A Japanese legend says, if you are unable to sleep at night, it’s because you’re awake in someone else’s dream.
I’m in an Athens bathhouse where Candidus and I are about to take a dip in a pool. Candidus looks up at me from the edge of the pool and says, “We are dreaming Sante and we are inside the same dream.”
Socrates wades into the water with his hand bracing the small of his back. He is nude and I can see his body is hard and sense his mind is erudite. When he speaks, his assertions cut like knife blades. “I have declared creations dead with mere diversions inside my mind,” he booms. “You are no accident! No musing! No dream! You are not a flash of light across a warm afternoon stream or something I can forget, like a dream. I have collected volumes on you inside The Library of the Black Language. The consideration I put into you is of a craftsman who takes ten years to carve one sandalwood box. Incarnations of my own thought went into making you. I am not ashamed that I care.”
Candidus paces up and down along the pool edge. His voice is higher, befitting his youth. “Try to understand,” he begs. “This time, I was supposed to be wild. Being wild, I would know a freedom from you, a relief from your tidy perfectionism. That’s why I created denial. Denial is my instrument, my device and dispassionate tool. Lamentably, my denial began eroding like beach sand right after my first sentimental desire for you lodged in my heart.” His face turns strained with a new and incredulous thought. “What happened between us? Why do I yearn for you so? Why do I erect monuments to you in honor of my love?”
Socrates is confident with a ready rebuttal. “I always search for patterns of progress within you, my child. If that is my ‘tidy perfectionism’—as you want to ridicule it—then you have no concept of the transcendent thrills still waiting for you. You are as headstrong now as you were then. This time I attempted to fulfill your every wish, although I warned you beforehand that your forgetfulness was a foolish choice. If that makes me a sentimental old fool for indulging you, then I will wear that witless cap.” Socrates smiles with an expression of secure knowing. “Besides, who are we fooling here? Let’s be honest with each other for once. You know who I am and you have always known. Will you at least admit that I allowed you to tinker with yourself for eons?”
Candidus hesitates searching for hidden traps in Socrates’ statement. “I will concede that point,” he agrees.
“And will you concede that I made every attempt to camouflage your divinity, that thing you claimed prevented the wildness, to make the experiment unbiased?”
“I will not concede that point,” declares Candidus. “I will not concede that point until you tell me what the experiment was supposed to be.”
Socrates is generous, like a good father. “Is that all you want to know? Damn child! I would have asked for the keys to The Library if I were in your shoes. You might have gotten them too!” Socrates wades out of the water and walks up some steps as he wraps a wide girdle around his waist. He begins to leave and then turns back, his bare chest still pink and plump from the hot water. He stands with arms akimbo. He is a man put together from odd pieces that do not match—arms too long and legs too short on that square Mediterranean frame. In the comfort of his oddness, he manages to appear graceful. “Long ago, there was a debate between us. You took the side that one needed to be wild in order to create and I took the side that one needed to be completely conscious to do it well.”
Candidus looks as if a multidex is computing inside his head. “So my wildness is an illusion because I am forever a conscious part of you?”
Socrates bows with exaggerated courtesy. “It has taken us six thousand years to resolve this particular debate. The solution is easy when you truly remember. Do not forget! You remembered inside this dream.”
Excerpt from, The Permeable Web of Time by Martha Fawcett
copyright © 2014 Martha Fawcett