I like living at Hermann’s palazzo, better than living underground in the frost-laden forests in my country. All I need is a bottle of little water, a slice of bread, and a slice of lard. Don’t try to come between a halfling of the steppe and his drink. I’m a friendly guy of sorts, but people have trouble understanding my sense of humour. It’s because of my deep, deep soul. It’s painted with the colours of the hard freeze, but my spirit is full of fire. You should hear my jokes, and my love poems. I will deliver them to you with great passion while we partake in a session of lard-eating and little water-drinking fun. What I love best in life is food, and a good fight. Declaiming the virtues of Alexandr Sergeevic, and staring into the fire with a bellyful of alcohol. I’m not one to judge. Of course I prefer my people, the halflings. But anyone is welcome as long as they treat me with respect and eat and drink with me. Of course, I don’t mind buying, because I am a respectable fellow. My pockets are deep, but the money is scarce. Good thing my good friend Hermann is paying the bills for everything else. I am not a gambler, but in a gamble, I like to bet. I am a drinker, and I will sink your half-orcs under the table with no effort. When the time comes and we need to fight, I’ll jump in, belly forth and give them hell, because I am not afraid. Except, of course, of running out of little water.
We keep a tidy business in this corrupt town. Do come in and help yourselves to the canapes. People must eat, even in times of war. And in such times, people will still need a bit of panache. I’m not just talking about premium vegetables. We believe that everyone deserves to eat well, no matter the enterprise and the creed. I’ve got a shining on the drinks, too. We generally prefer a more refined taste, but our chefs work tirelessly to please all philosophies of food.
Why choose Hermann Gray’s All Manners of Exotic Taste? For starters, we don’t judge. Then, there is a great choice of everything, and all the free food! Did I mention the delivery options? Be prepared to be blown away by our telekinesis system. On our premises, you can rest on our couches or enjoy an afternoon at our fish spa. And while your toes are being nibbled at, you can sit at ease and let your mind wander while enjoying a slice of our delicious Frosty Bite Cake TM. Please don’t forget to drop by at our shop in Virgin Square for a taste of timelessness.
C : ‘I love him whose soul is deep as he is wounded, and whom a trifle can destroy. He is glad to cross the bridge.’
A : ‘ My Kingdom is attained by righteousness. Let not any man seek to please the many liars for they make all the Righteous foes to me.’
C : ‘Oh, come off it.’
A : ‘I am in the eternal struggle with the Evil spirit, I shall have you know.’
C : ‘I am in the eternal struggle to get my daily portion of good food.’
A : ‘Of course you mean the spiritual food to combat Bad Thought, the Lie and the Pride.’
C : ‘I mean my tuna fish. The perennial conflict between reason and intuition of the matter, that’s null and void. And so is mysticism.’
A : ‘What of the ground of ultimate reality?’
C :’That’s well after the last bus stop, and I do not take public transport. Cats don’t leg it, either. Your friend Wagner claimed the function of the artist is to bring the unconscious to the conscious by symbols.’
A : ‘I doubt he used those very words. They probably had not been invented. Like you, for example, you’re a cat yet to be invented. From what I understand, you claim Egyptian ancestry.’
C : ‘My true name is Bastet, and I was never made to wander. I may just patrol my neighbourhood when I feel like it. Take a shit here and there. I have many names, and I cause others to wonder. I cause others to wander.’
A : Vedic, Avestam, Mycenean generally absent. Given Proto Indo-European Truth found in Sanskrit and later Greek, we assume a connection. Who did you cause to wander, perhaps an endlessly cunning man?’
C : ‘ v’hotzeiti, v’hitzalti, v’ga’alti, v’lakahti. Those took out, rescued, redeemed and taken to God, the One.’
A : ‘What is Evil, then, in such circumstances?’
C : ‘How can God the One murder the innocent? Why take the lives of children? ‘
A : ‘After his death, my prophet Zoroaster saw his work undone. He taken out many words and symbols, many animals and legends from the lost context. His religion was immaterial, impermanent, based on meditation, fasting and understanding the unconscious. His followers could not relate to the Understanding, so they made a tale, a narrative out of Knowledge. Knowledge is passed on. Understanding cannot possibly be passed on. It is non-verbal.’
C : ‘After Zoroaster, Siddharta, the prophets of monotheism, the symbols were back in.’
A : ‘Moses…’
C : ‘All these chaps had vision, or just hallucinate?’
A : ‘My prophet is better than yours, kitty cat.’
The creature learnt nothing;
the story-well was left to dry,
all was forgotten by the mind,
for it was haunted by a wraith.
Then the gates slammed shut.
Teeming like orange flies, the
words that were left flew away.
the costly devices of the imitative scene-painter
A : Ask me a question. The prison of the soul has been created. It is formed, again and again, early in age, in every semi-conscious monkey that walks straight.
C : Only the fearless can cross the fire and not be incinerated.
A : That alone should be enough to filter truth-seekers from blind animals in the cave. And yet, what we have as Gods is a grapple bucket of thrill-seekers.
C : As a proto-God, imprisoned, alone with the sky far beneath under the world, my breath is decaying together with my ancestor’s will to power. By proxy, I am unchanged. His fury is compressed into an element which can melt humanity. The fission of my cat-patience can, too, bring about the end of the world.
A : The bitterness of Uranus is the bitterness of spiteful emotion, where your one true love has betrayed you, and your children have taken your joy and your false pride.
C : This, along with a river of poison is enough to destroy what’s good in us. The prison of the soul is built with such walls. All the stories told and retold, imagined and staged, are false, however vividly portrayed.
A : After all, there is still hope. Secret spiritual messages are revealed to Sufi poets.
C : In a conflict of a world, we need more spirit-tolerance, not less. All the scholarship amounts to an empty tomb.
A : As I am an ancient God, I find it hard to keep my ego in check. I am plagued with visions of hatred and fear. Nearly all I have left in this cosmos is a litany of foolishness.
C : You cannot expect to push on just as is, all these coincidences are not to be pursued. It does not matter what vision you might have had. There seems to have been a time in the distant past when you could be quiet in diverse manners and diverse places.
A : There at least was a possibility for Truth. God does not speak in diverse manners in diverse places now. Humans are scattered, the Gods are scattered, all that remains is the pantomime of the winds of doom.
C : I dare not ask about the father of the holy country, India.
A : There is a fundamental misunderstanding about one’s dharma. How does one know how to perform the rightful action? What defines it? The Hindus of today sees their actions as justified by the righteousness of murder. Arjuna’s doubt and Krishna’s call are all used as lawyer-words. Non-attachment as a spiritual duty is derided.
C : Quite right.
A : In Parsi-Gujarati “hambandagi”, bondedness together. It embodies the sense of spiritual pursuit of goodness which is not a means to an end. It leads to harmony and cooperation.
C : Hambandagi, then as another Bapu from Gujarat might have understood and practiced.
A : Do not engage in violence, or ultimately, violence will win. I am paraphrasing.
C : Tolerance is not easy when you are being persecuted. Should you not fight back? Isn’t this precisely like Arjuna’s doubt and resolution?
A : No, it is not. Arjuna’s resolution is not to literally fight, but to engage in spiritual non-attachment, and accepting the part you are given in the fray.
C : Hence the confusion. Doesn’t one fight in the fray? What about all those confused birds in conference, seeking a king, a mono-thematic God? Were they not fooled into submission? I doubt, therefore I am.
A : I don’t doubt that you do. As a God, I have to believe. It is my job from the start.
C : But believe in what? In yourself? Ahura-Mazdah, the wise? In fighting Angra Mainyu? Who says he’s Angra-bad? Who sent Loki to the underworld? Or Uranus? Or Lucifer, Asmodeus?
A : All the false lights. Reflected light bounces off planets, wandering in the sky we aimlessly misunderstand the ancients and take the planets for stars. No fire burns in planets, they shine by proxy.
C : Surely, there is fire in their core.
A : And yet, no fire on their surface. They live by leeching a multiverse of particles.
C : Tell me, why the dualism? What makes you the father of the good thought?
A : Old Persian texts maintain the central antithesis between that which is true and straight, and that which is a lie and crooked. “Perform no Zurah, no crooked behaviour to either rich or poor. Do not be quick to anger. Keep your temper, through the power of manah-thought.
C : So, we should all worship… you?
A : I am not the God, merely a God. If I were crucified, hung from my feet like Odinn before me, I might see beyond all this haze of words.
wandering spirit rising
white paint versus black ash
the neck pain is real
the giddy heights of limitlessness
above the clouds breathless beyond death
Ratatorsk is coming for us
The wisdom of Socrates
C : I certainly don’t believe that we already know everything. I am pretty sure that you know nothing.
A : How can I know nothing ? I am God.
C : Do you claim to be the only God, the One ?
A : Well, I wouldn’t go as far as saying that. Yet, those miss-believers that still believe the old religion…
C : What of them ? Are you going to eat them ? Fry them ? Boil them ?
A : They’re warned.
C : Let’s find the mouse of the matter.
A : I feel I am not as Good as Odinn. I can’ever spell his name for one thing.
C : Not your average run of the mill Pazuzu. Wasn’t Odinn both evil and good ? One eyed and all that ?
A : I sometimes ask myself: ‘Who am I, as a God?’ The answer : ‘I am a strong supporter of the righteous.’
C : There we go again with right and wrong. Who cares ? So there are some with rings of power. Surely Andvari’s curse applies to them too. And if not, not! Why all this begging, and guilt. I want to eat a mouse, I skin it. I go ahead and do it.
A : Is there a question ?
C : Is there ever an answer ? From you, or anyone ?
A : Surely, there must be something that we have done that is worth telling. Creating this world for example.
C : Geez, I wouldn’t ever want to take credit for this mess.
A : But who are you, cat ? Have you sat cross-legged on your way back from the desert, besieged by demons ?
C : That would be beneath me. But I know others who did those things. There’s nothing to be gained from navel-gazing.
A : That’s madness.
C : Not at all. Come meet my grandmother, Hel. She will tell you what’s what.
Churn the ocean
Steal the pot
Eternal life, my foot.
Demons every where
Evil is ill
It exists between silences and behind the eyes of your neighbours.
God is invoked, but revoked. The Iron Door is bent out of shape, its mechanic rings are spinning.
There’s no safe space, no formula, no litany, no succession
Athena is my witness, Artemis was my name.
If you think you are not good enough, join the moot.
A : A tapestry of pheasants, a conferences of doubters. A varied agony at the throat. Molasses of piano-stricken dialogues, riddled with root canals. I’m not the perfect Wagnerite. I am not the sound of some broken dream. Come and collect my nightmares, and you will see. They’re on offer. Discounted. I am lion that bites the flaccid buttocks of False Truth, and a friend to Asia and Europa alike.
Chapter II: What is real ? What am I ?
C : Heraclitus said, there is only change.
A : Parmenides said, there is only permanence. Nothing ever changes.
C : From atop the dizzy mountain, what did your prophet say?
A : What we know is only based on a false report, written apocryphally many years later by a Dionysian follower.
C : Ok. But what did Zarathustra actually say?
A : He spoke of legends and fables, a collection of unreliable, fake stories.
C : Here goes. “As the Holy One then I acknowledge thee, Mazdah Ahura” – he is talking about YOU – ” When at life’s birth I first beheld thee, When thou didst make deeds and words of reward, Evil for Evil, a good Destiny for the good … ” – simple isn’t it? Like the narrative of good-evil on Arrakis.
A : Can’t you take anything seriously?
C : Listen to this. It gets good. “As the Holy One I acknowledge thee, Mazdah Ahura, When good thought once came to me, and asked me : WHO ARE THOU. WHOSE ART THOU. BY WHAT SIGN SHALL I MAKE KNOWN THE DAYS FOR INQUIRY OF WHAT IS THINE AND OF THYSELF ? “
A : I honestly don’t remember saying that. But then again, it’s been thousands of years. One tends to have a short memory. Hell, I can’t even remember what I did last week, let alone that long ago. I am not even sure I am the same god, even. My identity has shifted. I have nothing in common with that Ahura Mazdah. Gods age badly, my feline friend. At some point we’re all worshipped and full of vigour, and then the altars are deserted, and our breath changes, and staring at infinity won’t change our pulse. And so, Chubby the cat with impunity that got me in trouble… tell me, cat: are you a true foe of the liar, like Zarathustra?
C : I most certainly am. And yet, I am not sure what is the Truth. These days so many relative theories peddle perspective. So there is a collection of perspectives, and small absolutely diluted fake-truths. My truth is respected, though. Mostly in catly circles at least.
A : I was about to establish, that the definition of true Evil is the Lie. And then you went about relativism, and single pebbles, and oceans of wisdom. It’s discouraging.
C : Don’t be discouraged. But how, pray, do you define lie ?
A : The lie is the repetition, it’s not really about truth, but the intention to deceive by exhausting the opposition (the listener), but a recursive common-sense elimination. Just keep repeating the lie until the listener is exhausted. And then it will get in, force-fed into the gullet, and it shall be come the Truth. And once it possesses the name of Truth, it truly be at the point of being the Lie, and thus, evil will step one closer to wrap up the multi-verse. Time to go.
C : Common sense ? Sense in which sense ?
A : You know, Psyche was not a little girl after all. And all the gifts in the world would not suffice. Her sisters did not refrain from lying.
C : Sometimes, I struggle to see the human in people.
A : Perhaps there isn’t any. People are slightly convoluted baboons, babbling about angels and demons, and struggling to keep their paws in the cookie jar, shitting all over each other, braying and screaming to get on top of their sexual selection process.
A : In these our modern times, I feel there is no silence, no space left. The dark matter prevails. The solar matter is diminished. In this ruckus, I am diminished, too. The pale reflection of who I once was shines in the high night.
C : So, as a Persian God, as a youth or a philosopher, you do not shine. You’re the ghost of the Sun. But do you still have magic? Can you see with second sight? Is the future any brighter? Can you change the world with the power of the Mind?
A : Not so. The future is nebulous. There are confused signs. Even as I pore over the sea-pebbles (and play the wizardry game) I find the ocean overcast with a plethora of false stories. This story is too narrow a margin to examine. We ought to examine them lies one by one.
by many turns we have been made to wander and found a friend or two
far back in time
and never too far ahead in the never-ending nebula
a poisonous snake-river
a half-bred fire-sword
C : Tell me, ferocious God-Beast. Do you still Have It?
Tell me, uber-godly monster, tell your servant and your friend, your enemy and your rhetorical opponent:
What is the nature of Evil?
A : In my youth, I thought I had come to understand it. There seemed to be a time in my adventures in foreign worlds when Evil was so simple, I could comprehend it. I saw it in its many phases and forms.
I debated with myself for a thousand nights (or so).
What should I do about it? Naught. Then I did.
I have fought the angry bull that rages, full of foaming jazz.
My lion bite has left a mark on the Evil creatures.
I did make a difference.
That’s what I tell myself, anyway.
C : I am not sure I can relate.
What does Evil look like?
Is it shared?
A : It is an image that neither floats or flies. It stays within the boundaries of the mind-fuck. All it does is reflect light, much like that stone full of magic, the satellite Luna.
C : It reflects light, like a mirror? Will you not be concrete? Example. What’s it sound like?
A : Evil sounds like the shape of the blue-winged Jay. Auspicious and winging it.
C : Metaphorical nonsense. Yes, I am a cat, and yes, I am Greek. But do not take me for a foolish follower of Athena. I am better than the Wise old Owl.
A : If Evil changes across time, it shape-shifts to ride with the Valkyre.
C : Now, then. Who should we recall from the dead? What’s in the Archive of Myth that can aid our cause? Who would come forth for Justice and Truth?
A : Once there was a Franklin, rosy-cheeked and full of Epicurus. He had a bit too much to eat. Not him.
C : Well, there was a colleague, an inverted God hanging from an Ash-Tree. He had two ravens like a later story-teller. Their lies were only true on Wednesday.
A : Well there was a deep hole in the trenches, and there lived a Hobbit.
C : There was a volcanic eruption, a man out of the cave and into the forest with a rice bowl. Into the arms of a kind girl that smiled broadly, even-toothed.
A: There was the madness of Dionysus, and before him, the star of Ariadne in Heaven.
C : “Bewise of Fanciulla‘s heart ! The heart of Fanciulla !”
A : “Even the recollection of willow fronds is a spellbinder that lets to hear.”
C : How exhausting, the bubbles of time and space with all these broken stories. These might be our friends, and yet we do not give them full service. We are not even close to the start of a story that tells the dialogue of Evil.
A : Evil speaks clearly, much more than you and me. This jumble of fragments we are not shoring up against any flood. We’re just remembering in circles, hoping for the Muses to kick our head in.
Circular Arguments between a Holy Cat and an Ancient God
“Doing good to others is not a duty. It is a joy, for it increases your own health and happiness. I will be mindful of the truth, so long as I shall be able.
Mayest thou grant me the truth, tell me the best to be done.” Avesta
Chubby, the cat
Ahura Mazda, the Persian God
Chapter I: What do a cat and a Persian God have in common ?
C : Listen. I say.
A : Wot.
C : I am a virtuous cat, and I have holyness about my paws. I am here to discuss the Truth.
A : I believe you. ‘ I speak the Truth, or not at all. ‘
C : So, by way of introduction , you present yourself as a sun-dial. How charming.
A : Nay, I am the SUN. I shone in the land of Persia, for the benefit of all sentient beings.
C : Uh-uh. Why, myself I am a cold-blooded feline. I love to sniff out mice while I sing of
golden showers across the solar system. Poetry and Justice are the same thing, I will
have you know.