and setup for the exploration)
The day of the hearing came all too soon, and with it the end was near of Steve and Ushi's visit. As Steve had already warned us, it wasn't set up as a hearing in the ordinary sense. It was set up as a war. The deck was stacked against us. However, we also came with a card of our own to play, for which the fondi had no counter-card in their deck.
The fondi didn't know, or couldn't have known, and I was just beginning to realize this myself, that the beach project wasn't important to us anymore. Ushi and I had spotted something greater on the horizon in the desert in Arizona. We had spotted an opening for the Royal Dance. Every one of us agreed that this was greater than the beach project had been envisioned to be. Steve said that we should have proceeded with the Royal Dance from the start. However, hindsight is cheap. So there we were, having to defend our nudist beach project.
The key speaker at the hearing, the key-man speaking against our nudist beach project, had been 'imported' from outside the local area. He even came from outside the state. He came in full dress-uniform, a Man of The Cloth of the old tradition, a truly outstanding speaker who laid his conviction powerfully on the line with total firmness to everything that he stood for. There was no compromise, no wavering, no timidity, or compassion.
"WE! have determined," he said, no longer speaking as an individual as he scanned the people's faces with a cherubic smile, "that this, this... this sort of thing cannot be allowed to take root here."
He hesitated. His hands were trembling as though he couldn't even speak the word 'nudist' aloud. Then he launched into a long dissertation on fornication and the "imperative need" to protect young people from the scum of society that was poised to "descend upon this God-fearing community and drive the living faith out of people's hearts!"
After his introduction to the theme he branched out to the story of Adam and Eve, as an example of all the "fallen of mankind" that were forever banished from the Garden of Eden because they allowed themselves to be beguiled by a "lying, filth-wallowing snake." He paused for a moment and then stared at the people. "Should this, this terrible tragedy become the fate of your community as the result of what these people plan?"
Next, he branched into politics. His sermon became a lecture, lashing out against the evil forces of communist infiltration in the schools and the nation's universities, even its houses of government, where "God has been dishonored and the hearts of the people are being poisoned with materialistic idols and philosophies of greed and aspirations for ruling the world." The church itself, "the pillar of society," is under attack, he warned, "and the church is crumbling!"
Of course, we were labeled as a specimen of that strange culture that he said "is pulling the holiest into the dust."
Eventually he ended his triad. He closed with a solemn, dignified appeal of an honorable church man, calling for moral sanity to prevail, adding; "If you believe in God at all, as I know you do, you must make it your sacred duty to stop those who aim to destroy this great nation of ours. You must stop them before they take root in your community! Do not let them pass!"
One could have heard a pin drop, after he sat down.
"I thought those people died out with the dinosaurs," was Steve's comment.
"Mostly they have," answered Ross, "but there are a few of the old guard left."
"I hear they keep training new ones," said Ushi.
"The new ones are probably just like him," added Ross.
"How can they do such a thing to a person and reduce a human being to something like what we see before us?" I said.
Steve nodded and smiled. "It takes years of university type training to accomplish that. It is called divinity education, or something like that. It's fully supported by the fondi and funded by society."
Everyone was terror-stricken by the man's speech. We were the devil, no doubt about that! Any religious person must have been pained to even look at us after his speech. One person evidently did.
A well-dressed man stood up and thanked the "great representative of the religion of God," as he put it. He didn't look at us at all. He spoke to the Man of The Cloth. He told him that he could fully agree that we need to be stopped. He explained to him that in fact far more was needed, because we were but a symptom of a trend that was destroying America.
"Take Valentine's Day for example," he said to the Man of The Cloth. "Valentine's Day has polluted society. The ritual has no Christian roots. It sprang from a shameless pagan rite of promiscuity. Even school children throughout our land are now infected with it, as young as six years old. They are now enticed to send sexually predatory solicitations to each other, like, "Be Mine!" or "Be my sweetheart!" and give each other chocolate hearts, hearts wrapped in red foil, all fat and round like the rectum of baboons in heat. Grown men and women go into ecstasy with their hearts on fire for any stranger that this satanic enterprise of perversion, called a holiday of sweet persuasion, has dragged into their thoughts with a fornicating frenzy by which they have turned their human hearts away from the one person that matters - Jesus! Our Lord Jesus!"
He paused for a moment and took a deep breath. "We are starting a new holy-day campaign under the motto 'Devote your Heart to Jesus.' We have committed ourselves to teach children the importance of thinking sin-free thoughts. Our program is destined to replace the disgusting holiday called 'Valentine's Day,' which historically celebrates the beheading of a priest named Valentine who disobeyed the Roman Emperor, Claudius II, the Goth. The Roman Emperor had outlawed marriage and had demanded from his men total loyalty to him alone, rather than to their would-be wives. The priest Valentine, the traitor against his lord and a scoundrel, had disobeyed. He had kept on marrying people, a crime for which he was beheaded on February the 14th in the year 269 AD. As it were in celebration of his disobedience, his name became attached to the festival of Lubercus in which young women and shepherds were matched for a year by drawing lots. This perversion to madness forces us to fight to clean up the focus that Valentine's Day places on sex rather than on our moral duty to be loyal to our Lord Jesus. So I say we have to stop the fornication wherever it is found, be it at home, or near our homes. While the liberal scoundrels of the nudist beach would allow their children to 'slobber' all over each other in celebration of 'Valentine's Day,' we will say that Christians are aloof to that, because we're just simply better people. We have our heart set on Jesus alone. We are bound to our Lord Jesus and say NO to sexual ecstasies. We have accepted Him as our Savior and our life. We are devoted to none other. He demands unconditional devotion, and so do we from everyone. With this in our thoughts, how can we not fight and stop the roots of fornication as our Lord demands throughout the world? So, my friends, I can report proudly today that we are making excellent progress. We have replaced those pagan hearts of the Valentine-rite, that look like the rear end of baboons, with decent heart-shaped Christian ones adorned with a cross. Our cross-adorned hearts boldly bear the message, 'My Heart is for Jesus Alone!' This message of purity will soon cover the Earth under the direction of our ministry, and usher in a new and year-round celebration in praise for God through Jesus."
The man was well applauded when he raised his hand to heaven before he sat down. "America is the land of the free!" he said triumphantly as he took his seat, adding loudly, "The free are those who have their heart free for Jesus."
"That's pushing things too far," I said to us quietly.
"People are probably saying the same thing about us," Ross replied with a grin. "They got hit from the right, and they got hit from the left, and they were told from both sides that we are the devil. That's the kind of song that congregations have heard for three thousand years."
"That's precisely how the fondi's Illuminati are supposed to work," I said to Steve and Ross. "That's how Palmerston described his illuminati's game in Venice."
"My question is, Peter, if people like us can't bridge this division and rescue the people as human beings, including the Man of The Cloth and his supporters, who will do it, and set a new direction?" said Ross.
"Actually, it's a question of, how," said Steve, quietly. "This has never been done before in a decisive manner. But we can do it on the basis of our key principle, the Principle of Universal Love."
I decided to address the shock that had been delivered, with a counter-shock. I decided to make the Man of The Cloth taste the emptiness of the pain he tried to evoke in our community, with which he was succeeding. It seemed imperative that I do this before the disease that he carried around destroyed him, and poisoned our community as well.
"We have to defend that man against himself," I said to Steve. "We have to uplift his platform to a higher level where truth comes to light, so that everyone becomes uplifted. But how do we do that?"
"Be patient," said Steve. "Watch for an opening. Look for the weak flank. Shock tactics don't work. Don't force the opening; he will provide the weak flank himself."
Before our discussion ended the moderator put me on the spot. The moderator of the panel asked us to comment on the two speaker's remarks. He singled me out by name as the contact person for our side.
"Be gentle," said Steve. "Focus on the truth."
I stood up as requested and congratulated the Man of The Cloth who had labored for half an hour until great pearls of sweat stood on his forehead, and I also honored the man who had supported him. I commented that I might have felt the same way as they did, had I not have had the opportunity of visiting two of the kind of beaches that they both despised. I told them that both were located within the city limits of major cultural centers, one in Europe, and one in Canada. "I did not see any fornication there," I said to them, "and no filth, or evidence of mental pollution, nor had I heard of any cases of destroyed homes or desecrated marriages. These are facts contrary to conjectures..." I spoke for five minutes only.
Long before I had finished the Man of The Cloth stood up and interrupted my defense. "But are the people in these cities God-fearing men?" he asked and set down again.
The Man of The Cloth was of imposing stature, impressively dressed, and evidently revered by virtue of his exalted position. He looked down on me as though to say, there was no argument that I could possibly bring up that would touch him. I felt as though he was saying to me in the name of the fondi, as Palmerston had said to me repeatedly in Venice, that there was nothing that I or we could do to prevent his victory. I remembered this sickening feeling all too well from that night in Venice. In this sense the hearing developed to become Venice all over again, in a different form perhaps, but it unfolded all the same in essence. Speaking from the pinnacle of his self-importance that reflected his rank, The Man of The Cloth had been performing a minutely scripted play that left no opening for a dialog. I was certain that no reason would find a response. Nor would logic cause him to deviate from his script. Picking a fight with him would avail nothing. Nor did I feel inclined to fight with him. In any case, this wasn't the demand of the hour. Still, I had to prevail against him in order to protect our community. His attack demanded that I stand up for us and for the people that came for the hearing, who seemed to be the real target of his attack. Since he chose to fight against them, I had no option but to respond and find a way out of this hell for us all.
"No," I said to him, "the people in these cities are not all God-fearing men."
He smiled with a benign gesture, like someone who had just won a decisive victory over an outclassed opponent.
"There you have it! There is your answer," he said to the assembly of the people who had come to the hearing.
I added quietly that the people that I had seen at those beaches were in my estimation much too close to God that they would fear him. "They were honoring God by honoring one another as the brightest gem of creation in the universe of life," I said to him. I told him that as far as I could tell, the people that I saw had managed to turn back the clock of history beyond the point where the Adam and Eve satire had been accepted as the truth. "Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge, the knowledge of the truth. The satire says that knowing the truth made them ashamed of each other and afraid of God. That's an imperial proposition. Fear of the truth, coupled with terror, is a standard imperial proposition. I saw no traces of fear in those people's eyes at those beaches, or shame for one another. I only saw love in their eyes, love for their humanity and for one-another." I told the Man of The Cloth that the anciently created axioms of God-appointed evil have been reversed in the minds of the people that I saw. "They didn't fear God, which gave them their humanity. They fell in love with their humanity, and thereby honored God. They honored one-another and loved their God for it, and joyously acknowledged their love for the divine by loving each other, and by responding to one-another as human beings..."
I kept a close watch on the man's reactions while I spoke. He was fast getting boiling mad. I had to be quick so as not to injure him. I pointed out that he was clinging to a political distortion of a profound truth, and that it was this distortion which gave rise to his perception that man is naked and should be ashamed of himself. I added that ever since the day when society began hiding itself from itself, physically, spiritually, intellectually, and scientifically, it became locked into an endless game of covering up its self-imposed poverty, its imaginary nakedness. It began covering it all up under the heading of shame; supported by fear and terror.
I told the Man of The Cloth that the people at those beaches, as far as I could tell, had moved beyond playing this dark game of ancient mythology that culminated into mental poverty and shame. "It appears," I said, "that the people at these beaches saw a divine grandeur in a man or a woman that was satisfying. They saw themselves as being complete, whole, beautiful, and honorable in the image and likeness of God, reflecting in their individual existence an image of the creator that they cherished rather than were ashamed of." I suggested that this higher kind of perception is a central factor for establishing peace with oneself, which in turn is a prerequisite for establishing peace in the world.
The Man of The Cloth raised himself up and turned towards me as though he would interrupt me again.
I lifted my hand up and held him off. "The real choice at this hearing," I said quickly, "is whether people should fear the reality of their being, or whether they should embrace it; whether they should isolate themselves into self-confinement as politicized religious distortions demand, or find value in a deeper appreciation of their own humanity."
The man became restless.
I paused, searching for a final statement. I kept my hand raised. "This is your life!" I said to the people assembled there. "Your life is at stake here, yours individually. Keep in mind that what you choose for yourself becomes the foundation for our nation. This foundation could become one of poverty and shame that we are fast moving towards, which drags us down to the level of fearing God. However, also keep in mind that the foundation that you are building for yourself could be the beginning for spiritual riches that open the portal to infinity and to the boundless development of our civilization and ourselves. Our economic development as a nation reflects what we are moved towards, and embrace as ourselves. It is imperative here, as a matter of principle, to recognize that our security in civilization depends on our humanity being reflected, and on our growing love for it as we enrich one-another's existence. On this platform there is no room for the small-minded emptiness that results in shame, terror, war, violence, which banishes the flow of love and drowns it in growing floods of greed."
I quickly sat down after that.
By then the Man of The Cloth was visibly restraining himself from exploding. Then he let go. He retaliated with a brutal, a cold, unfeeling denial of everything that I had said, shattering the very meaning of dignity, while hiding behind the deemed infallible authority of the church on anything connected with mankind and religion. Overshadowed by his bombastuous arrogance, I had no status at all. "Reason stands in the way of authority," he said. He made sure that I understood, and that everyone else understood, that in the shadow of his 'divine' authority we were all mere children and needed to be disciplined in order to be set right.
I had a good idea of what would follow. It would be a repeat performance of his previously acted out story, following a well-rehearsed script that he couldn't deviate from or wasn't allowed to. It became more and more obvious that what he said wasn't him speaking, personally. He was a soldier under orders; a well-trained actor reciting the lines of a play that he was merely a voice for. No actor in the world has the freedom to change the script; and as an actor his performance was superb. I felt applauding his oratic power and his deeply felt interpretation of the lines of the play. He had developed a skill that many a Shakespearean actor might have envied him for.
My hunch proved to be correct. He performed his role with precision. He repeated the script line by line, including the character that the script required him to represent. He acted out phariseeism, the zeal of blind philosophers, the 'sensuality' of manipulative psychology, the marriage isolation that was reflected in his own marriage to the church from which he drew his self-assumed right to dictate what a person is allowed to accept and what to shun, what to believe and what to reject. Ah, but the isolation that he demanded became a force by which he literally built a wall around himself that separated him from any self-respecting individual of the audience that he came to speak to, the people that had come for the hearing. In the end his voice thundered when he resorted to the old fundamentalist ideology that relegated woman to the home and into the role of a mother and housewife, subject to her husband, an image of purity segregated from the larger world, where she might otherwise become the target of lust. But even while his voice thundered, he actually pleaded that his message would be heard so loud that it allowed no deviation in people's minds, or their deviation from his script.
Maybe it was this glaring excess that gave the next speaker the courage to stand up for herself. She was speaking as if it were in her own defense against his accusations. The beach, it seemed, was no longer the issue.
But what a contrast there was in the tone of speech between this frail, pretty girl, and the imposing churchman. She said that she was visiting friends in the neighborhood who had brought her to the meeting. She told us that up in the North in Maine, something frightening had begun to happen before she left. All the trees had become terribly sick. Their leaves were loosing their green color and were dropping off. She said that this was happening all over. "I should have formed a citizens' committee to protect the parks," she said. "The parks are evidently being abused. People love the parks. People are walking all over them. They must be closed to preserve them for future generations. If we allow this trend to go on, there won't be a single leaf left on any tree. We are heading for disaster!" She sat down and grinned, and winked at me.
Our Man of The Cloth didn't quite know how to react to this metaphor, so he didn't. This sudden impotence was evidently painful to him. There was no script in his repertoire that covered the situation. It was painful for me to see his struggles, to sense his self-imposed agony. There was probably not a single line that he knew, that he could apply. So he just stood there and said nothing.
I suddenly recognized as never before, the awful impersonal nature of evil. He had chosen a terrible role to play and was doing an excellent job at it, but it wasn't his game, really.
I remembered the Soviet's Ogarkov Plan for waging and winning a nuclear war against the West. This plan too, followed somebody else's script as this had been confirmed in Venice. Marshal Ogarkov's plan wasn't real for what it was advertised to be. It was a front for something else that demanded the Marshal's unquestioning obedience.
Remembering the Ogarkov Plan I felt a deep compassion for the Man of The Cloth. He seemed to be caught up in such a game, like a helpless pawn, pushed by the waves. He was drawn into a process of imposed self-denial. It was so well instilled into him over the years that he was not even aware of it. He supported the process that was destroying him and he gave it his best efforts.
PS. The Man of The
(old) Cloth, in the story, stands in metaphor for the universal perversion
of religion, whatever the specific name may be. He represents the type
of theology that places doctrine unto a higher plane than humanity that
is the highest reflected image of God on the Earth. In the scientific
sense, this upside-down theology places doctrine above God and above
man. The resulting tragedy creates an imperial platform, the platform of
empire. It thereby inherits the inhumanity that the system of empire
stands for. The subjection of humanity beneath doctrine, whether it be
the doctrine of empire - such as depopulation, stealing, and war - or
whether it is expressed in stoning people to death - such as for a wider sense of
love that is unauthorized - the consequences are always destructive and
When a person's
hand is clenched into a fist that holds nothing, and offers nothing that is of value,
but harm, the scene can still change. The hand unclenched bears gifts of life and love to uplift human
existence. We may see
the beginning of a transformation happening here, the healing of a disease that is as old as the hills,
but which is a disease nevertheless that can be healed.
anti-Valentine man, in turn stands in metaphor for a different form
of poverty, of the same type. It deifies the messenger and ignores the
message, which in this case, and in all such cases, is to rouse the
self-perception of humanity to a level of dignity, worth, and freedom,
above the brightness of the stars. With this divine sense of dignity and
freedom of the human being lost, the world becomes narrow, small, cold,
poor, inhuman, imperial, and fascist. The resulting ideology serves the
purposes of empire well, which exists on the platform of keeping
humanity small. The world is full of such examples, even in its noblest
realms. But this, too, can be healed if we aim to experience the truth.