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Slouching Towards The Improbable

James Kent

Chaos, chaos, pure and simple...

ONCE UPON A TIME there was a strange and twisted world where every event that ever happened from the beginning of time to the end of history was all totally random, totally unexpected, and totally unpredictable. This world was a dark and disorderly place, fraught with confusion and peril, and the beings who inhabited this strange world never knew what would come next. They would ball themselves up into frightened little knots, constantly worrying about the storm of paradox that seemed to never end.

In time, groups of these beings began praying to the storm, making sacrifices of food and blood in attempt to anticipate its whim in order that their lives might be spared. Other brave souls began to curse the storm, balling their fists into knots and shouting headlong into its full fury. Many others simply held on to whatever they could find and just let the storm overwhelm them, frantically trying to reorganize the pieces of their lives any time there was a quiet moment. And so it went for aeons and aeons, no one knowing when or even if it would ever end.

And then one day while peering at the sky, one of the beings had a staggering thought. The patterns, the cycles... They are hidden but they are there. There was a method to this madness, or so it seemed, and others started seeing it too. It was so obvious that once explained even a child could understand it. The only mystery left was why they hadn't seen it sooner. It was Chaos, pure and simple.

Chaos is and Chaos was and Chaos will always be. We can't predict it, but darn it if we don't know it when we see it. Agents of order build walls and make laws to create an illusion of stability and permanence, but the Chaos is always there, waiting. Chaos has its own order. Patterns emerge, grow, reproduce, and die -- sometimes even morphing into new patterns along the way -- but nothing lasts forever. Chaos always has the last word.

Yet, as Chaos iterates through its infinite folds, distinct patterns begin to emerge. There are billions of subatomic particles colliding around us at every instant, and yet all we see is a high-contrast, narrow-spectrum bandwidth of colored light. We see shapes and shadows and call this reality. We feel matter and substance and call this truth. We observe and cling to whatever order we can find -- but just under the surface is the blinding dizziness of the quantum world. Forces collide, join, and fly apart at the blink of an eye. Energy is traded in discrete packets, and particles spin and dance together in this ever-expanding field of space and time we call home.

Does any of this sound improbable? Well the whole thing was improbable to begin with. Take for instance this magazine you are holding. Did we know we were going to have six (yes, six) interviews in this issue? Did we know there was even going to be another issue? Did we know where the time and money would come from? Could we have guessed that by the time it was finished it would all fit together some weird way? The answer to all these questions is no, we didn't know. How could we know? It just happened that way all by itself. Really. And no one knows why.

What you have before you is a wide range of wild ideas strung together by a wide range of wild people. You may accuse us of trying to push one particular philosophy or life-style choice because we spend a lot of time discussing psychoactive substances. You can call us sexist and racist because all of our interviews are with white men. You can call us depraved for our choice of artwork or simply mock us for our impetuousness, but what you certainly cannot call us is blind to Chaos. Most of this issue happened when we weren't even looking. We just woke up one morning, booted up the Mac, took a look at what was sitting in the in-box and pasted it into the magazine. Heck, I didn't even write this editorial. I channeled it from an Atlantean alchemist/time-traveller named Enkyos one night after a few too many beers (he also asked me to give a shout out to his main man Tarthuk, and all the groovy Pleidian Sisters dropping cosmic knowledge out there tonight).

Okay, so maybe it has nothing to do with Chaos. Maybe we made it all up. Believe what you want. Odds are what you believe isn't all truth either. We can never know. The only thing we can be certain of is that we exist and we know it. We're self aware! Through Cosmic Joke or evolutionary fluke, we've managed to achieve sentience. Talk about random. Did anything else improbable happen to you today?

So now that we're here, I invite you to the ask the following questions to yourself: How are you? Is everything fine? Have we got everything under control? Are all the pieces fitting into place? Is there a final destination on this mad ride, or is it all just paths of uncertainty leading out to infinity? I'm inclined to believe the latter, but that doesn't mean either is more probable than the other. Just as certainty gives us something to believe in, uncertainty gives us invention, exploration, and surprise. Who knows? The unexpected could be just around the corner! Isn't it fun to discover?

Happy hunting,

Tags : psychedelic
Rating : Teen - Drugs
Posted on: 2001-03-05 00:00:00