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The Metafizzical Essays of
Nicholas Hancock

Published by The British Hancock Society
by arrangement with the author.


Copyright    2008 Nicholas Hancock.  Permission  is granted  to  distribute  in  any  medium, commercial or non-commercial, provided author attribution and copyright notices remain intact.

BEFORE THE BEGINNING


BEFORE THE BEGINNING

For aeons - such remote times can only be expressed archaically - a lonely EGO peered through the formless vortex of unbeing without sight, sound, touch, taste or stench to redeem eternity. Creation was not yet a gleam in Its eye; there were no sheep to count, no petals to pull. 'Eternitas non fugit,' It frowned, anticipating Virgil's language. 'I'll die of boredom if I don't do something.'

Slowly - if speed can mean anything outside time - the idea occurred to It to bring something into being. And the first sound to explode upon the ear (on Its alone) was a triumphal whoop of joy.

'But first let me change my name, EGO. Add a D - EGOD, drop an E.' Thus christened - if I may use the anachronism -, God began concocting Its ideal universe.

It knew, however, this creation would need a basic principle to underpin it metafizzically. 'Kindness? Too boring. Beauty? A drag. Ecstasy? - The very idea!' A second yell of jubilation. 'Eureka! The key to the Cosmos will be pain. If I can make it deviously agonising to a sufficiently high degree, it'll keep me in stitches for ever and ever - Yes, in time!'

It thought again. 'But to register this torment will need sentient beings - animals that know they're being crushed, that can suffer in three tenses. And I'll give them ghosts of beauty and happiness to tantalise them: a healthy youth when they can long to be old and age - a dissolution of body parts - an opportunity to long for youth.'

One by one It conceived the detailed horrors of a biosphere: wasps laying eggs in caddisfly larvae to feed their own young on living tissue; lampreys dragged round the seas to suck fish dry; spiders to hang their living prey on spun larders; and then - this would floor them - enemies so relatively minute that their victim would be unaware of their existence (Adam in one of his avatars would call them viruses).

For millions of years - It had already a toe-hold in time - It dreamed up its nightmare of divine consumerism, that is to say the consumption of life by life in pain and travail. And the beauty of Its plan was that those few that were not consumed would sink into pitiful self-annihilation: It had designed a self-destruct system later languages were to call the natural forms of Tod, morte, death, a wasting away into incontinence, dementia and atrophy.

The crowning achievement of this creation was to be an animal called man who would be morbidly aware of the inbuilt destructiveness and who would call this protracted dying life.

It was now C-Day minus one, and GOD looked forward to the next six days with almost mortal excitement: It would show them.