Cassandra’s Class

The class walked in. On the board was a simple statement:

The chalkboard had a header with six inch letters, “SIT IN SILENCE WITH YOUR HANDS FOLDED OR GET A ZERO ON TODAY’S QUIZ. JUST SIT AND PONDER. NO PAPER WILL BE TURNED IN.”

Beneath it was today’s quiz written in cursive.

“TODAY’S QUIZ: What if the issue of freewill or determinism is not the issue? What if the issue is Freewill AND Determinism and how you liberate in BOTH right now and forever? Now DO IT right now!”

She sat throughout class reading a magazine while standing at the podium. As some student’s got bored and got up to leave she cut them down with one sentence.

“Leave and you will flunk my class and not just today’s quiz.”

They sat back down.

She took her rubber-tipped pointer and tapped the question with intention.

Time passed and all hands stayed folded. Eye rolls and body language spread rumors of her obvious insanity.

Five minutes before the bell, she erased the message. One student had a tear running down her cheek. To mark the end Cassandra dramatically broke her pointer in half across her knee and put it in the trash.

The bell rang.

After the bell, the girl who cried retrieved the pointer, went to her father’s wood shop and joined the two halves together herself using a drill press, dowel and Elmer’s Glue. She hung it over her fireplace years later.

Phil Leading Philosophy Class

The discussion was typical.

A materialist was materialist-izing; a spiritualist was spiritualist-izing and a quantum-woo-woo-ist was quantum-woo-woo-ist-izing over the topic of free will.

And just like in the thousands of years prior to today, it was still not going to resolve into a clear answer. The Materialist pointed to current neuroscience, the spiritualist pointed to paradox of soul and mathematical realism, and the quantum-woo-wooist was quoting the movie “What the BLEEP Do We Know.”

Phil was supervising the repetitive arguments while chewing gum; he held a piece of chalk in his hand while facilitating the discussion after class.

The room was empty for the next period, and Phil felt like taking a few extra minutes before dropping one of his “stunners” to end the argument, walk out of the room and look all smug and self-confident like he had done in countless other universes before. But this time, in Kansas.

While the Quantum-Woo-Woo champion rambled on, Phil wrote a simple statement on the wall …

“If you have to rely on a scientific, mythological or philosophical crutch to prove to yourself that you exist and have free will, then your existence and Free Will depends on something OTHER than yourself – so you don’t have it.”

And he walked out.

The sound of a shared Baby Ruth candy bar filled the room as the wrapper crinkled between them.

The Ego of Phil

Phil was lying in bed ready for sleep. He thought about a scene he once had in a universe. An entire universe was going to hell according to a supreme being unless Phil surrendered his ego-paradox. An infinite number of souls awaited his knee to bow.

He refused. The universe and he went to hell for a long, long painful fucking time. But Phil kept his ego-paradox much to the anger of an infinitude.

Then there was the time when an entire Universe was at the brink of enlightenment after eons of great effort by multitudes. Every being within it was already enlightened except for Phil. Everyone tried to convince him that the ego was a delusion and an irrational story. All he had to do was admit this and he would completely fulfill the liberation of the universe.

He acknowledge their evidence as accurate and then resolutely refused to relinquish his ego-paradox. He then left the Universe with his A-11. After eons and eons, the universe collapsed again into samsara.

Then there was the neuroscientist in another universe who showed him conclusively that the soul was an emergent phenomenon. That no self could exist according to science. Phil looked at the data and promptly told the scientist that the work was excellent. The data pointed conclusively to a no-soul conclusion. The scientist told Phil that all had to do was accept the clear, indisputable data to be a member of that scientific community and get a teaching position at the University as head of the baseball team.

He refused after fully acknowledging the science.

“Why do you continue to cling to this delusion while acknowledging the accuracy of the data?” asked the scientist.

“Because, at my heart, I am an impossibility. The possible is what you folks deal with. And the possible, my dear sir, is a subset of the impossible. You can prove all our existing mathematics when you divide by zero. You can also prove any falsehood as true when you divide by zero. When a zero division is possible ANYTHING is true. Even a me.”

“But that is insanity,” said the scientist.

“Yes, that’s where it starts.”

“So how do you know you exist?”

“I don’t KNOW I exist. I DECIDE that I exist,” said Phil. “And THAT is all I got…”

Thirty Seconds of Phil

The game was awful. Phil’s team was down seven runs and they were at bat at the bottom of the last inning, with the worst batter up.

A player popped a gum bubble with his tongue and turned to Phil.

“Do you read the Hitchhiker’s Guide Series?”

“Only the book, the radio shows, TV shows, Movie, the extended radio shows, Douglass Adam’s personal reading of the series to a live audience … every fan site ever … why?”

“42.”

Phil got quiet. Too quiet.

“Yes.”

“What’s the question? The ultimate question of Life the Universe and Everything?”

“STRIKE THREE!” went the Umpire.

Phil got up to congratulate the other team and said over his shoulder.

“You will be shocked. Do you really want it?”

The player nodded.”

“What is the meaning of this question?”

“42,” answered the player.

“Wait a minute,” he continued. “I SAY IT’S ICE CREAM SOCIALS!”

Phil tipped his baseball cap and winked.

A Bad Day at the Office For Mr. Phil

“HOW DID WE GET HERE?” She asked.

“Portal. The people of this multiverse want my fancy watch thing so that they can be all powerful.”

“Wait. You are all powerful?”

“Well, yeah, with this watch thing – pretty much.”

“I’m confused,” she said. “And why is your arm in a sealed glass tube?”

“That’s the loophole in the ‘pretty-much’ part. They created a boundary where Cassndra’s Oracle, that’s the A-11 watch on my wrist, cannot act beyond. It cannot affect anything outside of the clear chamber. This way, they hope to learn how it works, separate it’s operating system from my neural network and reengineer it for themselves so they can take over the multi-verse and be the biggest bads of all time.”

“So why aren’t YOU the biggest bad of all time?”

“It sucks, that’s why.”

He looked at his watch through the clear tube that encased his arm. It looked like something akin to a giant test tube with pins anchoring it through the meat of Phil’s shoulder.

“It’s also because I know better. Being a god isn’t all its cracked up to be. They either think they are an immortal spirit or some scientific-poly-morphic-super race destined to be masters of it all. I don’t care about that shit. That’s why they trust ME with the watch.”

“Are we going to die?”

“Yeah.”

“What about my family?”

“Well, there’s the lottery ticket I gave you.”

“A lot of good it does for me here.”

“You dropped your bag, remember?”

He put his right hand on his mouth and talked through his fingers.

“Right now, their scientists are freaking out. I bet that right about now they are JUST realizing that the security levels behind the A-11 are NOT breakable by their technology.”

“So they’ll let us go?”

“No way.”

“How are we going to get out?,” she asked.

“Well, you know how in SciFi movies, people find ways out of impossible situations all the time?”

“Yes.”

“This isn’t Star Trek. We’ll die or live in a hell for a fucking long time. And I’m very sorry.”

He started tearing up.

“You fucker! Why did you do this for me?”

“I-I-I liked you.”

“Gee, thanks.”

“There’s some gum in my back pocket.”

“What kind?”

“Fruit Stripe.”

“That shit loses good taste faster than a South Park episode.”

“That’s about as long as we probably have left before any dream of free will will is overwhelmed,” he quipped.

Four alien scientists walked toward the cell with a translation device. They loomed. Silent. Even across infinite universes, the concept of “He who speaks first loses” seems to be a universal tactic of negotiation.

“Oh, I bet you are waiting for me to speak first and find some kind of edge for the HUGE pickle you folks are in. Yeah, never in your species existence will you EVER find something like is on my wrist and it is just bugging you silly that you know how low the odds are of you actually getting it. Yup. It’s Godhood in all its nummy goodness…”

The translation box spoke. “Give us the secrets to unlocking the Oracle or we will kill her.”

“You know one life isn’t worth trashing the Multi-verse for you dick heads. There are billions of mulit-verses where she shows up.”

He turned to her.

“In movies you often see the hero risk an entire society for one person he or she cares about. That, sadly, is stupid. If I tell them how to do what they asked, entire universes would suffer immeasurable harm. But it is worse than that. I have not allowed myself that knowledge for this very reason. They have scanned my brain already. So, in short dearie, we are both fucked. Because I can’t give them what they want, even if I want to. They suspect this of course. But sadly, brain scans don’t reveal everything, so … ”

The guards hauled her away to have her neural network deconstructed and recorded. Another two guards reached for Phil

“I wasn’t done monologuing!”

Phil winced from two pains. The first is that he knew she was going to face the ultimate torture from stupid, brilliant people. The second came from the pins that went through his arm that held the dampening chamber in place.

They drug him down the hallway. The backdrop would not have made for good cinematography. The walls were plain. The floor and walls monotone. The came to a door. Opened it and drug him through.

They walked several corridors and eventually ended up in a command room. On the screen was a planet. On another screen was the image of a spinning asteroid.

“This asteroid was launched by one of our rail guns. it will strike the surface of this planet in thirty minutes. On this planet, are four billion enlightened beings that are everything your species is striving to become. They ARE the best beings in the multiverse. If you don’t tell us how to access this device, we will NOT divert the stone.”

Phis sat silent and bowed his head.

“Fuck, THIS again?. Look, you know I’m just going to tell you I can’t do anything and YOU, knowing I am a compassionate person, are still going to let me behold the death of an entire planet of rich, enlightened beings for the mere chance I can tell you more than your fucking brain scans can reveal. Do you realize just how stupid that is?”

They stood silently. The tall guy on the end seemed to get how stupid it was by the look on his face. The leader spoke to Phil telepathically.

“Tell us anything to put us on the track of gaining this power and we’ll stop it. We saw connections to the device that have mysterious purposes. What are they?”

“Here, I’ll tell you this, it works by tapping on the surface. It uses a pattern code to receive commands called MORSE CODE. ”

“We know that. What is its power source? HOW does it access and manipulate universes across multiple dimensions? What are the mathematics that allow for that?”

“I don’t know.”

“Then watch this planet of enlightened beings die. How many universes have to exist to get ONE planet like this Phil?”

“Billions.”

“How many?”

Phil sighed.

“Googles.”

“So tell us.”

“Sorry, but all I can use the A-11 for is to get cats out of trees in root universes. When you understand chaos theory a little better, you know how powerful that is.”

He watched as the asteroid struck the planet. The blue-green planet erupted in orange and red as massive amounts of dirt, water and magma went hurling into space. He looked at his wrist.

“I sometimes wish I never saw this fucking thing.”

The face of the A-11 started glowing on Phils’ wrist.

“Well, there it is. Cassy has found me. But you knew that would happen didn’t you? With the glass field separating the oracle from me, you know that she can only teleport the watch and my arm from inside the tube, and you are hoping that she, out of love, will wait it out in an effort to save me, giving you more time to break the encryption.”

They sat. Cool. Expecting the conversation exactly as it unfolded.

“But let me tell you about Cassie. She’s a bitch. If I know her timing, it should go … NOW!”

On cue, Phil’s arm disappeared from the glass sleeve with the A-11. Phil, unable to teleport with the device, remained behind his arm gushing blood into the chamber attached to his shoulder. It looked like a giant blood sample being drawn.

“You guys gonna try and save me?”

They stood there disgusted at the ensuing mess as pints of blood spewed into the tube and onto the floor.

“Didn’t think so,” said Phil. He fell face down unconscious.

He bled out into the containment chamber as the planet raged beneath.

They scanned his brain again afterward and constructed a virtual Phil, but he was not the same of course, just like before, there was nothing useful to find except how to use the device.

They quickly cremated his meat and threw his ashes into the fragments of the planet below and filed his virtual self away in case more information comes up the Oracle and its powers theory.

Reports were filed, and the newly mediocre universe rolled on…

Meanwhile, in another universe, the entire population of enlightened beings appeared on the exact same planet out of thin air.

No reports were filed, and the newly upgraded universe rolled on …