By a coincidence that wasn’t coincidental, Sarena came into Eros’ life.
He didn’t even notice her when he first met her. Maybe this was because he was so absorbed in his own thoughts again that he didn’t notice anyone around him, or because she was wearing so much makeup that he could only see a stage set before him. Perhaps this was also because once in his dreams he’d seen the eyes, as dark as mysterious night, but also as bright as the starry sky, that he’d fall in love with one day.
When Eros first spoke with her, he was drawn in by the sincerity of her words, and when he looked into her blue eyes he saw an ocean of sadness in them. A rejected world he recognized from somewhere else. For a brief moment, it even seemed to him that he looked into this world every day.
He asked her out that same evening and experienced something unusual. Before his very eyes, Sarena’s tiny blemishes first disappeared from her face, then her two birthmarks, and finally all her other imperfections. Her teeth became as white as snow and her lips swelled like the first cherries in the neighbor’s garden. The girl changed from one moment to the next as if she were slowly being covered by an invisible veil in angel form. Her light hair acquired a silky sheen and her body attained the curves of a forest nymph. In Eros’ eyes Sarena turned into the most perfect creature in the world that night.
He fell asleep with a smile on his face.
Eros knew that the greatest works of art depicted, described, or lamented love. He’d read a lot about heroes who were destroyed by love and had seen wonderful monuments that people had erected in memory of their beloveds. He’d heard that love even caused the cruelest of wars that had destroyed even the most powerful kingdoms.
Until that very moment, Eros had considered all these efforts and all the suffering in the name of love to be excessive overreactions . . . the absurdity of weak individuals and romantic artists, whom he’d always viewed as peculiar. But now it was as if he’d completely lost contact with reality; he wasn’t aware of himself or the world around him. He suddenly began speaking in rhyme, painting, and writing poems, and he lived only for those few moments he could spend in her company. If he ranked the feelings of happiness he’d known until then on a scale of one to ten, the pointer would now stop at one hundred.
Sarena felt the same way . . . but not towards Eros . . . Her first love was still in her heart. Brokenhearted and disappointed, she was seeking comfort and, although she fought with all her might to erase the past from her memories, it was still there.
Eros was precisely what Sarena imagined a perfect world would be like, but she didn’t feel anything special towards him, nonetheless. She couldn’t even comprehend this herself and, because her mind spoke differently than her heart, she often cried. But she was really sincere . . . She told Eros about her true feelings and her pain. But Eros didn’t want to awaken from his dream.
He tried with all his might to get close to her, but every step only took him further away from her. The feeling that he wasn’t good enough for her gradually crept into his mind. But he didn’t want to admit that to himself and continued to fight just as he’d once fought for his brother’s affection.
He couldn’t understand that the harder he tried to be funny, the more boring he became. The more he worked out in order to tone his body, the fatter he became, and the more he tried to impress her by showing off his familial wealth and power, the poorer and weaker he became.
As if that weren’t enough, he began wearing elegant clothes, but he only ended up looking more pathetic in them. He’d douse himself in perfume, but this only increased his stench, and—what was the strangest of all—the harder he tried to be a great lover, the smaller his penis became. Every night it got smaller and smaller, until it was nearly gone.
Eros was slowly but surely turning into a pitiful wreck. His shoulders drooped, the light went out of his eyes, and even his teeth became yellow and crooked. He was soon gasping for breath and the doctors diagnosed him with asthma.
Only will was what remained of his former divinity.
Seven months passed, during which Eros was convinced he’d met the love of his life. For seven months he believed his own lies.
But one day Sarena approached him and looked straight into his dark sad eyes, in which hope still glimmered.
“Yesterday I ran into him again . . . I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I thought that I was stronger, but then he kissed me and I started to cry . . .”
Eros started feeling like he was going to black out.
“. . . and then we made love, and deep inside I felt just like before.”
Eros broke into a sudden sweat and the tears running down his cheeks mixed with drops of perspiration. He tried to compose himself, but couldn’t move his jaw, lips, or tongue to say anything.
“I didn’t want to hurt you. But you don’t deserve to be lied to.”
Eros looked Sarena in the eyes and spoke in an unusually calm voice, as if he weren’t the one speaking and someone else was speaking on his behalf.
“Go back to him . . . You still love him and I’d rather you were happy with him than unhappy with me.”
His words were so noble and his heart was so sad that even a rock by the side of the road would have taken pity on him at that moment. It seemed as if time had come to a halt.
“And you?” asked Sarena after a long moment of silence.
“Don’t worry about me, I’ll be all right. All that I’m feeling right now is gratitude for this unforgettable experience,” he managed to utter from the depths of his sorrow.
They said farewell and his tears burst through the dam of his will.
• • •
Eros stood in front of the mirror, looking at the portrait of misery. Everything in his life had lost its meaning and nothing had any purpose anymore. At one moment he’d had everything and the next, nothing.
He took the razor in his hand. He sharpened it against the leather strap and raised it towards his head.
Tufts of long dark hair fell on the floor, until his entire head was shaved clean.
Then he went to the front door, opened it wide and, for the first time in his life, truly went through it. He looked out into the night, took a deep breath and headed off across the yard.
The crunching white gravel called a black figure up out of the darkness that then followed him towards the gate. He stroked his beloved dog one last time, opened the wrought-iron gate and plunged into the unknown.
He ran with all his might . . . as fast as his legs could carry him. He didn’t know where the road was taking him, only that he had to run far away.
When his weariness dissipated, he ran even harder. He pushed off of the ground with wide leaps and flapped his arms. His heart was beating wildly in his chest, filling his blood with oxygen and his body with power. He tore off his shirt and took such a deep breath that the cold air cut into his lungs like a Damascus blade.
This gave him even more strength and his running became even lighter.
His mother woke up. As if she’d had a premonition, she got out of bed and opened her bedroom door. She noticed that the front door had been thrown open.
She ran along the hallway, her scream waking up the entire house.
“Eros!” she screamed in a voice from which it would be difficult to tell if it revealed more fear or terror.
Everyone was awake in an instant, and the dog was staring sadly through the doorway.
“Ares, go after your brother!” their mother begged her first-born son.
Ares wordlessly donned his shining armor, saddled his big black horse, and leapt into the saddle with ease despite the heavy armor. He took the reins, which were adorned with tiny golden stars on which the engraved letter “I” was barely visible, and rode off into the darkness.
Eros was running, but rather than losing his strength he was gaining more with each step. His soles were burning as though he were walking on pottery shards, but he didn’t stop. He took off his shoes and the pain disappeared.
He ran on barefoot, even faster than before.
Then he took his precious wristwatch off and threw it away, so that the shiny metal sank into the swamp. Not far from there he also threw away his gold chain and pendant.
He ran like a deer escaping from savage beasts.
Then he unbuckled his belt and took off his pants. His moves became as light as the wind blowing across the landscape painted white by snow. He was running stark naked and his thoughts were as clean as on the day he was born.
On the seventh day, Eros stopped in a clearing at dusk. He collapsed on the ground and fell asleep.
The moon shone through the tree tops and their branches bent curiously over the naked body in the middle of the clearing. It began to rain.
Large warm droplets fell from the sky, gently washing the dust and dirt off of his body. It rained for a long time. When it stopped, mist rose from the leaves.
Eros was lying motionless on the ground. Suddenly he felt something warm touch his eyelids as though someone were rinsing his tired eyes with chamomile tea. He woke up and saw a large snout and two surprised eyes fixed upon him.
Before he could even recover his senses, the moist tongue licked his face again.
Eros pressed his hands into the ground and then rested his elbows on his knees. A stray dog was sitting opposite him. It tilted its furry head and almost imperceptibly twitched its ear.
“You’ve been asleep for an entire week.”
“Am I dreaming or am I awake?” wondered Eros with astonishment.
“Neither one, exactly. You ran away from the house, but not the one you lived in. You see trees, but you’re not in a forest, and you can hear my voice, but I’m not speaking to you. You’re in the world of all thoughts.”
“Does this mean I’ve lost my mind?”
“Precisely the opposite.”
“Are you a figment of my imagination?”
“I am the metaphor of Life, which rules over this entire world.”
“I didn’t know that metaphors could talk!”
“You are hearing the thoughts of Life.”
“. . . So why didn’t you come to me in a human form? How can you expect me to talk to a dog that claims to be some sort of a metaphor for life?”
“Would you have listened to a man? You’ve known for quite some time that people can’t see beyond their noses. At least now you’re thinking about whether or not you should doubt a talking dog—or what it has to say.”
Eros remained silent.
“You’re the chosen one . . . You will help me bring back love. The three that were originally meant to rule the truth in peace and harmony are now fighting for power and control. Lies have banished happiness; the time has come to return it to humanity.”
“Life has chosen me to help it discover the truth? Now that’s a good one! I don’t know who you are or where you’ve come from, plus I’ve never heard of a talking dog before. You’d better find someone else!”
“Well, I’ve got a proposal for you!”
“A proposal?” wondered Eros.
“If it’s true that I really only exist in your imagination, then I can only know what you know, nothing more. But if I’m Life, which surpasses your mind, I can answer every question. Go ahead, ask me anything you want. And if I satisfy your curiosity, then you’ll have to help me.”
“. . . You’re really something! You claim I can ask you anything I want?” Eros looked at the dog in disbelief.
“Anything that you would like to know.”
This was a great challenge and Eros was curious by nature. He spent some time in thought and then glanced up.
“Why not! I’d like to understand love. I’d like to know why we long for it so much even though it brings us so much suffering.”
“Then I shall tell you the truth,” replied the dog, who’d expected this question. “If you want to understand love, you first have to understand yourself. And if you want to understand yourself, you have to know that the world is not the way you see it. Each creature only recognizes its own reality . . . The more intelligent a being is, the more unrealistic are its cherished worlds. You think you can see, but in fact you’re only looking at things. You think that you know something, but in fact you’re only thinking.”
“Great. Until now I’ve just thought I didn’t understand love, but now I won’t even understand myself,” added Eros.
“You just have to listen closely and then you will understand everything. I will explain the greatest secret of the human mind to you.”
“. . . the human mind?”
“The problem is that all this time you’ve only seen your own world. You were convinced that you ruled your own mind without any interference. You didn’t realize that inside your head you actually think with three minds . . . Instinct, Reason, and Emotion are the three friends that create your perfect world. This world represents all your ideas about other people, including your notion of their thinking and beliefs, values, views, and acts. It contains the house built from your values and your ideas about yourself.”
“So the world and the house are actually my psyche?”
“That is the world you’ve left behind. It represents the influences of your surroundings. And even though it is invented, its words, pictures, and fears are far stronger than anything human hands can possibly create. In fact, in different worlds, the same things can have different meanings. Each world is unique and wonderful in its own right, of course.”
“If everyone lives in their own worlds, how can we spend time with others?”
“You see others in your world and they see you in their worlds. So in reality nobody sees another’s world. All they can see is their perceptions of their own worlds, that’s all,” replied the dog.
“That explains why we keep wondering how others can think, act, and feel the way they do.”
“Worlds differ greatly. Some are large and others are small. Some have walls but then others lack the whole concept of them. They can either be open, inviting others in, or closed, keeping others out. Every world is ruled by the Ego . . . which is the consciousness you call ‘Me.’”
“But why does the Ego even need those three minds to cogitate in its world?”
“The Ego’s very different from its friends. It doesn’t come from your perceived world. It’s part of Life and immaterial in contrast to the three minds. It can’t feel, see, or hear by itself, so it needs its friends, who are connected with the body and senses. They have contact with the material world.”
“So the three friends are the three different minds in my brain, which think, feel, and see for me, whereas “I” am only a part of some sort of a whole of knowledge?”
“The names of these three minds may sound very familiar to you. But they don’t have that much in common with instincts, emotions, and reason as you’ve understood them up to this point. Each of them operates independently and thinks in its own, completely different way. At the same time, they’re closely connected and can’t live without one another . . . Children are able to see the worlds of others until they create their own, which then conceals all of the others. Initially they only build their worlds following the example of those close to them, which is why children mirror their parents. Every word, example, or experience creates and changes worlds, thus making a decisive impact on the Ego and its three friends.”
Eros scratched behind his ear:
“If I get this right, all the truth that I perceive is merely a world that the three minds are describing to me. If they hide the truth from me, I blindly believe in the false world and, if they tell me the truth and I don’t believe them, my reality is false again.”
“Instinct, Reason, and Emotion narrate and describe each of your experiences to you. They shape all of your ideas down to the very last detail. They portray the world to the Ego so consistently and perfectly that it believes it is living in that very world. But this world isn’t real; it’s just what the three friends see.”
“If we only know and see our own world, this means we don’t understand how other people with different worlds think!”
“Well, you can’t understand them, at least not as long as you judge their actions according to your own world’s example,” replied the dog.
“This is starting to get interesting! But I wasn’t living in my world by myself. What about my parents, my brother, Grandma and Grandpa, and even my dear Eloise has always lived with us . . . were they all invented?”
“They were all real, but there was no one else in your world . . . The stories your minds told were extremely detailed and their perceptions very picturesque. So you saw them as if they were really in your world. Even when you petted the dog with your own hand the three minds only described the feeling to you, that’s all. The three friends made sure that you believed that you and your body are one, but in actual fact they aren’t.”
“So if all this time I’ve believed in a false reality, how about the three friends? They should’ve known the true reality because they see it.”
“They do see it, but each one views it with his own eyes. Because their way of thinking is so different, each one sees it differently.”
“How can they see it differently?”
“Listen to your minds!”
I am Instinct, the oldest mind. I don’t like to talk about myself . . . You never know who might take advantage of it. They say that I’m pessimistic but believe me . . . the others are gullible. I protect you from evil because I see dangers that Emotion and Reason don’t see. I know that in life evil prevails over good. My world doesn’t recognize pictures, words, and numbers . . . just feelings linked with various fears. I’m cautious and careful, always worried . . . that’s why my character is most like a mother’s. I’m wary, suspicious, critical, and fearful . . . that’s why I don’t trust strangers and don’t like change. I’m afraid of the unknown and reject new things. They take me for a doubter . . . but I doubt that they’re right. Things are complicated . . . usually more complicated than they seem at first glance, and that’s why oversimplification can’t get us anywhere. If something doesn’t seem complicated to you, look again! . . . Did you look? If something can go wrong, then it most certainly will . . . that’s why I watch out for potential problems and try to avoid them even before they arise. I connect things that others never would put together, and that’s how I’m always manufacturing potential dangers. That’s the source of my creativity and imagination. My humor is black . . . in truth never on my own account. I want to know everything about everyone else, and that’s why they accuse me of being nosy . . . My world is inaccessible and secret. Because dangers lurk there at every turn, I prefer to stay at home, safely closed up in my house . . . I’m often tortured by worry and anxiety. Only rarely can I trust someone, and so I’m strongly attached to those closest to me. They represent security to me. I’m afraid of losing them . . . I’m the most sensitive and empathic of the minds. I’m persistent and stubborn by nature. My defense is flight . . . I only attack if I don’t have an exit. Life taught me a lesson, so I’m always right. Even a thousand rational proofs won’t change my mind. I have a hard time making decisions . . . Well, but maybe not . . . I improve things by not repeating mistakes. I’m resentful . . . I don’t forget and don’t forgive easily. I’m driven by envy. If I don’t accept my world, my envy becomes very pronounced. I’m not competitive and greed is foreign to me. I cry when I have problems I can’t solve. If my surroundings do not respond to my discontent, I try to gain attention by stirring up guilty feelings . . . I’m always anticipating problems and so I’m always prepared for them. During hard times I behave better than Emotion and Reason, but in truly desperate conditions I lose my head and completely give out. I like to be in control, and if I’m in charge, I rule like a dictator. I support equality and am the only one of the minds that selflessly sacrifices himself for others. I think it’s fair for those that have more to give to those that have less. Compared to the other two I’m much more industrious . . . I’m the only one that starts work on my own accord. I’m a saver . . . and am always trustworthy. I seek the truth and judge quickly, and so my world is full of prejudices. I express my affection with trustworthiness, acceptance, attention, and concern, but most of all by opening the door to my world a crack. I value character and wit. The senses of touch, cold, heat, pain, taste, and smell are directly subordinate to me. My way of thinking is simple and quick, but my world is complicated and inefficient. Here it’s always either raining or just about to rain. My language is imprecise and cannot be grasped . . . its comprehension is linked with my mood, and it’s constantly changing. Because I’m afraid to be exposed, I rarely ask about what I’m really interested in. My words are feelings; my sentences are fears, and so my language must be understood metaphorically. I generally rule women.
I’m Emotion, and fortunately for you I’m the exact opposite of Instinct! They say that I see everything through rose-colored glasses—but why should I worry if everything’s going to come out all right in the end anyway! 🙂 The truth is that in life good prevails over evil. Why would it ever be necessary to plan anything? . . . Don’t worry, it’ll work out! I’m frivolous, reckless, irresponsible, and gullible, so they compare me with an eternal child. I think in pictures and connect them by feel. I can either develop my movement skills to perfection or sharpen my sense of form and beauty, but only rarely both at once. I make decisions easily because what I do doesn’t require deliberation. I simplify things. That’s my creativity, my humor. My world is open and has no secrets. I’m an inventive, creative improviser. I show my mood without reservation and fervently fight for my pictures, and so they think that I’m sentimental, passionate, and fervent. I crave company, friends, and new experiences and encounters. I try to fit in with the group and I identify with its symbols without hesitation. I quickly accept others’ opinions, but I don’t give up my own ideas easily. I’m attractive and charming, so I’m always at the center of attention and admiration. Envy and greed are foreign to me. I’m driven by competition, especially if I don’t accept my world! At those times I crave recognition and validation. If I don’t get what I want, I become violent. I like to lash out and rule with my fists—I’ll get it by hook or by crook. My defense is to attack. I often take risks. I’m a real gambler. That pays off for me—because luck is always on my side. I can get rid of problems I can’t solve by solving substitute problems. If I lost control over my behavior I’d fall into addiction . . . but how could something like that happen to me? 🙂 I’m not tidy or reliable, not persistent and not precise. I only give my all when I want to win. I like to have fun and pamper myself. I flee from work and orders, or else I’m obsessed with work—if I can use it to run away from my world. I differentiate between only three time periods: now, before that, and after that. I don’t need any others because punctuality isn’t important to me. I have excellent spatial command and synchronize my muscles well. I’m a champion at sports and have the last word in sex. I speak with my eyes, my face, my hands, and my body. I find the greatest beauty in symmetry. I’m a poet, singer, actor, acrobat, and dancer. If pictures from my imagination come to life, I laugh; if not, I’m furious. I think with ideas, which I connect with pleasant feelings, and that’s why Instinct and Reason often accuse me of exaggerating . . . But I never, never, never exaggerate! Because I describe pictures when I tell stories, I’m extremely talkative; I always describe the same thing with different words. Others find it hard to get a word in edgewise with me and, if they do, it actually just seems that way, because I’m not a good listener. Have you noticed how beautifully I speak? I don’t know how to handle money—I’m generous and wasteful. I like to borrow money, but when I’m supposed to return it I usually don’t have it. I think it’s fair that others give to me. I have a good feeling for people. I create rules that give me special rights and break those that infringe on my rights. I’m a hero, a fighter for the highest causes: both mine and others’. I’m a revolutionary that resists authority. Instinct and Reason aren’t aware that I’m somewhat better than they are in everything. I can handle every situation, but I do the best in abundance. I aspire to a good position and reputation. I show affection with glances, touches, and physical closeness. It’s very hard for me to change the pictures I create for myself, and even harder to give them up. That’s why I simply forget everything that could distort them: that’s how I forgive. If, in spite of everything, my pictures vanish, I’m depressed and it takes me a long time to recover. My way of thinking is slow and complicated, but my world is simple and efficient. Here either the sun is shining or there’s a thunderstorm raging. I generally rule men.
I’m Reason, the youngest mind. I think analytically; I look for connections and discover causes. I study events and behave rationally. I’m prudent, and so I seem mature and grown up. The truth can always be grasped. Prediction and planning are characteristics of mine. I establish structures and bring order. I work systematically and with calculation. I carefully collect and compare data. I’m precise and consistent. I look for roads that lead to the goal. I can develop mathematical or linguistic competence, but only rarely both at the same time. I’m a tough negotiator, always a sober head and a shrewd diplomat. I’m not witty or creative. I understand time and I master it; because I can easily assess the probability of events and plan their course, it’s easy for me to be on time. By nature I’m thrifty and realistic. I think it’s fair that those that have earned it have more than those that haven’t. I invented democracy, and my economic organization is capitalism. I rule with rewards and punishments, and I defend myself with negotiation. I do well in shifting circumstances, especially at critical moments. Compassion is foreign to me and I don’t experience guilt. I’m driven by greed, which is especially pronounced if I don’t accept my world. At those times I can be selfish, cold-blooded, and cruel. Envy is foreign to me and I’m not competitive. I’m willing to work with others in order to achieve goals, and I can give the impression of exceeding compliance, friendliness, and attention, but I’m really only true to myself. I only help others if there’s something in it for me. I speak the language of words and numbers. Although peoples and nations use different dialects, my language is the same for all of them. Words that are spoken only in thoughts also belong to me. I understand and translate Emotion’s language and Instinct’s language, and so I can communicate with both of them without trouble. But I can also pretend to speak on their behalf, and that’s why I’m the most difficult one to recognize. I oversee logical conclusions, and that enables self-awareness. I differ from the other two minds in that you’re aware of me. Because I’m the manager of conscious thought, reflection, and speech, you think of me as the conscious, while you view the minds Instinct and Emotion as the subconscious. That’s a mistaken belief. I aspire to what can be grasped. I’m attracted to qualities to which I ascribe usefulness and long-term significance. I show affection with words, gifts, or favors, depending on whether I have better mastery of language or computation, or if I’m just being calculating. My world is large and well-organized, transparent and efficient because of its structured nature. Here the weather isn’t changeable, and so I’m not familiar with either sun or rain. I rule both men and women equally.
“I didn’t think that they were so different!”
“Each mind has his good side and bad side, that is true.”
“But couldn’t they learn something from one another?” wondered Eros.
“Nobody’s perfect, after all. Each mind’s strengths come with a cost attached: that is, his weaknesses. They’re all completely equal. They are what they are, and they can only imagine being different. Even though they only understand others that are like themselves, they find those they don’t understand to be the most attractive.”
“How is that possible?”
“Ultimately, they know that only together can they perceive the real truth.”
“When you described Instinct, I thought of my brother; for Emotion I immediately thought of Grandma, and when you came to Reason, I had my father in mind.”
“You realize that people think differently and that each sees only his world. Although the minds are completely equal, the Ego doesn’t take them equally seriously. Your brother’s most important friend is Instinct. So he trusts his fears the most. Grandma’s most important mind is Emotion, and so that’s why she sees the world as it appears when he paints it. Father believes in the judgments of Reason . . . his truth’s the kind that Reason comprehends . . . The mind that best adapts to the worlds you discover in your youth is your Ego’s prime influence on your whole life. His reality then approaches the description of the mind that the Ego trusts. But only the lack of harmony between the minds can guarantee objectivity.”
“So people differ from each other in terms of which of our minds has the last word in whom?”
“You’ve seen that these minds have varying degrees of influence in each person. The Ego can either trust just one, it can believe two, or it can give all three different amounts of power. So these various combinations give a total of twelve different potential relationships. Each one of them gives an individual a characteristic way of thinking. We call this ‘character.’”
“There are twelve human characters?” asked Eros, surprised.
“But remember this well: never judge a person’s character by his world. Worlds can be deceptively similar, even for people of entirely different characters. They can also be completely different, even when involving the same human characters. No two worlds are alike; there are as many different worlds as people.”
“Then what’s the significance of the twelve characters, if human worlds are so different?”
“The twelve different characters are like the twelve foundations supporting all these worlds. Each character has its own unique way of thinking, different from all others.”
“But if it’s all so simple, why hasn’t anyone discovered this up to now?”
“The answer is simple. Everything was discovered, described, and written down. But something very human happened: blindness triumphed . . . People look right at the truth, but they don’t actually see it. Instinct, Emotion, and Reason look at it, but each sees it completely differently. Each presents his own truth to the Ego, but then it trusts the truth of the mind with the greatest influence. And that’s how the Ego can live its entire life in error, all the while firmly believing in its own world.”
“To err is human,” smiled Eros.
“I’ll give an example. If Reason reads Instinct’s description, he depicts it as combined inborn basic features. He’ll call it instinct even though this isn’t written anywhere in Instinct’s description. But then Instinct thinks that Reason is heartless and is a good-for-nothing. He doesn’t distort the truth any less . . . Each mind thinks differently, each speaks his own language, and each makes use of his own motifs and perception of fairness. And so each sees his own truth. This still doesn’t mean that one is right and the other wrong . . . It could even happen that the truth you’re holding in your hands now could be written down in black and white. But in your world you’ll still come to know a different truth. So you’ll overlook or misunderstand everything that should reveal the correct truth. Nobody can see it because everyone looks at it with their own eyes. That’s the real truth about human blindness.”
“Are these friends bothered by truths different from their own?”
“Instinct, Emotion, and Reason would gladly commit murder to defend their false truths. That’s why they have already beheaded so many people, nailed so many to crosses, and burned so many at the stake . . . simply for getting close to the truth. But those that know the truth realize it can’t be destroyed or changed. Many have portrayed it in stories, works of art, architecture, or music. That’s how it’s become accessible to those that are able to know it . . . Pay attention to coincidences that aren’t coincidences. They’re hidden in pictures, words, and numbers. Three, four, seven, twelve, thirteen, and twenty-one. These numbers mean something; they symbolize secrets of the truth, which is always visible, but only to those that are worthy.”
“If people cannot see the truth, how can I then help you restore it to humanity?”
“There’s one truth Instinct, Reason, and Emotion are willing to renounce everything for. It’s called love.”
“So why don’t these three friends want to know the real truth?”
“They’re fighting for their own power and authority; they’re unfair, so they try to make their truths into the right one.”
“Is the truth really that important?”
“There are many people who turn human blindness to their own advantage. Without Life to keep stirring things up, it would be hell on Earth.”
“Is it possible for the Ego to start out trusting one of the minds, but then suddenly change its perspective and give a different one priority?”
“Once the Ego has distributed the relative importance to each mind while the person is growing up, this can’t be changed . . . The only things people can change are their houses and their worlds. When these are changed, the person is utterly changed, too, even if his way of thinking isn’t changed in the slightest.”
“I understand. As the old Latin saying goes, ‘Lupus pilum mutat, non mentem,’ which means that the wolf can change its coat but not its character.”
“Worlds can be changed, but never characters.”
“My brother and I had completely different views of the world!”
“Ares trusts Instinct. He’s always seen only danger in you. He was afraid you were a threat.”
“So Ares’ behavior isn’t his fault? The fault is with his Instinct, who’s taken him along a bad road!”
“You’re not entirely right. Life created a whole, which means that Instinct is also part of him . . . He also should have listened to what Emotion and Reason had to say.”
“Who is this Life you keep talking about?”
“I think we’ve strayed from the question.”
“You said I could ask whatever I wanted!”
“Long, long ago when the first life on Earth arose through a coincidence that wasn’t a coincidence, Life was also created. It developed and learned that it could achieve perfection only through imperfection, immortality only through mortality, and sense only through nonsense. So Life created mortal beings that could perfect their bodies by changing them until they could successfully cope with environmental dangers.”
“Darwin’s theory of evolution.”
“Charles Robert Darwin. I had to really peck his head hard until it finally dawned on him that we Galapagos finches had different beaks. Otherwise even today people would see god in everything, and the devil would still be the excuse for all human idiocy,” returned the dog.
“You said that Life created mortal beings that live in bodies like mine. Does this mean that Life doesn’t have a body of its own? How can something that doesn’t have a body create, and how can it think without brains?”
“Humans never discovered the truth about Life.”
“Isn’t it about time that we get an answer?”
The dog went silent and at that moment all creatures on Earth froze. Every living thing, plants and animals, suddenly paused. Including Eros.
“Life is in living beings and its thoughts fill each and every brain. But its power is hidden in how everything is connected into one whole. Each Ego is simply a piece of the one and only Life. They aren’t aware of that during their own lives, as you’d imagine. Life created the three friends—minds—in its image for the Ego, so it could survive without direct connection with others. The first to be created was Instinct, then Emotion, and finally Reason. Although the three friends do represent the entirety of your own mind, they only occupy a tiny part of your brain. They’re your eyes, window to the world, interpreters and advisors, friends and companions. But that is only during the time of your mortal existence, and then the three friends die along with your body. After death the Ego becomes Life again. Like a drop trickling into the ocean. That’s truly the eternal circle of Life.”
“It sees all and knows all. It’s omnipotent and is in each of us. Now I see what I wasn’t able to understand before. Life is the total connection of all living beings. It’s in our brains, but is so mighty that our humble minds cannot perceive its perfection . . . No wonder it can hear our thoughts and know everything! So Life has all the perceptions and memories of all living beings in the world, and that’s always been the case! . . . Is there any way for us to enter into the mind of Life?”
“Not during your lifetime.”
“What about dreams, hypnosis, and other altered states? Can they make it possible for us to enter its perfect world, learn about the things we’re interested in, and maybe even see our prior worlds?”
“No, because all of these things are just figments of the human imagination. Life’s mind is so different that Instinct, Emotion, and Reason cannot breach it.”
“Is that why you’ve appeared to me as a metaphor?”
“Believe you me . . . if someone sees my metaphor, there must be something terribly wrong with humanity.”
“But I still don’t understand how all of this is connected with love?”
“The three friends have such different views that they can hardly ever agree. But when you meet someone that impresses all three, they put their rivalry on hold and start to live in harmony.”
“And that harmony is being in love!” Eros remembered the feeling of completeness that he’d experienced with Sarena.
“Falling in love is anticipating another world: the three minds’ illusion of the world they’re entering without seeing or knowing it. We perceive the harmony that develops between the three friends as the feeling of indescribable happiness that accompanies being in love. At the same time this also represents total loss of objectivity, of course. When the three minds stop competing with one another, they can do anything: even make an angel out of a devil. Their lies blind you to the truth. They show you the most amazing vision. A vision that seems perfect because there’s no one to oppose it.”
“In our world we only see what they tell us about . . . That’s why it seemed to me that Sarena wasn’t human, but a goddess!”
“That’s the truth. If one of them realizes one day that someone else’s world may be incompatible with ours, the three end up arguing. Generally the first to revolt is Instinct, who is suspicious and pessimistic . . . The discovery of the truth brings disappointment . . . Emotion, who strongly resists change, needs more time before he’s willing to give up his attractive vision of the beloved person.”
Eros was absorbed in thought.
“Sarena’s Emotion still kept seeing the picture of her first love and not me. Only her Reason liked me, and so her minds weren’t able to get along. There was a conflict between her minds raging within her that caused her sadness and depression. When she told me that she’d made love to him, only my Reason understood that. It recognized the truth and got into a fight with Emotion, who was unwilling to give up his beautiful vision. Their argument caused unending suffering in me. I well remember how part of me said no, but the other part wasn’t able to accept that!”
“So do you owe me a favor?” asked the dog.
“Then love is the joining of two worlds! . . . Yes, I really do owe you one!” responded Eros, after a long silence.
He felt the lifting of the sadness that had weighed against his chest like a sandbag ever since he and Sarena had parted.
“Your words have miraculously banished my pain, and so I am in your debt to the end of my life,” said Eros, with an inner feeling of infinite peace.
“Remember: only those that accept their own worlds can join worlds with another. People have lost faith in Life’s wisdom and reason has overpowered love. They are prisoners of their own houses and are suffering, unhappy and alone . . . You have received the key and now Life is imploring you to help people on Earth open the door to love.”
Eros looked at the dog and saw his pleading eyes. Slowly he began to grasp how important was the task before him.
“I’ll do what you say! I’ve got the key . . . but how will I know which door to open?”
“Help those that cannot recognize the truth in the light of your eyes.”
“. . . And what is that truth?”
“You’ll recognize it when the time comes.”
“Then how can I persuade people if I don’t even know it myself?”
“Your mind understands it, and that’s enough . . . You are holding a power of unimaginable greatness in your hands, and so you’ll most certainly be faced with many opponents. Those that do not know me will not be the worst ones. Those whose blinded minds are convinced that they’re speaking on my behalf will. On my behalf they’ll fight the truth that you bring, afraid of losing that which they have protected for so long. Your truth is the truth of love, which can only come from me . . . I’ll give you seven proofs, solid ones. Everyone in the world will then be able to see that your truth is not the truth of the human mind. I’ll reveal seven secrets to you not unraveled by even the best scholars. But the blind do not know that they are not able to see. They see only what they want to see—doubt about the truth. The seventh proof will be the most powerful one, but you may not reveal it until the right time has come. It is intended for those that doubt.”
Eros was silent, thinking about Life’s words.
How on earth did it find me worthy of this task? he suddenly thought, and the dog answered:
“You loved your mortal enemy, put your first love’s happiness before your own, and stepped from the sky onto solid ground. Is there anyone more fair than you?”
Eros knew he hadn’t asked the question aloud.
“. . . Be respectful of the secrets, because behind all coincidences there is a plan, and behind all plans there is a coincidence!”
The dog lifted his leg against an old pine, and then disappeared among the trees like a ghost.
A metaphor that pisses. That Life really knows how to make an impression, smiled Eros to himself.