--- We live on the surface of events in a thin film of wishful thinking.
I've started a new religion because there just are not enough religions. I call it Qualmism, and it's founded on a general uneasiness about everything. We have beliefs, but we have qualms about them. I found sacred books buried in the Mojave desert off Interstate 15 on the way to Vegas; I'm still in the process of translating them. I have to wear a special hat and face north, so it is slow going.
There are 5 sacred books of the Qualmish. The centerpiece is the Book of Qualms. There are also the Book of Hesitations, 1st and 2nd Opinions, and the Book of Pronouns. In the Book of Qualms are the Ten Suggestions which I will post another time.
Book of Qualms 4:16-17 asserts, "A man who entereth his own portal is as an inverted tulip and his stamen is an aberration." Later in 1st Opinions it clarifies "Not that there's anything wrong with that."
The fullness of this religion will become more apparent as I post further translations. Book of Qualms 7:22 "Doubt is the essence of wisdom and knowledge." Very Qualmish. If two or three people become Qualmish in the next few days, it will be the fastest growing religion in the world.
Finally I've translated the Ten Suggestions.
1. Maintain a general uneasiness about all things.
2. Try to minimize how many things you worship, because it gets confusing after a while.
3. You don’t know what God looks like, why are you even thinking about graven images?
4. Try to take a day off at least once a week.
5. Listen respectfully to your parents and then weigh that against what makes sense.
6. Although killing other people often seems like a really good idea, it generally is not.
7. Your neighbor’s wife probably doesn’t even like you, give it up.
8. Honesty is over-rated, but a good rule of thumb.
9. Stealing only seems right if it is somebody else’s stuff being stolen; do the math.
10. However, wanting what you don’t have is natural, because you already have the other stuff.
You can see these are excellent suggestions. I know that technically the 10th is not really a suggestion, nor does it even imply a suggestion, still, I'm just translating.
Some intrepid folks suggest that the Ten Commandments from the Hebrew tradition are a plagiarized version of the much more ancient Ten Suggestions of the Qualmish. I'm no expert. Obviously, a Qualmist would hesitate making such an accusation.
The Book of Pronouns has been the hardest to translate. I don't always follow it. For example, in Pronouns 8: 3-4 "So it is written, 'I am He, and the Son is Me and We are It, all of which are Me; so bow to Us, for We, being Me, Him, and It are They.' "
Truth is tricky, apparently.
Better progress is being made with the Book of Qualms.
Qualms Ch. 2.
1. There is great wisdom in Uncertainty.
2. There is the uncertainty of a coin toss, where the side facing upwards is difficult to know beforehand. If you toss a cat into the air similarly, it tends to land on its feet, so that is not a good example. In addition, it is difficult to toss cats into the air repeatedly because they become angry.
3. The Qualmish are qualmish because we have been burned in ancient times by the whore of Certainty.
4. For example, the Qualmish used to believe that heavy objects fall faster than light objects; in fact, the Qualmish still feel that heavy objects ought to fall faster than light objects.
5. Why don't they? We don't know. It is annoying because we were really pretty certain.
6. The Qualmish believe that God is large. If you hold your arms outstretched at your side, extending your fingers as far as possible, we believe that God is quite a bit larger than that.
7. All Qualmish hope that God has reasons for things that we cannot fathom. We would like to elaborate on this, but we cannot fathom it. It is possible that it has something to do with how extremely large God is.
8. Do not become paralyzed by Uncertainty. Such paralysis is the way of the Squeamish, not the Qualmish. Wisdom requires us to proceed in the face of Uncertainty. The face of Uncertainty is often cleverly disguised as Necessity, artfully backlit in a lovely topaz blue.
Translator's note: I've recently found the Qualmish Creation story. I thought it would be in the Book of Qualms, but it is at the beginning of the Book of Hesitations. This probably reflects the notion that the Qualmish do not take their Creation story literally or particularly seriously. However, it is the tradition handed down, and it is important because the Creation story leads to one of the primary revelations of the Qualmish. The Qualmish refer to their revelations as "suspicions". I have translated them as such. I'm a little surprised there is not a Book of Suspicions. If I were simply making this up, there would be a Book of Suspicions. But no. My personal comments regarding the translation appear in brackets.
Book of Hesitations, Chapter 1
1. In the beginning was a word. It was a short word like "pffft" or "ack".
2. This word was the first indication that there was Something rather than Nothing. Until then, it could have gone either way.
3. Once there was a word, everyone started looking for who said it.
4. Since no one had been looking for anything before this word, it is possible that the word created the people who were looking for it.
5. It seems unlikely, but there are not that many choices.
6. One of the few assertions of the Qualmish people is that there are only two possibilities leading to our existence: Something came from Nothing, or Something has been here forever with no beginning.
7. Neither choice makes sense or has a precedent, and yet at least one of them must be true.
[If you can think of a third possibility, let me know. This website allows comments and emails. Tertium quid.]
8. The first great Suspicion of the Qualmists is that we live in a reality that makes little or no sense.
9. If you're not confused by your existence, you're not paying attention. This is the core of Qualmism.
10. The Qualmish vowed to resist proselytizing from the earliest moments, even from the first pffft. However, Qualmists strongly believe that people should say, "I don't know" more often.
[It should not be surprising that the ancient, wise and erudite Qualmish addressed the nuance of the reflexive pronoun in the Book of Pronouns. The Book of Pronouns is the most obscure of the Books, and many Qualmish believe it exists simply to test them. By that they mean, if you believe the assertions in the Book of Pronouns you probably are not Qualmish enough.]
Pronouns 1: 1-10
And God said, “See That Guy over there? That Guy is Me. He is Me, and I am Him. He is 100% completely Me. He is so Me, that I could point at That Guy and say, ‘I am Myself’. But that would obscure the importance of the relationship as through a mirror, darkly. More informatively I could point to That Guy and say, ‘I am Himself’ (or Hisself in certain dialects) thereby emphasizing the extraordinary Me-ness of the situation while maintaining the mysterious separation. Sometimes with great mystery, language and logic have to be tortured. This is that kind of mystery. Although He is 100% completely Me, he is also like you. He is 100% Me and 100% you. This mystery is so deep that our understanding of percentage needs to be tortured also. Let us refer to the 100% of him that is like you as ‘youGuy’. This should not have to be said, but just for clarification, I am God and you are not. You are not Me and youGuy is 100% like you. Although youGuy is not Me, I created youGuy which means I have dibs on him if I need him to do something like build a large boat or go wandering in the desert without supplies. Not that I would ask him to do that, that’s crazy talk. I am just making a divine Point about the extent to which youGuy is Mine. In summary with respect to That Guy, I am Himself, and I own the other 100% of him. Now if anyone questions this or asks you about these words, make clear that I wrote all of this Myself and it is not to be questioned. The beginning of wisdom is fear of Me, and I wrote this so… just nod your head or tremble or diagram a sentence.”
Book of Qualms, Chapter 3:1-26; (complete).
Known traditionally as The Miraculous Misconception.
Though not officially sanctioned, it is also known as the Sermon on the Butte.
1. The prophet Lodish, one of the early prophets in the Qualmish tradition, went to speak on a large hill that was flat on the top. He announced that there are great confusions and false beliefs that mislead many and keep them from the light.
2. Thousands of people followed Lodish to the flattened hill, because they were certain that everyone else had many false beliefs, and they were looking forward to having them exposed. The people were equally divided between those who had brought a sandwich and those who had not. The latter group was hoping that, in addition to great wisdom, there might also be a free buffet.
3. Lodish said, "We suffer from many misconceptions. I will not start with the greatest misconception nor the least, but somewhere in the middle, because it is a misconception that everything has to be in order."
4. The crowd was silent, because already there was great wisdom here.
5. The prophet continued, "I tell you now, it does not take all kinds to make a world." He glanced at the people who had not packed a lunch and said, "Yea, there are kinds of people who are not needed to make the world.”
6. “If you are parents telling your children that it takes all kinds to make a world, you should stop, and if you are children being told that it takes all kinds to make a world, you should not believe. Parent will turn on child, and child on parent, and sibling on sibling until we get this straightened out."
7. The people who had not brought a sandwich were silent because they worried that Lodish was describing them. The people with sandwiches were outraged, shouting, "But this is ancient wisdom handed down from generation to generation. Surely it takes all kinds to make the world."
8. And the people who had brought a sandwich further challenged Lodish by saying, "Who can you say is unnecessary for our world?"
9. There was murmuring and unrest.
10. Lodish held up his hand and said, "For example, men who have eyes in the back of their heads and hamster wheels in place of their genitals are not needed to make a world."*
11. The people with sandwiches said, "What?" A few moments later they said, "You are demon-possessed. You speak of men with hamster wheels for genitals. There are no such men, nor will there ever be."
12. And the prophet Lodish said, "That is the point, there are no such men and yet there is a world. It must not take all kinds to make the world."
13. And the people who had not brought sandwiches were greatly relieved he was not referring to them and saw truly that Lodish was a good and wise prophet. But the people with sandwiches felt tricked and were outraged and said, "Who the hell are you to talk to us in this manner?"
14. And Lodish said, "This brings us to another misconception. Sometimes, it does hurt to ask." And at that moment, all of the people with sandwiches had none, and all of the people who had not brought a sandwich had a sandwich, and it was a miracle… or theft, hard to say; there was no investigation.
15. Lodish returned to the misconception that it takes all kinds to make the world. He had just been messing with the people previously, as was his prophetic style.
16. Lodish said, "I assure you that there are people who live among us today who are not needed to make a world. There are men who enjoy the killing of innocent children; these men we do not need."
17. Lodish pointed to a man who had a sandwich and said, "Stand and tell us your name," and the man stood and said his name was Loth. Lodish asked, "Loth, what if a man snuck into your house and killed one of your children?"
18. Loth paused briefly and said, "Which child? I am not that partial to little Kanji." And lightning blazed from the sky and struck Loth instantly dead. All of the people looked up and saw that the sky was clear and blue.
19. Lodish thought, "Wow, what are the odds of that? Maybe there really is a God" and Lodish fell to his knees silently praying, "Dear God, these people are idiots. Do I have to keep teaching them?"
20. God did not immediately answer. Lodish started thinking that Loth was the only person standing on the hill aside from himself, and that Loth was a lot taller than Lodish, and that lightning tends to strike the tallest thing around, and that sometimes lightning comes out of the blue, and Lodish was inside the Qualmish qualm.
21. Maybe there was no God, or maybe Lodish was too busy calculating the probability of a lightning bolt to hear Him.
22. Lodish rose slowly to his feet and pointed to another man and said, rise and tell us your name. The man did not rise, but said his name was Jasper. Lodish asked, "Jasper, if a man snuck into your house and killed one of your children, how would you feel?"
23. And Jasper immediately answered, "That would be horrible! We do not need such men in the world." And all of the people remained seated and shouted together, "It does not take such men to make a world!"
24. And Lodish looked on the masses and thought, "Even when they are right, these people are idiots."
25. Lodish realized that he was the only person standing on the hill, and he looked to the blue sky and stood on his toes, raised his hands as high as he could, closed his eyes, and hoped for a bolt of lightning.
26. The people assumed that meant the sermon was over, and because Lodish did not tell them otherwise, it is the traditional way to end a meeting of the Qualmish to this day.
*Translator’s note: This ancient phrase obviously does not refer to literal “hamster wheels”. It appears to be an unfamiliar idiom of the time, literally referring to mice riding on coins. I have modernized the phrase in an attempt to stay true to the spirit of the text.
--- They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I was happier weak.