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The Eternal Now

Mankind is a Mirage...

By Tom BakerPublished 7 months ago Updated 7 months ago 9 min read
Top Story - September 2023

"Hustlers of the world, there is one mark you cannot beat: the mark inside." William S. Burroughs

If "Man" (non-generative) exists, Man is just an animal.

And not a terribly logical one, despite his intellectual brilliance and scientific mastery.

Yes, if Mankind (non-generative) exists, he's just another animal. Stripped, denuded of his toys and trinkets, his gee-gaws and technological bells and whistles, he'd sit as naked and clueless as any other primate, in the fecal murk of his fears, longings, and desires.

The egoistic illusion of his importance, of his primacy among primates, allows him to stave off the realization of his own ultimate, inexorable end. The fact that he can DIE AT ANY MOMENT and that his illusions of Self and his feeling of being secure in his flesh will be pulled away; the curtain parted, the scenery pulled back, and HE will be revealed for the simple evolved primate, one with delusions of Godhood, that fate, and history proves him to be.

Man's inventions include the lightbulb, the toaster, the radio, autos, airplanes, jets, rockets, laser cannons, space stations, and the hydrogen bomb. He will one day annihilate himself and every living thing on this bit of rock floating in the vastness of inscrutable universal black, and may whatever force set him and his infernal, Faustian ascent into motion, have PITY on his poor, greed-benumbed soul.

Man "looks to the future," we say. We say, "Man examines his past." I'll clue you in on something:

There is no past. There is no future. There is only the Eternal NOW.

The future is happening moment by moment. Sixty seconds from now is the Future. Each minute ticks by as we plot and we plan. All futile. You can save for a rainy day, but, if your house burns down with your money tucked under the mattress, then what?

How many bright young people, with "their whole lives ahead of them," have been cut down while perched on the precipice of their success, staring not into Nietzsche's Abyss, but into the limitless blue sky?

(Someone once said of L. Ron Hubbard, "He could sell you a piece of blue sky." Same concept. Everyone has their heart set on a prefabricated dream, a commercially viable image carefully cultivated by capitalism and popular cultural norms, to sway the vast majority of the masses; and get them to shop at all the correct places. Malcolm MacLaren likened pop culture to a "maze," wherein consumers are programmed to run like lab rats and ding all the appropriate bells and whistles, pull the little levers with their rat noses, and get the coke-laden gram of cheese. Madison Avenue marketing specialists have studied all the work of behavioral psychologists and human motivation specialists: Pavlov's dogs, Freud, Bernays, Maslow, etc.)

These young people, the "doomed ones," didn't walk the tightrope across the chasm to the other side very successfully; matter-of-fact, they had the tightrope pulled out from under them, plunging them into the abyss. To look at them in the box (if a box is their final place of repose, right before being buried under the moldering earth), is to see a stiff, lifeless little puppet, one that will soon disintegrate and decay into bones. And then even the bones turn to dust. Finito.

What did they want? A three-car garage and a house in the suburbs? A six-figure salary? A hot car, a hot wife, or a handsome husband? Two point five kids? Adulation in their chosen avocation? Perhaps they wanted to be a great artist, musician, or poet. To be "remembered." Of course, the productions of the past ARE remembered, many of them--but what of it? People prowl museums to see the oddities and obscurities of a bygone age, but they don't consider them as anything more, by and large, than curiosities. Some may pay a pretty penny for them as expensive works sought after by collectors. Again, what of it? Is the artist, long dead in their grave, gaining thereby, a hundred years from being thrust into their tomb? Aren't the books, films, and recordings of a century back now dated, primitive objects, largely viewed or read or listened to only by scholars and historians, those with a vested interest in such obscure and strange old artifacts? As for the vast majority of mankind, these things are infernal relics and reminders of AGE and, most eerily, DEATH. They'd rather watch the latest sitcom, and pretend that life lasts forever.

Sartre thought that each man was a "blank slate." "Existence precedes Essence." He felt that it was to each man or woman to define themselves by their true nature or "Will" (a reflection perhaps of what Aleister Crowley, an occult philosopher as opposed to an atheistic, existentialist one, based his "Thelemite" religion upon); that to do otherwise, to compromise the "Self," was to act in "Bad Faith." Thus, a waiter who forgets he is only applying the "idea" of being a waiter to himself, and thus stops being what he truly is, operating out of fear as opposed to the "freedom" Sartre asserts we are condemned to, is acting in "bad faith." (Sartre gives this and a further example of a young man who contemplates either going to England from France during the war, and fighting for the French army against the Nazi occupation of his homeland, or staying to care for his ill mother. Inside, he burns with a desire to fight this war; but fear and, most especially, guilt, at leaving his elderly mother alone, keep him from making the choice that will free him from Bad Faith.)

Sartre proposes that to CHOOSE (we all, after all, have been freed to choose, in the modern world, by cutting the bonds imposed by religion, since God, as Nietzsche has so rightly observed, is "dead"; at least, metaphorically speaking) for ourselves is to CHOOSE for "all men" (non-generative). That to stop acting in bad faith, and to fulfill, for ourselves, our true nature, to manifest our true will, is to make the most moral, ethical decision we can, and to act as an "example" for all men and women to follow behind.

This is a philosophic conclusion the truthfulness or logic of which we could not give credence to. For, if God is dead, and, finally, there is no "Supreme Judge" to weigh, against the "Feather of Ma'at" so to speak, our actions and indiscretions, sins and crimes and foibles in this life, what, ultimately, does it even matter if you are a shining example of duty and rectitude, or a villainous and scurrilous, cowardly knave; a poltroon, wastrel, or "bum" by social standards? Ultimately, everyone, even the much-vaunted "norms of society," is guilty of partaking in the collective killing and oppression of someone, somewhere, by some means we are all paying for. Everyone's fingers are dripping with blood, in every country, all over the world. If acting in Bad Faith suits you, so be it. You may or may not suffer neuroses as a result. Some people are perfectly happy with their world of mediocrity and self-delusion.

But we are all self-deluded. We are all living in a dream of the future, a preconceived notion of "What it will be like." But we never get there, because we eat up each moment "mocking up" (to borrow a term from Scientology) a future that is an indeterminate dream of tomorrow, not solidified or assured beyond the next breath we take, the next beat of our heart.

We experience "reality" solely in the arena of the mind. It is conditioned, a slave to impulses and vague desires, subconscious, hidden fears, phobias: taboos that cannot be transgressed. It is "programmed" by 24 24-hour a day electronic media; religious or cultural indoctrination; "mores" and "folkways," as an old professor I knew once lectured on.

Beyond this, is the cold, hard biological truth of HUNGER. Of NEED. And this hunger and these needs all derive from our fear of staring into the limitless black of our abyss, as we realize that, one day, we will shuffle off this mortal coil, step out into the yawning chasm below, and fall into darkness, forever.

And so we imagine yesterday and invent tomorrow.

Your eyes have never seen light, your tongue never "tasted" food; your lips never kissed, and on and on. These sensory inputs are illusions. Your brain decodes them based on electrical impulses sent along the receptors to the thalamus, where information, the "real world" as we perceive it, is decoded into our "lives." These perceptions are selectively edited and perceived through the preconceptions of our individual PROGRAMMING. "Nothing is real. Everything is permitted." --Hassan I. Sabbah

You might as well have been born wearing one of those Virtual Reality helmets. However, the "Real World" in this case, is the game you're playing. And, one day, as far as our perceptions allow us to determine, it will be GAME OVER.

You're a biological entity, or enigma of evolution, walking around (if, indeed, spacial distances and geometric forms, physical impediments, can be said to have any "reality" beyond our perception of them; all things being masses of molecules, atoms, etc., energy floating in empty space, present and quantifiable only because we are determinedly programmed to believe them so)--a total and complete darkness. The world you "see," the surfaces you "feel," what you taste and smell--all a mirage. All a dream. The jump-cuts of memory, the daydreams of tomorrow; the hidden, repressed desires, and the deep, traumatic fears guiding you, programming you, directing your "actions."

Shame. Guilt. Fear. A Three-Headed Basilisk of Terror. Delusion and self-deception are the bulwarks of our existences, which all "wink out" like candles blown out in a gale-force wind. We wait perched on the edge of what we believe is "the Future." What power made it so? Because we quantify and calculate the passage of "time"? In truth, a meaningless, arbitrary determinate. Prove that yesterday isn't simply an electrical impulse, another permutation of the vast dreamscape of beingness. And what is tomorrow? We exist in total darkness. People talk about the "light." THERE IS NO LIGHT.

Likewise, there is no Past. There is no Future. There is one Eternal NOW.

Crowley's poem has been running through my mind this morning.

The Pentagram

[Dedicated to George Raffalovich]

In the Years of the Primal Course, in the dawn of terrestrial


Man mastered the mammoth and horse, and Man was the

Lord of the Earth.

He made him an hollow skin from the heart of an holy tree,

He compassed the earth therein, and Man was the Lord of

the Sea.

He controlled the vigour of steam, he harnessed the light-

ning for hire;

He drove the celestial team, and man was the Lord of the


Deep-mouthed from their thrones deep-seated, the choirs

of the æeons declare

The last of the demons defeated, for Man is the Lord of

the Air.

Arise, O Man, in thy strength! the kingdom is thine to


Till the high gods witness at length that Man is the Lord

of his spirit.

In closing, it might have been more appropriate to begin this essay with asserting that man is NOT an animal but is simply an illusion of himself. But, we have to give him some hope somewhere, do we not?



About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.: http://tombakerbooks.weebly.com

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  • Abdullah6 months ago

    The subject is so interesting

  • Excellent piece

  • Tom Baker (Author)7 months ago

    My new story, "Loving Ameca", sort of goes along with the same themes.

  • Macy Dennis7 months ago

    Wonder full written, I am just surprised, love your article

  • Carolmae Hinrichs7 months ago

    This was an interesting subject matter. It was somewhat challenging for me to understand as I read. My level of comprehension. Is somewhat low. I made it through. It was worth the time. It took for me to understand. Very thought provoking. Thank you. Nice job.

  • Alex H Mittelman 7 months ago

    Very well written! Thank you for sharing!

  • Lamar Wiggins7 months ago

    In laymen terms...we all suck! Seriously though, I agree that life is an illusion (a very concrete one), but everything has a purpose in the grand scheme even if that purpose is not clear-cut. If I were to go on a hunger strike the consequence of which is not Illusory but an action that will eventually cause my demise... but why would I do that? Just to prove that starvation is real? I guess, in realizing or agreeing with the many truths you speak of doesn't change the fact that I have a job to do with living and enjoying my life the way I chose. And I know that wasn't your point to this but that's what it makes me think of. Understanding how the word 'purpose' applies to everything gives me hope that I will survive life's madness. Thanks, now I have to go read something philosophical, lol. Congrats on your top story. It's definitely a conversation starter and though provoker.

  • Celia in Underland7 months ago

    All of this.

  • Siddharth7 months ago


  • Great work!

  • Ogundipe Murphy7 months ago

    Great work.

  • So are you saying that if my hope is to one day completely evanesce from all remembrance & existence, that I shall not attain it, or that I am one of the few that shall, or simply that we know of nothing but the eternal now, & that only as we perceive it? The rest is just guesswork.

  • Kendall Defoe 7 months ago

    I have never been a great philosopher, but I think that hope is key. And you should include some Buddhist ideas next time (same walls are climbed by different minds). Now, excuse me, I have a Nietzsche reader to get back to... ;)

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