Showing posts with label Morgan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Morgan. Show all posts

Monday, 23 March 2020

Morgan’s Folk — Clan MoMo, The House of Morgan



Et non abscondam, sed numquid currere queunt. 
You Can Hide, But You Can’t Run.



JOHN DORIE :
(crickets chirping
( fire crackling ) 
( rustling ) 
Someone there? 
I mean not one of The Past? 
( clears throat ) 

I haven't used my voice in a while.
Uham I talkin' loud? I am.
Maybe, sir or madam, you are not there, but it is something to hear your voice after a bit.
Just saying words.

Platypus.
Pasta.
Potable.

Hmm.
If you are there, you can come out.
We can sit.
Split a can of Pecos strawberries.
Have a little badinage, my mama used to say.
That's just a fancy word for chat.
It's been - I don't know maybe a year.
( clears throat
I had a place where I was before.
I had a good metric ton of popcorn.
I've still got a lot.
I could make some.

I just read books.
I - I watched movies mostly.
But I read-- I read books now.
I got a few with me if you have a need for reading material.
( sighs
Well since there is no one there hmm before I go quiet again for maybe another year I might as well tell you that I-- I did talk to someone.

She wasn't just someone.
She came to my door.
Just showed up.
I let her stay.
And we fell - We had feelings for each other.

One day we allowed it.
One day.

I just thought I'd say that.
'Cause I supposed I would see it when I said it.
And I did.
And that was nice.
There ain't been a lot of nice.
( growling )
( gunshot ) 
( thud ) So What's Your Story? 




( pounding on door
Jesus: 
If you're gonna hit me with your stick, don't open the door.
Well, you know if you're gonna try.
( sighs
Looks like you've settled in out here.
I thought maybe we could continue our acquaintance.
"Here" and "there" are just labels.
It's all one place.
You could do all this somewhere else.
Or well in the same place somewhere else.
( Morgan chuckles
Come on.
The reason we fought is 'cause you wanted to protect people.
You care about people.
You should be with them.
( pounding on door ) 

Carol:
It's me.
Come back to The Kingdom.
You helped me.
You did.
Let me help you.
I don't want to tell you what to do.
( sighs
But You Know Who I am 
and 
I Know Who You Are.


You belong with people who care about you.

( banging on door ) 

Rick :
Come on, Morgan! 
You can hide but you can't run.
Look, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you.
I wouldn't.

I was hurt.
( sighs
You brought me in.
You didn't have to.
Morgan, you don't have a gunshot in your side, but you are hurt.
Come back with me.
Don't wait this time.
Don't waste one more second.
You're alive.
You're part of The World.
Look, I'm here now-- a lot of people are here now-- because you helped me.
Right at The Beginning.

That's not me anymore, Rick.

It is.
You'll end up with people one way or another.
You're connected.
It'll be a shout from outside that door.
Me askin' for help -- Maggie.
You're a part of The World already.
You'll find your way back to it, 'cause it will find its way back to you, so just come back.
( chuckles ) 
Well, like I said, you can hide but you can't run.
( door clanks, hinges creak ) 
( door closes ) ( bird squawks in distance ) 

RICK: 
Thanks for lettin' me in.
You don't have to be out here.
I came for you before.


( voices echo ) 

Don't wait this time.
Don't waste one more second.
You're alive.
Thanks for lettin' me in.
You can hide but you can't run.
You know what it is.
You know what it is.

MAN IN CAR : 
Take that shit home.
- Take it back! 

MORGAN :
I'm just trying to help.
Looked like you were on your own.

MAN IN CAR:
We're always on our own.
Shut the door.

JOHN DORRIE :
: I just thought I'd say that.
And I supposed I would see it when I said it.
- ( growling ) - ( man continues ) ( gunshot ) 


So what's your story? 

MORGAN :
I'm just passin' through.


 JOHN DORRIE :
Well, why don't you come on and sit a spell? 
I don't know how much you heard, but I-- 
It's been a while since I talked to someone.
I'm John.
John Dorie, like the fish.
But I-E, no Y.


MORGAN :
Morgan.


Morgan.
Are you hungry, Morgan? 'Cause I could cook you something.
I got beans and I got beans.
No, thank you.
Hey.
( wrapper crinkling ) It's tasty.
No.
Where you from? Back east.
- You walk? - I ran.
( chuckles ) Hey.
In your travels, did you, uh come across a woman carrying a pistol like this? Identical, in point of fact.
I've been looking for her for some time.
Not seen anybody like that.
I'm gonna go.
Wait-- Hey, there-- there's no sense in settin' out this time of night.
Why don't you take the back of the truck? I'll take the cab.
Or vice versa.
I think having a covered place to lay your head would give you some relief.
Having come as far as you have.

Yeah.

( Dorie snoring ) ( snoring continues ) ( cab door closes ) ( object strikes ) 


I got nobody to tell.
I don't know anybody here.
Don't wanna know anybody.
- ( gunshot ) - ( man groans ) - ( gun clicks ) - John: I got no beef with you gentlemen.
I'm just lookin' out for my friend.



Hey, thanks for givin' us a hand back there.
Al, is it? 

Althea, actually.


There's a candy for you.



Thank you.




John: Ho.
- You're quick.
- I am.
Well, easy there, cowboy.
- ( bag unzips ) - I didn't save you so I could kill you.
I just want to ask you a few questions.
- Questions? - Yeah.
What you've seen.
Who you've met.
Where you've been.
Where you're going.

JOHN DORRIE :
Why? 

It's for a story.
I'm a journalist.
You were alone at the cabin.

JOHN DORRIE :
Yeah.
- Before Lauren showed up? 


JOHN DORRIE :
Laura.


Right.
Sorry.

JOHN DORRIE :
Nope.
Nobody.
I talked to myself a lot.
But I had to quit.


Al: 
Why? 

JOHN DORRIE :
Because I started enjoying that conversation too much!
( chuckles ) 


What else can you tell me about Laura? 
In case we ever cross paths.


JOHN DORRIE :
Mm she enjoyed a Black Jack.


Card player.

JOHN DORRIE :
Taffy.
Licorice.
I never much cared for 'em before.


And now? 



JOHN DORRIE :
I don't mind 'em.

You think you'll find her? 


JOHN DORRIE :

I know I will.
How exactly did you get split up? 

JOHN DORRIE :
( inhales ) 
Um, I'm afraid that's not a very happy story.


Most aren't nowadays.

JOHN DORRIE :
Ours will be.
This one will be.
Once we find our way back to each other.
Was that? 




Great.
Thank you.

JOHN DORRIE :
Sure.
How about you? 
How long you been on the road? 



What does it matter? 
These questions-- There's no news stations left.


I saved you.
Noodles and effort.
You owe me.
No.
I don't need that.
I need your story.
Al: What brought you out here? You goin' somewhere? - Getting away from something-- - I didn't ask you to save me.
I'm gonna go.
Or are you saying I can't? 


John: 
 Hold up.
Hold up, friend.
Hey, you've been held at gunpoint with somebody, I think you earned the right to call him friend.



I don't want to answer any more questions.
I just want to be left be.

JOHN DORRIE :
Well, I just want to give you something.
OK? Clean socks.
Worth their weight in gold.
'Course, gold ain't worth much nowadays.
I seen the pair you was wearing 'round the campfire.
I think it's time for an upgrade.


Thanks.
Apologies about the corn.
Especially since they're for your feet.
You sure you're gonna be all right out there on your own? This World we're always on our own.
Wait.
Wait.

Thanks for the assist.
That guy-- that was a unique kind of asshole.
But I did not want to kill anybody today.
( grunting ) - Anyone know what that 51 means? - Al: Markers like that had been popping up around here the last few weeks, but never anyone around to ask but the dead.
The dead? I call 'em the passed.
Call 'em walkers where I'm from.
Look at that.
A piece of personal history.
You still owe me.
Then pull over.


Al:
 Your name? 

Morgan Jones.
Where do you come from? 


Atlanta and, um then Virginia.

How'd you get here? 

I ran.
Then I walked, drove walked again.

Were you part of a settlement in Virginia? 

A couple.
Can you tell me about them? 
( chuckles ) 
One of them was called Alexandria, 
and then there was a place called The Kingdom.
Actually had-- had a king.



A king? 


( laughs )
Even had a pet tiger.



( laughs ) 
( John chuckles ) 

All right, we're gonna have to sidebar that one.
These settlements, were they good places to live? 
They were safe places.
Good people inside.
I had been with some of them for a while.
It-- 

Al: 
What happened? 


There was a fight.
With another group.
It was a big, big group.
We won.

But you didn't stay.

I already left before I left.
I don't understand.
Did they do something? 
Or did you? 


I told you things, and that was the trade.
You told me you were with good people in Virginia, and then you left.
Why? Were you trying to get something? Get away from something? How about you tell me about you? Like, um, how'd you get this van? And why asking total strangers questions like this is so important to you.
Huh? - Look, I saved your ass.
- And we saved yours.
Well I want to thank you both for your help.
But I think it's time that I was going on my way.
- What about your leg? - No, I'm fine.
- Morgan.
- Man, I told you I'm fine.
Tell me one real thing, then we'll call it even.
Why'd you leave Virginia? ( sniffles ) I lose people and then I lose myself.
( staff thudding on ground )


JOHN DORRIE :
You were wrong what you said before about bein' on your own.
( sighs ) 
Here.
( groans )
 There you go.
OK? 


Thank you.


Morgan.
That walker-- I need to know.
All right.
Hey, hey! All right.
Wait, wait.
Wait.
All right.
Give it to me.
Come on.
All right.
Thank you.
( growling ) OK.
( growling ) ( taps ground with staff ) ( snarls ) ( inhales, exhales ) 


John: 
I'm glad we found you.
I'm just travelin' with you till this leg heals up.
And no more questions.
I'm not gonna stop asking you questions.
Especially about that tiger.
- No more answers, then.
- ( laughs ) Fair play.
Come on.
It's tasty.
Where we headed? 
Well, Al took me back to my truck, but it wouldn't start.
Now she's taking me to look for Laura.
In exchange for more of his story.
That's right.
That's right.
I don't know if I'll find her.
I don't.
I just don't think about it that far 'cause it don't do me no good.
But I recognize it as Truth.
Truth is something you can't get around.
No, you can't.
- There's somebody up ahead.
- What? John: Oh, come on.
( John grunts ) Thought you said there weren't a lot of people 'round these parts.
There aren't.
( air brakes hiss ) ( engine shuts off ) - Take this.
- Can't.
I don't kill.
( chuckles ) 
Come on, dude, you gotta answer some of my questions at some point.
I don't kill either.
At least I try not to.

Great moment for both of you to share this fact.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

COUNTENANCE

Come on out when you’re Abel.

Morgan Jones, 
Patriarch of House-Morgan



 Genesis
Chapter 4


And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.


And she again bare his brother Abel. 
And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.


And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.

And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. 
And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:


But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.


And the LORD said unto Cain, 
Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?


If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.











"And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth." 

Angry. Wroth is a tough word. These are translated many times. It’s hard to get the full flavour of the words. But, "wroth, and his countenance fell," well, to have your countenance fell…This is sort of up. To fall is to have it be heavy, depressed, for sure. Angry, for sure. Resentful, probably. Wroth: that’s anger. So, Cain is not a happy clam, that his hard work has been rejected by God. Now that’s worth thinking about. You think about how human that story is. You’re out there—well, we could say, you might be a useless character, and you’re whining about how catastrophic your life is. It’s pretty much obvious to everyone around you, and to you, that it’s your fault. You just don’t try: you don’t wake up in the morning; you don’t get a job; you don’t engage in things; you’re cynical; you’re bitter; you’re angry; you don’t try to help the people near you; you don’t try to fix up your own life, and you don’t take care of yourself. And then things go wrong. It’s like, well, really? What did you expect? But that doesn’t mean someone in that situation will just say, well, that’s ok; I deserve it; and they’ll be happy about it. They won’t. They’ll be absolutely bitter about it and angry. But, you know, put that aside for a moment. There are people who seem to struggle very forthrightly, let’s say, and still have one catastrophe after another happen to them. There’s no easy answer in this story. It’s like, you can fall afoul of God because your sacrifices are second rate, or you can just fall afoul of God, and you don’t know why. Well, tough luck for you. And then what happens, in either case, is exactly this, almost inevitably: "Cain was wroth, and his countenance fell." 

People like this write to me all the time. I’ve seen this in many, many clients. They’re not often 20. 30, more commonly. Sometimes, 40. Their lives haven’t gone well. They’re in a pit of despair, of one form or another, and not only are they in a pit despair, but they’re extraordinarily angry about it, and God only knows what they’d do with that anger if they had that opportunity to give it full voice. 

One of the things I’ve always thought about Hitler is that people…You have to admire Hitler. That’s the thing. He was an organizational genius. The thing that doesn’t stop people from being Hitler…People don’t refuse the ambition to become Hitler because they don’t have the genocidal motivation. They don’t follow that pathway because they don’t have the organizational genius. They’ve got the damn motivation. If you take a hundred people, randomly, and you talk to them—and you really talk to them—you’ll find that five percent of them would take their vengeful thoughts pretty damn far if they were just given the opportunity, and, in fact, they do. They make life miserable for themselves, and often for their family, and, sometimes, for anybody they can come near. And then maybe another 20 percent of people have that bubble up in them on a pretty damn regular basis. You can have some sympathy for Cain. If you don’t have any sympathy for Cain, then you’re not…See, Cain and Abel don’t just represent two archetypal types of being. It’s not like you’re Cain, and you’re Abel. It’s like, you’re half and half, and you’re half and half, and you’re half and half. It’s something like this. This is two different potential patterns of destiny. You don’t manifest one purely and the other zero. It’s like the line between good and evil that runs down the human heart. It’s exactly the same idea. Maybe you’re more like Cain, or maybe you’re more like Abel, but there’s still a little Cain in you, no matter how Abel you are. And maybe more than a little—and probably more than a little. If you watch your fantasies, which I would very much recommend, you’ll find that they show you dark things about you that will shock you if you allow yourself to be conscious of what you’re thinking. 

When you’re having an argument with someone, especially someone that you love, it’s a good time to just watch the pictures that flash in the back of your mind. That’s part of, let’s say, coming into contact with what Carl Jung called the shadow. The shadow is the manifestation of Cain. That’s a perfectly good way of thinking about it. One of the things that Jung said about the shadow—because Jung was not someone that you mess around with lightly. He said the human shadow has roots that reach all the way to hell. Jung meant that. That’s no metaphor for him. He might not have meant it in the same way that a fundamentalist Christian from the Southern U.S. might mean it, but I would say that Jung meant it in a way that’s far more terrifying, and also far more true. "And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell."
So there’s Abel, burning his offering away, there. He’s in this sort of relationship with…let’s call them the archetypal figure of culture. The archetypal Father. It’s something he respects. That’s the thing—the posture’s an indication of respect. And then there’s Cain, in the background. His face is in shadow. He’s jealous of what’s happening. He’s going through the motions, perhaps, and maybe God just doesn’t like him. We don’t know. But he’s going through the motions. He’s not very happy about it. That’s actually a phrase that you could carve into many people’s tombstones as an epitaph for their life: went through the motions, but wasn’t very happy about it.
This is really an interesting one, I think. I don’t know what God’s doing here, exactly. He’s helping ignite the sacrificial flame. That’s kind of an interesting idea, I think, because…Let’s say you have an impulse to make a sacrifice. You think, well, I should change this about my life. Well, where does that come from, that impulse? It just manifests itself out of nothing, or you came up with it. Well, you might want to stop thinking so surely that you come up with your own thoughts. You don’t come up with your damn dreams, do you? They just happen. God only knows where they come from. They come from your brain—oh, boy; that’s a sophisticated answer. They come from your unconscious. Well, that’s not much better. At least it’s somewhat better. Those amazing dramas take place in the theater of your imagination at night. You don’t even understand what they are, and yet they occur night after night. 

Dreams can contain wisdom that it just…Well, it just staggers the person who has the dream once they get the key to the dream, and once they remember it. It’s like, oh, look, you just revealed a bunch of wisdom to yourself that you didn’t know. Where did that come from? You don’t know. How in the world can you dream up things that you don’t know? That’s a tough one. Maybe we’ll talk about that, at some point, in this lecture series, because there are some reasonable things that can be said about that. The idea that there’s something that’s not you…Jung would call it the Self, which he thought of as the totality of your being across time and space. It’s something like that, and that, you know, each second that you exist is a slice of the Self manifesting itself across time and space. He thought of the Self as partly the voice of conscious, whatever that is, that helps guide you when you have to make a difficult decision. A difficult decision might be, well, what do I need to sacrifice? How do I need to discipline myself? What do I need to forego? Well, how do you figure those things out? This picture is trying to put forth the idea that, perhaps, if you’d established the proper relationship with God the Father—and we’ve talked about what that might mean—then he would help figure out how to get the sacrificial fires burning, so that you could stay in a proper relationship with Him across time. Is that such an unreasonable proposition? What’s the alternative proposition? Well, this isn’t working out very well. That’s for sure. 

Cain seems to be doing…I don’t know what it is. It’s as if he thinks he can only do it himself, or maybe he wants only to take credit for it, or something like that. He’s not in this…Grateful, let’s say, and inquiring. Grateful and inquiring posture. That’s what a prayerful posture should be. It should be grateful and inquiring. Grateful is, thank God things aren’t worse for me than they are. You should be grateful about that, because they could be a lot worse than they are, man. They can be so bad. Inquiring would be, well, I don’t really know how I could make it better, but I’m open to suggestions. If I can figure out how to do it, I’ll try it. That’s the humility: a humble inquiry. How could I make things better? It’s something like that. What sacrifices do I need to make in order to make things better? That’s a good question to ask yourself. 

You could ask yourself that every morning. What sacrifice do I have to make to make things better? You can decide what constitutes better. How about that? Then, it’s not even as if it’s being imposed on you. Come up with your own notion of what constitutes better. Try to make it sophisticated. It shouldn’t just be better for you, because that isn’t going to work very well, right? You’re just going to fall down stairs if you do that, because you have to live with other people. And besides, it’s stupid. What are you going to do? There’s nothing you can even say about that. It’s so…That’s the attitude of a very badly behaved, hyper-aggressive two year old. I mean that technically. You could ask yourself, well, I have this day that lays itself out in front of me. What thing could I let go of that’s impeding my progress, that, if I let go of, would make my life better, and my family’s life better, and my culture’s life better, and my being better? That would give you something to do for the day, wouldn’t it? And to justify your miserable life. 

You need that. That’s the whole point of the first story of Adam and Eve. What do you have? A miserable life. Ok. What am I going to do about that? Well, if you just have a miserable life, you’re just going to suffer stupidly and get bitter about it. That’s what happens to Cain. It’s like, well, how about not doing that? That just seems to take a bad deal and make it worse. How about making a sacrifice, and seeing if you can please God and put being on track? God, that would be something to do. What could be better than that? What could possibly be better than that? That’s why it’s archetypal, man, because nothing’s better than that. That’s where it tops out.
You can do that. You can do that every day. You have to do it in a little way, because what good are you? You’re not going to go and bring this socialist utopia into being in one fell swoop. You might also think that one of the things Cain might figure out there—there are a couple of things that aren’t just going right for him. Downwind of the fire? Not the right place to blow from. And the fact that he’s enveloped in haze and smoke, and breathing it in, and the fire isn’t burning, might be an indication that he’s doing something wrong, or he would be wiping his eyes and saying, Jesus, what kinda stupid bloody universe would produce smoke like this? It’s like, yes, well, that’s a more likely outcome.
"And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?" 

Now that’s an interesting line. I’ve looked at a variety of different translations of this seventh verse. That’s a critical line, and the translation really matters. I’ll tell you what I think this story is, and what I’ve been able to figure out. I’m sure I haven’t got it completely right. God says, if you do well, won’t you be accepted? There’s a hint there, right? It’s something like, well, things aren’t going so well for you. The first thing you might think is, you’re not doing well. Does that mean you’re not doing good? Does that not mean you’re not acting properly? It’s the hint. God is suggesting that, if you were acting properly, you would be successful. 

Section IV
TIMESTAMP
I had a friend, at one point, who was a very bitter person. He had a bunch of problems. Some of them were self-inflicted, and some of them were fate, I suppose. He had become very, very destructive—murderously destructive. Genocidally destructive, I would say. You could see it in his dreams. He lived with me for a while. I knew him very well. He was a friend of mine from the time I was 12 until the time he committed suicide, when he was about 40. When he lived with me, I was trying to help him get on his feet, which was why he had come to live with me. He thought that maybe I could help him get up on his feet. He could only take relatively low-level jobs. He had some mechanical ability. He didn’t get educated, but he was a very, very smart person. He probably had an IQ of 135, or something like that. He was bitter, too, because he hadn’t educated himself to the level that his intellect would have demanded. He had to take jobs that were beneath him, intellectually. He had that real intellectual arrogance, and really smart people often come to believe that only smart matters. If they’re smart, and all that matters is smart, and then the world is sort of laying itself at their feet, then they’ve been terribly betrayed. Then they point to their intelligence, which is more like a talent or a gift. It’s like a false idol, which is exactly what it is, and a very dangerous one. They get cynical about the stupidity of the world and the fact that their talents weren’t properly recognized. That’s just not that helpful. Smart is a good thing, but, I’ll tell you, if you don’t use it properly, it will devour you, just like all arbitrarily assigned talent. You might have the talent, but it’s your friend if use it properly. If you misuse it, it will be your enemy. Maybe that’s how God keeps the cosmic scales adjusted. 

Anyhow, my friend was a very smart person, although not as smart as he thought he was, unfortunately. He hadn’t done what would have been necessary with that intelligence to make it manifest itself properly in the world. That also embittered him, because he also knew that there was more that he could have done if he would have done it, and perhaps more that he could still do. What I was suggesting to him while he was living with us—because he was two levels from homeless at that point—was that he should find a job that he could find—working in a garage, working in a shop, or something like that, because he had some mechanical ability—and that he should separate himself from the arrogance that made him presume that such a job would be beneath him. At that point, no job was beneath him, but, more importantly, it’s not so obvious that jobs are beneath people. 

Imagine that you have a job as a checkout person in a grocery store. That’s a fairly unskilled job. You can be some miserable, resentful, horrid bastard doing that job. You can come in there just exuding resentment and bitterness, and making mistakes, and making sure that every customer that passes by you has a slightly worse day than they need to. You can pilfer time—and, perhaps, pilfer goods—and be resentful about the people who gave you the position, because they’re above you in the dominance hierarchy, and you can gossip behind the backs of your coworkers. You can take your menial position—self-described—and turn that into a very nice little slice of hell. That’s for sure. 

I always think of the archetypal diner in that way. You guys have been in this diner. There’s a really good opposite diner. There’s a great diner on YouTube. It’s Tom Waits reading a poem by Bukowski. I think it’s called Nirvana. It’s about a good diner that he happened to visit when he was a kid. A diner where everything was going well. You could listen to that. It’s great. But this is the opposite diner, that I’m thinking about. You go into a diner, right. It’s seven o'clock in the morning. You order some bacon and eggs and some toast. You look around the diner, and you think, it was like 1975 when the windows were last washed. There’s this kind of thick coating of who-gives-a-damn grease on the walls. The floor, too, has got that sort of stickiness that you really have to work at to develop over the years. The waitress is not happy to be there. The guy behind the counter isn’t happy that that happens to be the waitress that he’s working with. And then you walk down the stairs to the washroom, and that’s its own little trip. You come back, and you order your damn eggs, and you order your toast, and you order your bacon. It comes, and the eggs are too cooked on the bottom, so they’re kind of brown, and then they’re kind of raw on top. They’re cold in the middle. You really have to work to cook an egg like that, man, but you can master that with like 10 years of bitterness. It will teach you how to cook an egg like that. And then the toast—here’s what you do with the toast. You take the white bread—the pre-sliced stuff that no one should ever eat—and then you put that in the toaster, and you overcook it. You wait, and then you pop it out of the toaster. Because it’s overcooked, you scrape it off. You knock off the crumbs so that it doesn’t look too burnt, and then you wait until it’s cold, and then you put cold margarine on it. First of all, it’s not butter. But, if you put cold margarine on it, you can also kinda tear holes in it. Then it has lumps of margarine in it, and it’s really dry, except where it’s too greasy. That’s like its own little work of art, man. 

You put that on the side with eggs. And then you have the potatoes. This is how you cook the potatoes properly: the leftover potatoes—and you keep dumping new leftover potatoes into the old leftover potatoes, over weeks. Some of the potatoes have half returned to mother earth. Then you flap them on the grill, and you sort of burn them a bit, I guess. And then you slap them on the plate. Jesus. You don’t want to eat those, man. That’s for sure. That’s the point. 

You have the bacon, and you want to make sure you buy the lowest possible quality bacon. That’s how you start. Then you throw it on the grill—and your grill has to be overheated to do this—and you have to cook the bacon so that it’s raw in places and burnt in other places. It has that delightful pig-like odor that only really cheap, badly-cooked bacon can provide. Or maybe you use those little breakfast sausages that no one in their bloody right mind would let within 15 feet of anything living. And then you serve that. And you serve it with the kind of orange juice that is only orange is color, and with coffee that’s…Agh…What would you say? It was started too early in the morning. That’s the first thing. Bad quality coffee started too early in the morning—got cold once or twice, and has been reheated. And then you serve that with whitener. It’s like, here’s your breakfast! It’s like, no, man. That’s not breakfast. That’s hell, and you created it. And then what you do if you have a diner like that is—because you have a miserable life if you have a diner like that, and you really worked on that—you go home, and you curse your wife, and you curse your kids, and you fucking well curse God, too, for producing a universe where a diner like yours is allowed to exist. And that’s your bloody life. Also, that’s what God’s trying to point out, here. 

"If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door." Well, I looked at lots of translations for this. Actually, the next line is, "And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him." 

Yes. What God actually says is something like this…Things aren’t going so well for you, but if you were behaving properly, they would. But, instead, this is what you’ve done. Sin came to your door, and sin means to pull your arrow back and to miss the target. Sin came to your door. But he uses a metaphor. The metaphor is something like, sin came to your door like this sexually aroused cat-predator thing, and you invited it in. And then you let it have its way with you. It’s like you entered into a creative—he uses a sexual metaphor. You entered into a creative exchange with it, and gave birth to something as a consequence. What you gave birth to, that’s your life. And you knew it. You’re self-conscious, after all. You knew you were doing this. You conspired with this thing to produce the situation that you’re in. 

Jung said something similar about the Oedipal mother situation. What he said was very politically incorrect. Of course, every single he wrote was politically incorrect. That’s how you could tell that he was a thinker, by the way. He talked about the unholy alliance between hyper-dependent children and their mothers. He said, well, it’s actually—Freud thought about it as a maternal thing. I’m not putting Freud down. Freud mapped out the Oedipal situation brilliantly. I’m not putting Freud down. But, you know, Jung was taking the ideas and expanding them outward. He said that there as actually an unholy alliance between a hyper-dependent child and an Oedipal, over-dependent mother. The alliance was, the mother would always offer—so maybe the kid is supposed to go off and do something that would require a little bit of courage and effort. The mother says, well, are you sure you’re feeling well enough to do it? And then the child could say, yes, or the child could say no. But the thing is, the child made the damn decision, too. You might think, well, that’s pretty harsh. But just because children are little, that doesn’t mean they’re stupid. 

You don’t know children if you don’t know how children know how to manipulate. They are staggeringly good at that. They’re studying you nonstop, trying to figure out, A, what you’re up to, and B, how they can get what they want in the way that they want it. They can play a manipulative game, no problem, especially if they’re well schooled in it. It’s sort of like that. Maybe the mother is a little timid and a little inclined to over-protect, and maybe the child is a little manipulative, and a little willing to not take that courageous step out into the world, and to regress into infantile dependency, instead. Then you get a terrible dynamic building across time that is like a vicious circle, or like a positive feedback loop. It just expands and expands and expands. Sometimes, in families, you see a hyper-dependent child and a perfectly independent child, and the same mother. Mothers are very complex, and mother for child A and mother for child B are not the same mother, even if they happen to be the same human being. The literature’s quite clear on that, but you get my point. 

God’s idea was that, not only are you not doing well, but you’re not doing well because you’ve actually really spent a lot of work figuring out how to not do well. This is like creative effort on your part. If you want to read about truly malevolent people, you could start with the Columbine killers. They left some very interesting diaries behind. I would recommend them. There’s plenty of serial killers you could read about, and the people who’ve really gone out and done dark things. I’ve read more than my fair share of that sort of thing, and I understand it quite well. If you really want to have your countenance fall and be wroth, 10 years of brooding on your own catastrophe, sort of alone, and letting your fantasies take shape, and egging them on, allowing them to flourish and, let’s say, take possession of you…That’s exactly the right way to think about it. That will get you somewhere like this. There are more people who are like that than you think, and you’re more like that than you think. 

So, Cain is obviously not very happy about this whole answer. The last thing you want to hear if your life has turned into a catastrophe and you take God to task for creating a universe where that sort of thing was allowed, is that it’s your own damn fault, and that you should straighten up and fly right, so to speak, and that you shouldn’t be complaining about the nature of being. But that is the answer he gets. Then what happens? Well, we have to infer that, if Cain was angry before, he’s a lot more angry now. Of course, that’s exactly what the story reveals. 
"And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass. when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him." 

I’m going to read you something else. This is foreshadowing. This is from the same chapter, by the way.
"Do what is meaningful, not what is expedient. Jesus was led into the wilderness, according to the story, to be tempted by the Devil (Mathew 4:1), prior to his crucifixion. This is the story of Cain, restated abstractly. Cain is far from happy, as we have seen. He’s working hard, or so he thinks, but God is not pleased. Meanwhile, Abel is dancing away in the daisies. His crops flourish. Women love him. Worst of all, he’s a pretty good good guy. Everyone knows it. He deserves his good fortune. All the more reason to hate him." 

When I used to teach at Harvard, now and then my wife would have some of the younger graduates over. We used to joke afterwards, because many of them were very remarkable kids. They were super smart, or they were athletic, or they had some dramatic ability, or they were musicians, or they’d done some spectacular charitable work. Because, basically, to be accepted into Harvard, you had to be top of your damn school, and then you had to have at least two other outstanding things going for you. What was so annoying about most of these kids—this was our joke—you really both liked them and respected them. My joke was, you’d think they would have had the good graces to be dislikable sons of bitches, at least. With all those other great things going for them, they had to add respectability and likability to it, as well. So you thought, well, you know, it really couldn’t happen to a better person. It’s like, good God. Well, that’s Abel’s situation. The funny thing, too, is that that’s an ideal. That’s the ideal. An ideal person, let’s say, would be someone who you would want to be like, and someone who is operating in the world like you would want to operate, and someone who fortune is smiling on, and someone who is making the right sacrifices. It’s really what you would want to be. And so Cain kills that. 

It’s a psychological story, too. You see this in the cynicism that people have about people who have done well in the world. They’re always looking for some reason why they’ve done well. They must be crooked, or they must be conniving, or they must be arrogant, or they must be psychopathic, and, of course, all of those things exist. But it’s a very bad trick to play on yourself to make the proposition that the person in the world who represents your own ideal is that ideal because of despicable reasons. Because what you do is train yourself that the ideal that you should pursue can only exist if it’s motivated by despicable reasons. And then what? Not only is Abel, your brother, dead, as your brother, in the field, in reality, but you’ve also slaughtered your own ideal. Well then what the hell are you going to work for? How are you going to live, then? Bitterly and miserably. That’s for sure. Bitterly, miserably, and hopelessly. That’s how you’re going to live. It’s so rare that I see—especially publicly—that people honestly admit—with sports figures they’ll do it. That’s one place where that seems to happen. But it’s so uncommon for expressions of admiration and gratitude to manifest themselves in any public communication, of any sort. Newspapers, TV, YouTube, Twitter. It’s almost always undermining, backbiting, and criticism, and very often directed at people who have often done little else but bring good things into the world for other people. That’s part of why this is such a profound story. 

"He’s a pretty good guy. Everyone know’s it. He deserves his good fortune. All the more reason to hate him." That’s for sure.
"Cain broods on his misfortune, like a vulture on an egg. He enters the desert wilderness of his own mind. He obsesses over his ill-fortune and betrayal. He nourishes his resentment. He indulges in ever-more elaborate fantasies of revenge. His arrogance grows to Luciferian proportions. I’m ill-used and oppressed, he thinks. This is a stupid bloody planet. It can go to hell. And with that, he encounters Satan in the wilderness, and falls prey to his temptations. He does what he can, in John Milton’s unforgettable words, to confound the Race of Mankind in the first Root and mingle and involve Earth with hell—done all to spite the Great Creator. He turns to Evil to obtain what Good forbade him, and he does it voluntarily, self-consciously and with malice. Let him who has ears hear."
So that’s the first two human beings. The resentful, bitter, failure taking the axe to the admirable success. "And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not; Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What has thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;" 

If you want to understand that, which I would recommend, you could read Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. That’s a great novel. I think it might be the greatest novel ever written. I haven’t read every novel, but, in my experience, it’s the greatest novel. It is exactly this. It says what happens psychologically if you commit the ultimate crime. It’s amazing. It’s absolutely amazing. There’s no psychologist like Dostoyevsky. 

"When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto the Lord, my punishment is greater than I can bear." 

One of the things that’s interesting about this is—I think the punishment that God lays on Cain…It’s like the inevitable consequences of Cain’s action. It’s like, well, he killed his brother. There’s no going back from that. Good luck forgiving yourself for that, especially if he was your ideal. Because you haven’t just killed your brother—and, of course, tortured your parents and the rest of your family—you’ve deprived the community of someone who’s upstanding, and you did it for the worst possible motivations. There’s no up from there. That’s as close to hell as you can manage on earth, I would say.
"And Cain said unto the Lord, my punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid…” 

That, too. There’s also no turning back to God, let’s say, after an error like that. You’ve done everything you possibly could to spite God—assuming he exists—and the probability that you’re going to be able to mend that relationship in your now-broken state, when you couldn’t mend it to begin with, before you did something so terrible, starts to move towards zero. 

"And it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him." 

That’s an interesting thing. I wondered about that for a long time. You might think, why would God take Cain under his wing, so to speak, given what’s already happened? I think it has something to do with the emergence of the idea that it was necessary to prevent tit-for-tat revenge slayings. It’s something like that. There’s hints of that later in the text. It’s like, well, I killed your brother, and then you killed two of my brothers, and then I kill your whole family, and then you kill my whole town, and then I kill your whole country, and then we blow up the world. That’s probably not a very intelligent solution to the initial problem, even though the initial problem, which might be a murder, is not an easy thing to solve. But I think it’s something like that.
That’s William Blake. Adam and Eve have discovered their dead son. Cain has become cognizant, I would say, of what he did and of what he is. It’s another entrance into a form of self-consciousness. The self-consciousness that Adam and Eve developed was painful enough. They become aware of their own vulnerability, nakedness, and, perhaps, even their capacity for evil. But Cain becomes aware of his voluntary engagement with evil itself, and sees that as a crucial, human capability. 

That’s something modern people…It’s no wonder we don’t take it seriously. Among intellectual circles, for decades, the idea of evil has been…It’s like, what are you? Medieval, or something? The whole idea of evil is a non-starter as an intellectual starting place, and as a topic. That’s something that I’ve just been unable to understand. I cannot understand how you could possibly have more than a cursory knowledge of the history of the 20th century—much less a deep knowledge of the history of the 20th century—and walk away with any other conclusion than, well, good might not exist, but evil…The evidence for that is so overwhelming that only willful blindness could possibly explain denying its existence. 

That was actually a useful discovery for me. I also concluded that, if it was true that evil existed, then it was true, by inference, that its opposite existed. The opposite of evil. Let’s say the evil of the concentrate camp. We could get more specific about it. There’s this one thing that used to happen in Auschwitz, where they would take people off the incoming trains—those who lived, and that weren’t stacked around the outside of the train cars and frozen to death because it was too cold. Those who only had to be stuck in the middle, so it was warm enough. Maybe the old people died because they suffocated, but at least some of them were alive when they arrived at Auschwitz. They took those poor people out, and one of the tricks that the guards used to play on them was to have the newly arrived prisoners hoist like hundred pound sacks of wet salt and carry them from one side of the compound—and these compounds were big. This was a city. It wasn’t like a gymnasium; it was like a city. Tens of thousands of people were there. They would have them carry the sack of wet salt from one side of the compound to the other, and then back. That was to make a mockery out of the notion that work would set you free. It’s like, no, no. You work here, but there’s nothing productive about it. The whole point is exactly the opposite of sacrifice, in some sense. We’re going to make you act out working, but all it will do is speed your demise. And maybe we can decorate it up a little bit, because not only will it speed up your demise, it will do it in a very painful way, while simultaneously increasing the probability that other people’s demises will be painful and sped up. It’s a work of art. That’s for sure. To know about that sort of thing and to not regard it as evil means…Well, you can figure out what it means for yourself.
"And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived…" A fairly common criticism of these Biblical stories is, well, if Cain and Abel were the only two people from Adam and Eve, where did all these other people come from? Doesn’t that make the story simpleminded? No. That makes the reader simpleminded. I mean, really? That’s the best criticism of this you’re going to come up with? You might say, ah, you missed the point. That would be the right response: you missed the point. 

"And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch, and he builded the city, and sold—" It’s Cain that builds the cities and starts the civilization. That’s pretty rough, too. It’s the first fratricidal murderer who builds the cities after the name of his son, Enoch.
"And unto Enoch was born Irad…" Et cetera, et cetera. I’m going through the generations. "And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other was Zillah." This is an attempt to flesh out the genealogy and describe to how culture started, in some sense, in these tribal communities. "And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bear Tubalcain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron." Tubalcain, traditionally, is the first person who makes weapons of war. "And Lamech"—back to Lamech, descendent of Cain—"said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Heed my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold." 

Well, what I see in that is this proclivity of this murderous capacity of Cain manifesting itself, as society develops, to a murderous intent that transcends the mere killing of a brother. You hurt me; I hurt you back. No—you hurt me; I kill you and six other people. The thing that happens after that is, it’s not to make it seven people, but to make it seventy people. And so there’s this idea that once that first murderous seed is sown, it has this proclivity to manifest itself exponentially. That’s a warning. That’s also why, I think, Tubalcain, who’s one of Cain’s descendants, was the first person who made weapons of war. 

And that’s pretty much the story of Cain and Abel. It’s a hell of a story, as far as I can tell. I think it’s worth thinking about pretty much forever. It has so many facets. I think the most usefully revealing of those facets is the potential for the story, once understood, to shed light on not your own failure—not even on your rejection by being, let’s say—but on the proclivity to murder the best, and the best in you, for revenge upon that violation. What that means—and we know that knowledge of good and evil entered the world, so to speak, with Adam and Eve’s transgression—is that now, not only does humanity have to contend with tragedy and suffering, and even the unharvested fruits of proper sacrifice, but with the introduction of real malevolence into the world. 

There’s the Fall into history, and then there’s the discovery of sacrifice as a medication for the Fall. And then there’s a counterposition, which is the emergence of malevolence as the enemy of proper sacrifice. And that’s where we’re left at the end of Cain and Abel. And that’s the end of that lecture. Thank you.