Odin All-Father

It’s been some time since my last update—I was busy graduating. Now that the degree is conferred upon me, and that I’ve been granted all the rights and responsibilities appertaining thereto, I’ve been officially a chemist since last Sunday. “That’s great!” People tell me. Well, I don’t feel any different; I don’t know any more. Nor do I comprehend any less. All I have is some scattered knowledge of history, philosophy, and now, some science. The problem is I don’t know what I really want to know: what the fuck can I possibly know and hope for? (I think there is no answer to this question, but ask, I do, anyway.)

So, because I don’t want to rave or rant about the “great” events of last couple of weeks, like my thirty-fucking-second birthday, listening to the Requiem (Mozart Requiem, that is) at the Orchestra Hall with my exhilaratingly beautiful and funny lesbian friend Jennifer [Van Dyke], she who wore a skirt for the very first time in her adult life and was as brave as a commando that night, or like, you know, my involvement in the 52nd Commencement Exercises and the aftermath, or how stupidly busy I’ve been for not being able to find the time to change my car’s brake pads since last month that yesterday I finally had the time to spend hundreds of dollars for parts, and the ample time to spend under the car, and had to change the rotors and the calipers along with—my thanks goes to Adam here for his engineering skills—or etc., I’ve, instead, decided to copy and paste (steal, if you’d prefer) a real masterpiece written by a young&fine gentleman—an ME, or “Master of Evil,” as he calls himself, or rather a Master of Computer Science, and of Words—for that the story translates the way I feel into English well, and that I am not able to come up with something as wise, and at the same time, readable and enjoyable.

The very smart and nice individual as this man is, debugging my technological problems when I bug him, I merely know him through a social networking site, and through the Internet. The following piece of wisdom and art was also posted on my Facebook wall as a reply to a question I directed to him related to “hope,” and even though I have a sad memory of the occasion, and I don’t really know how he perceives me—which doesn’t matter in the least, especially after “ceasing a fixation on how others regard me”—I’ll always hold him and his work in high respect. (Call me stupid, if you’d like. As a matter of fact, though, seeking after truth requires leaving your pride home when you set out on the journey.)

Whatever. I’m just a chemist and I do not know. I may perform alchemy, yet I care enough not. All I want is to become an “All-Chemist,” and I’m ready to give not only one but both my eyes in exchange for wisdom.

OK. Enough bullshit.

What you’re about to read, as you can tell, is very valuable to me. So, treat it accordingly. I now quote my young friend, or, Odin All-Father:

Your fondness for words warms an old logophile’s heart. Your speech regarding treachery is grim, insofar as that which is severe or which can intimidate is grim.

Hope, Koray? Now there’s an interesting word. Our little red friend [Lucifer, ed.] insists that guests leave their hope at the door. But I am a god of stories, so I’ll make you a story in answer. I am sad to make you listen to it, for it is quite long. But I take you for a man not wearied by reading, and once you are done, you will know everything I know about hope:

Once, there was a wanderer born to a grim time in a grim world, where shadows stood still even at noon and Evil dwelt in every shadow. The wanderer had eyes to see and so saw these shades, and in so seeing saw the Reign of Darkness they signified. He knew what lay within in them and he knew why it must be stopped, but he knew not what must be done to save his world from the dread that would swallow it up. So he sought out the wisest of all the giants in all the worlds. This giant was as tall as ten strong men, and he wore a necklace of skulls and fed a dog with the flesh of children, and he thought to add the wanderers skull to his neck. But the wanderer parlayed with him in a contest of riddles, and in defeating him gained back not only his life but the knowing of what he must do to bring the Reign of Darkness to an end. The wanderer knew that he must become wise beyond all Men and Gods, and he knew that the price of this wisdom would not be counted in coin. He knew that he would have to claw out his right eye in payment, and he knew that no haggling would remit the dire cost.

The wanderer thought about the price for some time and knew not what to do, and soas wanderers dohe wandered for many a day, going neither home nor West to pay wisdoms price. He walked neither up nor down, but ever East, ever more slowly, until at last he stopped at a great crossroads. To the South he saw a vast red-bearded giant standing atop a volcano, and in his hand he held the torch that would set the world on fire. To the North he saw a mighty cauldron that would unmake the Nine Worlds, for it held within it Death, and it poured forth in an eternal torrent. And seeing these things, the wanderer turned back West, toward the Place of the Price, to do what must be done.

Grim but not afraid, he walked, neither dragging his feet nor lifting them too fast, for he knew that beyond his destination lay an eternity of torment that would not be delayed but neither would disappear. At last he came to a Well, and he asked the Wise One for a draught. The Wise told him that there was a price for that draught. The wanderer replied that he would not shrink from the price of wisdom. And the Wise, nodding his own one-eyed head, held out for him a horn full of water from the well. And the wanderer drank, and the understanding of the ages poured down through his throat and sunk into his blood, and he saw the future unfolding and beheld the suffering and evil and betrayal of men to be. But he also saw how suffering might be endured, and howif it was endured long enoughthe race of Man might grow to such strength that Evil itself would feel fear. And he saw how one day, a day that was far off indeed, Gods and Men would strike a blow that would bring the Reign of Darkness crashing down, and terror would forever be stilled, and sorrow would die.

And when he had seen all this, he ripped his eye from its socket, and he suffered. A howling clawed at the silent wanderer, blazing and burning as bright as the sun. In the many things he had learned from the well was the learning that this blindness and pain and emptiness would last forever. For while Men were born to hurt and in time heal, he was no Man, and he would never be whole again.

And then he went back home, burnt and broken, to hope, and to try to live.

Comments 5

  1. Adara wrote:

    The translation of the dcsireption is roughly this: [Americans have reached civilization only by blowing over culture, in every human there is a barbarian if you seek it, but for an American, the external layer of civility is the thinnest. (that is: it's easier to find the "barbarian" in any American). Americans are the least remorseful of their actions committed in the form of barbarians.] Fact is, regular Americans don’t mainly agree with war and should not be subject to such generalizations.

    Posted 20 Sep 2015 at 9:07 pm
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