Impersonating Jed McKenna

Written by Jed McKenna

Impersonating Jed McKenna

By Jed McKenna

"No man is a prophet in his own country."

That line keeps running through my mind as I sit over lunch with my sister who I haven't seen in several years. These days I'mrepparttar enlightened guy, but to her I'm justrepparttar 122163 bratty kid who couldn't make eye contact when she wore a bikini.

It's summer '01 and we're having lunch in lower Manhattan. She read a preview copy of Damnedest and has had a few months to digest it. It was very nice of her to read it because it's really not her kind of thing. She's a good citizen; a successful executive, wife, mother, Republican, tennis nut, Christian-ish, and all-round productive member of society. (She once told me she was raising her children to be productive members of society and I winced so hard I almost chipped a tooth.) She's a wonderful person, but not a member ofrepparttar 122164 demographicrepparttar 122165 book speaks to.

There's a plate of chilled pasta in front of me and a salad in front of her. We're both drinking iced tea. She's runsrepparttar 122166 creative side of a medium-sized ad agency and, I have no doubt, she's very good at it. She's taking time out of a busy schedule to have lunch with me. After this, I'm going torepparttar 122167 park to lay inrepparttar 122168 grass and watch people play with their dogs.

Visiting your sister and having lunch shouldn't be a confusing ordeal, but it is. Is she really my sister? What does that mean? We share some history and acquaintances, such as childhood and parents. Are my parents really my parents? Genetically they are related to my body, butrepparttar 122169 person who lived my childhood is no longer here. The past I share with this person is about as real and important to me as if I'd read it in a brochure.

The problem is that these people, my family, are all related to my shell, and I'm not. They're looking atrepparttar 122170 outer Jed McKenna and assuming an inner Jed McKenna. I'm inside Jed McKenna looking out and I can't really remember what he's supposed to do or say. It's all fakery. I'm an actor playing a role with for which I feel no connection and have no motivation. There cannot be anything genuine in my dealings with people who are dealing with my outer garment. (The whole thing is further entangled byrepparttar 122171 fact that there's no "I" inhabiting my shell, just a fading echo, but let's not go down that road just now.)

Actually, it's not really confusing. I possess notrepparttar 122172 least shred of doubt about who and what I am. The tricky thing is that who and what I am is not related to this pretty, professional, salad-eating woman across from me. By coming to this lunch I have inserted myself into a situation where I do not belong. I am an imposter. I have some residual fondness for my sister and if she died I'd be saddened to think that she was no longer inrepparttar 122173 world, butrepparttar 122174 simple fact is that our former relationship no longer exists.

Okay, so why am I telling you this?

Because that's what I do. I try to hold this enlightenment thing up for display and this seems like an interesting aspect ofrepparttar 122175 whole deal. How do you relate torepparttar 122176 people who were most important to you before awakening fromrepparttar 122177 dream ofrepparttar 122178 segregated self?

She asks why I'm in town.

"My astrologers told me it was a good time to get away and not try to accomplish anything. They said that ketu and rahu wouldn't be letting me get anything done for awhile anyway..."

I look up and see that she has stopped chewing in mid-mouthful and is staring at me incredulously.


"My astrologers..."

"You're not serious. You have astrologers?"

Oh yeah. I guess that sounds weird. I was vaguely aware that I was trying to be funny by starting a sentence with "My astrologers told me..." but what's a little amusing to me is other-worldly to her. Might as well have fun with it.

"I have dozens of astrologers. I can't swing a dead cat without hitting someone who's doing my chart or explaining how my future will unfold; advising me on pretty much everything."

Her expression doesn't change. "You have astrologers?"

"Lots. Gotta beat 'em off with a stick."

"And they tell you... They tell you whatrepparttar 122179 future holds? What you should do? When you should do it? What you should avoid? Is that what we're talking about?"

"I suppose."

She resumes chewing butrepparttar 122180 wide-eyed gaze remains. There's a chasm in this conversation across which there's no point trying to communicate. She knows I'm into some serious weirdness, but not how much or what kind. I don't really have astrologers, of course, but in those days it did seem like I was surrounded by students of Eastern and Western astrology who were always very eager to share their readings.

"What do you do with all that information?"

"Me? Nothing. I mean, I don't ask for it. It's not like I wake up and summonrepparttar 122181 court astrologers to plan my day."

The Bottom Line

Written by Jed McKenna

The Bottom Line

By Jed McKenna

Whadda ya know?

Seriously. With absolute certainty, what do you know? Put aside all opinions, beliefs and theories for a moment and address this one straight question: What do you know for sure? Or, as Thoreau put it:

"Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward throughrepparttar mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which coversrepparttar 122162 globe... through church and state, through poetry and philosophy and religion, till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality, and say, This is, and no mistake; and then begin..."

In other words, let's cutrepparttar 122163 crap and figure out what's real. The cogito does exactly that, and it's very simple. The question is: What do you know?

The answer is: I Am.

All other so-called facts are really non-facts and belong inrepparttar 122164 category of consensual reality and relative truth, i.e., unreal reality and untrue truth.

::: Cogito Ergo Sum

Cogito ergo sum isrepparttar 122165 equation that provesrepparttar 122166 fact. But first, before we go on, let's ask what else we know. What else can be said for certain?

Nothing. We don't know anything else. And that'srepparttar 122167 real point ofrepparttar 122168 cogito. The importance of I Am isn't that it's a fact, but that it'srepparttar 122169 only fact.

I Am isrepparttar 122170 only thing anyone has ever known or will ever know. Everything else, all religion and philosophy, is nothing more than dream interpretation. There is no other fact than I Am. The cogito isrepparttar 122171 seed ofrepparttar 122172 thought that destroysrepparttar 122173 universe. Beyondrepparttar 122174 cogito, nothing is known. Beyondrepparttar 122175 cogito, nothing can be known. Except I Am, no one knows anything. No man or god can claim to know more. No God or array of gods can exist or be imagined that know more than this one thing: I Am.

We can't avoid letting this topic drift briefly intorepparttar 122176 Christian realm. When Moses asked God His name, God answered, "I am that I am." The name God gives for Himself is I Am.

Note that I Am is unconjugatable. It allows of no variation. God doesn't say, "My name is I Am, but you can call me You Are, or He Is." The cogito,repparttar 122177 I Am equation, does not extend beyond one's own subjective knowing. I can say I Am and know it as truth, but I can't say you are, he is, she is, we are, they are, it is, etc. I know I exist and nothing else. Understood thusly, I Am, aka God, truly isrepparttar 122178 Alpha andrepparttar 122179 Omega;repparttar 122180 entirety of being, of knowledge, of you.

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