Scarecrow – a straw world

(October 2008)

“I don't feel this night, Roby.”
“It's OK, Paul. Don't think about them. Take it as a game. Think about the money.”
“But it is a game. And by the way, money is overrated.”
“Indeed it is”, said Roby. “OK well, imagine that they are not real. They are ghosts, and if you have the guts, your will will overcome them. They won't be able to do anything against us.”
“Sometimes reality hurts. Here comes Ahmed. Hey Ahmed!”
A shadow was approaching, stretching its neck.
“Ready guys?” asked Ahmed Eastman with a warm smile. “Tonight's an important night, my friends.”
“Yeah, we're ready”, answered Paul Spode. “Tonight's the night.”
“Tonight's the night, you said so. See you guys!”
Ahmed left.

“You can imagine whatever you want”, said Paul, “reality still stands here.”
“No, it's your perception that doesn't change. Once you understand that what surrounds you is the product of your thoughts, reality changes.”
“What surrounds me actually creates my thoughts, and allows me to have a set of beliefs. Not the opposite.”
“OK. In fact your environment and your thoughts are mutually feeding eachother but anyway. So you believe that you're a passive human being in the world, a world that you observe, that you contemplate. I maintain that if you believe that they are ghosts, that they don't have any power, it will be the case, because you create your reality, that is, the reality.”
“But do you say that seriously Roby? You know they're not ghosts, they are human beings like us. We're living in the same world.”
“In the same world? Not so much. Cause you see, what you call "world" has no concrete reality. It's just a straw man, a scarecrow, for a phenomenal set.”
“Yeah well, phenomenal set or not, please allow me to call it "world". Nevertheless what you say is nonsense. Within your mindset, there is no world and everything is a straw man. But let me tell you, not all straw men are the same, hence we invented names to label them. It doesn't matter whether they actually do exist or not. I may not exist, great, but I don't care, I still enjoy life. If you believe you don't exist feel free to kill yourself, as it won't change anything, will it?”
“If I commit suicide, I'll destroy my reality. I'll destroy the whole universe.”
“I don't think so. Don't worry, we'll survive.”
“Like dream characters, you'll disappear.”
“I systematically discard every theory promoting the idea that reality is a dream or an illusion. People supporting such speculations live in a bubble. Or rather, if I may say so to stress how childish these kinds of considerations are, in a bubble gum. So this is what you're thinking. We're fake people in a fake stadium playing a fake game.”
Paul Spode opened a bottle of mineral water.
“And drinking fake water.”

Roby closed his hands, and opened them again.
“You're rational. Way too rational. Built with certainties. It seems you kinda need some evidence. In this case, I would suggest you to do drugs. You'll change your mind. What I'm explaining to you is not childish, it's awareness. But to get it, you have to find it yourself. I'm just giving some hints.”
“Jeremiah used to do drugs. Do you notice how he lives in a parallel world? Or a perpendicular world, I don't know. Remember his so-called alter ego, he called her Susy. I suspect she only existed in his imagination, poor guy. Patricia too did drugs. She told me once: "Among all the things drugs made me lose, my intelligence is what I miss the most". You know. I prefer to be a happy fool than an "enlightened" junkie.”
“I guess you should try for yourself.”
“I already tried. Yes, I tried. Listen. Dreams and drugs may suggest you that the world surrounding you is only in your mind, but in no way offer any kind of proof. You won't find any proof. The question of the existence of an external world is not relevant to knowledge, but to faith, and believe me you have absolutely no interest in choosing solipsism.”
“Oh really? Why not? From the solipsistic point of view nobody exists except you. The world isn't several billions years old, nor six thousand years old. No, the whole is your age, and it's your very own sparring partner. The whole world revolves around you, you're not a simple pawn, you're special. And this makes me feel happy and helps me to take initiatives.”
“You don't understand. Solipsism is another word for egoism, and egoism is the royal road to selfishness. I mean, you don't mind consuming, polluting, destroying, nothing matters to you since when you die everything disappears. You don't have to be preoccupied about leaving a healthy planet to your children. Ethical hedonism will make you think "it's my duty to be happy and I don't care about the others".”
“In a sense, it's a way towards happiness like another, isn't it?”
“There's always a way... there's always a price to pay. I suppose someone who wants to know intense happiness has to know intense distress too.”
“I guess, there is more than one way to do it.”
“Probably. Some people find happiness in objects, some others in their work, or in love.”
“Objects don't contribute to happiness, or very little. Acts, friends bring happiness, but not objects. Sorry.”
“This is typically a speech from someone who did never miss anything. Without a roof, without food, without water, you would be miserable. And you know what...”
Paul Spode's attention focused behind Roby. A man was crossing the corridor, visibly in an infuriated state.
“Paul, Roby, what the fuck do you think you're doing? If you're not on the field in ten seconds you're out of this game! It's not the time to discuss! Jesus, grow up guys!”

A few minutes later, a voice was resonating in the stadium.
“...slightly raining. And here is the list which was communicated to us by coach Frank Costello. Goalkeeper: Carlos Mancuso ; Left Full Back: Robert Vane ; Center Back: Michael Milk ; Center Back: Ahmed Eastman ; Right Full Back: Jeremiah Busner ; Defensive Midfielder: Lukas Mann ; Left Side Midfielder: Juan-Felipe Nasar ; Right Side Midfielder: Conor Matthew ; Offensive Midfielder: Arthur Beaumont ; Left Forward: Paul Spode ; Right Forward: Edgar Amundsen. Tonight's eventual winner will conquer the top position before the last day of the championship, which will be held, I remind you, next Saturday. Ladies and gentlemen, we hope you'll enjoy the game!”

Little Neo, 2008