Lately I’ve become acutely aware of this feeling of gloom that’s been following me around nipping at my heals like some starved mongrel.  That’s not to say this dark void that passes through me has remained entirely opaque, for I have been aware of some form of psychic mass weighing on me for the past year or so.  It’s not tied to any overt trauma like the diagnosis of terminal cancer or the death of a dearest Aunt May; no this is the sort of dread born deep within the id and thrust upward toward the airy heights of the conscious mind, and if the title of this post is any indication then the cause of my occasional dark thoughts is that one simple yet so important question plaguing humans since our organic computers first became self-aware: Why must I die?

I suppose the best place to start this bit of self-reflection is with…some self-reflection.  It was sometime during last winter when I would find myself overcome with these feelings of dread over my position in life and where I was headed.  I was driving around the Southern Tier delivering medical supplies to various offices, clinics, etc. which required me to put in long hours in adverse conditions.  Day in and day out I drove hundreds of miles in treacherous blizzards ensuring the safe delivery of IVs, pillow cases, rubbing alcohol, band-aids, etc. to disgruntled nurses when this feeling of “is this all I will accomplish with my life” started popping its pessimistic face out of the subconscious bush.  This feeling of failure is important to me, for I read it as an urgent message sent to myself through the bio-highways of the brain saying “Hey dummy, get off your ass and be something more than a truck driver!”  A strong message indeed, but how does this get to the question of dying?

That’s an easy question to answer: I’m afraid of dying without leaving my mark.  It’s not the process of dying that scares me; it’s not truly having lived and shedding the mortal coil full of regrets which frightens me so.  Fast-forward a year later and things have improved somewhat.  I’m not slaving fifty hours a week for meager wages anymore (Thanks chronic shoulder affliction) which does leave me much more time to pursue my passions of writing and studying every aspect of humanity I can get my eyes and ears on.  Of course what I strive to achieve and the roads which need to be traversed are much different than before; there is a security and comfort found in having an employer with their benefits, 401K, guaranteed raises, and Christmas parties. However, with that security comes the mundane and imaging myself thirty years from now with only faded memories and some shitty parting gift as souvenirs for my toil is the most fearful conception of a life spent.  Better to eat lead now and save the slow pathetic decline.  So I travel down new roads and seek new opportunities.  I want to create my own way through this fascinatingly crazy thing we call life and when my story comes to its final page I want the last paragraph to be full of smiles.

We live in a world full to the brim with sensory input for us to devour.  The deep blue landscape of skies dotted with fluffy white clouds, the tactile smoothness of a stone ground down by the elements, the screeching screams of a bustling city street at midday, and that distinctive citrusy taste of a perfect Florida orange cover four out of our five basic sensuous interactions with the world.  And then there’s the olfactory.  The sense of smell not only augments our taste buds, but also alerts us to very important aspects of the world which the other senses are denied access.  Just think of how important a role smell played in hunting before the modern era (other mammals can currently attest to this) or how certain objects might smell offensive and detour us from harmful interactions (e.g. feces or burnt flesh).  And then there are cigarettes which are a true trickery of human invention, for cigarettes have always smelled alluring to me and have seduced me into their cancerous waltz for twenty odd years now.  Now I have almost broken those bonds completely (sans the occasional drunken binge), and in doing so have found some curious phenomena associated with smoking.  Of course we all know about the cancer, lung disease, tooth decay, hair loss, COPD, and all other diseases which have been linked to smoking, but something nobody ever talks about (besides Bill Hicks and probably others) is the way cigarettes affect smell.

Perhaps how much smoking cigarettes affects your olfactory isn’t as significant as how much quitting does, and let me tell you it’s powerful.  Imagine having shitty, blurry, basically blind eyesight which is completely correctable by putting on glasses and that’s the difference in forcefulness of scent between smoking and cessation.  It’s intriguing how some aromas are greatly magnified while other times some things will smell (and taste in some cases as the two are interconnected) completely different.  For example, dirt really fucking smells!  And I’m not talking about that city dirt full of homeless piss and broken dreams, but that clean, fresh, untouched deep forest dirt you come across when hiking in some out of the way place.  It has this crazy strong smell of roots and plants and animals that doesn’t exist when I smoke.  Also cities can REALLY stink when I don’t smoke.  Gross smells emanate from all those dull, plain crevices and back urban alleyways nobody pays notice to.  It’s disgusting and is actually quite a good reason to smoke.  However there are a bunch of different stuff including foods, clean air, and flowers that have a much stronger pleasant smell as well, so I guess as far as the olfactory sense is concerned, smoking is a double-edged sword.

It’s the price we pay for a lovely night of debauchery, lust, and the letting go of the societal moors keeping us safely snug in our daily pursuits of money, ménage and monotony.  The swollen aching brain, the stiff joints, the nausea, and the regrets are just some of the symptoms of the previous night’s merry dehydration and subsequent extraction of all those precious vitamins and minerals.  But we take that bill as receipt of some much needed and oft times blurry fun and gladly pay the toll.  Pills, vitamins, herbal remedies, green drinks, etc. etc. etc. are oft employed as mitigation against this terrible affliction and unless one has gone down to the bottoms of the boozy depths, they should be feeling quite well after a quiet night of rest.  However, it has been my experience that this is not the end of matters and there is indeed a further price to be paid the next day –that being of thought.

Specifically what I am typing about is the creative impulse…or urge…or whatever you want to call it that gives us the ability to invent new ideas, draw intriguing conclusions, synthesize competing ideas into new form à la Hegelian dialectic, and all the other sorts of thoughts we are able to draw upon utilizing this mental process.  Personally, I feel my creative urges being replaced by a dull empty nothingness like a crystal calm ocean devoid of traffic and motion.  In this state it is near impossible to muster any sort of relevant or interesting information to transmit outward into the world leaving me as nothing more than an apathetic receiver barely able to digest much beyond the rudimentary bustling of the tribe.  The world en masse feels dull and unadventurous; nothing more than a tiresome ingemination of similar circumstances meandering its way down the temporal river of life until the point of departure is finally reached…how useless.  All alone in a mental ocean of nothingness; I would say that minus the incessant craving for brains this is how a zombie would perceive the world, except that brains is exactly what I crave…though brain power would probably be more accurate.

To the deafening screams and shouts of what could easily be the largest turnout in American history, the newly elected forty fifth President of the United States walks onto the stage of his inaugural pronouncement.  The location for this policy setting speech is deliberate and telling; nestled between the Museum of American History and the Department of Agriculture at the National Mall with the large phallic visage of the Washington Monument providing the backdrop, the POTUS hopes to emphasize both the revolutionary character a non-political billionaire narcissist will undoubtedly bring to the White House and to let the world know that “we” possess a huge throbbing white cock and the will to wield that meaty stallion against all those who stands in America’s way.  Of course “America’s way” is his way, after all the people have spoken and chosen this man amongst men to lead them.  A man with the most elegant hair of any who have served in the office of president, a man whose rather wall centered foreign policy struck a large nerve with the great majority of Americans, a man known on his reality show as “The Donald,” and now a man whom you may call President Trump.

The stage upon which Trump stands in akin to what one might find amongst the drugged and drunken rabble at some festival show.  Scaffolding posts holding aloft a canvassed roof adorned with a giant image of Trump’s face, the campaign slogan “Make America Great” alongside simple reminders of the new president’s name plaster the façade with giant American flags acting as sentries.  All the canvassing was the signature Trump blue of his glorious campaign, along with random red and white stars dotted the scene adding to the ambiance of patriotism, and the sheer greatness of a man who possessed the sheer will to topple the centuries old political establishment armed with nothing more than misogyny, xenophobia, casual racism, and the promise of a big fucking wall!

The crowd is absolutely tremendous.  Nobody previously realized or took seriously the numbers of support Trump was able to garner throughout the thickened arteries of all points between the coasts.  NYC, LA, Chicago, and other leftist leaning metropolises might not have supported him, but every Bum-fuck Virginian and Johnny Suburbs were scooped up into The Donald’s fear mongering arms like scared kiddies who need daddy.  What were they so afraid of?  Well aside from the propaganda about all peoples not American, there was the fear of dynasty that runs through the depths of the American psyche.  Two Bush’s had their turn in office and the Clinton’s were not going to get that same opportunity.  In the minds of the majority of Americans, they were faced with the choice between the woman whom embodied the very fabric of a political system virtually nobody trusted, and the man who made jokes about how he abused that very same corrupt system.  Oblivious to hypocrisy and with bellies full of ignorance born of propaganda, America chose its new face and they stood in veneration and awe.  They acted as though there were some high-speed automobiles continuously veering left or some group of athletes were trying to score points against some other group of similar athletes.  Jumps of joy, hand-clapping, fist pumps, hooting and hollering, screams of ecstasy, patriotism, campaign slogan chants, and varied racial slurs all swarmed together forming a deafening vortex of dumb rendering useless any hopes of hearing oneself think.  The crowd was awash in patriotic colors, whether it be hats, shirts, Zoobas, and/or shoes, these proud people numbering around half a million showed up in force to celebrate the individual freedom Trump touted so heavily during his campaign by ironically cheering in unison and dressing near identical.  Perhaps oddest of all were those few wearing Trump styled wigs as a symbol of their unwavering loyalty.  That fashion choice alongside their choired chants of “our leader is chosen” and “all hail the new chief” would have seemed to others in attendance as cult like had they not been caught up in their own fervor which was quickly approaching its fever pitch.

Standing at the epicenter of this raucous melee of ravenous sycophants while being surrounded and shadowed by both secret service and his own personal bodyguards was the man of the hour, President Trump.  The mythical star of Bethlehem paled in radiance and majesty in comparison with the magnificent fashion in which Trump stood over his people, and yet not a wise man was to be found amongst this hoard of flatterers so eager to consume his mighty word.  Gazing out upon his fleshy mass of followers, Trump couldn’t help but contort his anus like mouth into an awkwardly lopsided grin.  “Finally” Trump thought, “after all these months spent travelling around meeting and greeting all these losers, after dealing with cunts like Megyn Kelly and Hilary Clinton, after having to put up with Mexican trash interrupting my perfectly crafted speeches…FINALLY!  I’VE DONE IT…I’VE WON!”  Adjusting the microphone and pausing momentarily to let the crowd simmer, Trump began addressing his flock:

My fellow Americans today marks a great new day that will be looked back upon throughout history as the day America started becoming great again.  You know, when I first started campaigning I knew that the people…that YOU people wanted a leader who would do what’s necessary to make America great again, to turn America back into the winner it used to be and now you’ve elected me to do just that.  I have developed a three part plan in order to make America great again.  It’s a finely constructed plan and I believe it is the best way to do what we want to do.  First, we will deal with the illegal immigrants plaguing our great country, second we’ll deal with the Chinese stealing our jobs and business, and finally we’ll deal with those terrorists in the Middle East once and for all.  I know we can accomplish these things because we are a strong people capable of anything and I know I am the man to lead us there.  The days of career politicians giving our country away to the highest bidder are over!  It’s time to take America back!

The crowd roared to life as Trump paused to absorb the energy and sheer magnitude of this his greatest feat.  The fervor and unyielding loyalty were almost too great to be believed.  “How can they be so loyal, I must truly be the greatest leader of all time” the newly anointed leader pondered as he stood proudly with hair shimmering in the spot lights almost as if it were illuminated from within.  Unfortunately all good things must end and Trumps gratuitous id feeding frenzy was no different, for unbeknownst to all who bore witness to this fateful day the seeds of treasonous intent were being sown beneath the Donald’s feet, and the consequences would shock and change the face of the world.

“It’s way too fucking hot under this stage! Let’s hurry the fuck up all ready” the exasperated Hispanic man quipped.  “Shut the fuck up, we won’t hear the cue over your bitching!” his partner snapped back.  Both were similar in stature, small and slim, in the mid-twenties, and of Mexican descent.  Both were born in America to legal Naturalized immigrants, and sick of the racist tidal wave unleashed upon them by the man standing two feet above their heads.  But this is not the sort of terrorist plot normally thought of, for there are no bombs, no guns, and no lethal intent whatsoever.  In reality it would be more appropriate to call what these two young men have planned a prank, though the public mood is far too uptight, defensive, and scared for that sort of analysis.  The unfortunate reality of the situation is that crime will be overblown, the national rage against all things Hispanic will boil over, and repercussions will be brutal, but since when do college aged kids properly think through all the ramifications of their actions?  Trump’s speech was feverishly working toward its crescendo and the boys prepared to execute their plot.  The rigging was amazingly simple to setup considering the high level of security present.  Apparently all the heightened vigilance concerning Mexicans didn’t translate well when it came to two nameless workers feigning help in constructing the stage.  Uniformed in blue overalls, nobody said a word as they helped carry materials from tractor trailers to inside the perimeter of security.  Once inside they anonymously set to work installing pulleys and rope which had no business on that stage, all the while being completely ignored by the bevy of workers and security too consumed in their own duties to pay any mind to “the help.”  Attached to the end of that rope and centered perfectly above where Trump would be standing was a bucket, which perhaps constituted the gravest breech in security for how could an unknown minority stand atop a ladder pouring a red viscous fluid into it without being noticed?  Regardless of the holes in security, it was this fluid that was to provide the exclamation point to the boy’s protest against the unfettered racism Trump implicitly endorsed; see the buckets contents did not consist of red colored water, fruit punch, or even human blood!  For this point to be made properly a very special sacrifice had to be made, and what better way to make it than to use the thick, putrid blood from one of the ever-elusive and very dangerous Chupacabra!  Calling the blood of this epic destroyer of goats and all other things small farm animal vile would be far too kind; it is the sort of disgusting that will force the uninitiated into involuntary fits of vomiting and possible diarrhea.  In other words, it would leave a taste in Trump’s mouth that he wouldn’t soon forget.

Nervously the two vandals waited for the climax of Trump’s speech to unleash their Carrie inspired hoax.  Sweaty hands gripped the rope with white knuckles of pure intent.  The time was finally upon them to earn their place in history.  If only they knew how correct that statement were then maybe they would have reversed course.  The six little magic words they were waiting for “It’s time to take America back” were uttered and with solemn determination they both yanked on the rope for all they were worth.  Topside the crowd was caught up in a fit of pure hysteria as their leader stood proudly in front of the podium, arms outstretched with a look of pure ecstasy upon his face.  Then, as if in slow motion, blood fell from the sky.

The dictionary describes a miracle as an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.  Perhaps it’s a severe lack of understanding that has since led some to use that word to describe the events of that fateful day, or it could simply be the blind devoted faith of the possessed.  In any event, the day of Trump’s departure from humanity and simultaneous ascension to benevolence has been referred to in miraculous terms such as The Rebirth, The Resurrection, and The Second Coming by more than a few.  But this is jumping ahead a bit and a full exposition of that day’s events is in order if full understanding is to be gained of our current situation.

Blood fell from the sky that day drenching President Trump from head to toe in the viscous, vile, vital fluids of that great ruiner of livestock the Chupacabra.  Moments of time seemed to collide like an interstate pile-up as the roar of the crowd was instantaneously replaced with deafening silence.  Every eyeball was fixated on the sacrificial offering now enveloping their savior of apple pie, white picket fences and two and a half children.  Then a lone hissing began permeating the ubiquitous silence; at first so slight that only the police dogs reacted with growls and barks aimed at the stage, but it soon grew audible to the audience and then much louder.  Blank stares of astonishment soon turned to contorted expressions of terror as increasingly voluminous hissing was accompanied by a cloud of steam cyclically swirling round Trump.  One might think shrieks of terror or agony would accompany a man caught in some sort of invisible pressure cooker, but Trump simply stood there in silence as his bodily host began liquefying into a gelatinous, amorphous mess.  One observer would later note how eerily similar the whole affair was to that famous scene from The Wizard of Oz.  The hissing eventually ebbed and all that remained of The Donald lay smoking behind the podium.  The crowd was singularly motionless as those contorted expressions of terror slowly relaxed into doe-eyed astonishment.  Faint sounds of shoes tapping on stage signaled the arrival of various members of security, guns drawn and completely clueless to what they were witnessing.  Two men moved the podium to side in an effort to conduct investigative work which allowed the crowd access to the gelatinous remains of their commander-in-chief.  Security gathered around as the crowd took in the sight; the President had been reduced to a revolting pile of goo along with smatterings of Chupacabra blood strewn about the place.  Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of the whole maddening sight was the toupee, perfectly preserved and resting just beneath the oozy surface of Trump’s remains.

At this point something fantastic occurred, the Trump goo began to jiggle!  It was very slight at first, then with increasing momentum the whole pile began to almost lift off the ground.  The motion seemed to be generated by the toupee as it wiggled about beneath the surface. Then with a loud *POP* the toupee shot out of the muck and spiraled skyward reaching a height of about thirty feet before slowly descending to an average human height where it remained suspended in mid-air!  Besides those who went faint from the sight, every person present remained motionless and transfixed; so did the toupee for a few intense moments as it quickly adjusted itself to being without a host.  Then strings of hair began flipping and flopping about as it turned ninety degrees to reveal its face to the crowd; two big bulging bright yellow eyes almost glowing with intensity, and a mouth which perfectly mimicked that of its former host being small and puckered like a butthole.  With some quiet thuds a few more of the audience collapsed at this impossible sight.  Only the security stood fast as if under some secret spell that forbade them from acting in the appropriate human manner.  With all eyes and television cameras fixed on the floating monstrosity it addressed the world, “My fellow Americans…” That voice, it was Trumps! –and it seemed to be being transmitted psychically.  The hair piece continued, “…and YES, you are MY fellow Americans for I am one of you.  I was born here in this great land and I was attached to my first and only host here.  The man you knew as The Donald and I have been together since both our infancy, as were his parents and mine, our families have been a part of each for generations and now he’s gone.”  Those bright yellow eyes seemed to glare into every person’s very being and for a moment one could actually feel this being’s pain and anguish at losing such an intimate aspect of its self.  “Rest assured those responsible for this travesty will be properly punished!” bellowed the incensed toupee as two young Hispanic men can be seen in the background being dragged away by security.  “For now I suppose it will suffice to explain what happened to the Trump host and where we as a nation need to go from here.  First I must offer an apology for I have not been completely forthcoming with you when I spoke of the Mexican threat to our country.  It is true that Mexico is sending a bunch of rapists and murderers into our country and yes the illegals streaming across our borders are stealing our jobs, but there is something more to the blight of the Mexicans that I have hitherto share.  See my race has been able to fully adapt itself to coexistence amongst humanity on Earth.  We have been here for a long while now and have lived our lives in plain sight playing the role of soothing your self-conscious fears of male pattern baldness.  You call us by many names: rug, wig, piece, toupee, and others.  Our native name is not comprehendible to your primitive primate minds, so I suppose for the sake of brevity you may call me Trumpee.  Now, while we have been able to adjust to mostly everything on your planet, the disgusting blood those damned Chupacabra possess still proves quite lethal to our hosts whenever and to whatever degree we are exposed.  That is the further reason I hold contempt toward that region, but make no mistake they are an affront to everything we hold dear as Americans!”  At this point Trumpee fell silent as it’s piercing stare mesmerized all those foolish enough to gaze upon it.  Trumpee’s race is psychic and the unprepared are always quick to fall prey to their hairy whiles.  It continued, “so what then of the future my fellow Americans?  Unbeknownst to your planet’s primitive defense systems a colonial expeditionary force has been in orbit for some time now, and has been waiting for the proper time for incursion.  Do not fret, the feeling of joining is like what you humans think of as “divine” and preparations have been made to ensure that what happened to my host will never happen again.”

With the end of that sentence Trumpee utilized its tremendous mind to flick a non-physical switch which changed the course of human history.  Down near the U.S. Mexican border the ground began to shake as if the Earth itself were being torn asunder.  From Texas to California giant patches of land were heaved into the air as a giant steel wall slowly emerged from the Earth and rising to an incredible five hundred feet high.  As the wall rose skyward the colonial ship sitting for months in deep orbit began its decent.  Our defensive measures were neutralized; the people watching the inauguration were hypnotized by Trumpee’s incredible mind and those who skipped it were clueless to the invasion leaving them no time to prepare.  The military decimated itself while the populous either sat quietly mesmerized or were taken completely off guard and had little to no chance.  The space carrier reached an altitude of roughly fifteen thousand feet somewhere over Nebraska and released its load upon the continental United States.  Hundreds of millions of flying toupees moved swiftly across the land attaching themselves to every person they could get their strands on.  Once someone is taken as a host their free will and possibly consciousness are subverted as they become nothing more than fleshy vehicles for the toupees to operate as they see fit.  Many a great head of hair was ruined that day.  Some of us were able to escape hairy corruption and fled underground.  We were able to form small pockets of resistance and under the leadership of the great Colonel Sanders have been able to survive freely.  Eventually he was cut down, but we still fight on in desperate hope of a better tomorrow.  It’s been 11 years since that fateful day and most of the world has been turned into mindless toupee wearing automatons.  The only hope we have is this letter reaching into the past in order to avoid what your future will become.  We’ve found a way to transmit small quantities of information at the quantum level allowing me to send this letter to you in my past.  If you’re reading this then please stop this from happening!  Don’t let this future happen; don’t let your future come to an end.  Don’t let the aliens come to power, don’t vote for Trump!

The End?

4 Chan sometimes produces pure liquefied shit and sometimes it produces pure fucking gold.  Here’s the best story ever from the /pol board.

I was still young when the Trumpening finally happened. Suddenly full of vigor and enthusiasm, defiantly hopeful after having endured several years of diabolical sin and degeneracy. Reinvigorated and optimistic in the lead-up to what would have been Patriarch Trump’s glorious six-term presidency. But my joy would be short lived. Exactly eighty eight hours before his inauguration, Mr. Trump unexpectedly fled into some nearby woods, and was never seen again. No explanation. He simply knew something the rest of us didn’t. He had no choice.

The walls were never built, and the Mexican border-toads continued to multiply exponentially. Then the nukes fell, and the new pandemics arrived. The rampaging diversifiers continued to swarm across the civilized world, bringing a cataclysmic wave of cultural enrichment and peace to every last inch of Earth. AIDS became mandatory. Vatican City was dismantled and reconstructed using trillions of Common Core text books. Artificial womb-children were instantly dissected and reassembled at birth, fashioned into ambisexual pan-gender omni humans before being reanimated and married into polygamous otherkin sects. The children were injected with estrogen, liquified cancer, and watermelon iced tea, their trans-human brains genetically engineered to run exclusively on Windows 10 (the last operating system to ever exist). Women and men began perpetually menstruating, so we started calling them “bleeders”. Tampons and bandages were made illegal as symbols of hate speech, so the bleeders gushed into state-issued Swedish bike shorts while communicating entirely in emoticon sign language.

The universal television news network “Salon & IKEA Broadcasting Service” kept us all informed as the EU engaged in a massive space-battle, annihilating over 6 quintillion alien UFOs with kale-powered ebola lasers that they had hidden on Ceres. But it was all a lie. A giant psyop orchestrated by President Chelsea and VP Malia. They were not actually fighting extra terrestrials. Their enemy was seen as much more problematic. In reality, they were secretly exterminating the few remaining white cis-males left alive. After hiding out in the sewers, I too followed Trump’s lead, and fled innawoods. The planet was left in ruins, and smoldering death and Tumblr posts touched every last corner of the globe.

Decades passed, and memory of the previous world had all but faded. It had been several days since my last meal. I scampered between desert shantytowns, scavenging for pieces of discarded Skittles and edible panties. I had wrapped my entire body in several layers of scrap metal and identified as a Google self-driving car, so the authorities wouldn’t detain me. I was starving, but reluctant to blow my cover by heading into the center of town. I had no choice, I was on the verge of passing out. I spotted a plywood shack in the distance, a faded cardboard sign hanging above the door. I squinted in the blazing midday sun, unable to fully make it out. Something about the spray painted brass-colored block letters looked vaguely familiar. Dizzy now. I stumbled inside while clumsily bumping into the door frame. Pieces of metal rattled and dislodged, scattering across the floor. My eyesight further blurred, and my vision faded to black as I was caught by dozens of powerful arms scooping me up to safety.

When I regained consciousness I could make out ten cloaked figures, their robes made entirely out of blonde hair. Beautiful, blonde pads of manly hair. I was surrounded by glass bottles of un-fluoridated German carrot juice, chilled to perfection. A determined voice broke the silence as I was handed a drink. “We know who you are, and you’re not alone” I immediately recognized the voice. Could it be? The robust figure leaned forward, brushing away the loose pieces of metal covering my head before slowly removing his blonde hood. Before I could clearly view his face, he held up a card and muttered “Tap tap tap bing bing bong. This your card?” That voice! Mr. Trump? He must have been over 100 years old, but still as clear-minded and regal as ever. I muttered in amazement “You’re a-a-alive? What’s going on? Where am I?” There was a brief pause as the robed figures shared glances before holding aloft their cards. Cards that were identical to the one I had kept in my wallet all these years, so faded and worn. Donald tapped me on the shoulder and declared reassuringly before handing me an assault shovel. “You’re home, son. Remember, sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war. Now we finally build that wall, and win that war.”

I wiped the back of my hand across my eyes, tears of joy running down my face. All those cards, held aloft by white cis-hands. I smiled politely to the others before looking back to Chieftain Trump. His last words before we all set out will stay with me forever. “Anon… You’re hired. Mark my words, son. You are hired!” The cloaked figures began cheering and boisterously singing Twisted Sister songs as we trekked nonstop to the Mexican border, ankle-deep in toads. We began digging, and just kept on singing. “We’re not gonna take it! No, we ain’t gonna take it! We’re not gonna take it… anymore!” Trump looked on proudly, silently mouthing the lyrics.

>We’re right
>We’re free
>We’ll fight
>You’ll see

Goro Fujita has some great work!

This was my study guide for an examination I took on Spinoza’s substance monism.

Note: [1P*] refer to premises, [1A*] refer to axioms, and [1D*] refer to definitions.

Preliminary Remarks

The root idea behind the notion of substance in Spinoza [S] is what has properties or is a subject of predication. But it cannot be just anything serving this role; otherwise a great many things in the world would qualify which S doesn’t want to say. The notion as S uses it (and was defined by Descartes) includes items which are causally self-sufficient or indestructible. S tells us in [1D3] that substance is what is in itself, conceived through itself, and doesn’t require any other concept for its formation. In other words, substance is self-caused, self-sufficient, and has complete independence from all other things in its formation. A further point which follows from this def. comes from [1D1] where S defines self-cause as a thing whose essence requires existence or whose nature cannot be conceived except as existing. Why must existence be part of the essence of substance? Because substance is gonna be the substratum from which the universe exists and such can’t itself contingently exist.

Essence also appears in [1D4] where S tells us that an attribute is what the intellect perceives of a substance, as constituting its essence. There are ambiguities and different interpretive strategies by scholars concerning this def. but I think the best way to explain it is by saying that attributes are the basic ways in which the human intellect can, in their limited fashion, comprehend the nature or essence of substance; and humans have access to two attributes which are extension and thought. That said, let me throw out one more def. before moving on to S’s main argument.

[1D5] defines a mode as the affections (or predicates) of a substance…conceived through another. In other words, modes are all the particulars, finite things found in the universe, which are predicated on substance and understood through the attributes of extension and thought.

Main Argument for Spinoza’s Substance Monism

There are five main steps, as I see it, involved in Spinoza’s argument for substance monism, the first being the ‘no shared attribute’ thesis found in [1P5]. The premise, which says that “in nature there cannot be two or more substances of the same nature or attribute,” rests on two earlier premises: [1P4] which says that two or more distinct things are distinguished either by a difference in their attributes or a difference in their modes. This is Spinoza’s version of the identity of indiscernibles, which says that for A ≠ B means that A has or lacks some attribute or mode which B either has or doesn’t have, and [1P1] which states that substances are prior to their modes. The argument goes like this:

If A and B are distinct, they are distinct either in their attributes or their modes (1p4). Thus if A and B are distinct but share their attributes, they must have different modes. If A and B can be conceived as distinct through their modes, A and B can be conceived through their modes. But a substance cannot be conceived through its modes (1p1). So if A and B are distinct but share their attributes, they cannot be

conceived of as distinct. Thus their distinctness cannot be conceived. So if A and B are distinct they must differ in their attributes. Hence no two substances can share an attribute (1p5).

The second move comes at [1P7]: It pertains to the nature of a substance to exist. The argument for this premise comes from [1D1] and from [1P6C] which says that substance cannot be produced by anything else. [1P6C] comes as a result of [1P6] which states that one substance can’t produce another substance. What drives [1P6] is the [1P5] along with [1P2] which says that substances with different attributes have nothing in common with each other. If substances have different attributes and those attributes have nothing in common with each other, then they can’t play any sort of causal role with each other by [1P3]. And if substances can’t causally affect each other, then [1P6C] follows for substances and affections are all there are in nature. Thus, substance is self-caused and exists by its own nature.

The third move comes at [1P11]: God, or a substance consisting of infinite attributes, each of which expresses eternal and infinite essence, necessarily exists. The first thing to point out is minus the “necessarily exists” part, this is S’s def. of God found in [1D6]. Next, the “infinite attributes” clause is not merely definitional, there is an argument for substance being necessarily infinite found at [1P8]. The argument for that premise rests on [1P5], [1P7], and the def. of finite at [1D2]: a thing is finite if it can be limited by another of its own nature. Now, S runs to arguments for [1P11], a version of the ontological argument (which I shall pass over), and a more interesting causal argument which goes like this:

Everything must have a cause for both its existence and non-existence. This cause must either come from within it or from outside of it. Substance (God) exists according to its own nature and must do so. If something were to cause God to not exist, therefore, it would have to come from outside of God. But a substance that is separate from God would have nothing in common with God [1P2, 1P5] and could not cause God to not exist. Therefore, if God cannot cause his own non-existence, and nothing outside God can cause his non-existence, then God must necessarily exist.

The fourth step comes at [1P14]: Except God, no substance can be or be conceived. This is the decisive move for showing the monistic quality of S’s metaphysics. The argument for this premise rests on [1D6, 1P11, and 1P5] and runs like this:

God is an absolutely infinite being containing infinite attributes and who necessarily exists. If there were another substance which also existed, it would have to be explained through one of God’s attributes since God contains the infinite quantity of them. But two substances cannot be explained through the same attribute. Also, since it’s part of a substance’s nature to exist, for it to be or be conceived of would involve it being conceived through at least one attribute. Therefore no other substance but God can be or be conceived of.

The final step to this argument is at [1P15]: Whatever is, is in God, and nothing can be or be conceived without God. This argument stems from [1P14, 1D3, 1D5, and 1A1] and runs like this:

Except for God, there neither is, nor can be conceived, any substance that is in itself and conceived through itself. Modes, on the other hand, can neither be nor be conceived without substance. Only substances and modes exist. Therefore, everything is in God, and nothing can be conceived without God.

Here’s the five steps sans explanation:

  1. [1P5] In nature there cannot be two or more substances of the same nature or attribute.
  2. [1P7] It pertains to the nature of a substance to exist.
  3. [1P11] God, or a substance consisting of infinite attributes, each of which expresses eternal and infinite essence, necessarily exists.
  4. [1P14] Except God, no substance can be or be conceived.
  5. [1P15] Whatever is, is in God, and nothing can be or be conceived without God.
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