Our cultures are facing the shock of science! I hate test tubes and microscopes for the most part with the exception of when they are used as props in science fiction movies.
Can’t you see what this modern era of the last six hundred years has been doing to us?! Its getting harder and harder to get a spirit possession properly diagnosed and your village’s well protected from various vampiric creatures including Biting Blankets and Wooly Mammoth Wooly Socks.
We are undergoing a paradigm shift.
But not everyone and everything need be vulnerable to the seemingly inexorable march of science’s influence!
Yes, my brothers and sisters our minds are the last great fortress against those evil forces of Reason.
Our old gods can take respite in the hold-out of your mind and I encourage each of you to hold fast in the face of facts and objectivity.
What we have always held dear is our human capacity to instill fear and give explanation and meaning through off-the-cuff story telling and no amount of Education can rip that instinct from our primitive minds!

Take for example the Wind Wolf. Hear that noise outside? You know what that is. It is the Werewolf’s inbred cousin who visits children during windy nights and howls among the alleys and parking lots. The Wind Wolf smells the sin of lust and Self Pleasure. That howling is a warning Little Ones! Beware and repent!
You may hear from younger generations who have been indoctrinated with the ‘new worldview’ that Wind Wolves have never been proven to truly punish children who incite their lustful longings with exploratory hands and shower nozzles but remind them: sometimes Wind Wolves exact their punishment in the afterlife!
Take heed before it’s too late!

And who hasn’t noticed that the religion of the Floorafe has diminished in recent years?
Yes, the tale of the Floorafe has largely been pushed aside in favor of “evolution” and “common sense,” both of which are purely tools of the Cloven Hoofed Old Scratch.
We can all recall the story of the Floorafe:
In the beginning a giant giraffe filled the whole of the cosmos. Its wisdom and neck were limitless.
It created humanity and was pleased with the way humans groveled underfoot.
Over many millenia humans learned to walk upright and started to see themselves as equals to the Great Giraffe in The Sky.
Given that the Great Spotted Lanky One was Eternally Humble, She said to Herself,
“Okay, you humans think you’re so great…I’ll allow myself to shrink and not stand in your way of development and growth.”
So She shrunk and allowed humans to have more and more control and understanding of Her universe.
Soon humans were exploring space and manipulating DNA….And more did She shrink.
Before long humans were feeling pretty good about themselves–they were healing diseases, predicting storms, and those aspects of the universe that had once been mysteries to them opened up before the human species and they found less and less need for astral powers and spiritual beings.
The Great Giraffe shrunk even further until Her neck was touching Her shoulders and She looked no different than a humble horse. As humanity’s strength grew, She shrunk even more until she was two dimensional and as flat as a string of nanomolecules.
Now, The Great Giraffe hides in the floorboards of Her True Believers and is known among the initiated as the Floorafe.
She is only seen in the ‘heart of faith’ or sometimes makes Herself known under the feet of Her devotees when She makes a slight creaking noise.
“Oh, that’s just a loose floorboard.” some skeptics will say.
We know the Truth.

Yes, there are many extinct Gods and Goddesses but with the proper upkeep of our mindscapes, we can hold on to the last remaining ghouls of our ancestors.






Holy Kamoly!
Read like the universe depends on it.
Because it does.

CHICAGO–In an interview with Oprah, JK Rowling made a threat to the world’s literate: “I could write another Harry Potter book.”

Readers the world over were shocked and worried at the reclusive pulp novelist’s threat. Teenagers and the weak minded masses who slogged through her first several attempts at writing a Harry Potter book were reeling with the news.

“I couldn’t sleep last night. I just tossed and turned thinking about having to work through six hundred pages of wooden and rambling non-events.” Said Maria Esquivel, a thirteen year old from Peru.

In spite of a world of literate fearful, Rowling’s American publisher Scholastic Press expressed great excitement. Scholastic Press released a statement yesterday which stated: “While it is true Harry Potter excitement has dwindled to a groaning ‘meh’, the feelings of obligation around Harry Potter are still quite high. We excitedly await Ms. Rowling’s newest tome of drudgery and restatement!”

Millions who would otherwise be filling their bus riding time reading “People” magazine or doing “E-Z Crossword Adventure! Farm Edition” now face the chance that they will have to relive the droll horrors of the Harry Potter universe.

Asked about Rowlings threat, Ravi Gopal Venkata a 19 year old from India, said “I hate the characters, and the stupid world they live in, but I would have to read it. I hate every stupid thing about the tedium of Harry Potter but I would have to read it and have to write fan fiction about it.”

JK Rowling stated to Oprah that she plans on taking “a writing class at a community college” to brush up on her writing chops.

“When I write dialogue I want it to sound like the best infomercial you’ve ever heard.” She said.

Here are some of the highlights that Rowling is said to have in store for the next book–leaked from a Rowling insider!

1. Dobby groveling
2. Explore more of the Gryffendor’s common room (the furniture is spooky!)
3. Three hundred pages of Quidditch
4. Moping
5. Fourteen scenes that will be exactly the same. Word for word.

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, NEW JERSEY–Time/Space Continuum travelling enthusiasts were given reason to celebrate this week when famed wormhole explorer D.B. Cooper was sighted over a New Jersey strip mall.

“This has reignited interest in Cooper’s work and we are confident that Mr. Cooper made this appearance to garner attention to our upcoming TARDIS race.” Said Eunice Macklethwait III, president of the London based Quantum Travelling Club.


D.B. Cooper, last seen falling from the sky over rural Pakistan in 2005, completed his fifty seventh midair appearance at 3:20pm Tuesday, September 14. Many are saying it was his best. 

Lionel Musgrave II, a longtime D.B. Cooper fan excitedly took readings of anti-matter and sampled ectoplasm near the Egg Harbor site. “This was great. A very understated and subtle free fall. It is a testament to his growth as not only a time/space traveler, but as an artist.”

Musgrave has been witness to several Cooper Falls.

“I was there for St. Petersburg in 2001. I was there for the ’94 Antartica fall. I have got to say that Egg Harbor, while off the beaten path, is a great choice. An inspired choice. Have you tried the Italian food around here? To die for.”

Cooper’s journey began November 24th 1971 when he jumped from the back of a commercial airliner to explore a Time Rift. Many shamans and physicists agree that unknown to Cooper, the rift had become corrupted in part by mysterious rays from Mars and the nightmares of children. It is widely speculated that Cooper then would have faced the judgment of Time Lord Xazthus, Sovereign Ruler of Sector 2814.

In the text considered authoritative on Cooper’s travels, Fall From Grace,  author Dr. Victor Maze writes:
“After facing Xazthus and having his soul weighed and found wanting, Cooper was condemned to ever fall through open space and infinite time.”

Spectators in Egg Harbor remain gathered near the strip mall, days after the sighting, with high hopes for another glimpse at the world’s most handsome and damned time traveler.

Check this muy caliente video out!

This is video evidence that even in the next world, things can get spicy! Ay ay ay!

The Seminarian
By: The Seminarian

…for certainly no one has yet altogether escaped love, and none shall
so long as there is beauty and eyes to see.”

A ‘Greek author’ as quoted by Johannes de silentio.

Because I was lax and easy with myself, I came upon the summer and my thesis had yet not been finished. Too many nights at the bar, watching Syrah and Cabernet pass under my nose while I made the usual liberal political noise and the most trite of philosophical observations.

“There’s always tomorrow.” I would tell myself. “Give yourself some grace. Cut yourself some slack.”

In this way, my thesis examining history through a humanistic lens and borrowing heavily from Hegel and Marx was twenty pages behind schedule and even farther from conveying a single coherent thought. This gave me a whole other summer to live off loans, off the sweat of my presumed future brow.

Through my years at seminary, I was not the god hating type. I was the god apathetic type. I knew the week’s liturgy reading by mere glance at the calendar. I had sermons on jurisprudence, temperance, and constancy that I could tailor to fifteen minute to half hour installments memorized. The god to whom one would pray I knew only through Tillich, Bonhoeffer, Fosdick. I squirmed in my seat at the utterances of others from the pulpit. I knew their theologies were absolutely forty years old and I would scribble notes like “falsifiable? No! Gulp.” and “standard operating procedure of the patriarchal machine” in my sermon notes.

I had everything figured out with the one exception of how to make money over the summer.

There are some that are made for labor. I am not one. My hands are too weak, and my back too strong to bow to any work beneath me. I am a thinking man and the only career that I’ve considered honorable other than professorship, are those homeless philosophers in the park near my seminary’s coffee shop of choice. These Cynics, these heroes of resignation have their own great plaza there, replacing the Stoa of old, the open air markets where the free exchange of ideas and politics were cherished bulwarks of culture. Theirs is a philosophy fringed with madness (just as it always was and should be) and now meth, crack, Boone’s Farm Wine. I envy them. When they give up job, sanity, acceptance from family, culture, church, they do so boldly and never look back. I would walk by them after my Christology class and see them there, smoking the butts they’d found on the street and incarnating their own divine breech into the world. But I couldn’t join their number. I had a thesis to not think about. I had loans to defer. I was after all, a seminarian.

I went out into The City one weekend with my friend Verna who herself had just found philosophical credibility by dropping out of her Masters of Philosophy program. She of course had overdressed for either the occasion or for me. Or else I had underdressed, but in any case I felt uncomfortable. (This is most typically the case. How can one feel comfortable in a Post-Structuralist world?)

We found a table in the back of a dingy little place who’s inhabitants seemed to be that auspicious class known as hipsters. Their definition escapes me at the moment, but you know them when you see them: their public veganism wrapped around them in thinness, their convenient smoking habits displayed at the right moments, their drinking bordering on the obscene (even from my perspective!), and most usually sardonically happy.

Verna asked me about my summer plans.

“I’ve got to find something to supplement my income.”

“What’s that?”

“Well, I’m expecting a tax return.”


“And I sometimes sell blood.”


“Well, I did once. But I hate needles. So, hence the supplementing.”

“Yes. Well, have you thought about tutoring?”

I’d tried that before. Last summer. I’d posted on Craigslist:

“Learn Philosophy and Theology! Personal Tutor-15/Hr.”

But no responses came back even after two weeks. I later went back on and edited my add listing by adding:

You don’t deserve to learn anything from me! You mouth breathing half wits! I curse you! I wouldn’t stoop to teaching you a thing for anything less than 30/hr. you cretins!”

Strangely enough, I got a response after that from a high schooler who instead of seeking my tutelage, left me a snarky message quoting C.S. Lewis and Rick Warren (whoever that is).

Verna’s presentation that night, apparently didn’t make other beaus in the bar uncomfortable, because they made a veritable queue when I left the table to smoke. I sat back down and glumly cleared my glass as the most recent suitor laid his best lines on Verna, who played along kindly enough.

“Lust is a Siren.” I said to neither in particular. “But worse yet is the lie of love.” The fellow tried to ignore me, but through his drunkenness and leering gazes, I knew that I was getting through to him. “At least lust understands that we live temporal lives. There is a narrative ‘curve’ to lust.” I flagged the waitress and she steered back to the bar to get another wine. “Love mocks us with its eternality. Entertaining its demonic thoughts, makes liars of ourselves.” The waitress set my Syrah on the table. “In wine there is truth. Its joy is fleeting, its recompense is headaches and fatness. For every night of wine there will be equal to or greater many nights of loneliness and dread. And I’d much prefer that that to the lie of ‘I love you’.”

Someone must have been listening to me, because the two of them agreed to go back to his place. I waited on the sidewalk with Verna for the cab while the fellow settled his long bill inside.

“How’d he know that we weren’t together?”

She laughed.

“What? Couldn’t we have been on a date together? How’d he know that we weren’t?”

“Oh, Ian. You’re no threat.”

I got the keys to Verna’s-since the train had stopped running I’d have to stay the night at her place. “Have a great night.” I said to the two of them as they got in the cab.

That night, I tooled around on Verna’s laptop over a bowl of her ice cream I’d poured some Bailey’s I’d found in the cupboard. I figured there was no better time than three in the morning to find a summer job, and I stopped at the usual sites before sifting through Craigslist again.

In The City’s service section, there was the entry that caught my eye.

“Seeking help. Tutor needed immediately. Soren Kierkegaard and other Theologians.”

It had listed a phone number believe it or not in place of the standard encrypted email reply, and I scribbled down the number. Two things struck me about the message: one, there was no mention of money. This would usually have caused me to pass right by it but the second thing that jumped out at me so piqued my interest that I had to find out more.

I looked up at Verna’s Pet Shop Boys poster on her wall. “Kierkegaard and other Theologians?” I asked the Pet Shop Boys. I’d not really looked into the Dane so much, but I knew that he had misrepresented my Hegel and had been largely a waifish misanthrope with a chip on his crooked shoulder.

Whatever the reason, whether the drink or the excitement of having a possible tutoring job in my future, I followed the internet rabbit hole into places that Verna would have objected to both on principle and fear of viruses.

She found me on the couch in the early morning, the birds doing their ‘shame on yous’ and the sun breaking the bad news of a new day to hungover drunks.

“How was it?” I asked but she ignored the question and set to work on her French press. “Coffee?” she asked.

I struck a cigarette and sat in the tiny kitchen.

Verna hustled off and showered as I watched the boiling water and poured it into the press. I poured her cup and handed it to her through the shower curtain.

I sat on the toilet lid. “So how was it?”

“We’re meeting for breakfast in an hour.” She gave a little peek through the curtain and smiled.

She put on some music that was fashionable enough for me not to recognize what it was and just loud enough to her neighbors to if not wake them, at least invade their dreams.

“What is it about this guy that deserves a breakfast?” I asked.

“He’s different.”

“Different in that the sex was actually okay?” I knew enough about Verna’s weekends to know that they were generally unspectacular.

“We didn’t have sex, smartypants.”

“Oh no!” I jumped up from the couch. “This is the kind of guy to watch out for. You’ve got to cancel this breakfast.”

“What are you talking about? He’s very nice.”

“I knew you were going to say that. ‘Very nice’. ‘Different’. No sex! Can’t you see what this guy is doing?” I had been grossly unimpressed by the fellow last night-his martini glass, fashionable pants, his hair mussed in just the right way, facial hair that was too ‘forgotten’ looking to be truly forgotten. He had all the markings of another City crawling scenester. But this new information exposed him for what he really was: an artist.

“Look, Verna. It’s like this. Either he’s playing towards the beauty of a romance or he’s a Romantic.”

“What are you talking about?”

“If he’s building up from lust, he’s a deceptive artist who’s looking to create a romance. You’ll know it if he brings to breakfast for you a flower he’s stolen from a yard or is playfully aloof. But it could be even worse! He could be building upon love which means he’s self deceived and could be so caught up in it that no behavior could ever give him away.”

“What about ‘we’re two people who had a good time together last night and want to have breakfast together’?”

“Where are you going?”

“To some vegan place.”

“Oh just great! Great! Did you suggest it or he?”

“I don’t remember, Ian. Why?”

“If he did, that’s better. That means he’s probably an artist who knows the right fashionable place to go. If you did and he agreed to it, that’s worse because it means that he’d be willing to sacrifice a good proper breakfast of sausage and eggs for a love interest. And that’s bad news, in that case.”

She threw on a tidy little coat and wrapped a scarf around her neck. “What’s so bad about love, I wonder.”

“Love? It’s an uncrossable sea! It’s a universally adored dream. If it was an idea proper, then I could get behind it. But ask people to explain it or define it and they get all misty eyed and start talking like William Blake or Kahlil Gibran or something! Its attraction lies in its untouchable nature.” I shook my head, “If this fellow,”

“His name is Sabastion.”

“If Sabastion means to provoke loving feelings, he is as dangerous as an asp.”

“An asp?”

“Who can question love? Mention it and you’re free to do whatever you want. Every ethical system will at one time or another appeal to it. It’s a sacred cow. In the Hindi sense of cow. Not the slaughtered sacrifice kind. The sacrifice will be you-your sanity, your dignity, your Self!”

“Lock up my apartment when you leave, will you?”

“No, I’m leaving with you. I’m going to head home.”

I walked her to the corner and turned to go to the bus station. As I was walking away, Verna asked, “Just for a moment imagine that…Well, it just sounds like you’ve been talking about ‘love’ abstractly. What if he loves me. And I love him. Isn’t that not really about some detached nebulous idea…”

“Dream. Remember, love is no idea proper.”

“Okay. But what of that anyway? What if I love him?”

“Who is he? Who are you? Are you anything more than a wisp? Or maybe you imagine that you are as constant as the number ‘three’. Or a Platonic Form. Either way you think of someone: a vaporous illusion or a constant substance, both are ridiculous and dangerous.”

“I’ll call you later this morning and tell you about our ridiculous and dangerous breakfast. I hope yours is more reasonable and safe.”

I held up my cigarette, “You’re looking at my breakfast.”

I pulled the morning paper off my sidewalk and read it on the porch where I found an article headline reading: “The Least Likely Happiest Place On Earth: Denmark Happiest Place You’d Never Want to Visit” which reminded me of the number crumpled in my pocket. Without thinking if it was rude to call on a Sunday morning before noon, I dialed the number.

“Hello.” A featureless voice said after one ring.

“Hi. I saw your listing about a tutor.”


“And I uh wanted to know…” the voice on the other end had shaken me a bit and I wasn’t sure how to proceed. “Uh, how much are you offering?”

“Are you a minister?”

“…I currently attend seminary. I’m in training.” I conveniently neglected to say that I was in academic training, not ministerial. “I’m in my last year.”

“You’re in religious training?”

I figured that getting a Masters in religious studies counted. “Yes.”

“What do you know about Soren Kierkegaard?” The voice said it strangely: Searen Keergegor.

“I know him first through his criticisms of Hegel.” Silence. I continued, “And I like him a lot. There’s no better place to start in discussion of existentialism than Kierkegaard.” More silence. I was grasping now, “And his theological understanding of course.” I guessed that he was a Christian, “As far as his comments on Christianity…I just love him…and what he’s got to say…About Jesus.”

“Are you available today?”

“Well,” I gauged how hungover I was and how quickly I could recover. “I’m available after four this afternoon, yes.”

“Great. You live in The City?”

“East bay, yes.”

“Perfect. Are you familiar with….” The voice mentioned a beautiful white hotel resort in the hills.
“Yes, I live quite nearby, actually.”

“Go there at five o’clock. There is a fountain by the tennis courts that looks like the statue of Lady Justice. There will be a key in the fountain. Are you there?”

“Yes, I’m here.”

“I want you to speak to my father. Tell him everything you know about Kierkegaard. But listen. When you go in, just sit on the couch. That’s it. Just sit on the couch. How long will it take you to tell him everything you know about Kierkegaard?”

“Oh,” If I had answered honestly, I would have said ‘two minutes’. “About two or three hours, I guess.”

“Perfect. When you’re done, the money will be in the top drawer of the desk by the door. When you’re done, you can put the room key on the dresser and take the money. You understand? Tell me what you’re going to do.”

“Get the key from the fountain, tell your dad everything I know about Kierkegaard (Keergegor I said) and then when I’m done, put the key on the dresser and take the money.”

“And sit on the couch.”


“Thank you very much.” The voice intoned flatly. I got the sense that our conversation was over.

“And what is your dad’s name?”

“John. Thank you for doing this. Goodbye.”

I was going to say, ‘good day’ or something polite sounding but they’d hung up already. I popped a cigarette into my mouth and thought: “They’d better be at least forty bucks in that drawer.”

After brunch of a coffee and bearclaw, I stopped at my seminary’s library and checked out as many Soren Kierkegaard books as I could. I surprised to see that the ol’ curmudgeon had written about Christianity. In my survey courses we had mentioned him as a footnote to existentialism and though I knew that he was popular among fashionable ‘liberal and educated’ Christians, I always thought it was because he had coined the phrase “the leap of faith”. (It wasn’t until recently during my transfer to the state penitentiary-a long, hot, four hour drive-that I learned that he never actually wrote “leap of faith”.)

I filled up my backpack and bicycled over towards the ______ Hotel and Resort, an old landmark of a place in the hills which had strangely survived a fire some hundred years ago. Some had said that it survived ‘miraculously’ but the farm owners, from the viewpoint of their destroyed crops and barns thought otherwise. I always figured by the haunted look of the place that it had made some demonic pact with the Devil like Robert Johnson at the crossroads, Faust, or St. Theophilus. However it had survived that fire long ago, it now housed the rich and famous at times for an entire season while they relaxed and enjoyed the fresh bay air.

I parked my bike by the tennis courts and tried to look as though I belonged as I passed white clad tennis goers. I found the small fountain with a statue atop whose raised arm held a double edged sword and whose other arm held scales. The Lady’s head was down turned as though eyeing her target of her raised blade and she wore no blindfold. I liked this because what kind of judge allows oneself to be blinded? Shouldn’t Justice very much care to look, inspect, watch, and examine? I thought that it went back to the Myth of Scientific Objectivity. Or maybe it was just a patriarchal stamp disempowering a goddess of such strength and importance. How quickly the Goddess of Victory, Nike had been forgotten! The Queen of Gods, Hera now lost! The current age had bypassed blinding them and skipped straight ahead to their burial.

In the lily pad covered water, I found a hotel key with the number 237 on its tag. I sat in the shade of a spreading tree until my watch read five minutes to five.

Inside the hotel, everything was placed at an extravagant scale and had a pristine cleanliness of an upscale convalescent home. In the grand entrance, there were broad and low oak tables and leather chairs with the indents of many fat and important backsides. The concierge and her bell boy cronies eyed me suspiciously and I tried to walk with the same confidence I’d seen from my fellow seminarians in the M.Div. program.

I clicked open 237’s door and found the lightswitch. The room’s heavy curtains were drawn and none of the still strong sunlight found its way inside. Desk lamps and a ceiling light revealed a large and eloquent room whose décor was definitely in the style of “too rich for their own good and too old to know better”. At the far end of the room, I saw a small human frame under the heavy comforters of the king sized bed and near it was set medical looking equipment: a buzzing thing, a whirring thing, maybe a clear bag sending medicinal liquids racing through veins.

“Hello.” I said three times, consecutively and louder each time.

The small person didn’t respond. I closed the door and stepped into the room and made a lot of purposeful noise in case the old man only needed to be jostled from a nap. As I came a bit nearer, I could make out a prunish bald head propped on pillows and what may have been open eyes.

“I’m here for…” What was I there for? To ‘tutor’ this vegetable? The sheer ludicrousness of the task had at first been enticing but the prospect of teaching a geriatric who would be better served in an ER than by a wanna-be philosopher discussing a cranky Danish hermit was just too much for me to bear.

At that time, I almost reached into the drawer to withdraw the money promised me and thought “I’m out of here. I’ll tell him what I know, all two minutes of it, and I’ll get outta here.” But something wouldn’t let me. I know it wasn’t ‘honesty’ because I’ve never relied that to motivate me before. I think it was my own strange curiosity about Kierkegaard and figured what better way to learn that by teaching? So that was that. I sat on the not-so comfortable love seat at the front of the room, a fair distance from the bed and opened my backpack.

“Well, John: Here we go.” I said. His machines clicked and whirred as a response.

I read him passages from a number of sources, all seemingly under pseudonyms and I became quickly frustrated at figuring out exactly what Kierkegaard was trying to say through all the convoluted mess. I finally found one essay that he had had the courage to put his own name to called Works of Love.

“Here’s the answer to that old question, John: ‘who wrote the works of love’?” I sang. “Tell me tell me baby, oh, who wrote the works of love?” I scrutinized the bed to look for movement. “Better not sing too much.” I thought. “My singing’s so bad that for a fellow in his condition, it could be deadly!”

“Listen to this John!” I read,

“Something that in its total richness is essentially inexhaustible is also in its smallest work essentially indescribable just because essentially it is totally present everywhere and essentially cannot be described.”[1]

“This is exactly what I was saying to my friend this morning, John! What a buncha malarkey!” I thought malarkey might appeal to one from the older generation. “What’s the sense of talking about something ‘that’s all around but indefinable’?” I caught myself because that sounded like the same context that godtalk often occurred.

This is where my analytical philosophy training kicked in, seeking to understand clearly the definition of terms, only now its peering gaze was uncomfortably aimed at me. How was I thinking and using both ‘love’ and ‘god’? It was taking my mind down passages I didn’t want to go. Passages I had boarded up for good reasons long ago. Or at least what had seemed like good reasons.

I read on where it quoted Matthew 22:39 about loving your neighbor as yourself.

It was written in caps, “YOU SHALL LOVE”

“What’s the point of commanding someone to love? Can it really be love if its commanded? Then isn’t just a buncha brownnosing?” I caught myself. Such a term as ‘brownnosing’ probably wasn’t professional, and since I was a paid private tutor, I said, “Excuse me, I mean, isn’t it a bit silly to make a legalistic command something that should be freely given?”

There was written below,

“if one is to love the neighbor as oneself, then the commandment, as with a pick, wrenches open the lock of self-love and wrests it away from a person…Just as Jacob limped after having struggled with God, so will self-love be broken if it has struggled with this phrase that does not want to teach a person that he is not to love himself but rather wants to teach him proper self-love.”[2]

We have to make the choice of how we love, I thought.

“Choice.” I said aloud. “That sounds like Heidegger-constantly engaged with the proposition of choice.”

I felt that love wasn’t as far away as it had seemed a moment ago. As I related to my self as Subject, I could so meet others in the same way. But what struck me was that Kierkegaard (as far as I could tell from the picture I have always seen of him as a frail black-clad mope) himself was a depressive melancholic Dane (I would have thought that a tautology before that newspaper article I’d just read). I was awakening to relationship as an intimate Subject among Subjects; not among objects, not as shadowy imaginings of solipsism’s garish nightmares.

“John. Are you awake? I hope that you can read my mind over here, because there’s some great stuff happening. If I could only put to words half of it….half of what I say is meaningless; but I say it so that the other half may reach you.[3]” I quoted from John Lennon’s Julia.

I felt waves of interest, the purest drives of duty, and ecstasy wrack me in the swirl of thoughts. I needed a cigarette. I walked forward into the room towards John on his bed and opened a window in which I sat and ravished a delicious smoke. I thought of Verna, of my hidden love for her and in a moment of introspection wondered if my scheme to make her fall in love with me was working. It’s hard enough to love someone, harder still to entice them to love you, hardest still to not let on that that is exactly what you’re doing.

I was broken from my reverie by a new sound from the area of the bed. It was not a machine clicking or whirring, but the lightest moan. I snapped up, slammed the window shut and scurried back to the couch. Maybe I didn’t love Verna at all. Maybe I was too interested in the romancing of a perfect subject who would never want to be romanced by me and even deeper I wondered if I would ever really want her love. I felt the pang of self doubt-and more dangerous still (as through the back door of my mind) a doubt against doubt. It was only this last doubt against doubt that kept me from unraveling.

I read aloud,

“Even in Goethe’s understanding of Faust I miss a deeper psychological insight into the secret conversations which doubt has with itself…Only when one turns Faust back in on himself in this way-only then can the doubt appear poetically, only then does he himself genuinely discover in reality all its sufferings…Anyone with any idea of what it means to live on spirit knows also what the hunger of doubt means, and that the doubter hungers just as much for the daily bread of life as for the sustenance of spirit.”[4]

I looked at the body in the bed. Was there another whimper? Had I imagined it?

“John, what do you doubt? Are you questioning the love or absence thereof in your life? Had you played the fool? Attempting to tempt a smoke and vapor? Do you doubt your love? Or your destination after…”

I hadn’t thought of the ‘after life’ in the decade after my first receiving my driver’s license and it was difficult to even think in such terms.

“Do you doubt your destination once you…pass on?”

Again a machine clicked in response. I read to him,

“There was a time when the Gospel, grace, was changed into a new Law, more rigorous with people than the old Law…Through petty self torments, they had made God just as petty…”[5]

The wind howled about the ­­­­­­______ Hotel then, whipping along its stately eaves and its many wings. It was downright terrible and necessitated another cigarette. The wind of course blew all the smoke right back inside so I snuffed it out and closed the window again. The floors creaked and high whistles of wind found invisible cracks in walls. A feeling of haunted presence filled the place like opera box number five in the Phantom of the Opera-an unseen menace seemed to bear down on me. I was left with only a faint hope that it was only a loveless creep named Erik with a penchant for French opera.[6]

“What are we to do, John?” I asked without thinking.

From the bed, to my great surprise and horror, I saw a skeletal arm raise off the bed from the elbow. The hand was nothing more than bones, twisted and crippled with arthritis. The white death’s hand hung there and then just as slowly lowered back to the bed.

A change came in the air. The wind died, a crack of lightning afar sent a tremor in the electric lights and the room was momentarily dark. I repacked my bags, went to the dresser and in the top drawer found thirty two hundred dollars in worn fifties.

I left the room as I had found it and stepped into the now dark Resort grounds. That was the entirety of my time spent in the _____ Hotel and Resort.

And that is exactly what I never uttered a word of to the well groomed investigators when they had set me under the bare light bulb lit interrogation room. My bike’s tires, surveillance cameras and tennis playing witnesses made a quick trail for me to be found and before I even had the chance to return my library books, flashing lights lit my apartment.

How did I come to visit room 237? Well, when the cops tracked down Verna for questioning, the websites I’d visited the night at Verna’s had crashed it and there was no history showing any information about the Hotel and Resort. My phone did show that morning that I’d called a pay-phone located in Arcata but no one at the orphanage across the street was able to say they’d seen anyone ever use the phone.

The fact that I had such a large amount of money whose issue numbers had been recorded at the old man’s bank was perhaps a little strange, sure. “Mighty good pay for a couple hours, ‘tutoring’, I should think huh?” said one of the many suit-clad cops.

As I sat there on the first of many hard plastic chairs, facing alone the hours of questioning after denying my right to an attorney, I thought of some passages I had also seen that night.

“…because the human being is able to speak, the ability to be silent is an art, and a great art precisely because this advantage of his so easily tempts him. But this he can learn from the silent teachers, the lily and the bird.”[7]

The silence was the easiest part. There were other passages that came to me in the trial which I was allowed to ruminate on in the short proceedings which I declined to defend myself.

“-No! God is greater than your own heart! Ah! Whether it was a sickness of soul that so darkened your mind every night that finally in deadly anxiety, brought almost to the point of madness by the conception of God’s holiness, you thought you had to condemn yourself; whether it was something terrible that so weighed upon your conscience that your heart condemned itself-God is greater!”[8]

As I’ve been spending my days now in solitary, I have greater things to think about than any fear of justice and condemnation. I think back to that statue of Lady Justice and her raised double edged sword: wherever there is punishment, there is some sort of mercy, alleviation, and freedom. I think of that wasted away living corpse, John _____, the owner of the Hotel at the time of our meeting and what I taught him and what he taught me. There are some things that they cannot teach you in seminary and it is exactly those things that one must learn.

Something broke in me that night, and maybe there was a breaking outside of that which occurred in me. The ______ Hotel and Resort was swallowed up by the fires that fall, lost to time to be forgotten just a month after its owner.

Above my bunk I have written one passage that I first found that night, and there just as there is no escaping my prison, my solitary, there is no escaping it:

“…love’s judgment is the most severe judgment…Thus there comes a new sin, a new guilt, the gult of being forgiven only little, a guilt incurred not by the sins committed, but by the lack of love. If you want to learn to fear, then learn to fear-not the severity of justice, but the leniency of love!”[9]

Reader’s Note: As a seminarian once upon a time myself, I can assure you this is a piece of fictional literature in specific details only. This kind of thing happens to me all the time.  –Eric Hanson

[1] Soren Kierkegaard Works of Love in The Essential Kierkegaard (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997). p. 278.

[2] Kierkegaard, p. 279.

[3] S. is only partially right. Lennon did take and change this line for The White Album but as quoted here it is a line from Kahlil Gibran’s Sand and Foam. –Eric Hanson

[4] Soren Kierkegaard Fear and Trembling (New York: Penguin Books, 1985). p. 132-133.

[5] Soren Kierkegaard For Self Examination in The Essential Kierkegaard (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997). p. 394.

[6] Gaston Leroux’s ‘Phantom’ Erik seemingly adored alongside Verdi’s Othello, Gounod’s Faust.                   –Eric Hanson

[7] Soren Kierkegaard The Lily in The Field and The Bird of The Air in The Essential Kierkegaard (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997). p.333.

[8] Soren Kierkegaard Christian Discourses in The Essential Kierkegaard (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997). p. 330.

[9] Soren Kierkegaard Two Discourses at Friday Communion Discourses in The Essential Kierkegaard (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997). p. 388.

I have been a ghost denier most my life.
But now I’m going to have to rethink everything I thought I knew.

These paranormal investigators are the real thing. I’ve seen a lot of real fakey “ghost hunting” shows but none reaches the bar set by the Westside Apparition & Paranormal Society for scientific rigor and journalistic excellence.

This show will be gaining wide circulation soon and I can’t wait to see more from WAPS.

As for myself, with the newfound knowledge I have, I’m going to have to do some hard soul searching to figure out if I’m going to have to change my religion.

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