man asked his reflection in a mirror why it looked so disturbed,
and it said that it did because the man did — and the man denied it — and
the mirror denied it — and the man said, “You can’t deny it, you just said
it was so!” And the mirror answered him back with the same words.
Then the man looked puzzled.
And the man looked in a mirror at his reflection, and asked it why it looked
The police can’t help you in capturing a perpetrator who looks just like you
and them, and it won’t do any good to try and lay blame (such as, they’re
not on the job, or that your description of the perp was lacking; it’s just
a fact: they can’t help — you all look too much alike).
And a boy asked his father, “Is it maybe simply that if you’ve got two of
anything you’ve got troubles?”
And the old man pulled an invisible trigger on the imaginary gun he had
pointed directly at the lad.
And as his dream-world progress continued to comfort him, one man bestowed a
name on his inner woman (which he began to recognize as also being his inner
chain saw); he called her The Beautiful Molly Rat-Gagger, and felt twice as
The Story Of The Great Search For Me
A man ran into a burglar in his house and said, “I’m looking for a burglar.”
“I’ll help you look,” said the burglar.
…Yes, indeed-dee! — the great eternal search for me.
* * *
In one universe there was a radio transmitter the size of a universe, that
broadcast constantly, with every single molecule therein picking up bits and
(Oh, and by the way [just in case you’re interested], the verbal inhabitants
had a complete other description of what was going on in this regard.)
…Oh yeah, you might also care to take note of this corollary: No one who
will describe a particular happening or phenomenon understands it — anyone
who understands what’s going on never mentions it.
Regarding What Would Be The Ultimate Consequences If Men Were Able To
Succeed In Certain Of Their Imagined Desires To “Improve Themselves”
A man who worked as a retail clerk in a store said to himself, “I sure wish
I could get into management so that I wouldn’t have to put up with these
idiot customers.” Then upon further reflection was suddenly struck, “But
I’d still not only have to deal with customers but then also with employees
the likes of me!”
– – –
Who but irredeemable dreamers will persist in dreaming that they can somehow
become more than they already are, and thus somehow become other than what
they by nature are.
* * *
For the first part of his life, one man would say whatever came to his mind,
then eventually came to see his mind as not being totally his own, and thus
whatever he said was something less than representative of him.
So there could yet be hope for you.
After some unusual experiences, one man now says, “The ‘me’ that’s always
jumping around, that calls itself ‘me,’ I’m beginning to be seriously
One guy wouldn’t give advice unless asked. (And even then he didn’t give
Okay, Corollary Time again:
Anyone who understands enough so that their advice would actually be of
value understands that giving voice to it is an act of no practicality.
It is error to condemn other people’s physical exercise of an idea that
you see as intended for internal use, and error also for you to take your
internal exercise of it as meaningful.
(“You think that about covers it, son?”
“Paw, you wiped the plate completely clean on that one.”)
– – –
It’s one level of folly to believe that there is a difference between truth
and error, wisdom and ignorance, but a higher, incomparable one to think
that there is a difference between any of the things with which the mind
(“Paw, that damn plate’s so clean now you could eat off it!”)
Legend tells of a long-ago, faraway world, on which the thinking creatures
believed (are you ready for this?) that thoughts actually meant something.
Can you believe how far we’ve come in this universe?
– – –
Looking up admiringly at his father, a boy tugged at his hand and asked, “Is
it hard being so smart while living among such idiots?”
And the old man replied, “Why ask me?”
* * *
For many years, one man spent the money he found in his pocket, then finally
thought, “This is not my money.”
So maybe there’s hope for you yet.
In a certain jungle, up a certain tree, lived a shadow of a creature who did
not exist there.
Travel can be broadening —
travel can be restrictive —
best bet is to — kill that shadow.
After much study, note taking, and analyzation, one man concluded, “What is
this ‘me’ in me, other than the thoughts that uncontrollably pass through
In a certain galaxy, when one planet defeats another one, the inhabitants
of the losing one must begin believing that they are “somebody.”
Remember, ladies and others, there is no such dish as un-just desserts. No,
sir, not in a land sans all sweets.
And as we might have feared, someone raises this objection, “But there must
be sugar here, after all, I can spell the word ‘sugar.'”
And as we all know by now, “if we can say it, you can believe it!”
(Guess I kinda stepped into that one…which of course you always do…if
you talk to creatures with the ability of speech.)
Sometimes, when he’d crack an eye during a snooze, a man would think,
“There is nothing to ‘awake’ to, only something to awaken from.”
Myth tells of a planet on which the preeminent creatures each believed that
they had swallowed another person in their early days, and then spent a
large part of their lives claiming that they wanted to be rid of this alien
creature inside them, or even that they were actively involved in attempting
(Seems good that, throughout the universe, life provides its creatures with
little hobbies to pass the time.)
One man thought, “Perhaps the greatest mistake men make is in mistaking one
thing for another.” “Wait, what’d I mean, ‘perhaps’? Let’s get this
straight — the greatest mistake men make is thinking that there are dual
versions of everything so that a mistaking of the two is possible! Now,
there’s your ‘greatest mistake.'”
One man says, “I’ve figured out why I continue to listen to talk radio
(which I hate); it’s because it reminds me of my own mind.”
After someone who believed they’d been mistreated by him said to him
“this’ll come back to haunt you,” a man thought, “Hell, everything comes
back to haunt me!” “Especially that thing I call ‘me.'”
One man nicknamed his thoughts “Strictly Enforced,” just as a sick joke on
This thing is the only thing in the universe that, even though it exists,
no one can tell you what it is…including those who’ve seen it.
(“But, damn!” thought Sam, “just that much information should be enough for
me to guess what it is.”)
“And so, boys and girls, it turns out that just about the only thing really
worth discoverin’ in this whole, wide world turns out to be something that
can’t…well…you get the picture.”
The major obstacle in understanding the mind is thought, and the major
obstacle in understanding thought is also thought.
A boy whose father had held almost daily talks with him in which the elder
would offer extensive commentaries on the nature of man, his collective
existence, and the phenomenon of life itself, one day asked the old man,
“Can you distill for me in a few words precisely what it is that you have
for so long been trying to convey to me about the many things in life you
have spoken of?”
“Yes,” his father replied. “They’re all bullshit.”
“Then why,” asked the boy, “did you spend so much time talking about them?”
“Because that’s all any of them are — just talk.”
And eventually the young man appreciated the approach his father had
utilized in this particular aspect of his upbringing.
There was once a king who went hunting, and the Hunting Master would only
hand His Grace invisible arrows when on the trail of invisible prey.
When he would take particular notice of a certain activity within him, one
man would often say, “Ahh, the sewer backs up on me again, I see.”
One man thought, “If I just wouldn’t talk to fools I might be all right.”
(And he knew just which fool he had in mind.)
O.H.T.D.: Okay, Here’s The Danger
Every time you say “I,” you believe that the thought saying I is you
— that’s the danger.
Words are like a suit on a dead man.
One man swallowed an ocean —
another man absorbed a desert.
See! — don’t give up yet.
The Wheel Of Destiny…For The Unfortunate
In his “me” cage, one man had thoughts which would run ’round and ’round all
day long inside a hamster.
On a certain planet was an illness — over which you could not get as long
as you thought you were trying to.
Although it seemed obvious to him now, one man would still periodically
remind himself that “the opposite of anything is just as incorrect as the
One man’s battle cry:
“I have phlegm in my throat and thoughts in my mind —
what can stop me now? (Other than phlegm and thoughts?)”
And life asked one man, “Do you think you’ve been shortchanged?
“Only if I’ve been changed,” he replied.
And for once (in these conversations) life didn’t get it.
…(Kinda makes you feel better, don’t it?)
And now: Straight From Talledega — Into Your Spleen!
If thinking is a race, then talking is hemlock at the starting line.
Once one man realized that the voice he kept hearing, urging him to “look
into my eyes,” was coming from his eyes, he knew it was time to go back to
the darkroom and do some more work on the photograph of his “me.”
In one life, one man was a mosquito, in the next, a boulder.
So, perhaps there is hope for you.
Thought: a man pursuing his own echo.
When one man heard it said that “nothing lasts forever,” he thought, “Huh,
nothing lasts for any time!”
One man asked life, “Why do I call the mind in me ‘my mind,’ when it’s
obviously not so?”
And life replied, “Why ask me?”
So the man asked his mind, “Why, when I talk to life, does it seem the same
as talking to you?”
And his mind replied (sounding suspiciously like the voice of life), “You’re
gettin’ pretty sharp.”
One man had a duck he’d take for walks, over by the edge, and the more
they’d walk, the closer he’d try to take them to edge, and finally he got
the duck to walk so close to the edge that, had it moved the least bit more
in that direction, it would have fallen off.
Excelsior, me hearties, cheer up, be brave, move on with confidence — if a
duck can do it, you can do it.