Art and the philosophy of life

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The Past, Orwell, and 1984…a long story

She was a Crono Archeologist.  In todays terms, she wold be called a Time Traveler, who dealt only in the distant past.

She was mainly interested in the warning signs, red flags, if you will, alerting people that the end was coming, if they didn’t alter their behavior.  She knew the government and greed were key from the very beginning.  Even the First People were violent and had a loose hierarchy.  White men, religion, the abuse of power, slavery, the oppression of females and minorities, the suppression of creativity and lack of freedom, were the cause of the impending doom, but what were the early warnings.  That was key to her research.

Traveling through time, she saw many signs of warnings.  Those who told the truth, those who could see farther than the others, were shunned, locked away or murdered.  The truth and the warnings were suppressed or twisted, until they were no longer recognizable.  Religion, and those in power, kept the masses in fear, teaching hatred and division.  They took everything from people, then blamed others for the poverty and lack of hope.

She had seen it all, from the beginning.  It twas difficult to believe that people could be so blind to what was going on around them.  But she kept perfect notes, and never got involved with those in a different time era.  It would muddy her findings.

It’s only when she came across 1984, that she really understood.  Everyone knew about the book, naturally.  It was an icon in the annals of, Time Travel and Extinction.  But she was right there, July 8th, 1949, the when the book came out.  Orwell had already published Animal Farm, so he was known to readers.

She saw people buying and reading, 1984.  She saw what it did, how it awakened, and opened the minds of so many people.  It captured her interest.  She listened to conversations and  felt that at that moment, change would have been possible.  She knew that nothing happened, but she didn’t expect to see the government and churches, institutions and schools intensify their hold over people, making things illegal and sinful.  She saw them turn people against each other even more than they had done before.

She left 1949 and moved forward.  She saw that people were thrown crumbs from the tables of the rich and powerful,  but, in truth, people had even less freedom than they had before.  Cities had grown, the population along with it.  She stopped in a bookstore and bough a copy of 1984, then she went back to her own time period.

Still on earth, her lab was shiny and immaculate.  Her room, a small, well lit alcove attached to her lab, was utilitarian, with a few things she treasured.  She looked out of her window at the burnt earth and the black sky.   They wouldn’t be staying long.  The earth was no longer fit for habitation.  She sighed thinking of how beautiful everything was, when she went back in time.  Trees, grass, birds, animals, the sun, oceans of water, flowers.  Beauty was everywhere.  But beauty couldn’t stop the hatred and killing.  Couldn’t stop the greed and inequality that strangled people.

Her long ago ancestors had sent their genetic material into space, where it was picked up by a different kind of being.  One far more intelligent than humans.  Humans were born on another planet, under controlled conditions.  Some having been mixed with the genetic material from the beings who found them.  Violence and emotions were removed from the humans, who were found.  She was one of them.  She was grateful. She had seen people screaming, fighting and enraged, and was positive she would never want to feel the way they did.  She wondered what was wrong with them.

Once, while sitting in a cafe, she spoke to a man.  She asked him about the emotional make up of humans and what he thought about the behavior that sometimes followed.  He shrugged and told her it was just how they were made.  He said that humans were dangerous to everything.  Some lacked control, some were broken and had no stopping point.  He said the people in positions of power were sociopaths, who had no heart or conscious.

She asked him why people allowed those things to exist and he laughed.  He said, they were on a one way trip to destruction and nothing could stop them.  He paid for the coffee and stood up.  He asked me to go with him, but I didn’t.  Then I thought about passion.  I thought of the others like me, and saw that we hand none .  Was that a bad thing?  Maybe.  I’ve had oatmeal, and that’s what our lives feel like now.  Compared to the crazy humans of earlier times, we are placid, non-violent, equal, and educated.  Emotions do not cloud our vision or our methods.

I wonder about what we lost, or what was taken from us.  I saw a couple kissing, in 2010.  It was a strange sight.  They seemed unaware that they were standing on the street, lost in each other.  We will never feel that.  I don’t even understand it.  Maybe those who found us, went too far, took too much of our humanity.  Is it better to be emotionally charged or to have no emotions at all?  They said we were too destructive, too violent to let loose in the universe.  When I look at what we did to the earth, I can understand how they feel, but what are we now?

She got into bed and flipped through the pages of 1984.  It was all there.  Big Brother, cameras watching everyone’s every move, two plus two equals five, all the good stuff kept for the elite, drugging the masses, addiction, misdirection…all of it…right in front of everyone and they did nothing…nothing at all.  She reached up and turned out the light.  She would think about things tomorrow.  She would go to the Records Department and look up the passion and emotions of human beings.  She would study those things.  She would try and find out why Orwell was not believed.  Why people let his voice become fiction.  Yes, that’s what she would do, she would just go back in time and see what she could find.


Photo:  Ethan Rogon


A really long story about surprises…they had a lot to say.

“Do you need help? she asked.

“You can see me?” he said, surprised.

“What do you mean?  Of course, I can see you.  You’re standing in the middle of the sidewalk.  I saw you from across Michigan Avenue.  I mean, you kind of stand out, since everyone is giving you a very wide birth.  I just thought maybe you needed help.  Are you lost?  Trying to get into The Art Institute?  Can’t find your meds?  Need someone to take your picture in front of The Bean?”

“The Bean?”

“Yes, the silver thing over there,” she said pointing at it.”

“You mean Cloud Gate?”

She nodded.  “That’s what I said, The Bean.”

She didn’t seem to notice all the people staring at her, as they walked by. “So?  What do you need?”

“Why are you offering to help me?” he asked, pulling at his black coat.

“You’re in Chicago.  We have a rep for being friendly, didn’t you know that?”

“I did, actually,” he said.  “But you’re the only one who saw me and stopped.”

“I guess it’s just my turn to help out a tourist.”

“How do you know I’m a tourist?”

“You’re cold, and look as if you didn’t expect to feel that way.”

“You’re right.  How can you stand this weather?”

She shrugged.  “I don’t like it, but it’s the price one pays for living here, I guess.”

“No one else can see me,” he sighed.  “You know that, don’t you?”

“I’m beginning to think something is a bit off, since people are looking at me funny.”

“Where were you headed?”

“Gift Shop.”

“Me too,” he said, and they walked past the lion and went up the stairs.  “Why are you going to the Gift Shop?”

“Postcards and to look at all the beautiful books.”

“You’re not going into the museum?”

“No.  I like the Gift Shop better.  The gift shop is alive, the paintings are dead.”

“Okay, but you’ll be buying postcards of the dead paintings.”

“I like the postcards better, and why can’t anyone see you?”

“Give me a second,” he said.  “There, now others can see me, and you won’t look as if you’re talking to yourself.”

“You don’t look any different.”

“No.  Not to you.”

She nodded.  “Who’s your favorite artist?”


“Like them waring and bloody.  Heads being bitten off, and the like?  Saturn devouring his children type thing.”

“Something like that.”

“Why are you in town?”


“Try again,” she laughed.  “No one comes here for a vacation at this time of the year, unless their crazy.”

“I think I might have to agree with that,” he said, shivering.

“People are looking at you now,” she said,  grabbing a few postcards.

“Yes, they are.”

“Well, you’re insanely handsome, so it’s understandable.


“Oh, please.  As if you didn’t know.”

He stared at her and then reached up and pushed her hair behind her ear.  “You look just like…”

“I look just like what?”

“Never mind,” he said, shaking his head. “Show me the books you’re interested in.”

She dragged him to the book section and showed him one book after another, chatting, laughing and dismissing some artists, while sighing over others, as the day slipped away. He watched her, as they discussed art and artists, the city and life in general.  She didn’t seem to notice those who were attracted to him, or those who looked at him in fear.

“And what about Vannie?” she said excitedly, laying a huge book on one of the book tables.


“Van Gogh.”

“You call him Vannie?”

“Yes.  I named my Iguana Vannie, because of the whole ear thing.”

“I think he would have liked that,” he laughed.

“I think so too.”

“His brother Theo was a good person,” he said.  “He was a generous soul.  Kind, big hearted, and sincerely and deeply into the art world.  He helped a lot of artists.  Died too young, if you ask me.  Syphilis.  No antibiotics at that time.  Terrible death.”

She looked at him.  “You sound as if you knew him personally.”

“Do I?” he said.  “I…I’ve read his letters and quiet a few books about him.”

“Which books?”

“Some of them are no longer in print.”

“I saw where he lived, when I was in Paris.  His front door was painted blue.  I was inside a car but I wanted to get out and lean against the building.”

“I can understand that,” he said, truthfully.

“Who are you?”

“I’m your father.”

The postcards fell from her grasp.  “You were going to say that I looked like my mother, weren’t you.”


“Did you come here for me?”

“I did.”


“We want you to come home.”

“I am home.”

“We sent you here to keep you safe, while you grew up.”

“And now?”

“It’s time to come back and take your rightful place.”

“I’m going to walk away now.  If you try and follow me, I’ll scream as loud as I can.  Why were you invisible?”

He sighed.  “Because I’m not actually as human as most of the people who live here.  Neither are you.”

Someone walked by and picked up the postcards and handed them to her.  She thanked them, but never looked away from the man standing in front of her.

Most of the people who live here?” she stuttered.

“What can I say.  Things aren’t always what they seem to be.”

“Isn’t my mother dead?”

“No, why would she be dead?”

“Because in all the fairy tales the mothers are dead.  All the Queens who aren’t dead are evil, all women are dead, or evil, except for the one innocent girl who…am I that girl?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Then what am I?”

“Can we talk about this somewhere less public?”

“I don’t think I can move.”

He put his arm around her and walked her to the check-out counter.  “I’ll take these,” he said, putting the postcards on the counter, “and those books on the shelves behind you,” he said.  “Have them delivered to this address, please.” He put a white card on next to the register.

“Uh, all those books?” asked the guy behind the counter.  “Where did they come from?”

“Yes.  All of them and I’m assuming they came from the bookshelves.”

“There’s like a hundred books there,” said the checker.

“Put it on here,” he said, handing him a credit card.

“If you say so.”

“Do I have evil stepsisters,” she whispered.  “Please tell me I don’t have evil stepsisters.”

“You don’t have evil stepsisters.  You’re an only child.”

“Well, I guess that’s something,” she said in relief.

He smiled and took back his card.  “Deliver them tonight,” he said.

“Sure,” said the guy.  “Not a problem.  Tonight.”

“Do you have a library?” she asked, as they walked out of The Art Institute.

“I have an entire building full of books.  I bought those for you.”

“You bought me a million dollars worth of books?”

“You seemed to like them, and they weren’t even close to a million dollars.”

She sat down on the step. “Is a million dollars a lot?”

“No.  Not to me.”

“I didn’t think so.”

“Look, it’s not as complicated as it seems, or at least it doesn’t have to be.”

“Just get it over with, okay,” she said.  “What’s going on?  And do you know what Dark Matter, or Dark Energy is?  Either one.  I want to know, so bad.  Or do black holes open to different universes?  Do you know the answer to that?”

He grinned.  “You’re JUST like your mother.  She can’t wait to see you, by the way”

“You could have seen me for my entire life.  NOT SEEING ME was your choice.”

“Yes,” he sighed.  “I know.  It wasn’t an easy decision.”

“I suppose you looked in on me from afar, like in all those sappy movies.”

“We did.”


“Of course.  You’ve also been protected by guards and familiars, your entire life.”

“How could I not know that?”

“If you knew that, how would they have protected you?”

“I think there’s a flaw in that thinking, but I’m too confused to figure it out right now.  What about the Dark Energy or Dark Matter?  Anything? Black holes? And are you going to kidnap me?”

“I’m not going to kidnap you.  We just want you to come home.”

“Where exactly is home?  Fairy?”

“No, not fairy,” he said.  “I’m Morningstar.”

“The Devil?”

“There is no devil.  I just felt that humans should be free, while the other side insisted they be manipulated and controlled.  Look how well THAT turned out,” he hissed.

“So you want to take me to Hell?”

“There is no hell.”

“No kidding.”

“No, no kidding,” he said.

“You’re not evil?”

“No. Your mother and I are trying to help humanity.  Unfortunately, humans are under a spell cast on them by the other side and reinforced by the church and the republicans.  Basically by the status quo, which is run by semi-human males.  They are all about enslavement and manipulation, greed and violence.”

“The republicans?”


“That makes perfect sense,” she said.  “If I come with you, will I have to kill anyone?”

“We can talk about those things later.”


“You’re life will be one of service.”

“What kind of service?”

“We can talk about that later as well.”

“I want to bring my cat.”

“Of course.”

“It was mean of you to leave me.”

“It was necessary.  But I understand how it must feel to you.”

“I don’t think you do,” she said.”

“No.  I probably don’t.  Just know that it was necessary.”

“It doesn’t feel that way.  Not to me.”

“Are you ready meet your mother?”

“I guess.  Where is she?”

“We’re staying at a hotel.  We would like to leave tomorrow, if you can be ready by then.”

“What if I don’t want to go?”

“Then you can stay here.”

“But didn’t you just put me in danger, by showing yourself.”

“I did.”


“So it didn’t look as if you were talking to yourself and so that we could be together in the Gift Shop, like ordinary people, and because I wanted to give you a choice.”

“A choice between a life I know and one that I don’t?”


“Are you in danger as well?”


“Can we have take-out for dinner?”

“We can have anything you want.”

“Will you tell me about Dark Matter, Dark Energy and black holes?

“I’ll tell you what I know, so far.”

“Were you here from the beginning of everything?” she asked.

He smiled at her.  “From before the beginning.”

“Wow!” she said.  “You look great for a guy your age.”

He burst out laughing.  “Thank you.”

“Am I human?”

“Not really.”

She looked down at her hands.  What does that mean, exactly?”

“Nothing much.  Nothing is pure anything, everything is a little of this and a little of that.”

“Is there magic where we’re going?”

He smiled.  “There’s always magic.






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