Listen Man It Isn’t About The Brain

Imagine that you’re at the bonfire. Whichever bonfire is your Platonic Bonfire, whichever ‘guys’ are your guys are around, but hardly visible. There’s some soft music on the bluetooth speaker, you can’t hear the words over the crackling of the fire. The friend that your friend brought brings you another drink (whatever drink you have at your Platonic Bonfire), and creaks his way into the Chinese plastic lawn chair beside you.

A moment breathes in and passes. You crack/sip/swirl the drink of your choice. He does the same.

He turns to you and says “Listen man, I don’t think any of this was ever about our brains.”

you are a fire trapped in a flesh prison, turn your eyes heavenward and burn

“They’re trying to sell us as packages of discreet operations. Infinitely complex operating systems, with inputs and outputs. As if man, made in His image, could ever be so simple. As if we could ever grasp ourselves, as if an iteration of ourselves that we could grasp would even be worth reaching towards. In our broken bodies do we find salvation, in our descent do we rise, at our most shattered are we found again and made whole!”

You get the sense he’s borrowing bits and pieces from a class a few years back. Heidegger, maybe Nietzsche? Who even is this guy anyway? Your drink is empty, the speaker died. Your friends are starting to consolidate the pods of twos and threes into a cluster of ten, the fire is dying out.

“There will be a time in your life, if you’re here there probably already has been, where a person clad in the lab coat of medical expertise and authority, will display empathy and competence. They will understand your issue. You’re sad? You don’t eat or sleep do you? You don’t feel joy? You feel empty? There is a lack? Take pill X. Yes, it’s an SSRI, but those are actually good! They help you get stable! Please don’t do that to yourself. Please. I’ve been down that road and the misery and pain you feel, the stabbing morphing darkness in your heart, is what makes you human. Don’t lose it.”

You’re getting up. This guy is getting really weird, and you haven’t been able to get a word in edgewise. You hook your hand around the arm of your plastic chair, starting to drag it back to the fire and the comfort of your peers.

You’re on the ground. He’s tackled you. He’s speaking calmly, at the same volume, pushing your arms into the summer grass.

“You are loved. You are divine. You are what we have all waited for, our whole lives. The world around you is designed to break you, to make you give up, let go. Stay in the pain. Keep staring into the void, it’s the only way you’re going to be strong enough for the rest of us.”

Your friends are running over, punching the stranger, kicking him to the ground for attacking you.

You go inside, wash off the dirt, call the police. Turns out he was just a well dressed homeless schizophrenic, adept enough at parroting the norms of the well-adjusted to reach into your mind. Who knows where he is now, probably online somewhere. Probably writing a blog.

subject for whom being itself is an issue warranting action