10:00 PM Billings, Montana
The green book sat on the table shiny new without a page ever turned. The book’s title was “How to Deal With the Monster of Addiction.”
On the floor was a passed out nineteen year old girl, drug paraphernalia on the floor with her dad and Phil standing above her. The dad was clueless what drug was displayed in front of him.
The father and Phil looked at the oblivious teen while waiting for an ambulance.
“Any advice?” asked the father.
“Two words,” said Phil.
“THIS SUCKS. I’m sorry. That’s it. That’s all the advice I can give.
The father relied, “Oh wait. I can add a word.”
Phil looked at with a wet eye.
“This sucks AWFUL,” choked out the father.
Phil tried to never missed a good opportunity to shut up. So he took it. He reached down and pulled her hair out of her face as the father steeled up behind a fist. Phil checked her pulse. Nodded to him that it was there. He stood up, farted by accident, walked over to the door and turned on the porch light to her apartment.
“This CAN’T be happening…” said the Father.
“Stage one,” thought Phil. He thought about picking up the pieces himself, but the father stooped to pick them up. As he set them on the end table, it was obvious that he was angry as hell.
“Stage two,” thought Phil. “THAT was fast.”
“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. - Marcus Aurelius”
- Clara Oswald, School Teacher
The complete quote:
“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.” – Marcus Aurelius
“I can’t afford your base rate,” said the mother.
“No problem, she can pay me back when she is older if she wants to with money or labor.”
He thought about all the times people promised to pay him with deep sincerity and then never did.
“That’s okay,” he thought. “At least, they THINK they will pay me back for what they are to receive.”
“What does the course include?” asked the mother, “I heard so much about it from my sister and the wonders it has worked on Susan.”
“Susan maintains a good practice. She has made it her own and has adapted it to suit the life she needs. She’s a little more ambitious. She spends 80 minutes a day training by herself. And by the way, since this is free, I permit NO late assignments. If she fails to complete her assigned work, the work either terminates at no cost to you, or you pay back fees and continue to pay for every hour in the future. For people I train for free, I am not very accommodating.”
His eyes showed he meant it. He was, of course, lying. He was generous when life emergencies happened to his students. He continued.
“Anyway, part one is Memory Training. In it, she uses a piece from an ancient Greek text called the ‘Rhetorica Ad Herennium.’ When she masters the teachings in this text, then she will have a virtual hard drive to hold anything she chooses to maintain. This is the same techniques that the Greek Scholars used to memorize speeches and texts and other useful information. It’s how people use to be able to hear a speech once and maintain it’s content for the rest of ones life if one chose. She will memorize blocks of information and she gets to choose works of her preference for this effort.”
“That sounds incredible. Almost unbelievable,” said the mother.
“It isn’t easy and it’s a practice. One must maintain the structures daily or the memories will fade away. So, in essence, it is a sensual imagination practice. But starting at her age, she can become a master of it and be able to house an entire library if she chooses.”
He scratched an itch his head and continued.
“Part Two is about Critical Thinking. After she has mastered memory training, her next phase is to study critical thinking skills as well as the social engineering techniques used by religious charlatans and people of a mind to control her and shape her emotional attachments. She will memorize these and be taught to think for herself in the middle of manipulative situations so she can point out these techniques in real time for herself and for others less trained than her.”
“Part Three is Mathmagics. In this training, she has the chance to become a master of mental calculations and the memorization of numbers. She will be able to process numbers in her head like ancient accountants who had no adding machines or paper. She will also learn the Abacus as well as mental shortcuts to number crunching. I’ve found that people tend to either use a mental abacus OR math hacks but not both. Some, however do use both at once. The course also builds on the earlier memory training by teaching her how to memorize numbers using a system called ‘The Pao System’ which allows people to memorize entire pages of digits rapidly.”
“Part Four is Communication Training. After she knows how to remember, think and calculate, she learns to read micro-emotions and communicate in a non-violent way with others. This is about learning good conversation techniques and dialogue models as well as social graces and moving gracefully between power and submission with minimal ego damage to herself or others.”
“Part Five is Mindfulness Training. In this last segment she learns three meditation techniques: Zazen, Tonglen, and Meditative Exercise Movement. Zazen practice is learning to just sit, that is all and is used by the Soto Zen School. Tonglen is about breathing in the suffering of life and breathing out a mighty wish of liberation. It is used in Tibetan mediation practice. In this practice you start with yourself and then work up to your spouse and family, humanity and all sentient beings, This technique has been shown to produce the largest gamma waves ever measured in a human brain. Gamma waves are science’s best measurement of happiness and well being. You may want to google “Matthieu Ricard, the world’s happiest human” to verify these claims and then look at critical articles of them.”
“Finally, MEM (Meditative Exercise Movement) is about learning to be mindful in how you do things. This practice also includes physical exercise so that the mind and body are both engaged and aligns with Tai Chi in its methodology.”
He paused and then calmly stated.
“My materials are open to your inspection. I offer no religious instruction at all. The meditation techniques came from religious traditions, but all religious elements are excised out of them. The goal is to improve people’s brains to think well and manage one’s emotions and communications. Most of our students tend to be those who are not deeply aligned with any religious faction, but are more science based.”
He breathed deeply and concluded.
“After completing the work, if she passes our exams we give out the title ‘Competent Human.’ I wish I could say, that the title is TRUE but alas, it is just a title and a title isn’t a life. And human life is HARD. Sometimes it breaks people. This is an effort to minimize that breakage, but it too fails to deliver on some of its aims in many cases.”
“Anyway, after she has mastered all of these, it takes about an hour a day of practice to maintain all of them at peak ability. But if she does this, she will be centered, fit and able to think like the rest of our world CANNOT. And if she’s smart…”
He swallowed and smiled with a closed mouth.
“She’ll keep her abilities quiet and enjoy their benefits and help our world.”
This article in Cracked shows how common people are the real heroes of the Universe.
It was just another routine death for our hero Phil. He was sitting on a horse with his hand behind his back and a noose around his neck as a mob of black hooded cultists were about to hang him for teaching women how to use the “Rhetorica Ad Herennium.” What angered them the most was that he showed them how to make such an endeavor a rich spiritual practice by virtue of creating a world in ones own imagination. It was a dark night, and the shadow of a hill a mile away was cresting a full mooon.
The only one who had no hood was Phil.
The hoods started babbling their 109 year cult babble. It was a fair display of batshit and circumstance. After the leader said his say, and the hoods shook their torches, it got down to the point of the evening – a straight forward hanging.
“I ask for last words,” said Phil.
A hood nodded.
“Look!” said a hood pointing to the hill.
As Phil looked up at the hill, the moon was now full and about 10 feet above the hill’s crest. The moon sat perfectly aligned and nested in the center of a flaming circle!
The flaming circle was mounted on a pole. Holding the pole was a hooded figure. The figure adjusted the control and a flaming line bisected the circle and the moon it cradled into a top half and bottom half.”
“Our Symbol!” cried one of the hoods. “It’s a brother!”
But thirty seconds later, ANOTHER line cut the circle and moon into quarters making a plus sign. Then the fiery circle rotated until the plus sign became an X – the symbol Teth. The moon and the symbol were obviously aligned so that from the position of the hanging tree, it shone forth as one glowing visage.
The figure unhooded herself revealing a red headed woman.
Phil’s closed smile went ear to ear as he whispered.
“Cassandra! You truth-telling liar…”
The hoods stopped looking at Phil.
Phil’s face beamed.
All the hoods were within 20 feet of Phil. So he spoke in a normal voice as he looked up at the burning X within a circle.
“I teach you the SUPERWOMAN! Man is something that is to be surpassed. What have YOU done to surpass man?”
He looked at every hood individually.
“All beings hitherto have created something beyond themselves, and YE WANT TO BE THE EBB OF THAT GREAT TIDE and would rather go BACK to the beast than surpass man!”
He stared at them.
“HA!” he said.
“Behold, the SUPERWOMAN in a world with no reliable wrist watch!”
They all looked at the symbol and the woman standing on top of the hill, her hair flaming in the light of the fire and moon and her right hand held out open to them.
Phil kicked the horse violently to start the swinging himself. He watched Cassandra’s symbol as much as he could amid the swinging, turning and blacking.
Upon seeing Phil hanging, furious hoods dispatched to the top of the hill. Fifteen minutes later, they found Cassandra’s burning X, but no Cassandra.
The pole with the circle and X wasn’t at all like the crude device they used when they placed their burning Thetas in front of their enemies residences. No, it was an ingenious piece of mechanical engineering. The metal parts were fabricated by hand. The inlaid designs of the pole were also hand carved. It was like it was designed for them to behold the quality of the maker.
“How did she know we were going to do this, and how did she know how to align the device with the moon PERFECTLY?,” said one of the hoods.
They further examined the pole and saw how a gear and chain rotated the plus sign into an X. The more geek minded were impressed with the way that she was able to make both the first second lines of negation appear to create first, the symbol “Theta” and then turn it into “Teth.”
“How did she know HOW to pull this OFF?” repeated the same man. It was becoming his mantra.
At the base of the device lay a thin book.
“The Rhetorica ad Herinnium.”
On the front of the book was a phrase written in red ink.
“Memorized by Cassandra.”
The man who had been so vocal, picked up the book and pocketed it.
“I will burn THIS myself!” he said to the others.
They all looked down expecting to see Phil hanging. Instead, they saw him cut down by a hooded figure.
“Wake up buddy! Wake up Buddy! Wake up Buddy!”
Phil slowly woke to see himself. The noose was cut and to his side.
“Here,” said Phil to Phil, “Here is the A-11,”
“Why are you giving ME this?”
“The Feeler is exhausted, so I guess I’M the new feeler. No more time in the field for this Phil. The old Feeler is going to go coach Little League on earth with the deep wish that he could have a wiped memory. But that’s the feeler’s burden. Use the watch to get you and Cassie out of here. I programmed it to teleport me in about a minute. Cassie is up a tree right now and they are beginning to start looking up.”
Phil took the A-11 wrist watch, typed in a command in morse code on it watch face, and he and Cassey were teleported safely a mere mile away.
As some of the hoods raced to their horses to recapture Phil, one fell to the ground clutching his heart.
Dropping the matter at hand, some of his friends helped him the best they could. They took him home. Tended to him.
But by morning, he was gone.
There is genius and then there is Zen Pencils.
This artist illustrates great rhetoric and quotes of famous people though an online comic.
Alan Moore was famous for making comics do the things that Movies, Books and Recordings couldn’t do. He wrote Watchman to specifically NOT be adapted to film. And if you see the movie “Watchman” after reading his Magnum Opus, you GET IT.
Zen Pencils pushes the art of comics to bring great words to life to teach a heart to feel beyond what it felt it could.
Today’s piece from Richard Feynman brought a tear to my right cheek.