Asbestos Head Chapter 1 - How to Write Original Music

Asbestos Head
-How to Write Original Music-

God is the infinite existence or causal creation of all matter.

Asbestos Head is a finite congregation of super-specialized matter capable of creativity and rationale, through which he deduces that God is the infinite existence or causal creation of all matter.

Asbestos Head’s read Hoyle and Hawking and one of them is right; either everything that is has always existed or came into existence at some point in time.  One disjunct is true but Asbestos is unsure which because he himself is merely a semi-mobile subjective perception unit incapable of knowing objective truth or comprehending infinity.

What he does know is consciousness of God’s existence is contingent upon such congregations of matter, as is matter’s physical existence contingent upon God.  Therefore either God is causal, singular and separate - an outside entity somehow responsible for His own existence, the creation of the universe, and the creation of other beings to recognize Him, or existence is non-causal, plural, parts and whole of all that is with nothing outside Us because We’re all infinite self-reflexive pieces of God interacting, changing, acting out eternity.

Asbestos’ best guess is God is non-causal and thinks once Ockham’s razor slits the wrists of an unmoved mover We’ll all be left moving alone together forever, for without God, Asbestos is condemned to Godel’s incompleteness and without Asbestos, God is the silent sound of trees falling in solipsist forests.

Asbestos is very concerned about religion so he tries attending the local God’s Anonymous meetings every week where every weak soul sits in rows, mouth closed, listening to some guy’s interpretation of twelve guy’s interpretations of some guy’s metaphorical teachings from two thousand years ago.  He finds this as useful as a hole in the head only more damaging to his brain, so he starts studying theology, philosophy, and the history of metaphysics for himself and finds that it’s this manner of introspection, this questioning of the unanswerable that expands his spiritual awareness and fills him with what some call God’s love, some call peace of mind, and others call crawling from the allegorical cave and seeing the light.

For him the light manifests as a series of realizations regarding the nature of knowledge.  Mainly that he knows nothing, and neither does anyone else; including priests, mathematicians, scientists, and all other people using God, Numbers or Formulas to magically boost their ideas from subjective interpretations to Objective Truths. 

Asbestos decides it’s his spiritual responsibility to study the thoughts and beliefs of everyone around him and throughout recorded history, because arbitrarily choosing a church or simply inheriting religion is lazy, limiting, and inconsiderate.  It’s lazy because you leave spirituality up to genetics or geography.  It’s limiting because you loose faith in anything outside your pre-packaged box of beliefs.  And it’s inconsiderate because by choosing any exclusive religion you make the decision that all others are wrong.

Even members of the few religions that encourage open practice of other religions are bound to their group identity like poster-children, constantly defending the individuality in their collective faith.  But that’s like bragging how modest you are.  If you wish a collective relationship with some group’s conception of God, go find the next Holy place, read it’s Holy text, perform some Holy rituals then go home alone feeling like Holy shit, spitting out someone else’s existential excrement.  If you wish a personal relationship with God, there’s no religion to follow, no group to join, and no book to read.  There’s nothing to do but wander the world ever wondering why, and never decide.

Ultimately, any system that gives answers to metaphysical questions is suspect because it grants Truth to things We can’t know through experience.  A more educated approach to the unknown is utter agnostic apostasy: accept you don’t know and couldn’t even know you’re right if you knew it.  Spiritual questioning is best left unanswered and simply explored throughout Our lives as We all exist in the mystery.


After twelve weeks of God’s Anonymous meetings, the pastor doth spaketh with Asbestos:

Have you accepted the lord as your savior, my son?”

“No.  Dad.  I don’t understand how he saved me from anything.”

“He died for your sins.”

“I thought he was publicly beaten then executed for claiming to be related to God.” 

Every head in the congregation simultaneously spins about-face.  Every iris dilates and fixates on Asbestos.

Or, that’s one way to look at it.  Your opinion is God creates humans free and pure, but the first people wreck that condemning everyone thereafter to original sin.  God waits thousands of years then decides to remedy the problem by manifesting some celestial sperm and shooting it into a virgin peasant who immaculately conceives his human son.  God’s son gains a small cult following and is ultimately tortured to death for blasphemy.  Then attributing this divine irony to pre-planned martyrdom, his execution is expressed in this book as God’s gift to humanity.  If We believe his book, all Our evils are forgiven and We’re assured afterlife in heaven.  If We don’t believe his book, We’re damned to eternal hellfire.”

“That’s correct, my son.”

Asbestos fakes a nervous smile and backs toward the door.  Hundreds of heads behind pews stare with sad eyes and upside-down frowns.  Then as if possessed by an attention-starved ego, one of them jumps up and screams “Halla Hoola Jesus!” Asbestos seizes the opportunity and runs away as fast as he can.


He immediately becomes suspicious of all large groups of people united under one name - each their own little niche community with mini-hierarchies and questionable agendas.  Such group identities are dangerous because they claim to represent everyone, but at best represent a majority whose power fallaciously includes that of its dissenters.  And when group irresponsibility results in disaster those mini-hierarchies disperse into democracy.  His suspicion extends from religion to all systems of government, countries and militaries under the haze of patriotism, police, school boards, corporations, pro-this and anti-that groups.

He also becomes suspicious of his senses because spirituality and his sense of self lay beyond them.  You see his senses are selfish so he spends all his time appeasing their wishes.  Everything he thinks comes from his senses and most everything he senses comes from everything he isn’t.  But at some point he came from some of the something he wasn’t and became everything he is, so somehow everything he isn’t is inextricably linked to everything Asbestos is, including his selfish senses.  This makes him think there’s something selfless beyond his sense of self and he calls it love.  But he so loves love that sometimes he thinks that’s selfish too.  Luckily it turns out everyone else loves love as well, so if he’s ever to transcend his selfish senses, that’s his best guess how.

These and other suspicions lead him to the library where he learns to speed-read. It turns out the human brain can process one hundred thousand words a minute but most people settle for under a thousand because a silent voice in their heads repeats every word it sees.  The trick is to eliminate the voice by scanning text too fast for individual words to stick; Widen your eyes, scan without focus forth and back down the page, then take chunks of meaning from your periphery and make a mental motion picture.  With practice, Asbestos’s quest for knowledge carries him from a page a minute, to a page a second, to finishing books as fast as he can physically flip.

Reading random books by various writers taken out of their chronology feels muddled and impersonal so Asbestos quickly stops reading books and starts reading Authors, reading everything they’ve ever written in the order they wrote it.  Approaching literature this way, he discovers secrets lurking behind the Authors words, between the bindings, the white space encompassing everything unwritten, an evolution of meta-expressions which collectively follow Author’s life-long creative struggles through the human condition.  He devours wisdom from language, learns things he’d always wondered, is given new ideas to ponder, and sometimes he’s so inspired by combinations of words he weeps.  The wisdom and insight We’ve collected impresses Asbestos and he feels blessed.

Asbestos decides the library is his church. All its texts are holy and worthy of worship. Its eloquent architecture is awe-inspiring.  He feels a strong sense of communion with everyone in the building - hundreds of life’s parishioners seeking answers, entertainment, and each other.  Coming together, honoring the Authors by reading them, then creating their own holy rituals to revere them: some taking their wisdom and passing it on in dinner discussions, others writing in their own ideas and continuing the scriptures.  Asbestos remains suspicious of rituals and his senses but can’t seem to escape either, and they keep bringing him back to the library.  So he appeases his selfish wishes six days a week, but on Sundays he fasts.  He doesn’t speak, read or write a thing, most of the day he meditates and tries not to think a thing, but at some point he goes out and finds nice things to do for other people.  And whatever it is, he makes sure they can’t find out who did it, so everyone’s left looking around wondering which of these nice people blessed my life today?

He leaves food and blankets with sleeping alley dwellers, sends flowers to people he secretly admires, cleans public bathrooms, picks trash from parks, pays ahead into vending machines and video games.  He leaves flowers, books, or baskets of goodies on doorsteps.  In the winter when it’s too wet to leave them outside he even wraps his presents, climbs on roofs, and delivers them down chimneys.  He keeps lists of good people that grace his life and bad people who need grace in theirs, then rewards them all equally.

Buying gifts and leaving little goodies everywhere is nice, but a penny for every pauper soon leaves Asbestos with nothing but a mysterious freedom and the realization that philanthropy is a virtue he can no longer afford. Giving away presents, possessions and consumable products brings temporary smiles to people's faces, but beneath the smiles, the white spaces on people's faces, their background expressions that rarely change, it is this that Asbestos finds access to through the Authors.  So Asbestos begins to listen like he reads.  Between and behind words he hears people’s secret prayers and confessions.  He momentarily bears the burden of other’s suffering so he can cure it.  He takes their problems and makes them his own to see what would he do.  Then he offers advice in light of the wisdom shown to him by the Authors. Sometimes he even performs miracles.  He teaches the blind to see by bringing them to Braille of the Holy library.  He teaches the deaf to hear through languages of lips and hand signs.  He reads the same medical books as the best doctors and miraculously heals the sick. 


In an attempt to express himself, Asbestos decides to take his knowledge of the Authors and write a book of his own.  He wants to fill it full of facts and philosophy, thinks it ought to be presented as poetry with long lines, internal rhyme and alliteration and assonance and repetition, an unyielding stream of phonemes filtered through metaphor and poured over jagged stones of denotation, until like silt or a simile or complex hendiadys gather into connotative pools of meaning, leaving the reader unable to speed-read or think-straight because their head’s silent voice would rather just sit back and practice linguistic gymnastics until the end of the sentence.  Unfortunately his writing ability is below average, so he reads a poorly written book on how to write well called, Do as I Say, Not as I Do.  The author acknowledges his inability to create an interesting tutorial on how to write interesting work, but still proceeds with the paradoxical project.  He admits the book’s format tedious, the text dull and unimaginative, but insists the consequent knowledge gained from struggling through will give any reader the tools necessary to write an original masterpiece.  Asbestos thinks the book’s worse than good and better than bad but isn’t satisfied with saying so - So he doesn’t.

All other books about books don’t help either so Asbestos tries to express himself another way: First he teaches himself to read music then plays on the library pianos.  He studies music history, theory, composition, and jazz from the masters, practices chords and fingerings, methodically memorizes classical masterpieces until they flow from his fingers like musical messages from the dead.  For months he’s moved and inspired by the passion of past players, then one day he loses interest in other’s music and never plays another written note.  Instead he devotes himself to the music of his moments, composing angry apocalyptic cacophonies, lonely harmonious nocturnes, excited melodic vibrato arias, whatever else comes naturally at that moment and never again plays the same thing twice.  Each night on the third floor he composes impromptu moonlit serenades that flow from his fingers without a thought like musical messages from the soul.

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