Saturday, 11 March 2017
On the baptismal destiny of the unevangelised
My name is Heraclitus. I've quit my job at the intellectual property office. I am walking across the town square. I feel good. It's a nice morning. On the other side of the square, I see the new witch outside the witch dwelling. There is as high a turnover in witches as there is in philosophers. They burn out and quit, or burn out and get fired, sometimes they just disappear or die. Any way you look at it, life is precarious when you are caught up in the knots of other people's desires. By way of introducing myself, I do what I always do when there is a new witch in town. I go to the witch's well and I throw myself in. It is a stratagem I stole from Thales. Because the water seeps into the well, because the water is deep in the well, because the water is still in the well, for that reason, it is never the same water in the well. The philosopher gives himself to the witch’s well as a challenge to her witch’s abilities. On this occasion, I throw myself in but I do not hit the arche. I am falling, and still falling. It is not dark, it is not green. I look closely at the stones in the wall of the well as I pass them. It is like the wall of a mountain, or a great fortress. I fall so far that I am no longer moving. I feel the embrace of a clear abyss. The light is icy, the air is sharp. This is not Ephesus. I am falling into the wintry stillness of the far North. I do not feel the urge to breathe, but the air is so cool and beautiful that I want to take it in. I inhale a deep draft of it. The air is not air, it is water. I am choking. I look up to the surface and see the witch's hand, like an anchor on an endless rope, plunging down towards me. It catches hold of me by the collar of my shirt and I feel myself hauled upwards. I am thrown out of the well onto the banks of the world, like a newborn, or a gasping fish.