A Journal for Western Man

 

What's Up? Quite a Few Things!

G. Stolyarov II

Issue CVII - June 19, 2007

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Principal Index

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Old Superstructure

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Old Master Index

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Contributors

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The Rational Business Journal

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Forum

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Yahoo! Group

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Gallery of Rational Art

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Online Store

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Henry Ford Award

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Johannes Gutenberg Award

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CMFF: Fight Death

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Eden against the Colossus

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A Rational Cosmology

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Implied Consent

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Links

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Mr. Stolyarov's Articles on Helium.com

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Mr. Stolyarov's Articles on Associated Content

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Mr. Stolyarov's Articles on GrasstopsUSA.com

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Submit/Contact

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Statement of Policy

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Westfield closed shut the hatch leading to the gas tank of his automobile. He rinsed his hands by the water fountain which sprang from the side of the gas station, having previously immersed them in the slime of five liters of gasoline.

He would require every drop of it to arrive punctually at the meeting of the Philosophes' Society twenty-five kilometers away.

As he wiped a sweat-drenched forehead with his handkerchief, Westfield directed his eyes toward the congested entrance to the station, where a sleek neon-colored PT Cruiser with a recognizable license plate halted midway between the asphalt of the adjacent street and a nearby pump. A man his age, some twenty-three and four-fifths years old, with unkempt chestnut hair dangling at the shoulders and garbed in a tight orange short-sleeved t-shirt and khaki trousers which would have seemed a lady's gown had they not been dotted with scores of pockets and hanging some mere three centimeters above his kneecaps, approached Westfield with a toothy grin and a laid-back "high five."

"Timothy, good day," Westfield greeted his acquaintance from a college business course.

"Hey there, Stan! What's up, man?"

"Why, look up, will you?!" Westfield retorted. This was the thirteenth time that day that such an inquiry had been posed to him. "Direct your eyes upward, if you wish to see, and discover for yourself. I will not be doing your thinking for you."

"Yo, dude, it's just an expression. My friends always say, 'Nothin' much', when they answer. It's like, I ask you what's goin' on, and you say the same thing."

"Going on what? Please define your surface."

"Heck, why d'you have to be that way, Stan? Why, that's crazy, man, payin' attention to every little thing I say. Why, you don't have a life!"

"I? I do not have a life?" Now his tone of voice began to escalate. "And this is hurled at me from one who, despite the overwhelming evidence of his eyes, the golden rays of the sun, the colossal shadows of skyscrapers on the horizon, even the mosaic atop the ceiling of this gas station, himself proclaims and desires for others to mimic the absurd proposition that what is up is nothing of significance, nothing particular to devote one's attention to. Of course, Timothy Thompson, I will concur with you that what one encounters every day is of no significance, that nothing one sees, studies, or fathoms from the outside world matters at all!" His tone shifted to a stabbing sarcasm. "Why those surfaces can be made of anything at all for all I care, and if a spacecraft were to begin its descent here this very moment, 'nothing much' would still be up! Of course I am in perfect agreement with you, Timothy, because all that external stuff does not matter! What matters are feelings, whims, caprices, incommunicable fantasies detached and floating somewhere in the gutter, somewhere that is not up. Do you realize at least the tiniest bit of the implication held behind every stinging syllable of your expected response?"

"Dude! I was just sayin' hi, you know? I didn't mean anythin' offensive!" Thompson's eye sockets were wide with startled dismay while his flabby cheeks, normally attached to the cheekbones by a routine crescent grin now dangled slightly below the level of his chin. The muscles in his neck, on the contrary, twitched as Westfield's response struck his eardrums.

"Of course you did not intend it, Thompson. I would have driven away from here two minutes ago had that been the case. I do not tolerate intentional irrationalism. The question and the typically consequent conversational exchange were mechanical and perfunctory within you. For you, this is merely the way to greet people, and you have never ventured onto any deeper evaluation of the phrase's logical consequences. But the consequences will afflict you nevertheless, and you will be entangled in them as a helpless pawn of their designs, the designs meant to incapacitate your mind by detaching it from your body in a deadly dichotomy." Westfield's tone had begun by now to assume the same expository composure which reflected the atmosphere of the Philosophes' Society more so than that of the gas station. His vested, white-dress-shirted, immaculately combed presence transcended his years as greatly as did Thompson's lime-green boxer shorts the waistline of his baggy trousers/gown.

"What's that, Stan?" He seemed to be absorbing Westfield's stunning response as his shoulders gradually widened, his neck regained its tranquility, and his cheeks once again entered the contours of his face.

"A dichotomy is a conceptual split between two entities viewed to be opposites. A false dichotomy, such as this one, is one that creates a split between two areas of life between it is crucial to maintain a cooperative interrelationship. The conversational sequence commonly perceived as a greeting is nothing but an invalidation of the most advanced mechanism possessed by man in his perception of reality, his sense of sight. Nothing yields data more comprehensive, more precise and traceable to its objective origins. Every endeavor of the sciences into realms on the fringe of the naked eye's experience, whether it involves a microscope or a telescope, cannot be even considered absent man's possession of sight in the first place..."

"Man can see. Gotcha. So what?"

"Let me finish, Timothy. When you ask a question regarding the sensory data obtained by sight and yet in your expectation of the response you expect a negation of the importance of any sensory observation, whatever it may be, that is the equivalent of throwing into the dump a perfectly functional and even glamorous PT Cruiser. There is, of course, one exception. While the PT Cruiser may age, rust, and lose its enshrined status upon the altar of automobile fashion, your sensory evidence shall always remain as correct and as essential to you as it had ever been."

"Even if I wreck my eyesight watchin' TV eight hours in a row every day?"

"Even then your eyes shall remain your most potent link to reality, and your dependence on them will not be diminished. But even a man who is blind, a man who is paralyzed, who cannot ever become a laboratory scientist or observe the skyline will receive a greater amount of information about the outside world than the automaton who inquires, 'What is up?' and expects 'Nothin' much' in response. He, at least, can request his seeing comrades to disclose that which is directly inaccessible to him. He, which is most crucial, recognizes the metaphysical significance of observation and integration of sensory data to his very survival. And the curious among the blind possess ample hopes to compensate for their deficiencies. It is the seeing ignorami, the deliberate obstructers and obfuscators of reality whose prospects are nil. Now, do you comprehend the root of my frustration?"

"Yup. But what do I do now? Everyone's gonna laugh me out of existence if I say to them somethin' like, 'I would like to inquire of your recent condition.' I mean, that's weird, don't you understand?" His pupils widened in near-pleading for Westfield to condone his excuse. Having spotted an opening in the stream of cars pouring out from the station, Westfield slipped into the doorway of his automobile and turned the activated the engine. In parting, he posed the final question:

"Whom would you consider more 'weird', the man who defies the expectations of his friends, or the man who defies the entire framework of reality and of his own nature?"

G. Stolyarov II is a science fiction novelist, independent philosophical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician, composer, contributor to Enter Stage Right, Le Quebecois Libre,  Rebirth of Reason, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Senior Writer for The Liberal Institute, weekly columnist for GrasstopsUSA.com, and Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator, a magazine championing the principles of reason, rights, and progress. Mr. Stolyarov also publishes his articles on Helium.com and Associated Content to assist the spread of rational ideas. His newest science fiction novel is Eden against the Colossus. His latest non-fiction treatise is A Rational Cosmology. His most recent play is Implied Consent. Mr. Stolyarov can be contacted at gennadystolyarovii@yahoo.com.

This TRA feature has been edited in accordance with TRA’s Statement of Policy.

Click here to return to TRA's Issue CVII Index.

Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here..

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new four-act play, Implied Consent, a futuristic intellectual drama on the sanctity of human life, here.