(About an 11 minute read)
PAUL: Beat it, Teresums! I’m busy, busy, busy! I have a post to write today for my voracious meat-eating blog audience, and all I have in front of me so far is the White Screen of Death. No time for you. Run off! Go play with your sailors. Go show them the real reason Sydney Harbor Sluts go “down under” on their sailors.
TERESUMS: Oh no you don’t, Paul! Not this time! I swore last Tuesday was the very last time in my life ever that I was going to let you shoo me away by lying about how busy you are! Never again, Paul!
PAUL: What? What are you talking about?
TERESUMS: Last Tuesday I was desperate for help with my maths assignment. So desperate I called you. You Paul! That’s how desperate I was. And you blew me off in my hour of darkness and despair. You blew me off, saying you were “busy, busy, busy negotiating North Korea’s nuclear disarmament”. To think I believed you! But I was so much younger and naive back then — back before you opened my eyes and stole my faithful trust in you and all men by lying to me. Lying to me, Paul! In the Dark Night of My Maths Assignment, you lied to me!
PAUL: Oh? Let me look. … No, I don’t see anything in my diary about lying to you that day. I’m afraid you’re terribly, terribly mistaken. Was that a tugboat horn I just heard? A ship’s coming in. Better go hit the docks ahead of the other girls — you know how crowded the rent-by-the-hour rooms get when a ship comes in. Go now to make sure you get a room before they fill up!
TERESUMS: Eighteen minutes, Paul! Just 18 minutes after you lied to me, I got an email from you — obviously copied to me by mistake. A damning email, a copy of your exchange with an Indonesian pornographer. You were negotiating alright. You were negotiating a bulk purchase of Balinese fishnet donkey porn! By Vishnu, Paul, you bought yourself an extra hundred thousand reincarnations that day!
PAUL: Teresums, the meat-eaters are howling for my dripping, fresh roadkill. Can’t you hear them? It’s been months, Teresums, months since my last essay. Months since my last appalling exposé of life. Life as twisted through the warped and fractured lens of my mind. The shameless mind-voyeurs are howling for my soul like banshees. I have no time for you!
TERSUMS: You made a promise to me, Paul. Three years ago you made a promise. You promised to be my elder. You promised to be my guide through life — in unholy exchange for my undying esteem and admiration. I thought I was merely selling my soul into hell. I had no clue you would be so much worse than demonic possession. But a deal is a deal. Keep your promise, you filthy-minded fishnet egotist!
PAUL: I see your plan. You aim to raise my conscience from the dead. You scheme to set a zombie conscience upon me. I’m beginning to think you might be worthy of me, Harbor Wench. Be quick! What’s your question? Chop! chop! Fork it over!
TERESUMS: I’ve been getting angry with my sis way too often. So I read the Buddha. I agree with the Buddha that it’s not really anger itself that’s the problem. The problem is actually that we cling to anger, hold on to anger, nurse our anger. That’s what makes it bad. That’s how it turns evil on us. I agree with him there. But here’s what I still don’t understand: How is trying to calm ourselves down the same as clinging to anger? How is trying to calm anger the same as holding onto it?
PAUL: Simple. I can’t answer your question. No one can. But you can go look yourself. You can look, and if you look, you will see the answer to you question. Now, that’s all the time I have. Great hearing from you today. Drop me an email anytime so long as you don’t. Wisdom is never valued by the young. “Pearls before swine.” Go do something you young people actually value and enjoy, such as picking your nose. Have a fabulous time rooting around up there. Wish you success and happiness at it. Get lost!
TERESUMS: I don’t understand. How can just looking at myself answer my question?
PAUL: Oh? You’re still here?
TERESUMS: Paul Sunstone, you arrogant donk! We have a deal! Answer me! Tell me!
PAUL: It’s not that easy, Sugar Fool!
TERESUMS: Why not? Why can’t you just tell me why trying to calm myself is the same thing as clinging? You’re not making any sense.
PAUL: Ok. Ok. Alright. If it will get rid of you any sooner, here’s how it is. You’re question is confused, a regular logjam. It’s not your fault though. God and Darwin gave humans logjams for brains. We’re the most confused species of the great apes. You are just channeling your inner human. No way can I answer your question without breaking up the logjam in your head first.
TERESUMS: What logjam? Explain!
PAUL: Listen up then! Listen hard like something really important, really vital to you depends on you understanding my words. Maybe your autographed poster of Justin Bieber, for instance. The one you glued to the ceiling over your bed so you could imagine him on top of you. Try thinking you’ve got to understand this stuff or else he comes unglued right in the midst of one of your innumerable wank sessions. Ready? Here goes: According to me, there are two ways of knowing — two ways of understanding. I call them “logos” and “gnosis”. When you know or understand something on the level of words, the level of maps, the level of symbols, that’s logos. When you know or understand something on the level of experiencing it yourself, that’s gnosis. Got all that? Good! Now scoot off! I’m given you enough to ponder by yourself for a few — an all-too-few — weeks. See you at Christmas!
TERESUMS: No way, you donk! I don’t understand it yet. Give me some examples.
PAUL: You street beggars embarrass me. Ok. Here’s your pocket change: You read a how-to book on building decks, that’s logos. You go to work hand-ons screwing and nailing a deck together, that’s gnosis you’re learning then. Think of the Bible, Teresums. “Adam knew Eve.” But how did he knew her? He knew her hands-ons, hands all over her, hands-on her everywhere. He got physically involved himself in knowing her. That is, he knew her the gnosis way. Now, think of your Justin, Teresums. How do you know him? Through a poster, through an image on your ceiling — anything but hands-on. Anything but real life. Anything but physically involved. You know your Justin the logos way. Two ways of learning something. Two ways of knowing something. Count them on your fingers if you must. You’ll see I’m right, there’s two of them. Not saying you’re any good at learning things either one of those two ways, Teresums. Tragic, that. Simply tragic. But now, do you understand?
TERESUMS: I got it. I got it now. But where are you going with it? Where are you taking me? Knowing you, Paul, you’re luring me into some dark corner where you plan to perv all over me while imagining I’m a donkey in fishnets, you sick old man.
PAUL: Hm…not such a bad idea. I’m beginning to like how your mind works. We need to discuss this later, but for now listen up! All your life, people have taught you to confuse logos with gnosis. Everyone has taught you to confuse logos with gnosis. Google up a map of Colorado. Stick your thumb on Colorado Springs. You’ve got your thumb on a map. Nothing more than a map. But given you’ve got a logjam for brains, you most likely think you’re visiting me here in the Springs. Typical human!
TERESUMS: Paul, that’s nonsense! No one is stupid enough to miss the difference between a map and a city.
PAUL: We do it all the time, Teresums. You yourself have already done it once today. The reason you insist I tell you why calming yourself is clinging to your anger is because you assumed you can learn gnosis from logos. Do you see that?
TERESUMS: Nope. Not yet.
PAUL: Here’s how it works. You can logos something just as deeply as the Mariana Trench and yet knowing the thing that way will not change you in any important way except to change your map of it. There are ways changing your map can be very important, of course. But there’s a key way logos knowledge is of no importance at all. It is all but powerless to convince you on your deeper levels that something is real. Feel your thumb on the map of Colorado Springs. Do you believe — on any level — that you are now visiting the Springs?
TERESUMS: Of course not! Only a madman would believe that.
PAUL: You say only a madman would believe such things, and yet we humans believe such things 24/7. We confuse logos with gnosis all the time, Sailor’s Delight. Case in point: Look at how often people think the “words of wisdom” are wisdom. Look at how often people think the logos of wisdom is the gnosis of wisdom.
TERESUM: I might be getting this now. Go on.
PAUL: Suppose I say, “Love is a lens that looms someone large and before you so that they are so close that communion with them becomes possible”. Being human, here’s what you’re likely to do. First, you will study my words. Eventually, you will understand which terrain, which reality the words are referring to. Then, once you feel you clearly see exactly what I’m talking about, you will think you have learned something wise about love…
TERESUMS: I get it now! I think I’ve learned something about love, but all I’ve really learned is the logos, the map of love. So you’re saying that learning the map is not the same thing as loving someone! That’s pretty obvious, Mr. Bright Bulb.
PAUL: Yes, very obvious when it is put as clearly as I just did. No one fails to get the difference between map of a tree and a tree when you make it obvious to them. But consider this, Teresums. All your pathetically few years on this earth, people have told you over and over, “Don’t stay angry. Calm yourself down”. All your life you have thought that if you could only “take their words to heart”, you would be able to calm yourself down whenever you felt anger. All your life you have been trying to figure out how to apply their words to your anger. So how has that worked out for you? I can guess how. You are 22 years old and still trying to calm yourself down these days when you get angry at your sis. I’d call that “a pretty impressive track record you’ve got going for yourself, Sailor’s Doom”. Are you following this?
TERESUMS: Of course. But what makes you think I don’t know what “calming myself down means”?
PAUL: Let me put it another way, for 22 years you have seen no further into “calming yourself down” than the words you have been taught about it. For instance: You had no clue until today that trying to calm yourself down is clinging to your anger. You have looked at the logos of calming yourself down for 22 years, and yet only today have you heard for the first time that making an effort to calm yourself down is clinging to your anger. Could you spend 22 years staring at the tree in my yard without noticing anything I hadn’t myself told you about the tree? You’ve been gazing at the map, not the reality of calming yourself down, for 22 years.
TERESUMS: I think I just now felt a log or two break free. But what now? What’s the next step?
PAUL: Shift your gaze at last from the map to the reality, from the logos to the gnosis. The next time you get angry at your sis, look! Look at your anger. Look as non-judgmentally as you can. Look at it like a scientist studying a fruit fly under a magnifying glass. Don’t make the mistake of introspecting your anger. Don’t seek evaluate, assess it all. Observe it rather than introspect it. Observe it dispassionately. You will certainly be judging yourself, but treat those judgments like they were fictions, like they were jokes. See the truth, see through gnosis your anger. See by experiencing your anger dispassionately, non-judgmentally.
TERESUMS: Then what do I do? Will I be able to calm myself down then?
PAUL: You won’t have to do anything. It will all be done for you by your brain on a level below your conscious awareness. If you can dispassionately see the gnosis, your brain will take care of the rest. The results might or might not be immediate. It can pretty much depend on how non-judgmental you can be. But basically, it’s like riding your bike into a tree. You won’t have to think about it, then. No one will need to map for you what it felt like. Your brain will take care of it for you. You will know the tree was hard. You will gnosis it. And you might perhaps afterwards have an instinctive reluctance to ride your bike into trees. You might instinctively avoid clinging to your anger.
TERSUMS: Wow! I hope it works.
PAUL: Good luck! Let me know how it goes. Now pay up! Pay me for my lecture in the cherished and gold coins of your admiration and esteem for my wisdom. Chop! Chop! Be quick about it! Be as quick as a 17 boy cumming on prom night. I won’t live forever. Pay up!
TERESUM: Ok. Ok. Paul, I mean this with both my heart and mind. Now and then your farts don’t stink all that bad.
PAUL: At last! The recognition I crave from you! The basking light of your admiration and esteem. At last, you are learning something truly valuable from me: That I rock. Your profuse bows will be accepted until five o’clock Mountain Time. Then be off with you! Then get off my grass, young’un!