Johnny’s Unmaking – a philosophical dilemma

Let it be said that the only thing that really matters is matter. Who said that? Johnny here. He’s a deep thinker who spends his salad mental days writing down his deepest thoughts. He’d like to get his thoughts printed on paper and published one day. He’s in the so-called aspirational class. So what’s Johnny been thinking? Well, he’s been thinking he’s nothing more than matter and/or/either/also/even/ as well as substance. A complicated piece of substance true, probably the most complex there is, him being a ‘conscious-of-himself’ human, and whatever else he is, yet still substance. He does things when he’s got the energy, and when he’s got the energy he does things. Doing and energy are to him the working substance of his substance. Maybe when he’s energy and he does things with energy, his energies clash within his body and he is matter. He’s been thinking that perhaps the atoms of such things could do with his splitting. And then there will be less of him to split; and then less and less. Johnny would like to do that. Keep splitting his body so he can unmake himself, until ultimately he’ll be just an unnameable substance, with just his mind looking on.

Those who reckon spirits and souls exist wouldn’t like what Johnny is planning to do. But Johnny always says fek ’em. Let them try and stop me. He knows what his substantial reality is about and pooh to anyone who thinks differently. They’re never going to change his mind. His matter comes first. It’s all that matters. Ha Ha. He’s a physical guy; he’s mind-flesh, in that his senses tell him about what’s going on around him while he is touching his body. He’s saying that it’s his inner side getting out and about in the surrounding world. He’s always touching his girlfriend’s body. He’s made lots of love. Made some war too. So long as an experience creates tangible matter. His senses like it, and so does his mind.

Johnny’s wondering what is beyond his cells, nuclei and atoms. Beyond his matter. His mind says there’s something, it. By unmaking himself Johnny reckons he might find out. But then, who would know about it? Nobody’s got back from death and reported their experiences. It’s going to be the same problem. How far can too far go, just to prove a point? And will Johnny be almost nothing except mind; or nothing at all? From nothing comes nothing and from nothing there is the rest of everything that Johnny hopes for. His mind says so. He’s a package, more or less. Wrapped up in himself basically. It keeps him from disappearing into the four elements. He’s been with air and fire but they didn’t unmake him. They remade him. He doesn’t like the scars.

So Johnny thinks of himself as merely substance and or otherwise and preferably subsmatter. But is this the right word? Theologians averse to materialism see matter as inhuman – we’re it and therefore we are all thanks to God’s making, and nothing more except for the soul made for heaven. Can they quantify the soul in words? No. Johnny wasn’t thinking about measurement anyway. He’s not trying to prove anything. He simply wants to unmake himself and see his substance. Because that’s all he is.

But to begin Johnny will need to find his unique recipe. Then he’ll know what ingredients to unmake, step by step. He’s asked his mum and dad but they couldn’t tell him much. The religious folk can’t tell him because he’s not in their texts. Scientists don’t know because they haven’t used him in their experiments. Johnny’s a bit out on a limb. He’ll only find out the recipe of himself when he’s unmaking himself. And when disorder happenstances he’s just going to have to deal with it. He wishes he had the personality of the Universe. That would be a good start.

Something’s got to be ticking in Johnny while he unmakes himself. He’ll need to be conscious of what is happening. Then he can report to himself what’s going down and he can keep going. There won’t be an end to it until he’s out of his own sight. If Johnny’s observances shut down during the unmaking he’s going to miss something. His ticking conscious must take a leap to infinity while Johnny’s unmaking himself down to matter. But what if it goes beyond his unmaking? It won’t. He’s told himself that his unmaking and his conscious awareness have made a blood pact in his mind. They WILL stay together. And don’t think about becoming God, Johnny says to himself. He might have to die though. But Johnny’s in the prime of his life. His career is just taking off and he and his girlfriend Jane are thinking about getting married and starting a family.

Perhaps Johnny’s already unmaking himself and he’s unaware of it. Often he gets angry with Jane and he’ll feel guilty about it long afterwards. Something leaves him when that happens. It’s like love. It gets thrown out from deep inside into something outside. Love and anger diminishes him, Johnny thinks. And is aging another pathway to his unmaking? His physique is going to end up nothing more than a skeleton, and his flesh and brain will be nothing but powdery dust. The position of his skeleton will only demonstrate to archaeologists that he was merely energy when he was alive. Its foetal position will show how his limbs were especially designed to kick footballs around, scratch itches, squat on his haunches. When he’s dead, his body is irreversibly unmade. His mind won’t be found in the earth. That will be unmade long before death because of his dementia. That’s what Johnny fears, dementia.

He’s faced with this natural unmaking anyway. But that’s ordinary and negative. Johnny needs to put negativity out of his mind. He’d like to cast aside his memory. He’d sacrifice good memories if he can also rid the bad. To get out of the way of the call of death Johnny thinks a first step to unmaking himself is to clean his memory. If he no longer remembers who he is, then perhaps he can make a fresh start and unmake himself like a virgin ashamed from the unromantic loss of it. He sees no other way. Anyway everything happens in his mind. Paradoxically his mind is not matter, and cannot be unmade while he is alive, unless he is demented. It must be the vital leftover that reports Johnny’s unmaking back to him. He’ll need of course to make his memory tangible like in memoirs and on headstones, and in other people’s memory of him. He will have to make his memories and externalise them before unmaking them. This will free his mind so it can reach its maximum capacity while Johnny is unmaking himself.

The opposite of unmaking is of course making. His experiment should reveal that his unmaking is the more powerful. It’s a choice. He’s chosen to split himself down to nothing except pure matter. It’s the same energy used in choosing life. But for it to really work Johnny will have to find a way to rig his mind in favour of his wilful unmaking so he can be assured that when he splits into pure matter his mind will communicate that it is so. The only sure way is to take a chance on it. Otherwise his unmaking thesis won’t ever be thought of. But rigging the outcome rids him of the only neutral referee he can trust, chance.

Making would be a lot more rewarding for Johnny. While he lives there are golden opportunities for him to make something of himself. That’s what his father always said to him. Johnny’s dad never got to do what he really wanted.

The other day Johnny pinched himself. Then he got Jane to pinch him in the same spot. Then he got Jane to pinch him again while he pinched her simultaneously. She yelped while he never does. The point of the exercise proved nothing about unmaking. All it proved was that Jane was a wuss and he wasn’t. She said he pinched her harder and that made her yelp. But Johnny said that his pinch was no harder than hers. She said he is stronger than her and anyway her skin is more delicate. They argued and then they made love. The whole afternoon experience of pinching and lovemaking proved how tangible Johnny’s experiences really are. And he wants more of it. He’s young and he’s restless. He still plans to unmake everything about himself, but he can save it for later.





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