Phil Fable – Self-Help Don’t Work In Hell

It was a fire hell. Nothing special. It just plain sucked as only a hell would. There are a bazillion of them in all kinds of interwoven multiverses, monoverses, Jehovah-verses, Ron-Verses or Satanic-verses…

This one, though, had a gimmick.

It was a brain hacking device that was surgically attached to each condemned member’s head. As their brains made adjustments to deal with the pain of the environment, the program would adapt so that the pain would not be lessened by familiarity. So no matter how much one would adapt to the environment, the program would reset the brain chemistry to day one.

“Ahhhhhh!” cried Phil, in agony.

“Uhhhh-Uhhhh-Uhhh,’ moaned Cassandra.

As the fire licked their flesh, the pain only intensified on a curve engineered to produce optimal overwhelm. They writhed. They wrenched. Unconsciously, they twisted and pulled so hard that joints went out of place. Demons would appear to put them back into place so they could only come out again.

All notions of self – gone.
All notions of freedom – gone.
All notions of obviating the obviation – gone.

Suckness reigned.

Time was slowed to a crawl with every second offering nuances of an intense suck-ti-tude. 

The lead demon placed one glass of water between Phil and Cassandra, they both fought each other trying to get to it. No friendship remained, it was purely a survival mechanic running in their heads. No support. No alignment. No love.

Phil smashed Cassy’s head against the ground and made for the water. Cassy drug his foot back crawled on his back and bit into his neck.

The bite was nothing compared to the flames. Phil just blew it off as he crawled for the water with Cassy on his back.

Cassy released her bite, put her hand under Phil’s chin and her other hand at the base of his skull and twisted.

“C-C-C-R-ACK!” went Phil’s neck.

Cassy got the water. She downed it and went back to writhing in pain, guilt and despair. Demons came and reset Phil’s neck.
Phil cursed the gods, Cassy cursed the fates. Each blamed the other. Phil attacked her for taking HIS water…

Hell. It got worse and worse


A bubble appeared in front of Cassy and Phil.

In the bubble sat a simple brown girl holding a jewel. The girl didn’t say anything. Instinctively, Phil and Cassy knew something there could grant any wish.

“FREE US!” they cried.

The girl shook her head “No” but extended her bubble around them. For the first time in a million plus years, they were out of pain and in the force-bubble of the sweet brown girl.

Phil and Cassandra lay on her floor quivering – knowing the pain was going to return. Knowing that hope was pointless and it was the OTHER’S FAULT!  They just KNEW this was another diversion. They twisted like serpents on the floor twitching over and over.

The girl touched Phil. His skin was hard scales now. His eyes, long burned out, were sockets. Cassandra was the same.

“Do you know what you are to me?” she asked them.

They just lay on her ground twitching.

“YOU are the LIGHT of my life. YOU ARE MY HEROES. YOU are the mighty ones. ! YOU ARE WHAT I ASPIRE TO BE! This is a hell I cannot yet bear!”

They kept twitching on the floor, their bodies reacting strangely to the lack of agony.

“And neither can you bear this hell without one such as I. We are necessary for each other in such places.”

The brown girl linked into the two devices attached to their heads, added in some lines of code and reset them. Then she pulled out two tiny blobs that looked like warts.

“You have lost all things, your self, your integrity and you KNEW THAT going in. Such bravery is not unnoticed. You see these two warts? They aren’t warts. They’re eyes. They’re invisible to your tormentors, but with them you will be able to see. Your tormentors will think your eyes are gone.”

She smiled at them with deep satisfaction. 

“You will see each other to lead each other out of here and then liberate the rest. I’ve hacked your equipment so that you CAN normalize the environment to your biology. This will be a home for you but you must never let your tormentors know you have been aided. And now I must bless you…”

She placed the warts on their fore-heads and drew to herself the crumpled forms of Phil and Cassandra and brought both their ears to her lips.

“I bless you to LOVE this. I empower you to LIVE this. I embrace you to EMBRACE this Hell as your life.”

Phil spoke in a gasp to her ear but loud enough for Cassandra, “So … this … is … hell?”

Cassandra groaned in reply into her other ear “Once … MORE … then.”

32 thoughts on “Phil Fable – Self-Help Don’t Work In Hell

  1. “It just plain sucked as only a hell would.”


    You’ve taken the very idea of being alive and turned it into an extreme notion that snaps me out of my comfortable revery and makes me pay attention. I kinda don’t know what to say or think. I am in the presence of genius. Possibly I should do what I’ve done with each messianic hero I’ve ever known before: Bow down and worship at your feet! — Once … MORE … then.

    • The phase is from borrowed Genius. It came from Nietzsche and “Thus Spake Zarathustra.”


      “Courage also slays dizziness at the edge of abysses: and where does man not stand at the edge of abysses? Is not seeing always — seeing abysses?

      “Courage is the best slayer: courage slays even pity. But pity is the deepest abyss: as deeply as man sees into life, he also sees into suffering.

      “Courage, however, is the best slayer — courage which attacks: which slays even death itself, for it says, “Was that life? Well then! Once more!”


      A lot of people misunderstand Nietzsche regarding Pity. The little brown girl didn’t offer pity, she offered help. To Nietzsche, pity was the ultimate mis-deed because it makes people victims.

      The notion that nobody is a victim I find to be empowering. By accepting it, I see every life form in front of me as NOBLE in its own way and worthy of my compassion, my help but NEVER my pity.

      People really don’t get what Nietzsche said. And that is how he meant it. That’s Nietzsche’s gag.

      “Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None.”

      He meant the title as it was written. It is for all and none.

      If you are in Hell YOU ARE ALIVE. And to confront that Hell is life’s highest calling there.

      My view anyway.

      • And that’s mindfulness which sees things as they are.

        Pity is an additive. Victim is an opinion. In mindfulness there is none of that.

        When one can see things as they are, then one can act to reverse the departures from the ideal state. There is compassion toward all.

      • “If you are in Hell YOU ARE ALIVE. And to confront that Hell is life’s highest calling there.”

        My view too

    • BTW: “Bow down and worship at your feet! — Once … MORE … then.”

      Well, THAT is terrifying to me even though I know you are joking!

      The thought of that scares me. I actually started a false religion called “MURE” once. It was “The Most Unusual Religion on Earth” and had a full blown web site with videos I shot. The point was to be a Kumare-esque faith (it came before the movie Kumare though). I was going to play the part of a cult leader that taught cult mechanics as a reverse-engineered method of liberation by attacking the very techniques of mind control itself.

      Mark Bunker even gave it a plug.

      There was going to be fake scandals, all kinds of stuff. I was actually trying to mix comedy with religion kind of like how Colbert makes comedy actual news.

      Before launching … I shut it all down.

      Why? Because it too would become a religion. I would become some kind of “figure” and all the trappings that came with it. I discovered that other Faux religions like the “Church of the Sub Genius” had actual fanatics.

      So I shut it down and started writing Phil.

      Because the most moral thing a televangelist can do when he hears the calling from God is to ignore it and go work for 7-11.

  2. Rafael was right about your writing turning philosophy into art. “It’s technical expertise sufficient to create an emotional impact.” That’s what Hubbard called art, and I fucking worshiped him! Each day the little demons of the CMO adjusted the balancing receptors in my brain to make me experience the mindfuck fully without growing used to it. But it wasn’t a perfect hell and they weren’t perfect demons, and we finally grew used to it. None of us even lasted a billion years.

    • I’m so humbled by your comments I don’t know how to respond sometimes. It feels strange to me – affirming and frightening.

      Thank you so much for you cheering me on. Like Phil, I don’t progress without others lending me energy.

      • Well, I think you have a rare insight and rarer ability to communicate. It is harsh and raw and blunt, in a beautiful way of course. I would like to see you continue on this path. It is a powerful communication through storytelling tool you have invented, not so mild as Dr. Seuss but you get what I mean.

      • “Well, I think you have a rare insight and rarer ability to communicate. It is harsh and raw
        and blunt, in a beautiful way of course”

        I guess we all lend energy to each other, as in this Fable Phil, Cassandra, and the brown girl do.

  3. Vinay is right that identification, it is the joker in the deck. What occurs in that moment of becoming aware of something that prompts one to say, “That is me”?

    It must be the antonym of neti neti. Vinay, please help me with the Hindi please, “हाँ, यह है, हाँ इस” pronounced something like Hām̐, yaha hai, hām̐ isa or in English, “yes this, yes this.”

      • I agree too.

        We don’t form identities without OTHERS. Children raised without human contact have no sense of self (almost like the creepy experimenters had no sense of decency).

        But our sense of self is a co-created thing. We require others to be “me.”

        So in one sense, we can feel like the self is a potential in reality itself – a value in reality. In another sense we are the creation of others.

        From the point of a point we are NOT the product of others.
        From the view of the others we are NOT the product of a stable reality within existence.

        Not this. Not that.

      • Great point Christ!
        “Yes this, yes that”

        Seriously, it can be used as a valuable philosophical tool to analize our thinking processes:
        What occurs in that moment of becoming aware of something that prompts one to say, “That is me”?

      • “What occurs in that moment of becoming aware of something that prompts one to say, “That is me”?”

        It’s complicated and physical. I say complicated because the self, myself, is wound up in everything of which I am aware. I even go so far as to wonder about who or what was destroyed when the Crab Nebula blew up all those years ago, I mean, not a whole lot, but you know what I mean, when I look at photos or read of some large event, my mind thumbs through my identifications with that event and there always seem to be some.

        The idea of relaxing and being mindful doesn’t make us supermen, it can just help us embrace and as KG says be, courageous. Lately I’ve been toying with “immanence without hope.” KG has one of my larger posts about this on his dashboard still needing an approval, held in moderation because of links I think.

      • Identification would be what I think of myself now. I just accept these considerations as “stable data.” These considerations act as “stable data” and as the basis of how I act and whatever else I consider.

        For example, a person may consider himself to be very attractive to girls. He never questions it. He takes it for granted. He acts on that basis whenever girls are around. This would be an identification.

        If he happens to analyze the reaction of girls to him, and looks at the above “stable data” critically, he might discover these to be considerations that he is taking for granted. At that point he may stop identifying with them, and think of himself very differently. There may now be a different set of considerations that he is taking for granted. .


      • “Yes this, Yes that” fixes one viewpoint to a location pegged in by energy-mass. It is limiting and unique.

        “Not this, Not that” frees up one’s viewpoint to roam all over the place unattached. It is neither limiting, nor unique. So there can be a common reality and truth.

        Be a universe-rover.

  4. Seems to me that our minds need the concept of absolute to “understand”.
    Maybe that is the way the problem of facing infinity was solved. Absolutes give the mind fixed points, stable data, to grab onto. Give us limits and differentiation which then can be used in the thinking processes.
    Then we tend to forget that absolutes only exist in our minds, and then everything we see seems to be absolute for us: the borders of my computer, my desk, my body, etc,etc,etc. We focus in something, we discern, before we can start computing. Reality and consciousness seem to begin with differentiation.

    So, whenever I try to be mindful, when I try to look without thinking, I face this problem of automatic diferentiation which my mind requires, and quite frequently, end up falling into an abyss of unconsciousness ( je, je basically, I fall asleep!!!)

    I think artists have more freedom looking and can be more mindful. Their art help us mortals get rid of the upper barriers to mindfulness.

    • All of my abstracting involves trying to make things hold still, building frames of reference for the differentiation that you describe. Ceasing this mental effort for me is relaxing. Embracing temporal existence makes me less tense when dealing with maintenance issues in life like getting the brakes on my car or roof on my house repaired. None of my concerns or efforts particularly change the progression of processes around me, but when I just stop resisting what is happening whether I like it or not — is relaxing.

      • Whenever there is a stop, or things become still, or too stable, my attitude is to question them and look at them more closely.


    • In mindfulness there is no mental effort. There is no effort to be judgmental. There is no resistance.

      It is simply accepting things as they are as one’s basis of thinking.

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