it is not so much that hell is other people. it's that other people have so formed your idea of hell that some of them slip into it. hell needs a cast of characters. or does it? alone in hell with your pain forever, and the fire and gnashing of - what else? - teeth! (the gnashing of gums doesn't really cause me to rend my garment). but you're only alone in a relative sense. someone has to know you're in hell, and that's why we have the rest of us. someone had to come up with this horrid, scary and cartoonish scenario... but who? other people. other people have provided you with this thought of hell, and then put you in it. you are there, as opposed to them (heaven, of course, is the inverse of this overpopulated cosmopoly: the others are there because you are not.)
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what do the other people want with you? i only understand a bit of it, but it seems that they either want to have sex with you, or they want to use you as a psychological springboard to make them feel better - and here we again see that relativity cropping up - about themselves. (there are aberrations - in some cases they simply want to eat you, or use your skin to patch that pesky part of the yurt where the wind whips in - but we'll get back to these in chapter 7, "naked honesty").
what we can be sure of, and it is perhaps the only thing we can be sure of in this uncertain world (which is an illusion, see chapter 4, "life is an illusion"), is that the other people are you. and so we must watch what we say because we don't want to step on too many toes. the other people are a bit snippy about that, as they are about a number of things that the "I", meaning me, would find to be what the brits call "not on". unfortunately, the brits as a group fall into the "other people" category. but belonging is false; it is the domain of others.
you (and i am using the editorial "you" here, meaning me) are soveriegn unto ourselves. or self, as it were. life is fleet-footed and dumb as a gazelle with a dart in its hindquarters: all of life occurs in the ten seconds between the dart hitting the muscle in the arc of her final leap and the creature slowing, stopping and tipping over. enter the lioness and her famished pups.
please flip to the workbook section and, in the time allotted, write an essay in 400 pages or less explaining why you are a: going to die, with nothing, and for no good reason that you can think of; and b: why you think the proctor is still watching you. (william t. vollman, having filled out form 266b, may write 4000 pages on this same topic). you may begin now.
or later. or tomorrow or next april; it hardly matters. see chaper 7