Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

The Seventeenth Assistant

Originally posted on February 27, 2015

In the great hierarchy of being, I figure that the vast cosmos has an unthinkable number of levels in many dimensions. Poetically speaking, then, I am blessed by the guidance of the seventeenth assistant to the seventeenth assistant to beings who shall remain yet unnamed in the celestial hierarchy. I allow that these folks sort of know what’s it all about, at least in comparison with me. So although it’s indirect and may be contaminated in the transmission, as in a game of telephone, here’s my inspiration or fantasy of what is the real dope:

First, what most people call the real dope, as we’ve had it handed down to us, has been contaminated in the transmission, which is far more likely when it passes through the minds of puny-humans with a variety of vested interests and allegiances. Kiss-ass is a major factor: Write something that will either flatter your superior or reflect positively on him (mainly it was a him), and unconsciously twist the language accordingly. The powers of self-deception being as amazing as they are, you’ll have no trouble rationalizing the idea that you have been translating or passing along the real dope as purely as you can. Yeah.

So as puny-brain as I know I am, I have met lots of others who are supposedly smart—and I’m not over-awed. Indeed, I’m not even very impressed in many cases. Indeed, I’m somewhat disappointed in many cases. Nor have I always been so arrogant. I’ve generally given people the benefit of the doubt. Hey, I even thought they might be right and I was wrong for most of my life. Looking back, I’m emerging, disillusioned (not an entirely bad thing, if they were indeed illusions), from a lifelong inferiority complex. And I’ve come to think that I’m not so dumb.

Talking with Uncle Bud, my name for the 17th assistant to the 17th assistant, also functioning as my personal guardian angel—and are there others he guards? Don’t ask.—and Uncle Bud says, “You’re a little smarter than most, yeah, so what? You’re still a puny-brain.” I take this as a back-handed complement that I have a right to re-construct my own model of the nature of the cosmos as much as anyone. (As much as anyone does not imply that I presume to be ultimately right, but rather is a sort of apophatic affirmation, the word “apophatic” referring to my knowing that neither I nor any other human can know.) My suspicion of the foundations of wisdom of anyone else is supported. I suppose there might be other humans—er, fellow puny-brains—who might indeed more know about what’s really going on, but alas, as yet I have found nothing that seems reliable as tests as to who really knows what’s what and who’s just making it up.

I know I’m just making it up, and others maybe are more sincere in the fervency of their beliefs that they are not making it up, but I see no evidence that their beliefs or their beliefs about their beliefs are any less made-up than my own. So where does that leave us?

Shouting at me won’t convince me, so back off. Yelling is a rather primitive instinct and more effective when it is a warning in person of physical violence. As a verbal form, protected by miles of physical, actual distance, it’s pretty weak if not totally impotent.


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