“You are all, no doubt, incredibly interested to hear my tale. To know the events that transpired and the many things that happened leading me to my current situation. Stranded for weeks on this island, so far removed from my public life---I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on these events. I’ve replayed them in my mind over and over again, ensuring that no detail was forgotten. Despite your instinct to dismiss this as the ramblings of a madman whose brain is so sun-soaked, his grasp on reality drifts further and further away with each passing day, please be assured. I, at no point, lost any of my mental lucidity. Every word, as astounding as they might be, is accurate.”
There was a time when I did not look as I do today. Now I am an old man, far removed from the days of my prime. The lines in my face are marks of wisdom. And my beard was much darker and much shorter. I have been on that island for six thousand, five hundred, ninety-four days…that’s a touch over eighteen years.
Through the intervention of chance, I was afforded ample time to delve into thought. There were periods of my island life where I did no more than eat, drink and be meditatin’. If the meaning of life is purpose, I had to find one.
It became clear to me that my purpose was to think…to delve deeper into thought than was thought humanly possible before.
“The people crave a Messiah! They don’t want to hear your rhetoric!” His voice was old, but it was strong. “The people want to feel a passion! A purpose! “Belief” is, you will find with the benefit of experience, a power that can control the masses!”
He held their attention, if not their endorsements.
“It is the truth, and it is laid out before us, in the annals of written history,” the Preacher picked up a stack of old looking papers. “You know it to be true, Senator!!” He threw the papers in the general direction of the man with caring eyes.
The Senator looked down his nose at the yellowed papers lying at his shiny feet. Without the slightest flinch, the statesman stood balanced. “How arrogant of you to assume the will of the people?! You can offer salvation from their worst fears of death. But you cannot offer anything more than false hope in their current reality!” The Senator summoned a look usually reserved for the (talented) gardener. “Your ‘history’ should show you the shortcomings of belief based government.”
T he Preacher nearly reeled from the verbal assault. The Senator brushed non-existent lint from the sleeves of his custom-fitted suit. The Monk seemed to float in between the two of them. “Just because you disagree, does not mean either is wrong.”
“Thanks, Yoda,” The Senator swiped the Monk out of the way with the back of his hand. “What’s with all the religion in the room?”
The Preacher was communicating on a much more human level. He motioned to the Monk with his thumb. “He’s the mysticism of spirituality.” His thumb turned to his own chest. “I’m the church…what man can do in the name of God.” He added, as if clarification was needed, “whether it be good, or it be bad.”