Sam, You Made the Universe Too Long

He calls himself “Moot”. At age fifteen, he borrowed his Mother's credit card to open up a site called 4chan. You can post anything anonymously on 4chan – nasty, pornographic, threatening, sadistic, mutinous, illegal, unsanitary, outrageous. 4Chan has been called “a morass compounded from the ids of the world's adolescent shut-ins” and “like a particularly huge toxin processor for human consciousness”. (1) A quick scan of the site reveals topics like “Russian brides”, “Livesex”, and “Penis Enlargement”. On a lighter side, 4chan's random board , known as "/b/", might "melt your brain", said And The Guardian called 4chan's users "lunatic, juvenile...brilliant, ridiculous and alarming".(5)

4chan has just been named one of the top 100 finalists for the “most influential person of the year” for 2009 by Time magazine.

Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken”. To judge by the reactions to 4chan, there seem to be an awful lot of selves that enjoy wallowing in the muck of human consciousness. We have apparently “sounded our barbaric yawp”, Mr Whitman, “over the rooftops of the world”. Jason Louv feels that we are looking at the future of the human mind, free of constraints, limitations, consequences and fetters. (1) Sounds like The Unlidded Id, The AntiTao, The Chamber Pot of Grossology.

If 4chan is the adolescent theory of everything negative, Biocentrism comfortingly suggests that there is an immortality outside of time. As explained by Robert Lanza M.D., “death is not the terminal event we think”; “death does not exist in a timeless, spaceless world”. (2) Albert Einstein put it this way: “Immortality doesn't mean a perpetual existence in time without end, but rather resides outside of time altogether.”

I have often wondered: what would immortality look like? Would I meet my parents as a young couple? As they were in adolescence? As I last saw each of them at death? Would they know me as an adult, as an artist, as a grandparent? (Don't forget, they told me that artists were insane, and that it was catching. What exactly did I catch?) I sound a bit like my three-year-old grandson: how would immortality work? Is my immortality different from yours? Can we take it apart and put it together again?

In a recent experiment described in Science magazine, it is claimed that scientists can take an event from the past and change it. Particles making choices in the present can alter the pattern of a particle in the past. As Robert Lanza and Ben Berman describe it, “It seems that Quantum news travels instantaneously, limited by no external constraints, not even the speed of light”. (3) Is it possible that 4chan is a new form of Quantum news? Could I use it to get a divorce from war? What if I could clone my id: if I then altered the clone, would it change who I used to be? Who would recognize me in immortality then? If I could change the me that is, and it could change the me that was, would I become the id that did? How would the id clone get through airport insecurity?

I think I understand the mindset of the 4channers. I grew up in a “not-now-dear town, with up so many restrictions down. It was no and not- good- enough, you'll never make it and you can't. It was why aren't you? It was be seen and not heard, glide so silently past that your moving does not even rustle the molecules in the air.” (4) I know intimately the feeling of being on the outside, of needing a world where no one could turn me off and tune me out. Where no is a foreign language and yes is the key to understanding. Where tradition, politics, religion, history and yesterday could not smother “other-than”. I may not embrace 4chan. I may not even like it. But I understand its raison-d'etre. Is it, as Louv seems to feel, the ultimate destiny of human consciousness?

Or could it be, as I once wrote, “the inner map of a world that we have identified as raw, unexplored, untamed and seemingly infinite”? How do we know that our clinically-termed sanity is the one and only way to think? To live? You have only to read Sinclair Lewis' “Babbitt” to realize what a dead-end some minds and some philosophies can be. Lewis has sliced and diced them with devastating precision. To paraphrase him, “They live too much in the neat little airless rooms of their minds.” No one dusts their mind furniture. No one even dares move it. These are friends, neighbors, religious leaders, politicians, classmates, anyone and everyone who adds three teaspoons of certainty to their morning coffee.

We are now entering the adolescence of the 21st century. It is a time of imbalance, of searching, of fuzzy truths and upended certainties. It is a difficult time for the Babbitts of this world, addicted as they are to the inalienable right to complacency. But this is 2010, and some people are defying the untouchable absolutes. Some people are recognizing that a community of truth is mapped with disequilibrium. The Babbitt breed cannot tolerate uncertainty. They need their daily dose of righteousness.

A friend of mine pointed out recently that at one time God asked Abraham to sacrifice his eldest son. Then God sacrificed his own son. Maybe our younglets are demanding that we sacrifice our God, be it the God of Scientific Certainty, the God of Politeness, the God of Obedience, or the God of Proper Forks and Knives. I only know that it takes a fringe to move us forward. That frontiers are not neat and sweet and that today's shockers are tomorrow's quaintnesses.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go check on the God of Eating Chocolate.

Happy New Year, everyone.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2009

1.“Lost in the Filth Simulacrum”, Jason Louv, December 8, 2009.

2.“Does Death Exist?”, Robert Lanza M.D.

3.“The Biocentric Universe Theory: Life creates Time, Space, and the Cosmos Itself”, Discover magazine, May 2009,

4. “Unfolding: A Memoir”, Corinne Whitaker, “Women Artists of the American West”.

5. Wikipedia, "4 chan".