Sunday, June 17, 2007

Poker: Nature's End Game

Watching the 2006 World Series of Poker re-runs on ESPN is a solipsistic venture: one minute, Allen Cunningham exists, his inscrutable, narrow mien ripe with confidence and seven-card-stud savvy; the next, there is a commercial hawking deoderant, and Cunningham—poker face and all—is gone. True to the philosophy, one can only be sure of one's self, and anything or anyone beyond that, no matter how entertaining or adept at card games, is several levels removed from real. Then, just as quickly as they are delegitamated, Cunningham and his opponents are back, shunting their cards into the muck as if they have no idea that they were not extant a minute ago.
It would unfair to limit this all-or-nothing sociological experience to no-limit. Looking through a yearbook, old pictures, or even emails from a previous year could trigger the same phenomenon described above, a brand of universal Q-and-A that leaves one groping to enforce someone else’s life. And the questions go something like this—“If Allen Cunningham isn’t real right now, am I?” Or—“If Allen Cunningham ceased to be, then couldn’t I just as easily cease to be?” Suddenly, people with whom you’ve lost touch become vital indicators of whether or not you’re really there, for the simple fact that if you could look through a yearbook and swear—SWEAR—that someone “dropped off the face of the earth,” then what’s stopping that person from looking through their yearbook and assuming the same of you?
If we’re all human beings sharing in the same being-ness, then what’s to make you any less susceptible to sudden non-being than anyone else? What was once a solipsistic conviction (I know I exist, but I’m not sure about them) graduates to include you, as well—are any of us really here?
Well…yeah, dumbass. Of course you’re here. So am I. So are all of us. Just take a look around. Philosophizing your bleak aloneness might work in a diary or at a poetry club, but every last one of us is absolutely alive. We’re merely too feeble to grasp this constant reality, so we occasionally question it. That’s fine—it’s no worse than questioning global warming or objective morality or cigarette toxicity or—on the flip side—“that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” We might “hold these truths to be self-evident,” but they’re not for us to hold or to let go. They simply are, whether we will them to be or not.

Stay Substantive, Allen Cunningham
DJ Deuces

1 comment:

Ben said...

Unable to resist commenting, as a huge Alan Cunningham fan, I feel its a tenuous stretch to make from commercial break to a Descartes-esque reality quest. Ok, so I just heard Cunningham's name for the first time while watching tv poker tonight, but I still feel pretty strongly about him. What I found most convincing though about your argument was the fact that you usedthe word, "solipsistic" not once but TWICE. Very impressive, Wonder Boy!
As to the real issue at hand, in terms of metaphysics, we are not here constantly, but are, in fact, constantly blinking in and out of existance, creating the possibility of an alternate reality. Or more than one alternate reality perhaps. So the real question, I think, is if I am somewhere else, will Alan Cunningham be there too? Wishful thinking, some may say, but I feel certain that he is. At the risk of exposing my own fragile grip upon sanity, I will aver my own opinion. I believe that there is a joint consciousness or a universal oneness that crosses the borders of space and time making us all one being sharing lifetimes of experiences. However, because this is so frightening, we (and by "we" I am referring to me, you, and yes, of course, Mr. Cunningham) engage our sense of rationalization, perhaps the almighty tool of self defense, to convince us beyond all, or at least most, doubt, that we are all independent, free-thinking human beings. Just a million coincidences, right? Another deja- vu, right? Uh huh, keep dreamin, pal, cuz that's all this is. One long dream. WAKE THE FUCK UP, MOTHERFUCKER!!!!!