Phil Fable – Another Day at the Ballpark Saving the Multiverse

“HeAAAAYYY Battuh Battuh Battuh. Hey Batter hey-aaaaaaaayyyyyyyyYYYYYYY SWING!”

Swish!

“Strike 2,” said the umpire. He held up two fingers for strike and no fingers for balls.

Kendra choked up on her bat. Lowered her eyes.

The pitcher nodded at the catcher. A lefty, she held the softball in her glove, started moving forward head first, and circled her arm as her hips whipped out an ascending, spinning sphere of leather.

Kendra held firm – no sale.

*pat!*

“Ball one!”

She looked up at the loaded bases, blew her hair out of her eyes with her  lower lip and stepped out of the batters box. She glanced at Phil. He smiled and gave her “the” secret signal.

She didn’t believe it.

“NOW?” she mouthed to him.

Phil nodded.

Kendra remembered the lesson and replayed the coaching session in her head. It was overcast on that day, and Phil was helping her learn to hit.

“Do you trust me as your coach?”

Kendra nodded. “You are the best coach I have ever had.”

“Okay, then I’m going to teach you a deep secret about your mind, but you must promise me that you will NEVER tell anyone of this. Agreed?”

She nodded with a puzzled look.

“I’ve got some … um … powers. And I want you to learn how to obtain them. You are, in fact, a being with infinite potential and it is my job to unlock your hidden abilities.”

She waited, skeptical.

“Put on this blindfold and hold onto the bat. and when I give you the signal, I want you to FEEL the softball in the air. For today, we’ll go slowly and you will softly hit the ball with your instinct. Remember swing slowly at first. And you even have to anticipate the pitch.”

Kendra laughed in disbelief but obeyed. She unlocked her imagination, imagined the pitch appear in her mind and she swung slowly.

*crack!*

She gasped. “I did it!”

“Again,” said Phil.

She waited again and swung slowly.

*crack!*

*crack!*

*crack!*

*crack!*

“I … I … can’t believe it.” She took off the blindfold.

“Now, the next time I give you this secret signal, I want you to close your eyes and knock the ball out of the park, and it will be at a time when you don’t expect it. And I promise you, it will work. ”

Phil showed her the secret hand signal.

“Only you and I can EVER know this,” he said.

Her eyes went wide as she stared at the blindfold.

She blinked those eyes back to the reality of the game, blew her black hair out her face again and cursed herself for putting her helmet on hastily. She centered herself.

“Knock the hide off Kendra!”

She got in position closed her eyes and waited. She waited for her mind to see the pitch. She felt powerful. Relaxed. In a zone. Then she heard a whoosh and a soft pat of leather on leather.

“STRIKE THREE! YOU’RE OUT!”

She looked back at the catcher and, indeed, she had the ball.

“Game Over!,” yelled the umpire.

Her teammates huffed and listlessly left the field. Kendra looked at Phil in agony.

Phil yelled at her.

“KENDRA! What the HELL were you doing batting with your EYES CLOSED?”

Kendra’s face crushed into shame. A player through her glove to the ground.

“Use the force Kendra!” mocked her friend.

As the team got ready to leave, Phil yelled to Kendra.

“Get over here.”

She walked over – mouth open palms wide open at her side, her face raging.

“Let’s go for a walk,” said Phil as he put his arm around her shoulder. “Susan! Please put the gear in the bags!”

Susan nodded and went to work.

She shrugged off his hand and growled at him.

“What do you think happened?” he said.

“When you blindfolded me at practice, you were just a few feet in front feeding me tossing pitches to directly hit the bat weren’t you? That’s why you asked me to swing slow” she said.

“Yup.”

“And you let me be a fool in front of everyone I know.”

“Yup.”

She spun at him, hit him in the arm and yelled, “WHY DID YOU DO THAT TO ME? WE LOST THE GAME! You ditched me! What kind of coach are you?”

“We’re in fifth place. It doesn’t matter. Remember when you told me that you trusted me?”

She nodded.

“Well, here is something about me you can really trust.”

He stopped and looked at her.

“I will intentionally lie to you on purpose. I will teach you amazing things, but I purposely infuse my teaching with bold face lies. It’s up to you to sort out the bullshit from reality.”

She stomped her foot and yelled.

“You lie to me ON PURPOSE? So why should I trust you?”

“So you will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER trust another person’s extreme ideas without verifying them.”

She stopped cold and Phil walked two more steps and turned to her.

“Ever,” said Phil. “You should do this for TWO AND ONLY TWO reasons. One, the truth will always bear scruitiny; two, bullshit demands it; and …”

Phil held up three fingers, smiled and continued.

“THREE, it’s the honest true believers who will really do you in. With scoundrels you at least know what you’re getting.”

He reset his baseball cap so that it was out of “parallel coaching mode” back into “45 degree relaxed mode.”

“So do you get my point?” he said still pointing to his heart and temple at the same time.

She huffed.

Phil reached into his back pocket and handed her an envelope.

“Here.”

She opened it, inside was a lottery ticket that was worth $ 10,000 dollars if the scratch-off symbols lined up. The ticket was already scratched. The symbols lined up.

“What the …” she said.

“That’s tuition money so you can go to softball camp as well as help with your mom’s medical copays so you wont go into debt. I … um … got lucky today.”

Phil mocked excitement and jumped up and down.

“AND HERE IS HOW! Here, look at this antique wrist watch I wear. It actually is not only an A-11 World War II standard issue wrist watch, it’s a device that is more powerful than Harry Potter’s wand or the green lantern’s ring or the Doctor’s Tardis. It can even pick winning lottery tickets if I depress the surface and use morse code!”

“Bullshit,” she said smiling. “You got lucky and you are kind.”

“That’s my girl. And tell your mom an adult bought it for you for good luck. It’s against the law for someone under 18 to buy a lottery ticket.”

She clenched her fist. She hated being condescended to but she let it fly because of the lottery ticket.

She rubbed her chin in a faux display of wisdom.

“Right now there is massive starvation and poverty. If you and your mighty wrist watch green lantern decoder ring thingy are so much the awesome, why don’t you stop people from … well … dying? And why just ten grand when you could make an heiress?”

Phil’s smirk lifted to the right.

“Well, that’s a good question, and my answer is to say that as a keeper of so great a power, it’s more important to not draw attention to it. It’s better to use it for little tasks and play the long game and live a life that is largely … unimportant.”

“Still sounds like bullshit to me,” she quipped. “Let me look at it.”

“No.”

She grabbed for the watch.

“GIVE IT!”

A wave of nausea struck her as she looked at the weathered watch surface.

“Wh-wh-what is that?” she asked softly.

In front of them, a grove of trees swayed back and forth. In the first three second it looked like the wind moving the trees. But then the trunks themselves were swaying.

“What the …” she said.

“It’s not the wind blowing the trees, it’s space rippling,” said Phil.

“Did I do that?,” she asked.

“No.”

He sighed and looked at her.

“Fuck, I’m sorry Kendra, I just hope I can finish out your season, you are doing AWESOME,” he said.

He started depressing the glass surface of his A-11 in morse code frantically.

“Damn it!,” he yelled. “I messed up. WHY did you choose MORSE FUCKING CODE! CASSANDRA! Why not an iPhone instead of a stupid old WRIST WATCH!”

Phil morsed the word “CLEAR” and a beep went off signifying the clearing of the device and he started morsing again.

“DAMN IT. SHIT! PISS! FUCK! I DID IT AGAIN,” he said as he morsed “CLEAR” again.

“Beep! Beep!” went the A-11. Phil’s face showed distress.

The ripple got bigger in the grove of trees. A small point of light appeared in the center. It became the size of a frisbee, then a large trash can lid in the span of 54 seconds.

Phil telepathed Cassandra.

“Cassandra, I’m in trouble and my fingers are stupid, I botched two watch links. How much time before they breach?

Cassandra’s voice echoed in his head. “It looks like you have three minutes and 44 seconds before the portal is operational. Remember, if you have to clear one more time …”

“I know, I know, the watch goes down and has to reboot and that … takes fucking DAYS. Who are they?” asked Phil.

“Unknown. I think they have sensed an unusual inter-dimensional power in this universe and are merely exploring. My manifestation there reports no knowledge.”

“No knowledge?” thought Phil. “Isn’t that your job?’

“Yes. It’s also my job to accurately inform you of dimension breaches and how long they take. And unfortunately, they work like projected internet download speeds – a minute is sometimes ten and an hour is sometimes five minutes. Your time just dropped to five seconds. I suggest you act stupid and do the standard gendeflecting  ‘Welcome to earth’ schtick right … NOW!

The portal opened. The trees stopped moving. Kendra stomach felt better.

Phil took Kendra by the hand.

“This is our story, I’m your touchy-feely zen-minded softball coach and you are a serious softball player and we are freaking amazed that an alien from another dimension ACTUALLY just walked through the universe. We are nobody really important.”

“THAT’S NOT JUST A STORY!” yelled Kendra.

Phil winced.

“Um … yeah it is…”

PHIL FABLE – Meanwhile, Back in Another Dimension Phil Never Went To …

The delusional monad goddess wanna-be pounded the table with her fist as the image of Phil doing zazen disappeared from her inter-dimensional portal.

“The link is fading, THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE!,” she said.

“How … HOW?”

She scowled as Phil waved “bye-bye” as his image faded from the portal.

“You little bastard!”

The Canta engineers bowed to her amid the rubble. After an hour, their leader spoke.

“In order to enhance your great wisdom beloved Goddess, this Phil somehow changed a key line in our programming that created a division by zero which completely destroyed the system.”

“It wasn’t that lame ass Phil it was that FUCKING BITCH on his wrist,” she muttered. “Oh, Cassandra, you think you have found someone who understands you don’t you?”

The engineers looked puzzled at each other. On cue, another circuit popped wafting the smell of burning polymers into the air.

She scowled and sent them a message telepathically.

“Cassandra is the being that lives in his wrist watch. She manifests across all dimensions with an absolutely fabulous technology. Somehow she can link every one of her incarnations into one continuum through an A-11 wrist watch that was issued in Earth’s second World War. Essentially, she’s an inter-dimensiional technological genie in an A-11.”

“Why did you not tell us before?”

“The less you knew of her the better. I have damned her soul when it passes to my hands.”

The lead engineer sent a telepathic question for all to hear.

“Doesn’t she feel limited?”

The Goddess laughed and telepathed back.

“No, exactly the opposite. She is LITERALLY in every dimension. While she continues in the A-11, she is in a perfect state of balance and bliss and manifests a self-delusional state she calls “enlighenment.” And from her technological hub, she wields amazing power to fulfill her role.”

“Which is?”

“To rid me, the only true monad in the multi-verse, of ultimate power.”

A shudder went through the room.

“May it never BE!” screamed the engineers. They prostrated themselves to her and a wave of peace and well being filled them. Faces glowed. Haloes haloed.

“You are our joy,” said her chief mathematician.

A loud clanging sound came from the door as a mousy girl with a sheepish look on her face tripped and landed in the rubble. She was twiggy with strait, thin red hair and a gummy smile with enough upper gum exposed that one could ink a tattoo on it. Her long neck and unnaturally low-positioned breasts made a strange décolletage. And yet, all the men in the room found her stunning – and one didn’t know … why.

“Tell us more of this Cassandra,” they chimed.

“The greek version of earth tells it adequately. The mythology changes across dimensions, but this is what we know. She is a being of whom the greatest gift and curse is given. She knows the truth of all existence and how to shape it, but she was cursed by Apollo, a third rate monad-wanna-be, such that nobody would ever believe her when she told the truth.”

“Oh Holy Mother God, tell us why she chose this Phil as her soul bearer!,” asked the girl dusting off her blouse.

Holy Mother God became still. She stopped being telepathic and spoke.

“He has found the unlocking paradox and therefore cannot be bought. And he cares not one bit for the cosmic power the watch can wield. He could shape Universes with it, and yet he only uses it for vegan pizza and an occasional trinket or dire emergency regarding his capture.”

“What a fool!” telepathed the engineers.

“No. That is exactly why they trust him with it. He has no desire to rule, only to be himself and let others be themselves and he realizes that eons must pass for real change to occur. He believes that even such power is eventually pointless. This Phil is a strange one and a heretic of the soul. He sees his soul as an unsolvable paradox, a being that absolutely IS and absolutely IS NOT and that one can center a life on a razor’s edge where these two mutually exclusive notions clash – and the space between them has a value of zero. It’s an irrational belief that he forges in his mind, and from that union of disunited ideas, a power of reality emerges that he finds amazing but that sadly is deeply delusional. He is doomed because he knows not my grace.”

She wondered if she said too much, but really like how she was sounding so she continued.

“It’s a lot like the fighter jets we use on Syron. They are functionally unstable in their design as they fly through atmospheres, but the software KEEPS them stable in spite of the flaws. The instability of the aircraft allows for faster turns and mobility. The sofware USES the physical instability to create freedom of movement. Phil is JUST like this. The instability created by forcing these two incompatible ideas into a radically imbalanced point of view requires an operating system that cannot be defined and demands intense concentration without effort.”

“And what is the name of this undefined operating system?”

She turned and quipped, “Oh, it’s something he gets brainwashed into following mindlessly. He’s a total yes man.”

Holy Mother God clenched her hand at the thought of exactly WHAT held those two opposing postulates in unison and the freedom emerging from that razor’s edge.

“Oh, Holy Mother God, please answer us this last question from your grace. Why can Phil listen to her when she is so cursed?”

Her face clearly showed they had crossed the line. A contrite attitude filled the room.

The mousy girl telepathed to everyone excitedly, “The power source for your inter-dimensional device can still be saved if you act quickly and disconnect the inter-dx data line.”

“Don’t speak unless you are spoken to Kandra.”

“But … ”

“Silence!” Replied the monad. “It is beyond repair.”

“I was just thinking if you had engineering look at it…”

One look from HMG silenced her.

The lead engineer looked at the power source – an inter-dimensional zero-point energy generator with a puzzled look. He was just about to check out this hunch until Kanrda suggested it, and then he instantly realized that it was pointless. He turned to walk to the design terminal.

“Pssszzzzt” went the power supplies mother circuit quietly.

Kandra smiled knowing she was the only one who heard it. It was time for break, so she walked into the break room and watched everyone roll their eyes at her.

She closed her eyes, felt every incarnation of her across the universes, and connected to her hub.

She took a sip of water and smiled the smile of a Bodhisattva.

“Omnipotent delusional monads are the hardest to liberate,” she thought.

The True Believer’s Algorithm

Discussions on Religion and Politics Seldom Change Anyone’s Mind. Here’s why.

Ever notice that people never say “gosh you are right” when it comes to changing deeply held beliefs. There is a reason for this. Psychologists call it “cognitive dissonance theory.”

When talking to someone about a cherished belief that you find false, they will fight you tooth and nail (even it you sometimes try to get out of it) and go round and round this structure without ever knowing they are doing it. It’s like fighting a hydra that you can never slay. And any effort to be civil and communicate just keeps the cycle going round and round.

When you spot this algorithm – GET OUT. You cannot change their mind. Promise. Your best way to help them is through indirect means. Or as the Lojong Proverbs Say:

“Do not strike at the heart.”

And if you find YOURSELF stuck in it. GET OUT ASAP.

The Scene: You passively mention to a true believer that you no longer believe like they do and then …

Step 1. The “Oh You Poor Thing” Step. 
In this step the person acts sad and concerned on why you find this belief false. It’s a very soft, and caring approach.  “I’m so sorry you didn’t have the strength to keep your faith. Maybe I can help you FIND YOUR MISTAKE”

In this step, they will create the belief that you are a failed and pitiful believer and will IGNORE YOUR DATA COMPLETELY.

IF YOU INSIST ON STICKING TO THE FACTS AND DATA THEY WILL LIKELY MORPH THE DISCUSSION INTO ANY STEP BUT STEP 7.

Step 2. Tough Love Approach
In this step when you present your undeniable evidence why the belief in question is not true. They will get all “tough love” on you and blame and attack your character rather than look at the undeniable evidence. They will call you dishonest, bring up past failures, claim you need mental help, call you a pansy, or some other label AND USE THE BLAME TO IGNORE YOUR DATA COMPLETELY.

IF YOU INSIST ON STAYING ON THE FACTS THEY WILL EITHER KEEP DOING THIS OR EVENTUALLY GO TO ANY OTHER STEP BUT 7.

Step 3. Topic Change. 
In this step, they will change what you were talking about so that your data doesn’t matter. They will pick some other diversion to try to keep you from your point. “What about this huh? I’m not going further until this is resolved.” Once they shift you to the new topic and you start to use facts, they will go back to Step 1 or Step 2 to avoid IT.

AND THEY WILL IGNORE YOUR ORIGINAL DATA.

IF YOU INSIST ON STICKING TO THE FACTS, THEY WILL EITHER KEEP DO THIS OR EVENTUALLY GO TO ANY OTHER STEP BUT STEP 7.

Step 4. Change the Criteria for Truth
In this step, a true believer will take your data and repackage it so it wont falsify their belief system: they’ll say the science is flawed; science itself is flawed; call “bullshit”; say “it doesn’t matter in the big picture” or “I’m skeptical of this so called fact,” They may find or invent an obscure example that can be seen as an exception and hold it up to you to show you to be incorrect. They will do ANYTHING to invalidate your data.

BUT THEY WILL NOT CONFRONT YOUR DATA AS IT IS. THEY MUST REPACKAGE IT.

IF YOU CONTINUE TO INSIST ON STICKING TO THE FACTS, THEY WILL GO TO ANY OTHER STEP BUT 7.

Step 5. Temporarily Open Minded
Getting here with a true believer is a miracle, but don’t hold your breath. If they confront your data and admit your facts are … facts, they will experience a personal crisis in their minds and will do anything to create some way to sustain their faith. They may get sad and defeated, but their minds are working overtime to find the “one thing” that can put the faith back in first place. Two days after such an event they will typically find “proof” that you were wrong. Their minds may actually change their memory of the discussion you had earlier (really).

Step 6. Appeal to Personal Experience and Not Needing it to Be True.
The phrase “It worked for me” will end virtually ANY chance of them accepting your point of view as valid. Sometimes, in this stage they are playing for a draw “You don’t know and I don’t know so let’s just agree to disagree.” A person will use their personal experience and the power they gained by it to IGNORE YOUR DATA. You will get story after story after story on why it is true enough. In this case, a person can flip from being a fundamentalist to a moderate by the hour.

THEY MAY CONFRONT YOUR DATA AS IT IS, BUT THEY WILL CREATE A  BUFFER FOR IT WITH THEIR LIFE EXPERIENCE

IF YOU CONTINUE TO INSIST ON STICKING TO THE FACTS, THEY WILL GO TO ANY OTHER STEP BUT 7.

Step 7. Accept the Data and Change a Viewpoint
This so seldom happens in such discussions, that it is hardly worth mentioning. It usually happens outside of a direct conversation. I have never seen a Step 7 happen as a result of a conversation when the subject was a deeply held belief.

YOU CAN GET MORE THAN ONE STEP AT ONCE!

EXAMPLE:
“You know, let’s be honest. You are really to blame for this because you didn’t follow the Way. It’s time you got honest with YOURSELF Fred. You know, I really feel sorry for you Fred, I really do. And even though you think that the prophesy of Wag-Wog demonstrably failed in the Ancient Testement of old, let me tell you one thing that has NEVER failed for me personally – Phil the Prophet.”

I write this not only as the inventor of the True Believer’s Algorithm, but as a recovering client