Monday, January 14, 2008

THE Answers

Everywhere that I have ever been in America there is a sincere belief in the notion that the Answers are out there. Answers to all of life's questions. Not just any old answers. The answers I'm talking about are THE Answers, the only real, legitimate, for sure, the buck stops here, no matter who asks the question this is the answer, Answers. THE Answers.

There can only be one "THE" Answer for every question, and that is the one everyone wants. Because once you get THE Answers, you have it made. You're good to go. You can't be wrong about anything. Life is a piece of cake, everything works, you glow in the dark and everything you do is right, forever more, yahoo.

Unfortunately, we're born without THE Answers and we soon realize we'll never get THE Answers unless we go out looking for them. And they are always "out there" somewhere, never right under our own noses or anywhere else we can find them easily, or come up with them ourselves. That is especially frowned upon. (And there in lies THE Problem, IMHO).

Even though they're in widespread demand, THE Answers are tricky to come by. They're mysterious, ethereal things, lurking secretively in far away places. Many have searched far and wide, and many believed they found the darn things, and they told everyone else all about it out of the kindness of their hearts.

Yet, for all the millennia that humans have been searching for THE Answers, no one as yet has passed Go, collected $200 and become the undisputed winner of the title, "The one who finally found THE Answers". Hasn't happened yet. So, even though there are many who claim to have THE Answers, the search is still officially on. The REAL, absolute, hands down, genuine "THE" Answers are still out there somewhere, ostensibly, waiting to be found once and for all.

The Historical Search for The Answers

Every culture throughout known time has recorded their own stories about people who have gone in search of THE Answers. The people in the stories have given their entire lives over to their journeys, traveling to all of the far flung places of the earth. They explored all four corners, crossed every ocean, slogged across every desert, sat in every cave, have conversed with every kind of talking animal, had amazing encounters with countless half human half something else creatures, met bizarre physical and nonphysical beings or forces, some with amazing powers, some with none, and it all became a part of the stories describing those journeys for The Answers. Whether memorized or written, the stories have been passed down for generations, as a gift for future seekers of The Answers, so that they will be informed that somebody who went before them already found all the answers and they must not bother going themselves. Apparently it is considered very disrespectful to start fresh and explore the world and life for yourself, and find out what you can find out on your own. In the olden days that was cool, but not so today. It is very uncool today.

History's real or mythological seekers of THE Answers have been painted in the most glorious terms. Never were there more pure minded, noble hearted, upright or brave people, always men, who walked the face of the earth. Reading their stories you are sure you could never hold a candle to them. They were so honorable and dedicated that they deserved to find THE Answers.

It often got very tough for them but they never gave up, no matter what, nothing could detour them from their goal. They endured the worst kinds of hardships and deprivations. Nearly killed a dozen times or killed in the end, they were driven by the all consuming need to know the truth. According to the stories, they usually found THE Answers, and from their discoveries all manner of great and small Answer Franchises have come into being.

The Modern Search for The Answers

Answer Franchises have sprung up all over the world and they are wildly popular because they have THE Answers, that's a widely accepted fact. Religious, political, medical, educational, scientific, fashion, hipness, ecological, musical, pop culture, entertainment, sports, you name it, they're all there, ready and waiting to give you The Answers to all of your questions.

We find Answer Franchises to be incredibly helpful because we can't all go off trekking to the lost jungles of Borneo, where THE Answers would most likely be, or they'd be buried somewhere under 14 miles of petrified Swiss cheese under some obscure European meadow, or painted on a cave wall, or hidden in a long lost pyramid, or etched on a clay tablet, or sewn into the label of your underwear... who knows, the point is they are darned hard to find and the bottom line is, people have to have them.

Answer Franchises meet the needs of a much rushed, overworked, somewhat dippy public who has come to rely on them almost entirely to make all of the most important decisions of their lives. And most of the unimportant ones too.

Now, some people don't care so much what THE Answers are, they're fine with whatever everybody else is believing. The important thing for them is just to be recognized as a member of an established group which is generally accepted to be in the category of those who claim to have THE Answers.

Other people need more of a hands on, interactive exploration of the Answer Franchises available to them.
They must go to every Answer Franchise they can find, wanting to test drive them all before deciding which Answers they like best. It's a lot like going to Benihana, except it's not necessarily Japanese, and you're not going out for dinner, but everything else is pretty much the same. Let me explain.

Attaining Enlightenment
You go in and take a seat around a big table which has a special reserved area at one end just for the franchise operator, then everyone sits around waiting while looking at the pretty lamps and commenting on the decor and the atmosphere and how crowded it is or isn't, and sometimes visitors share tales of previous trips to the franchise or relay stories they've heard from others. Some are old hard core members who are generally stand offish, others are nervous newbies anxious to try it, others are stubbornly dubious that there will be any real answers here, and so on.

Everyone is waiting for the franchise operator to come out because that's where THE Answers are. They're not in the Answer Franchise building, you can sit there for three weeks and not get any answers, it's only the franchise owners who have THE Answers and if you want them, you gotta get them from him. So it's always a big deal when he comes out, everybody claps or they stand up, or they sit cross legged or they fill out a questionnaire, or they play Hail to the Chief, or they take a seat in the waiting room, or they sit in front of a moving picture and sound box, it's a little different at every franchise. The bottom line is, the people are ready and facing front, waiting to hear THE Answers.

The chef finally appears wearing the garb of the franchise, always very nice stuff, not the usual street attire in many cases and takes his place at the reserved, off limits to others, special end of the table and then with well practiced moves, he proceeds to dazzle the onlookers with his many brilliant skills which proves that he has The Answers. He often tosses a whole fish into the air and by the time it comes back down, he's managed to julienne it six ways from sundown and get the skin off too, then he effortlessly fans the pieces out like a deck of cards, perfection.

Now that everyone is duly impressed he asks everyone which answers they seek and then he proceeds to prepare their answer plate, giving them samples of strange and unusual things which he presents as The Answers. It's a splendid show filled with much mystery and surprise. Often there are tears and weeping, sometimes there is laughter, even applause, but no matter what, all eyes stay on the franchise owner and his very splendid show. After every plate is filled with an impressive arrangement of answers, the people take them in, sometimes with discussion, more often privately, some with thinly veiled revulsion, others with gratitude and when everyone has had their fill, they pay the bill and go on home.

If you decide to become a member of that or any other franchise then you simply need to show up there to get all of your needed Answers, and voila, you'll be treated to a show, get answers to questions whether you asked them or not, pay the bill, and go on back home. You're in the know now by golly. This is how it's done, and how it's been done for a bajillion years. Everyone gets a membership with an Answer Franchise, then, they become instantly Enlightened for the whole rest of their lives.

Availability And Self-Teaching

As to choosing the Answer Franchise best for you, sometimes there's not much choice in the matter. There may be only one major brand for a whole vast region so most everyone is a member of the same Answer Franchise. The individual franchise outlets can be quite different, but they will still serve up the same menu items with some minor variations and this is considered acceptable. It's only when the variances become a little too different that real problems can occur that can split entire nations and even families right down the bloody middle.

Often there's a handbook given out to everyone who joins an Answer Franchise, in case you can't wait to get all of THE Answers. You can technically get all of THE Answers from the handbooks, but it's not recommended really because you have to be a franchise owner to get it right, you see. It's easy to misinterpret the handbooks and go off making a fool of yourself because you don't understand the special ins and outs of Answer recognition and interpretation. It is strongly encouraged to depend on the franchise owner to do all interpretation for you, self teaching is too error prone. However, some Answer Franchises welcome group participation though most often they strictly forbid it. In any case its quite normal for the members to not even bother reading the handbooks even though they own one because they'd rather get it straight from the horse's mouth. It really feels like THE Answer when you hear it spoken in real time, directly to you.


There is one noteworthy drawback to Answer Franchises however, and it bears mentioning. No one is ever allowed to question THE Answers they are given, no matter how ineffective, unhelpful, unjust, illogical, unproven, unsubstantiated, downright hurtful or obviously wrong they are.

Doubt is forbidden at all Answer Franchises, it can get you in a lot of hot water too, depending on the Franchise. There is a direct relationship between how high and mighty any given Franchise is, and it's untouchability. A general rule of thumb is that the more wealthy the franchise is the more powerful it is. The lesser ones can't do much to hurt you if you go around saying things like, "These people are phonies and liars who should be in prison".

The larger ones however, who are the ones most likely to be phonies and liars who should be in prison, can and will come get your ass if you get a little too loud or if too many people start paying attention to your messages of doubt. Doubt of any kind directed at a Major Franchise owner or member will often result in a cold shoulder effect that will dismiss you, discredit you and eject you from further participation with that franchise.

Conversely you could be legally forced to comply with a franchise you wholly reject, which is very scary to say the least. Answer Franchises are serious business. Just because they'll let anybody in doesn't mean they're flexible about anything. They aren't. If you express doubt you'll be treated to the same contempt given to any non Franchise member, which is always entirely unpleasant and can even be deadly.

Probably 75% of the people in any given country will tell you they are subscribers to, or members of, one or more of the most popular Answer Franchises in the region, but there always remains the pesky remnant, the other 20% or so who blow off the Answer Franchises as being silly and made up. Such persons often cause serious upset by saying things like, "Your answers are wrong", or "There is no proof that your answers are The Answers", or "There is no such thing as The Answers", or "I like to come up with my own answers thank you very much".

When they say things like these they are never embraced. On the contrary, they get lots of hissing and foul language and are often accused of being child molesters or otherwise dangerous, unsavory and untrustworthy without any evidence to support such horrible accusations ever being provided.

When an individual lacks membership in the most wildly popular Answer Franchises it is apparently incredibly threatening to franchise owners and members alike, who have been known throughout history to the present day to become downright violent with anyone who shows disinterest, disrespect or who expresses doubt about their personal franchises having The Answers.

People invest a great deal of their identity in their belief that they possess The Answers through their chosen Answer Franchises and someone coming along and saying, "My answers are correct and yours are imaginary" or "Your answers are not THE Answers" is almost the same as saying, "You are too stupid to live" or "You are naive and would believe anything you were told by an authority figure", either of which, were they true, would be deeply disconcerting.

The Major Answer Franchises offer a good deal of protection to their members in the face of any doubters coming around. There is might in numbers and this is no exception. Franchise members can be counted on to come together in solidarity to protect their claim that the answers they get from their franchise are THE Answers for sure. It doesn't matter at all if they're wrong or right, that's all irrelevant. No proof is offered to disarm the doubter. It's much simpler than that. The most dependably common response to doubters and miscellaneous disrespecters is to attack and destroy anyone who says such things.

The Gang Attack and Destroy Method eliminates any possibility that the doubters are right. Well, it doesn't do that really, but it does shut them up so everyone can get back to their Answer Franchise and feel comfy and secure in the belief that they have The Answers.

It's that insecurity, that terrifying idea that THE Answers are out there somewhere and we don't have them that makes people so unbearably uncomfortable. Insecurity is so horrible that anything that must be done to avoid it is by necessity all right. Even if it means the organized mass serial killing of perfect strangers in far away places it is acceptable, it becomes a matter of honor because it defends our version of THE Answers.

It guarantees our continued sense of security, which does not apparently come along with having The Answers. Instead it comes along with clubbing other people to death who have different Answers than our own. In all Answer Franchises, 'they' are always wrong, which makes it okay to kill them, in fact, we're doing them and us both a big favor. Their wrongness is polluting our rightness and that's just rude. Who needs it? The end justifies our need to not feel insecure about THE Answers we happen to have.

For many there is nothing worse than not having The Answers. Existing in real time like everybody else and being on your own journey is too terrifying a thought. Having The Answers feels like someone's got your back, you won't be as hurt when you fall, and random bad things won't happen to you unless there's a good reason, though when they do they won't be as bad as they would be without you having The Answers.

Having The Answers means you are doing things Right which makes you feel legitimate every day no matter how much of an ass or a jerk you may actually be. It also guarantees your acceptance into the very best neighborhoods in the after life, which are reserved only for those who are Right here on Earth. When you are so Right in life then when you die that Rightness is your automatic back stage pass to the best that death has to offer. That's all nonsense of course but this nonsense is so strongly desired that standing between it and someone who needs it will get you mown down without hesitation.

Acting like you have all The Answers is also perceived by many to be a status symbol that elevates someone to "better than you are" status. Many people otherwise lacking genuine self worth or any meaningful purpose in life will glom onto this aspect of being seen to have The Answers very quickly, and they never let go. Many go on to become Answer Franchise Owners and Operators themselves and because doubting The Answers is strictly forbidden, there is literally no chance at all that they will ever be discovered to be every bit as devoid of The Answers as everyone else. It's the perfect gig for those who don't mind being revolting inside.

So realize, this is no small thing. It's a real biggie. It's such a biggie in fact that it has become the template by which we get all of our answers today. It's a well established system, it's familiar and comfortable and it completely eliminates the need to get up off your ass and get your own answers for yourself. Plus it eliminates any nagging feeling that THE Answers you are given should probably be verified. It eliminates the need for your answers to actually be correct which removes decades of loathsome self exploration and questioning to achieve balance, maturity and a philosophy of life based on reality and a value system that is genuine. That's just too much work, and face it, why engage your own brain, soul, spirit, creativity and life energy just to get The Answers when they're already in a local Answer Franchise right down the street from you, ready and waiting in convenient, easy to receive standardized formats? The work's already been done for you! And there are bona fide Answer Franchise Owners and Operators all over the place these days. Why wouldn't you take advantage of it? Everyone else does.

Medical Answer Franchises all have certified Answer Franchise Owners and Operators, licensed by the state, so wow, obviously they can't be wrong about anything. How crazy to look into your own health yourself or be responsible for your own education or political beliefs or determine your own opinions or actions about anything, when certified, bona fide Answer Franchises are everywhere you go.

It leaves you free to use all that creative energy and critical thinking ability for really important things, like filling out tax forms, or working for someone else who will get rich off your labor while you don't, or choosing a movie, or memorizing all the titles for every season of Star Trek, or finding shoes to match your purse, or figuring out how to cheat on your wife without her catching on or the other broad finding out you're married.

Those are the kinds of things we need to use our time and energy for. After all, what's more important than our immediate carnal and empty ego gratification? We need to look right, and there are Answer Franchises to tell us how to do that. We need to have certain hair cuts and shoes and jobs and go to certain schools and engage in certain leisure activities, and again, the Answer Franchises are there for every little thing in life, so you never have to figure anything out for yourself. It's just a matter of what appeals to you most. It simply can't get any easier or be more efficient or more guaranteed to ensure your security.

You can always be "right", even when you're wrong, have all The Answers, and come off as slick as a rainy road just by utilizing all the best Answer Franchises, local and global, because the whole world is now yours to access in this modern age. Could it get any better than this?

The only question I have is this. If someone feels too inadequate to the task of finding The Answers by themselves, if they feel more secure accepting as true the prefab pay as you go Answer Pack of someone else; then how can they be sure they're qualified to decide who has THE Answers or that The Answers they're being given are in fact THE Answers?

I guess it should be self evident that being right isn't all that important to Franchise members. Being really really right simply boils down to majority opinion, consensus reality. And when the Franchise owners and operators join hands and proclaim each other fabulous and credible, that appears to be the hot ticket to THE Truth.

Somehow if it turns out that in the end they were wrong or they were liars, we'll still all be off the hook because we weren't responsible for what they told us. How could we help it if they lied and people died? That's not our fault, we were only following orders. They were experts, they were overwhelmingly accepted by almost everyone, they were highly acclaimed in their fields, they had the most famous faces in Hollywood, they looked like they knew what they were talking about, they wore white coats and had stethoscopes, they had grand titles and status, they were on the biggest cable news channels, they were seen on television all the time, they were rich and making huge salaries, they went to the most prestigious universities, they were democrats, they were republicans, they were the president and the vice president ... who would have ever expected people like that to lie?

Oh come now. Who could have ever expected people like that to do anything BUT lie?

When it's THAT easy to take over the minds of millions, you almost can't blame them for trying. When it's also so very lucrative, in the end it would be down right irresistable for them. The whole world subserviently obeys the Grand Franchise Owners who are able to create a planet made to order in their own image without any fear of ever being made to account for what they say or do. Herein lies the oldest most guaranteed recipe for corruption. It's flat unavoidable.

The blame for our own ignorance lies in our own hands. Where else could it belong? Who is responsible for our lives? We are. Directly, ultimately, inescapably. That's not what they're saying in the Answer Franchises. It's one of THE Answers people need most but will never find there.


  1. Anonymous10:55 AM

    I really liked the article on THE answers, and completely agree with you on the conclusion. Perhaps one reason that people prefer to have their answers told TO them is that when you start to find out the answers for yourself, without anyone to help you connect the dots, you find that the picture you end up drawing just aint worth the ink used. I for one, am disheartened by the seeming hopelessness of the entire charade, and am tired of the depressing news that never ends. Sort of like info-fatigue syndrome or something along those lines. Thank you, Ang you are a blessing.

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    I hear you. It's concern burn out, it's definitely a serious risk in these times. I want to recommend something to you in the hope that it might make it easier for you to teach yourself what you need to do to cope better. It's a learning curve to be sure.

    Whenever I get to the point that I feel like I weigh 4,000 pounds and can't move and it all looks so bleak; I understand now that is the signal to disconnect for a while. For me, it rarely takes more than two days before I'm recharged and ready to come back swinging.

    We have to remember to take time out TO LIVE, and enjoy all of the things that make life so wonderful. We have to do that now because we still can. There are many who do not have that choice. You don't want to wait that long. It's better for you and for the entire process of fighting for justice if we all take the time to take care of ourselves and ensure that we know when to rest so that we can keep coming back and be stronger for it, not weaker.

    It is hard, I really do know how you feel. But learning to pull the plug is an important part of the process. You have to do it.

    Beyond that, if you want to email me please feel free to do so. I have more I could say about it, but really, just realizing that it's a process and knowing that you need to take breaks is a huge part of handling all the negative effects a whole lot better.


  3. Anonymous3:18 PM

    Not sure where I linked onto your blog... ICH, perhaps?
    Anyway I have been reading avidly. I'm Brit with US wife and know what you are saying, relating to it. But I so enjoy your creativity and way with words to convey ideas in such thought provoking ways.

    You are a wonderful writer and thinker.

    I'll take some time off, too. Good advice, indeed.

    Sweet dreams, ang,


  4. Some wonderful critical thinking. This resonates with me, especially about "unplugging" and taking time to live and recharge. That's been exponentially increasing as of late, due to many dark subject matters hidden behind the veil.

    Great insights too. I am beginning to think "The Answer" is just 42. (Douglas Adams would agree)

    Be well.

  5. Anonymous5:49 PM

    Hey, I just wanted to say that I've been reading your posts for a couple of weeks now, and I am constantly amazed by your insight and writing ability.

    Very glad I found your sight, it's given me much food for thought, to say the least.

  6. Hey Saltman, thank you for the good word. It means a lot and I appreciate it.