Sedartis sits and thinks for me, slowly: ‘Let me posit that there is no conspiracy.’
Where did you get your name from? I wonder. I don’t ask; I know it will become apparent. He composes himself. He has sageness about him. He reads my mind, listens to it, more like; feels it.
‘I went for a wander,’ he thinks back to me, ‘along a little lake. Little compared to the big lakes where I come from.’ Where do you come from, I long to know; he stays tuned to my thoughts and replies, without words, ‘the other worlds are many, while the same worlds are few. Of course you cannot know where I am from, even though you do.’ I am content with this, for the time being, and so he continues:
‘I do not know whether there are any conspiracies, or whether there are not, and if there are, who is within them, and who is without. There may be some; there may be many. There may be none. But let me posit that there are none: let me imagine that what looks like people consciously, actively coming together to conspire is in fact no more, and no less, than a culture.’
A culture, I think, is a conspiracy.
‘Exactly. Let me posit that the conspiracy is no more — and certainly no less, which is more grave — than a culture. A culture is a conspiracy. It could be benign, it could be malicious, it is most likely something in-between; it may have, at the outset, no obvious value attached to it: but consider’ — Sedartis is now thinking harder — ’the good, the bad, and the ugly: are they truly, are they in themselves, are they actually good, bad, or ugly?’
What of Mephisto, I think, less insistent than he does, is he not “ein Teil von jener Kraft, die stets das Böse will, und stets das Gute schafft.”
‘Exactly.’ Sedartis understands me perfectly: he wills me to think the thought further; penetrate it deeper. I struggle. I get so easily distracted these days… ‘Consider people who do terrible things: murder children. Shoot boys and men. Rape women, girls, and boys and men. Devise gas chambers. Throw youths off buildings.’
My heart feels a hollow pounding: I don’t want to consider people who do terrible things; can’t we consider friendly people, people who may yet…