So I’m reading Jeb McKenna’s second book. Why am I reading Jeb? Because I am also reading Moby Dick and pointing this out to my friends as if it makes me a serious reader of seriously good books. Two friends say: Read Jeb McKenna. You’ve gotta read Jeb McKenna. So I do even though I have seen enough of gurus and never heard of this one and I haven’t finished Moby Dick. But Jeb comes digitally tumbling down to my new Kindle to sit there beside Moby. You can’t take too much Moby at one sitting. But turns out you can’t take too much McKenna either. But you keep going back.
One morning, I decide I want to marry Jeb McKenna. Well, everybody but me already knows that Jeb McKenna is a fake name and “his” books are actually written by a secret someone. I don’t figure this out until the middle of book 2. I look him up on the internet and cannot find an image or even a real person. Huh. He does not exist. Ok. So I’ll go on without him—it’s worked so far.
Not sure I get everything this Jeb says about the pursuit of the great white whale, but I think I do. The narrator, Ishmael, is the witness. He can maybe be the writer, the thinker, the real be-er. Everything dies in a puff when the real seer sees. But you cannot see the seer. There is only seeing. Does the whale go off in the puff too? Don’t know. I think the whale has to remain for those who come after, so they can all go out to slay it since they think there is one. Hmm. Or maybe there was no whale to begin with—which is why he is white, perhaps? A ghost? Kind of see-through, diaphanous thing-y? There seems to be something missing here in my full understanding. A whale? Or the lack of a whale? Can a lack be missing?
I go to the desert with just my dog and my Kindle and my Ninja juicer and some Romaine lettuce. I go to find something. Out there, Jeb McKenna, when I still thought he was a real writer, stopped me in my tracks. I was reading along and there’s this girl he puts inserts into his ramble, this girl who is seeking enlightenment despite what awful things he tells her about it. She is cute, and she is asking all the wrong questions and so Jeb couldn’t answer—just like the Buddha: Buddha wouldn’t answer either. This Jeb not-answers very cutely. You can’t ask a question until you don’t have any good ones. Answers like that but even cuter. So Jeb finally says to her: you’ve gotta stop asking all theses stupid, intellectual questions and find the one question, the one good question, your question, and just ask that question and it will have the answer right init. So I put down the book.
Finally, something reached me.
It didn’t take long for me to find the one question for me: “Have I fucked up (everything) too much already ever to get into heaven?” That was my question. And it didn’t take long for me to see that it had the answer right init. “Have I fucked up (everything) too much already ever to get into heaven?” The answer is “Ha, ha ha, ha ha ha ha.”
First let’s give the answer “no.” If that’s true, then I can let go of hanging onto all the guilt. I still hold a ticket, and all’s well.
Second let’s give the answer “yes.” If that’s true, I’m already lost, out of it, out of luck, never gonna get it right. I might as well quit trying. Heck I might as well give up the guilt too; the guilt did not work. The guilt is its own form of hell. The doubt is hell. The confusion is hell. It’s not a bad hell, but it’s a hell—and I don’t need it since I am guaranteed of real hell later. This right here now is a hell with benefits—good things like sunrises, a dog, and Orange Flavored Chicken. I could commit suicide, if I like, get the ball rolling. Why wait? But I like Orange Flavored Chicken too much for that—even if it is not a sophisticated thing to like. Why not enjoy not-hell while I have it?
But the “no” and the “yes” answers do something more profound: they expose the meaning of hell or, rather, the function of all concepts. All concepts are false. Not false, really, they can be true in their fashion, but they are false in their function. They are camouflages. Have I fucked up so much already that I can’t get into heaven assumes there is a heaven. Heaven assumes there is a fuck up, or a not-fuck up. They create each other. They are the illusion. All concepts are illusion. There, done, self-implode. Down, like the buildings on 9/11. Poof! No asking questions about that any more. Thank you Jeb. What seeing my question does is create time, and we have been told by 100 wise guys that there isn’t any time. Penetrating time leads right to: Now.