Story 2a - In the Brilliance of a Night
I got away from the window as Steve spoke and sat down. I needed to sit down.
Steve remained where he stood at the window and turned towards me and began to grin again. "So, tell me Pete, why shouldn't you two spend the night together?" he said. "I'm not blind, you know. It hasn't escaped me how you couldn't avoid smiling at each other all evening. What then is the sanest thing a person can do in this case? Isn't it to extend to you both an invitation to acknowledge what you feel. Life is a beautiful thing, Pete. In fact, beauty is the very essence of life, and the human being is the brightest star in this universe of beauty. The whole of humanity should be in love with each other for this fact alone, instead of being isolated from each other. This means, Pete, that you will find no one in this house who would command the two of you to deny what is in your heart. In this house humanity is not divided into sterile little camps."
I nodded, but I couldn't get a word out. I hated this
impotence in finding the right words. Indeed, how does one answer in such a situation? Does one simply say, thank you? I nodded. That was all that I managed to do.
"You are also a hypocrite for another reason," Steve continued. "You have complained that the royals act as if they own the lives of humanity. This trend goes back thousands of years. The kings of the earth have always self-assumed sweeping ownership rights over people, and this before these rights had been been formally assumed by them for what seemed like valid reasons, though the results often turned out disastrous. So my friend, why should you be perplexed that Ushi and I have turned the clock back to those times long forgotten, when the marriage bond was not a boundary, but a bond, a model for the mutual enrichment of the whole human society? On this natural platform people are more likely to honor each other by an outflow of love, than by that phony love which nurtures jealousy? Didn't you say something like that to Ushi at the beach where you felt the clock had been turned back to a time before the tree of knowledge had been invented?"
I just kept staring at Steve. "Yes, Steve, I suppose I am a hypocrite on this
account." This was all I could say. I felt so utterly and totally unprepared for this. Indeed, how is one to prepare for something which has never occurred before, as far as I could tell, in all the history of the world? Only two days ago, if Erica would have invited me to spend the night with her, I would have jumped for joy and embraced her without reservations, and that would have been it. But this was different. The overflowing joy was there, but with it came also a great challenge to establish a platform that would last forever, not just one night, that would alter my life without recourse. This was the beginning of a new course, a new direction. As necessary as it was, it was scary to contemplate,
though immensely beautiful in its promise.
"I am a scientist," Steve responded after some long moments of silence between us. "I have realized a long time ago that there is no hypocrisy possible in science. Everything is based on total honesty with oneself. The truth is the truth. And the truth that I see, is that we all live in a wonderful universe. Every now and then, when I face my students and see the incredible response that I
get, sometimes even as the result of my teaching, I feel greatly enriched. I feel as though I am enfolded into the riches of the universe itself. I feel grateful for the intelligence that I have been given--that we have all been given--and I feel grateful that I am able to give something back to enrich my students with it, and through them the universe. This unending dynamic process gives meaning to life. That's what the principle of gratitude is, Peter. It causes us to acknowledge what we have received, and we do it by giving some of it back in order to keep the flow of the process alive. This is exactly how I must approach love as a scientist. Love enriches the universe. I am enriched by it. Consequently I must give some of it back to keep the flow going. I must acknowledge the universal principle by which love comes into