THE FUTURE

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A novel by Stefan Molyneux

Chapter 1

I birth back to life through the graves of my childhood.

When your heart first panics and shocks you back to gasping breath, you grow from nothing – from a zygote, an idea, a blank book – into your adult power in a matter of – god I don’t know how long, forever or a moment, cracked memories are not time

I am reborn from ice – like my mother’s womb, but warmer…

Like my life, I first gasp in the midnight depths – and end up choking for air in the sun-stained shallows…

I start with nothing

A silent crib, a heavy heavy head, rotating female faces – do my legs have two colors, or is that sunlight?

Distant yelling… Pulled up and out, held up in the rain before wet faces, flashing lights…

On a trembling lap – feeling my mother’s rough legs, scaly and sandy. Watching her peel off her skin at night, laughing with – my father…

She removes her colors like a mirrored chameleon in the dark.

I doze between a canyon of chests – one hairy, one plump food. Someone plays with my hair, lazy whirlpool spiders…

This is when I begin to suspect…

My death is reaching down to meet my birth…

Spiders, chameleons, sun-stained shallows – I would never have had these analogies as a baby, some – claw is reaching down from the end of my life to pull me up – from a single cell to a hospital prison…

I am meeting myself in the middle…

I weep with relief that the icicles in my bones might thaw in time…

I am a skeleton of winter, shivering for spring…

I stagger through my infancy – a staccato movie, most frames missing…

Controlling my innards, hot with pleasure at my body’s creaking complaints…

Praise from a new woman, an old woman, at my empty diaper – a thirst for adulthood, a breakout from the broken baby prison of my inflated flesh – the shameful debased coinage of the newly-minted…

Father strides in the distance, focused, careless – I want to become the little black ear-box he treasures…

Mother has to disassemble and reassemble herself every day, which means she must break constantly…

He mostly rages in the night – the dark kills calm – but I learn to love it, like thunder overhead.

Older, in my room with the car-wash windows – blue daylight for an instant – trying to jump and hang in the flashing air…

I erode, I suppose, in the waiting to exist, in the wasted early times, begging for attention like a dog barking at a cloud…

Reaching for distracted parents, I fall out of myself, into waves, into – pain…

I taste salt and wet and hurt and love

“DON’T DO IT!”

What, exist? Think? Love?

Fail..!

My mother’s voice – I resent that I have to wear a coat because she is cold…

Time accelerates as I rise to life – an old cartoon flies by, Jesus making eggs, complaining about feeling like he’s been dead for three days…

I see a rising white rocket clawing to the sky within me, but I recoil from it – to flee the rich air, wild surf and sheltering trees for the endless emptiness between dead planets – let that not be true…

Older, faster…

Friends, new hair, scorn and superiority, pursuing girls like a child chasing balloons – bright, bumping, empty…

Father cares now, mother moves on, back – new babies, new flashbulbs, shining on shiny magazine covers – perfection is for admiration, not love…

Hairspray stings the nose with isolation.

He brings me into his leather lair, with watery smoke and old records – tells me to win at all costs, that second-place is shameful, nothing, invisible

Growing, leaving, scalding scorn – grudging appreciation, great value…

I am dizzy, my mind aches from bursting through the sedimentary layers of old time…

And then – then I am free!

My mind clears.

I taste bile between my teeth.

I hate childhood.

My thoughts slow and circle, looking for a place to land…

I settle into adult thoughts, waiting for my sight to return.

Spring begins to thaw my marrow, drape flesh on the winter bones

My friendswhat a strange word, I haven’t really used it in years – face rises in my mind – a short boy, freckles, red hair and blue eyes, sitting and talking and talking and talking…

I try to laugh, but my cheeks are dentist-gum numb…

Oh yeah, he used to be obsessed with tunneling down to earlier and earlier memories…

He passes through my mind, chattering away self-obsessively…

Every time he would think he had gotten to the bottom, he would unpeel another one – and then spend hours trying to figure out if that was a genuine memory, or just an external story impressed on him by endless repetition.

That time that he had fallen asleep behind the couch during a game of hide and go seek, and his hysterical mother had called the police, thinking he had wandered off – was that real, a genuine memory, or just another one of his mother’s half-smiling, exasperated stories, so common in my tribe, the mothers who are endlessly put upon by absolutely normal childhood behaviour – particularly from boys.

I remember – I could never understand why he would want to muck about with such early nonsense – life is an inverted pyramid; the beginning means almost nothing; the spread of power at the end is everything – and if you get there, who cares what came before? I have always utterly loathed questions without answers – in particular pointless questions without answers, such as: is this early memory a real memory, or an internalized story?

Pah!

What navel-gazing nonsense!

Rage will thaw me…

I never knew what he was looking for back there, down there – I do know that he never seemed to find it, never seemed to get any satisfaction from this endless circular pursuit, never broke free of this obsession – and went a little crazy, if I remember rightly, after Jane…

Light begins to brighten my eyelids – why does no one ever paint what we see when we close our eyes? – and a stabbing pain like twin bullets through the sockets hits me, reaching to an ancient ache on the back of my scalp, where the paint stuck – and I get a terrible sense of timeis this even the same sun? How can so little light hurt so much unless I have slept for a thousand years..?

Coughing in the dark, old bones, a young man with dark bangs sitting in shadows whispering to me that we shall meet again

Counselling me to surrender to the ice, to hibernation – to an unimaginable future…

What did I do?

The question is empty now, self-conscious.

This is better: Where did I go?

A long time away…

My – friend’s face hangs before me now – how long have I lived? – and it strikes me with a great internal church bell of sadness that it is almost certain that his face has vanished from the world – as most of us vanish from the world – in a terrifying waterfall of endless obscurity; bubbles that form and pour and splash and dissolve into nothing, into the vast emptiness of most people’s lives in history. They exist to breed and serve and eat and make, and they vanish like a wet smudge of tiny insects in a giant hurricane…

A part of my brain seems to have unfrozen first – a part that was probably frozen for most of my life, because… Oh God, it was an important thought, where has it gone? Sadness about my friend’s face having vanished from the world – oh yeah, that is it

When my friend was searching for his early memories, it terrified me deeply (although I only experienced that as irritation at the time) that a boy could actually get lost chasing his own memories. The idea of ceasing to exist, of being forgotten, was always bottomlessly terrifying to me. I genuinely believe that if I had not achieved power, I would’ve had a very tough time even getting out of bed. The pointlessness of eating and breathing and sexing and fitting a jacket and getting a haircut and laughing – when after you were gone, no one would remember your name, or your face, or what you did, and all of your dreams and unrealized thoughts will have vanished as if you never existed – even now, I can feel the ice forming on my spine even as it leaves my brain.

Utterly terrifying…

Was that what it was all about?

Oh God, who cares? Introspection is paralysis, obscurity is the only real death…

The light and agony increase. I am terrified to open my eyes – the sun is two spears in the hands of a hunter!

I flee inward – which I hate, but it is the only path away from the pain…

Like a vampire…

An old door opens…

Oh when was this, when I was a teenager, my mid-teens?

Everyone has that friend who listens to drum-god Rush and takes that fork in the road that leads either to an obsession with Lord of the Rings, or Ayn Rand. Listening to Geddy Lee screech in tinnitus syllables about Rivendell and the Virtue of Selfishness is a curse that many a beardless youth falls prey to. My red-headed friend gave me a cloth bag full of books on Objectivism, and kept circling around me at social events, trying to make eye contact, clearly desperate for me to fall under the spell of that smoky Soviet goddess of bitter atheism and literary rape.

Yeah, the flood of pleasure at his need

Even back then, oh god maybe 14 or 15, I loved having people want things from me – it gave me shape, dimension, power…

God I hated people who wanted things from others – it always felt so pathetic and helpless – but I loved it when they wanted things from me, because I got everything they gave up…

Deeper into the past, away from the invading light…

Another door opens…

Stuck on a boring call one long Sunday afternoon, I thumbed through my friend’s bag full of books, looking for the pictures that used to be sandwiched between endless text in those paper-cut days.

In this book there was a photo that chilled me to the bone, and I actually felt an electric current of pure revulsion, and hurled the book away. It was a picture of 3 people – Ayn Rand, Nathaniel Branden – probably groping her from behind his bulk – and one elderly man on the left, with a cleft chin, squinting into the sun (Why oh why do old people insist on squinting, it just makes them look like loathsome crumpled wax-paper!) – and the caption under the picture correctly identified everyone except him. He was just: “An unidentified man.”

Oooh, there is that spinal chill again! I feel revulsion and rage at that moment. How dare a man live on this earth for 70 years and leave such a tiny pathetic unimportant footprint – despite being surrounded by relatively well-known people – that one tiny wave from the ocean of time washes him clean away?

The ocean dissolves us like sandcastles. We build, it breaks – walking into it is death…

Oh God, now my mother’s sentimental voice…

“Oh, you don’t know, he could’ve had a wonderful family life, done great things in his community, be remembered by hundreds of people, helped hundreds more – what does it matter if someone writing a book doesn’t bother to figure out his name?”

Man alive, what a female perspective!

Don’t get me wrong, I worshipped my mother, but only because she worshipped my father…

And there it is.

My father – gone how many years, and really only remembered because of me!

I was born into privilege, my mother always used to say – which again was an annoyingly female perspective, because that is not how men work, at least not men who achieve what I achieved.

Not that we can achieve it without women, bless their hearts…

The pain of the growing nuclear orange light drives me from the past into abstractions – man’s final refuge from the tyranny of agony…

I hated the idea of it!

‘Privilege’ is a terrible word to put in the path of ambition.

Yeah, I was born into money, yes, I was born into power, yes, I was born into – well, everything positive and helpful to the pursuit of power that you could conceivably imagine – but the entire point of privilege is to internalize the god-damned word!

I remember arguing with my mother, as she backed away…

If you exile ‘privilege’ from yourself, it just gets in your way by provoking guilt and paralysis and a horrible sense of self-erasure for the sake of your ‘good fortune.’ The insult of ‘privilege’ is just a slow-venom response from the biting underclasses – it’s their way of having you back away from your own potential for power in horror at your accidental good fortune.

It’s total crap, and I hate it with every atom of my being!

I try to move my arms, but they are trapped, like a cylinder porch Christmas soldier…

Panic drives me to further abstractions – perilously close to philosophy

Where the hell else does this apply?

If you’re born beautiful, you don’t make yourself ugly, or fail to exploit your beauty just because you happen to be lucky, right Mom?

If you’re born with a great voice, you don’t purposefully sing badly so you don’t offend the tone-deaf.

No, mom – if you’re born beautiful, you have to internalize that beauty, it has to become you – or it is completely and totally useless! You have to say to yourself – and only later, to others – that real beauty comes from ‘within’ – that beauty is just an ‘attitude,’ and ‘confidence,’ and all other kinds of nonsense.

The supermodel genuinely has to believe that if you feel beautiful, you are beautiful! If she doesn’t, she won’t be able to transfer that delusion to others for the sake of giving gay guys who hate their mothers the power to force women to stop eating and wear shoes that make their feet bleed!

My healthy anger – welcome back! – wakes to fight back against my trapped pain.

Everyone exploits their advantages, mom – or makes their disadvantage their advantage, if they have no luck at all. Losers turn themselves into victims, and get resources that way – and if they win, if they get trillions of dollars (and if anyone knows this, it’s me!) – their lack of privilege becomes their privilege, and so what right to they have to complain about me using my natural privilege, when they literally invent and use their own?

My father swims into my mental view again, at the height of his power and grace and elegance, and it suddenly strikes me – and I have no idea where this part of my brain has been my whole life – that it is not just me coming back to life, but also all the people I remember

A sermon from my early childhood – kind of inappropriate now, when I think about it – square-bearded Father Gregory thundering about Jesus strolling through cemeteries and raising the entirety of the dead – he is now talking about me – and a realization hits me with a series of goosebumps that I hope has something to do with my newfound emotional depth, rather than my dead skin thawing…

I am like Jesus walking through the cemetery – the cemetery of my history…

I have come back to life like He did, and as I return to the light, I bring with me all the people I remember, here, now, to – wherever in hell I am…

In my mind’s eye, my father turns from his position at the blackhole center of a brightly lit party, and laughs at me for imagining that I will not understand wherever I am, even if it is…

“Power is power, son. From the Greeks to the Romans to the Aristocracy to the leaders of democracy, politicians will always understand the world – because the technology might change, but people don’t. Aristotle would still understand 21st century logic – and a politician will always understand the power structure of the society he lives in, and it doesn’t matter where – or when – that society is…”

Oh God – this is probably one of my earliest memories – not this cheesy speech, which sounds like a Bazooka Joe comic from my youth – but my father at a party…

I had fallen asleep after dinner, then woken up and looked up at my father, who had a giant chandelier hanging over his head, far above his thinning hair – it was like the universe had placed a sparkling constellation over the center of authority in the ballroom. They say that women don’t dress for men, but for other women – although men generally dress for power, only sometimes power over women – but I got a strong sense, so long ago, in a building long dust, that everyone in that ballroom – I couldn’t count the number – had all dressed for my father – and that he was a kind of well-coiffed master ape, vaguely thuggish in his tuxedo, perfectly at ease in the exercise of power, perfectly gracious in the certainty of his dominance, and that was when I really felt that I tore myself loose from my mother, because my mother was full of diluted sentimentality and sympathy for the underprivileged; she endlessly cared for other people’s ‘voices’ (which always seemed sinister to me, like a ghost moaning into mist), but it suddenly hit me with full force, right there in my tiny solar plexus, that my mother’s drippy words about the underprivileged were just a kind of test – of dominance perhaps – because while she might turn herself inside out in sympathy for the underdog, she had married the top dog, the master ape, and if I wanted a woman like my mother – which, if I wanted to be like my father, I would need to get – then I had to learn how to make sympathetic noises towards her obsession with the underprivileged, while recognizing that these were just silly words that she used – perhaps to keep the resentment of other women at bay, or because she was unable to own and accept her own pursuit of the master ape – it didn’t really matter, a man can go completely mad plumbing the depths of the feminine – the point was that it’s great to endlessly warble about sympathy for the weak, while building your entire life around pursuing and owning strength!

Maybe it’s a kind of camouflage – but I don’t remember my father inhabiting that contradiction…

My father wanted to inspire men to strength – in part by showing off the beauty of my mother – while my mother dragged people down by offering fructose maternal sympathy for their suffering.

Do we challenge, or do we cuddle?

Men at least don’t have to suffer from the hypocrisy of claiming to care for the underdog while pursuing the top dog, perhaps that’s why we tend to get more things done in this life…

Or, that life…

I realize now, in my slowly waking state, as images, pictures and feelings flow past my brain like some two-bit screensaver, that the party I recall – which I haven’t thought of in half a century – put the stamp of the future on the soft wax of my early brain.

Children are fascinated by power – for boys, it’s status, for girls, beauty or something like that – like dogs, we map the hierarchy around us, from a very early age – for me, I was maybe 3 years old when this party happened…

Another wave of sadness slams into me, as I realize that the ghosts returning to life with me don’t know anything more than I do.

I could snap my finger and talk to my mother – she is lurking in here, complaining about my arrogance as usual – while simultaneously stoking the ambition of my father – but I could never get her to tell me how old I was when this party happened, in the ballroom, under the sparkling crown of the chandelier.

If she were still alive, she would know these things in that beartrap way that women remember relationships and events and timing – it wouldn’t be more than a tenth of a second before she would tell me the place, date, reason and purpose of the ball, as well as reciting the names of at least half the people who were there…

But my mother in my mind is a dead ghost; she only exists as I remember her, not as she was. The tomb of her mind is truly sealed, and cannot be opened, since she who gathered me together from dust has now turned to dust herself, with all her memories and thoughts and connections and instant answers to unimportant questions long gone…

How long..?

My father wanted to be remembered – as I wanted to be remembered – and I suddenly suspect that the only reason I am still alive is because I was remembered – but thinking about my mother, I suddenly realize that to be remembered is not the same as being alive. We can never achieve immortality, because others only remember us as they see us, not as we actually are, or were

We cannot even correct those who get our lives and our thoughts completely wrong… We inevitably become a tool for propagandists, who can turn us into whatever they want to in order to achieve their goals and their ends, and our prominence in the present might be a giant lever for destruction in the future…

I laugh at myself – this takes some effort, it does not come naturally to me – and the ghost of my mad old friend laughs with me; he has come back to life, and where he could not bring to life his own memories in the past, he now lives in my waking memories in the future – he laughs at me because I am tripping over the same tangled roots that took him down.

God, no wonder I never spent any time alone…

Philosophy, philosophy, philosophy – my friend who worshipped Ayn Rand, he kept dribbling on about integrity and virtue and self-sufficiency and not being a – oh God, what was the phrase? Social metaphysician, second-hander, something like that –

You have to face reality and not manipulate people and follow abstract principles, even if it means self-destruction

Yeah, it was childish and compelling and dreamlike – it just meant that you were ostracized into a Walden-like perfection, squatting on a mountaintop, gnawing on your own vegetables and resentment and dying on a glacier before being covered by ice and uncovered by future anthropologists…

Noted loser from the past died in perfect solitude. By compromising nothing, he achieved nothing…

Foggy orange crescents rim the bottom of my vision as the light grows…

Almost there now…

I never bothered teasing myself with false virtues…

A man teases himself with never visiting prostitutes again – knowing that he will of course – that’s a living hell, just a pretend virtue that satisfies the self-sadism of failing your own ‘values’ – values which only exist to serve your masochism!

The self-flagellation of ‘failing morality’ is a stupid act of self-sacrifice – my Objectivist friend would lecture me that man’s life is the highest value, and whatever serves man’s life is the good – and I kept telling him that nothing serves a man’s life more than power!

When you have power, you never have to beg – you don’t even have to ask! All you see are the tops of everyone’s heads, kneeling to serve you – your family will never want for anything, for ten generations probably.

Ah, he said, but power doesn’t make you happy…

Ha-ha – mind-reading is a ridiculous self-delusion… Could he provide me a long list of men who had power, and then gave it up because it made them miserable?

We are not angels – we are apes with pretensions.

I prefer my philosophy honest, not idealistic, which is to say masochistic.

In my life, I shrugged and moved on, even after Jane…

My brain-wrinkles form into a scowl in my skull…

Meh – seeking power is the way of the world!

It’s a tough and bloody game – and I completely understand and sympathize with those who don’t want to play. I just – always demanded honesty, from myself and from others. If people don’t want to play the power game, they’re just abandoning their essential mammal inheritance – all animals pursue power and control and dominance – especially apes! All these people who believe in evolution, and still talk about morality, reciprocal altruism and all other kinds of nonsense, God they turned my stomach – and, wherever in hell I am, I suspect the

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