I. Prelude to a con
No longer content to discontentedly fidget within the bounds of all reason and decency, Bartleby Willard and Andy Watson have overflowed those bounds and created this advertisement, this offer, this daydream, this lark, this connivement: An advertisement for Pure Love.
We quote: “Another product for now: Pure Love. You heard that right: we don’t want to just think about manufacturing, advertising, and selling Pure Love; we want to manufacture, advertise, and sell Pure Love.”
What are we about to do? We are about to be an advertiser: to paint a wondrous picture and, without quite claiming as much, stir up the daydream that our product will grant you that picture, along with all your daydreams about what such a picture would mean to your life; and then grab for your money and run.
What is the product we’re hawking? Pure Love. Unlike other industries, our product actually is the salvation you long for. Our trick is that of course we can’t sell Pure Love and so we say that we can’t sell Pure Love–but just by talking about the possibility of selling Pure Love, we open up the old wounds and the old hope-hope motors; and then we gently offer to take your money, allowing the vague confused longings to come to one point and tempt you with the mad idea of a solution, a victory, a salvation that could be knowingly won with one clear and simple action: handing us money. That’s how we con you: with the thrill of a fuzzy dream of salvation.
Advertisers more typically offer you this differently convoluted but essentially identical fraud:
Some piece of physical or intellectual property (or service), which, according to the subtle suggestion made to your deep dark longings, will somehow magically, maybe, worth-a-shot, may-as-well-give-into-the-heady-hoping-lusting-rush provide you with what only Pure Love can give: a consciously-experienced whole-being salvation. Such is the typical routes to the same diabolical end we purpose with the strategy laid out above.
So! The victims have glimpsed their fate: let the snaking snake-charming slither-slather pitter-patter salesmanship-is-conmanship begin!
II. The con: sung with chest out, at full canto (not the word, just the way it sounds)
It remains to be seen whether or not Pure Love can be bought and sold in the realm that WAP tells itself, an infinite reverberation bounded only by those time-proven guides to thought and art: Beauty, Truth, Goodness, Justice, and above all Lovingkindness.
However, in the realm subject (at least apparently) to more mundane laws, Pure Love is clearly not a commodity. Would you buy the True Good low in the hopes of selling the True Good high? Would you name a price for salvation? Would you purchase 32 ounces of what is from one perspective a formless infiniti shining through all formed things and from another perspective the totality of every formed thing? I say: would you buy 32 ounces of absolute infinite infiniti? Of course you couldn’t–selling and buying Pure Love is impossible. But even if you could, you shouldn’t.
Nonetheless and nevertheless for our evermore, we are going to! That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, leeches and germs, boys and girls, panicked crawdads and soft mudbanks, step right up! Come on in! Get your genuine one of a kind Pure Love right here at Wandering Albatross Press!
How much? $10.
So little? That’s right!
You are asking yourself how we can offer the one thing that actually would justify all the world-promising of advertisers, and at the cost of two (admittedly overhyped priced) lattes. You are asking yourself how we can put a price on the one thing that completely exists (only what is prior to perspectives really exists, and Pure Love–being one description or aspect of the God–is that one thing: the one thing that is not a perspective, although it is everything and so all perspective adhere in it and so strictly speaking, it is both what is before all perspectives and all perspectives), and that anyone can experience only to the degree that they quit egotripping. You are asking yourself how we can sell God/Salvation for $10.
Friends we can’t; and if we could we wouldn’t. We’re not so low.
We already disapprove of advertisers painting pictures which give unsuspecting psyches the impression that Product X (example: a specific brand of soda pop) will bring about Situation Y (example: fitting right into a circle of smart, cool, nice, together, well-coiffed, happy, fun, dashing, good looking people) and that yes, what you suspect is true: Situation Y will indeed quench your vague innermost longing (that more-more-more at the base of all particular desires, goading you on and on and always on, that unending endpointless longing for the ever elusive “good enough” [we here take it as canon that the vague longing exists and that all specific longings are based in it and that, since they promise a specific solution and a real endpoint to what can only long vaguely and unendingly, they are a type of trip).
Oh the fiends! Suggesting that Product X will bring about Situation Y which will in turn actually-yes-just-as-you-suspected satisfy that indistinct never-ending itch at the core of all your dissatisfactions!
Evil incarnate! To create a charming artificial scenario exemplifying Situation Y; to–by weaving Product X into this unspoken story–let your deep desperate frog-brain impulses suppose that Product X will bring you this Situation Y; and–by painting vague delights without officially claiming or denying anything–simultaneously instantiate and reinforce your delusion that yessirree! Situation Y is actually a reliable route to a state of affairs so amazingly wonderful, so incredibly beyond what you can even imagine but that you still imagine getting (you imagine getting this orb in your chest/heart/gut, this glowing swirling nebulous sense of Happy Ending Fairy Tale Perfection OK,-Actually-OK): to the !actually-good-enough!
We take one long eyebrow-arching look at this purposeful muddying of a human-moment’s waters and declare that advertisers are evil. Obviously, this is correct.
Clearly, this is a stern but a fair, a righteous judgement.
How could we then moxie the hypocrisy to turn round and assure you that if you give us $10, we will give you the one thing that actually is good-enough?
How could we stoop so low? We can’t claim ignorance: We know that Pure Love is already infinitely present, purely loving everyone with an infinitely kind and infinitely effective grace (ie: that Pure Love is already cuddling all in the eternal knowledge that all is, at the most fundamental and the only completely real level, good-enough). What’s more, we know that to experience this reality (the one actually-real reality) better and fuller (ie: to become more conscious of and consciously move with one’s participation in good-enough), one must deepen and widen one’s spiritual efforts, and that this work cannot be replaced by anything–not even the payment of money, though money does generally to some degree represent effort and sacrifice, themselves elements of spiritual work.
You heard that right!: We know very well that neither Pure Love nor the conscious experience of Pure Love can be bought or sold! So of course we could not possibly sell you Pure Love at the rock bottom price of $4, and, being not evil, we would never ask payment for a good that we could not deliver. Clearly: we cannot sell Pure Love, and we do not promise to send Pure Love over to you in exchange for ten of your hard-won bucks.
Nonetheless, please understand that in addition to this site’s perhaps-evolving, perhaps-never-happening ebook “Diary of an Adamant Seducer”, $10 buys you all the Pure Love you need, want, or just mindlessly feel like hoarding.
Oh the absurdity! Oh the monster! Oh the madness!
We rescind the offer! Lead us not into temptation, you greedy gullible spendthrift age!
That’s right larks and goonies, step right up, step right up and purchase Pure Love insofar as Pure Love is ours to sell and insofar as Pure Love is yours to buy! Step right up and, within the safe folds of our cagey catch-all, no-harm-no-foul-no-integrity legal clausing, trade us US$10 for whatever Bartleby happens to declare “Love at a Reasonable Price” and “Diary of an Adamant Seducer” (two as-yet-to-be-written books) plus all the Pure Love we can and should shovel your way.
Why? We don’t know. But never mind, we deny it all, and here we go.
Hear us out: We mean no harm. Don’t waste your money. But what is a waste of money? How much did you spend this year so that you could flitter-flatter with crazy hopes that Products A B C … Z would somehow magically carry you closer to the full-on, life-overflowing life you dream of? Keep that in mind while we fling our empty splattering promises around your empty rattling head. Keep it in mind while we whisper aloud what the other commercial enterprises only silently mouth: “Who knows? Maybe we can sell you that perfect something or other that seems to forever hang just outside your reach. Maybe we can take a bit of your money and give you the straight path that makes the valleys sing and the mountains tremble. Maybe we have not just what you want or what your mind and body need, but what your soul wants, needs, and is. Maybe! Worth a shot! Come enter our advertisement; come on into this vague vision of perfection, let its vagueness smear your thought, creating a deliciously incompetent fuzziness where it becomes possible to surmise that perhaps our product could actually play a substantial role in fulfilling your longing for a perfection that you can name and get and keep and hold and have have oh wondrous have! Come on! Worth a shot! Give into the thrill; give in to it.”
The waterfall is lush and bright, splash-stepping down great rock slabs and spraying the surrounding tropical grasses, palms, and flowers. A couple good looking young men (a white and a black) in nothing but shoulder-arching and chest-doming muscles and long straight-legged Hawaii-print swimtrunks amble bowlegged proud into the scene, accompanied by two beautifully rolling-hills young women (vaguely ethnic) lithe-stepping and smiling with white flashing carefree teeth. The men are sharing one bottle labeled “Wandering Albatross Press Pure Love”, drinking it in quick eager gulps, with bobbly goofy eyes-leaping-forward grins. The women are sharing another of the same, drinking it in dainty soft little swigs, and smirking with eye-flashing mirth, their little slip-noses so pert and cute that all onlookers !want to scream! And presently, everything–the beautiful polished humans, the big leg-oaring insects, the wide-leaved vegetation, the heavy-jawed gray stones, and the flowing, falling, dropletting, splashing, spraying, self-tunneling, white foam bubbling, and placidly spreading-stillness water–everything grows brighter and brighter white hot from the inside until the entire scene is nothing but an infinitely bright light, infinitely exploding, infinitely giggling light. “Dude, good call!” “tee hee hee!”
So step right up! Pure Love is an infinite good that gives Itself freely to all. No one can own Pure Love, and no one can avoid Pure Love. Therefore, Pure Love cannnot be bought or sold, nor can anyone sell you access to or safe-haven from Pure Love. Buying and selling anything to do with Pure Love is poppycock! Friends, name your quantity and your price! $0 for an infinite supply of Pure Love? $20 for an iota of Pure Love? Friends, name your nonsense! Can we deliver the goods? What do you mean?: Can we deliver Pure Love? We wouldn’t go that far, but we can talk about Pure Love and then take your money:
Do you see? We do this bluntly.
Who is more evil? The Pure Love peddler or the advertising executive using the latest research to trick people into believing in the need to buy X type of treat or health tonic or politician or political opinion? Huh? And what percentage of your mind, heart, body and mind do you proudly hand over to their spinning tongues? The upward-spinning wondrous panic, the gambler’s thrill, the alcoholic’s release, the consumer’s “maybe that’s just the thing”.
A note on the metaphysics contained within this advertisement: Ladies and Gentlemen!, nothing much was claimed here! Certainly no more than the faith of your typical religious type:
There is a True Good shining through each conscious moment, but it is deeper and wider than ideas and feelings, so you can’t completely capture it with dogmas. However, imperfect communication does not equal no communication: your ideas and feelings can relate meaningfully, albeit imperfectly, to the True Good, which shines through your conscious moment and is thus present with your ideas and feelings. Therefore, you can and should seek out adequate dogmas: intellectual ideas that you accept as true-enough-for-the-moment. The mismatch between the Truth and human ideas and feelings means our ideas and feelings can never be literally, 1:1, or definitively True; but they can still point better or worse towards the Truth; our task is to keep seeking better and better ideas, feelings, words, and deeds.
Feelings are wider and vaguer than ideas, but by thinking and feeling clearly and with open heart and mind, we can adequately relate our feelings to our ideas, allowing us to act meaningfully upon our feelings. Likewise, the True Good within a human’s conscious experience is wider and deeper than ideas and feelings, but by getting better and better at awareness, clarity, internal-honesty, and open-heart/mindedness, we can get better and better about feeling, thinking, speaking, and acting in accordance with what is really going on, what really matters, who we really are (ie: in accordance with the True Good).
Work to sync up better with your inner light. A spiritual/religious practice can help us better understand and follow the Something Deeper within our heart of hearts—at least so long as we worry more about the loving kindness that religions reach for than their specific beliefs. The main point of life is living loving kindness: we all know and are this truth (here expressed poetically–as everything prior to ideas and feelings must be) deeper and more fundamentally than we know any ideas or feelings; therefore, when we use ideas and feelings to doubt or corrupt this knowledge, we misuse ideas and feelings.
Here’s a good guideline: if something in my worldview is keeping me from being kind and compassionate, then that something is working against the real point of my worldview (which is a kind of floating platform to help me unfold my inner light in a way that shines as bright as day), and I need to reevaluate.
That’s Something Deeperism. Lots of people believe it. We’re some of them. In fact, everyone is to some degree (to some degree we all both accept that our ideas and feelings do not perfectly capture what we most fundamentally know).
Author: Bartleby Willard
Editor/copyright holder/philosophical consultant: Andy Watson
Written a bunch of times; most recenlty revised early in November of 2015; and then late in May 2018