(Audience) From the Files of the Qwik Club

The Fifth Theory
a legend regarding the box

Everything that we do not know about is in the box.

People want you to believe that the government has secret prison camps. Like Guantanamo! Or Uggle Port Katchek.

But they don’t.

Not even other governments do.

Instead, when you want to throw someone away, you just put them in the box.

There are convenient access points everywhere in the world.

Put someone in the chute. They slide around and around. They go down into the box!

You can also do this with other things that are not people. You could put a strawberry shortcake in a chute. It would slide down the chute into the box.

For all we know, the box is full of tasty things like that.

We don’t want to open the box.

If we opened the box then we would see the shortcake. Then it would attack!

Graar, it would say. It would gnash its teeth. It takes really bad cooking to make a shortcake that gnashes its teeth but it is possible because the recipe is quite complicated and involves teeth.

There could be other things in the box that attack people.

Like the Pope.

And Gandhi!

Secretly they have both been put into chutes and sent down into the box. There they wage their endless twilight struggle. You might think that the matter would resolve quickly but the Pope keeps clinging to his outdated Catholic sense of honor and trying to get Gandhi into his weight class. This involves a great deal of dieting and force feeding that isn’t making either great-souled leader very happy.

Living in this world we face a condition of attachment and desire that gives rise to suffering.

We are blessed in that we are only attached to the things that we know.

When we put someone down the chute we cease to perform the erroneous attachment-exercise that gives rise to suffering. We banish them from the world and they no longer give us the sense-impressions that give rise to the skandhas and Dukkha and all manner of ill things.

The box saves us from pain.

The suffering that we put inside the box is not real suffering and it does not provide an impetus towards change.

So the box lets us leave things as they are.

We can say that the stories of those who are inside the box have ended.

They are perfect.

They are empty.

They are done: forever and ever after closed; amen.

The first four theories may be found here. Remember that readers may/should post vignettes in the on-site comments for (Audience) posts.

14 thoughts on “(Audience) From the Files of the Qwik Club

  1. Remember that readers may/should post vignettes in the on-site comments for (Audience) posts.

    Could you explain this sentence a bit more? I don’t understand what it means. Is it something about how too-long Audience comments should be put on off-site pages and then linked to?

  2. You’re reading too much into it, methinks.

    It’s a reminder that people may and should post short stories (vingettes) as responses to Quik Club posts.

  3. The sixth theory

    Everything is in the box.

    The deal is that if we put everything we don’t know about in the box then we must put everything in the box because actually we know very little except our own idealized worlds that we carry around in our minds. and then those must be put into the box as well because it is “we” not “I” and so if we don’t know about other people’s idealized worlds because of their inability to communciate them then “we” have to throw it in there.

    Bob is in the box. He builds a machine, cleverly building a set of wires through the chutes of varying resistance. For while he can put stuff into the box, he can also sometimes not put stuff into the box, because the chute gets clogged. That’s close enough to binary for Bob, and his computer is a masterpiece.

    But Bob cannot learn anything about what’s in the Box, so he uses his giant computer to churn out answers to his questions. Data in Data out. it’s a giant box-universe-spanning quantum computer! He factors the primes! He counts to infinity! (it actually printed out the infinity sign as the answer to a recursive subroutine!)

    But people keep throwing things in the box. More and more chutes are needed, so people keep cutting more and more cardboard holes in the cardboard box and then affixing the metal chutes. Alot of people are happy being ignorant! They are so intent on putting their neighbor in the box that they forget all about them and then when they go back home, and the neighbor is there they don’t even realize it because they have severed their sensory attachment to his existance!

    Bob doesn’t know this. He just keeps plugging away. After all it’s just a box, who knows what is in there? and who cares? It’s not like anything in there is attached to anything that matters, if something goes book, then we’ll never notice. Pretty soon, there’s no box anymore but a pretzel of non-euclidian chutes. After all the people in the box hae to put things in the box, and it’s the same box for everyone! Can’t be pickers and choosers now if we don’t want to know what’s going on.

  4. I do not read replies to the livejournal feed unless I happen to notice them, which is rare (as are such replies.)

    That is why I specified “on site.” I did not want people reading it on livejournal to feel like I had requested them to comment there, only to discover that I make no reply.


  5. Seventh legend of the box

    The Committee was responsible for clearing the world of the past. The past is unhygienic, after all. And without attachment to the past, half of suffering is gone. (There was also a Cabal in charge of preempting hopes for the future. That wasn’t Committee business; bureaucratic divisions must be obeyed, even if no one now remembers how they came into being.)

    The Committee’s agents are far-flung. An exploratory party sent into some tunnels were walking through them at random – their first action having been to throw their maps away – when they came upon a robot. “What is your o-pin-ion of the Sal-on Des Ref-u-sés?” she asked them. “Rejected!” one snapped back. “That outdated trash has no contemporary meaning.” And before a dial could turn, and a laser arm could fire, they had already tossed Vicious Lily into a portable chute leading to the box.

    Another group of them found a ghoul, just getting up from falling into the tunnels through a hole from the world above. He still held part of a gravestone. “Unnecessary!” was their summary judgment. “When we have cleaned the world, those who feed on the dead will starve.” And though Tainted John’s grasp took several of their limbs with him, they finally succeeded in sending him into the box as well.

    Arriving from chutes on opposite sides of a room, Vicious Lily and Tainted John sprawled over each other as fetchingly as a robot and ghoul can sprawl. Without even getting up, Vicious Lily asked “What is your o-pin-ion of Mon-et’s Weep-ing Will-ow se-ries?” Tainted John considered. Finally he rasped out, “Don’t know. I’ve never seen them, and my eyes are full of blood.” Vicious Lily wasn’t sure what to do. “I will let you live,” she decided. “The re-mov-al of the out-side part of your eyes makes you sim-i-lar to Mon-et.”

    From that time on, they traveled through the box together. (For, of course, it is much larger on the inside than the outside.) Vicious Lily would blast down confused marauders who liked only Thomas Kinkade; Tainted John would eat the bodies, or sometimes dark M&Ms that people tossed in from outside. Their initial mutual suspicion turned into a sort of odd-couple attraction, and no wall could stand against her laser or his strength.

    One day, they were resting together in a darkened room. Or, at least, Tainted John was resting – Vicious Lily was bumping into a wall over and over while trying to walk around a corner. Tainted John felt that he could almost envision the paintings and styles that Vicious Lily had so often described. He started to draw. Finally, he called to her. When she turned, she saw, painted on the wall in bright, unmixed M&M dye blues and yellows and the red blood of strawberry shortcake, a portrait of her, holding a parasol against an open sky, about to blast with her laser arm a hatted figure in the background.

    She stared. “If rob-ots had hearts, I would love you,” she said. Tainted John grinned back as he always did. “You are the only one I could love and never break,” he rasped. “But I also have no heart.”

    They are still together, the story goes; heartless perhaps, but never wanting to be apart. Who knows what will happen to them in the box, or what their story will be? The Committee would reply that their story is ended, done; they are minor characters who broke the clean flow of continuity towards the uncluttered present. But another legend tells of someone, with orange-black wings, who will one day break open the box, and return all the ended stories and wiped-clean pasts to wonder everlasting.

    Until then, we have our rituals, uncanonical though they be. Though the Committee rots away our forgotten papers, and the Cabal files copyright suits, no story can end while fanfic continues.

  6. Some people say that the box is very old. That once upon a time, it enclosed the underworld, and within it were bound all of the unworthy things, all the filth and sickness that Uri locked away.

    And then it happened that Uri was overthrown, and Kronos ascended the throne of the world. And Kronos determined that the box should be opened; but he thought to himself, “If I open the box myself, what will happen?”

    So he traveled the earth. And near the entrance to the underworld he came upon a woman. Kronos said this to her:
    “You will descend beneath the ground. You will find a box; and you will open this box.”

    The woman quailed at the task set before her. But it was laid on her by Kronos, he who sat on the throne of the world, and there was no way in which she could refuse. So she bound up her dark hair and set forth.

    It is not written how long she journeyed, nor how she came to the box, nor what means she used to open it. But she did, and she gave the gift of freedom to all within.

    And they savaged her.

    Some of them simply took no notice of her as they rushed towards the world; took no notice of the bone-cracking force with which they trampled stone, getting out. Others…some of the others had gone without tasting pain for, well, for a long time.

    But they had also gone without seeing the sun or breathing air for a long time; and so eventually they left her, sooner than they might have.

    The woman groaned, and spat out a mouthful of clotted blood, and — carefully avoiding moving that one finger — found (to her surprise) that she was able to stand up.

    “Why…?” she said to herself. “Why was I made to open this place?” She stumbled forward. “Surely there must be some treasure within. Something to make that worth it.”

    And she entered the box, to search. To see if anything was left. She walked its whole length, and she examined every corner. But the box was empty.

    “No,” she said. “There has to be something. All those things…they’re out in the world now. There has to be a reason.” And she looked outwards, towards the world, and she said: “I promise. I promise that there is something here. I promise that something is able…at least to help.”

    And she sees something, lying in a dark corner. Was it there before? She doesn’t know.

    It’s a jacket.

    She puts it on.

  7. It is a theory, held by certain reprobate philosophers, that the box does not contain anything at all.

    Not like an ordinary empty box, you understand. An ordinary empty box, you open up, and you can find sides, a bottom and maybe a bit of dust. If you’re lucky, there will even be spiderwebs.

    If you have spiderwebs, you can’t really say a box is empty.

    But if you open the box, you won’t anything at all. Not even an inside. Just a kind of blank space in the world, that somebody built a box around.

    More sensible thinkers reject this theory entirely. Those who deign to provide an actual rebuttal explain that nature abhors a vacuum, so if the box is empty, it woud rapidly be filled by box-filling demons, or some other agent of the natural order.

    Like spiders.

    Those who espouse the theory of emptiness will usually attempt to rebut this by claiming that there is a difference between a vacuum and a place where the universe does not exist. However, by this point, sensible people have stopped paying attention.

    Another, more widely accepted theory is that the box is full of unicorns. Rather cramped unicorns, because it’s not that big a box.

    After all, it’s much easier to see how a box full of unicorns could deal with pain. The idea of transfering your pain to an empty box is repugnant to all right-thinking people.

  8. Some say (but nobody listens to them) that most of the stories about the box have a preposition problem.

    Yes, people are put through the door when the powers that be want to get rid of them, and yes, after that happens, what happens to them afterwards is irrelevant. But what actually happens is a matter of your point of view.

    The problem is, what the box contains? It’s the universe. The box only looks small because we’re on the inside. When people are put “into the box”, they’re actually being taken out of the universe — and everyone knows that what happens outside the universe doesn’t matters — didn’t really happen.

    So they say. But nobody listens to them.

  9. The Eleventh Theory of the Box
    The box contains itself, exclusively. Anything put inside the box becomes the box. (Except for sticks. The box doesn’t like those!) Nothing can ever leave the box, for wherever the box goes, there it is.

    Once, a young boy put his arm in the box. It was part of a dare.

    “Put your arm in the box!” said a bigger boy.

    “But what if it doesn’t come out?” Asked the young boy.

    “I dare you to put your arm in the box!” said the bigger boy.

    On and on the exchange went, in the familiar way, until the dare was so great that no young boy could resist it; thus, the young boy put his arm in the box.

    “Happy?” asked the young boy.

    The bigger boy give that stare that a bigger boy gives a young boy. “Nah.” he said, and he walked off.

    “Hmph.” said the young boy, who began to try and take his arm out of the box. As he pulled, the box moved with him.

    He tried pushing the box off of his arm, but it wouldn’t come off.

    He tried closing a door on the box and pulling his arm out, but the door just opened again. His arm was still in the box.

    He tried tying the box to a moving truck, but the truck driver was on break. The young boy was too impatient to wait for the break to finish.

    Finally, he tried disolving the box in sulphuric acid.

    “OUCH!” yelped the young boy. Now he knew why his parents told him not to play with sulphuric acid.

    After all of these efforts failed to work, he decided that if he couldn’t pull his arm out of the box, he’d try crawling through it. He sat the box down by the tracks, crawled through, and was never heard from again.

    Well, almost.

    It was only a matter of time before someone poked through the box with a nearby stick.

    “Ouch!” says the young boy, who isn’t so young any more. “This is getting old!” he adds, when nobody is around.

  10. Some say that the box contains all the time which we have lost. All the moments that slip out of our lives, of which we ask, “Where has the time gone?” All the days that pass by in mindless monotony. All the years spent turning in upon ourselves and forgetting our dharma.

    The time drew together, bit by bit, under its own peculiar gravity. It collapsed into a singularity, slowly gathering more and more time to itself. Anyone who stared into the gaping vortex for too long became lost in their own minds, unable to function in the world around them.

    Eventually someone had the bright idea to put a cardboard box around it.

    Nowadays, the singularity mostly draws time from people who poke it with sticks. It takes the time they’d rather do without, the time they don’t know how to use, all the times that they’re afraid to fill. It draws those times in to itself, leaving the people happier and more satisfied.

    For a while, anyway.

    The “ouch” is, of course, simple projection.

  11. The box is an aid to thought, as evidenced in the Zen story about the ten bulls. Most aren’t aware about how the box ties into this story, because, well, the sutra that describes the box’s role in it is… in the box.

    There was another box, though. One day an excited electronics consumer opened that box with an eagerness that is rarely seen, for it was a box that contained the Nintendo Wii.

    This Wii had been tranformed, however, not by its box, but by the echoes from deep inside the one true box. This Wii was to achieve its goals for it.

    So the oblivious electronics consumer began to play Wii boxing, of course not realizing that the title screen did not in fact say Wii boxing, but Wii BOXing.

    These things are easy to miss.

    As he punched his opponent once, words flew out of the polygonic figure’s head.

    1: The Search for the Bull
    In the pasture of this world, I endlessly push aside the tall grasses in search of the bull. YET IT WAS IN THE BOX.

    “Oh!” said the electronics consumer. “This must be the work of the twelfth-century figure Kakuan, in his writings about the ten bulls! But there appears to be a box-focused addendum. I shall punch more and see what other things emerge from this delightful new game!” At the next blow, indeed, the next thought surfaced.

    2: Discovering the Footprints
    Along the riverbank under the trees, I discover footprints!

    “Oh my!” said the electronics consumer, waving around his remote-like controller in wonder. “Is the box capable of motion? I must learn more!” WHAM!

    3: Perceiving the Bull
    I hear the song of the nightingale
    The sun is warm, the wind is mild, willows are green along the shore,
    Here no bull can hide!

    “This must mean…” said the electronics consumer, moving the nunchuck-like other controller up and down, “this must mean that the box creates a ‘here’ that is ‘not here!’ This may be useful! I shall make more hostile contact with my enemy!” BAM!

    4: Catching the Bull
    I seize him with a terrific struggle.
    His great will and power are inexhaustible.

    “How many bulls can fit in a box with inexhaustible capacity?” said the electronics consumer, trying not to hit the TV screen with the controller in their excitement. “I must learn more!” THANK YOU MA’AM!

    5: You know what? The box can hold FOUR. FOUR BULLS. Probably more, but you’re asking too many questions, and that’s all you’re getting. FOUR BULLS.

    “That doesn’t sound like Kakuan” said the slightly perturbed electronics consumer.

    6: Get back to boxing.

    “How do I know it is the right thing to do?” came the reply from one increasingly distraught electronics consumer.

    7-10: OUCH.

    At that moment, the electronics consumer was enlightened.

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