False Prophet, Chapters 5 and 6: When We End/In Silence I Will Speak

How the waves crash in variables that nearly no one hears.

How the absence of light might seem like blackness.

How distraught the choice between pity and piety makes me.

How the earth slips between fingers no matter how tightly grasped.

How the only one who knows the future does not exist.

How deception is the most common form of perception.

How endless nights relapse.

How complacency is satisfying in that it lets you enjoy decay.

How a chisel marks the bones of the slowest animal.

How ears torn off may be sewn back on in passing.

How the claws of a sloth may scratch the bark forever until the sap sinks into a pool of lust for finishing eternity.

How the white is dying.

How the centrifuge is leaking acrid waste.

Smoke rings sliding from a serpent’s lips. Waiting to say another unloaded lie. What is the point, if it is all fake? Is it a game we play? Who among you is not fooled by wisdom? Appease us please. Sustain a welfare state. Watch the semen trickle down Ronald Reagan’s wrinkled chin. Pump more juices into senility. Masturbate in the oval office. Remove the soft, expensive suit and run your fingers along the bumpy, frail spine that has glued together this confused nation.

Lick behind his ears. Taste the veins popping out, revealing the money beneath the skin. The sickish green linen overcomes his body. He becomes those symbols. He tricks masses into idolatry. He has changed from human into a symbol of silently devolving sludge. Is it right to kill him? Is it right to do anything? This is not about right it’s about wrong. If he can self-justify his indirect slaughter of countless innocents, there is no question, then, whether he should be made nonexistent.

This death is freedom. Although taking his life does not change order. It strengthens the minority in power who implement the actual mainstream. If you can be proactive and accomplish this feat, then do it, but do not become a martyr for anything. He will only twist your words. Hundreds of years will pass before justice can run its course, perhaps, yet immediate liberation is desirable, and we are not a species capable of quenching wants. Outlive the diseased and escape this planet. There are other beings more cautious than you or I. Wait for them. You will be indulged.

However, the choice may rise up in you.

False Prophet, Chapter 4: The Gangrene Has Spread

I’ve seen all of my lives. I can feel it on me and then I shut my eyes again and then I could feel them inside and I could feel it on top of me and then let it out and then I can feel them again. The sun is in his eyes. We will do what we want because it’s the only thing we can possibly do to alleviate the prideful loneliness we feel. This is something I want to forget but I can’t. You don’t have anything to worry about with me if you don’t worry about anything. I’m flowing through entirely floating through eternity. Sit around and complain or think that this is no good now when in the future we’ll look back and love thinking we were something else; I have rocks in my throat using newspaper as toilet paper.

Keep on speaking without sowing and I’ll show you what it’s really like how the world is absolutely overwhelming keep pushing you’ll find out what it means when every chord is cut and each tendon lies detached- heaps of flesh on burning pavement. You never fail to frustrate me. A crippled lamb waiting for care. You are waiting for nothing. Who is this little man with gilded golden hair? If the leviathan yelled he would demolish the marketplace. The capitalists are too malleable.

I might as well ingest chemicals behind a dumpster. The pangs never go away. They need the weak. The old religion was a conspiracy, it was meant to indoctrinate meekness into the sheep. When the sheep dove off the cliff the rules changed.

I’d set my life on fire, but you would enjoy it.

Suicide Tree

We haven’t been able to get over to see the tree yet. Do you have any photo of it? Sounds like agreat weird attraction!! Thanks for the tip!

In a message dated 5/24/11 6:43:57 PM, lynchs15@yahoo.com writes:

I live in a small town in South Jersey called Oaklyn that harbors an unusual tree standing alone on the edge of a peninsula. Coming from the White Horse Pike you make a right on Manor Ave and drive until you reach the dead end where the VFW is located, to the left of the VFW is an open field that is elevated and juts into Newton Lake. Walk to the end of the field and pass around a thicket of bushes using either the left or right path, then you will find a tree standing apart from the others. The tree is marked with a swastika in red graffiti that has been there ever since I was a child. I’ve heard about three people killing themselves there since I’ve lived here, and in 2006 I witnessed the police and EMT take away a corpse found hanging there on that lonely tree. I saw an article online mentioning the incident- http://articles.philly.com/2006-01-22/news/25410893_1_forensic-artist-composite-drawings-jackson-last-spring/2

The article states that the man was unidentified for “two or three days”, but if my memory serves me correctly, it was longer than that, perhaps even weeks. A couple of years before, a man hung himself on the same tree and wasn’t even identified. He had no friends or family, and no one claimed to recognize him.
I’ve heard people say that up to seven, nine, and a dozen people have hung themselves on that tree in the past fifty years, and it’s not surprising in a practical sense because the tree is easy to climb, and it has sturdy branches.
If you venture to the isolated peninsula by yourself after midnight, around two or three in the morning, some weird stuff happens. Four of my friends, and several acquaintances, have told me that they saw a thin line dangling from the upper branches when looking down at the tree from the right side of the field, only to see nothing there when they got closer. I only witnessed this once, when I noticed a long cord hanging from the middle branch swinging back and forth, even though there was no wind blowing. I ran as fast as I could back through the field after I saw that. When I came back later that morning in the daylight there was no rope to be found.
I’ve been to this tree dozens and dozens of times and I only saw the rope apparition once, but then again, I’ve never ventured there again by myself at three in the morning. Even if you aren’t by yourself, you can still experience a distinct feeling of solemnity when near this tree. It’s an eerie, practically inexplicable feeling. There is a strange sense of fear mixed with peace in this place, as if the people who killed themselves there are calling out to you. The best way I can describe the emotion that overcomes myself every time I’m there is one of uneasy, painful tranquility. There is something about this seemingly oxymoronic feeling that is unique in that it persuades you to accept the isolation. I know that the first time I ever had serious suicidal thoughts was at this tree, and I was only eleven. I don’t know if anyone has ever sent Weird NJ something about this tree before; I don’t think the stories about it extend much beyond Oaklyn. What I do know is this tree is definitely worth looking into, it’s ten times scarier and infinitely stranger than the Atco ghost if you go by yourself at the right time, see for yourself.


Three Ancient Chinese Philosophies: Good Governance During the Warring States Period

-October 4, 2010

The Warring States Period was not only a military competition for total regional dominance, but an intellectual arms race that allowed The Hundred Schools of Thought to develop and guide the ultimate victor towards political unification through efficient and pragmatic governing practices.  There were three major philosophies that kings followed in hopes of unifying the several warring states under their own dominion: Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism.  Confucianism dealt with governance through the king’s virtue, Daoism sought balance through a lack of governing, and Legalism required the state to strictly enforce laws in order to establish firm order throughout the kingdom.  There were nine major warring states that were influenced by traveling political advisers pontificating their philosophies on good governance (Ebrey, Walthall, Palais, pg 21).  All nine states sought control of the others, but ultimately, the Qin state was victorious in militarily unifying the Middle Kingdom through fierce enforcement of strict Legalism (Ebrey, Walthall, Palais, pg 40).  However, the Qin state did not last long, and it took a versatile combination of the three political philosophies to mold and govern the nine warring states into the cohesive and long-lasting political unit that was the Han Empire.

The Han Dynasty was influenced by Confucianism and Daoism in order to fill a void left by the harsh laws the Qin dynasty enacted under the banner of Legalism (Ebrey, Walthall, Palais, pg 41).  Confucianism was the most influential philosophy because it proposed a hierarchal aristocratic structure well established and widely accepted during the Warring States Period.  Confucius directly negated strict Legalist philosophies centuries before Legalism was widespread:  “[Legalists] Lead them by means of government policies and regulate them through punishments, and the people will be evasive and have no sense of shame” (The Analects pg 21).  Confucius teachings, in contrast, were more about governance through a virtuous king and a hierarchical social structure- “Lead them by means of virtue and regulate them through rituals and they will have a sense of shame and moreover have standards” (The Analects pg 21).

Confucianism relied heavily on ritual to ensure loyalty to the king (The Analects pg 21).  Rituals correlated with Confucian views on human nature because through rituals, subjects would have the loyalty human nature alone could not provide.  “Make food supplies sufficient, provide an adequate army, and give the people reason to have faith” (The Analects pg 21) Thus, Confucian governance was judged not through arbitrary laws that human nature would ignore, but through the king and his virtuous actions that a society in harmony would witness and reflect.

Daoism was more difficult to put into practice for a king because it forced him to restrain himself and let society work itself out.  The Warring States Period became a volatile time that impelled kings to do whatever they could to gain an upper hand on each other, and Daoist views on good governance ran contrary to thriving competitive natures.  Daoism rejected social rules, shunned community life, and neglected education, all of which were necessary for governments to survive during the Warring States Period (Class Lectures 9/27/10).  A king wishing to consolidate power during a time like the Warring States Period would not find Lao-Tzu’s words compatible with being successful in military preparation and conflict-
“Make the state small and its people few.  Let the people give up use of their tools.  Let them take death seriously and desist from distant campaigns.  Then even if they have boats and wagons, they will not travel in them.  Even though they have weapons and armor, they will not form ranks with them” (The Laozi, pg 29).
And yet Lao-Tzu taught good governance that was more suitable for a king of a small country wishing to stay in power, “A sage governs this way: He empties people’s minds and fills their bellies.  He weakens their wills and strengthens their bones.  Keep the people always without knowledge and without desires, For then the clever will not dare act.  Engage in no action and order will prevail” (The Laozi, pg 28). However, Daoist ideas of good governance were not compatible with effective control during the Warring States Period, even though many kings were attracted to Daoist principles that allowed a ruler to be himself without making effort to institute government policies (Ebrey, Walthall, Palais, pg 30).
Legalism was the antithesis of Daoist and Confucian government passivity because it encouraged active government intervention in the state through codified laws.  Legalism was formed because of the competitiveness of the Warring States Period, hence, Legalist good governance was efficient governance.  Legalism was thus adapted by the Qin state in the fourth century B.C.E. (Ebrey, Walthall, Palais, pg 31).  Legalist governing policies influenced the Qin king to annul aristocratic ties and replaced them with meritorious military ranks (Ebrey, Walthall, Palais, pg 31).  Efficiency was vital for good governance, and loyalty was expected to sustain not through meaningless rituals but through the harsh punishments that were consequential of breaking the law.  Legalism thus, saw human nature as selfish,
“Think of parents’ relations to their children.  They congratulate each other when a son is born, but complain to each other when a daughter is born. Why do parents have these divergent responses when both are equally their offspring?  It is because they calculate their long-term advantage” (Han Feizi, pg 35).

Human nature in relation to good governance was an important subject of argument throughout the Warring States Period because competing kings wished to understand each other and the subjects they ruled.  Their ultimate goal was unifying the Middle Kingdom by out-governing and conquering every other state.  Each philosophy sought to understand human nature because philosophers wanted to know why they lived in such a chaotic and violent time, so each philosophy taught good governance as a way to end the division and chaos.  Thus, good governance was something that could not be agreed upon during the volatile centuries between 475 B.C.E. and 221 B.C.E., yet efficient governance allowed for the warring states to unify under Qin’s Legalist policies.  However, as history has revealed again and again, a state such as Qin could not easily survive through harsh rule of law alone, but it needed to win the hearts and minds of the people: something that Legalism inherently failed to do.  A Daoist, Confucian, and Legalist combination was the only way to achieve good governance once unification was complete, because Daoist and Confucian principles upheld social harmony where Legalism could not.
Class Lecture 9/27/10
Confucius. The Analects.  Ebrey. Confucian teachings, selections from the analects and selections from the Mencius, 17-24, 4 Oct. 2010.
Han Feizi.  Legalist Teachings.  Ebrey.  Legalist teachings, selections from Han Feizi, 33-37, 4 Oct. 2010.
Lao-Tzu.  The Laozi.  Ebrey.  Daoist teachings, passages from the Laozi, and selections from the Zhuangzi, 27-30, 4 Oct. 2010.
Patricia Ebrey, Anne Walthall, and James Palais. Pre-modern East Asia: to 1800: a Cultural, Social, and Political History. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2009. Print.

False Prophet, Chapter 3: 0%

October 22, 2008: I don’t want to go to pizza class anymore. No matter how hard I try I can’t flip the dough. It’s too malleable.

January 8, 2009: I’m still behind the dumpster in the back of Papa John’s smoking angel dust.

March 12, 2009: I jumped off the roof of Taco Bell. I thought I was Superman.

March 13, 2009: I tried to rob the Taco Bell drive-thru. They only had 13 dollars in the register.

April 10, 2009: I took the purp and had stomach pains all day.

April 13, 2009: The pangs never went away.

April 14, 2009: I took too many. No, just enough. The pangs turned into sweet bliss.