Nihil Sine

Nihil Sine

A Story by BTBeamon

A man discovers the method for death-exemption.


Nihil Sine

Argo Fidei, the squat, blundering, zilch of a gentleman . . . Argo has discovered his purpose. He knows precisely what he needs to do. 

The road to certainty was an easy one, though he would say different. He would say it took intense grappling. Depth in thought. Perhaps something more-than-human swirled around him; little somethings, like golden sparks, which default-humans call inspiration. An uplift. A rush of well-being and the resolve to do something. 

I am unique, he says, only to himself. It isn’t unthinkable for everyone to join me in this circumstance, though it will take some prodding. Some tough love. But that’s love still, isn’t it? Oh yes.

Argo Fidei, you must understand, is going to live forever. He will never die. Well, he will “die,” however, this will not actually be “death.” Well, really, in all seriousness, Argo Fidei’s “death” is going to be more like retirement. A break. A bit of rest and relaxation. Vacation! And so sweet it shall be: Argo is a winner! Congratulations are in order. 

Imagine a lineup of ten eccentrically garbed individuals. Unisex if so desired, though more likely male. All ten make an offer. The offer is this: do everything I tell you, and you’ll live forever (and, by the way, your love will be more love-like; your kindness will be more kindly. This is a supreme deal.) 

Perhaps Argo first enquired: “Well, gentleman, your offers are strikingly similar. Why ought I select any one over any other?”

The reply?

“Beautiful things exist, so yes . . . there you are.”

Another: “You went to school? You had a teacher, with a rule board and whatnot? Well, certainly, that’s my group except on a larger scale.”

The response which secured Argo Fidei’s membership was this: “Gaze inside your heart, my friend; see that occasionally you are anxious and never feeling quite perfect. Ask if these promises shall come true, and you shall know the unerring truth.”

“But,” says Argo, “who am I asking? You mean for me not to ask you?”

The line-stander says, “I am a mere representative. You must pose the question to something greater than me, or yourself, or anyone else. And while I am not a greater-thing, I do know that a greater-thing exists, as well as most details about the thing. I am fortunate, and, may I say, humble.”

“Where is the thing to ask?” says Argo.

“You ask in your heart. Quietly, to yourself. Go on, now. Ask, and you shall then know what the answer is! And you’ll know it hard.” 

So Argo stands there, until then a simpleton, a banality; standing there, Argo Fidei finds it at once odd and wondrous that the solution to his death could come so easily: just shut up and think for a minute! 

Are you in the mood for immortality?

The pitch-man, the line-stander, had unraveled his product. The purchase, he soon told Argo (after Argo made the affirmative decision) was one of a lifetime. On the receipt, one word: everything. 

Try returning that!

And so in under an hour (sixteen minutes roughly), Argo had learned, one, that he all of a sudden, from this moment forward, would not have to die (whew); two, that the prestigious club with which he now boasted membership, was the end-all-be-all of history, of what really had been happening over time. The long-long-long distant ancestors, the ones who first founded the ancient foundation, had, fortunately, with privilege, been recipients of the answers to the situation of the universe. 

The struggle for knowledge ended with them. From then to now, the struggle was this: make sure everyone else knew what happened to be true. And if they failed to concur, or argued (like children, it was said of those pesky debaters), then make sure they, and everyone else, knew how terrible they were. How un-quality they truly were. 

Of course, this low-class class of the population was not that of our dear Argo; he was of an unconcerned, unthinking class that had never chewed on anything tagged knowledge-like. And, the pitch-man says, it’s just a miracle that Argo finally (before something death-like happened) gained access to the undeniable. 

. . .

Fully immersed in the delectable culture of the club, dressed in a colorful--blue and white-stripped--robe-ish garment, with club-approved drink shimmering in a bronze goblet, set beside a faux-sophisticated paper plate covered with scatterings of bread crumbs, Argo Fidei sits stiff on old wood floor boards. They creak, and reek of preservation. The whole club-establishment carries this stench, though it comforts Argo.

It reaches to him like a warm matriarch; the stability of the past, at least that it existed, and so the safety of the policy of its folk, which must therefore be the correct and working one.

This is how Argo thinks now. And with such thinking, who needs a time machine?

He implements one of the multitude of acts, physical acts, which will ensure his long life.

And his surplus of high-value love.

And his status as the best person.

Argo skims his palms across the top of his arms, right-over-left-then-left-over-right. Appearances are that he attempts to remove something bothersome, a spider or mosquito say; and this is close enough. 

He removes something, alright, and that something is impurity. Ten minutes in the morning, and . . . seven minutes before bed. You brush your impurity (and everyone has it) from yourself. It’s so simple to do, this dusting oneself off; though, as Argo is told, so many people just fail to do it. Sure, more or less everyone might say they’re concerned with being right in body and mind--however, they just aren’t doing it right if they don’t join the club. 

This is not do-it-yourself business. A little force has to be involved. A little looming threat of what happens to those who don’t join in wholeheartedly, or at the very least agree and approve.

And Argo thinks himself, indeed, how easy everything would be if everyone just agreed on one circumstance. If the sillies who went on about different and other would just shape up, be pressured or laughed or shown-to-be-unclean to the point of erasure. He thought, we can certainly all get along, but it’s going to take some firmness first. We’ll be a great family once they are walked beyond their denial.

And he just knew he was right, and don’t you dare say otherwise.

      . . .

Argo’s membership surpasses casualness. He would call it a transcendence. A massive growth. The real, true blooming of a human being. 

He spends more and more time at the club establishment, around club members, listening to club music, thinking about club matters, only concerning about non-club matters insofar as they can be tweaked or savaged to club standards. 

His participation in a particular act, the one where members gather and embrace for minutes at a time, increases. He even schedules extra sessions (with the offer that such bonus behavior will score happier not-death prospects) because of the immense, intense feeling received from this ritual; with, of course, the feeling coming not from these people so much as the vague “greater-thing” granting the rewards and generally supervising the workplace. 

And in that case, Argo Fidei, with his dedication and chasing of feelings and so on, might be called the “employee of the month.” 

He certainly tries hard. And once he coils his life firmly around the pillar of the club, the plausibility of stepping into the imaginary room-of-pillars, and untangling the man, becomes dubious.

. . .

A beautiful image of life: they tell him, you’re worth little. You must not trust yourself. You can never trust yourself (except in one decision, and you know the one). Don’t trust others, or at least only club members. But others . . . not even if you notice them to be perfectly fine and decent. No. It goes deeper. Dare you forget too soon not to trust yourself? You, all alone, without a supervisor? Come now! Please!

Those others, the poor things, are scumming around and just aren’t, sorry to say, on the right track. They don’t look so hateful? Don’t make that mistake. All these others think they have figured something out, but they haven’t, and we have. We have it all, right here, with us, always and forever. It may appear as though they are in the same game as we, but no, this is different.

Everything you love and that loves you is a gift. Every pretty and calm and quiet thing is a gift. Can there be a gift without a gift-giver? Of course not, don’t be absurd. You had best please the gift giver, the greater-thing, who loved you enough to give the presents. It may seem like you are a game to the greater-thing, but always remember to deny this. Always say over and over and over how it’s all love; a loving love. Always the better of the loves. Don’t you like and want love? 

Because you ought to know, the others are passionless and loveless, and while it may seem that they feel, they just don’t feel as much. Again, what you see just isn’t always worth seeing, because it is not always true. What you know is what is true (as long as you’ve listened to us) so please, sit and rest awhile in this sanctuary of love, and don’t forget to carry out your rituals; to think these thoughts. 

. . .

Argo is doing the best thing he could possibly do ever: today he will participate in the ultimate act; he will declare himself the absolute property and vessel of the club, and the supreme inspirer, the greater-thing. 

He already forgets what he enjoyed before joining the club. He tells himself that the club’s wants are his wants, he enjoys what the club tells him is safe; whatever will permit him not to die. 

As part of the lofty ritual, Argo must keep in mind, and set aside time no matter what task he completes at the moment, to ask over and over for himself to be spared death. For himself to have an extraordinary day (and throw a bit to the rest, if you feel up to it). He asks--no! He begs. He begs to be right in thought, right in action--right in absolutely everything. 

As, clearly, time spent groveling and begging is the most efficient and sure-proof method for building a happy, loving people and world. Argo thought, if only others were willing to silence themselves and beg like him.

Did they expect to actually solve problems themselves?

Part of the ultimate ritual also entailed that Argo, before every decision, almost-but-not-quite decisions such as to breathe or not, but close, should have a pre-consultation with the greater-thing. 

Of course the greater-thing was not around, say, sitting in a very sophisticated and appropriate office; rather, Argo consulted the greater-thing in a fashion similar to his club-joining decision: did he feel it? Yes or no? 

The easiest way to truth ever devised.

. . .

A lifetime club member, a young woman, has to be dealt with by Argo. She--called only “Miss Plaza”--has let slip a few sentences contrary to her cause, contrary to what she is supposed to be thinking and saying. Obviously, differing opinion is a no-no in the club; and therefore Argo, a now prominent fellow in the foundation, is assigned the task of putting this girl in her place.

Meeting in a tiny, dark-wooden, low-lit room, young Miss Plaza divulges her unnerving thoughts.

Thoughts such as the idea of broken promises, like what about this love? “I was always promised huge love. So much I couldn’t handle it. If only I rode the coattails of our founder, I’d get everything I ever wanted. Well I’ve done what I was told since I was a child, and the love is turning into pet-love. What’s this thing thinking when I show it my affection? We’re not the same. We’re too different and it’s not enough . . . it’s not enough . . . it’s not.”

And Argo says, “You’re losing yourself. You’re sliding back, away from all of us who love you and take care of you. I warn you: if you fall from our perch, you’ll be a panicked ant scurrying cluelessly. There can be no joy outside of us.”

“And what,” she says, “if I tell you I am having no joy while in the group? What then? What if I tell you I know precisely how I am perceiving my life, and I don’t need to consult anyone else?” 

She says, “I’ve been to your additional embracing sessions. I, too, find such aspects of our group more desirable. They are the only reason I don’t flee. And . . .” 

Her dark eyes glisten, her voice cracks.

“And I hate everything else we do.”

At this, Argo takes a step back. Two, three, four steps. Who dares to utter such an obscenity? 

What is this teary-eyed monster before him?

He says, “Such a foolish thing to say. A very foolish thing to say. You know there is nothing else worth thinking but this. What we have here is golden. You know what to do. We all know what to do. How to behave. And you, you stupid girl, you child, you say you hate it? 

“I hate to do what I must, then: I did not want to raise the situation to this level, but you leave no choice. While the idea of severe punishment for failure-to-obey our group’s teachings, as you know, should be left to distantly stalk all people and be considered only after the initial offer of love, I must reach deeply, and present the picture enlarged before you, Miss Plaza.”

She tries to maintain simple composure, running a hand across her mouth and racing her eyes down-and-up-down-and-up. And she says, “You can’t frighten me.”

“The truth shall frighten you, young lady.” 

He says, “Imagine the extremely real lair of everything terrible. Everything opposite to what we’re teaching. Where you may count on nothing, nobody. Where you’re lured into trust and companionship only to have the rug pulled from under you, again and again. Utter disappointment for an utter disappointment.” She winces at the harshness of the sentence. “All the words that hurt you are said, and they burn like fire. And you burn. Skin melts from bone, bone crumbles to ash. And what? Perhaps you thought you would burn next to a fellow failure? What naivety!” She covers her eyes; particularly hurt by this (what is her life-history explaining why?). “You will see neither compatriot nor the hand punishing. What solidarity? What friendship? There will be no corner in which to avoid excitement, for there will be no excitement. And you will know no love. For love goes there to die.” Her hands quake. “You will know that you had your chance you had your chance and you denied it.”

Through piercing sobs and dripping tears, Plaza opines, “It is a lie,” she clears her throat and breathes deeply. “Nothing is as good outside of our group is a lie. I’ve been outside the group, and I have loved and embraced. I have loved free and unsystematic love, and I make the decision, I choose it.”

Argo says, “More foolish ideas! I need the greater-thing just as you need the greater-thing to truly know love. Without it, without him, we are nothing.”

“No,” says Plaza. “Without us . . . he is nothing.”

© 2010 BTBeamon

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Added on May 30, 2010
Last Updated on May 30, 2010




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