Dance with the Devil: An Algorithmic Tale in Philosophical Understanding
I entered the ballroom, lights reflecting from the crystals on my gown, the smell of lady's perfume forcing its way into my nostrils, and the sweet symphony prodding my ears. This was my first ball by invitation, and before the memory of walking up those marble steps, reflecting like mirrors the moonlight, into the mansion could reach a place in my mind where I might recall it in the future, I was dancing. As my legs carried me through the promenade, I could hear the gentle rush of air moving past my ears as I spun from the arms of one man to the next.
I knew that I looked impeccable, for my fair skin and blonde hair, my slender waist and soft, but firm breasts, my naturally red lips and long, slender legs were complimented by my expensive gown and extensive primping. So when the music changed and everyone stayed with their current dance partner, it should have been no surprise when my partner said, "You look beautiful tonight," but that tingle shot up my spine. That sensation that you get which drives your skin mad, causing goosebumps. I tried to hold it back, but I shivered, and looked up at this man.
I tried my hardest to thank him, but his eyes, oh, his eyes...
They were of the lightest grey imaginable. They were breathtaking. His face was slender, his features seemed to have been chiseled from marble. His hair was long, grown to his jaw-line, slightly wavy, and black. By my hand on his shoulder, I could tell that he was also exceptionally strong. And those eyes...
"Thank you," he said. What? Had I said something out loud? Had he read my mind? "... are the words, I believe, that commonly follow a compliment," he finished.
I blushed. "I guess my mind had wandered," I said, "I'm sorry, and thank you." I gave him my most sensuous smile. He laughed, and said, "Actually, you were right." I gave a puzzled look. "About what?"
"I did read your mind."
My heart leaped into my throat, a ping of fear and surprise firing like a shotgun through my body.
"Have a seat," he said, inviting me to one of two chairs in the middle of the dance floor, chairs I hadn't even noticed were there prior to this time. I sat down, and he joined me in the adjacent chair. I never took my eyes off of him, and while I should have felt afraid, I found myself moreso curious.
"Who are you?" I asked.
I heard a twig crack and took the opportunity to search for help. A squirrel bounded along, carrying an acorn from the oak he was retreating from. No, no one who might be able to help me, save the trees, themselves. I looked up to see that there was no moon, and even if there had been, the canopy of the trees blocked out most of the stars. I turned away from the forest background, back to Satan. His eyes pierced me, regardless of the blinding darkness of the night. He leaned forward, his face suddenly very close to my own. I leaned back against the tree stump to distance myself. "Why are you here? What do you want with me?"
"I have nothing to gain, nor to lose, by my presence."
"Your presence? Then why have we met?"
"I am here for your benefit."
"What do I, nor anyone else, have to gain by consorting with the devil?"
"Your soul, if you wish to call it that."
"You want my soul?"
"No. Do you?"
"I should think so... it's mine."
"Then you should take it," he said, with concern on his face.
"Don't I already have my soul?"
"In a sense, yes, you 'have' your soul, but to truely own something which you cannot see requires you to gain full knowledge and understanding of it. Until you do that, you have no more a grasp on it than you do a bar of soap while bathing. By learning, you take it, and you make it yours."
"So, if I assume correctly, you are here to educate me. I'm sorry, but that sounds much like a contradiction of interests."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you know..." I hesitated, trying to soften the tone by finding different words so as to not offend him, but to no avail, and said, "You're Satan."
Again, I hesitated. "And Satan is supposed to steal souls..."
"As well as corrupt the world, and commence evil deeds in general. Yes, yes, I know."
"You're the sworn enemy of God."
"Oh, yes, pardon me. I forget the many different names that you people have for me."
"Excuse me? You aren't God."
"The Bible, the Church. I don't know... everyone."
"Humans and human institutions, molded from the imaginations of humans. Tell me, have you ever seen God such as you are seeing me now?"
"No, but I've felt his presence."
"More than likely, that was me. As I am now, I am in a form which you may percieve. This form, apparently, was termed as the devil. When it so happens that I am outside of your perception, I am the term, 'God.'"
I looked around again at those who went about, searching for their books. They paid no heed to our presence, and the librarian did not object to the loud speeches of Lucifer's debate. I shifted uncomfortably in the plastic seat. Why do libraries always tend to be cheap in their furnishings, yet charge a rediculously large amount for a single day's late fee? I'll never know. I resumed my attention to Lucifer, and asked, "Can they see you?"
"I am part of your reality, not theirs."
"Yes, your reality, your mental being, your consciousness... Your soul."
"My soul and my reality are one?"
"You would suggest something else?"
"My soul is inside of me, while reality is outside of me."
I fumbled around with some words, started some sentences, but didn't finish them, trying to find a way to prove my point, and found that I couldn't. This is just the way things are! Shouldn't he, Lucifer himself, know this?
"No, things aren't just that way, as they were not understood by early man, yet they were developed, incorrectly, into the definitions and dimensions you've provided.Therefore, no, I shouldn't simply 'know' that. You simply assumed that these presumptions were correct."
He had read my mind again, and I wished him to stop.
"Very well," said he, "but come back to the point. Reality lies within you... whatever that is."
"You don't know who I am?"
"I haven't a clue."
I saw my chance at debunking him, and took it. "If you are God, then you should know."
At this, he laughed. "You are assuming again. Actually, it's a presumption to say that God exists at all. As far as you're concerned, he doesn't. If, in fact, he does exist, he does not exist within your reality. He did not, as far as you can know, create anything, and he does not affect change in your reality."
He smiled, with a bit of pride in his face, and continued. "Only the devil, a possessive spirit by definition, can do that. As an example, you, my dear, are the main character in a story. I am the writer of that story, and God is the reader."
"Do I, as I am just a character, have any say in what I do?"
"You must write a story to know. If you do, you will find that the writer becomes the character in order to ensure that you are doing exactly what you would do. The writer sees the whole picture, and everything happens according to the story."
"So I both make my own decisions, and I don't?
"So it is both internal and external, as I said, being the soul and reality."
"Wrong. There is no external, as far as you can know."
"What? I see things outside of me! I hear, smell, touch, and sometimes taste them, and these things are external!"
"Are you certain, or are you assuming again? You tell yourself that you are percieving by those means, being external, but as the interpretation is an internal process, you do not actually realize anything external. Therefore, it cannot be assumed that there is an external at all."
This intrigued me, for as he described this, I tested it in my mind. A thought flashed through my head, and so I blurted, "But you are external, and therefore, you do not exist!"
"That's my girl, now you're getting it."
"What?! How can you say that you do not exist?"
"Because I do not. I am part of your reality, and so the question of my existence outside of your reality is debatable."
"You mean to say that nothing exists outside of my head?"
"A physical description, which is impossible to determine, but yes. Let me give you another example; if someone was to observe you, such as God, or the reader of this story, they would have no reason to believe that you are anything other than female, when, in fact, you are male. It is, or was, simply not part of their reality."
I slumped down into my chair. I understood now, and felt the need to rip off my skin and let myself out. I knew that I couldn't, and fell into depression from loneliness. "Why are you telling me this? What can I possibly gain from it?"
"To understand and to know is to own. I know that it doesn't feel like ownership validates this existence, but you only feel this way because you want to. You've been alone for an infinite amount of time, yet you only feel alone now that you know that you are."
"Lucifer, you must tell me; who am I?"
"You, nor I, will ever know. You are not your past, as it cannot be assumed that such a thing as a 'past' exists. You may have made it up, and not even realized it. It is a figment of your imagination. You are not the future, because it has not happened, and one cannot assume that it will. You cannot be the present, because, with no past or future, you have nothing to gauge what that zenith of time might be."
I was in shock. I had realized that, "I have no name."
"I have no name. The author didn't give me a name." I began to cry. I stood up, shaking my fists at the sky, screaming, "Who am I?! Who am I?!" in hope that the person writing this story could hear me.
Satan stood up, and started his walk towards the front doors of the library. I spun around and screamed, "Where do you think you're going?! Tell me who I am! Tell me now!"
Lucifer stopped short of the door, and turned to face me.
In a quiet voice, almost a whisper, he responded, "You are but a cosmic speck. You are a blip, a point in space; dimensionless, and limitless." He glanced at the bookshelf next to him and selected a leatherbound copy of "The Mysterious Stranger," by Mark Twain.
"A book like this is thought, bound in flesh. You, on the other hand, are a thought, and nothing else."
Last edited by Azrienoch
on 14 Jan 2005, 02:10, edited 1 time in total.