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Moment of Truth July 22 2017

 The Drama of the Exiled King

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

Ever get in one of those moods where your understanding of what the world is seems stuck on "basic alienation?" Reality parades and throngs around you like an immersive performance, human activity repeats ritualistically, as mechanical behavior in response to stimulus or programmed biologically, chemically even. A sophisticated organization of humans going about its sophisticated business is doing nothing more meaningful, nor does it evince any more free will, than salt does when it dissolves in water. People fight, love, build, invent, trade and sing because there is nothing else for them to do. We're all just chemistry trundling along through our processes of transformation. There is not a single activity you can discern to be a product of choice.

Here's a tidbit I picked up somewhere as I was going through the motions of living my life: King Solomon had a lot of contact with demons. I may have mentioned this elsewhere, but it never hurts to go over old ground. In Solomon's world, demons were as observant as any Jew. They had temples in their demon world and studied Torah. Not some demon Torah, the Torah. And being immortal, they accumulated a great deal of wisdom from their studies. Ashmodai, the big cheese of the demons, was famous for his knowledge of Torah and mastery of its mysteries.

It's no surprise, then, that Solomon kept Ashmodai prisoner in his palace in order to study at the demon's feet. Solomon had a compulsive desire to learn. For a king, untangling the secrets of the universe woven in the letters and sounds of Torah provided material advantages, but Solomon was no less a student for the pure sake of learning. He learned the languages of the animals from the demons, and some say Ashmodai provided Solomon with the architectural specifications for rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem.

During their studies they came upon a particular mystery, I'm not sure what, but it was a deeply puzzling, mystically divine question, and Ashmodai had the answer to it. The demon said he could only explain if given full range of movement, because apparently there was some sort of gymnastic aspect to this point of doctrine. Solomon would have to remove whatever chains prevented Ashmodai from freely moving. Also, Ashmodai wanted to wear Solomon's royal signet ring, solely for the time it took to impart the secret midrash.

Solomon was a total sucker for arcane obscurities. He agreed to Ashmodai's requirements without hesitation. Ashmodai stretched his wings to their full expanse, dipping the tip of one down into the depths of the underworld and stretching the other up to the roof of the heavens. Then he clapped his wings closed with a thunderous impact, the shockwave from which threw Solomon out of his palace. The king tumbled through the sky, out of Jerusalem, out of Judea, beyond the horizon of the sea.

You see what you get when you're too curious, children? Solomon flew so far so fast that his royal clothes burned off from friction with the air. He landed in some far-off land, naked and alone. As one twitter bot once said, "Life have been like sandwich, now I am living dead." It was not cool to have been the king and now to have nothing, in a strange country.

What could Solomon do but pick himself up, dress himself in whatever he could find, and begin the long walk back to his kingdom? Whatever happened during those years of wandering, the effect they had on Solomon's outlook on life can be read in the words of Koheleth, which the goyim call the book of Ecclesiastes. As Solomon, or Koheleth, walked back to Jerusalem, he became a wandering preacher, and someone took it upon himself to jot down his somewhat nihilistic musings.

Koheleth orated to whoever would gather around him. "Life is meaningless," he said. "All we seek in glory or simplicity is like trying to hold onto the wind. All human endeavor is vanity. Whether wise or foolish, decent or crooked, all people come to the same end. A human life is a brief flame. Everything you work for in your life will belong to someone else. Nothing matters. There is no way to figure out the right way to live, because at bottom there is no absolute truth. We're all just guessing. It's probably best to enjoy what simple pleasures you can without striving too much, and maybe be decent to others if only to avoid the inconveniences that come from social retribution."

Had Solomon witnessed some series of brutal or moving scenes during in his exile? Or was it just the sudden shock of no longer having every need provided, and the dwelling on how he'd come to be a penniless vagabond, that brought him to his existential crisis? Was he just a spoiled brat of a man suddenly confronted with the harshness of the real world from which he'd previously been protected by his royal condition? Or had his bleak but perhaps freeing worldview been earned in some way?

Does it matter? Because he's right. All our business on this planet amounts to nothing more than does the fevered scurrying of ants building nests. Creation is nonsensical and hyperactive. We wake up every day, dress ourselves in costumes and wiggle our way back into life's manic processes. We might as well be cutouts in a shadow play.

Koheleth eventually got back to Jerusalem, continued his preaching, and eventually ended up in conversation with a eunuch from the royal harem, who told him King Solomon was still a fine king, but he had been for the last few years maybe too active among his many wives. He would even have sex with them during their menstrual periods. Somehow Koheleth got close enough to the king to reveal that he had the feet of a bird. Ashmodai was unmasked as an imposter, and Koheleth got back his throne. And the wives reported a sudden, welcome abatement in the king's deviance.

All of this is by way of explaining my mood. And if you're in a similar mood, it would be hard to blame you. When a bloated doofus holds the highest office in the world and spends his time spazzing around like a monkey beset by bees, and the laws governing society don't make sense to the people living in it, don't serve their needs, don't address the problems of the day, it makes perfect sense for us to dismiss authority, at least, as a meaningless masked parade, and by extension all our social duties. What a clown show. What a dumb show. What a shit show.

So, sadly but stoically, we pry what sustenance we can from a world owned by misguided fools. Maybe this is part of the journey toward becoming free. Because we really don't need this, and we're beginning to realize it. Once we arrange things so that the current ruling herd of malignant dunces have to battle each other to the death in gladiatorial combat for our entertainment, then the healing can begin. Such games could be our version of truth and reconciliation. Manafort and Sessions, chained wrist to wrist, bashing each other with kitchen cleavers and meat tenderizers. I'm here to suggest it makes more sense than the system we have now. And you wouldn't have to pay attention to the games, you really came to the arena to hang out with friends and have some snacks and drinks. Because such simple pleasures really are the best.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Moment of Truth


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