- Where're you going?
- Want to come for a ride?
- Sure. I guess we both don't want to go home. How's the wife? Tormenting you?
- She's got me on a short leash. But I have the situation under control. What about you? Still living with that Beverly Hills Guru?
- He's brought over someone new, a kid, seems to be a drug addict. He was sleeping on the floor where the schizophrenic prostitute used to sleep before the police came and dragged her away.
- I don't know how you can stand it.
- Do you have a better idea?
- Get a job.
- Do you have a job?
- No. But my wife tells me I have to look.
- Are you looking?
- I have projects I have hopes will bring in substantial income in the near future. Is there anyplace you want to go?
- No. What about you?
- That girl was looking at us. But we're in a new Mercedes.
- At my age you need any advantage you can get. It's a good car.
- I believe you.
- So do you have any prospects?
- This afternoon at the Century City Shopping Center I met a man who said he was a psychologist...
- You don't believe him?
- No. Why should I? He asked me the same questions you did. He told me I should reinvent myself. Going on doing the same thing expecting the same results is crazy. I said I was reinventing myself all the time, and it didn't work. He said keep trying. I said keeping on trying to reinvent myself was crazy, was doing the same thing hoping for different results. He said try something new. I asked him if he had any ideas.
- Did he?
- Nothing I hadn't tried. Do you know, the Guru isn't crazy, if you use the definition of doing the same things expecting different results. He has his rule, "help the people", and follows the rule out of pride. His pride comes first, he says, anything else he does for people comes second. Whether people are actually helped is in god's hands, and not his responsibility.
- If that's not crazy we need a new definition of craziness.
- A Canadian journalist wrote a book* about Galileo and the Inquisition claiming that Galileo was wrong and the Inquisition right. The Earth revolved around the Sun and the Sun revolved around the Earth were both models, and not strictly speaking true. The Church insisted on the Earth center model because of its traditional association with doctrine and the metaphoric use in suggesting there was a center to life, an origin and purpose. The origin was god, the purpose doing god's will. Perhaps the sun center model works better for scientific calculations, but the Earth center model works better for the purposes of spiritual life. If you want to fly to Mars it makes a real difference in planning your route if you think the Earth is the center, but if you don't really care to go anywhere, or pay much attention to the world like the Guru or the Inquisition of the Catholic Church, the regularity of the rules and the spiritual importance attached to following them gives meaning to life. The politician or business man concentrating on the rules, reinterpreting them at will for greatest gain, has a similar reliance that the rest of the world aside from profit making is in the hands of the spirit of the free market** and not his concern. I remember now. There is something new in my life.
- What's that?
- The oldest of my half brothers out in Thailand reappeared a couple days ago. He invited me to connect on Linkedin. I accepted, wrote a message, What's new? He didn't answer. I tried again. No answer. I reposted on Linkedin the story I wrote about my visit to him several years ago. I knew he didn't like it.
- Why not?
- He thought it made him look bad.
- Did it?
- A little. Everyone looks bad when you put them in a story.
- Me too?
- Of course. You've already been included.*** The reposting worked. Brother reappeared with pages of attack. He said I lived off one foreign woman after another, getting them to pay me to marry them.
- Did you?
- Of course not! He wrote that I was always demanding money from him and my other 5 brothers.
- Did you?
- Then why did he say you did?
- He wanted to say it, and for practical purposes it didn't matter what he said.
- But he knows it isn't true.
- He knows it like the Catholic Church knows the sun at the center of the solar system makes better sense if you are a scientist but worse sense if you are spiritual.
- Your brother either gave you money or he didn't. He has to know.
- Like the Catholic Church knows if you are going to Mars choice of cosmological models makes a difference. But he wasn't particularly interested in coming closer to me. And he's not mistaken in the comforting value of a regular exchange of these other views about me with my other brothers. Does the businessman reinterpreting for personal profit the rules against monopoly, speculation, bribery of government officials notice that the free market doesn't actually help anyone except those doing the same?
- It's in god's hands.
Beverly Hills Stories
* Galileo’s Mistake: A New Look at the Epic Confrontation between Galileo and the Church, Wade Rowland, 2003 (Big Brother in George Orwell's "1984" makes the same argument as this author.)
** Terror's Supply And Demand
*** See You At Starbucks