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|This part continues to depict the troubles of a youth worshiped due to his appearence.||
“We must hurry.”
He nodded, moving as silently as he could to gather his clothes from the mantle and his blankets from the floor. He then followed the old woman as she ducked behind the tapestry which covered an enormous opening in the otherwise nondescript wall. The hall beyond swung sharply towards a wooden staircase, leading presumably to a flat above where he guessed the woman worked, though he couldn’t guess what she did. She waved him upwards after her, pressing her finger to her lips as she did so. Seioah nodded, feeling a draft pass over his shoulders and drawing his warm, somewhat damp clothes closer to his chest.
“My lady has agreed to hide you in her suite, but we must be most careful that the men abroad don’t imagine anyone has been admitted to the household. You would have been too easy to find in my room;, however, we are hoping they wont dare to enter the privacy of my mistres’s quarters should they suspect us.”
She stopped at the top of the stairs, opened the door a crack and gazed through with narrowed eyes. The hall was dark and he was sure he hadn’t slept long, probably not more than an hour. The storm hadn’t yet abated and the sky still maintained a darkness known only by the early morning. A figure, he realized, stood several feet away from the door with a candle in her hand. He took her for the woman’s mistress, though he couldn’t be sure. She motioned for them to follow, then quickly vanished into a doorway across the hall. They followed, though he didn’t spy her when they entered the room beyond.
The old woman ushered him forward towards the back of the room. “This is no fugitive house, Child. We have no secret closets or passages in which we might hide you. We can’t guarantee the men who come looking won’t find you, however we have a bedroom in the back of my lady’s suite which will serve you to rest in and hide. We have, however, sent for my lady’s brother who is in the position to refuse entrance to the city guard should they call. He will certainly aid you in your escape in addition, should you so desire.”
Seioah nodded eagerly, though notedly weary.
“Something warm to drink, Lord Seioah,” a softer, more feminine voice said. The woman he had seen before had reappeared and now pressed a warm glass into his hands, and through the faint candlelight he imagined he saw her smile. “You are my guest for the time, though I hope it will only be a short while as we are both in great danger at present.”
“I thank you, Lady…?”
“Just Lady, Lord Seioah. I shall divulge no name to ensure that none may know it should your escape prove unsuccessful,” she led him towards a doorway at the back of the enormous bedroom, waving him inside.
“But then who shall I thank?”
“I need no thanks, I do this for reasons of my own and although they parallel your own needs and desires, I would hardly call them similar. Your safe departure from the city will benefit my family enormously,” she patted his arm. “Have no worry, you are quite safe in this house.”
Seioah nodded, gazing around the room before him. It was little bigger than a closet and had no windows or other doors with the exception of the empty closet in the rear. The fireplace was next to the door and the bed was pushed up against the far wall and dressed with a plane quilt and single pillow, both of which appeared somewhat dusty and unused. Next to the bed stood a night stand made of plain wood which was scratched and worn, and upon the top sat a short, fat yellow candle whose flame flickered and provided little light. At the foot of the bed was a large chest, old and tattered with tarnished brass hinges and handles at each end, and an ornate lock on the front which hung open and appeared to have done so for a considerable period of time. Across from the bed stood a single dresser with a mirror tilted atop it and six drawers, and across the floor was an oval-shaped rug which was very flat and dirty. The walls were empty, everything was dusty, and the very highest corners held the ancient cobwebs of creatures long ago caught or vanquished. Not an altogether fitting room for a god, but a welcome one for a fugitive. Regardless of the dust, there was a bed which was much more welcome than the floor.
“We’ll leave you here, Lord Seioah, to rest before your journey. If all goes well my brother will help smuggle you from the city by tomorrow evening, but first I believe you need rest.”
He smiled gratefully. “Thank you, Lady, for your generous hospitality.”
“We shall see how generous it is. You may thank me later Lord as much as you may curse my interference.”
He didn’t know why he would ever curse her, but he watched her leave with weary eyes and noted that as the door closed a lock fell into place. He wondered if that was meant to keep him safe from intruders or prevent escape; however, regardless of the consequences he was now in the hands of the lady of the house, something he wasn’t altogether unsatisfied with.
He turned to the bed, still clutching his wet clothes to his chest and the cup in his hand. He felt self-conscious suddenly, standing and holding such things to him where any motions he made seemed somehow wrong. He was the doll left in the dollhouse and charged to remain still while the child played in the garden, and so it was that only very mechanical motions could be forced from him. He set down the cup, hanging his clothes once more by the fire and laying upon the bed where he pulled the quilt up to his chin and hooked his fingertips over the edges. He was still tired though, and knew he needed sleep. And vaguely he remembered the dream he’d had and wondered if he would dream it once more or even remember it when he awoke, but he was awake and the dream world was fuzzy to him just then.
The dark place was easier to find and recognize the second time, and he was glad to find it. As before, the real world was a fuzzy place which he knew and remembered, but it seemed as a dream appeared to one who had awakened. He hummed quietly into the darkness, watching knives of blue spike into the air around him then fade as he stilled his voice to watch them. He spoke a word, nothing in particular, and found it caused a wave of colour to fly from his feet out into the darkness and eventually fade.
He wanted to speak, wanted to see such beauty once more, and began babbling to himself simply to see the coloured waves and their creations. Some waves were shades of green and others red, some were small while others enormous and spanning great distances, some vibrating, some fast and others slow-moving. He was transfixed, fascinated by such a simple thing as a word, and so pleased that for the moment nothing else mattered.
It was funny too, that after he had been talking for a long time he began to hear other voices similarly babbling meaningless words. They seemed far, far away and yet he could hear and understand each word they spoke. It was a thunder of whispers, but each was discernable from the next and each uniquely spoken, heard and understood. It seemed impossible, and yet because he remained in this utterly impossible place he was able to believe what he heard without difficulty. And he heard Seaoa also, his tender baritone seeming at first to speak incomprehensively, however as Seioah stilled his own voice and listened more closely he realized he was being addressed.
“Seioah, M’boy, welcome back. Knew I would see you again somehow, I suppose those of us endowed with the name of a god have to stick together, right? After all, I’m quite sure no one else would so fully understand what trials we’ve been put through. Though you returned sooner than I had expected, I must admit. Are you sleeping so much because you’re ill?”
“Seaoa!” he exclaimed before he could stop himself, a smile breaking across his face.
“You found me.”
“I’m glad. And no, I’m not sick. I just haven’t slept so much lately, and besides, before I was only here for about an hour.”
“Only an hour, eh? It’s hard to judge time here, I find. At times an instant can be hours, while at other times and hour becomes an instant.”
“Oh yes, certainly. It’s very odd, however, many things are.”
Seioah frowned. “How so?”
“Oh, nothing really makes sense. You should know that. The most obvious things are the most confusing, and the least confusing are the ones which are the most complicated. I have concluded that nothing in life is nearly as simple or easy as we would wish it, when we wish it.”
“Perhaps…” Seioah shrugged, not really understanding and concluding that his counterpart was a little too philosophical for his tastes. He frowned. “Then my assessment of my situation is more complicated than it appears? I am a prisoner, and no god. I think that’s fairly simple to see.”
“Aw, but we haven’t yet concluded what a god is. Perhaps you are one, though you aren’t prepared to admit it.”
“I’m not. A god hears prayers and grants miracles, and I do neither.”
“Really?” Seaoa blew out his breath. “But what if a god only watches and cares but is unable to act?”
“Then why would they be a god? To be able to watch and care are actions mankind is capable of. Why would they be revered?”
“But we don’t revere those qualities. We worship a hope that one like a man may provide more than man is able, give answers to prayers and accomplish miracles.”
“Because we are unable to save ourselves from life’s worst, and because we fear death; that unknown place where salvation may be lost to even the best attempts.”
“You have a lot of answers, Seaoa.”
“I’ve had a great deal of time to contemplate them.”
“Mind if I ask you something?” Seioah rubbed his forehead with his palms, scrutinizing the darkness for signs of movement. He wondered if it was a dream he found himself in—it was very real.
“If you wish. What would you like to know?”
Seioah hesitated, closing his eyes briefly and allowing the colours to fade around him. It was cold here, he realized. Not only dark, but cold—bitterly so. He wondered, as he realized the words were bubbling to his lips, whether the question he would ask would end the peaceful oblivion for him. It was a jarring question, but he had to know. “Are you the god after whom I am named? In whose image I appear?”
Seaoa chuckled. “And if I were?”
“I only wish to know if you are,” he responded resolutely.
“But what would you do if I said I was?”
“I don’t know.”
“I’m not a god, Seioah. I do the best I can, but that amounts to very little.”
Seioah shook his head. “You are who I was named after, though you will not admit it and will do nothing to help me.”
“You hadn’t asked for help, but no. I will do nothing to help you.”
“But why? If you’re able to, why won’t you? How can you leave me with the life I have, I who stand as your double—your Gemini. You haven’t even shown yourself.”
“To see me, you need only look to yourself. I, like you, stand in the vision of a man.”
Seioah curled his fingers into fists at his sides, feeling an ache suddenly begin in his stomach. “So you do exist, you know that I live a lie by standing in your stead, and yet you’ll do nothing to amend that. What kind of god are you?”
“I am as much a god as you yourself are,” he answered patiently. “That is, not at all by your measure.”
“I can’t imagine that.”
“Aw, but you’ve seen very little of the world, and none whatsoever of that world which I claim as my own,” he sighed. “In my world all people are such as I and only small variances occur, however I hear no prayers and grant no miracles. I believe, however, that you aren’t so much upset with me because I cannot help you as you are frustrated over the simple fact that you want to save your world and aren’t able.”
“Very astute assessment. It seems that the requirements of a god go very little farther than appearance in my case—no powers or special abilities—and I, who should be able to help those in need, am only able to consider what I am unable to accomplish…”
“…and it’s torture to see all those who come before you remain so ignorant of the truth as they leave, isn’t it?”
Seioah didn’t answer. What could he answer? That it was? That it pained him to see each one, and pained him more when they came a second and third time, bowing to the floor before him and asking miracles. He would sit on that too hard throne made entirely of gold plated metal, always cold and uncomfortable, and he would smile serenely. He knew he must have been a picture, with the rich draperies hanging over his head and the gold and jewelled headdress adorning his silvery hair. They would paint his eyes some days, so that the violet in their depths was more noticeable—more unearthly, more immortally beautiful though he was no more immortal than they. They would come before him, rich in the morning and evening, and poor at midday, and they would kneel and offer their last copper coin simply to be allowed his meaningless blessing.
They would happily starve that night while the priests sneered at their meagre tribute.
And what of those who asked that their friends be saved, their relatives healed, and their children, please cure their children from whatever harmed them! They would ask this of him, and he would nod at times, smile rarely, and more often than not ignore them entirely and dream of what ways he might otherwise live. And if a miracle occurred, he hadn’t caused it or had any hand in helping it occur, and would sourly receive the gratitude for an action he had taken no part in.
“I’m sorry I can’t help you,” Seaoa sighed.
“And why is that? Why can’t you do anything? Or is it that you won’t.”
Seaoa hesitated, stammering to answer then stopping himself several times. “You’re right. It’s not that I’m unable to help you, but that I won’t. Your life is yours to live, and you must do with it what you can. My intervention would do no good.”
“How do you know that? Have you ever tried?”
“To ruin your life? I can’t say I have—”
“Then you don’t know what would happen. You don’t know that the best thing for me wouldn’t be the help you might provide.”
“And if I was wrong?” he asked, carefully considering Seioah’s statements.
“Then at least you would have tried. At least you wouldn’t have left me in such an impossible situation!”
“And what if the bird, once freed from its gilded cage, finds the world beyond its view unlike what it had imagined? What then, when the birdcage is left empty, closed and locked?”
“Then I would face the danger of an unfamiliar happiness rather than the safety of familiar misery.”
“And I could never make them forget you. I couldn’t make them overlook your face, your hair, or your eyes. Ceaselessly they would worship their god and perceive you shaped in his image . I can’t change that fact, regardless of how powerful I may be. The power I claim is frivolous really, unable to cause more than a superficial change in the world and even that lasting only an instant before being swallowed by history.”
“If you can’t make them forget my face then change it.”
“Then if I must forever be called a god, can’t you make me into one? It’s only fair that I be what I am believed to be.”
“Would you want that?” Seaoa asked.
“I already have all the unpleasantness, but none of the benefits befitting the role,” he answered coldly.
“You don’t know what is involved in being a god, Seioah,” Seaoa answered patiently.
“I know enough to know that I’ve gotten the worse end of the deal. I have a mountain of wishes and prayers, none of which I can answer. I smile and bless the masses each day, but what do I bless them with? I have nothing, I give them nothing, and they walk away thinking I have offered them the world. And is it worse that I have to live with that knowledge or that they don’t?”
“Not all wishes should be granted, Seioah. People grow through obtaining their dreams, but they also grow by not obtaining them. Where do you draw the line? Are you willing to choose?”
Seioah considered. “But how do you choose?” he asked, suddenly wondering. However, as he spoke he realized the truth. “You don’t choose…do you? You just ignore all of your options and hope for the best!”
“That is my way, yes, but I chose not to interfere rather than risk being mistaken in my assessments. Don’t you think the people who you care for so greatly should be given the opportunity to do with life what they are best able to, without intervention?”
“I don’t particularly care for them, but yes,” Seioah replied, “they should have the opportunity to do with their lives what they wish. However there is so much good which could be done, and you’re so afraid of doing harm that you aren’t willing to see that!”
“But I don’t have a scale to judge how much good will outweigh the harm I do, Seioah. What I might do in a single, rash act may shatter something else which is equally priceless and irreplaceable.”
“But by not acting you also do harm!”
Seaoa sighed heavily, as though attempting to sweep away all the sadness and concern in his life. “Ours is a circular argument, Seioah. I may act and cause harm or act and cause good, but I may also fail to act and avoid both. My decision was made long ago with the best judgement I had at my disposal, and I am committed to its ends.”
“And what if your descision was a mistake? Will you continue for all time to make that same mistake over and over again?”
“I shall,” he replied rather quickly. “Because I mightn’t have erred.”
“Then,” Seioah said softly, looking down at his faint, ethereal hands and the fading colours surrounding him. “Then you really don’t have any divine knowledge greater than that which is available to myself…” he trailed off slowly.
“My knowledge base is greater, but I can’t say that it is impossible that any fact I know is beyond your reach should you so wish to obtain it.”
“Then what makes you a god?”
“I don’t claim to be one.”
“But you do!”
“You are a god by your own reasoning—you hear my prayers and are able to grant what I would see as miracles, and just because you don’t take these actions hardly changes the fact that you are able to. You stand here contradicting me as though I were a child, and perhaps I am, however if you feel that you have no right to come to my assistance then what makes you feel you have the right to challenge what I believe?”
“I challenge you because, although I won’t assist in what actions you might take, I feet it necessary to insure you choose that action which is most beneficial to your present circumstances.” Seaoa answered.
Seioah calmed himself. “But how do you know what’s most beneficial? How can you weigh what is best and worst for me when you say you cannot do so for any other person?”
“But by challenging you I hope to have you question what you believe and assist in your reaching a conclusion. I’m not creating that conclusion for you.”
“However, you’re herding me towards what you seem to feel is correct.”
“Am I? Oh, I don’t agree. I’m just asking and answering what thoughts come to mind. I’m just as curious about where our discussion may lead as you yourself must be.” He chuckled.
Seioah took a deep breath, scowling, then slowly turned his expression to one more amiable. You don’t smile because you’re happy, Lord Seioah. You’re happy because you smile…the voice drifted away, one which had spoken long ago and now could only be found in his memory. “Perhaps…I wonder, does a person become a god simply by being called such?”
“If that is the only requirement of a god, it would seem so. But why would the people wish to name a person such?”
“Mankind for some reason needs a god, but why?”
“I believe it is fear, Seioah. Fear of the many events which are beyond our comprehension; those which only a god may change or safeguard against. At some point life naturally becomes uncontrollable and chaotic, and where one person may not control their life they hope that some other entity, one just and well-meaning, will safeguard it.”
“And that’s it?” Seioah asked, half-expecting something more complex.
“To my knowledge and belief it is so. The only other reason I could imagine a god would arise would be hope—hope that something beyond the ability of the individual might occur. However, hope and fear are so closely related that they are nearly indistinguishable.”
He grimaced. “I’m not sure I understand.”
“Take yourself for example. You both fear death and want to live, and yet those two things are interconnected in such a way that one is easily able to cause the other. By fearing death you are in fact fearing for life, and while you hope to live you also hope that your life will continue and not be ended prematurely.”
Seioah nodded slowly. “Alright, but then when does a god stop being a god?”
“When his existence as a god is questioned his godliness will be concluded.”
“His existence as a god?”
“When one questions the entity they have named a god as being something other than a god, then the god is no longer and only the entity remains.”
“But what if we believe that gods are simply a race of beings which have created the universe and are able to help or hinder it? Beings so powerful they are beyond our comprehension and thus unquestionable in our eyes.”
Seaoa considered at length. “Your god is a god because you believe him to be such. Omnipotence is unnecessary. If you named him as a race of beings such as you just did, though you would be naming him you would only be imposing a distinction upon a being you knew and building restrictions around your understanding. If you are prepared to ask the question of what god is and why he exists, then you must also be prepared to ask what a god isn’t and why he mightn’t exist at all.”
“And when I question his existence,” Seioah began thoughtfully, “I in fact cast him aside as a god and into the role of …but what does a god become when I can no longer name him as such?”
“What he has always been, though perhaps you may be better able to recognize that once you recognize that mankind created god as a label for something unknown. A saviour was wished for, as well as an entity which might superimpose a national conscience upon the people and ampliphy the necessity of righteous and moral behaviour. Though this behaviour may not always be met with, it would be present and a driving force for the society. Without god there is initially no right and wrong in a society, however from god and religion grows a sense of such things which eventually become the law of the land.”
“So, but I don’t entirely understand. You say that if I question the existence of god then I am in fact casting him aside as such, however if this occurs couldn’t we say he was never a god to begin with?” Seioah hesitated, considering. “We’ve found that the requirement of a god is simply that they be called such. And so, if I stop calling them a god they stop being a god, but at the same time I know innately that whether or not I call a book a book, it still remains what it is. How can I change something then by simply renaming it?”
Seaoa chuckled softly. “Aw, child, but you are beginning to understand. Tell me, since you realize that a name is only a way of calling something we know, by renaming it do we change what it actually is?”
“No…” he hesitated once more. “We don’t change it. We only call it differently.”
“So by calling a book a flower we still perceive the book in the same fashion we had previously?”
“Yes, but I don’t understand where this is leading.” He sighed. “I rename a god as something else, but then by your logic that same being would still remain a god, wouldn’t it?”
“Then tell me, Seioah, if the god is not in fact a god but rather something else, then shouldn’t you attempt to refrain from renaming it and rather recognize that it is presently called wrongly and seek the true name of what lies before you?”
“Then,” he frowned, “you’re saying that I shouldn’t attempt to rename my god, but rather realize that he has already been renamed?”
“If you reach that conclusion, yes, I believe you should recognize that.”
“If I reach that conclusion?”
“Well, I’m wondering Seioah. If you appear in the form of your god and are named after your god and yet know that you are not he, then whom do you look to as a god? Whose downfall do you question if not your own?”
“Not mine,” Seioah said bitterly, “but if I could I would destroy the belief of the people in what I represent. The god Seioah doesn’t exist as they wish him to, he is only a myth, and to be ruled by myth is to be lead through life with false hopes and dreams which only escort disappointment and eventually regret. No matter how beneficial it is to believe a lie for a moment, a lifetime of believing a lie causes the lifetime and its values to become lies.”
“Would you have humanity know every truth then?”
“Yes,” he answered resolutely. “I would.”
“Then you are more of a fool than I took you for, Seioah. I thought it noble, though perhaps uncalled for that you sought to right a wrong from which you greatly benefited, but that nobility is something which often accompanies youth. Your idealism is to be commended also, however your prominent naïveté has become entirely too intrusive upon your thoughts. You would have each person know that what they worship is unreal, am I correct?” He didn’t wait for an answer but continued of his own accord. “And yet you must realize that if a man has no god and recognizes no religion, then he believes not in heaven or hell and knows and places no faith in life or fear in death. If this is so, then what may we say other than that he be not chained by those chains which must claim humanity; conscience, morality, honesty. If he is free of these, or uninhibited by them, then have we while creating a creature that sees truly, also created a creature who believes in nothing and therefore places value in nothing. Isn’t it so then that by answering this question of the existence of god, but concluding that such a god is non-existent, we create the devil to stand in that emptied wake? For why should man be restricted by rules which, when broken, impose no meaningful punishments? And if all men are so uninhibited, wouldn’t an anarchy similar to our very earliest of histories reign? Can’t you then see that while some types of dishonesty may poison a society, other types may help sustain it.
“You have found a truth of sorts, Seioah. I can understand that. However, you have also chosen to change your life by seeking that truth and accepting what you find. Shouldn’t it be left to each man to seek what truth they may and accept that which they are able? Is it right that you force that truth upon them, or likely that they accept it when you attempt to do so? Many find themselves so safely comforted by a lie that they refuse any truth which may question it. You cannot force them to believe as you do, and may do little more than provide truth and lead them towards it.”
Seioah clenched and unclenched his hands, attempting to organize his impressions. I’m not a fool. Initially he had felt hurt and angered by Seaoa’s statements, but that was leaking away and with difficulty he realized that he spoke truthfully. Without belief in something how could he find value in anything? Forever he had sought to value his life, to value the gold and jewels and velvet and silk that surrounded him, seeing how others valued it, and yet he had been unable to. To him beauty lay in his gaze alone, and yet how could he judge it when he had nothing with which to compare it to? He could no more imagine a beautiful, flighty Seraphim dancing across a kingdom of golden clouds than he could understand the meaning of being poor, hungry and lost in a maze of dirty city streets. These things were unreal to him, and though he knew they existed he couldn’t value either because both were so entirely foreign.
And yet he wondered what he would take from a man who had nothing if he told him what he believed. Initially he had thought it would be a gift, the beautiful gift of truth provided to one who must so desperately seek it, and yet now he wondered if he wasn’t in fact stealing something away from that same man. Could it be that he was taking from him one of his few possessions, hope, something which meant so much more because he had so little else? And yet perhaps in summing that man’s possessions, the most valuable were not physical, which may mean nothing at all to him, but rather his non-physical possessions—his values, so to speak. And those, being few in number, would be greatly missed if they were not replaced with something of equal or greater value. And yet, would the truth provided fill the gap it created?
The blackness had settled once more, and the silence as well. He knew that Seaoa remained, knew the other voices he had heard must also still exist, but he didn’t listen for them and no longer longed for the sheets of wild colours and exotic shapes as he had previously. His soul ached, weighing fact and fantasy and wondering at how his scale compared with that of other peoples. Seaoa had mentioned before that he did not feel apt to weigh the values of others against his own values, making decisions for them which they would have no voice in. Was it better to allow them, the people, to make their mistakes and triumphs on their own or to take charge and hold them only to mistakes made for them? And then the question was, would they live a better or worse life because of it?
“I can’t agree with you,” he finally mumbled after a lengthy silence. “But that doesn’t mean I think I’m right.”
“What I mean to say is that there has to be some better solution. There has to be a concession between the two. It doesn’t seem right that it’s either everything or nothing at all. Can’t there be some sort of compromise?”
“And what kind of compromise would you have?” Seaoa asked mildly. “That we only lead them some of the time, while the rest of the time we let them do as they wish? And how would you choose the times when they would be lead? How could you presume to tell when the worst moment of a person’s life has arrived, and then act?”
“I…I can’t.” He shook his head. He knew, deep in his heart, that he wanted a god. He wanted someone who would make the world better for him, change it when it was horrible and smile when it was perfect, and yet was that too much to ask? He wasn’t willing to make such choices for others regardless of his status.
“A mother has a child,” Seaoa began softly, “brings the babe into the world and cares for it from the time it is very young until she is no longer able. She loves that child and wants the best for it, but even she isn’t privy to the child’s thoughts or knows each action it takes. She can only protect it to a certain degree, and though she wants it to be safe from every hardship the world offers she is both unable and unwilling to completely protect it. She realizes that the child will grow and learn from both the bad and the good in its life. Though she created the child, she understands that the best she can do will never be as much as she wishes, and yet the opportunity to grow comes both from what protection she provides and what protection she fails to provide.
“We are the children of our god, and our god acts as a parent. Whether this god in the end is omnipotent or not, he chooses as I choose to allow his children the freedom to grow in a controlled environment though a watchful, caring gaze and freedom. It’s not so simple as this ultimately, however at the same time it isn’t so difficult as some may imagine. If our god acts as a parent, he would want what was best for us regardless of whether or not he provided it. However, at the same time he has brought into creation his children, he could hardly wish to completely control them. Part of the joy of life is the imperfections in it, and though he may be pained and hurt as we are, he could hardly wish for us to live without truly living and so chooses to remain the silent, watchful party.”
Seioah nodded. “And yet you can’t answer whether he interferes or not. We say that there is a god in existence, for we cannot explain our creation or the creation of our consciousness, and yet we say that we know no such creature and can see no direct evidence of his existence.” He sighed. “I realize that though I am named after a god, it doesn’t make me a god. I was renamed as a flower may be renamed and yet still be a flower, as a book renamed a table remains a book, and yet how can I ultimately recognize that I am not a god when I cannot say what a god is? To say he is omnipotent is too easy, but I have no other answer. It’s also too easy to say he doesn’t exist, though that statement is also plausible.
“We, humanity, could very well have created god in order to answer what questions we have, and when we find all the answers we seek we may realize that we have answered that question which is the root of our search, the cause of our existence, however somewhere along that line of questioning we must ask the question of god, and we must be able to answer it and ready to accept the answer we obtain. Why then, must I wait for other questions to be answered before I might answer the one which in all likelihood is the most important to me, the one which leaves all others wanting?”
“Perhaps it is a process, Seioah. Perhaps you must first answer some of the less meaningful questions so that you may gain the facts necessary to answer those greater ones,” Seaoa answered cautiously. “You must know first how a book appears before you are able to identify one.”
“And yet we found that the requirement of being a god is simply to be named such. A being, omnipotent or otherwise, cannot be a god without also being called a god, isn’t that true?”
“It appears so.”
“Then we must say that a god is a being, any being, possessing a title as such, much like a king is a man but he is called a king.” Seioah sighed. “But that isn’t right because, though I called such, I am no god.”
“Aren’t you?” Seaoa replied. “You have met the single requirement which we stated and unless you are able to safely name others is it incorrect to call you a god?”
“Because I am a man,” he frowned. “I have been wrongly named.”
“Would you call a king wrongly named because he was a man also?”
“But that’s different,” Seioah answered quickly. “A king is hardly expected to perform miracles and—”
“But isn’t he?” Seaoa interrupted. “Isn’t a king asked to do the impossible, to keep a country of people safe and prosperous? Couldn’t that be considered a miracle if accomplished? And is it any less of a miracle simply because it has been accomplished before?”
“But a miracle is something which a man may not accomplish!” Seioah argued.
“But a man didn’t accomplish it. A king did.”
“But a king is a man.”
“A man with a title. Doesn’t it seem that that title makes him more than he otherwise would be? But I had a thought just now, Seioah. I wonder, is your problem accepting that you may be a god, or that you know of no entity which a god may look to?”
Seioah frowned. “I don’t understand. I’m not a god.”
“But what if you are a god. What if you are, and yet you claim you are not because if you were the god you are so named then you would have no god to pray to excepting yourself. Since you realize that the universe doesn’t end at your feet, you must hope for a god for yourself—a god for the gods, so to speak. Would it be easier to say you were a god to some if you were able to also say that you yourself prayed to some other entity greater than yourself?”
“But if that entity existed then why would it need me?” he answered. “Why not simply ignore the hierarchy and be a god to all? A king is a king to all his people, why cannot a god be such as well?”
“Aw, but a king isn’t a king to all people, only to his own. Perhaps gods act similarly.”
“But if a god is powerful enough to control so much of the world, wouldn’t he be offended by imitators?”
“I don’t know, are you offended if an ant walks the same way you do?”
“An ant? I don’t see—”
“Aw, but perhaps you are as powerful to a god as an ant is to a human.”
“So power makes a god, is that what you’re saying? Are we gods to ants simply because we can destroy them so easily, because we are so much more powerful than they are? Or is it more than that? Is a god only an entity enviably more powerful than ourselves, or is there some other quality? Must our god care for us, or is that only a wish on our part?”
“What about the creation of humanity?” Seaoa suggested. “Could it be that this may be the quality of a god whether or not they are omnipotent.”
“So we revere them because they were party in our creation? But I didn’t create any other creatures, and yet you say I act as a god to them.”
“But are we entirely sure they revere you? Simply because you are able to kill something doesn’t make you their god, it only assures that on some level they mortally fear you.”
“But in another sense parents are the creaters of their children,” Seioah argued. “And yet we do not call them gods.”
“So why is it that we exalt the creators of our race but we don’t similarly exalt the sustainers?” Seioah queried. “And further, we see no sign that god created humanity and wishes reverence, so how can we assume that he wishes to take credit for the act? Simply because we cannot explain our origins does not lead to the conclusion that a godly figure was responsible for them. And yet there must be some defining trait a god possesses which makes them a god,” Seioah frowned. “Otherwise there would be no reason for us to revere them.”
“But,” Seaoa interceded cautiously, “you personally don’t revere a god, do you Seioah? You are called one, but you don’t revere he after whom you were named.”
“No, I don’t. I don’t believe he exists,” Seioah answered truthfully.
“Why then perhaps the answer to your query cannot be found amongst those who find no need for a god but rather in those who do.”
“But don’t you worship something?”
“Oh certainly,” Seaoa chuckled softly. “I adore and worship a universe entirely devoid of such mysticisms and find surer truths in atheism and anarchy. We shall end as we have begun, with chaos as king in a godless wild.”
“And yet you’ll argue with me?”
“Oh certainly!” he exclaimed. “Certainly I shall. I don’t attempt to change your opinion, though I would like to, but do not imagine I think you correct in your assumptions.”
Seioah nodded thoughtfully. “Funny.”
“Oh yes, that you feel it agreeable to torment me so extensively.”
“Well you aren’t providing any answers.”
“That’s because I have none.”
Seioah sighed. “I had thought I was getting somewhere,” he admitted. “But in truth I’ve only been running around in endless circles entirely based upon my own preassumptions. What if I began with different assumptions, came from a different background, a different world? I might find something else entirely plausible then!”
“Or you may not question at all,” Seaoa replied softly.
“Or I may not question at all.”
“But which would you rather have, Seioah? As I see it, at least in this life and this world you seek the truth where in another you may not. You chose knowledge over ignorance, regardless of the results, and I think that path more valuable than any other.”
Seioah shook his head quickly, angrily. “Knowledge or ignorance. One or the other. It’s a goddamn ultimatum, isn’t it? I can’t have both, but I can’t stand the one. What kind of choice is that!”
“The only one there is.”
He took a deep, steadying breath. “And so I choose knowledge. I choose knowledge because I can choose nothing else—”
“Often the fate of those so displeased with life.”
“Nothing else,” he repeated, glaring at the briefly flaring colours before him. “And, in fact, I have none of the choices which each other person has been offered. I have no choice in what way to live my life, what foods to eat or when to awaken, I—”
“You imagine that you are more trapped in your life than any other,” Seaoa cut through once more, a slightly impatient edge to his voice. “Do you imagine the very poor have the choice of what to eat or where to live? Or that the rich, being so rich, aren’t as trapped as you by money in such quantities as to define them? Each person finds themselves bound to that role which life has bore them into, and although they may move through the classes it is only with difficulty that they do so. Because your role is unique in society you imagine it is somehow more restricting than any other, but at the same time you haven’t considered those other roles or what is required of their members.”
“Of course, there is nothing wrong with that. Each person wishes to believe themselves special in one way or another, and you are more able to justify that stance because of your social role. But the fact is, you are as unique as every other person is—a grand similarity for all mankind,” he chuckled. “Funny how in wanting to be unique people seem to become less so.”
Seioah sighed discontently. “Yeah, funny.”
“You had hoped to find an easy answer in all this, hadn’t you?”
“No, not really. Kinda,” he sighed again, heavily. “I don’t want it to be easy; it wouldn’t be real. I just want something, anything that would help keep me going.”
“You have to provide that for yourself, Seioah. You know that.”
He nodded slowly. “I know, but…” he frowned briefly. “I don’t know how to provide myself with it.”
“You make yourself happy and sad, no one else does that for you. No matter how terrible a person is, it’s you that decides to be angry or upset, and you decide when to change that stance. In the same way I can’t provide a reason to sustain you, you must come up with one for yourself.”
Seioah closed his eyes, blocking the colourful oblivion with a less absolute but more permanent blackness. He thought he knew what he wanted, very clearly in fact, and yet if a man sought freedom from one type of life it was only to seek bondage in another. Freedom was so entirely fictitious he could no longer determine what drew him towards it beyond a youthful hope for something better. Funny that he who lived the best and most luxurious life should want something more, and yet he did. He wanted something better, but there was nothing better. How could a person want something beyond their comprehension? Not only want it, but desire it so entirely and know without a doubt that it existed and drove their life?
His eyes snapped open. A simple fact drove his life. A desire for something better that what he had, something he knew existed and yet couldn’t put a name or shape to. Did it have to be tangible to provide a purpose? Perhaps not, though he wished it to be. And yet a wish never need be granted to benefit the wisher. If that was to be his purpose, so be it, but he was no longer sure his present actions were most beneficial. It was good to lay here and dream, if a dream this was, however while he did the world turned around him, moved, changed.
“Perhaps it’s time I go,” he said quietly to the darkness, watching the barely purple flares quickly fall away.
“Perhaps it’s time you go,” Seaoa replied.
“I don’t think I’ll come back here again.”
“I don’t think you need come back here again.”
“No, I don’t think I need come back here again.”
“You’re welcome, Seioah. And best of luck.”
“Thank you, Seaoa. Talking with you has helped me a great deal.”
“It has helped me a great deal as well.”
They said other words, other similar statements which were really very fuzzy and simply slid into the darkness, but it didn’t matter. Very few words mattered at all, for the thoughts behind them had already been agreed upon, concluded, filed, and remembered. The floating sense was slowly leaving Seioah, and though the intense darkness remained it was more substantial and no longer surreal.
“Goodbye,” he whispered more to conclude an already concluded conversation than to be heard.
|As A God - Part Three||As A God - Part One|
|Foresight: An Interview||The Upside-Down Palace - Part 1|