Cat. 2, Philosophy 2 – BL-20 – Miracle on Kilimanjaro

Cat. 2, Philosophy 2 – BL-20 – Miracle on Kilimanjaro

Ch. 20 –  Miracle on Kilimanjaro

Had I stayed on rock bottom, I would have been left on rock bottom. But when my father’s letter lifted my spirit to great heights in the three minutes I took to read it, and I let it go into free fall, it crashed through the rock bottom to subterranean levels in the three days I stayed in an Arusha hotel, when I tried, really tried, to conceive the Inconceivable, in vain.

There in my rugged, and steamy, hotel room, my mind hopped from astronomy to biology to chemistry to ecology to geology to physics to psychology and everything in between, looking for the mysterious and formless Tao which I might not even recognize were it staring me in the face. Is it hidden in one particular science, and if so, which one? Or does it permeate everything from atom to planet to the whole universe? Do I have to combine and interweave and hybridize the sciences, until the suffix “-ology” no longer applies? Then I tried the mathematical approach, including the Fibonacci series, again to no avail. Inch by inch, I used up my faculty of linear thinking until, by the end of the third day, I had reached the end of my rope. It was just an old man’s desperate speculation. The unspeakable Tao had remained unspoken for twenty six centuries. Who was I to challenge history itself?

If the above paragraph looks confusing and desperate, there is one thing it is very clear in portraying – the confusion in my mind and the desperation in my soul.

I didn’t sit at a desk staring at a blank piece of paper all day for all three days. I went about like a tourist buying this and that, the first order of business being a vehicle. On the first day, when my spirit was still high, I went looking to rent an all-wheel-drive, but came upon an older Land Rover for sale. I mentally calculated that if I stayed longer than a month, it would be cheaper to buy used than rent new.  On the second and third days, I stocked it half full with miscellaneous provisions including food, coffee and tea for a month, water, clothing, toiletry, cooking utensils, binoculars, film, extra fuel tanks, and a stack of writing paper. In the evening of the third day, I purchased on the black market an ancient and decrepit looking revolver. I bought the smallest box of ammo I could find, since I intended to use the gun only once. At first light on the fourth day, I drove off northeast toward the Snows of Kilimanjaro.

A week later, I wrote my first piece in Africa, and it seemed not written by me at all:

Legend has it that in the snows of Kilimanjaro, the carcass of a plains leopard was found. No one knows what it was up there to seek. But when Seeu Sung climbed the mountain himself, he knew, for he was there to seek the very same thing, which the leopard evidently succeeded in finding.

At pain of extra weight, he carried his gun, not that there was much to fear, but the gun itself. In five exhausting daily segments, he reached the snow line. He dismissed his guide-porter with a sizable tip. Another half-day’s solitary ascent brought him to this ice-cave part way up the glacier, into which he withdrew, from the world and from himself

An hour before, the sun had sunken low in the western sky, transforming the cave into a glowing, rosy tomb. But I’m getting ahead of myself. He was still alive, so “tomb” was premature. Let’s say “cocoon”. Then at least there would be a chance of metamorphosis rather than death, though death itself could be said to be a form of metamorphosis. So there in the middle of the cocoon he sat, in the Buddha’s position, with his gun on the ground beside him – a most incoherent juxtaposition, but there it was.

Now, the sudden African night had fallen. The rosy cocoon had morphed into a dark shroud. He was still here, as was his gun. Nothing had changed, except the light.

But something had changed. His self-esteem. He had set his own deadline at sundown. Now he had passed it. Now, he had returned from Valley of Death, as a living coward, or so he deemed himself.

Then, as if to give himself a second chance, he picked up the gun, and raised it to his head.

It was then I finally addressed him, for the first time.

“Forgive me for intruding at this final moment of your privacy,” I whispered to him, “so, if you will allow me, I will be brief.”

It was not exactly a voice that he had heard, for all his ears could hear was the whistling of the night wind at the mouth of the cave, but rather, a clear and unmistakable thought that seemed to have come from far beyond, or deep within, which had somehow taken shape in his mind.

For at least a hundred of his remaining heartbeats he did not respond, and I spoke again, “Sorry to intrude in this final moment of your privacy, but we might run out of time. What I was saying is that I’m seeking a miracle worker, to work a miracle upon this Earth, for her sake and on my behalf. Since you appear to have no further use for this body of yours, this earthly instrument at your disposal, which obviously is in excellent working condition, will you donate it to me, such that the purpose of this my sojourn on this planet be fulfilled?”

This notion was clearly so outlandish and alien to him that he could hardly claim it as his own. So the first question that leapt to his mind was, “Who are you?”

So I told him truthfully, “I am Raminothna, the Fortunate and Called Upon, at your service.” Again, no sound was involved, so my name Raminothna was just a “vibration”.

“Say again?” He just wanted to “hear” my “voice” and my name again.

“I am Raminothna, the Fortunate and Called Upon, at your service.”

“Be it as it may, a name is just a name. WHAT are you?”

“What am I? Yes, one of the deepest of all universal philosophical questions. I can say only this: Once you have come to know what you are, you will know what I am.”

“Look, I have no inclination, nor the time, for a philosophical discussion right now.”

“Your inclination is your choice, and you have all the time in the world.”

“Not now.”

“If not now, when?”

“Maybe never. Who cares?”

“I do.”

“Alright, fine. Whoever, whatever you are, let’s get this over and done with. What do you want?”

“As I said, I’m asking you to be my miracle worker, to work a miracle upon this Earth, for her sake and on my behalf.”

“For me to perform a miracle? HA! Obviously I can’t, even if I wanted to,” he said, a bit too quickly.

“Is this a yes?”

“No.”

“Is it a no then?”

“Yes. No. I don’t know.” After a spell, he added, “I mean, look at me. Do I look like a miracle worker to you? I can’t even exert five ounces of pressure on the trigger of the gun in my hand, let alone perform a miracle.”

“What does a miracle worker look like?”

“The last one I know looked like Jesus Christ.”

“And what does Jesus Christ look like?”

Da Vinci’s Last Supper materialized in my mind.

“The one in the middle,” he clarified.

“What are these creatures?”

“What creatures?”

“The thirteen creatures depicted in this painting.”

“They are human beings, for Christ’s sake!” he exclaimed, in a very human way.

“What makes this Jesus Christ different from the rest? They all look essentially the same to me – one head, one torso, four limbs, no tail, all human, that is, as human as you.”

“He had God in him.”

“What is God.”

“Supposedly the Creator of the Universe.”

“Where is God?”

“Everywhere – according to the Catechism.”

“EVERYwhere? Including the space currently occupied by your body?”

“Well, yes.”

“Then you have God in you as well.”

This seemed to have given him a moment of reflection, but he dismissed it and carried on, “Look. Just like the other twelve in the painting, in fact, like all other human beings on this planet, I’m no miracle worker. Can’t you just accept that? Let me give you a piece of advice. You are wasting your time to seek a miracle worker amongst us humans. Those who apparently could make an elephant or themselves disappear are just smoke-and-mirror illusionists. You have been misled and are barking up the wrong tree.”

“Define ‘miracle’.”

“No! You are the one who want to talk about miracles. You define it!”

“Very well. Let’s say this: A miracle is an impossible physical feat with a profound spiritual significance. Suits you?”

“So you’re saying I can perform not only an impossible physical feat, but one with a profound spiritual significance?”

“Exactly.”

“I’m glad we finally got this point straight. So now I can say, definitively, no ifs and buts, and for the last time, I cannot do the impossible, and for those possible things that I’ve done, none was of any significance whatsoever, which means, therefore, that I am not a miracle worker, period.”

“If I prove to you that you can, will you?”

“And even if I were, I would not lift one finger to glorify this selfish, heartless, cruel and destructive species which I am ashamed to call my own… What did you just say?””

“I said: If I prove to you that you can, will you?”

“What kind of proof?”

“Let me give you a basic one. I tell you that you can raise ten gallons of water from the plain 18,000 feet below up to here, in liquid form from beginning to end, all in the matter of five days, without artificial aid of any kind.”

“Without artificial aid of any kind? No buckets? No hoses? No pumps? No boilers? No condensers? No…”

“None, except the clothes you are now wearing, and the boots on your feet.”

“Impossible, even with buckets.”

“Thus, according to our definition, miraculous, considering its profound spiritual significance.”

“What spiritual significance?”

This time, he seemed serious. I said, “First and foremost, that you are a miracle worker.”

“Circular reasoning.”

“Indeed. With no beginning and no end.”

“I can’t produce this proof for you if I wanted to, I’m sorry.”

“You already have.”

“I have?”

“You have already raised the water.”

“What water?”

“The water you’ve already raised up.”

“All ten gallons of it, I suppose.”

“And all in liquid form, as stipulated, minus your sweat, to be more exact.”

“And where is this water I have raised up without artificial aid of any kind?”

“Right where you are.”

He glanced around. “I see lots of ice, but it’s been here for eons, and certainly not due to me. Besides, it is in solid form. Liquid water? There is not a drop in sight, except the couple of pints still in my flask, and the flask is an artificial aid.”

“It’s here.”

“Well then, you’ll just have to show it to me.”

“Before I do, you must promise me one thing.”

“What now?!”

“The power of miracle is not to be abused.”

“Sure, no problem. If I do have this power, I will never abuse it. Okay?”

“Nor to be neglected.”

“Nor will I neglect it. Fine!”

“Then, look inward, inside your skin, where you will find, flowing through your arteries and veins, and liver and brain, ten gallons of warm, living water. You can baptize the world’s lost souls with it, and quench the world’s thirst for truth with it, and dissolve with it the despair of humankind. With this sacred water, you can reserve entire ecosystems, civilize your species, even save your Earth.”

He turned silent for a full minute, then said, “A trans-dimensional trick.”

I turned silent for two full minutes, then said, “Write your name near the bottom of a piece of paper”

“What?”

“Just do it.”

Uncertainly, he did.

“Alright, let’s try this. This ice cave contains 43 kg of Oxygen, 16 kg of Carbon, 7 kg of Hydrogen, 1.8 kg of Nitrogen, 980 g of Calcium, 770 g of Phosphorus, 210 g of Potassium, 140 g of Sulphur, 126 g of Chlorine, 119 g of Sodium, 20 g of Magnesium, 8.4 g of Iron, 2.8 g of Fluorine, 2.1 g Zinc, 0.7 g of Silicon, 0.21 g of Copper , and trace amounts of Iodine, Tin, Boron, Selenium, Chromium, Manganese, Nickel, Molybdenum, Cobalt, Vanadium, among a few  others. Now, I want you to mix all these ingredients together to form a single coherent mass, physically and chemically, in such a way that it will have a lot of miraculous capabilities.”

“Like what?”

“Driving itself. It is highly automated, and autonomous.”

“And?”

“It can even fuel itself.”

“And?”

“It can think and feel.”

“And?”

“It can read, and write.”

“What can it write?”

“Oh, essays, articles, poetry, music. You name it.”

“Some miraculous machine.”

“Indeed. It can even write its name.”

“It has a name? What’s its name?”

At which time I directed his eyes to his name on the piece of paper.

He lowered his head, and his gun.

So, softly I said unto him, “Henceforth, I shall see through your eyes, hear through your ears, feel through your heart, think through your brain, and work through your hands, until your greater miracle is accomplished. May the Tao be with you, Homo Sapiens of Earth.”

 

I am Raminothna
the Fortunate and the Called Upon
at your service

 

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