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New Light on the Secret of Life


The chief product of the biosphere— life’s mighty sea

—is feeling. Manufacturing this GDP

leaves us humans stunned. No quantum computer

will, in an eternity, “learn” to feel, and we

pathetic creatures are faced with a cruel deal:

in our forebrains, sly anticipations lurk,

which great far-sighted Pain will one day put to work.

There are, of course, other monies—butterflies, bees,


birds, flowers, trees, children’s smiles, Mozart’s symphonies,

Cole Porter’s songs … and love—but suffering’s the reserve

currency everywhere accepted; as deferred

payments’ common scrip, it cannot be rejected.

Hurt though "to get it over with" is consumed too

soon (a sage argued that it feeds the sickle moon);

pain’s always needed and has to be devisèd,

our great human skill is how to realize it!


The trick is pay no heed to what you know you lack,

take one step boldly forward; then, take two back:

in wartime, peace, romance, and sexual congress,

this fatal little dance will speedily depress;

humans are born, bred up, and skilled in grievous gain,

we charge stuff till it hurts, in slow or faster lane.

There’s no denying this, my fair befuddled mutts.

Go on, then, kick those Others’ sorry butts!


Note: Georges Gurdjieff was the sage who said that suffering “goes to feed the moon.” See https://nickoller.com/work/food-for-the-moon.php.

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