I shook my head, my tongue beating around inside my mouth, from a cheek to a cheek, like a led clapper inside a bell. The nameless Aladdin continued.
“We started out as living, animate, cosmic processes and we dry up into dead, inanimate abstract things. Another name of this hell is Abstraction. As we become obsessed with What Isn’t, as we thirst for something other than What Currently Is, we get lost in abstraction, our minds become fixated on ephemeral goals that are completely divorced from the business of daily living; we start to close off to anything that seems irrelevant to the potential satisfaction of our desires, and we dry up – we lose touch with the wet-work of reality. We become an idea. An idea – you see
– is a thing. An abstract thing. And an abstract thing is not a thing except for only in abstraction. Another name for this hell is Patrank. An Illusion. A world of mirage. A world of Maya or Mara, as they say in India, or Eastern Armenia, as I call it. Surely, you understand?”
“I do not,” I managed to mouth, my lips feeling rubbery and not mine. He continued.
“But that’s not all that happens in this second kind of hell. Not only do we become things in this Hell of Things, but we also turn everything else into Things. It’s simple, really, if you think about it: when you want something, you develop a goal. A goal is an an end. Once you have an end in mind, everything else turns into a means, into a method, into a thing. When you fixate on something, the reality becomes an instrument of satisfaction. Take eating for example, when you want to eat, a pig ceases to be a living sentient being and becomes “pork.” A cow becomes
“beef.” A person you know becomes a “connection.” A young beautiful woman – a “score.”
And so it goes. I bet you soldier-boys know this better than I do: you do know, don’t you, that you are nothing more than “cannon fodder,” right, nothing but a means-to-an-end … ”
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