Brickman: Well, gentlemen, we are here today because the author who is creating us seems to have expressed a wish to understand the very root of all human agitation.
Waterman: He believes that a dialogue is necessary between three distinct characters to accurately represent the varying dilemmas that crowd and disturb the human intellect.
Tripman: By all means gentlemen, I must confess that I strictly adhere to my opinion that it is a futile effort on his part to create us, three confused men sitting in a room, to reveal a problem that is as old as perhaps the species of man itself. However, I am interested to observe how the three of us are developed and how our non-existent knowledge of matters relevant to this dialogue can be used to discuss a non-existent problem itself.
Waterman: Non-existent problem? Why is it that you seem so convinced that human agitation, or suffering, as the professors of dogma prefer to call it, is non-existent? Is it not clear to you that men and women are in pain every moment of their lives? And, if a few seem in solace, it is only an entirely temporal thing. There is deep pain inside everybody.
Tripman: Are we to wander away again into these talks of human thought and ancestral conditioning? Should I waste my time again to shine clarity upon the sources of human suffering? The author, as I can clearly deduce from the state of his mind (since he is my creator), has wasted time immeasurable on contemplating the fallacies and eventual vanity of all human thought. As a matter of fact, it is very possible that it is his frustration with his own intellect built of vain thought that created us. It is possibly an escape from his own madness.
Brickman: Are you sure it is not the whisky that speaks through you Tripman? Seldom have I seen you without a glass of whisky resting gracefully in your hands. Perhaps the perpetual numbing of your own intellect has bestowed upon you such a reckless attitude toward life.
Tripman: And am I to blame for that? Look within yourself. Our creator boasts of a voracious attitude toward whisky. Perhaps, it is that attitude that created me and my reckless perspective toward life.
Waterman: Why do you call it reckless, Brickman?
Brickman: I have studied the pain of mankind for years now. I have known several people who share an enthusiasm for such loose carefreeness as Tripman harbors. It is naught but a futile effort to escape from the inevitable tragedy of human existence. If you excavate patiently into the darker corners of Tripman’s imagination, you will find lurking there, a very regular and commonplace fear of death. A fear that we all share with trembling fervor.
Tripman: Death? Escape? I am not the Buddha or Lao Tzu my friend, but I can quite easily proclaim that all ideas of death are faint illusions that the human intellect wastes its brilliance on. Even on my most sober day, I can proclaim the very same. You speak from what you have heard from others. Tell me, when is it that this fear of death first came upon you?
Brickman: It is as old as my memory. The oldest memories that I have are of things that I fear. At least, they seem to be more in number than memories that please me. But, then, you will say that all memory is illusion, right? You will say that memory is nothing but stickiness. It is the pointless trail left by human experience that serves no purpose at all except survival, and according to you, survival should not be the primary existential concern of human beings.
Waterman: You assume much, Brickman.
Brickman: Our creator is the same my friend. You should forgive his inability to perfectly distinguish his characters from each other. At times, my mind might reveal that which is intended to be revealed by one of you two.
Waterman: I am curious now, about this whole idea of illusion. Often, I have heard men say that all of life is illusion, maya, color, glorious play, lilac leela! Is it not true then that illusion, which by itself is a concept, is also part of illusion? Language as a mode of communication simply cannot reveal such a complex situation since whenever it aspires to state something that is beyond it, it is limited by itself. Language is an aspect of the very philosophy of illusion that it tries to deny. Tell me, the best you can my friend, what is illusion?
Tripman: That brings us to a very basic question now, doesn’t it? What is not illusion?
Waterman: I am blessed with five senses alone and every truth I am aware of depends on these senses. What my senses perceive are not illusion.
Brickman: What according to you is not illusion, Tripman?
Tripman: You gentlemen seem to be making a very fundamental mistake. The five senses, of course, create a very tangible reality. But, they are awakened by the awareness you give them. And, if you draw that awareness away from them, where is the reality?
Brickman: How can I draw awareness away from the five senses? My existence is these senses. In a way, I am these five senses. I see no separate entity that exists outside of these five senses.
Tripman: Your awareness is not an entity. You are drunk on your intellect. You are drunk on the content of your imagination. Whisky is but a little joke of an intoxicant if you compare it to the thoughts of men. The greatest addiction is thought. You see, gentlemen, I am in deep suffering because the author seems to be in deep suffering. I represent the dilemma that is causing him this suffering. You on the other hand, represent the aspects of his intellect that give him the very cynicism and critical attitude from which his heart draws security. Now it is clear that among the three of us, I am most dear to our creator. This conversation between us is meant to bring a little token of solace to him. Instead of delving deeper into such spiritual matters like suffering and awareness, will it be alright if we move this dialogue into a more tangible dimension?
Waterman: What is it that you wish to discuss?
Tripman: The hypocrisy of individualism. What does it mean to be an individual, Waterman?
Waterman: I do believe that if a person can learn to be entirely self-reliant and live without allowing his personality to be constantly influenced by external forces, he or she could be an individual. Individualism implies nonchalance toward what the world considers righteous and immoral. An individual sets his own standards for morality, productivity, education, spirituality, and so on.
Tripman: I am torn, my friend.
Brickman: Are you referring to your personality?
Tripman: I behold an ever-sincere grudge toward the ways of human society but simultaneously, I also harbor a deep love for human things. You see, this is my hypocrisy. This is my mediocrity. My thirst for individualism led me into an abyss far from the common boulevards where my human companions built their lives. But I have strings that help me climb in and out of the abyss on a regular basis.
Brickman: You must know that we all harbor this form of split, my friend. There is no one who entirely enjoys the human world. Everyone within themselves builds secret dimensions that they frequent for peace and silence.
Tripman: I had silence. A long time ago. When our author was much younger, his naivete led his heart to be infatuated with meditation and prayer. His entire being quivered in gratitude as the spring breeze blew across the city harbor. His youth led him deep into the hills to discover the fruits of the earth that drove his intellect into uncertain planes. He discovered new dimensions of being. But, you see, with great awakening comes a very great responsibility.
Waterman: What is it?
Tripman: You become aware of the hypocrisy of your regular life. The hypocrisy of social manners, family, friendship, love, marriage, wellbeing, wealth, promise, glory, sweetness, success, joy; everything becomes hypocritical before your eyes.
Waterman: I would say that these things might still hold value to our author. They are definitely very valuable to me. In discovering the truth of human constructs such as society, civilization, and the systems that govern our world, one who is wise can learn how to be more understanding and compassionate. And, if you are even wiser, you can learn to live in this world without being of it.
Tripman: I cannot fool myself my friend. While I proclaim that pain is illusion, this endless agitation that pricks away slowly at my heart feels more permanent than it did yesterday. But I carry both opinions within me. That pain is real and, also, an illusion. You see, this duality is the root of my suffering. But seeing this duality also implies duality! It implies that there is something being seen and a separate seer. The fact that reality is split into two gives me immense confusion. When I look behind my eyes, I do not see anyone there.
Brickman: If your life seems to be so futile, why is it that something as meager as human society bothers you? We are all bothered by the restlessness of the human mind that has been bestowed upon us. But we must learn to do it right. Adapt to the mind, learn to answers its whims and keep it in a balance so that one part of the mind does not overcome the other leading to eventual insanity.
Tripman: Isn’t it this human society that we live in? I both loathe and love it. And the existence of time makes me feel like I am ten different people. I cannot exist in this way. I have gathered too much knowledge about what it means to exist. So much that I feel it will consume me.
Waterman: What shall we do about it now, Tripman?
Tripman: Can you not see the whisky in my hand? Humor and the high plane is my answer, my friends. It is in humor that I have found at least a tiny degree of sanity that can help me stand on my feet.
Waterman: Whisky and humor cannot save you my friend. And, neither can they save our author. Even if this world is undeniably an illusion, an escapist attitude implies that it is real and something to be escaped from.
Tripman: Whisky is not an escape, my friend. And neither are the fruits of the earth an escape. They are blessings from the gods to aid men when they dally with the darkness in their souls.
Brickman: I am beginning to feel that you are not sincere at all in your search for truth, my friend.
Tripman: And at which instant did you first feel that I was sincere?
Brickman: What then, are we to leave our author, our creator to burn in his distress? Are we to leave him to manage his hypocrisy with drunken sleep and candlelit dinners with pretty girls by the oceanside? For how long can we escape the agitation that lurks in the heart?
Waterman: Perhaps, it is only right to adopt the attitude of escapism to allow our hearts to rest awhile, my friend. Man is after all an inferior creature before the glory of the cosmos.
Brickman: I beg to differ. The glory of man lies in the fact that he has the ability to contain the vastness of existence in the smallness of his intellect.
Waterman: The intellect only contains an idea of the real vastness.
Tripman: Waterman is right. But then, neither of us can deny that man is the sweetheart of mother nature. But such a judgment cannot be held valid when we as men make it ourselves. However, I do find it special that as a man, I can be aware of such a thing as hypocrisy.
Waterman: Is it better then to be aware of one’s hypocrisy rather than simply being hypocritical?
Tripman: Perhaps, it is my friend. Maybe that was our gift all along. To be aware of the things that torment us.
Brickman: And is this awareness stained by the things that is becomes aware of?
Tripman: The purity of white cloth is easily stained by the weakest dye.
Brickman: How is it then that this awareness is a gift?
Tripman: You see, we are aware that we are aware.
Brickman: Who is it then that is aware of awareness?
Tripman: Who is asking the question?
Brickman: You have changed the direction of my enquiry, Tripman.
Waterman: Perhaps, this new direction might lead us into a more silent place.
Tripman: Perhaps. It seems like our author has found solace; at least for now.