this is almost word for word the fever dream i had this morning around 3 am. being sick sucks but it's amazing what your mind can come up with while under duress... and of course, i type this up and show it to you. don't question these things. just go with it.
When Latin and Hegel beat You Up.
I wander down from the bell tower and meander around the church, dragging my fingers lightly over the pews, the door of the confessional, the altar. He has followed me down and stands watching me for a few seconds before asking, "You like our church?"
I shrug and walk over towards him. "I'm a Quaker. I'm not used to all this…."
"I was thinking more along the lines of arma religionis…"
"The weapons of religion? What a strange way to put it. "
"Nay, secondary meaning, the utensils of religion."
"You have studied Latin?"
He leans back and nods before beckoning for me to follow and takes me to the entrance to the church. "Can you read that?" He points to an inscription about the door.
I study it for a few seconds then respond, "A man will be free, only if he wishes to be free. That's a strange thing to have on the front of a church."
He shrugs and raises an eyebrow, "Weapons of religion, right?"
I smile and take his arm companionably we stroll back into the sanctuary and sit on the steps leading to the altar.
"So tell me, Quaker Friend, do you wish for this, these utensils of religion?"
It was my turn to shrug. "I used to think that it would be a comfort to have them. Being able to feel god whenever you want, wherever you are is a comfort in itself… But there are times when I can understand exactly why the Catholics love their 'arma'."
"Do all Quakers believe in God?"
I thought it a strange comment coming from a man of the church, but times change, as they always do, and I myself was an exception. "I cannot speak for the hearts of others, but no, not all Quakers believe in God."
I have to give it to him, he was a quick one. He leaned back nodding and smiled, slowly. "Then you believe in…?"
I stopped for a second. I had never really thought about it but what I thought and knew… what I had learned… all melded together and I searched for an easy way to explain it. I started then, at the beginning, as many people often do.
"This is going to take a while."
"I would never expect anything else." He settled back into a more comfortable position.
A deep breath, and then beginning, "I studied classical myths when I was younger, and as you already know, took a little bit of Latin. And when you devour myths like they're candy, sleep with your book of Greek myths like it's a blanket, you start noticing things that a gentle reader of those stories would not recognize."
I shook my head and took a deep breath, I had always respected other religions, and here I was, about to blaspheme in a church… oh well. "Gods were created by men, and as such they could not have created men. The Greek gods were much more likeable, despite the whole incest thing…"
"So you believe in Greek gods then?"
"I did, for a little while. They were nicer and more exciting."
"Now… God is perfection. God is what we want but in this imperfect world can't have. God is the way things should be when we don't like the way they are. God is in those moments which are so close to perfect, they might as well be. The way .999 never ending is one, but isn't. But it's more than that. "
"More than that? Howso?"
"You studied Latin at some point. Right?"
"I did indeed…"
"And you know the tense called 'Perfect'?"
"And it doesn't mean what 'perfect' normally means, does it?"
"It means that the verb, the action, has already occurred. Is completely in the past, right?"
"Which kind of makes sense, right? That the past is perfect, which would lead one to believe that God is the past. (Ignore, for just a moment, space-time and relativity etc.)"
"I can see where you are going with that, yes."
"Are you aware of the idea that the present doesn't exist, for if one goes into infinitely small numbers, one cannot measure the present, for by the time you've measured it, that moment is already in the past."
"No, don't think I've heard of that one, but I know what you're getting at."
"Do you know any Hegel? Are you aware of his theory involving cyclical time in which the pattern of thesis, antithesis and synthesis are repeated ad infinitum?"
"Somewhat aware, but continue, please. I find this vastly interesting. How old are you again?"
"Sixteen. Moving on, let us say that the past, perfection, is Hegel's thesis, the state of being. Let us also say that the present is Hegel's antithesis, the state of non-being, (since it never truly exists), that which opposes the thesis. Then, according to Hegel, the thesis and antithesis blend to form the synthesis, which in this case is the future, the state of becoming. The future is the past and the present combined, and perhaps, one begins to see that perfection is not limited to the past, but, strangely enough in this imperfect world, is all around us, found equally in the three worlds that be."
I stop and we both are quiet for a little while, lost in thought. Finally I turn to him and ask the random question I hadn't bothered with until now. "What's your name, anyway?"
He blinked and looked back up at me. "You'll laugh."
"I might, but I'll mean nothing by it."
He made a curious gesture with his thumb and forefinger, as if plucking lint off his shirt and then flicked it aside. His skin began to glow softly, and he looked much younger than he had before. He stood up, cricked his back, and shook out his shoulders, then leaned over and gave me a hand . I stood up and brushed off my own clothes, then turned my gaze to him and said, "Your name, sir?"
He grinned and the glow became brighter. "I am Hermes, old friend; it has been a long while since we last spoke.
I bowed, deeply, but couldn't help laughing as I did so, "Wayfarer! I should have known 'twas you."