Light, just light and peace. Let the true and deeper self reveal itself! Let there be an end to distracting thoughts! Just light and peace. Yes, and then perhaps one would be closer to pure spirituality. Then, sooner or later, one would experience revealed truth - the light of Infused Contemplation. At present, however, nothing that could be described as union with ultimate divinity. At present, just this fringe higher consciousness of waiting upon truth, waiting upon bliss. Such a long way to go, but not to despair! Never lose hope that eventually the day of deliverance will come and only pure spirituality reign supreme. Not personally, however, not for you - the latter-day aspirant. No, at best a few seconds or perhaps even a minute or two of ultimate truth, such as one could be expected to bear. Something equivalent to or maybe even greater than what the foremost saints experienced in the past. Yes, in this day and age hopefully something greater than that. A clear intimation of what it would be like to live only in the superconscious mind, freed altogether from subconscious constraints. Freed, in other words, from the daily round of egocentric influences and dualistic consciousness.
Dualistic? No, not quite! A different consciousness, certainly, from that experienced by medieval man. Less under subconscious dominion and therefore correspondingly less egocentric. Different, too, from the consciousness experienced by pagan man, with his penchant for the 'dark gods of the loins' and horrible blood sacrifices. Much less under subconscious dominion than him! No longer in fear of a vengeful deity, thank goodness! No longer beastly and a nature-worshipper, with a guilty conscience for essentially being in rebellion against the sensual, and thus somehow different from the beasts. No, and still less under subconscious dominion than the caveman, that creature who was almost a beast and dwelt among beasts as among equals in the struggle for survival. No, most definitely a different kind of consciousness than would have been acknowledged by one's distant ancestors! Rather, a post-egocentric consciousness, incipiently transcendental, growing all the time more biased towards the superconscious and thus less under the sway of its dark antithesis. Surely approaching a time when even to own a dog would be to render oneself too exposed to commerce with beasts, and dogs are accordingly banished from society as no longer acceptable or relevant? Phased-out, in conjunction with other unnecessary animals, because we can no longer tolerate their beastliness and desire only to be surrounded by that which reflects our superconscious idealism?
Yes, so not a dualistic consciousness now but, still, a consciousness which can only expect a relatively brief intimation of what it would mean to be entirely beyond the subconscious. Yet, even so, a consciousness that is certainly better and higher than any consciousness which has preceded it in the long history of our race, and one, moreover, that will continue to improve, to grow ever more enamoured of the inner light, ever more attuned to the artificial, the development towards greater environmental perfection of the city and its salutary spiritualizing influence. But little by little, generation following generation, refinement superseding refinement, dedication eclipsing dedication, towards ever higher peaks of spiritual attainment. Until at length, after decades or even centuries of spiritual progress, our descendants attain to the culmination of human evolution and become completely godlike, the worthy recipients of superconscious bliss, a life form at the furthest possible remove from the beasts - the ultimate life form ... eternal and complete, the consummation of Christian prophecy in the heavenly side of the Last Judgement! But, in the meantime, now as before, a series of temporal judgements, the dividing of the wheat from the chaff and the subsequent damnation of the latter. In the meantime, evolution continues its journey, whatever one's beliefs or status, towards its ultimate goal. It can do nothing else.
So light and peace for those who want it, those who wish to draw nearer to ultimate divinity. Nearer certainly, though not, except possibly at rare occasions and in minute doses, right into the divine presence. Not yet, at any rate! Only by degrees, a little at a time. God as pure spirituality, inner light, ultimate truth, superconscious bliss, known and knower at once. A condition that is always potentially with one and yet diluted, impeded by the subconscious from showing itself in all its glory - except, that is, on rare occasions and for brief periods of time for those who seek it. But a condition that is destined to shine through to a much greater extent in the future, to extend its influence over all its devotees until such time as nothing but the inner light exists and they become One with it. Man evolving towards God, away from the Devil. Towards ultimate positivity, away from primal negativity. Man in his prime as man - in balance between evil and good. Man past his prime as man - predominantly good. Man become godlike - entirely good. Perfect! At present, less imperfect than formerly, becoming purer, less diluted by the sensual. Gaining a slow but sure spiritual victory over the Devil, which is impure darkness. Climbing ever closer towards the heavenly light.
So let there be light and peace! Let the truth have a chance to reveal itself if I am worthy of it! If not, then I mustn't lose heart but should continue to offer myself in waiting, continue to make myself available, so that the highest in me comes shining through in self-revelation. Yet if, after years of perseverance in such waiting, the highest in me is still unable to fully reveal itself, then I must resign myself to my impure condition and accept its diluted state as just. I must not doubt the existence of the ultimate 'promised land' of the spirit because of this, but should take fresh confidence in the hope that those who come after me will be in a better psychic position to glimpse it, and perhaps dally in it for awhile. So I'll rest content to be merely a humble link in the chain of the generations stretching from alpha to omega, Hell to Heaven. I shall accept my fate as just. For the great majority of men are inevitably doomed, not so much to Hell, these days, as to simple human death. I shall understand the logic of my position in relation to the subconscious, which presumably still has more influence over me than is commensurate with the full revelation of undiluted truth. Tomorrow's generations will be superior to todays. Therein lies our hope for the future.
But now I have thought and reasoned too much! I have quite forgotten the duty I had set myself in preparing my mind for the divine presence. I must refrain from thinking and so grant the higher level of superconsciousness an opportunity to become manifest. Thought pertains to the lower level, and therein lies its limitations. It isn't pure, even when at its best. So let there be light and peace ...
At that moment, the sharp ringing of the doorbell to his flat interrupted these psychic ruminations and put an abrupt halt to his good intentions. It quite startled him, making him forsake whatever equanimity he was in the process of achieving. Who-on-earth could that be, he wondered? He hadn't been expecting anyone to call that evening. It was more than a little inconvenient! And so he waited, listening a few seconds, hoping that the bell wouldn't be rung again. But such wasn't to be the case. For a second and more insistent ringing duly followed in the first one's wake, obliging him to clamber to his feet. He didn't have the nerve to ignore it - not, at any rate, when he had worked himself up into an honourable frame-of-mind with the intention of meditating. Yet it was inconvenient to him, all the same, and he couldn't help cursing his luck, as he staggered out of the brightly lit all-white room and into the comparative shadow of the dimly lit hall.
"Just a minute!" he shouted, while he fumbled his way along the narrow passageway that led to the front door. He was quite dazed by the sudden change of light and the accompanying exertion of bodily movement, the sudden surge of blood from compressed channels, hardly recognizing his face in the hall mirror. But he seemed presentable enough, even given the fact that he was still attired in his all-white meditating clothes - teeshirt, flannels, socks, sneakers - and looked somewhat like a ghost. Too bad if the caller didn't like his appearance!
Again the doorbell sounded in his ears, but this time he was ready for it and immediately pounced on the door, as though to silence it. His recognition of the caller wasn't so immediate however, partly because of his dazed state-of-mind and partly, too, because he had only seen her twice before. But when it did come she elicited from him an exclamation of surprise and delight, which considerably enriched the simple utterance of her name. He could scarcely believe his eyes.
"Hi, Keith," said Greta with, despite evident relief at seeing him, a worried look on her face. "I'm sorry to bother you this evening, but do you mind if I come in and talk to you?"
"No, not at all," he assured her, standing to one side so that she could enter the passageway. A whiff of sweet perfume lodged in his nostrils as she drew up alongside him, causing him to smile with secret pleasure. It was the same perfume, he recalled, that she had worn at Fleshman's gathering the other night. But he couldn't very well permit himself to dwell on that subject when he didn't know the exact reason for her visit. Perhaps, after all, something was seriously amiss? She didn't look particularly happy anyway. He closed the door and motioned her to follow him back along the passageway into his living room at the far end. It was a cosy little room but, at the moment, rather chilly. So, after an apology about that, he set about switching on the fan heater there. "Please excuse my appearance," he added, as she took a chair in front of him.
"I hadn't noticed anything wrong with it," she responded, giving him a cursory inspection.
"Oh well, it's just that I was in the process of meditating when you arrived, and didn't have time to change my clothes. I don't usually receive visitors garbed like this, you see."
Greta blushed faintly and lowered her eyes in shame. "Please forgive me for disturbing you," she begged him.
"Through Martin," she candidly replied. "He gave it to me yesterday."
"Really? And is that why you want to talk to me - about Thurber?"
"Yes, absolutely! You see ..." She didn't quite know where
to begin, especially since
"Can I get you a coffee or something?" he offered.
"Yes, thanks." She looked somewhat relieved at the prospect
of a hot drink, which
"Now then, take your time with what you have to tell me," he advised her, noting that in the meantime Greta had taken off her short leather jacket and lain it by the side of the chair.
"Well, to put it as briefly as possible, Martin has lost his job as a regular contributor to 'Art and Artist', having also had his latest review rejected by Mr Hurst," she ventured.
"Yes, precisely! The editor phoned him yesterday morning to say that his article was unsuitable and would be returned in due course."
"Apparently because it reflects too many attitudes incompatible with the publication's requirements," Greta revealed. "In short, because it bears the stamp of your influence."
"No, well that's what he evidently did, and under the misguided assumption, moreover, that he would be producing a better and more objective review in consequence," Greta averred. "You see, he'd been worried since the night of Mr Hurst's party that the editor would drop him from the magazine in consequence of ... well, forgive me for saying so but ... the displeasure your conversation engendered in our host during the course of the evening."
"You must be aware, surely, that Mr Hurst was none too sympathetic towards your religious views."
"Yes, but I don't see how that could have any bearing on Thurber's review."
"Unfortunately it does, though for reasons that you probably wouldn't understand." She swallowed a mouthful of coffee and then stared angrily at the carpet in front of her. "But don't think I'm blaming you for what has happened between Martin and the magazine," she went on. "It's against Edward Hurst that I bear a grudge ... for breaking his promise!"
"I'm afraid I don't quite follow
Greta was on the verge of tears, and the
hand holding the coffee was trembling slightly.
She didn't really want to tell
"And he promised to keep his word?" responded Logan, who was visibly shocked by her revelation, as well as slightly embarrassed in the proximity of so beautiful a woman.
"Yes, absolutely!" Greta confirmed. "I was solemnly assured as much."
"The dirty double-crossing
At this point Greta could contain her thwarted emotions no longer but burst into an avalanche of tears, a victim of outraged innocence. She put the coffee to one side and hid her face in her hands.
"I'm dreadfully sorry," Greta stammered through tear-drenched lips. "Please forgive me. I'm really behaving quite stupidly."
"Here, take this to dry your eyes with!" he advised her, extracting a clean paper tissue from his front pocket. He so hated to see people upset, and, as she made an effort to dry her eyes, he clasped her more tightly against himself and began, almost unconsciously, to stroke her hair, at first very tentatively and then, as she calmed down a little, with greater firmness. "There, there!" he soothed her anew, as he drew her head against his chest and, again almost unconsciously, planted a gentle kiss on it, continuing all the while to stroke her hair. Inevitably, the scent of her perfume once more entered his nostrils and, in spite of himself, engendered a subtle pleasure, made him conscious not so much of a suffering person in his arms as of a highly attractive woman - a woman whose slender nape was now exposed to his tender gaze, and whose shoulder blades and arms excited a degree of lust it would have been difficult if not impossible to ignore. In a split second his mind changed track, becoming conscious of a sexuality and desire which prolonged celibacy could only intensify, and although he feebly struggled against the temptation to exploit her weakness, the lure of her flesh was too strong to resist and he found himself growing aroused by it and becoming strangely indifferent to any finer feelings. Already the hand that had initially clasped her to himself was gently but steadily working its way up and down her back, and also roaming farther afield over the no-less attractive terrain lower down. It was even working its way under her vest to the bare skin beneath, and as it did so his lips desired not the crown of her head so much as the response of her lips - indeed, forced such a response upon her as, in mute resignation, she turned her face up towards him and closed her eyes, closed them upon past pain while simultaneously opening her lips to present pleasure. Yes, now indeed would come her true consolation, now he could really give it to her!
She lay on the carpet, her miniskirt up round her hips, her head turned away from him, while he sat beside her and gazed down over the expanse of her shapely body. Was there a blemish on it? He didn't think so, at least not from what he could see of it at that moment. He liked the way she was built, liked it all over. Felt that she was just his kind of woman, even down to the shape of her sex, which was one of those open or, as he liked to think of them, diamond-shaped vaginas which he preferred to the closed, or tight, variety. There could be no denying her physical attractiveness, for it had certainly got the better of him or, to put the matter in a slightly more romantic light, induced him to appreciate it to the hilt. And now that he had appreciated it as much as his nature seemed to require, he felt relatively satisfied and purged, so to speak, of sensual desire. But not altogether happy since, deep down, he was rather ashamed of himself for having exploited her distress to his own sexual advantage, even though she had been the more sexually active of the two as, standing front to back, he had inserted himself into her and got her to ease herself up-and-down on him both in response to the fact of how she was dressed and to his transcendental lifestyle which, just prior to Greta's appearance, had taken a radically contemplative turn.
"Are you angry with me?" he nervously asked, his voice pregnant with anticipated remorse.
She turned her face towards him and looked searchingly into his dark-blue eyes. "Of course not!" she replied. "Why should I be?"
"Well, I was just thinking of Thurber. I mean, he wouldn't be very pleased to learn that you ..."
"Oh, don't be such a prig! You needn't worry about Martin. It's what you feel that interests me. For instance, whether you really like me."
"Naturally. I like you very much."
She smiled her relief and extended a friendly hand to his back, which she then proceeded to stroke. "And I like you very much, too!" she averred. "In fact, I might even be in love with you."
He swallowed hard and turned away from her gaze. It came as a sort of embarrassing shock to him, this admission on her part. She was bluffing, surely? "But didn't you come here solely on Thurber's behalf?" he stated.
"Yes, I believe so," she admitted, though, in truth, she didn't want to be reminded of the fact. "I came to blubber on your shoulder and seek advice."
"Which is something, alas, that I
haven't given you!" he confessed, blushing slightly. "But, really, what a double-crossing bastard
"He might," Greta reluctantly conceded. "But, even so, I shouldn't have been obliged to prostitute myself just to get his co-operation."
"Indeed not!" Logan concurred in a tone of righteous indignation, which partly resulted from sympathy towards Greta and partly from disgust that Mr Hurst had actually got his hands on her and more than his hands inside her - no doubt, in a barbarously callous manner. "But we shouldn't allow him to get off scot-free from what he's done," he added.
"So what can we do?" Greta murmured, evidently perplexed.
"You haven't told Thurber about it?"
"I could hardly do that!"
"No, I suppose it would be rather hard
"Perhaps," Greta rejoined, following a short but anguished pause. "Though I rather suspect that he would deny it or claim I was exaggerating."
"But surely she would be suspicious of him?"
"Possibly. Yet, there again, we can't be certain that he hasn't been unfaithful to her before, nor that she would necessarily be surprised or offended by the fact. Besides, I shouldn't wish to be the person to confess to having had sex with her husband. If she did get angry, she'd more than likely take it out on me, not him! And if I don't confess to it, who else can? Not you, for one. And not Martin Thurber either, for the simple reason that I can't bring myself to tell him. So either way we're stumped."
"What a pity!" Logan declared lamely, casting her a sympathetic glance. "Not that it's the end of the world. I mean he only had sex with you, after all."
Greta reluctantly nodded in the teeth of her compunction. For her self-esteem was still smarting from the way Hurst had actually had sex with her, and it now struck her, in the light of what had happened this evening, that, sexually considered, Hurst and Logan were as far apart as they were politically and even socially. "Yes, I suppose he can't exactly be accused of a crime there," she said, a shade reluctantly, "even though the age is more partial, in its rampant secularity, to transmuting sins into crimes. But it's poor Martin that I'm essentially worried about. For now that he's without a magazine to contribute anything to ..."
"What about the one you contribute
"You mean 'The Arts'?"
"Yes, doesn't it publish art reviews too?"
"It does. But it's run by Colin Patmore, and he's a friend of Mr Hurst's. More than a friend actually - in fact, his brother-in-law."
"You really think so?"
The young woman raised herself from the
carpet and sat beside
"Well?" he pressed her.
"Oh, I don't know, it all sounds too simple," she rejoined on a sceptical note. "He might just as easily phone Mr Hurst in order to find out whether I was bluffing him."
"Would that make any difference?"
"It might do."
"Not if he was fonder of his sister,
"Yes, but, really, in this day and age people are being unfaithful to one another all the fucking time!" Greta angrily asseverated.
"Are they?" There then followed an uncomfortable silence,
during which Logan had an opportunity to reflect on his own behaviour that
evening - non-adulterous though it was - and to some extent swallow his
words. He felt momentarily ashamed of
himself again and anxious to change the subject. "Well, whatever the outcome, you can but
try, and see what happens," he advised her. "If Patmore publishes your stories and
you generally get on with him, there's always a chance that he'll accept. After all, he may not be as friendly towards
Greta had to admit that that was a
possibility, albeit not a particularly reassuring one. Still, there could be no harm in giving
Patmore a try, since he had never shown any hostility towards her in the
past. Nor, for that matter, towards
Thurber, whom he had spoken to at
"Yes or, rather, listened to what I had to say about literature and modern art," the avant-garde novelist confirmed.
"And what kind of impression did you form of him?" Greta wanted to know.
"He seemed more tolerant and
intelligent, on the whole, than Mr Hurst, as well as more sympathetic towards
what I write,"
Greta looked agreeably surprised. "And so would I," she declared. "I still can't believe it's for real."
Logan blushed faintly and offered her a conciliatory smile, saying: "If you're really interested in seeing it, there's a copy of my latest novel over there." He pointed in the direction of a small glass table a few yards to their right, on which a couple of music magazines and an average-sized paperback with a purple cover could be seen.
She got to her feet, smoothed her tight miniskirt back into place, and walked briskly across to the table, picked up the paperback without looking at its title, and just as briskly returned to her place beside him. She was smiling continually, for she still couldn't take the idea of a completely senseless literature seriously. "Is that the title?" she asked, referring his attention to the large gold lettering on the cover.
"Yes," he admitted, nodding. "Would you like me to read some of the first chapter for you, or are you going to brave it out yourself?"
"I think I'll have a go at it," she decided, and, turning to page one of 'Endings', began, in as steady and serious a tone-of-voice as she could muster, to read: "'Saturday the thanking green has over, papers big a run, incident boy never gong. Thoughtful, poseur greetings the think abstraction, nothing sake badgers, boats, verbs, yes goodbye were quickly, left forces night on large. He, the your of red, so show too most, gaseous they Wednesday. Nothing went passing. Why on thanks, could mine ran, high, blue caught off head, nightly grow bed then single through an. No, I yesterday gash bog out whose fainting, though said why a nervous sad, but car over nod. Grace mode privately up church. Took and bright, regrettably leg cosy where do, hit a blue, sanction bag to sat. Never paint got hopefully mouse. He's, might order off light, bat fifty, toes tall nowhere more and. To anus bad pinkly dust, was because, in doctor neither nearest calling inasmuch ring. Doubtless, themselves has why I movement caught it so larger. Is grew that blossoming fresh, the Margaret hope fretfully bellows of stout, so but. Everywhere out priest, forty countenance sparking too crowd, aghast left my lofty, gasp, presumably pen colouring could ...' Why, it doesn't even begin to make sense!" she exclaimed, shaking her head in patent disbelief, as she abandoned the text before she had even reached the end of the first paragraph. "And you write like this throughout the book?"
"That's right," Logan replied rather matter-of-factly. "Though not always with quite the same technique or intention in mind. Sometimes I dispense with punctuation altogether, sometimes I include foreign words and phrases, sometimes I concentrate more on verbs than on nouns or vice versa. Sometimes I avoid conjunctions or prepositions, sometimes I mix tenses, sometimes I run strings of adjectives and adverbs together, and so on, through a wide range of alternative techniques. It's really quite a mind-boggling experience at times."
"As I can well imagine!" cried Greta, scarcely bothering to disguise her bewilderment. "I haven't read anything even remotely resembling it before."
"Neither have most people," Logan declared. "But, then, most people don't listen to atonal music or spend time viewing non-representational paintings. So why should they bother to read non-grammatical literature? They probably haven't evolved to that level."
Greta raised archly incredulous eyebrows. "Don't you really mean devolved?" she objected.
"'Evolved' is what I said and 'evolved' is what I meant," he smilingly assured her. "At present they're still tied to more traditional, and hence narrative, forms of literary communication, which is doubtless as it should be. But a time must surely come when man will be above language and given, instead, to pure knowledge, pure contemplation of the Infinite, in accordance with his desire for ultimate salvation in a spirituality transcending the word, not to mention the world."
"As you told me at Mr Hurst's place," Greta reminded him, showing signs of impatience with what struck her, in spite of her liking for him, as a crackpot notion.
"Yes, so I did," he confirmed. "And so man won't want to distract himself from his ultimate destiny by getting caught-up or bogged-down in verbal concepts. He'll know that speech and words in general are ultimately irrelevant to his spiritual salvation - indeed, could be a grave obstacle to it if indulged in as formerly. So he'll gradually free himself from their influence over him, one of the ways of doing so being to read words deprived of their customary status as meaningful components of syntactic sentences and reduced, instead, to their bare bones, as it were, in a largely if not totally abstract arrangement. He will become conscious of words as words rather than as meanings, or concepts denoting subject/object relationships, and gradually be weaned of his dependence on them as vehicles for representational communication. One might say that this mode of writing will act as a kind of transition between traditional communicative language and the pure contemplation which stands above it. Simply a means of breaking down our traditional dependence on concepts. However, the widespread reading of such works won't come about for some time yet - of that you can rest assured!"
A broad smile of ironic relief erupted across Greta's face in spite of her endeavour to take what he was saying seriously. "As I think you said at Mr Hurst's party," she reminded him. "Such abstract works could only appeal, at present, to a tiny minority of, what, advanced intellectuals?"
"Advanced by comparison with the broad reading public, though not particularly advanced by any ultimate standards," Logan averred. "For a day must surely come when the great majority of intelligent people will be able to relate to and appreciate what, these days, is the province of a comparative few. Believe me, it will come, even if it takes decades yet, and such works as I and my avant-garde colleagues currently produce are consigned to oblivion in the meantime. For, in the future, the most advanced contemporary Western art will be re-evaluated and made available to the public, as a new phase of liberated art is initiated and furthered, until such time as we abandon art altogether and exclusively dedicate ourselves to the attainment of a post-human millennium - the attainment of spiritual perfection, and thus to the divine end of our humanity. For man can never be perfect. Only that which is destined to arise from him will be completely spiritual. Call it superman or godlike being or ultimate divinity. A total absorption in and contemplation of the superconscious is the condition of perfection - the complete opposite of life forms dominated by the subconscious, like animals and plants tend to be. But, in the meantime, a great deal of work to be done in the world, so much to improve the living-standards of the vast majority of people, both physically and spiritually. The future consummation of human evolution isn't a matter simply for the Few but the Many, else evolution is a sham and a futility. We must converge en masse towards the post-human millennium - that epoch of superconscious bliss in pure transcendentalism. And, believe me, there's no credible alternative!"
Greta Ryan smiled her dubious appreciation of Logan's comments and gently shook her head in wonderment. Whatever one thought of his writings or of his transcendental lifestyle, there was a certain consistency about him which it was impossible not to admire! And tonight, despite the immense gulf of dissimilar conditioning which existed between them, she had effectively become one of his admirers. He had saved her from her shame and enabled her to look at herself from a different viewpoint; one that neither Thurber nor Hurst would have encouraged her to do. And that was something for which to be sincerely grateful at a time such as this!