Letter to my friend from Marquis
I only knew you for a short while before your conversion back to that darkness you'd once escaped. In that short time, I knew a man I sincerely admired. I knew a man who stood beside a woman he loved when she needed him, who offered forgiveness in cases where I felt only rage and who strove to see the most beautiful parts of people who held an ugly face to the world. I admired your honesty, your humor and your courage.
In short, you seemed open to the world and to all of us misfits that inhabit it.
As I read your journal entries, I saw more and more that you felt oppressed, isolated and, as you described it "in the dark". We, all of us, feel such things at times. You should have reached out to your friends.
But you chose a different path. You chose one that specifically required you to replace that open attitude with one of narrow, frightened bigotry. You chose a path where admittance to the select few requires disparaging the rest of humanity. You chose a path that requires one to speak poorly of those who disagree lest their lack of belief infect you like some kind of virus: Lest freedom set upon your brain cells like a virus, forcing them to replicate the vector and thereby infecting your mind with reality as if it were some sort of curse.
You're just hiding, you know. You've gone into the tents of a barbaric bronze age tribe and let them shut the flap, closing out the light and you've let them replace an infinite horizon with the thin walls of a primitive human construct. And you're not just hiding from the darkness and isolation you felt. You're hiding from those of us who would have come to your aid, should you have asked. You're hiding from the possibility of solving your own problems, of conquering your own fears, of finding your own way. You're hiding from all the beauty of the world.
You are afraid, you know. You haven't found "the truth" or "good people". You've found other cowards to validate that lump in your throat, that fear in your gut, that confusion in your head. They'll fill you up with feelings of belonging, but like the Satan of the mythology you've confused for reality, that reward will come at a horrible price. Make no mistake, if there is such a thing as a soul, these folks--Jehovah's Witnesses--they desire to take it from you. To cast it into that outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. They desire nothing less than to remove you from the face of the divine for, if there is divinity, it lies in those moments when we realize that we are, indeed, all connected.
We are connected from the moment the big bang occured. We are the product of the evolution of the universe, of life on earth, of intellectual and cultural traditions and are so much more than any of us individually.
The tragedy, you see, is that you were never alone. None of us are ever alone. We all are connected. It's all of those silly myths to which we cling that tear us apart. They invade our spirits like an abusive spouse, cutting off our friends, cutting off our family, weakening our minds and making us feel as if the entire world is our adversary and that we can only find safety in the arms of the abuser himself.
But, at some point, one has to leave the abuser. One has to accept that life is not easy, it's never easy. It's not worth living if it's easy. That struggle to be more than the sum of our fears, our desires and our own little view of the world is what unites us. It's primal. It's in our blood.
If you were looking for something good in the world, consider this. Ancient fossils show very aged human beings with horrible degenerative diseases. They lived far beyond the years they would have had without care. At some point, far in the past, one of our ancestors looked at another human being suffering and a thought occurred to them: They are just like me. We are the same. And that thought resulted in compassion and that compassion resulted in human kindess. That ancestor is alive in us. It's only when, out of fear, we snuff out that beautiful light that the ancestor finally dies. It's only when we put our own terrors ahead of our own potential that we quash the advantages nature has given us and trade them for petty, worthless things.
Listen to that heritage we all share, R__. Listen to that fearlessness that caused our ancestors to head toward a horizon simply to know what was there. Listen to that courage that allowed us to overcome primal fear and harness fire, electricity, the atom, medicine, to look at the stars and into the deepest oceans not to find what we wanted to be there but simply to look without prejudice.
Look without prejudice. If you can manage that, maybe you can accept the fact that there is no "truth". There is only all this life on this beautiful planet orbiting a star in a galaxy amongst an incomprehensible number of other galaxies in a universe that begs to be investigated. I'm sorry that's not enough to pique your interest.
And I'm sorry I can no longer be your friend. For I refuse to accept your friendship when it comes with an obligation to respect the absolute idiocy and filthy hatred to which you have cleaved.
I would rather walk off into that horizon as did our ancestors. I would rather walk off not even looking for any "truth" but simply to see what lies beyond that next horizon and to discover what other wonders this universe holds. This universe to which we are both connected. This universe that harbors so many marvelous things that your "truth" will prevent you from ever seeing.
You should have reached out to your friends. We would not have used your distress to manipulate you. Indeed, we would have tried to get you back on your feet, reminded you that you have worth and invited you back into a world where you could have been loved in the here and now by people who are every bit as real as you. It saddens me that you chose to embrace a dogma that would be hilarious were it not the cause of so much trouble in the world. It saddens me to see you abandon the quest to grow, cowering in your corner with the other disordered minds with which you've come to identify.
You could have had many friends. Now you have a gaggle of fools with whom you embrace fictions and phantoms. May this world be kinder to you than your friends would be to it.