Are We The Creator Gods of the Gods We Believe Created Us?

I wonder, are the gods we credit with creating the universe actually the result of our shared human tendency to anthropomorphize good and evil? We have intent and motivation behind our actions and reactions and so feel the need to extend that awareness of choice, morality, and consequences onto the intangible, giving it form.

God. The Devil. Horus. Set. Ahura Mazda. Angra Mainyu.

Again and again in our collective religious history we see the duality of “good” and “evil”; “light” and “darkness”. We assign our gods a polarity, an alignment, and we concede our own responsibility to the influence of either of those sides. “The devil made me do it.” “I feel the spirit of the Lord.” But what if we’re just grouping together actions and ideals, separating them into benevolent and malevolent, and then attributing to them an identity, an intelligence that we can interact with. We are social beings and crave the connection with one another and again and again in history we find humans granting religious beings a sort of hyper-humanity; something we can understand and somewhat identify with while still being the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent beings we need them to be to serve the purpose we created them for.

What is good but the desire to extend kindness, love, protection, inclusiveness and understanding to others when one is given the opportunity to do so and to do so without the expectation that your actions will be reciprocated?

What is evil but the denial of those actions in favor of those that would see others impoverished, persecuted, injured, ostracized, and willfully ignorant of the feelings and wellbeing of others, while at the same time striving only for the benefit of the ego at the expense of others?

What would the world look like if we looked past our imagined personifications of good and evil and viewed them instead as metaphors. Rather than attributing their alignment with a spiritual entity that can be contacted, bartered with, or enticed to throw its weight behind a partisan agenda, we saw them as archetypes modeled to aid us while we shape our own perception of morality.

What does it matter which name or human personification we give: good? (or evil)

Why not consciously strive to conduct yourself in a way that benefits those around you? Does an injured person care what creed their rescuer aligns themselves with? Would allegiance trump the need for the injured to be healed?

Evil separates. Evil sows prejudice and distrust.

Good binds together and connects. Good radiates understanding and acceptance.

Good is.

Evil is.

You ARE.

Take responsibility for the actions, inaction, and injury you are responsible for and don’t attribute the source of that decision to any other being than yourself.

Show love. Live Love. Be Love.

*for more reading check out the wikipedia entry for: Good and Evil


Taking Stock: an awareness of the path I could take, and deciding which path I want to follow

As I approach the end of the first year of my fifth self, I strive to be a more loving, kind, patient, and understanding person. I want to be aware of my strengths and my weaknesses that I’ve acquired through my last four selves. I want to work at the things I need to improve on and nurture the traits that are my strengths. I want to be the change I wish for the world instead of wallowing in my cynicism and negativity. I want to listen more than speak. I want to understand instead of alter. I want to love instead of judge. I want to be myself. And I want others to be free to be themselves. Looking back on my journey over the past 28 years, I see clearly my own past hypocrisy. I openly mocked others for their narrow-minded, judgmental, stubborn faith in their ideals and now see that we are oscillating back and forth between extremes and I was only on the other end when I should’ve been working at equilibrium. Rather than homogenize thought where it becomes a firm consensus as to what is and what isn’t, we should freely embrace (albeit critically) all possible views as being equally valid and important in expanding the possible ways of experiencing what is ultimately unknowable as we journey through the 100 or so years of conscious awareness we are afforded in the Universe. In my past, I also see my own lack of ownership over the consequences of choices and rather than growing and learning I had felt victimized by the world. I would blame others when the responsibility is with me and expect that the world owed me. I will not demand that the world change to fit me. I will let my choices reflect my desires and allows others that same courtesy. I apologize to those who have felt attacked by the things I have posted in the past or by things I have said. I still want to try and make people think of concepts outside of their comfort zone, but I will go about it in a much less aggressive and more respectful manner. The ideas of others should be expressed and entertained but ultimately only you, the individual, should have a say in what you personally believe, what choices you make for yourself. I won’t speak for anyone else, but my focus is to be a positive force. *thank you for listening to my rant. You don’t have to agree with me, but I’m really glad you listened.

6 Year Old Expresses His Existential Despair

Via Thought Catalog

Uh-oh. Did someone just discover the inherent paradox of human consciousness within the context of limited lifespan and the physical laws of the universe? Is someone going to be our next Sartre? This 6-year-old existential poet is Julian, the son of a redditor, and soon to be among the ranks of Camus, Pessoa, et al.

“Unnecessary” – A Dystopian Short Story

The other night I came up with an intriguing story idea and had to write it down.  I feel as though this has the makings of a novel, but I wanted to place a scene down as a self-contained short story to see what other people think.  At the bottom of the short story I’ve also included some photos that I used as a reference for creating the world of the story.  The story has a kind of ’60s Futuristic vibe , blended with a crazy, state enforced, religious eugenics program.  Basically, it’s in an alternate history of the 20th Century where something happened (this will be included in the novel) which allows a new Grand Emperor to come to power in China and he develops his own Empire based on being Evolutionarily viable.  Please let me know what you think about this story.  Thanks.



by Joel Nickel


I was 8 months before a wedding or an execution.  My time before becoming unnecessary was racing nearer and nearer.

“You could always marry a random,” my friend, Xi, said casually, taking a sip of his Pori.

“I’d rather die, thank you,” I wasn’t about to be a “fix” by Random Match.  No, I still had a couple months before I had to make that choice.

That night we were at the Amber Club in lower Ming Yu.  We sat on the balcony overlooking the domed dance floor where the tardy frantically moved from person to person, trying desperately to make some kind of connection before their time in Ming Yu ran out.  The Amber Club was the place to be for the tardy, those who were two years or less from becoming unnecessary.  At first I was hesitant to visit the Amber Club.  It had the reputation for being a haven for undesirables.  I didn’t think of myself as an undesirable.  I had almost been engaged once, but . . .

I didn’t want to think about it.

“I don’t know,” Xi drained the last of the Pori from his glass, and waved over for an attendant to come deliver him a fresh one. “If I hadn’t already been engaged to Lei Shu . . .”

“Really?” I swiveled in my chair to face him.  “You’d actually just marry some complete stranger, just so you’d be necessary?  I hear most of the fixes through Random Match are undesirables.”

“It ain’t much better here, Bao Long Wei.” He used my full name.  I hated when he used my full name.  He was only two years older than me, yet he always seemed to treat me as a child.  Maybe that was because he was necessary and I hadn’t yet proved myself to be.  It wasn’t only that.  The way he’d said my name reminded me of the way my parents would, in that condescending, authoritarian tone; that was before they became unnecessary.

Xi Hua’s parents were executed in the Great Purge of ’53, along with 2-billion-some others.  Mine were only executed six years ago, when I turned 18.  My Mother was past the healthy child bearing age and, being 40, my Father’s sperm was considered to be past its peak in quality.  The entirety of humanity is now down to a population of around 10 million staggered throughout the various Bio-Domes around China.  Grand Emperor Fei Min Sheng declared that he was given the divine responsibility, by the goddess Shi Jie, to make the Earth clean.  Humanity had been dangerously close to choking the Earth into submission with its overuse of natural resources and overpopulation. The Grand Emperor was tasked with solving those problems.

He gathered everyone from the other races, everyone over the healthy childbearing age of 40, everyone who planned on never having children, and everyone who biologically couldn’t have children, and called for them to be executed.  The result of the Great Purge created a much more stable human population on the Earth and the cities that sprung up from the ashes became a peaceful, harmonious paradise.

If you were necessary.

If you were unnecessary it was a different game all together.  Those who were mentally or physically deficient were killed in infancy and those parents who had birthed consistently unnecessary offspring were executed so as not to contaminate the future stock of Humans.

An individual had until his or her twenty-fifth birthday to find a suitable mate, get married, and pledge to procreate within the next year.  Those who reached 25 and who were not engaged were not in a position to advance the Great Emperor’s plan for humanity and were thus executed.

Extensive testing began at the age of 20 to monitor if you were physically capable of procreating, and if you were found to be incapable, you were also executed.

The Great Emperor set out the laws the goddess Shi Jie had tasked him with enforcing in the book, the Deng Yu Sheng, which every citizen was required to memorize and place prominently in their home; most carried a copy of it in their pocket.

“Did you hear about Hu Shi Ning?” Xi asked, taking a sip of his Pori.

I heard a muffled song coming through the thick glass of the dome over the dance floor.  I remembered that song.  It was our song.

Feng Xiu Lan.

Even thinking her name made the veins in my neck pulse angrily and caused hate to bubble up like dark bile leaving an acrid, acerbic taste in my mouth.

What did he have?  Was he better stock?  Would he create a baby that better suited the Grand Emperor’s ideal?  Did love have no place?  Did she ever even love me?

I shook my head, angered at myself for buying into such a stupid notion as love.  We’d been together since we turned 20 and she let me believe we were going to be engaged; let me believe that I had nothing to worry about.  But then I learned she’d accepted an engagement from Cao Fu Hua.

How could she?

And especially with my being 24!  She left me with only months before the big choice: an undesirable, Random Match, or death.

“Hey,” Xi was waving his hand in front of my face.

I blinked, unsure of how long I’d been lost in my dark thoughts.

Xi laughed heartily.  It angered me.

“I said, did you hear about Hu Shi Ning?” He repeated.

“No,” I admitted.

Hu Shi Ning was a mutual friend of ours.  He was older than both of us, and had been married for six years.  He’d had one child with his wife, but every child afterward had been born with a disability.

“He’s being reviewed,” Xi said.

I swallowed hard.


That meant he’d endure a bevy of tests to determine what was the cause of his fathering consistently unnecessary offspring.  If it was found that there was something genetically wrong with Hu Shi Ning, he’d be executed.

“That’s too bad,” Xi said, taking another sip of his Pori. “I really liked him.”

“Well, they haven’t found that it’s genetic yet,” I pointed out.

Xi just looked at me like I was a naïve tardy and took another swig of his drink.

“Hao Hong reaches the end of her healthy childbearing years this summer,” Xi said.

I just nodded.  I didn’t know how else to respond.  Xi knew that Hao Hong had been like a Mother to me after mine had reached the end of her healthy childbearing years and been executed.  Now she would be 40, and would also be killed.  It seemed to me that bringing up Hao Hong was particularly hurtful.  But that was the Pori.  I didn’t like being around Xi when he was drinking, but I didn’t have anyone else to come with me to the Amber Club.  Anyone my age would be with their respective fiancés, planning their weddings and getting all their tests done.  Or, they would be out trying to find someone and wouldn’t want competition hanging about.

All night I’d been sitting with Xi, looking down on the dome and dreading an excursion into the midst of the undesirables.  I cursed Feng Xiu Lan, and downed my entire glass of Pori.

I stood up from my chair and smoothed out the wrinkles in my suit.

“Ready?” Xi looked at me with a grin I wanted to punch off his face.

I just shrugged.

He stood up to follow me down into the dome of undesirables. “You can still just get set up with a woman from Random Match and -”

“I’d rather die.”


Happiness In Slavery (Excerpt) – “Don’t Kanye Me or I’ll Chris Brown You and Tiger Woods Your Mother!”

A couple chapters before the last excerpt I posted, Grey returns home from his “date” with Mia, which, of course, didn’t end with him dying.  He realizes that he doesn’t have the power to see the future through his dreams and is extremely surprised that, in contrast, the “date” went really well.  She was still with her boyfriend but seemed to lack any enthusiasm when speaking about him.  Leading Grey to believe that he may have a chance after all.  She tells him that she wants to do something special for his birthday (which he himself forgot about) and they plan on making dinner together.  His melancholy feelings evaporate and feels a new infusion of optimism.  He returns to the apartment to experience this:


“What are those assholes thinking?”

Seth was over and was sitting on the couch with Nathan and Laura as I entered the apartment.

“What?” I inquired.

“Oh, never mind.  We’re too far into the show to explain it now.  We’re watching Dateline’s To Catch a Predator,” He said, turning in his seat to address me.

“With Chris Hansen,” Laura helpfully pointed out in an accent I assumed was trying to imitate Chris Hansen, but it came of a little more like Cartman.

The fragrantly pungent scent of pot was thick in the air and even before I sat down, Seth was offering me the pipe.  I took it and sucked in a powerful lungful of smoke.  I began coughing, actually it was more like hacking; I hadn’t been expecting the smoke to come in so fast.

“Oh, yah,” Seth laughed, “We cleaned the pipe.”

Between coughing fits I managed to ask, “How?”

“We boiled some water and then threw the pipe in,” Nathan explained.

“That works?”

“Sure,” Seth started but Nathan interrupted.

“It dislodges all the resin in the pipe and then we made tea from the pot water.”

“Hey,” Seth turned to Nathan and said in an exaggeratedly angry tone: “Don’t Kanye me or I’ll Chris Brown you and Tiger Woods your Mother.”


We all burst out laughing.

“Nah, nah,” Seth threw his hands up dismissively, “I’m just fucking with you.  I heard that on Facebook awhile ago and I’ve been dying to use it.  I’ve been waiting ages for someone to interrupt me.”

I could already feel the high rippling through my consciousness; dulling everything in a wonderful glowing warmth.

My eyes were beginning to tear.

I was still kind of coughing, “You don’t have to drag that hard at all now.”

“No, you definitely don’t,” Laura chucked.

There was silence for awhile as the ambient sounds of television commercials seem to attract everyone’s full attention.

“What were you up to today?” Seth asked, halfway through the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser commercial.

“He had a date with Mia,” Nathan answered, giggling.

“Ooo, really?” Seth raised an eyebrow.

“See,” Nathan started, “I told you you wouldn’t die.”

I just nodded.  I was still dangerously optimistic and I feared that speaking the events out loud would somehow curse any future dates with Mia.

The Dateline special ended and Nathan began channel surfing.

“You know,” Seth began, “I wish we could smoke music.  You know, spread a little Led Zeppelin over the pot, or maybe a little Bob Marley.”

“Nine Inch Nails,” I added.

“That’d harsh your buzz,” Nathan joked.

“I don’t think so,” I defended Trent, sitting up alertly, “What about A Warm Place, or some of the other instrumentals?  And most of Ghosts I-IV?”

Seth shook his head.  “I think you have a chubby for Trent Reznor.”

“What? No.” I was immediately aware of my defensive stance and eased my way back into the seat cushions.

“Yah,” Laura laughed, “Yah, you do.”

“I think we take for granted that we’re at the top of the food chain,” Thankfully, Seth took the conversation off course, “Like, what must rabbits or other animals be thinking?” He changed his voice to imitate what he thought a rabbit would sound like, and it was quite humorous, “What happened to Jenny? Oh, yah, she got eaten by a wolf last week.  Aw really?  That’s too bad, she was hella cool.”

We all laughed at his dialogue between to two high-pitched rabbit voices.

There was a commercial on the television for some fast food restaurant.

Laura spoke up, “Props to the dude who first looked at a potato and said: ‘I bet I could fry that’.”

Everyone nodded their agreement.

“You know what though,” Seth began, “If you look at all of the problems we have physically in our society a great deal of it has to do with our diets.  We as a species have lived for a hundred thousand years eating only meat and fruit and it was only with the advent of the agricultural revolution that grains and dairy became a part of homo sapiens’ diet.”

“No bread and no cheese?” I shook my head, “Man, I’d have been a terrible caveman.  I live for those things.  I hardly ever have fruit or meat.”

“And that’s why you’re so fuckin’ skinny and pasty, dude!”

I didn’t think that Seth meant that as an insult, but it did hurt.  I was immediately silent, and so was everyone else for a long while.

“Do you guys ever get stoned and look up at the sky,” Laura broke the silence, “And wonder if there isn’t someone somewhere in some distant galaxy smoking up and looking up at their sky and wondering the same thing?”

“Wow,” Nathan began giggling.

That idea blew my mind.  What if there were people in far off galaxies using mind altering drugs and wondering if there was someone else in some other far off galaxy?

“The likeliness of any extraterrestrial being anything remotely like us is almost astronomical.  But yah, of course it would be astronomical anyway,” Seth laughed, “Not just another similar being with consciousness but a conscious being with access to pot.”

“Well,” Laura began to defend, “Not necessarily pot, maybe some other mind altering plant or something.”

“Out of all the species of animal ever to be on the earth, we’re the only ones who have developed a concise language which has led us to develop technology and science-“

“But there only needs to be one,” I interjected, “Who’s to say that there couldn’t be another one species of some alien life form in the nearly limitless space beyond our puny little planet.”

Seth nodded, “True.”

“If I was a cop,” Nathan interjected, “I’d yell PIKACHHUUU before I tasered someone.”

The whole room erupted in riotous laughter.  My lungs began to hurt, I was laughing so hard.

I was wholly happy.