Holy of Holies

He starts the morning like he does every day on his knees. His head bowed, his hands open while the domicile strapped to his head reads his brain waves and process it in a nearby computer. He thinks of his wants. He thinks of his needs. He speaks out loud to concentrate.
“I wish I never did that. I wish I never said that. Why do I do these things?”
The computer begins to print out a long page in binary, a lot of zeroes and ones, he looks over the page.
“What does it mean?” He says to himself.
He walks into the shower thinking ‘zeroes and ones, zeroes and ones. My life processed to zeroes and ones. What does it mean? What does it mean?’ It’s been harder and harder for Russell to put it out of his mind. For the last three months he’s been subjecting himself to computer psychoanalysis. Months he’s been subjecting himself to computer psychoanalysis. He then takes it to a depth psychologist to analyze the data, every time he has been pronounced mentally well. But, something is off he suspects. Something isn’t right.
He’s gotten rid of all the usual things he likes to do listening to a loud music, partying, heavy drinking, taking psychotropic capsules, going to orgies, hunting and killing the undesirables, watching copious amounts of television, all the normal activities that any good citizen would partake in.
His house is now bare. There is no television screen, radio, monitor, speakers, internet in his house. He has removed all devices, except his psychoanalysis computer. He continues to look for answers. Sure that the problem must be in his brain if he is now suddenly so disturbed about the normal.
He puts on his suit and ties his perfectly polished shoes. He grabs his briefcase and sits in the kitchen. He makes oatmeal and fruit. Silence has taken time to get used to it. Without the clutter of noise he is free to think. He is free to dream, free to imagine.
“Imagination is silly, why waste your time with that when the filmmakers and t.v. stars create what we should entertain in our minds?”
His friends would always say as if it were set in stone to not think on their own.
“Let the scientists invent and the philosophers ponder. Let us booze, schmooze and wonder.”
They are more or less always inebriated. The only time they are not, is at work, which isn’t to say sometimes they haven’t broken that rule.
He gets in his car and drives. He drives his similar route to the psychologist. He would have a meeting with him till he went to work.
He parked his car next to the building. He went into it as reverent as a monk entering a cathedral. Muttering to him-self in low whispers the things he wishes to be changed, the scroll of binary tightly grasped in his hands. He approaches the information desk.
“Hello Russell here to see doctor Zimmerman?”
Russell shook his head. The information lady knows him very well by now. She’s been studying him, looking him up and down. She thinks Russell is very attractive. ‘But,’ She thinks, ‘Its very unfortunate that he is so mentally unstable.’ Even though he looks and acts normal enough, the frequency of his visits can only mean the very worst.
“Go on in Russell, the doctor will see you.”
Russell knows where to go. He walks the familiar step each time hoping that some break through would come. ‘I must be free, but from what?’ Russell opened the door, doctor Zimmerman was sitting at his desk. His hands folded.
“Take a seat Russell.” Russell sits.
“I see you have a new binary scroll.”
Russell clung to it with the reverence of a rabbi and the Torah.
“Russell I worry about you. You’ve been coming here again and again with nothing new.”
“I know doctor, but I’m optimistic I’m going to make a breakthrough.”
“You’re always optimistic of a breakthrough.”
“Yes, this time I’m sure.”
“Why are you so sure? More time with the psychoanalysis computer?”
“Well, let me see the scroll.”
The doctor took it and put it into the slot of the computer. It sucked it in grinding and purring. A little steam puffs out the side. Buzzing, shaking fill the large thing come to rupture. A lot of noises for a few minutes of intense work: mapping a genome, splitting a skull, diving in a psyche, exploring a soul. The stuff metaphysical poets do for a living, but without the poetry: none of the elegance, none of the stuff of revelatory wonder that the mystery of words conjure. Loud numbers are spit out on a page of vague apprehension. The doctor picks it up. He nods and looks at Russell.
“You’re fine.” Russell’s eyes widen.
“That can’t be true. I can’t be fine. There’s no way!”
“Well it’s true. You needn’t get worked up about it.”
“But I’m not fine! I’m not well! I’m sick!”
“Well I’m sorry. The read out says your healthy. Healthy as an ox. Your mind is sharp as a tack.”
“But. But.” Russell stammered a bit. “I’m uneasy.”
“What are you uneasy about?”
“I’m uneasy about everything. I just don’t see the point?”
“To life?”
“To how we live this life. To the fast cars, flickering lights and pill popping, all the fastidious plain entertainment. It’s all so loud and dumb. They chatter on pseudo intellectually about hand me down sources. They care about sex without vulnerability. They want friendship without knowledge of each other, pleasure without pain. Love without the risk. A great time out is being so overcome with chemicals that they are far from themselves. What a rot it is for us! What a tragedy modern man is! Uncomfortable in his own skin, he slips out only to be a clown of himself! A giant jest of existence! His humor is to hold nothing sacred, so nothing will be of value! What a waste of energy it is to give thought for those who only want entertainment. Most times I feel the need to speak alone to something that something better will happen. What can come of this?”
“Oh dear, I see your problem. It isn’t psychological. It is existential.”
“Yes, it is a type of philosophy.” The doctor began to write something down on a piece of paper. He pressed down on the intercom.
“Megan, set up an appointment with Bertrand for Russell please. Thank you.”
“This is what I’ll do Russell. I’m going to set you up with an appointment with a philosopher. I set you up with an appointment with him today. Stop by his office after work. He should be available.” The doctor handed Russell a card. It said Bertrand the philosopher.
“Thank you doctor.”
Russell got up and left. When he got to work the only thing he could think about was with his meeting with Bertrand. He watched the clock ticking away. His work could not deter him from his thoughts.
“Russell. Do you have the financial report?”
Russell snapped his neck to his boss.
He dug his hands into a pile of papers and pulled out a stapled bundle and handed it to his boss. He looked through the report, flipping through the pages shaking his head.
“It’s sloppy. This is sloppy work Russell.”
“Sorry sir, I’ve been distracted.”
“What’s been going on with you?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well you better find out soon.” His boss walked away. The clock struck five, work’s over. Russell drove to Bertrand’s building. He trembled with a sense of foreboding. This is Russell’s last chance, last chance for salvation. The receptionist tells Russell Bertrand is on the top floor.
HE took the elevator, a long ride up, biting his nails, racing thoughts, slow panicking sweats, breaking hand blisters. ‘What if there is no answer? He surmised looking over the interior of the elevator. NO comfortable or placid feelings in the ascending paint, there is only nervousness till the door opens and he walks out. The entire top floor is Bertrand’s office. Russell stands at a great distance from his desk. To the left is an enormous stack of books and to the right another tremendous stack of books. Russell walks forward, Bertrand’s head down in a book.
“Please sit, Mr. Bardashir.” Russell sits and Bertrand’s head looks up.
“Thank you for coming. I don’t get many visitors. So, I enjoy everyone that comes by. I’ve been told you have some dilemmas. Please tell me about them.”
“I would say it’s more than a dilemma.”
“What would you call it?”
“I don’t know, life threatening quandaries.”
“How are they life threatening?”
“If I can’t figure this out, I don’t know how I can go on living.”
“Is it that important to you?”
“Yes, it is.”
“Why?” Russell was getting uncomfortable. He thought he already gave a satisfactory answer. The way Bertrand was looking at him, made him feel small, tiny like a child who didn’t understand the words that he was speaking. Russell hates feeling small. He began to resent coming here and thought it was probably better if he left.
“Why I say why. Is the question is never fully satisfied. It keeps on going because reality is deep, vast and mysterious and requires a lot of explanation to understand it. What you begin to notice is that the answers don’t satisfy you.”
Russell eased in his chair, intrigued.
“Shouldn’t the answers satisfy?”
“They should, but it is after all just a cold comfort. We know that there is no God. And we know there is no purpose to the universe and we know one day the sun will give out and everything we have ever done, everything we will do and everything we are doing now deep down to the bottom is meaningless. We know this and yet it does not satisfy Funny right?”
“What if we’re wrong?”
“Then we do have a lot of explaining to do. The problem with that question is that we’re right. Science has proved it. Over and over again, we understand how things work. We have physicists, astrophysicists, molecular biologists, ecologists, marine biologists, cosmologists, astronomers, agricultural scientists. They explain and re-explain and have a good idea of how reality works. Though there is mystery, there is no place for God to run.”
“What if he’s in the explanation? What if he’s working everything and we just know how all the pulley’s and levers work.”
“You’re starting to sound like a theist.”
Its dangerous to sound like a theist. All mentions of God, every holy book have been banned and burned.
“I’m no theist. I’m just looking at the argument. Can’t we be wrong? Isn’t it possible?”
“It’s possible, but we can’t be. Our whole civilization is built on us being right, our politics, our economy, our mores, folkways, our foreign policy. We can’t be this wrong. We can’t be this far from the truth. It just can’t be possible, even though it is.”
“Theorem 398.”
“Theorem 398 is perfect, mathematical elegance, poetic beauty, aesthetically sleek. It is impervious to argument. It is impossible to break. No one can defeat it. After three hundred and ninety seven attempts, we have finally proven that there is no God. It has been peer reviewed by multiple respected professionals in the field. The only detractors have been eliminated as enemies of science. It is perfect. People may wonder why the public is not allowed to see it. It is too powerful, too complex for the modern man to understand. They need an interpreter. They need a mediator. They need…”
“A priest?” This took Bertrand by surprise.
“More than that they need a doctor to prescribe what is best for them. Still in the sewers, the last superstitious sect exists. Somehow the deranged cult survives out of the eyes of the public, the last Trinitarians, the last incarnationists, who insist on God’s existence. They say he once lived thousands of years ago and is coming back. They insist that he rose from the dead, defeating death. No one can defeat death. No one has ever resurrected. It’s nonsense. Their so called prophets sometimes preach in the squares of the town and mock theorem 398, calling it smoke and mirrors, their beliefs are the stuff of wish thinking and the psychology of the sky father, all what they can’t have in this life they can have in the next. It’s Schopenhauer and Freud. The world will be much better when we can wash our hands of all of them. If they could just glimpse the magnanimity of the theorem, then they would fall to their knees and worship it. It would become their new God, if they could go to the basement of this building and gaze at it. They would surely fall prostrate. Few have access. Few have clearance. Only I and few do…”
Russell pulls out a revolver and quickly shoots a round through Bertrand’s head. Russell rifles through Bertrand’s pocket and finds the key card and then he drags Bertrand’s body with him to the elevator and presses the basement button. It’s a short drop down. The door opens to a narrow hallway to a heavy door. Russell drags Bertrand’s body to the door. He swipes the key card and puts Bertrand’s hand on the finger print recognition machine. The door opens and Russell pushes himself through. He walks up an elevated platform to a small box titled ‘theorem 398’. Russell opens the box and reads, his gun falls out of his hand.
“Just say there is no God and repeat. Ignore evidence to the contrary.”
Russell walks away in tears, heading in the direction of the sewers.


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