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Moment of Truth: April 15 2017

F For Fake

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

I'm Brad Pitt – if he'd've kept it real. This is what he would've looked like, like a little round furry bald-headed Jewish guy. Is this what you want?

You want it real? You think "real" is so great?

You want the unvarnished truth? You don't want that. You can't handle the unvarnished truth. You know why they varnish the truth? Cuz without varnish it looks like shit.

"Keep it real" means, "keep doing the same dumb stuff you and your friends have been doing forever that keeps you from improving your lives." When a junkie gets clean, the rest of the junkies who are still shooting up go, " He didn't keep it real."

What is reality? The Existentialists, Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus and those guys, they said, "Let's take a good look at reality. Strip away all the fantasy, the gods, the invented things like money and laws and some jury-rigged 'purpose' to life. Strip it all down, down to the bones, like a gut rehab. What do you have? Bare timbers. Just two-by- fours and a plywood sub-floor and some pipes and junction boxes and wires. It's crap. It's gonna take work."

You're not born into a fully built residence. You construct that. Before you do, you're just hunk of mortadella in a crib. Just a loaf of meat and bones, wiggling around, taking in light and sound and smells, a barrage of chaotic sensations. It's utter unvarnished nonsense. You pick out what to pay attention to. You create a coherent world and a coherent self.

And a lot of people are incompetent at that. Some people's identities are so poorly slapped together that they fall apart at the first contradiction. They go crazy. So if you have a coherent world and self, thank your lucky stars you're such a good fabulist. Be grateful you're a good storyteller. Because it's all a made-up story. It's all fake, and god bless it.

 All we are is dust in the wind. You might be, say, a pediatrician, and help sick children, but in less than two or three generations, everything you've done will have turned to dust. And in the long run, we'll all be swallowed by the sun. That's reality, no matter what story you tell yourselves. Sorry to break it to you like this. All your suffering and joy, it's like grasping the wind. All we are is dust in the wind.

Life's a game. All the world's a stage. It's a tale told by an idiot! A fuckin idiot!

Many belief systems actually take this into account. Some believe there's a oneness at the beginning that decides, just for fun, to fragment itself into planets and stars and oceans and rocks and plants and creatures and people. But we're it. We're all one, pretending not to know we're all one, putting ourselves in these situations, these relationships, when really, we're not separate at all. Life's a story we're playing out. It's drama. We agreed to play out our separate roles in a game we made up called "existence." We're quite good at this game, at this art, at this pantomime, this fabulism.

So don't talk to me about keeping it real. Because real is the ultimate lie. It's the lie at the core of everything. This is why we have a sense of humor. So we don't get all bent out of shape all the time. Fundamentalists, they don't have a sense of humor. They're dicks.

You know who keeps it real? Suicide bombers. Oh, there's a lot of bad stuff you can say about suicide bombers. They're assholes. They're fanatics. But you can't doubt their commitment. "Oh, that martyr? Who went into that crowded marketplace, screamed 'Allahu Akbar' and exploded? What a phony." "He blew himself and all those people on that bus to smithereens, but he was just phoning it in."

We have this fetish about authenticity, but let's face it: we're simulating. And that's the good news. The good news is, all these battling factions, Da-esh, Republicans, brutal cops, CIA torturers, they're masks. They're shadow puppets. A moving paper fantasy.

Oh, yeah, when you're getting tortured or killed, it's very real. Because you're stuck in this body. Torturers know how to keep it real. I know whereof I speak. My grandfather drilled our teeth without Novocain. He knew kids were afraid of injections, and he thought the needle would make us afraid of him. So instead he drilled our teeth with no anesthetic. He had two drills: the hot drill and the cold drill. He wasn't a dentist, by the way, he was just a sadistic old man.

No, he was a dentist. Faked ya out.

Oh, this world is full of misery. Children dying horrible deaths before they have a chance to live, animals being tortured, girls trafficked in a global rape industry, because that's what it is. It's not sex trafficking, it's rape trafficking.

Yeah. Ya happy now? That feel good? A dose of reality? Have you ever read Primo Levi? He was a prisoner in Auschwitz. I've read quite a bit of his work, and let me tell you something: even people in those horrible situations, they don't think about how miserable they are all the time. The human mind dissociates itself from horror in order not to shatter. Or, it shatters. Either way, it's escaping reality.

Even if you say, therapeutically speaking, "I must confront the traumas of my past in order to stop being tormented by them," you're actually saying, "I need to free myself from what happened then, so I can open myself to a new narrative, a better story. Those events happened, but they're making me tell a story about myself and the world I don't like, a story I can't live with."

If there were a solid, immutable reality, we could never be free. We could never see beyond our despair. We have to be able to do that. Because into each life some despair must fall, and fall hard and feel damn real.

But we can gut the place and put a new floor in and drywall it up and paint it happy colors. It's hard work. You can't just paint the old rotten wood. And you might have to redo the wiring or the pipes. And you can't just paint bare studs and varnish bare joists, you gotta do a good job. Some people think they can just throw on a new coat of paint and that's all there is to it.

You gotta put sweat equity in. You can't just accept the reality in front of you. How are you gonna create yourself a better future? Cuz that's what the future's for. That's what imagination is for. The future has to start somewhere. It starts with invention. Making shit up. Some of it you gotta leave up to chance, make it up as you go along. Fake it till you make it. Keep it unreal.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

 

Moment of Truth

 

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