Triumph of pain – treachery of the eyes, the ears, the skin. One has to trudge through this desert all one’s life. To see and to hear. To hear and see. To eat. To laugh. To talk, smoke, drink. To feel. To procreate. To write. To breathe. To be in pain. To bleed, to tremble. To be angry. To suffer. To cry out, to sleep, to wait. Fatigue is everywhere. There is no way, really no way of avoiding it. One has to toil, to feel hot, to feel cold. To caress. To enjoy. To understand, to understand without pause. Every day. Like that, every day, without exception. To urinate. To taste. To let oneself be carried away by useless words. To adopt paces and habits. To seek for phrases, to stretch one’s ears and eyes, to stretch one’s skin. To pretend to love, to love really, perhaps. All that, not even for nothing; for it’s not even possible to resort to nothingness so as to determine one’s life; man is not alone; vulgar, garish things inhabit him, shape him. There’s no way of judging. There is no absurdity, for there is not even any separation between what is and what ought to be. God, if he exists, must be left in full control: never, no, never, shall we really know what a little worm man is.
*The text above is taken from the story “A day of old age” written by J.M.G. Le Clezio.
The study of theology is the study of nothing. It is founded in nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authorities; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and admits of no conclusion. Thomas Pain
Chicago (AP) – Roy Larson, religion writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, recently had a visitor at the newspaper. Gene Townsend wanted to talk to him about a new church.
“When I introduced myself, I was struck by his lack of enthusiasm. The reason soon became clear,” said Larson.
Their conversation went like this:
“I understand you’re starting a new church.”
“That’s right,” replied Townsend.
“What’s it called?”
“The Church of the Living Apathists.”
“What’s an apathist?”
“Someone who’s apathetic.”
“Why did you ask for the religion writer?” Larson asked.
“Because we’re religious apathists. We’re apathetic about religion. If we were apathetic about sports, I would have asked for the sports writer.”
“You said ‘we’. That means you’ve got some cohorts. Right?”
“Have you gotten yourselves organized?”
“We’ve had a few meetings. We’ve got the application blanks to organize as a not-for-profit corporation in Illinois.”
“Do you plan to file them?”
“I don’t know. So far we’ve been too apathetic. Besides, we don’t have an address. Or any money. And we never will.”
“Do you have any scriptures?”
“Yeah. It’s a book filled with blank pages.”
“What’s your chief symbol?”
“It’s a gray rectangle. It symbolizes nothing.”
“Are you the high priest or are there any ministers in your church?”
“A true priest in our faith would be one who wouldn’t show up for meetings.”
“Doesn’t that make you a phony? Why did you bestir yourself to come in and tell me about your new church?” asked Larson.
Townsend said: “I guess you’d have to say I’m not a true believer. I’m a borderline apathist.”
“Why did you come in?”
“I just happened to be walking by the building and decided to stop.”
“Do you plan to call any meetings to get your church under way?”
“We’re thinking about it.”
“How do you rate your chances of success?”
“Great. If we call a meeting, chances are no one will come. And that will mean the meeting is successful.”
“What’s your potential membership?”
“Already, I think 10 per cent of the American people are members. Maybe, it’s 100 per cent.”
“Just one more question. As you see it, what must I do to be saved?”
“Nothing. Absolutely nothing.”
“I see. Well, keep the faith, friend.”
“Thank you. And may the god of emptiness be with you.”
*This article was taken verbatim from “The Southeast Missourian”, January 30th, 1976. See here.
**Painting by Zdislav Beksinski
A couple of nights ago my neuronal cells collaborating with Delta and Gamma waves of my brain cooked up a fascinating dream. Usually I forget all the marvellous nonsense that happens during my nightly sleep adventures, but not this time. This time was different. Even though I slept like a bear in hibernation, the little homunculus inside my head was actively registering every movement of my soul. He did it to such a precise extent and in such an exact manner that even to this very day I can vividly recall the splendid fancies of my unconscious self.
Only one small unimportant warning before you wet your intellect into the strong liquor of my spirit. To preserve the truth, I have omitted all the sexual nuances, all the shameful details and all the other darker secrets of my past. For I don’t want that you get a wrong impression of me. Only truth matters. Only truth. So without further ado, enter my dream. My dream promptly enters on my command and narrates the following story:
I was sharing a delightful walk with one former greybeardish professor of mine in a familiar district of my native city. We were on very friendly, and dare I say, cordial terms -not a big surprise when two great minds meet – and so we were having a friendly chat about this, that and the other.
Suddenly the professor asked me: “Why are you so naive?”
“Well, I may look like a naive child and even behave like one but that is only a mask. I assure you.”, I sincerely informed my professor.
“And why do you need a mask?”, the professor kept on pressing me.
“So that other people would not ask me questions.”
As soon as I said that, at that very moment, I woke up.
Now, that was that. My dream ended then and there. And ever since then I have put away childish things. I am not naive anymore. I do not wear any masks. I lead a life of complete serenity and happiness. Do you believe me? I certainly do, said the dream while I slept further away from life.
Welcome, my friend! Welcome! You have come to the right place. I have been waiting for you. Look what I got for you! Look, look above you! Do you see? I made the skies for you. I made the stars for your eyesight. I made the sun to keep you warm. I made the wind to comb your hair. I made the water to quench your thirst. I made the apples for your mouth. I made flowers for your nose and and roads for your legs. I made the trees so that you may cut them down. I made animals for you to cook them. I made this planet for you. For you alone! Do whatever you want. Do whatever you like. Do what you feel like doing. It is yours. It is all yours. Everything you see. Here and beyond. All is yours. Take it. Feel as in home. Continue reading
Here’s a free piece of advice. You have to believe in yourself! In your story! Ups… those damn slips of the tongue, I mean, you have to believe in me! Yes, in me and my story that I am trying so hard to sell to you. Believe in me, so that you can make my dreams come true. I mean, who else, if not you, can change the world? Be the change you want to see in the world. Be me! You have to believe in me! I am me because of you. And you are you because of me. And if I am I because you are you and you are you because I am I, then I am you and you are I. Twist it whatever way you want, but the fact remains that we are fundamentally inseparable from one another.
I receive daily ten thousand letters from all parts of the world asking me the same questions all over again and again. “Why are you so awesome?”, “How did you achieve your dreams?” and “What’s your formula for success?”. Since I cannot respond to each and every inquiry individually, my answer to you all collectively is this: “Believe in me!” It is really that simple. There is no need to think it through any further. No need to over-intellectualize or analyze beyond the obvious. You only have to remember this golden maxim and repeat it before going to bed every night: “Believe in me!” There are no conspiracy theories or monetary matters involved in here. I can assure you of that. Take my word for it. I have no hidden agendas and no ulterior motives. In fact, I have no self-interest at all in what I’m about to tell you. I only want to help people. I only want to help you. Believe in me. Continue reading