"Whether thou warn them or warn them not, it is
alike for them, for they believe not."
A SOCIO-SECULAR APPROACH TO ITS NATURE AND ORIGIN
Actions have consequences:
response, premeditation. To do 'this' instead of 'that'
requires a choice, implies a gauge. How measure impact
in a vacuum? Moral rectitude has reality. Be it
practical, ethical, spiritual, there exists an ordered
way, a noble hierarchy wherein values can be weighed in
terms of merit. Ever-eager for improvement,
ever-watchful for decline, the human animal can aspire to
homogeneous norms of conduct , although double-standard
hubris presupposes failure. Yet how exist without the
hope that life, to consciousness, makes some sense, no
matter how its truths disguise themselves as falsehoods?
"Good" prevails. If not in practice, then in theory.
Good is tantamount to "The Light"—while only death and
evil kowtow to "The Darkness."
There it sits.
Having passed his Orals, TA'ed many a class,
worn student-hood like an emblem, like a cap and gown grown
threadbare over the course of five long years, Franchone's
dissertation, once begun and re-begun—re, re, ad nauseam—has
ultimately stalled, in his Apple Mac computer, a lapsed pariah.
He bows his head. He idly clicks the mouse with his index
finger, jitterbugging the copy, threatening "save" or "trash";
it makes no difference, each cues "Agony Mode"—the actual
file-name he assigned to denote his stunted magnum opus, its
completion no doubt eons down the line.
His aim had been to break away from
theology's stagnant dogma and philosophy's stilted penchant for
belaboring every term, to do what peers and prim professors had
advised him to avoid; that is, create a creditable work of
'original thought.' Was this so vain? Had all been mulled and
mouthed and written by men before him, brilliant scholars from
Socrates to Mill, from Kant to Aquinas? How compete, how nudge
the species toward Enlightenment through the inexperienced views
of a lowly post-graduate?
How indeed; Franchone felt equal to the
task... or did 'back when.'
Back when the stodginess of his father's
creed could drive him to distraction, so complacent in its
doctrine, so irrational in its zeal. There really was no
heaven, no hell, no last reward or due comeuppance. These
were fables spun to ensnare the moronic and the gullible. He
Back when academia beckoned with a
nonsectarian beam that shone so brightly Truth would surely
cast off superstition's shadow, spread an aura of
intelligence, reason, wisdom, trade-in halos for the real
illumination of lucent thought.
Back when he cared, when youth had
energized his ambition to distinguish himself, win honors,
parlay undergraduate laurels into academia's top degree; a
Doctor of Philosophy, summa cum laude, first in his class.
Prestige inspired him. Then discouraged him,
grew obsessive, vague, confused; he lost his zeal. The world of intellect
shrank to rhetoric, far removed
from everyday experience. High ideals succumbed to humble-pie inertia,
daunting and intractable.
Words, mere words:
existence, by software, unerringly spelled, transcribed into
marks on a page, seemed absurd...
In opting for symbols, supplanting
things-actual, concepts subverted life's tangible themes, in a
program designed to swap Being for Musing. No wonder sex loomed
with an unabashed vigor, its rush of adrenalin so flesh-and-blood
real. Would that all mental constructs were grounded in
suchness, beholden to what's-what, as opposed to ought, should.
Abstractions, divorced as they were from sensations, left
Franchone derailed, stuck, inclined to withdraw... into
smoke-ring hyperbole; nothing much mattered:
distinctions, by the hemp he inhales (holds
Lured from the keyboard to his stash back to
keyboard, repetitive puffs cause the screen to blink blank,
obscured by a cloud of forgetful indifference that likewise
befogs Franchone's gumption.