The Question they say can be answered by 42. Is the question that the Queen of the Succubi asks as simple?
By TeraS and James
James sat down in the cushioned chair next to Tera’s and sighed a long sigh. “What is the human soul? Nothing like a small question, hmmm?”
He looked into her eyes, through his spectacles and her own. He had been a bit distracted for a moment by the line of her throat, but had never stopped listening; he didn’t want to miss a syllable.
“If anybody—any mortal, at least—tells you she or he knows exactly what a soul is, that person is a liar. That’s why the answer I’m going to give you is going to be more poetry than science. Science would tell us that the soul isn’t there, that it is illusory. Not a lie, but a limited truth.
“I think the soul is a very real thing. It is what takes our intelligence, our experience, our wit, our sensations, and gives them wings. Creativity, I believe, is a product of the soul. True tenderness and empathy are products of the soul. Love—the selfless kind, what the Greeks would call agapé—and passion beyond mere rutting lust are products of the soul.”
He sat forward on the chair and leaned towards her. “You speak of people who dwell in light and darkness. While my own preference is for the light, I know there is a dark part within me, and that sometimes I make use of that. I probably need to know it better. But whether they find themselves more firmly in the dark or the light, those people have souls. While we all travel through the shadow, the grayness from time to time, that is the soul-less place, that is where nothing flies, nothing sings, nothing matters. That is the place where I never want to be.
“This is just a beginning, and has probably created more questions than it answered. I guess you could say I cannot describe a soul, but I recognize the presence of one. Maybe, if you ask me more questions, it can focus my thinking.”
She smiled, “Don’t sweat the small stuff… There is far too much of that to overwhelm the unwary and confuse the uncertain my dear…”
Turning to his words about souls she closed her book, placed a hand upon the title and then spoke, “The soul is. At least that in my mind is the most simple and yet most complex thing you can say about it. Knowing that it exists is, however, the place of each being to decide upon and place a value upon. If you don’t believe in it, then it has no value… If it is all you cherish, then it is priceless and is treated as such…”
She tapped the book once, “It seems as if there are only two extremes to belief in those cases with little in the middle to allow for some… wiggle room? Shall we say.”
Then her hand touched his shoulder, “One does make a choice to light or dark, everyone does, but the concepts of religion and what they say about that isn’t what I am speaking of… What I want to know is, why is it that many agree in it, but few can accept it?”
James leaned in, a gleam in his eyes and a mock-conspiratorial look on his face: “Because we humans hate things that we cannot quantify and control.” He leaned back a bit, admiring her eyes, “Well, some of us are able to fight that instinct, but it seems hard-wired into us. No matter how much better off we would be to acceot and embrace the mystery and wonder of the universe, we keep trying to box it up in neat little packages. We keep insisting on being in charge of things as if we could really control them, and we are hoist, again and again, on our own petard.
“The absolutes are part of the problem, of course. The soul cannot be ignored, nor can it be all that we cherish. We are creatures of bodyand spirit; one cannot be placed above the other, nor one cultivated at the expense of the other without doing damage to both. Reading and writing about it is not enough, either . . . and I have probably done far too much of that with some parts of my life. I have cared for others, walked quietly, sang lustily, even laughed boisterously, but there are things I have missed out on, to my detriment.
“But, why, praytell, are you interested in this particular topic this afternoon?”
The Succubi Queen’s mind is a thoughtful place, wishing to understand and see… At least she hopes that it will and does…