Each time I hear someone talk about Aristotle's latest revolutionary idea, I can't help but think about my friend Euriclides. And those thoughts are mournful.
Euriclides was, by definition, a philosopher. He was a determined seeker of knowledge, and he wouldn't rest until he had found a satisfying explanation to a certain problem. But his solutions, or ideas for a possible solution, were generally not accepted by his colleages. This was due to the twisted logic he implanted to all his theories in order to have the problem solved. And this was why, in the wake of his death, nobody paid much attention to his notes on The Truth about Human Existence, and the Road to Catharsis, even though they were similar to those of other philosophers of past and present. It were the beliefs behind those notes that set up Euriclides' downfall. It meant another failure on my part, and an unforeseen one.
The first time the subject was brought up came many years ago, in what was, at that moment, the lowest point in Euriclides' life. Most of his peers were annoyed by him, claiming that he took his theories one step too far (as I explained earlier). Some, on the other hand, found him amusing, and were not bothered by his presence (not much, anyway). And a precious few - Aristotle among them - took him seriously. But their support wasn't enough, and Euriclides freefell into a deep state of depression. Soon his illness made the transition from mind to body, and I, as his doctor, took over his well being.
"You know," he began that day, "I had a weird dream last night."
"I still haven't heard a dream of yours which wasn't weird," I replied. "What was this one about?"
"I dreamt that I was in some kind of Court of Justice. The Court was full and I was standing in the farthest place from the crowd. Then a man approaches me and says, 'This place is known as the Court of Sentences, and, those you see there, are souls that have fallen in disgrace.' I looked, and then I saw; they weren't people, but incorporeal beings. How could I see them, if they had no body? I don't know, all I know is that I did."
"I understand you perfectly, strange and seemingly illogical things like that happen in the realm of dreams. But go on, please. What happened later, and who was that man?"
"Then it came to be that whomever I was talking to wasn't a man, but another soul. And I asked him 'Who are thee?', and he answered me with this, 'My name is Pyos eene tha Yahwe.' Then I asked him who was this Yahwe and why had the souls fallen in disgrace, and he replied, 'Yahwe is the Lord All Mighty, the Supreme Being and Maker of all which is in existence. And those souls you see, have fallen in disgrace for their arrogance.' "
"Then your dream has fallen in heresy, since there are not one, but many gods. Interesting concept, in any case (boring, though). And then, what happened?"
"And it comes to be that in the Court of Sentences there were as many judges as there were souls, and this is because each soul judges itself. This was told unto me by Pyos eene tha Yahwe, who also told me: 'Each soul, after judging its own conduct, has two choices - one, to be forever gone from Paradise, since they have no right to continue to enjoy the fruits of eternal happiness while they are impure...' "
"Awwww?? that's too bad..."
" '...and the other, purification by means of flesh.' "
"And just when I was going to ask him what he meant by that, I woke up."
"You chose the worst moment, my friend."
Euriclides' health improved a bit after the "Souls" dream and I, after leaving someone to take care of him in my place, went back to Thebes to take care (there are those words again) of some business I had there. A month later I returned to Athens to see how Aristotles' new school of philosophy was faring. Then, near the school (as I knew would happen), I stumbled upon Euriclides. I lost no time in greeting him.
"Euriclides, old friend, good to see you! How have you been?"
"Fantastic. I have to admit that, as a doctor, you are a master. I have never felt any better, although you are not the only reason."
"The person I sent?"
"No. Remember the dream I told you about?"
"I have not forgotten it."
"Well, I had two more. And its been visions, good friend. Yahwe Himself has been talking to me."
Visions. He calls them visions.
"By the gods, aren't you going too far? Calling them visions?"
"I'm convinced of it. Listen to what happened and you'll know why."
"Tell me, then," I was anxious to know what he had to say about his visions.
"My second dream started out like this: I was standing at the shore of a huge sea and, suddenly, the sea starts to divide in two. One of the halves moved together in one single direction, while the other half went in all directions, and in a complete chaos."
"And this, does this has any meaning?"
"Yes," he said, "Pyos eene tha Yahwe was there again, and he said: 'What you see now are the souls that have already taken their decision. Some, the ones flowing in order, will try to purify themselves on Earth. The others, the ones going in all directions, have decided to keep disobeying Yahwe's rule and have thus been cast out from Paradise. Some will reach Earth, not to purify themselves but to wreak havoc and prevent others from undertaking their purification.' That was the end of my second dream."
"Like the first one it left you wanting more."
"And more I got, for there was a third, like I told you before."
"And what happened in the third vision?" I asked with a sarcastic tone.
"My third vision," he began, "happened in the following way: I was floating in the night sky and at my left was Pyos eene tha Yahwe. I could see very clearly the stars, and, what was more impressive, the Sun at the same time. It was unmistakably night, yet the Sun was there; I even could look at it without hurting my eyes. But the true show was taking place behind me. I saw an enormous river that flowed, in a spiral-like way, through the night and heading towards a stunning blue, white, and green sphere... 'What you are looking at,' said Pyos eene tha Yahwe, 'is the flux of souls that are heading towards their repurification. And that sphere you see there is Earth. Once in there, the souls, as soon as they incarnate into a human being, will forget their true existence; for purification must come from the noble heart that suffers and cares for others without thinking first in itself, and not from the mindful spirit that does good for fear of divine punishment.' Those were the words of Pyos eene tha Yahwe and that was my third and last vision."
"And why do you think this have been visions and not simple dreams? Because, the way I see it, these aren't nothing more than the results of an incredibly creative imagination."
"The reason is that it all makes sense. Didn't Socrates say that souls were eternal?"
"And isn't this a confirmation of the truth so well exposed by him? Didn't he said that our human body is an obstacle in the search for perfection? By Yahwe, he couldn't be more right! These you see here," he said while grabbing his arm's skin, "are nothing more than bars, and our body a cage for some sinning soul. I have no doubts in my mind; Socrates must have gone through the maximum catharsis, and is now redeemed and happy in Paradise."
This was it. How could he keep believing such nonsense? How could he not see?
"My dear friend, if souls shouldn't be aware of their situation, then why this Yahwe have shown you all this? Why tell you the truth?"
"Because my whole life have been dedicated to the search of the whats, the hows, and the whys; because my prayers for wisdom never stopped. And they have been heard!"
No doubt about that.
"But now, according to your visions, you will be punished again, since you are aware of what might happen."
"I have always tried to help those in need, without expecting any rewards and without knowing the truth. I don't see how can this change things."
He's blind or he doesn't want to see.
"But tell me, Euriclides, if this Yahwe is as just and pure as you claim him to be, why so many souls fall in disgrace with him? Why so many rebel? By the gods, Euriclides, convince yourself once and for all, they were nothing more than dreams without any trace of truth. It is the gods that dictate our destiny, not ourselves."
"Why so many rebel, you ask? Because they have the choice. Yahwe establishes the rules to keep order and in exchange for your obedience of this rules he grants you eternal happiness. Don't you think it's a fair deal? But, in spite of all that happiness, there'll always be some who want more."
"Haven't you thought about the possibility that maybe this Yahwe doesn't tolerate the freedom of doing your own will instead of his?" My patience was lost. How far from reality can a person be?
In that moment I knew that I had lost Euriclides. It was a big disappointment, one I couldn't see coming. I expected more from such a brilliant mind, so open to other possibilities far from the norm, who had the oportunity to see REALITY. In his frantic search for the truth he never stopped to analyze what he was being shown. A single god, pure and just? Never heard a greater nonsense. I tried to show him the truth, but he refused it, rejected it like he would a broken toy or an adulterous wife. Although, of course, he didn't see enough, barely a grain of sand in a huge desert; the whole story has not been told.
Euriclides died believing a nonexistent truth; there is no such thing as Catharsis. It's a fantasy.
Do you want to know what happened to Euriclides? I'll only tell you this: he was wrong, knowing his situation would change things. He broke the rules; one thing is believing what the "Otherworld" has in store for you, another thing is knowing it. We have crossed paths a couple more times (the idiot always came back). He has become my challenge.
What else? oh, I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Lucifer. And don't bother, I already know yours.
Pyos eene tha Yahwe - "Who is like Yahwe (God's name)", which is the meaning of the Hebrew name Mikael, or Michael. Whatever grammatical or syntactic errors may be present, I apologize for; the translation from Greek was quite literal.
Catharsis - ritual purification of people or things affected by some impurity.
Yahwe - Yahwe, or Yahve, is the hebrew name of God. It is not the hebrew translation of the word God, it is the actual name, as it was told unto Moses on the Mt. Sinai. This excerpt from At home with hebrew, is a little more specific: "Even God's special name - spelled Yud-He-Vav-He - indicates the "I AM"/eternal nature of God. The three related Hebrew words, "haya" (was), "hove" (is/exists), and "yiheyeh" (will be) are all spelled with the same letters found in God's special name... This special name is often translated as JeHoVaH or YaHWeH. The letters Y and J are often interchangeable among various lessons, likewise the V and W and the vowels were never assigned. This special name of God, also called the tetragramaton, was only uttered or voiced by the high priest on Yom Kipur, the day of atonement. In normal Hebrew reading, Jewish people substitute word "Adonai" (Lord) or the phrase "Ha Shem" - which literally means "the name". In many modern Bibles, the special name of God is written in all capitals, such as LORD."
Copyright © 1999 Samuel Pérez. All Rights Reserved.
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