Story 2a - In the Brilliance of a Night
"Who, today, cares about the larger world in which we all live?" asked Steve. "Who cares to protect our human world by enriching it? Our world has become so poor that very little is left in people's heart that reaches beyond the border of themselves, except to rob or to 'rape' one another. This is the face of the oligarchy. There is no hope for humanity if it continues to operate on this platform, especially not in a nuclear armed world. As you said to Ushi, the gifts of the oligarchy are its bullets. This is a poor platform, Pete. There is no joy found on this platform, nor a foundation for life. So I must ask you to think about the consequences of, 'suffer it to be so now.'"
Steve leaned out of the window in his nightgown as if to embrace the midnight air, then he turned to me again. "Humanity's task, that is our task, must be to defeat the platform of the oligarchy on which the whole of humanity is divided. But who will pave the way? Humanity requires pioneers for the task of rebuilding its riches. We must become those pioneers and seek the full vitality of
the living of life as life should unfold. We must become open to its riches. Pete, this happens only when the focus is shifted towards enriching one another. This is why I read those long forgotten texts to you. The Decalogue, and the Declaration of Independence are not inward looking documents. They are documents that lay the basis for the development of society as a whole. This night, in this house, we bring to each other the gift of our love. That is a tradition here, the only tradition that you need to regard. The form in which this may unfold is not bound to any tradition, however. It is new and will always be new. This may all seem strange to you, because such a thing has probably never happened to you. Indeed, this has never happened in this house before to the extent that it is happening today. In a sense, the unfolding of it has been the hallmark of our entire evening together. So, why should it's flow stop? We bring to each other a touch of our humanity that has the potential to create a brand new civilization without an oligarchy. Can we aim for a richer goal? I can't see how we could. We don't need to thank each other for this. This unfolding needs to be celebrated. It needs to be embraced."
While Steve was still speaking, Ushi had joined us at the window. She had her nighty on and had brought chocolate milk from the kitchen. She invited us back to the table.
She appeared even more beautiful now, in the dark. Indeed, this was a celebration still unfolding. The idea of spending the night with her had all the flavor of a modern day fairy tale, an Alice in Wonderland rewritten for the modern age. It was as rich and beautiful as Steve had said life ought to be.
After a while Steve yawned again, said good night, and left. I heard him arranging his cot and climbing into it. Ushi also left, while I remained and finished my drink. The only sounds to be heard came from the rustle of leaves outside the window. Some moments later I heard Steve's voice again. "Do you want to know what the answer is about self-love?" he said, speaking from the balcony. "The answer is simple, Pete. Self-love is a part of universal love. It's all included. Universal love is an impossibility if self-love is excluded, therefore, without both of these, there can be no peace, not in the world, nor in your soul."
"But what is self-love made of, Steve?" I replied.
"It is made of that which sets us apart from the animal world. It is made of us being aware of who we are as the tallest manifest of life in our universe. It is made of our awareness that we have the capacity to elevate our existence to ever higher levels of civilization. An animal is trapped within the narrow sphere of its instincts and certain budding spiritual qualities, but we can lift ourselves far above the limitations that we find in the animal world. We can claim for ourselves freedoms that
can't possibly exist on those lower levels, like the freedom to love without boundaries, as we are claiming tonight. We have the capacity to understand science, art, philosophy, even love. We are living marvels, Pete. We are a living miracle. No wonder the Bible defines man as in the image of God. Isn't that worth
our loving, Pete? I see no reason why we shouldn't embrace ourselves, and be in love with
ourselves for no other reason than that."