Third Worldview:

And in the third day of my quest I came to an old shop that was the storefront office of a cheap astrologer. He and his wife had evidently been hassled by the police for their shady dealings in the past; upon knocking I detected furtive motions by the curtains in the front window.

“Come in,” said the grizzled sage. “We will look in my crystal ball and I will tell you what it is you came to hear.”

I wondered what carny this old badger had learned his lines in. We walked past a kitchen that steamed cabbage and cheap potatoes and into a dingy, ill-lit parlor whose walls were evidently not meant to hold the hastily tacked up posters and charts. They had not been in town for long.

“I want to know of the world,” I told the man.

“I know you do. You already told me,” he said. “The fee for this session will be ten dollars, payable in advance.”

I gave him the money and sat at a gesture in the direction of a rickety card table.

“In order to know of the world you must first know of yourself,” he intoned. “Look into the crystal ball.”

I looked at the ball… it seemed to me to be a bowling ball painted with day-glo by some student of psycho-chic. He began some narrative that I cannot recall, a guided fantasy type muttering that took all responsibility for suggesting images. Then he asked me to tell him what I saw, and I remembered that my eyes were open.

I saw nothing, like when you do an exercise for discovering your blind spot. This was a bit frustrating because I thought I had gone blind.

I told him this, and he said good. “Most people only see the colors and I have to make up a bunch of stuff for them. Just keep at it.” Then he gave a laugh.

I continued to keep the blind spot in my gaze, and I saw all sorts of amazing events. Little beach balls of green shouted obscenities at the moon. Elephants cavorted among pine trees. I saw a young woman play eighteen holes of golf in one stroke, the ball bouncing out of each pocket and flying down the fairway to a series of holes in one. Then I saw a herd of poets drinking coffee in a thousand little cafes. And I saw myself engaging in a million different activities, some that I would have done if I had a chance and others that I would not. I was filled with emotion.

“What do you see?” the geezer asked.

“I guess it’s me,” I told him, “all wrapped up in a mixture of symbol and literal representation.”

“Wise young one,” he said. “Don’t worry about it. Actually it’s not you. Most people think that they see themselves whenever they get past the blind spot, but they don’t realize that whenever they cut off all outside data they just start making it up to entertain themselves, like a cat playing with a ball of yarn. Most of it is lies.”

I had just finished taking a visionary inventory of a huge vault of gems when he said this, and I shook myself up out of it and back to the room.

“Now it is time to look at a portion of the world itself. “

I looked back at the globe, the mirror, the round diamond. I was stricken with awe at the first sight. Forests of trees were being mowed down and fed through monstrous machines that spit out flat, ink-covered versions of some sort of wafer. People lined up to buy these wafers and stood motionless while staring at them. Hours later they would vomit up little bits of typeface, obviously in pain. A voice came from all around, saying, This is how men come to know their worlds. It is efficient to filter all the most shocking portions of the world and squeeze them into little bits to be fed out at random. In this way opinion is formed.

Then the scene transformed itself and I stood over a small island. On it slaves toiled under a hot sun for soldiers with machine guns. In the capitol, men came and went, handing out little receipts that the others would use to cash in for more guns. The men who handed out the receipts had one condition: that they be allowed to take whatever the slaves produced. In turn, the men who had the guns would be allowed to live in prosperity when it wasn’t their turn on guard duty. Another voice came and said, This is the miracle of the free market. This is what they call capitalism. This is the chief fuel for the fires of the left.

I was immediately shown another scene, exactly like the last, only with the gun receipt dealers flying in from another direction. It was evident that these men had only recently begun frequenting the island. The receipt dealers added one sentence when they recited their litany: they said, “You are brave fighters against imperialism; remember in your struggle the horror of capitalist oppression.” A final voice came and announced, This is the miracle of the planned economy. This is what they call socialism. This is the chief fuel for the engines of despair.

Upon returning from these visions I paid my tutor an extra ten bucks.

Transcript courtesy:
530 NO MAIN #7
WY 82801



And beat it out of there pronto.

Minitrue Poster
Appeared in Inside Joke #18

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