Universations

ÖOVERHEARD IN THE UNIVERSE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volume One

 

 

 

 

 

S.M. Newman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2012 by S.M. Newman


All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

 

Printed in the United States of America

 

First Printing, 2012

 

Published by:

S.M. Newman
Gilbert, South Carolina

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the authorís imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. 

 

Send comments to: universations@gmail.com


 

INTRODUCTION

 

By Tom Kinsey

 

A guy walks into a cafe where youíre having coffee with friends. He strides purposefully to your table, abruptly stops, and declares, ďTo err is human; to forgive, divine.Ē  Then, he stands there silently. Even if you recognize that the line is a famous one from Alexander Pope, do you sit there reverently, awaiting the next Great Quotation, or do you engage the guy in a bit of conversation? I think Iíd chime in with something like, ďLooks like the error is yours, Buddy, but if you buy the next cup of java, all is forgiven.Ē

 

Iíve had thoughts like that while reading from Bartlettís Familiar Quotations and similar books.  The words may be interesting, even profound, but if they were also relevant to their culture, shouldnít they have inspired responses from others? Were they originally meant to stand alone, untainted (and untested) by interactions with other human thoughts and expressions or were they part of a more extended conversation?

 

In Universations: Overheard in the Universe, S.M. Newman provides just that type of thought exchange. Statements that sound like they could have come from Bartlettís are expanded by questions and comments you might hear in a coffee shop or read on a website Comments page.

 

My guess is that Shakespeare worked his way through a few drafts before settling on ďTo be, or not to be,Ē and that he tried each version out on his friends and theatrical colleagues. Why wouldnít he?  He didnít know he was The Bard of Avon at the time; he was just trying to write a play people would pay to see.  If he hadnít been exceptionally curious and observant about how people perceive language, he wouldnít have done such a great job. Itís likely he asked several people how they heard his words, and then responded to what they had to say.

 

S.M. Newman seems to understand that thoughts and language never stand alone.  If the words are uttered in a tongue only the speaker understands, theyíre never understood or repeated. If they are widely understood, however, there will be many interpretations and responses.

 

At least, thatís my take on Universations: Overheard in the Universe. I do not, however, presume to know exactly where S.M. Newman came up with the conversations in this book. ďOverheard in the universe,Ē sure, Iíll buy that. The universe is a big place, though, and I donít think Iíve encountered the particular voices S.M. Newman has been overhearing. ButÖI have my own ideas about what they were trying to say. You will as well, and you will find yourself adding your own words to the conversations. Thatís the way words and ideas work when theyíre good ones. S.M. Newman has come up with a quality collection. Get ready for an eventful communications experience.


 

 

 

 

1

I walk on water, I heal the sick, I turn water into wine, and I do it all for nothing.  Yet, I donít feel appreciated by the powers that be.


They feel threatened by you.


But Iím harmless. As you know, one of my favorite metaphors of myself is the one of the shepherd leading the sheep. Thatís benign enough, donít you think?


Itís the leadership angle that bothers them. Perhaps you need some new metaphors.


Any suggestions?


Nothing comes immediately to mind, but playing down the leadership bit canít hurt you. Remember, a dead leader doesnít do us any good.


 

 

2

If Napoleon canít do it, who can?

 

Wellington?


 

 

3

The atomic bomb is an indicator of our superior intellect.

Are there any other indicators?

Of course. Pro wrestling for one and for another, satellites sent to Mars.

Is there a chance one day weíll leave the solar system?

It all depends.

On what?

The superiority of our intellect.


 

 

4

Iím thinking revolution, armed uprising, power to the people, that sort of thing.

I donít know. You strike me as too mellow a fellow to initiate that level of violent action.

Well, what about that time at the temple?

The exception that proves the ruler.


 

 

5

Have you ever thought about inevitability?

Sure, who hasnít. But whatís your point?

Simply this. Do you think it inevitable that some poor Asian woman by the name of Sunflower be born in a small village in the winter of 1967?

No.

Do you think that your birth was inevitable? Can you conceive of not existing?

I see your point.


 

 

6

 

The fire is out. Itís time we hit that dusty road. The stars will be our guide.

How far is the city on the hill?

Farther than the eye can see. But we can make it though the dust will be thick and the wind will blow strong and the rain will not fall.

Poetic license?

Yes, but is license not liberty?


 

 

7

 

Will the legend grow after I die?

It will multiply and devour the truth.

Who will separate fact from fiction?

Not the wise, not the strong, not the great.

Children will eat the morsels and their fathers and mothers will starve surrounded by meat.

Who will live above the clouds?

The ones who hide behind the rocks.


 

 

8

 

The battle is not yet lost, but neither is it won.

The greatest battle is within.

But we live outside ourselves and what we are is reflected in the eyes of others.

But weíre not who we think we are.

Does it matter?

Yes and no. What others think we are is merely what we were. A snapshot in the mind is not the reality. We are what we will become.


 

 

9

 

When I walk upon earth I am walking beneath heaven. Heaven is the silence above me. When I travel to heaven my mode of transportation will be simple. I will walk there. The pull of the earth will push me toward heaven.

Will you return someday?

Only in dreams.


 

 

10

 

The emperor lives one day at a time.

Isnít he worried about the decline and fall?

I think heís more concerned about his lack of proper wardrobe.

He doesnít seem to be very bright.

But his advisor does.

Yes, that is one bright guy.

Will he become emperor one day?

Heís too smart for that.


 

 

11

 

What brings you here? A little bit out of the way, isnít it?

I needed a break from the routine. Too much dust, too much heat, too much sun.

Howís your storytelling going?

Nobody understands them.

Theyíre not suppose to.

I know, but it might be nice every once in a while to see someoneís eyes light up with understanding.

Too soon for that.  Meanwhile, since youíre here anyway, why not stay and have dinner with us?

Great idea. Say, did you hear the oneÖ


 

 

12

 

The wine last night didnít have its usual afterglow.

You mean you got indigestion? That was probably the stale bread.

The fish was not particularly flavorful either.

An army marches on its stomach.

I thought we were giving up that war talk.

I am, but sometimes I get nostalgic.

What for?

The morning dew on the grass and trees.


 

 

13

 

The situation speaks for itself.

We canít blame the circumstances.

Then whom do we blame?

No one.

Can you blame the impersonal forces of nature?

You can, but what good will it do you?

Are we always searching for good?

Yes, but we have different definitions of what is good.


 

 

14

 

How do you balance the slippery slope of freedom with the iron chain of law?

The law is malleable. Some aspects are more enduring than others, but none of it is permanent. But in the absence of freedom, itís all youíve got.

Speaking of freedomÖ

Thereís freedom in context. Along the way, if you look closely, there is no freedom. But in the end there is total freedom.

The balance?

There is none. The world shakes and falters, lives, dies, and is reborn a thousand times. It all matters because it canít be changed. It has to be that way.

Can you prove that?

Of course not.


 

 

15

 

Language is a barrier to understanding.

You mean a foreign language?

No, any language. Did you ever have a dream that you didnít remember, but did remember?

Youíve lost me.

You remembered a dream, but not the details.

Yes.

The details were language, the dream was God.


 

 

16

 

Have you ever thought about naming a dog?

Iíve named a few.

What gives us the right to name a dog?

Because he canít name himself?

Maybe he doesnít need a name. Maybe we need it and maybe we need one for ourselves.


 

 

17

 

How long has it been?

Almost twenty-two years.

Did you know him personally?

Never met the guy.

Did you know someone else who knew him?

Several.

Is that what you base your knowledge of him on?

No, I make it up as I go.


 

 

18

 

Have you seen any good movies lately?

Thereís no such thing.

Come now. Surely your pessimism is not that cosmic in scope.

My pessimism knows no limits.

Not a bad idea, really.

Yes?

Contemplate your navel. Invest in the stock market. Sail across the ocean. Pull for the Cincinnati Bengals.

And then?

There is no then, there is only now.


 

 

19

 

We keep building this highway. Surely there is an end to it.

There is no end. It is a road to tomorrow.

Who will travel upon it?

The inhabitants of Fort Worth.

No one else?

It is built for only those who are worthy of it.

A play on words?

As you wish.


 

 

20

 

Have you ever seen snow?

Only on the top of a mountain.

How close did you get?

I stood upon the top, knee deep in the snow.

Why did you come down?

The air was thin and I had trouble breathing.

Are you doing better now?

Yes and no. I sleep better but my appetite is less.


 

 

21

 

You described heaven as the silence above. Is God also silent?

All ears are deaf to him, all minds are blank.

How do we make contact?

I donít know.

Where does that leave us?

It leaves us at the beginning.


 

 

22

 

Sing praises.

To what?

To squash and to wheat, to milk and to butter, to strawberries and to beer.

Do we also celebrate?

There is nothing to celebrate. Celebrate only when the house is finished and is ready for habitation.


 

 

23

 

People are starving in the streets.

They are also starving in their mansions.

Where is happiness?

Somewhere buried beneath the ocean.

Can we bring it to the surface?

No, it would evaporate.


 

 

24

 

The Ďseek and you shall findí speech seemed curiously incomplete. How would you relate it to a post modern audience?

The best example I can think of is the search for free air. Seems ridiculous but many places are actually charging for air.

It does cost a little bit to run the electric pump.

Yes, but whatever happened to good service? Itís important to me that I keep my tires at 32 PSI.

But once you find it, is that the end?

Itís only the beginning.


 

 

25

 

Who lives?

Who dies?

Who decides?


 

 

26

 

Whatís your favorite commandment?

None of them. Theyíre all out of date.

Huh?

Theyíre too ambiguous, too wordy, e.g., Ďthou shall not killí. Nowadays there is a debate about the meaning of a simple word like shall. If you donít even know what shall means, how can we understand the commandments themselves?

What do we do?

Talk about love. It already defies definition so itís the perfect word for the age.


 

 

27

 

Some called you a great magician. Were you?

I didnít use traditional magic.

Did you suspend the laws of the universe?

No, I exploited them.

Can you walk through walls?

Only when Iím late for supper.


 

 

28

 

You donít talk much about the fires of Hell.

I try to be positive as much as possible. I like to think my message is one of moderation and amelioration.

But donít some people need fear as a motivating factor?

If they do, theyíre not my kind of people.

Thatís not a very inclusive remark.

On the contrary, Iím all inclusive.


 

 

29

 

Is the prodigal son a type of everyman?

Let me answer your question with a question. Can you go home again?

I suppose so.

What if home is no longer there?

Keep searching?

You build a new home.


 

 

30

 

Whatís a normal life span?

Three score and ten.

What constitutes a life?

A beginning and an end.

How do you a measure a life?

Arbitrary distinctions.

When do you do more good Ė while living or while dead?

Thatís easy. While dead; one bad deed cancels out a thousand good deeds.


 

 

31

 

What is The Way?

The Way is Route 66.

I agree, especially around Lubbock.

What is The Day?

You mean, The Day the Music Died? So along The Way you can find The Day.

Youíll be blessed.


 

 

32

 

How about that time in the desert when you went forty days and forty nights without food and water?

I saw visions.

What did you see?

I saw London in the late eighteenth century.

What was it like?

There were cobblestones, chimney workers and horse drawn carriages. The streets were dark and thieves lurked in dark corners.

Where was Jerusalem?

Beneath London.


 

 

33

 

Who reckons time?

The maker of time.

How long is time?

As long as necessary.

Who sees the future?

No one.

How do you know the future?

Like an architect, I draw the plans and employ others to carry them out. Thus is the future.


34

 

Who were the wise men?

Men of knowledge and understanding.

But they followed a star.

No, they didnít.

ButÖ

They followed the light.


 

 

35

 

Why so much emphasis on forgiveness?

It was a placebo.

Really?

The cure had not yet been discovered.

Is the cure now found?

Partially.

Will the world experience this cure?

It must first realize the illness.


 

 

 

36

 

Did you ever find yourself at a loss for words?

Occasionally.

What did you do?

Thatís when I performed miracles.

Actions spoke louder than words.

Yes, sad to say. I always preferred keeping things on an intellectual level, but after twenty minutes they would get bored.


 

 

37

 

Whatís left?

Nothing. Everything is gone.

Do we start over?

I havenít decided.


38

What is impossible?

I canít answer that question.

What is improbable?

Existence.

Then why are we so matter of fact about it?

Because of our fondness for certainty.


 

 

39

 

Innocent children die.

That is true.

Do you have an explanation?

It all seems to be a matter of chance.

That doesnít seem fair.

If you donít like my answer, then think of a better one.


 

 

40

 

Why was Saul blinded?

So he could see.


 

 

41

 

I hear you were born on a cold and rainy day.

Werenít we all?


 

 

42

 

Solomon was wise?

Beyond his years.

What about all the women?

He was experimenting.

What was he testing?

The value of the scientific method.


 

 

43

 

Where does one begin?

One begins with two.


 

 

44

 

How do you explain evil?

I canít explain it but I do accept it.

Is evil necessary?

Is good necessary?

Life wouldnít be worth living without good.

Neither would it without evil.


 

 

45

 

Why do we feel guilty for something we didnít do?

But you did do it.

But I donít rememberÖ

You do remember or you wouldnít feel guilt.


 

 

46

 

Can I trust my own mind?

At two levels.

What are they?

One of release and one of surrender.


 

 

47

 

Itís getting cold.

The desert is like that. It leaks heat as the sun goes down.

River valleys are better suited to the demands of civilization.

But thereís only so much room in the RVís.

The desert is for outcasts.

How long do we stay in the desert?

As long as there are outcasts.


 

 

48

 

What do you do when someone has lost their way?

I let them continue.

Wonít they get even more lost?

Being lost isnít a matter of degree. Itís more like an opportunity.

An opportunity for what?

An opportunity to be found.


 

 

49

 

What compels one to create?

A desire to be alone.

What do you mean?

To create is to make something new, something different.

 

The act of creation separates.

Why do we wish to separate ourselves?

To become as God.


 

 

50

 

Was Buddha a friend of yours?

I knew Buddha.

But was he a friend?

Buddha had no friends.

Do you have friends?

All my friends are not yet born.


 

 

51

 

Do you feel deprived because you do not eat the meat of a pig?

Of course.

Shellfish?

Of course.

Will it continue?

All things must end.


 

 

52

 

Do all deserve mercy?

No one deserves anything.

The sweat of the brow?

Good exercise. It has its own reward.

Should we claim something that is not ours?

We claim it once it is given to us. If the weather is bad, we get a rain ticket.


 

 

53

 

What do you do with a hypocrite?

You expose them for what they are.

What about their feelings?

Their feelings are false too.

Is everyone a hypocrite?

Almost.


 

54

 

Why donít you frequent the literary scene?

I have no time for naysayers.

Have you read any good books lately?

A few.

Did they teach you anything?

No, but then I wasnít looking to learn, only a way to pass the time.


 

 

55

 

Where is he?

I donít know. He was here just a moment ago.

He does that a lot.

Does what?

Disappears.


 

 

56

 

Where does thinking lead?

It leads to the cosmos.

Is there a universal mind?

Each mind is unique.

What binds us together?

A shared history.

The longer we are here the more history there is to share.

Isnít sharing fun?


 

 

57

 

How do you satisfy hunger?

With water.

Where does this water come from?

From the ground.

Where do we come from?

From the ground.


 

 

58

 

Do you enjoy traveling on smooth roads?

Only when Iím sleeping.


 

 

59

 

What role does music play in your life?

I do not understand music.

Yet you sing.

You call that singing?


 

 

60

 

Numbers seem to be limitless.

Yes, and eternity is stored in a jar.

Do we believe the press reports?

We trust both the spoken and written word.

What if errors creep in?

They too are part of eternity.


 

 

61

 

Are utopian visions dangerous?

Only when they are unrealistic.

How do you define unrealistic?

Utopian.


 

 

62

 

Where do people live?

They live in structures made of various materials.

What materials are best?

Intangible ones.


 

 

63

 

Do you think heíll ever stop drinking?

No, alcohol to him is like water to us.

Will drinking kill him?

In time.

Is there nothing we can do?

We cannot do what needs to be done. Anyway, itís none of our business.


 

 

 

64

 

Are there too many people?

Are there too many stars?

Stars have more room; they have what appears to be a great emptiness between them.

So do people.


 

 

65

 

Whom should we look up to?

The brave.

Whom should we follow?

The smart.


 

 

66

 

Our feet are dirty because we wear sandals and our streets are made of sand. Our hands are clean because we do no work.


 

 

 

67

 

Do you believe that one day you will be saved?

I do.

What of those who do not believe this?

They will be challenged in their non-belief.

Will the light shine from heaven?

It will shine toward heaven.


 

 

68

 

The meek shall inherit the earth?

Isnít it obvious?

Well, no. Power tends to gravitate to those who are strong.

But they grow weary of it.

And the meek?

Theyíre use to being weary.


 

 

69

 

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Blessed are the janitors too.


 

 

 

70

 

What defines restlessness?

Purpose.

Is there an end to restlessness?

Can purpose have an end?

I suppose so when you consider that purpose has a goal and the goal represents an end.

What is the goal of restlessness?

Rest.


 

 

71

 

Why would a man destroy himself?

There are many reasons and there is one reason.

Please explain.

The many reasons are the obvious ones; the one reason is the secret one. If the many are obvious then you should know them; if the one is secret it must be whispered to you.


 

 

72

 

Have you ever thought about doing a radio talk show?

Who would do the talking?

You and the callers-in.

What would we talk about?

The state of the nation.

Would we try to change things?

No, youíd just talk.


 

 

73

 

Why donít you drink milk?

Itís not satisfying.


 

 

74

 

People seem concerned about their future. Youíve always been more of one day at a time kind of guy.

I live in the past.


 

 

 

75

 

You left for Egypt when famine struck. What of the ones you left behind?

They were invited to come along. They refused. They did not believe the famine would be too severe and by the time they realized it, it was too late to leave.

Did you think of them?

I think of all Godís creatures. I wish them no harm.

What did you think of the pyramids?

Like another famine, but a famine of the spirit, where ideas are fossilized.

But thereís nothing new under the sun.

Maybe nothing is but there can be.


 

 

76

 

Do grasshoppers fly?

They hop.


 

 

77

 

Can there be both freedom and peace?

No, as long as people use their freedom to think.


 

 

78

 

Has the Great American Novel been written?

It canít be until America is no longer America.

It shouldnít be too long.


 

 

79

 

What is mankindís greatest invention?

The ability to aggrandize itself.

It also has a knack for self-flagellation.

But that is apt.


 

 

80

You donít speak much about self-deception.

Because it is a rarity. Most people know exactly who they are and what they are doing.

The problem is they canít change even if they want to.


 

 

81

 

Can you be a victim of fate?

If an ant is a victim of fate when you step on it, then I suppose so.


 

 

82

 

What are we hiding?

Suppressed desires.

Are they good or bad?

They are our good ones.


 

 

83

 

If you could change something, what would it be?

I would change nothing.

Surely there are things you donít agree with or would like to see gone.

My opinion doesnít count. Once it did, but now itís too late.


 

 

84

 

I can remember the time when it didnít rain but water came up from the earth. There was dust, but it was light, and the air was soft. There were no seasons and people did not live in fear.

What happened?

Some wanted for themselves what others had. To get what they wanted they turned to violence. They discovered a taste for blood.

Why didnít someone put a stop to it?

You might as well have tried to stop day changing into night. But to live is to try. So the people got what they wanted. Blood. Only too often it was their own.


 

 

85

 

Twilight.

In between the darkness and the light.

Who sees us?

We are watched by celestial consorts.

What do they see?

They see us stumbling, falling into the night.


 

 

86

 

Why would anyone leave so comfortable a place?

To follow orders.

But to interrupt a vacation?

One day you will be ordered to leave. Will you disobey?

No.


 

 

87

 

How can you be disappointed when youíve always expected the worst?

But when you pay this much for a steak you expect it to be tender.

You mistakenly equate price with quality.

Shouldnít things of higher price be of greater quality?

Sometimes the cost is too high and the price is too dear for the results. Sometimes we die in vain.


 

 

88

 

Our loneliness comes from under-utilizing our minds.

If we were willing to create and play mental games we would never be lonely.


 

 

89

 

Those who live by the ocean are in danger of hurricanes.

But they can see the storms coming and can flee.

Some do not flee. They believe they are strong enough to withstand the fury of the storms.


 

 

90

 

We worry about where we came from and how we got here. We think about where weíre going. What about today? Is today not worthy of our attention? Eternity is simply living one moment and then another. If this moment is not worth living, why should the next one be? Right now, this very instant, you contain all worlds. Revel in your kingdom. It belongs to you.


 

 

91

 

Where were you a billion years ago?

In a different neighborhood.

What were you doing?

Oh, the usual things: drinking beer, raking the yard, watching pro football on TV.

Did a comet pass nearby?

It did! How did you know?

Lucky guess. I once rode a comet and it came close to your old neighborhood but that was only 500 million years ago.


 

 

92

 

Do we have to go?

Yes, they are expecting us.

But theyíre not very friendly. In fact, theyíre downright mean.

Just ignore their hostility. Let it bounce off of you like good ideas.


 

 

93

 

What day is it?

Itís the day we start over.

How many of us are involved?

We number the sands of the sea.

Not too many, eh?

No, but what we lack in numbers, we make up for in spontaneity.


 

 

94

 

Who will rebuild the temple?

There is no need to rebuild it.

But it lies in ruins.

Each man is his own temple, each woman is her own. All lie in ruins. First, rebuild the man and woman, then the temple.


 

 

95

 

Why is it so hard to understand?

Because you do not wish to understand.

But I try.

You try but it is for the wrong reasons.


 

 

96

 

The singer is from the North Country.

He sounds troubled.

Thatís just the way his voice sounds. Heís really very happy. He just doesnít know it.


 

 

97

 

What do you do if youíve lost something and you didnít realize you wanted it until it was gone?

You do something positive like working on your syntax.


 

 

98

 

Donít you think turning water into wine promotes drinking?

No, it promotes the finding of better water supplies.


 

 

99

 

So Nero was fiddliní while Rome burned?

Actually he was performing a Greek ballet called ĎGods of the Banquet Tableí.

Tacitus doesnít remember it that way.

Well, Seneca ought to know. He was there after all. Tacitus was writing 25 years after the fact. Also, he didnít agree with Neroís politics.

Nero had no politics other than peace at any cost with the Parthians and Druids. He didnít like to kill unless it was a member of his own family.

He was somewhat depraved.

For the times he was almost normal.

So Rome burned?

They rebuilt it. Nero, though, was beyond repair.


 

 

100

 

This world we see is one of melancholy.

The poets are glad because it is such a place.


 

 

101

 

If God were to come down to earth, what would he look like?

He would look the same as where he came from.

Has he come down to earth before?

He came down once but no one recognized him.


 

102

 

Do you think there is a cosmic computer programming the universe?

Could be.


 

 

103

 

Why donít you eat apples?

They do not yet exist.


 

 

104

 

They say in America that the people choose their own leaders.

What a strange custom.

Humorous too. Men and women try to depict themselves as visionary but pragmatic, honorable but cunning, peace-loving but strong. They become all things to all people and theyíre not even trying to promote a new religion.

They go to all that trouble just to gain positions of leadership? What happens to their private lives, their inner kingdoms?

Sad but true. They are the true givers. They give themselves to serving others. And what thanks do they get? Very little, because to be chosen they have promised much more they can ever deliver. Strangely though, not many of them seem to be too bothered by their failures.


 

 

105

 

The people cry for bread and circuses.


They merely want to be fed and entertained. Is that so bad? Is that not human?

Itís both bad and human; if the food is stolen out of someone elseís mouth and if the entertainment causes others to die.

Once a civilization is built, how do we keep it from falling apart?

Sometimes we err when we attempt to stop the decay. Perhaps it would be better to hasten collapse. We all need a fresh start from time to time.


 

 

 

106

 

Whatís your favorite day of the week?

The day I rested from my labors.

Is that day now gone?

No, I have extended it.

For how long?

For as long as necessary.


 

 

107

 

Do you believe in quietness?

I believe in a noise-free working atmosphere.

What sounds do you tolerate?

Only those that do not narrow the mind.

Do you feel rushed and pressured?

In a sense, but Iíve only myself to blame. For you see, I set the timetable. And I donít plan on changing it.


 

 

108

 

Why did you leave?

I left because I had nothing more to say.

But maybe someone had something to say to you.

It didnít matter. I was no longer listening.


 

 

109

 

We seem to be in a holding pattern.

Yes, weíre hovering over hostile territory.

Why canít their bullets reach us?

Weíre just beyond their reach.

What if we drop down a little?

Then the bullets will come crashing through the walls and in so doing will also come crashing through us.

Will it be the end?

No, we havenít suffered enough yet.


 

 

110

 

Where will we be tomorrow?

Running in the same place.

Is this our fate?

The ground will move before we do.


 

 

111

 

Is sunshine good for us?

If it brings us light.


 

 

 

112

 

How many aimless, wandering people do you know?

I know at least one.

Are you speaking of yourself?

In a sense, but any one of us could say the same thing. Whether or not we pretend to know what direction weíre headed in, we all are lost.


 

 

113

 

Sarcasm becomes you.

There is much to loathe.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

I see beneath the skin. I behold only ugliness.

You look too deeply.


 

 

 

114

 

What do you do with your spare time?

I have no time to spare.

Surely you must relax every once in a while.

How can I relax when the train is not on time?

You seek perfection?

Yes.


 

 

115

 

Our conversations lead nowhere.

Thatís because we have no leader.

Then we do not follow.

Now you see.


 

 

116

 

If not for the heat, and the dust, and the insects, and the unfriendly people, this would be a wonderful country.

It would be better if you spoke their language.

Itís incomprehensible.

Then you must learn to speak with your eyes.

I do not want to communicate with that which my eyes see.

To love is to overcome all barriers.


 

 

117

 

Who are our friends?

The ones inside a mountain.

What of the ones on the outside?

They are our enemies until proven otherwise.

Can we trust our friends?

We only trust when we have no other choice.


 

 

118

 

Can we be totally free of outside influence?

Iím not too sure your brain would still function if all outside influence was removed.


 

 

119

 

Is it riches that I seek?

I hope not, but that is your decision.

How do I give back what I have received?

You cast it to the wind. Remember, you received it the same way.


 

 

120

 

Death is just around the corner.

Is it coming to meet us?

Itís been headed in our direction since the day we were born.

What will death be like?

It will be the silence between two noises. How long a silence I canít say.


 

 

121

 

Weíre living in a vacuum, surrounded by ghosts.

These ghosts, who are they?

They are our would-be benefactors.

Do they represent evil and calamity?

Only partially, they also represent good.

But weíre separated from them?

Weíve managed to build an artificial environment, one that suppresses our highest levels of insight and understanding.


 

 

 

122

 

Who are the four horsemen?

The predictors and facilitators of our doom.

Can they be defeated?

How can you stop a jet plane out of control? It must crash.


 

 

123

 

When you made the blind to see, for the first time they saw trees and flowers and other human beings. But yet you said they were still blind. What did you mean?

Their vision was not yet perfected. Clear things they saw blurry and the blurry they saw clear.

How do we bring the blurry into focus?

We ask for mercy.


 

 

124

 

Why were we created?

To harmonize the universe.

But our world is so chaotic.

The creator brings order out of chaos.


 

 

125

 

How do you distinguish the living from the dead?

The dead have a sense of humor.


 

 

126

 

Why donít you participate in the free market?

I canít afford to.


 

 

127

 

They say the Dark Ages werenít so dark.

I heard that too. Say, do you know where my flashlight is?


 

 

128

 

Do we believe in the rule of the people?

We say we do.

Do we believe in freedom of speech?

We say we do.

Do we believe in self-protection?

We donít even say we do.


 

 

129

 

I was wonderingÖ

Yes?

Why begin something we canít finish?

Everyone is impatient. Everyone is expectant. No one is prepared.

What if that which we prepare for never happens?

It didnít.


 

 

130

 

How does one compare the known with the unknown?

The unknown is smaller.

How much smaller?

Almost as if it didnít exist.


 

 

131

 

Those who seek wisdom seek foolish gain.

Why is that?

They equate knowledge with wisdom. Wisdom is inherited not acquired. Born a fool, die a fool.


 

 

132

 

Why the confusion?

There is no confusion. What we call confusion is in reality a higher form of order.


 

 

133

 

When we walk away, are we forever parted?

When two roads diverge, there is every reason to believe that one day they will again converge. The earth is a sphere, is not so the universe?


 

 

134

 

What etiquette do you follow?

I follow no prescribed set of unwritten rules.

Do you follow a written set?

Only the one written internally.


 

 

135

 

Is humanity suicidal?

On the contrary, it clings to life.

But thereís diversity in conduct.

As youth we worship anarchy but only because there is something solid to rebel against. Few welcome the void.


 

 

136

 

Are there cults of assassins?

Since the Middle Ages, religious fanatics have sought to disrupt legitimate governments by murdering their designated rulers.

In democracies, rulers are disposed of through the ballot box.

Neither way is too kind, but at least the dead rulers have the solace of not living with defeat.


 

 

137

 

Technology rules.

Not technology, but the technological elite.

What of their domain?

As the size of their domain increases, its value goes down.


 

 

138

 

How does one do the impossible?

You recruit temporary help.


 

 

139

 

You move so quickly. Some say you can be two places at one time.

Not quite, but when necessary I can cover quite a bit of ground.

Whatís the farthest youíve traveled in one day?

By day, if you mean twenty-four hours, I can make it to the center of the universe and back.

Have you done it more than once?

I do it every day.


 

 

140

 

What if someone was so good that they never missed a shot while playing basketball?

It would revolutionize the game.

Would the game survive?

Probably not.


 

 

141

 

Where have all the thinkers failed?

They all succeeded admirably. They didnít know how to measure success.

Has religion failed us?

Every religion has some good in it. But everything organized fails to recognize the non-organization of the universe. If religion controlled the universe, the stars would be equi-distant and would burn at the same intensity.

Is religion necessary?

No, but what luxury is?


 

 

142

 

The innocent die the same as the guilty.

Yes, and they are born the same way too.


 

 

143

 

Everything is a prelude.

Are we counting the days?

Sometimes we are lost in the moment, but oftentimes we look ahead.

Whose future is brightest?

You think Iíll say the ones whose present are dimmest. But it doesnít work that way.

Ah, Ďto those whom much is given, much is expectedí.

It seems as if equality is nothing but an abstraction.

I think of it more as a distraction.

Can we lay claim to truth absolute?

Only if it makes some kind of difference to do so.

Who decides truth?

The truth is prologue. Itís there, itís just beyond our reach.

Do we base our lives on truth?

We try.


 

 

144

 

Where are the hippies when you need them?

Did they actually exist?

Carbon dating proves it.

Were their bones found alongside the dinosaurs?

Yes, but they werenít in quite as good condition.

What caused their extinction?

The same as the dinosaurs. Their brains were too small for their bodies.


 

 

145

 

We seem to be in the midst of an ephemeral but recurring revolution.

Transitory, yes, but how do we know if it will repeat itself?

We think it will because it has always done so.

Did an angel tell you this?

Angels are too busy elsewhere to be spending time with me.

Then how do you know what you profess to know?

I first sense it then I verbalize it.

Is this what you call a prophetic vision?

I do not have a name for it other than the name it invokes in others. I am not writing a book.

Then what are you writing?

An overture.

 

 

 

The  End