Advice King

Comedian, musician, host of Chris Crofton's Advice King Podcast and former Nashvillian Chris Crofton asked the Scene for an advice column, so we gave him one. Crowning himself the “Advice King,” Crofton will share his hard-won wisdom with whosoever seeks it. Follow Crofton on Facebook and Twitter, and to submit a question for the Advice King, email bestofbread[at]gmail[dot]com or editor[at]nashvillescene[dot]com.

Dear Advice King,

I once considered myself a spiritual person. But now I suspect the universe is just a dead, empty void, and that I used “spirituality" to mask my anger, fear and anxiety about it. What do you think? Was I deluding myself or not? Please enlighten me!

—Disillusioned in Albuquerque, N.M.


The universe is not a dead, empty void. Crony capitalism just makes it feel that way. Gas molecules are in a better mood than us at the moment, simply because they don’t have to hear about Elon Musk. Pursuit of wealth can suck the spirituality out of whole civilizations. And it has. Over and over. And when the spirituality goes, everything else follows close behind. Existence without spirituality is … hand-to-hand combat.

Don’t get me wrong, “Disillusioned in Albuquerque” — I’m not talking about religion. Religion is a construct of man, and is susceptible to corruption. Christianity is a good example. Jesus Christ helped the poor, and lived among them. Now, 2000 years after Jesus’ death, Christian pastors own private jets and preach a “prosperity gospel.” Religions will come, and religions will go. Spirituality remains. 

When I talk about “spirituality,” I’m talking about love. I’m talking about “the better angels of our nature.” I’m talking about “the social contract.” I’m talking about morality. There are many ways to describe it.

I’m talking about conscience.

Conscience is why you help someone up when they’ve fallen. Conscience is why you give half of your sandwich to someone who is hungry. Conscience is the reason you don’t hit your neighbor with a chair and steal their poodle. It’s magic! It doesn’t make sense! Picking someone up who has fallen could make you late for work, which could cost you a promotion — but you do it anyway. You could have had a whole sandwich! You could have hundreds of poodles! Conscience is what makes the universe more than a violent free-for-all. In an empty universe, our conscience would seem to be an aberration — an aberration that serves a distinct, seemingly counterproductive purpose. 

Hmmmm. A distinct, seemingly counterproductive, LOVELY aberration. Sounds … spiritual!

Capitalism does not like spirituality. It gets in the way of profits. Capitalists have created an amoral space for themselves. A ruthless space they have labeled “business.” A place where conscience is reframed as weakness. “Economics” is the pseudo-religion of capitalism, with the “free market” posing as its supposedly benevolent god. Well, in 2008, “god” bailed out the pastors and foreclosed on the congregation. 

[Author’s note: The following text is the result of drinking coffee at 2 a.m., and coffee is solely responsible for its content.]

I can guarantee you that even black holes are more forgiving than late capitalism. And supernovas love you more than the Supreme Court. 

Don’t despair, we are stardust.

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