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Evil - for dummies

What you do is you start a bank, then by sleight of hand you convince everyone that while you only have 10 units of coin in your coffers y...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

known unknowns

What is known is that you woke up this morning, meaning that you went from a state of – let’s call it incognizance  to a state of relative cognizance. Relative because if it were absolute we would not be having this conversation.

Yes. I guess so.

Only in this state can you heave yourself out of bed.

Not completely true. There are somnambulists –

I’m speaking in general terms.

In general terms, yes.

So you heave yourself out of bed – by yourself  I do not mean you, but the large bio-vehicle you command – by the way, why are you all so large?

We’re not large – I mean, I'm not large. I only weigh 80 kilos.

I didn’t say heavy, I said large. But never mind, we’ll get to that.  So now you’re out of bed and the first thing you do is thrust this thing under a jet of lukewarm water. You do this daily, is that correct?

Yes – mostly. Although sometimes on weekends, when I have friends over–

Just the general outlines, please. Now. I noticed that while you are doing this, a radio is switched on automatically upstairs, as well as another machine from which a dark brown liquid percolates down into a receptacle. All outside your cognizance and volition.

That’s correct. It saves me time.

Time being important to accommodate so called “plans”, correct?


These plans are conceived somewhere within the bio-vehicle. Would that be a correct statement?


Perhaps within a sanctum of some kind?


You don’t know?


An unknown?


Never concerns you?


Never gave it any thought?

Maybe once or twice.

Interesting. Moving on. Would I be correct in calling these so called plans “future imaginings”

That would be appropriate, yes.

Would you say that to conceive these imaginings you draw from experiences and align these with theoretical knowledge you have observed and taken to be true?

I would say that is correct.

Please, drink your liquid. Take your time. I assume your bio-vehicle needs fuel now and again.

This is not fuel. This is coffee. It serves no such purpose.

Fine. So just to recapitulate, you go through 24 hour cycles, during which your cognizance is eclipsed at least once for an extended period of time while your bio-vehicle is “recharged” (for lack of a better term) more or less in phase with celestial movements of the sun. Is this correct?

The sun doesn’t move relative to us.

A theoretical assumption. Case in point. No matter.  The question is, are you OK with that?

What do you mean?

I mean are you content with these circumstances?

Well, I mean – wait, I don’t understand.

Are you satisfied with this life?

Of course. I wouldn’t mind sleeping a little less, but   anyway, there’s much more to it than that. You're simplifying it.

We’ll get to the rest.  I noticed a second vehicle next to you this morning in the same enclosure.

That’s my wife?

Excuse me?

The woman I share my life with.

Why do you do that?

Because I love her.

What is that?

Love is something you feel for someone. It makes you want to spend time with the person and be close.

What is its origin?

What do you mean?

Do you possess knowledge of its causal relation to you. Why this vehicle and not another?

Please don’t call her a vehicle. Her name is Sarah.

I do not mean to offend. I have not the nomenclature. Your wife,  why her? Is there a causal hierarchy amongst wives?

I don’t know what you're referring to. We met at university. We just got along. I can’t explain it.

So you have no knowledge.

Not as such.

Is she also cyclically-constrained like you are?


Is her cognizance eclipsed like yours, daily?

Yes, much more than mine. She is usually eclipsed – ah God,  what am I saying – she usually sleeps for like 9 or 10 hours. I only need 7, maybe less.

Does this mean you are proportionately more knowledgeable.

Not at all.

So there is no relation between the number of hours you are in a state of relative cognizance and your general level of knowledge?

No. Not really. She’s actually smarter than I am.

Smarter, meaning?

She’s faster to understand things.

So we must conclude from this that knowledge and time are not correlated.  You could have absolute knowledge in a single instant, or it could take you three hundred thousand years. There is no positive or negative correlation between time and knowledge.

I suppose, who knows.

So what do you do to increase your knowledge since, evidently, passive hours of relative-cognizance are of no help?

I have knowledge.

It seems you have a routine drawn up from experience and theoretical assumptions.

Is that how you describe my life? I have plenty of knowledge. I can disassemble and reassemble this HAM radio in fifteen minutes. I know that I can run flat-out for 1.2 kilometres.  I know exactly what to say and what not to say to Sarah just based on how she looks at me. Shall I go on?

You are cyclically constrained; your future imaginings struggle to exceed even a single decade; you have no knowledge – beyond the desire for proximity – why you are with your designated wife; your sight does not extend beyond a few hundred meters; you can barely recall what was said to you yesterday.  I am sorry to say that you are in the dark. I am not saying this to subdue you. I am merely pointing out the obvious. Could I have some of this substance? I would like to try it.

Of course. It’s a Colombian-Brazilian Arabica blend. Wait, I use this stainless-steel percolator, don't take that stuff.

What are you doing?

I am preheating your cup.

You seem very knowledgeable of this fluid and its preparation. It must be very important in the life of Man.

In fact it is.


Yes, indeed.

It’s good.

I told you.

But why? Why is it good?

Oh for God’s sake, man, can you just shut up and enjoy it

Fine. God - we'll take that one up next.