Live theatre was going on all around me. Anyone could join in – there were no rules. It was a fully immersive experience – I was partaking in it without knowing that I was. I thought it was real. I thought I was real.
The theatre was thick and furious – the air was dense with it. People came and went, immersed in their business. A man came up to me, a large book clutched in his hand, and indicated to me that he wished to read to me some of the verses it contained. I dismissed him with a wave of my hand and continued walking down the street. I knew him to be a peddler of illusions – demons had entered into him and were causing him to broadcast memes. The demons were always at this – they broadcast memes far and wide for the sake of maddening mankind. The demons served themselves in this way – they thrived in times of madness. It was ever this way, I think, and then wonder where this thought came from.
I walk on, quickening my pace. Behind me the street preacher roars and shouts. People ignore him as best they can. He is full of toxic memes – broadcasting for all he is worth. The words tumble out of his mouth but none of them make sense. He speaks of souls and suffering. He asks people to consider where their souls will reside for eternity. Such is his madness. Such is the madness with which he wishes to infect the world. His kind has come before and the havoc they wreaked was terrible. Demons walked the earth with impunity, disguised as high-ranking officials, bishops and popular entertainers.
This is an afflicted land I tell myself as I continue to make my way down the street. The afflictions of man are many – some are yet to be discovered. New and hitherto undreamt of technologies wait in the wings, each carrying within it species and varieties of suffering as yet unknown to this world. Men thirst for these technologies. Our thirst is terrible – it can never be satiated. We grow cleverer by the day at inventing new afflictions for ourselves, I think, and then wonder if the thought is mine.
Market stalls surround me. The street is thronged with people, talking and gesticulating gaily as they go about their business. They are – it is clear to me – fully absorbed in the rich drama of their lives. No one stops to question what is going on. ‘Why should they?’ it occurs to me. That would only spoil the continuity of the Grand Event that is unfurling all around us. We are all part of that Grand Event, even though we are but dimly aware of it. Perhaps we are not even aware of it at all – perhaps we too deeply engrossed in the theatre. Perhaps not being aware of the Grand Event is part of the Grand Event. That’s why no one stops.
I stop however. I stop and I question myself. My mind is bristling with questions – I have broken the continuity, I realize. I exist between two worlds. ‘Why does no one ever stop to observe the theatre?’ I wonder. ‘Are they afraid of what will happen if they interrupt the continuity? Are they wiser than I am?’ I thought then of the street preacher, enslaving mankind with his nonsense memes. It worked well in the past. My mind was troubled thinking about him. ‘Was he wiser than he seemed?’ I asked myself, ‘Was he perhaps a wise fool? Did he serve some Greater Purpose?’