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Authors: Robert A. Wilson

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“So you have no hard feelings about the drug and the incantations and all the other Stone Age shaman’s tricks Crowley used?” Joyce asked.

“None whatever,” Einstein said. “I think I learned more physics in those hours than in all my life before last night. How about yourself?”

“No hard feelings,” Joyce replied, “but if I ever see Crowley coming again, I’ll head in the other direction. One night in the caves of Eleusis is enough for a lifetime, as the Greeks knew.”

Einstein was pacing again, but more slowly. “It was as if our brains were washed out with soap,” he said. “As if—
mein Gott
—we were born again.”

“Yes,” Joyce said, “born again. That expression comes from the Eleusinian rituals I just mentioned.
Digenes
, the twice-born, were those who had gone through the whole night, in the cave of Demeter, being initiated. No historian claims to know what went on in there, but I think we can all make a good guess, can we not?”

“Those chants Crowley used,” Einstein said. “Could they possibly be the same after twenty-five hundred years?”

“Not the same,” Joyce said. ‘It was very bastard Greek, with Egyptian and Latin fragments here and there. They probably came down through the Gnostics and other heretical sects with a lot of distortion over the ages…. But I wouldn’t be too surprised if
some
of the words were not
exactly those used in the Eleusinian initiations. Babcock,” he said suddenly, “I won’t ask you to break your Oath, but it would not be unethical to answer two questions that occur to me. Does the Mason Word have eight letters?”

“Yes,” said Babcock.

“And the Cabalistic value of 72?” Joyce pursued.

“Yes.”

“You need tell me no more. I believe Jones was telling the truth about this Order being forty-five hundred years old.” Joyce smiled. “Just like
Dur
to
Turicum
to
Zürich
. The word is the clue to everything.”

“Well,” Babcock said, picking up his briefcase. “I want to thank you two remarkable gentlemen for everything. But I really must be off to see Dr. Jung.”

“He will find you a delightful case,” Joyce said laughing. “Half of your unconscious is conscious already.”

“No,” Babcock said. “It is not that simple. ‘You can empty infinity from it, and infinity remains,’ as Crowley said—quoting the
Upanishads.”

“Yes,” Joyce said. “Infinity remains….”

“There is always one more hunchback,” Einstein said, smiling gently.

“Good luck, Babcock,” Joyce said with his formal manner again.

“Good luck, Sir John,” Einstein added, shaking the younger man’s hand as they went to the door.

Joyce stood alone, staring at the bookcase. “Flowers,” he muttered.
“Blume
. Bloom?”

Einstein returned. “Well, Jeem, what the
devil
do you think really happened to us?”

“I am no chemist,” Joyce said carefully, “but I will accept your metaphor about washing out the brain. I suspect that such chemicals are the universal solvents of alchemy. They dissolve the reflex arcs in the brain, so that our old ideas and old selves drown in an ocean of new signals.”

“Something like that,” Einstein said. “Well, do you really think that impossible novel of yours is finally possible?”

“It is inevitable,” Joyce said flatly. “I have at last found the structural groundplan that goes underneath everything else. Under the
Odyssey
, under
Hamlet
, under Moses in the wilderness, under the colors and arts and body organs and all the other allegorical structures. The simple basic human truth that will hold it all up.” He laughed again. “And the critics will take decades to dig it out, if they ever do.”

“What are you talking about?” Einstein asked.

“The real theme of my book, the theme I’ve been trying to define for months and years while this was growing slowly in the back of my head.” Joyce smiled radiantly.

“So? What is it, for heaven’s sake?”

“The parable of the Good Samaritan,” Joyce said. “The simple human story that is so ordinary nobody can see it until they have their noses rubbed in it.”

“The ordinary,” Einstein said. “Of course, to you, it would have to be the
ordinary.”

“Yes,” Joyce said. “Listen: we will always remember last night, because it was extraordinary.
But suppose it had been ordinary
. Just four men talking about this and that. And suppose one of us died this morning of a brick falling off a roof? Would not the other three remember last night, in the light of that tragedy, just as intensely as we remember the initiation we underwent? Don’t you understand? Nobody
sees
the ordinary until it is too late. I am—by
God
and by
Jesus
and by
Allah
—going to
make
them see it, if it takes me as long as it takes you to work out your unified field theory.”

“Well, then,” Einstein said, “we all found what we were looking for. But it was different for each of us. I suppose it always is.”

“I must be going myself,” Joyce said suddenly, “before Nora begins worrying again that I died drunk in a gutter.”

“Remember me when you return to Trieste.”

“I will, Professor.” Joyce stopped on his way to the door. “By the way, what time is it—in this system of coordinates, that is?”

Einstein removed his watch and looked at it carefully. “Exactly thirty-two minutes after eleven.”

A DELL TRADE PAPERBACK
Published by
Dell Publishing
a division of
Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.
1540 Broadway
New York, New York 10036

This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 1981 by Robert Anton Wilson

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the Publisher, except where permitted by law.

The Trademark Dell
®
is registered in the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office.

eISBN: 978-0-307-57364-3

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