Late Antiquity (Fusillades)

by dschapman

“When man begins to philosophize, the soul must commence by bathing in this ether of the One Substance, in which all that man has held true has disappeared; this negation of all that is particular, to which every philosopher must come, is the liberation of the mind and its absolute foundation.”

As it were, there was no one better suited to the task than Desideratus himself, the monkish troublemaker with a heart of gold, whom no one had seen in what seemed like a lifetime. Desideratus was a name of his own invention, a title to denote his own artificial context, a soft deconstruction of the ethical world. Everyone knew that he was tremendously good natured ethicist, although no one had ever seen him do anything ethical, nor act good naturedly. No one ever really saw him at all, and when they did, he was rude, and distempered.

Desideratus was prodigal, secret even to himself for many years. He had a very normal, prosperous, promising future for himself, and everyone adored him, until one day he did something strange, something no one could understand, and disfigured himself. Some say it is because he got lucky and won a boatload of money, and it is the money that somehow compromised him, that made him grow so strange, and forensic. It is true that he found a lot of money, and that he used it to buy himself an antebellum hut the countryside, away from the rest of the civilized world, and to stay there. No one knows if he works, or even if he can work. They say that he is horribly disfigured but every time he shows himself in public, no one notices any disfigurement. In fact, in public, Desideratus looks better than ever, and people stop worrying about him, they begin not to wonder about him anymore.

In winter, winter never came, and Desideratus hardly ever left his home, content only to sit in the warm beaming sun and be rested, leisurely dreaming a world in his head, the creator of dreams, who worships his dreams, the progenitor of missives past. Summer was like winter, winterless, as though the world had given up on her seasons, and settled the world into bad worlds and good worlds, and there in the heart of a good world was this man, seasonless, embracing his ownness, interminable, incommunicable, aggressive and void. The sky stayed gorgeous, blue and deep, and the air was good enough to breath in, the water good enough to drink. Paris, in the distance, weeps; castles hold still on their ancient foundations, bedrooms fitted full of beds and televisions. “God exists only philosophically,” he always said. “I believe in God.” He was a mystical physicist, ashamed of no law nor delusion, deeply ashamed of himself and his role in a steadily revolving cosmos.