I don’t praise Everything, but stand in awe of it.
I had an insight today and realize how much we are enslaved by the everything of Everything.
Capitalism, Everything’s cousin, is disliked, and looking for a pair of socks this morning, I finally understood why.
My drawer is filled with unmatched socks, and as I studied my various dark socks in the light to find an exact match, I asked myself,
“Wouldn’t it be easier if there were One Dark Sock Factory that served all feet, making one dark sock that fits all?”
You see, I couldn’t care less about these subtle varieties of dark sock—and here Everything confronted me—countless varieties of socks exist because someone wishes to make money with their brand of specialized sock.
So I cursed capitalism. If sock manufacturing were a socialist enterprise, all my dark socks, made from one simple model at a fair price, would match. The variety of socks in the world—the Everything factor—was wasting my morning, as I attempted to find a match.
Things, the minions of Everything, take revenge against us if we do not pay attention to them.
My shoes, conveniently placed under my bed so I could put them on upon waking, somehow managed to get themselves far under the bed, so I had to bend over and reach for them, feeling about under the bed, in a flurry of curses.
I have been trained, however, to make what annoys me bear fruit.
I notice that nothing falls into place for us—Everything makes things difficult, annoying, and displaced—Everything is unruly and runs away from us: shoes, socks, the sheets and blankets on the bed—which always arrange themselves in such a way that ‘making the bed’ is an odious task.
There is no time for anything.
There is no time to make more time.
Everything is a cage.
We are trapped, and trying to escape traps us further.
But putting our finger on something, articulating the problem, makes us happy for a moment, at least.
More generally, I thought of the universal effort to simplify our lives by simply ignoring a whole host of things—we tell ourselves we will not care about this thing or that thing, in order to make our existence simpler and happier—we will defeat this conspiracy of Everything by excluding a certain number of things from our lives.
But does this bring happiness?
It is in the nature of things, no matter how divided, focused on, or excluded, to never satisfy.
If we exclude this or that in our life and focus on one thing, we think, if we focus on this, then we will be happy—but no, even the one thing we want, as we humbly give up our need for other things, eludes us, or proves disappointing—for no thing wishes to be ignored, and to focus on one thing means ignoring other things.
Things ignored take revenge on us—socks will not match, shoes will run away under the bed—not even one thing we attempt to make ours will be ours—everything conspires to make us unhappy, if we fail to give Everything its due.
We cannot exclude. And the following will illustrate this:
If we put our stock in poetry, and ignore the non-poetic, our most precious poem will be mocked and ridiculed in the public square, and we will be humiliated forever.
However, those who focus on the non-poetic and ignore poetry in their lives—the mockers in the public square—will discover, meanwhile, that a poet has stolen their wife.
You better know Everything. Or you—no matter who you are, or how “expert” you are—will get burned.
No one wins in the attempt to exclude; Everything will have its revenge.
If we attempt to make life simpler, if we decide, in an egalitarian serve-humanity spirit, to make life better by having one dark sock factory, this will backfire, like everything else. The noble revolution will crumble and fall in despair, and finally, in humiliation. Up rises Everything, and there shall be countless varieties of dark socks and your morning will be wasted looking for one dark sock to match another—because someone wants to get rich on socks.
I decided not to be bitter towards Everything and to surrender to its power. After all, I thought, what about those poor souls forced to work in that dark sock factory? How much fun would it be to be make one dark sock all day?
And, further, what of my own responsibility to organize my socks? Is it not my sole responsibility to make sure my socks match? How I launder my socks, how I purchase my socks, how I organize my socks—is this not the important thing?
Everything forces us to be organized, and is actually a moral agent, since being busy keeps us out of trouble.
So this, then, is why Everything exists, and why it exists the way it does—for moral, religious purposes.
Is not the Bible lengthy, and full of so many things that it requires long study? Of course it is. The Bible, like all religious texts, and like all documents involved in the legal tangle of capitalism, pay due homage to Everything, which is our true God.
Who has the time to pay attention to Everything? We don’t. Which is why the world is full of dull, unhappy people—even as Everything spreads its riches before us.
Here are the choices:
Bare feet: happy but ignorant.
Mismatched socks: socially condemned.
Matched socks: organized and dull.
And we see this roughly pertains to the three ages of Humanity:
bare feet, the Child;
mismatched, the Adolescent;
matched, the Adult.
The challenge is finally to take account of Everything’s moral nature, respect this aspect of it, and not let it make you dull and miserable, for it will make you dull and miserable if you fail to respect it.
The everything of Everything makes us busy, and this is how it makes us moral. Capitalism, which is the source of so much consternation on the Left, offends as a seemingly cruel and amoral system—but as we have shown, it is really the opposite—think of all the work that goes into producing a certain kind of dark men’s sock—merely because it serves the refining nature of Everything’s expansive complexity: in a word, the Civilized.
Why do we have children?
For one reason, really.
We don’t have enough Time here—so we hand off the task of living to our child: here, you do it. I don’t have time.
And then we find a child takes up all of our time.
Or, we don’t have children because we do believe we have time. We look young all the way to the end of our child-bearing years. Then age creeps in all of a sudden, and we have no children. Too late, we realize there is no time, and Everything discovers even more ways to torture us as we look into the empty mirror.
All the exhausted, unhappy faces that you meet—exist because of how many different kinds of socks there are. We are unhappy, moral, busy—our vacations brief and unsatisfying, our jobs tedious and unsatisfying.
Our attempts to “rise above” the mundane into the realm of love and beauty prove short-lived and untenable, as the spirit of Everything asserts itself, taking revenge on us for our vanity and our self-indulgence, for as soon as we embrace love and beauty, pride makes us irritable and thin-skinned—we continue to knock against Everything; fragile Beauty proves too difficult to maintain.
We find ourselves in our bedrooms. Tears rolling down our cheeks. An annoying song on the radio. A stupid piece of instant “wisdom” on social media. Crying over lost love.
And our holy consolation?
Sorting our socks.
Everything crushes us under its Wheel.
Everything, the One True God.
The only thing the fortunate are thankful for, thanks to our God, Everything:
I didn’t have too much time to be unhappy.