A Short Break From the Get-Together on the Head of a Pin

So, it’s really come to this.


He had no delusions that things were anything but bad, but still, he had no idea that the mere pittance he had eked out from fate, one that he had called his “life,” had reached the very depths of depravity…


But sure enough, it seemed some well-meaning higher power sent him one of those famous winged bearers of light and hope.


Well, best get this over with, he thought as he propped himself up from the latest miasma of indolence and crushing ennui.


And yet, once he really got to thinking about it, he did not immediately face interlocutor.


Of course, his abject misery could not be denied. The allure of a being who could solve all problems with just one glance, one admission of credo!, one whimper of supplication, was to be, in his position, a good one indeed. Perhaps too good.


Appearances could be deceiving, especially so in his emaciated state. What if he turned to face his savior, only to find a mirage, a piece of driftwood? Or worse, what if he did face his savior-to-be, only to ultimately find him lacking?


He could not bear such an assault upon his dignity, for his dignity was all he had left, if indeed he had any at all. Best to think on this a little more, then.


He hearkened back to the old thinkers, the great philosophical minds of dusty medieval tomes. They all would have agreed: determine first the nature of this mysterious being.


Well, what was he, then? If the old fathers were to be believed, this was a being of pure intellect, without a body, without shape, without will.


Odd, then how could he offer supplications to a being with no ears to hear, and what good would it do to be advised from a being with no lips to speak?


What was he even to imagine this being as? Of course the classical image of the winged haloed man first appeared in his mind, but why would a being with wings need feet to approach him with steps, and why would a being with no will, already a being of pure light, adorn himself then with a halo of light?


He remembered reading somewhere that if they were to have any shape at all, it would be a circle, the perfect geometric shape, lacking nothing. So why did a man with wings immediately come to mind? And anyway, what could a mere circle really do for him? That notion seemed even more absurd to him.


He wondered, if indeed there was such a benevolent being behind him, how much time he would grant him to think upon his existence. And why not? If he was indeed what he claimed to be, then he’d have nothing if not an infinite capacity for patience.


And there it was. Infinity. What an odd thing to ponder. A being, not just out of time, but of no time whatsoever. Existing in a single monolithic moment of aeviternity.


Is there a threshold he crosses in order to approach him, mortal and of inexorable time as he was? How would he even be aware of the context of his situation? He could be cognizant of infinite times experienced by infinite souls, infinite pleas for spiritual succour. What if he blundered my case with glad tidings meant for some other long-suffering waif?


And then this problem of free will. It was hard enough pondering the notion of his own free will, but what of this being, apparently without any to speak of?


Was he indeed an impartial mouthpiece for some other higher being? Then why divest himself from his exalted state of timelessness and nothingness, just to aid me? What did he really stand to gain, having personal volition or no?


And if not him, what of his master? This called the whole matter into question! What did the highest imaginable being, a being of pure will, the cause of all motion in all the cosmos, care that he was a little despondent? What was His stake in all this?


Could He even be considered the highest being, lacking nothing conceivable, if his well-being was so important to Him, or if He sent strange will-less proxy beings of intellect to do His bidding? Or indeed, if He needed to create these beings at all?!


Was there really a God? If so, then what did it say about a God who needed anything other than Himself? Why ask for or accept any help for a God who should be self-sufficient anyway? Why not jump back into the sea and end it all, what would He care? What was he to believe? What was he to do?


It was at this point his stomach once again rattled and rumbled itself into a fury as he was used to it doing. In spite of all this exegesis, I really am quite hungry, he muttered to himself. If anything, this being, whatever it may be, should at least be able to point him in the direction of some food.


True, he never missed a chance to savage the asinine wager of Pascal, but that was when he had a life to enjoy. There was not much to lose in exchange for a little peace of mind, at the small risk of temporarily betraying his principles. Very well then, I’ll look upon you at last…




Well, what did he really expect?


It wasn’t worth weeping about it any more, he thought. Back to my hunger and boredom for a spell. You know, when you’re not constantly looking for a miraculous way out of it all, when you really have abandoned all hope, it’s not so bad. It’s actually kind of fun.


And to think, he chided himself with a laugh, as his guts gurgled and made his whole body hurt once again, to think, for a second there, I almost thought it was an angel.

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