There was a light in Dr. Johnson’s office and I noticed smoke rings floating to his ceiling; his thoughts were like a blue cloud preparing to rain ideas. I hated to interrupt him, but I had thoughts of my own that needed examination.

KNOCKING. “Come in,” Johnson said. “Oh Mac, always a pleasure to see you.” He said this like his mind was elsewhere.

“Do you have a moment to hear me out? I have some existential questions that need answering.”

“You’re the philosopher, but I’ll listen.”

“Do you believe in fate or is everything just cosmic coincidence?”

“I believe in contradictions; ideas are seldom either or.”

“True; there is a woman who keeps showing up in my life. Either the law of attraction is strong, or coincidences are becoming common.”


“We are drawn together like magnets, but then we are pushed apart by the same force. The ideas in my head won’t let me connect with her.”

“That’s because you’re smart. She’s trouble; don’t let her choose you; it should be the other way around.”

“I can’t decide if she’s choosing me or I’m choosing her.”

“That’s because you’re seduced. Run and never look back.”

“What do you think about marriage?”

“It’s a dangerous business, especially to intoxicate yourself with romantic feelings at University.”

“But Kierkegaard suggests that marriage illuminates the human condition.”

“Some things are better left in the dark.”

“What about stepping out in faith and rejecting reason? If we have faith, it places us above other men.”

“That might be true, but I have no desire to get sacrificed in the name of what might be possible. Mark my words, if you continue with this woman, you’ll have to resort to methods far beyond reason to solve your problems. Now you have the luxury of thinking, but life can get very uncomfortable for you.”

“But I want to believe in better things; I want to believe in love.”

“You can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”

Johnson was right. For all my drawn-out passion and romance, I was defeated.

“Listen Mac, you have to choose. Even the act of not choosing is a choice. If you ignore her long enough, hopefully she will go away, but if you give in to what she wants, you are trusting your existence to nature and nature is a cruel mistress.”

I admired Johnson for his neat nihilism; everything was black and white with him. He was separate from the world; a universe apart.

And I knew I was closer to Joy than if we were making love.

One thought on “The Knights of Belief and Unbelief

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