If you should hate small talk as much as I happen to hate it, these questions may make a difference to your experience on a crowded aeroplane, a busy bus. At a stilted family meal. The questions make for excellent small talk with people who have no clue how to speak from the heart – or they produce an interesting silence. I wonder which is more interesting some days. If you must talk to strangers and you are not inclined one bit towards feeding them with the kind of small talk they require, ignore them or ask a few of these provocative questions. They are funny. The people. When you ask them.
Questionnaire from Max Frisch
(From his Sketchbook, 1961-1971)
1. Are you really interested in the preservation of the human race once you and all the people you know are no longer alive?
2. State briefly why.
3. How many of your children do not owe their existence to deliberate intention?
4. Whom would you rather never have met?
5. Are you conscious of being in the wrong in relation to some other person (who need not necessarily be aware of it)? If so, does this make you hate yourself — or the other person?
6. Would you like to have perfect memory?
7. Give the name of a politician whose death through illness, accident, etc. would fill you with hope. Or do you consider none of them indispensible?
8. Which person or persons, now dead, would you like to see again?
9. Which not?
10. Would you rather have belonged to a different nation (or civilization)? If so, which?
11. To what age do you wish to live?
12. If you had the power to put into effect things you consider right, would you do so against the wishes of the majority? (Yes or no)
13. Why not, if you think they are right?
14. Which do you find it easier to hate, a group or an individual? And do you prefer to hate individually or as part of a group?
15. When did you stop believing you could become wiser–or do you still believe it? Give your age.
16. Are you convinced by your own self-criticism?
17. What in your opinion do others dislike about you, and what do you dislike about yourself? If not the same thing, which do you find it easier to excuse?
18. Do you find the thought that you might never have been born (if it ever occurs to you) disturbing?
19. When you think of someone dead, would you like him to speak to you, or would you rather say something more to him?
20. Do you love anybody?
21. How do you know?
22. Let us assume that you have never killed another human being. How do you account for it?
23. What do you need in order to be happy?
24. What are you grateful for?
25. Which would you rather do: die or live on as a healthy animal? Which animal?
Stress can kill you. Easily. Take it on at your peril. Whether it is relationship stress, work stress, parenting stress or a personal stress – know that it is not good for you. Your body – your muscles – retain stress for years and years. Massage – strong massage – is one way to eradicate stored stress in the body. Exercise, clearly, is another. If you should leave unattended the stress that living your life has generated, it will mutate into disease and it will harm your body. It is a given. You can speak your stresses free. People should understand that they do not tell themselves enough about what is going on in life. Silence – when it comes to yourself, your person – is non-productive. If you cannot give yourself clues about how to run your life, then what help are you to yourself, the world?
Half the stress in our days is generated by our doing other than what we should be doing. There are very few people on this planet – when you consider that there are about 7 billion of us – that love what they do for a living. There are too many people following the mentality of the previous generations. What are they doing? Every single generation must think differently. You have to think in the now. This world is not like it was, then. If you cannot align your thinking with the way this planet works these days then you are at a disadvantage to begin with. To become aligned, you need to accept that there is a lot of hate and a lot of hurt in our world.
Animals feel stress. They feel pain, love, terror, hate. Only those animals trained to fight and do stupid tricks for humans, learn hate. Cruelty and abuse break their spirit. In the wild, animals do not know hate. Animals just get each other – in fact far better than people do, as humans. Each type of animal accepts its place in the scheme of things. They use each other when the need arises. They are not usually shitty about it. They eat each other and they breed with each other, they co-exist in the ecosystem. They play with life and they survive, they are not cruel. They are not greedy – they are not human.
I suspect God was on his way back to earth to take human form when he got side-tracked and subsequently lost. I think he tapped into the Jesus saga and was so horrified at what his humans had done to his son that he quite lost the plot. I do not imagine when God and Jesus met again – after the ascension – that things in the God household were overly cheerful. Jesus must have had questions. Like – how could you do that to me? I think the trauma visited on his system by his crucifixion experience would have left scars. Big ones. God would be answerable for those scars. The other thing for Jesus, is that he knew that should life roll around in the good way of reincarnation, then he was in trouble. Who would want to come back as Jesus? I think he’s been running ever since, from his own identity. That means, in effect, he is here on the planet. In spirit, at least. Like a Highlander, maybe. There can be only one. We should find Jesus’ presence comforting. I think it is safe that a lot of people do. What worries me is that a great many people think he is actually coming back to save them. I think they expect clouds and trumpets and palm leaves and donkeys, on some level. I am not sure that was ever on Jesus’ agenda. Large scale saving after his event. I think his work was his word and he came and said what needed to be said. Then he died. His job was done. He went back to being a right-hand man. Or so the stories go. To me, Jesus was into teaching, guiding, showing a path in which he had faith. Faith being what faith was, in his time.
How can a God gain empathy unless he spends time touching other people, and being touched? That is how we learn empathy. Human contact. But how could God come back as a human? He couldn’t. He could come back as half a human. Undoubtedly he would have to hold a part of himself sacred and pure – so he could remember what he was like before the ‘life experience’ changed him – and that would be the half that would be waiting for him upon his return to himself. If Jesus’ spirit is on the planet, then God’s spirit is on the planet. I think the God spirit is lost, trying to find Jesus, whose spirit is still running scared. I would be scared if I had been Jesus. I think God is busy watching our daily horrors unfold before his eyes. He is watching the steady massacre of his planet in silence. I think he is astounded by what meets his eyes. Perhaps he is waiting patiently for us to wake up and see that what we have on the ground is what was promised above? The important thing to remember is that in the traditional sense, there is a hell below, a heaven above. That leaves a real space where we are, which is here and now. It’s about time we took the time in this now to bend our reality towards paradise.