“So, class, when we are looking at the Meditations of Descartes and thinking of what stands in Descartes way of perception, what is our first impression?” the professor asked to the vacant eyed students of his first period class. “Anyone? Anyone at all?”
Seamus’ hand shot up in front of his teacher’s face, “He was a crazy old bastard.”
Professor Garrett looked back at him, “Well, I wouldn’t be so quick to say that. You don’t know his family situation. I am sure he was perfectly legitimate. Now, the fact that he sat around in his bathrobe in front of a fire trying to erode his belief can be considered to say the least a little eccentric. But he isn’t crazy per se. He would have to be far more interesting to be crazy. Never forget, crazy people tell the best stories. But back to Descartes and his boring old sane eccentric self, what is his first real problem that he harps on so much in this work? Anyone?”
Seamus raised his hand again. “Are we going to receive a real answer from you this time?” Professor Garrett queried. The boy nodded. “Well, by all means, lad, proceed.”
The Boy did. “Is it that he was in a dream, Professor?”
“I didn’t ask for a question. I asked for an answer, but, regardless, you do hit the nail on its proverbial head. Descartes wonders how he can differentiate between very, very vivid dreams and reality? And this is an interesting question. And in order to try and defend against this, he relies on math. He says that some statements such as two plus two equals four would be true even if he were in a dream, which could be the case.” The teacher stopped short, as he looked up. “Mr. Desmond, Mr. Desmond,” he said, attempting to get the attention of a young man in the back. “Mr. Desmond. You appear to be shaking. Are you all right?”
“The boy was shaking—his teacher was correct about that. He was also correct about calling him Mr. Desmond, he was Gregory Desmond, son of another Gregory Desmond, Gregory Desmond, Jr., as a matter of fact. This younger Desmond did have a peculiar habit of shaking. He had had it since he was a boy, growing up in Boston. Although he took medicine to suppress it, the shakes had been growing worse and worse since he had entered the University and left his home. He looked up to meet his teacher’s eyes. “Sorry, Professor. It is just something I have had. I am listening.”
“Then, tell me, my boy, what was the first objection of Descartes that keeps him from trusting his senses."
“I suppose it would be that life is a dream.”
“He doesn’t say that life is a dream. He merely says it could be.”
“What’s the difference, Professor?
“It is simply important to be precise. Don’t dispute me.”
“I’m sorry, Professor. I just did not see the difference between what you said and what I did.”
“Well, the difference is very great indeed, my boy. Much like the difference between you being in this classroom and you being ejected from it, if you say. One. More. Word.”
“That’s it. I am afraid you are distracting the class too much. You will have to leave immediately. Understood?”
“Yes, sir.” The boy, the younger Gregory Desmond, picked up his books and stood up from his desk. He left the school room. The man wasn’t his favorite professor regardless. He looked down at his feet, as he wandered down the newly tiled schoolroom. He had to walk across campus to get back to his dorm. It was the middle of the colder months at the school, so the boy wrapped his muffler firmly around his neck and covered his had hands with the mittens he had received over the last holiday. His hands were still shaking. When he made his way through the large wooden doors, the cold had not yet left him. He did not remove his gloves until he had already slid the key through the keyhole and opened his door. He lived alone on the third floor. He had not been at home in the past six months, having stayed at the University to complete his studies early at his father’s behest. He still shook. It was getting more pronounced. He feared he would have to call his parents. His father would not be happy about the fact that he had been kicked out of another class, especially due to his shaking. He picked up the phone and dialed his father, speaking with more than a little hesitation. “Hello… Dad. Oh I apologize, Brian. Could you please put my father on?” There was silence on the other end until his father responded. “Yes, Dad.” His father asked if he should be in class. “Yes, Dad. Yes I should, but there’s been a complication. I was kicked out. No, Dad. I didn’t say anything back to him. I didn’t. It was the shaking. Yes Dad, I know you don’t believe in that, but I need more medicine. I can’t stop.” His father on the other end refused to send him more medicine, until he saw some results. Although his son insisted, the older Desmond did not want to give in, believing his son’s shakes to be merely a way of trying to gain attention and something that could not be encouraged.
The older Gregory Desmond was one of those men of the generation after the greatest, who believed that, by steeling oneself and merely willing it, one would be able to end any perceived weakness. The boy and his father had frequently quarreled on the subject. At this point, however, the son decided to retreat to a safer position, asking how his mother was doing. After gaining the answer, he decided to end the conversation, telling his father he loved him and to send his best to his mother, which his father promised he would.
The younger Desmond decided since he was kicked out of the class that he would need to make up for the reading he missed. He picked up his copy of the Meditations. He didn’t really see what the big deal was about some idiot in his bathrobe thought about a hundred years ago, but he decided to continue on. If he didn’t get to a piece that interested him within the first five minutes, he promised himself he would the book down and try to get some sleep, since he hadn’t slept in a number of days. That always made the shakes worse, but he had too much pressure to sleep, and he was still under the impression that his dad’s method of will power would have a great effect on his situation. And he thought his will would be strong enough to break it. As of yet, he hadn’t succeeded.
His eyes were bouncing around the page and he couldn’t focus. It seemed that no matter where he tried to read, he always came back to the same thought, the dream thought. He kept shaking, and he still had the muffler on. He couldn’t be cold. In fact, he was sweating in the room. He removed his muffler and tried to calm down, looking for his pills. He was out. He threw his bottle against the wall. He hated this place. He hated his friends. He hated the way he looked as he looked in the mirror. He had black hair and he felt it was too long. He took the pair of scissors that were in his desks. On the first attempt, he couldn’t stop the shaking. He saw a clump of hair fall and blood fell as well, at first only a few drops, and then more and more. He looked into the mirror as he fell. He had a cut, more of a laceration, in his head. Blood was everywhere. He fell back into his chair, and he kept shaking. He had fits before, but it had never been this intense. He fell out of his chair to reach for his phone. He was down on the ground and then, then he wasn’t.
He woke up but he wasn’t in his room. He wasn’t in anywhere he had ever been in his life. He wasn’t anywhere almost anyone had been in his entire life. But he felt a peace being there, a safety alike that one must feel in the womb, a perfect, warm tranquility. As he opened his eyes, a man was looking at him. He seemed to be about 6 foot 8. He was built well and had a beard down to the middle of his chest. He seemed to be in his middle fifties, with graying hair, and was leaning against a staff, although in reality he had very little need to. The man extended his hand, and Gregory took it. But it wasn’t Gregory. It wasn’t him exactly.
He felt stronger and he noticed he wasn’t shaking. He was taller as well and his hair was down to his waist. He felt warmer and he could feel his heart beat slow and calm, for the first time in his life. He didn’t want to rise for he felt that he was being covered with a moss softer than anything he had ever felt before. Everything just felt more spectacular. There was a lightness in his muscles, and in his bones, and he looked in the sky. He could feel the heat of the sun and the wind, but it wasn’t anything like where he had been. He was in the middle of a forest and animals were all around, surrounded with every type of tree he had ever known. Pine trees next to sycamores and palm trees all in the same place, with every different type of animal underneath them. But they weren’t just animals and they weren’t just trees. A light shone through them all, and their bodies were glowing and shimmering underneath a perfect sun and above a field of emerald grass.
“Welcome, my dear friend,” the old man said.
“Welcome to where?” the new Gregory said as he looked into the man’s eyes.
“Where do you think, my dear friend?”
“I think… I think… we’re in somewhere perfect.”
“I can’t say you’re wrong.” The man parted his lips and revealed an alabaster smile. “You are in the Garden of Eden.”
“That’s impossible. The Garden of Eden should be somewhere in Mesopotamia. The Garden of Eden was shut off from humanity after the Fall.”
“Then, where are we?”
“My friend, I told you already, we are in Eden.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Very few people do the first time they come through here. Allow me to explain. Follow me.”
The new Gregory sprung off the ground. “Where am I following you to?”
“To the center of life, my friend. To the womb of everything that ever was.”
They ascended to the crest of a hill, with a view of the entire valley. “That tree in the center is where we need to go, my friend. Please run with me.” He ran with the man and had trouble keeping up. They kept running until their feet barely touched the ground. By the end, the man was actually flying ahead of him, but when they both got to the base of the tree, neither of them was tired and Gregory noticed he wasn’t sweating. “Where are we now? I think I have seen this place.”
“The place is embedded within each of us. It is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is where we fell and where the new life began.”
“The new life—what do you mean? How are we here? Man was expelled from Eden.”
“They were. He was. But somehow, my friend, we are here. Look at the tree. Look at the tree closely.”
He looked at the roots. They were black and dying as if something was blocking the flow. The top was light. There were two lumps above the roots.
“Look at the bumps, my young man.”
He looked closely and he could almost see…
“A face? Two of them, there are two faces in the tree.”
“And who would those be, young squire?”
He looked at the faces closely. They reminded of his mother’s and father’s and his grandparents. The man’s had a prominent jaw and proud eyes closed underneath the tree. The woman’s was the most beautiful face he had ever seen.
“They couldn’t be”
“They are, the mother and father of all of us. Adam and Eve.”
“Why are they here?”
“They are here because they sinned.”
“But I was told they were cast out of the garden.”
“A common mistranslation. They were not cast out of the garden. They were cast into it.”
“Cast into it?”
“Adam and Eve, when they sinned, were cast into their own thoughts. Their act was of such purest selfishness that they couldn’t escape themselves and couldn’t escape the tree. They are asleep in their sin and think that they have been living since the beginning of time. God is a lot more intelligent than we are.”
“But if their lives were dreams than”
“Yes, every life after theirs was a dream as well. All humanity is a dream, but there are some who have escaped.”
“How is that possible?”
“It is possible because God never closed the door. He merely misdirected humanity to look for a place and not for a state of mind. It’s much easier to find a place, but it is not impossible to find a different life. Look at yourself. If I am not mistaken, you shook when your person was asleep.”
“I shook when I was awake.”
“No you did not because you never have been awake until this very moment. You’ve been asleep. You were trying to escape. It only makes sense. The medicine didn’t work because it wasn’t physical. You couldn’t out-will it because it wasn’t mental. It was your life. You realized how wrong it all was. You saw beyond it. You saw outside of your life.”
“But why me?”
“It’s never known why one person escapes.”
“Well, I have to get my family out. I have to get my friends out. If I can do it, they all can.”
“Be careful, my son. Not all are able to make the journey back. Some are merely impressions of what we think people should be like. Some just are not strong enough. Just be careful.”
“Why can’t I control it? I don’t understand. If it’s all a dream, then I should be able to do anything I want to.”
“It is not your dream. We can only control those dreams in our own mind.”
“How do you know all of this?”
“I have been here for a long, long time.”
“Does it ever get old?”
“It is perfect happiness. I’ve lived here for centuries. ”
“Can you die here?”
“Of course. And I will eventually but I will simply go further into God.”
“So can I go back?”
“Of course you can, whenever you choose.”
“What is your name, old man?”
“I was once on Earth a philosopher but the names on earth are not our true names. They never feel like they are ourselves and that is because they aren’t. My name is Jephoth. You were reading my book when you left. So, what is your name?”
“My name is…” he stuttered. “I can’t tell you.”
“You don’t know it? I will find it for you.” He touched the new Gregory’s heart and smiled. “Your name is Adomon.”
When he heard this word, Adomon’s heart lifted. It was the first time he had ever felt at home.
“What was your old name, Adomon?”
“My old name was Gregory. Gregory Desmond.” He immediately felt a pull. “What’s happening?”
“You’re falling back asleep.”
“I can’t. I can’t leave. It’s too perfect here.”
“You must go back.”
“Can I ever return?”
The man smiled. “You will be able to. You will merely have to learn have to come back. Each door only works once. Remember, Adomon, each door only works once.”
Adomon couldn’t lift his eye lids from the heaviness of sleep. He fell back. He was on the floor of his room but his blood was gone. On his soap, in calligraphy, were the words, “You’re welcome, Adomon.” He was still shaking, but, now, now he was on a mission. He was finally awake.
Created: Nov 30, 2010rousseau Document Media