The Coffee Shop Stalker – Part 8

The Mouth of a Lion
A short story by Jason Youngman – Part 8

It’s Jonathan’s first ride in a Jaguar. He’s surprised how balanced the vehicle is around turns. The interior is spotless and the leather is well preserved. One could say the car is sound proof because the noise of the city streets is significantly reduced. Everything is power operated & glistening. Priscilla glances back at him through the rear-view mirror. Her look is one of assurance and confidence. He’s having a hard time believing that he’s finally going to deal with his obsession. The words of an old friend come back to him: We are only as sick as our secrets.

“Excuse the pronunciation,” said Jonathan, “but what does In Sterquiliniis Invenitur mean in English?”

“In filth it will be found,” answered Priscilla, “and it basically means that we discover our true self by owning our shit.”

“Could you elaborate on that?” he inquired.

“We are transformed as individuals by dealing with our personal issues that are difficult to detect; as in the things about ourselves that we typically avoid or refuse to acknowledge.”

“So there are features about ourselves that somehow escape our full attention,” Jonathan interjected, “could you provide an example?”

“Take for instance the boys in high school who were expressively homophobic. You have probably noticed that many of those same individuals turned out to be homosexual later in life.”

“What are you trying to get at?” he commanded.

“I’m not hinting at you in particular Jonathan. All I’m trying to say is that we have a tendency – as human-beings – to deny aspects of ourselves, and project such aspects upon others instead.” Priscilla’s voice resonates with an air of professionalism.

“So how does this relate back to filth,” Jonathan asked, “are you suggesting that sex is a form of filth?”

“Personally, no, but that doesn’t mean that our culture doesn’t. Wouldn’t you agree that on some deeper level that many of us have come to believe that sex is sinful or bad or filthy?”

“Good point. It’s no doubt that religion has perpetuated this idea,” retorted Jonathan.

“Indeed, so we are carrying around a lot of baggage without realizing it. But instead of letting it go, our minds have a proclivity to warp these core beliefs well out of proportion.”

“As in various forms of perversions?”

“You got it Jonathan, but not only on the individual level, we also form mass delusions through mythological language, and this can be the most dangerous perversions of them all.”

“Such as Christianity?”

“I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Christianity as a whole is the root cause of a religious neurosis, but it has certainly fed into it over time.”

“By a religious neurosis you mean?” Jonathan is genuinely curious.

“Yes, a religious neurosis can be felt when an institution, or an individual, act contrary to their well-being. For example, instead of admitting scientific proofs into their worldview, they may try to demonize it instead.”

“This is really good stuff Priscilla. You most definitely have my complete attention.”

“Thank you. There’s much more to the term, but for the sake of keeping the conversation on track, allow me to quickly ask, what does it mean to demonize something?”

“It seems to have to do with making something look threatening or wicked.”

“So you see how this would have been useful for our ancestors to establish conformity; especially among tribal communities?”

“Yes, of course, that would make perfect sense.”

“Could you give me an example of an ancient myth that might support the notion that sex can be used to corrupt people?” asked Priscilla.

“How uncanny of you to ask. There is a story about an alien race that possessed human beings before Noah’s flood. They were purported to have relations with the women of the earth, who in turn gave birth to giants and men of renown such as Achilles and Hercules.”

“Do you believe in this myth?”

“I don’t know if they actually existed.”

“I didn’t ask you if they existed or not. Do you believe in the myth or not?”

“Well, yeah, kind of, but not really.”

“Either you believe or you don’t Jonathan”

“Ok, let’s say that I believe, but what does that have to do with anything?”

“It neither does nor does not. If you believe there’s a tarantula crawling on your chest, your nervous system acts as if it is so, irrespective of it actually being there. Do you follow me?”

“Yes, so in other words you are suggesting that myths have a stronghold over our cognition, regardless of whether they are true or not.”

“You got it, but here’s the thing, often we gravitate towards ideas that support our core beliefs. So if we believe that we are filthy sinners, bad to the bone, then we’ll hone in on things that support that opinion.”

“I hear ya,” Jonathan accorded.

“Myths support our beliefs, the very same beliefs that significantly influence our actions and behaviour, and our actions affect our emotions, the very same emotions which we use to determine how well we are doing in relation to our values.”

“I have no problem with this circular line of thought.”

“So if our values are largely shaped by myths that no longer serve our present evolutionary stage, which is quite different from tribal existence, then we are self sabotaging.”

“So in other words,” asked Jonathan, “even though there is no empirical bases in reality to support the notion of demon possession, as long as we subscribe to its myth, our psychology will continue to operate on that level?”

“Exactly! Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

“Hey, that sounds like scripture!?”

“It is, but it just goes to show that mythology is like a two edged sword. It cuts both ways; that is we can use it to create and to destroy; to heal or harm others. What many of the priests and religious don’t realize is that they are trying to hold on to something that wasn’t meant to be contained or made into orthodoxy. So like Jesus, not the Jesus that the church divinized over the centuries, but the guy who drank wine with sinners and prostitutes, if we can find the voice of that ordinary man, then we’ll find a way to uncover the blankets of shame that have been heaped upon us through men of the cloth.”

“What a fascinating interpretation Priscilla! So does this bed-sheet you wish to cover me with have anything to do with these men who like to dress up in robes?”

“Thank you Jonathan, but on the contrary my yoke, correction, my treatment has nothing to do with religious grandiosity and everything to do with discovering and accepting the authentic you. In filth it will be found. That which we discover to be abhorrent and disgusting within ourselves becomes the opening by which we can see anew.”

(The final part of this short story series will be posted next Saturday.)

About Philosopher Muse

An explorer of volition and soul, a song under a night sky and a dream that forever yearns to be.
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