American Morality/Ideology Superstore: The Ever-Shifting Form of Freedom in the Post-Industrial World – Teddy Duncan Jr.
November 16, 2020
An unhappy lethargic mid-day proceeds with various activities transpiring: a grocery store filled with shoppers, employees with dull store protocol enforced smiles scanning groceries, a woman walking a dog on a sidewalk, a local bar with $4 shots of whisky during happy hour containing three people not including the bartender (all daily patrons), someone somewhere is having sex, someone somewhere is having an abortion, and he is taking a piss in a public restroom. Streams of sunlight weightlessly pour between and on human bodies and trees and buildings and this particular public restroom. Water, droplet by droplet, seeps out of an improperly turned off facet. A rank smell of urine-wet tile and dry musky sealed-in sweaty asshole shits invisibly linger and pervade any available orifice capable of smell (nostrils).
When he departs from the bathroom above the lines that define the segments of the sidewalk, he considers determinism, not in a theological sense but in an everything-is-meant-to-be sense. A sort of cosmic connection between everything that has occurred and will occur, a communal pool of experiences that everyone contributes to and exists because of the contents of this pool-of-experiences which means that this pool is contingent on everything that it contains (the entirety of experiences) endowing it with a cohesiveness (in the sense of things happening all within the same space) and this cohesiveness lends itself to all future experiences/occurrences which sorta determines what can happen within this pool-space. Every occurrence/experience resulting in a ripple that spreads and forms micro-ripples, maybe even silently affecting everything, until there’s a reactionary ripple or wave that collides with the initial ripple or simply negates it. The past effectively determining the future.
He walks on the sidewalk towards a Dunkin Donuts. In the Dunkin Donuts the TV plays the news, an earthquake along a tectonic plate led to a spreading of land that devoured a village in the middle East, three days prior to this incident drones killed a civilian family in the same village… wrong house… people leave with their iced mocha lattes without looking up… What could they conceivably do anyways? He orders an egg and cheese Wake-Up Wrap® and a macchiato made with Dunkin Fresh Beans® which came up to under 5 dollars.
(He comments to the affable & cheery cashier with white teeth beaming in smile formation)
“For 4.99 you can’t beat that!”
(She responds in an upbeat and cheery tone)
“Nope you can’t! With only the best coffee beans sourced from Columbia and egg whites from American farms it’s a deal meant to start off your morning right!”
(She proudly/affectionately strokes the DD logo on her shirt)
“Have a great day sir!”
(He looks back as he walks through the door to exit, grinning ecstatically)
“Ha, Now I will!”
Back on the street, there’s movement from place to place, people looking for somewhere to pass the time… among them is a street preacher shouting: —God is love! Everything that happens happens in his name and is part of his great design! The human body is a divine miracle! God is the truth! The TVs won’t tell you and the newspapers won’t tell you and your friends won’t tell you and your local Wal-Mart won’t tell you but God is the truth! He is salvation! He has no physical form! We’re in God’s image because we resemble love! We’re capable of love because we were forged from love! Sometimes we stray!… God is everywhere simultaneously! Little child’s hugs! And presents given! And smiles! And thoughts! And even in telephone poles molded from the hands of he who resembles love! …The car! The scissors! All carved from one great big love and that love is God! —
He observes the street preacher and the pedestrians, quickening their pace as they pass the street preacher and become the subject to his wide-eyed declaration of God’s love for humanity. He continues to pursue his destination. He glances at a curb where a human body lies unresponsive yet alive ascending and descending chest and slight spittle in grey beard on the floor with a cardboard sign laying on top of the homeless person like a blanket, stating: “Hungry and homeless God Bless”.
Bayer pharmaceutical company were the first to synthesize heroin; they quite literally invented heroin.
He further considers determinism, or the inverse of determinism, he considers what nothing actually is. If all these occurrences don’t meet in any common space or have any relation to each other, then the universe is unpredictable undermining the notion of cause and effect. He’d read Satre and he said that nothing doesn’t precede being or occurrences, but being precedes nothing, meaning things don’t come from nothing because nothing is the negation of something. Nothingness looms over life and all these occurrences just get absorbed by, not preliminary nothingness, but post-life nothingness.
He enters a bookstore and browses section by section, classic literature, nonfiction, poetry, children, religious (religious meaning a monotheistic religion that has one sacred text split in two and devotedly believes in a god that was human for a few decades). He stops at self-help/spiritual (spiritual meaning enlighten-yourself-via-this-enlightening-self-help-book), eye grazes covers looking for something that isn’t there that he thinks has already been made… by someone else….
He skims a book titled “The Meaning of Life has Been there All Along: 10 Ways to Navigate Life in a Fulfilling Manner” 235 pages with 10 chapters and an introduction by another life-guru who really seems to appreciate this author’s approach and absolutely considers him an “integral component of the self-help canon”. Chapter 7’s title opines/mandates that “Appreciation is the Key to Happiness”:
“Showing appreciation is the heart’s way of revealing it’s contentness with the world. To appreciate is to confront the goodness within everything and to discard the inclination for the human mind (particularly the modern human mind) to be hyper-critical. Be where you are and appreciate what is around you. Appreciate the tiniest pleasures in your life. Indulge and treat yourself when possible. YOU ARE WORTH IT. The direct correspondence between happiness (and happiness is vital to sustainable self-fulfillment that is contingent on absolutely nothing besides itself) and appreciation is widely researched. According to the book “Understanding Depression” (a book commissioned by Harvard University):
“In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships” (www.Health.Harvard.edu).
In a study conducted by the University of California the results were impressive to say the least:
“One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation” (www.Health.Harvard.edu).
And so, I implore the reader, spend 10 minutes a day, 10 simple, short, non-obtrusive minutes, a day, considering what you appreciate in your own life. Write it down or just simply hold them in your head.”
He flips over the book and looks at the price located directly above the barcode, 24.99 – fucking absurd for a paperback….
He continues down the lifeless grey street (that intersects other streets, each road somehow leading to the next or previous, creating the endless incomprehensible labyrinth of American roads) accompanied by his copy of “The Meaning of Life has Been there All Along: 10 Ways to Navigate Life in a Fulfilling Manner”.
An argument ensues on the street’s crosswalk, two people with opposing opinions shout and point viscous fingers. One person calls the other “a hopeless motherfucker”. He walks by, watching them through his peripheral without turning his head, envious of their conviction…
He passes in front of a Walgreens considering the ideas of his youth—stupidly optimistic idealisms—a moment high on marijuana…the wind blowing a cat as it does human in America as it does leaf as it does human in Saudi Arabia as it does remainder of unconsidered world… a naturally constituted equality…beyond human to human…beyond animal rights…beyond life itself… but what does that mean anyways? Can’t implement an idealism, nothing more than a fleeting marijuana induced hope. (All hippies are fucking contemporary jokes. Blind to the harsh realities, adolescent like, pursuing a perpetual “what if?”)
Thighs meeting thighs shrouding the act that lay beneath in a V of flesh.
The street does not end, even at its mortal end, it continues. Streets to be walked and walked back down and turned on mid-street and streets not to be taken and unencounterable streets that are attached only to those untaken streets and streets ahead the taken streets that can be seen but not reached…. Traffic is halted on the street. Only one lane. Completely occluded, like an artery moments before cardiac arrest… He sees the faces within the cars. Frustrated faces streaked with lines indicative of incessant agitation… Pursuing homes of putative relief….
He walks and walks and walks and walks down or up or east or west or north or south or left or right or however according to your own personal perspective slant, remaining on the street, considering it all. He arrives at a wall. The wall has words slung across it in scratchy-thin graffiti letters:
—The original, initial, primordial, aboriginal, archetypal being, microscopically, single-cellingly, slides along a formation at the bottom of the relatively new-born Earth’s ocean, hearing and tasting and (arguably) feeling nothing due to lack of central nervous system, considering nothing, thoughtlessly reproducing.
The origin of Us—