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Mars (god of nothing)

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Mars (god of nothing)

You've seen them, haven't you? These mind boggling photographs of the surface of Mars. Not science fantasy paintings, not Hollywood special effects, not connecting the dots into Lowell's canals -- just crystal clear pictures of the landscape of another planet.

Shall we say the obvious? Shall we talk about the absence of birds? And where's all the highways and schools? No churches in sight (fundamentalists, take note)! And what about music? Do you hear any rap, rock, or Bach? I sure don't see any soldiers, do you? And where's all the bloody SIDEWALKS? What do you think? Surely there's gotta be a few arrowheads buried under that ocean of red sand . . . maybe some bones or wires?

Looking at these photographs is like looking at death. Yes, we take it in up to a point, but then quickly toddle off into diaper intellectualizing. "Homo intellectualizer", that's us! How do therapists put up with those client/patients who so smugly claim to "intellectually understand" their childhood? Serious therapist self control issues there, probably.

And hey, let's not forget box city! Grim Reaper, no problema. You're no skeleton at MY banquet!" Why (on Earth) do we LIE like that? Because we're too petrified not to pretend? Self lying is our method of choice for staying "separate" (and we ARE "separate selves" . . . aren't we?). Apparently some terrors are of such magnitude that even psychosis is the lesser of the evils.

Let's face it, our lives are usually NOTHING BUT intellectualizing. Take these pictures of Mars. We say, "Yeah, nice glossies, pretty awesome, etc., etc.," but what we DON'T take in is that these pictures erase all the plot lines of human condition. Because Mars doesn't give a rat's ass about your sex life or your tax returns or what church you go to or who's buried in the family plot, plus a million etceteras. It's just THERE and that's what it looks like.

And yet -- that's not quite right either is it, since that's just what it looks like to US. Mosquitoes and extra terrestrials presumably experience these night sky "wanderers" (= planets) rather differently. Not to mention that the word/image of Mars is 100% man made (no big deal). However, the truth that the very "thing" we call Mars isn't even real unless it's evoked by the human brain/nervous system is a VERY big deal.

This is that business that we don't "view the view" since the viewing IS the view. Sorry, but there really ISN'T any sound in the forest when the tree falls if there aren't any auditory nervous systems around to evoke it (human or otherwise). Said differently, no visual nervous systems -- no visible world. The "objective external world" is just a game Homo sapiens play.

So where does this leave us? For openers, it means the empirical world is transactionally evoked. But it also means we're not working out our salvation/damnation in some fundamentalist's pamphlet reality. It means we're all "participants" with nature (quantum physics has all kinds of spins on this). Above all, it means ultimate realness is where we already are.

So what we do with such pictures is soul stuff. Of course, we can always turn the page or change the channel, but we can ALSO simply come off it -- even though coming it off means passing certain absolute points of no return. One rather obscure etymology of intelligence is "to read between". As in, to see through the Veil of Maya? As in, to read between the lines (or chains) of thought?

Truthfully, what do we have to lose? Are we so seduced by this worldly melodrama that it's really worth the price of committing intelligence suicide? Delusion can be left. Nothing is lost by leaving that which was never the case in the first place.
W. Christopher Epler


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A liberal American, PhD mathematician, bipedal Earthling.

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