The Prelude To Fiction

The businessman parked his car to walk over to the man he’d observed living under the tree in the park for most of the year.

“Why do you live like this?” he asked.

The man under the tree asked in reply “where are you going?”

He said that he was going home to be with his family for Christmas and that he’d stopped to give him something and he reached into his pocket to hand him the $100.00 bill he’d been waiting to present.

The man under the tree thanked him and said that he had been pondering his latest philosophy that morning and asked if he’d care to hear it.

“Sure,” the businessman, a real mover and shaker, replied.

“Toy around with facts, or what you believe are facts, for as long as it suits you” he began.  “But one way or another, it’s all a prelude to fiction.  You have to make it all up eventually, and you’ll have to live with the consequences.  What are the worst consequences you can imagine?  It, likely, depends.  If you are in China, it could be sudden death.  If you are American, it could be life in a cage.  If you are in Russia, it could be the slope, slipping back into the East Siberian Sea.  But, for how long could all these disasters last? 

“At the outset we, who think too much, explore every cave, and some dungeons, for signs of what we should be doing.  This is the first step into seeing through the problem of what you are.  Your life will, most likely, not reveal itself to you for a very, very long time, if ever it does.  This searching out facts is the most necessary part of what will eventually reveal itself as fruitlessness, utter fruitlessness—another way of digging a hole clear to the other side of the planet. 

“Along the way you will feel like a liar.  You will get looks from teachers and scholars who never struck out on any path of their own and now guard the water tank. They, too, were once under the thumb of their own professors and scholars and tyrants over children.  These are the ones who are to be politely, as politely as possible, gone around. 

“One day you find the only truth available to you, to anyone. But you, the seeker, shall make this discovery. You who does not claim to know what cannot be known.  You will see that the path is to be made up, from whole cloth, weaved as on a thimble point, and that every star who presents himself as a star, is the true liar. 

“This is the very beginning of fiction, the only truth.  All angst is prelude to this revelation.

“Consider, merely, that man and his machines are as natural as a toucan in the Amazon, squeezed from the void by trillions of forces for billions of years.  With a fast-enough camera, which of course, only God possesses, one could watch electric cars sprout from the sea as miraculously as though one were to turn around and see little houses inside a petri dish.  This too is speculation, guess work, though the fossil record argues that it is not.  The point is it all came from dirt and water and sunlight.

“Man’s original sin, and thus, the sin of the world was his self-awareness.  The greater the self-awareness which is not met by an equally strong center, the greater the suffering, the greater the orbit of his search.  And search he must, but he shall never find.  That is, if anything, the only discovery which awaits him—that knowledge is a phantom and progress, in the material sense, an illusion.  We aren’t going anywhere.  Have you noticed?  If anything, the only progress is the progress of personal character.  But this is the mystery, this is the beauty. 

“The discovery can come only precisely when it will come.  Man must learn what all yaysayers ultimately learn–to make it all up and live with the consequences. 

“Meanwhile, religion, in all its myriad manifestations, abounds, thrives even.  It lives inside those who defy this truth of absolute flux and flow.  The living terror is demonstrated in the wagging finger of the mob.  The old moralists of the right have been subconsciously fused and resurrected as PC culture of the left.  They are two sides to one very old, puritan, and wholly self-righteous coin, what Nietzsche first identified as the stupidity of the herd.  And why not. 

“The herd will protect itself first, in strict and sudden sacrifice of the individual. 

“These are the fact-finders of the moment. It is their new national consciousness, if ever they had one, that absolute truth is at the end of the road.  It isn’t.  This is all one big prelude to our everlasting fiction.”

“Merry Christmas, professor” he said and drove away.