portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article creative global

arts and culture | political theory

Uncommon Dialogue -- A Conversation

This is a rewritten transcript of a conversation that took place five or six years ago. The conversation was had online and all the quotes are direct. This was rewritten for enjoyment and I may pull some more tricks out of those old bags and see if they have any relevance.
"Hi," says the young man from Maine in an unassuming tone of voice. "Hello," responds the older man from Indiana, who was living in Olympia at the time. The man from Maine, Jon, dives into small talk "How are you today?" The man from Indiana, looks around the room, realizes that this question is directed at him and gives in to the device of language. "I am excellent," the Hoosier responds, "barring the fact that I am extremely tired and quite bruised from lack of Iron in my diet.

How are you?" Jon rubs his chin with his ring finger and his thumb and lets out a long "Hmmmm," after that he says, "Some meat would solve that. I am quite tired, but I have lots of pent of energy. I served a school detention like usual today and walked home after taking a late bus to my street." Brian ponders this and gives him a perplexed look, because he doesn't exactly understand what he is getting into. Jon sees his perplextion and continues "I am kind of relaxed since I stayed up cleaning and rearranging my room last night until three am, and let me hear your thoughts on the consumption of meat." Brian still thinks about what was said before responding, he is an old-timer, taking in what is said before responding. He learned this from reading Gandhi, Gandhi once said that to speak before you understand is compromising the truth.

After a short pause, Brian answer the posed question, simply, "It is not good." Jon started speaking just at the same time Brian was answering "For I am really dumb when it comes to this matter." He had gotten only a few words out before Brian had finished his short response, yet instead of letting the old-timer say his piece he delved again into his own reverie. The young certainly do have a way of directing a conversation with their quick wit. So the youngster continues, "I have a friend, Ryan, and he doesn't eat meat. I am all like 'Ryan, try a meatball' and all that kind of stuff. It is a joke to me. I feel that the ends justify the means, do you feel this way?" The old-timer, being old, has heard this before and he is quicker to respond to it, especially now that he understands young Jon's position better, "That is how it is," he counters, "I mean, people will try to defeat something they don't understand with humour. They do this because they are afraid of looking ignorant." Brian feels justified in calling this youngster ignorant in so many words, but thinks again about it and interjects "I did it too, before I came to realization."

This stopped whatever was on Jon's mind and instead of his typical quickness he paused with another "hmmm." And, out of nowhere, he conjectures "but, this doesn't prove anything, it is only a satisfactory moral for the wrong story." Brian doesn't completely understand what is meant by this, so instead of responding directly, he continues with what he was saying, to try and make it clearer. "My mother does it, my little sister is very interested in my lifestyle, but my mother will not let her not eat meat. She says that it is a meat eating household and that is all. I am very glad that I am 2200 miles away from her." And while he was saying that he was registering what had been previously said by Jon and he concluded that Jon was suggesting that he did not want to be converted so don't try and Brian addressed this. "I do not have to prove anything, I am not trying to convert you, I control only my life, which is sometimes too much."

Young Jon hears these words and from out of nowhere changes the scope of the conversation, he says "I believe there is pure, wrong, and evil; and I think your method of thinking is more wrong than pure." Not thinking immediately about what was said, the old-timer says "You can control your own life, and make your own choices, it is called free will, and, in your essay, you state that you are right and that everyone else is wrong. That defeats freedom and my cause." The essay in question was sent to Brian from Jon, because Jon was seeking advice in reworking it to make it a little more reader friendly. Brian's cause is that of freedom and in tune with that, free will, and Jon had stated in his essay that things needed to be dictated by someone on high and purported that he could be that person. Jon, quickly responds "You are stuck in our world, my brother. And I am looking ahead." Finally computing what Jon had said about pureness Brian says "Pure, wrong and evil, huh? We look at it as sanity insanity beauty and ugly."

Hearing this, Jon proudly states "Insanity is the right," trying to correlate the two ideas, he continues his thought aloud "pure, right, wrong, evil... " and then he trails off. Jon goes into a fit of wildly exercising his mind, thinking too much and sensing this Brian poses a question, hoping to catch him in a trap. "How do you perceive insanity? What is your definition?" Jon grins and looks wide eyed, touching Brian's shoulder he whispers "We are insanity, our existence" then he apologizes for being a little too into the conversation and says "I think I am getting too deep for my thought, it is starting not to make sense." Brian, tries to set him at ease by joking "I just want a simple definition, not a generalization if the entire world." "Yeah, I am getting to it," Jon replies. "I take it as: this world we live in is superficial. The world I can experience, pureness, is reality. I have a faint grasp on what it is to be a pure thinker."

Realizing what he just said, he took a Socratic way out "I'm very dumb though, at times." Jon is on a freight train to somewhere and leaving Brian in the dust, so Brian tries to slow him down by asking him specific questions "What do you grasp?" But, it seems he is too late because Jon doesn't even hear him and continues "My friend and I really help each other along in our conversations, we have found out that we can tune in with each other and we think the same," and then he answers, "I grasp all that is not seen." Liking this answer, the old-timer continues this path and simply says "which is?" But, Jon was already somewhere else, trying to keep a conversation with his mind and a conversation with the old-timer, they travel at different speeds and it gets confusing. Jon asks "How was this universe made? What is the un-universe?"

And then mumbling to himself "rules of engagement, rules that are because they have to be, it is hard to explain in my current state." Brian tries to tune in with him and picks up on anything he can. "What rules have to be? Just give me a few examples." "Okay, one rule is that everything is different, no two things are the same. They all belong to an infinite collection in Thingdom." He continues "An example, 'apple' and 'apple' are the same word, but they are different things." Jon has started to quote himself from his essay and Brian does not really want to hear more of that, because it is a really abstract way of thinking so he stops that "I have read the essay, I understand what you are saying, but do not agree with it in its entirety." Jon, he likes to talk about himself and his "essay", so he is back on track. "Okay," he says, "please tell me what you do not like, it is unfinished as all my work is." "So," Brian starts, "you have picked up a guitar and strummed before, right?" Jon scratches his head and looks at Brian, thinking that the old-timer just lost his head. Brian nods as if saying that it is okay to answer the question, to let Jon know that he is going somewhere. "Yeah," Jon says apprehensively.

"Do you know how to tune a guitar?" "Yeah." "Okay, so you can tune the strings so that you can make the same noise twice?" Brian says this and Jon thinks for a moment and then Brian continues "Meaning, can you play a song and then play the same song again?" "Okay, why, and no, I cannot play anything, I just started." Brian smiles, because his old-timer rhetoric has sailed completely over the youngsters head and now he has the chance to tie it all together in front of Jon and save some face. "Because, in life we are things and if we can make one thing do the same thing then we can do the same thing in thingdom and we just haven't learned how to fine tune our bodies yet. That is my problem with your essay." Brian says this and relaxing his back, as Jon ponders again. "Hmmm, we can never fine tune our bodies, unless... Unless we can realize that we are each God.

We all form everybody, you are part of my world, just as I am part of yours." Brian nods his head and says "Realizing that is the fine-tuning, people have a fear of God. That isn't right, they should love god, for that being is compassionate. And I am a part of your world, that is true. And in that sense, we can be the same in one world, without knowing it, because we do not know ourselves." Brian's is on a roll and lets it go, trying to get back to the original idea, "Furthermore, we can also be the same as the cow that you ate at McDonalds today, and I do not want to want myself. I do not want to be a cannibal, that is my argument as to why I do not eat meat." Jon concedes that argument at the end, the old timer wins. But Jon isn't totally done yet.

He starts, "A lot of what I do is Human Interaction. I am kind of considered one of the 'cool kids', yet they all see that I possess that quality of weirdness. But they accept it." Playing off of the last discussion, Brian answers "What is a human? A human is an animal, and in exploring human interaction, you are seeing half of the picture. To make your conclusions, you should explore interaction and base your judgments on the whole, rather than the part." Jon nods and then delves "I hang out with a lot of the "freaks" and they know that I am "real" but they also know I care about what other people think," Brian gives a perplexed look and Jon finishes, "Trust me, my thoughts cannot be explained in words, it just doesn't work."

Brian tries to understand "See, I do not know labels very well anymore. I can barely explain myself with labels. The best is 'I am vegan straightedge'." Before Brian finishes, Jon is off to the races again "You have a label, for I see it now. I have a picture of you in my head, which is disturbing to say the least." Trying to ease Jon's last comment about not being able to convey his thoughts, Brian adds "That is okay, thoughts were not meant for words. Thoughts were meant for thoughts, words are superficial and that is saying that telepathy is not only possible, but right." As Brian and Jon often are off of each others page at first, Jon starts somewhere else again "This is actually one of the first steps to enlightenment. It is to see things without labels, to just see them in their form and not to judge." Continuing on a different page, Brian says "Tell me your picture, explain me to me." And he smiles as he says this. "To tell you the truth, I am constantly bending my dreams towards our superficial reality, because some things are just not possible. In my life span, at least.

My picture of you is an ever-changing array of creation, of the universe stuff, daily communication and its effects, the interaction of taking and giving up energy with human interaction. So many thoughts are racing." Brian smiles at what is said, and then disregards, going back to something previously stated "You shouldn't expect to accomplish anything in your life, proof of science is that most things are discovered by accident, not by striving." Jon looks very determined after hearing that and quickly says "I don't like you for saying that," then he thinks a little more, "hmmm, science is not my idea, science is stupid, it doesn't explain anything. I guess my problem is that I want to destroy and re-create, and instead I should be looking for a way to mend, to do my best, help people. I really wish I could talk all day long and all night with a microphone in a room where anybody who wants to listen can.

I wish I didn't have to worry about money issues or feeding myself, I just want to talk all day." "Some people," Brian begins, "including myself, think that the only way to re-create is to destroy. I think that we have reached the point of no return. But, I do no think that aiding the destruction will gain any points for me in the recreation." "So you think the world cannot be mended? I feel," Jon says without even waiting for an answer, "that when nano-technology comes, many task, such as food production, can be automated. Nano-technology can create food out of atoms that are present everywhere." Brian answers the question previously posted, because he likes it "No, I think that war is imminent. But, I will do my best to keep it away, because war is the antecedent to my goals." "War is pure," Jon states. "What does that mean?" "No emotion," Jon answers, "Just justice, one cause against another. If the causes are not right, then the war cannot be pure." "There is no 'right' cause for people to destroy one another," Brian's firmly states, "because they do it through the institution of country, and countries are dumb and unnecessary."

With scalding eyes, Jon stares into Brian "You cherish life way too highly, life is worthless. Literally, it is something from nothing. Consciousness is a mysterious thing," Jon cools down and poses a question, "Have you ever thought if a brick can think? It cant, it is not alive, it has no consciousness." "You are just apathetic towards life," Brian calmly says, "and that will change as you grow and realize more beauty and truth." "You are made up of atoms, just like the brick," Jon finishes his thought before responding to what was just proposed by the old-timer, "Do you destroy bricks and feel sorrow? I love life, I LOVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, I LOVE LIFE, I LOVE IT. I just don't see it as the ultimate treasure.

Nothingness is pure, and no evil has ever come out of nothingness." Answering, Jon continues "I am not apathetic towards anything, apathy is wrong, not pure. Apathy stems from human evolution, we need hate to get rid of it." "I am sure you love life, I wont deny that. I am just saying that you have much more to experience, reasons yet unknown to love it more. I presume that you haven't been very far and that you haven't realized many things outside of your personal perception." "Nope, I haven't. But, rather than showing me what life is, it shows me what my life is made of. I analyze everything. I come up with reasons where there is no reason." Jon is racing through these words, laying the next one quickly and clearly, allowing no interjection. "Thoughts just find their way into my head," Jon continues, "the hardest teacher is failure, because the test comes after the lesson, and I am just now learning this."

Jon stops to breath "You are way quicker than I am," Brian wrestles in, to keep in line, he jokes, "it must be your joviality." Jon corrects himself "I meant the test comes before the lesson. I feel that you are smarter in an experienced kind of way, like you are ahead in the race but I am going at a faster pace." Brian attempts to sum everything up "You are going very fast, and you have a good twist, like you know what you are saying. I don't, what comes out of my mouth and my head totally unexpected," Jon is in awe of what he is hearing, and listens closer "I do not know myself even half yet, I am always learning and you are helping me." Brian finishes and walks away, putting his hands in his pockets and Jon stares as he walks into the distance, contemplating.