A.J. Walker


Flawed Witnesses of Unhappenings

Flawed Witnesess of Unhappenings

It is man’s belief in himself as a witness which is an inherently flawed concept, said Nico Blueberry. I was lucky enough to meet the philosopher on several occasions, including to that famous “Flawed Witnesses” lecture. Usually we met in various states of sobriety. We managed to take it in turns to be the drunker or the more sober one. It was never a good idea to meet him when he was completely sober, and I found similarly it was a good idea to have had a couple of drinks myself before venturing down some conversational alleyway with the prodigious polymath. It was dangerous to follow him when there are no maps available. He had a habit of leading you off into somewhere you had no intention of going to; often somewhere dark and dangerous.

It helped me that I was a vehement atheist and indeed I eventually got to call Nico a friend - insomuch as he had friends. He found religiosity the most profound waste of time invented by man. He hated most that it was money conned from the poorest peoples of the world that was used to build such grand elaborately gilded palaces; and the bank balances of the obscene. He’d kicked himself terribly (metaphorically; in reality he just got drunk quicker) whenever he found himself guilty of being impressed by any of the buildings or art works within them. But these inanimate boxes frequently fought him into a less than quiet rage with the knowledge they were built with the precious pennies the poor should be keeping; “stolen through ridiculous fictions to by those who knew better”. Nico’s view was that religion was an institutionally acceptable pyramid scheme (sic), endorsed by the State. People were groomed from birth and frightened into paying for a better life: next time. They had to pay their insurance in this world.

He famously said in one of his books that many religions could out-mafia the most obscene and cruel criminal enterprises out there. And whilst the leaders didn’t often take out rival gangs in the style of a Valentine’s Day Massacre he reasoned many a war was caused - and continued to be - by religion. And that was worse. The collateral damage from these “state supported mafiosa” was much greater than that from any battling city gangs.

In his books, papers, lectures, and editorial newspaper pieces he would sound reasonable and considered in matters from politics, crime, arts, the environment - even sport - but getting him on the subject of gods and “their pedlars” was risking a localised explosion if he was not in the mood for it.

I well remember a lecture he gave to some university students when he’d arranged for someone to steal his bag from the desk behind him in front of all the attendees. He then asked people to describe what had happened and who had stolen it. The range of heights, hair colours and clothes the single guy was described with was incredible, even the direction the man came from (one person said it was a tall blonde lady, but I think that may have been wishful thinking). I can tell you he was 5”9’, wearing black leather boots, in black trousers, white shirt, a dark (once black) blazer, no tie, and with a short back and sides. I know this because it was me who Nico had asked to undertake ‘the robbery’.

As the differences snowballed and no consensus was agreed the audience lapped it up. Then he went into his pet subject. You guys couldn’t tell me what happened just now in front of your eyes. What about these texts that are read at home and in those consecrated golden boxes? These ancient texts not told as seen, but through eyes, memories, and imaginations, not from today, not from not last week, but sometimes millennia ago. These fictions have been passed verbally from person to person. Each with their own inflections, their own colour. Their own politics. These stories are just that; stories. Not fact. Fictions. And yet you are asked to believe in them. Stories told by strangers over a thousand years ago. By people who didn’t even have writing to pass them on until recently. And you guys couldn’t even tell me definitively whether it was even a man who stole my bag.

The palaces built on these cons tower above the slums and lives aborted by the implied need to look after your next life. Life, said Nico, was to be lived in this one world - this one time - you have. If you must invest in anything, he said, it should be in hospitals, schools and libraries - or maybe on a nice watch. Not spent on gilding some lily on the whim of a fancy-robed charlatan.

I know the truth behind his recent passing and I have been sworn to secrecy about it, for reasons I cannot divulge (I can do in twenty years). It’s a story though. Some of the outlandish ideas being dreamed up, repeated, embellished, polished and retold are a case in point of his view on peoples’ inability to be trusted with truth and knowledge. He’d both love and hate it. They say a lie can encircle the earth before the truth has had time to get its boots on. He would say flat Earthers would disagree. Then again, maybe in the next twenty years there will be a religion built up around Nico’s past and beliefs. I can confirm that he hadn’t converted into religion before he passed (I enjoyed the rumour about him not dying but going to Tibet to find himself). So please buy that watch or donate to your local hospital or library. There need be no golden memorial to Nico, indeed there cannot be. If you want to memorialise him, just don’t reward stupidity or those fancy-robed conmen. Just live your life. This life.