In his entire life, my grandfather told me only one story. Most kids get a lot of stories, but my grandfather told me only one. It wasn’t a fairy tale and it didn’t even have a happy ending. It was just a story, and according to the old man, it was my story. It was a story that he told me over and over again, so that I may remember it and that I will carry it “ It does not matter whether you understand it or not. I just want you to have it, so that one day, like an inheritance, you will take it out and use. And then you will understand the jewels, or poisons, which I am passing on to you.” “ Every story should reflect life. But more important than that, it should reflect your life. For no story is worthy of anything unless it makes you aware of your own life.” In trying to remember this old story, I would often try to recall my own grandfather. In many respects, he was a strange man. But most important to people he knew, he was a rich man which made him a monster to some people, while to others - an Angel from heaven. I knew him in the eighties and nineties when everything we now have was still starting out.
When I grew up and understood what ‘cynic’ meant I felt that it described my grandfather succinctly. But that was not completely accurate either. He was more than just a cynic. There was something in him that made him… I guess the proper word would be a mystery. This was especially true when he told me the same story one last time when I was 11. He was dying then. Tumor, if I remember accurately. He was rather disappointed about it. He would much rather have a bullet to the head. But anyway, he made damn sure that I would remember that story. And he always told it while a little drunk. My father disapproved but he allowed it for even though my father despised my grandfather, he expected to get his inheritance, like all good children.
“ Once upon a time,” as he began so many times, “there lived a family. But this was no ordinary family. For they are the family of humanity. This family had three boys plus their father.” “ Boys? Can’t they be girls?” That part was my usual cue, and my grandfather’s canned response would be: “Oh very well. Three Daughters then! But don’t you accuse me of misogyny, you little mynx!” I would chuckle in response. That was how the ritual goes. “ Each boy…” My grandfather would pause at just the right moment and smile wryly, “each girl was unique for they have each have a unique story. The youngest daughter was a monster. And it was not because she killed men or sliced up children, for in her entire life she would never even intentionally hurt a fly. No, she was a monster, because she could not feel what others felt - Because she could sense, feel and experience what we cannot. For those who cry the same tears and smile the same smiles are brothers and sisters. And we share a common thread with those who are like us by our hopes and our hates. Some share this commonality with their race, others with their nation, and some others with people who have the same ideals like them.
But I tell you now child. Not all people are brothers and sisters. For not all men feel the same type of love, hate or pleasure, bliss, rapture, agony, sorrow or whatever… Brotherhood exists in the equivalence of form. Not all human beings share that equivalence of form, and for their difference, they must be nor the same type of cast aside from their group. The youngest daughter was not human for she carried none of those traits which made us human within. For this transgression, she was cast aside. Not because of evil, but because she was different! Not human. A pacifist denies a violent man and violent man denies anyone who he is violent against. Whether for the right reasons or not, we cast aside those who are not like us, and traffic with those which we deem to be like us – whether by instinct or some ridiculous idea of a common bond. Because she did not understand the world, and because the world did not understand her, they became hostile to each other until one day the girl burned down a house and killed several people. People could not understand why someone so young and beautiful would do something so evil, but what she did was not evil (at least not to her), people simply did not understand. They did not understand her and she did not understand them. And the act of violence she committed was willed to be a mystery. Soon after, the third daughter disappeared and her father was consumed by the first sorrow.
The Second Daughter longed to be loved, even though she was loved. She desired for things which did not have, thinking that others had it and were denying them to her. This angered her. This made her believe that she was being denied something important, and so she left to seek those things out, thinking that they are hidden beyond the mountain and seas, in the deep corners of towns and cities where she could not go. She sought something. Something was missing, and she could not find it. But she was looking for them in the wrong place. Ah the fool! For her foolishness, she was very different from her younger sister. She was very human, for humanity is scourged by its own deficiency, damned to wander from one pleasure to another, always pressed on by a need that cannot be sated. At last, when she lost all that she had, she returned to her home and there, was welcomed by her father who welcomed her back like the prodigal child who was lost but who returned – all her wants long gone and in her broken state made anew. People long for many things child. They long because there is a lack in them – a lack which they are blind to and which they do not understand. I will not tell you what this lack is for it is willed to be a mystery just as conscious existence was willed to be a mystery. People, the fools, go from one desire to another, always trying to fill a void which they cannot fill. Until they are so consumed by the hunger that they are reduced into beasts, always gorging themselves but always empty.
And should a person feel this lack, they become frustrated and angered. This is why men kill and rape and pillage and destroy. For they are denied something, and when they see happiness, they cannot see their own. They are cast outs. They take their sorrow and they impose it upon others. So that they may be equal in their misery, but never satisfied. To weaken others to make them as weak as they are! Stay away from those kinds of people girl! Let them suffer. Allow them to suffer. You are not responsible for anything, but yourself and your own conduct. You cannot help people who do not know how to help themselves. But one day, utterly shattered, one looks within and without simultaneously, and in that act discovers that which makes us whole. And in this act, we are made anew. No longer in hunger, but complete and bestowed. “ What happened to the second daughter?” I would always asked, knowing the answer already “ What happened to the prodigal son?” He would always answer. “The parent embraces the child and loves them, and makes them beautiful again. The road back however, will not be easy”
The last daughter was the eldest daughter and she was loved above all, for she was most like the father and bore an equivalence of form with him. She would have inherited everything from her father, and yet she refused. She loved and was loved, but in love you see can be both a destiny and a choice, and she chose to depart from her Father to become a mother in the likeness, for a parent is a parent because of love and nothing else. The father asked her to remain but she would not, and she caused her father sorrow. She denied her inheritance and birthright for she chose to make them on her own, for she bore the likeness of her father. The second daughter was angered by her sister and even though her father’s wealth would be passed down to her, she wanted her sister to remain for their father’s sake. But she did not, and the eldest daughter moved to far away place and started her own family, just as her father had done in the past. And though they were separated by distance, they were as one. A paradox. United by Form – Divided by Space and Time. Do you know what God’s name is girl? It’s not the ‘I am that I am’ which you are taught in school. The original Hebrew translation was: I am whoever or whatever I wish to become. But that’s not all. God’s first commandment was Timshel. Do you know what that means?” I would shake my head as is my cue, but at this point he would be a little ranty and wild.
It means ‘thou mayest.’ A Godlike word is it not? To be given free will – the flame passed down to us by the Gods and God. It means we can become whatever we choose to be – whatever Devil or Angel. To be White, Black, Asian, Gay, Jew, Muslim, Christian or monster. To be violent. To be damned. To be honored. But most of all to be divine. For you cannot will yourself to be anything unless you are divine. But the First daughter was divine. She knew herself in the likeness of her father, and thus it came to pass that she was able to create herself into being. But she never lost track of what she was unlike the second sister, and she remained whole, though she was separated from her source. She loved those she chose to love and shun those she chose to ignore. This made her cruel in some ways but she was whole, and she remained divine.
Listen now child! For I will explain to you what my story mean. These three daughters are humanity and the soul of humanity. The third daughter lacked the ability to be human and for that she was cast out. Destroyed by a world for being alien and a threat, for the world loathes anything that which is not its own – whether it be devil or angel – the world only wants its own.
The second daughter was too human, and in being human she lost her ability to be divine. The world devoured her and took her and defiled her with its beauty and splendor, until it no longer can. When all was said and done, the second daughter had nothing left and so she returned to what she was and where she was before her deficiency drove her into exile. The prodigal child returned home.
The First Daughter was the First born, not because she was born first but because she resembled her father in love as well as in form. The second daughter is the prodigal, the material, for the material is a false reality, a false hunger. And the youngest daughter was an alien – not evil – but not wanted. The First daughter became a mother, for she is the likeness of the father, and she chose to be what she was, just as the father did in his time. The second daughter returned home for she is daughter. And the Third Daughter was lost for she never had any likeness – an alien and a monster. This is a parable of life. If you understand then understand.
“ Grandfather,” I would always ask at the end of the story, “I don’t understand.” “ No you don’t. And perhaps you may never understand, but I give you this, nonetheless because of my love for you.” I pity you girl. Yes, I pity you and your generation. In the past, humanity was plagued by a blind spot inside its own soul. But now, the blind spot has grown immense and twisted, and you cannot distinguish the left from the right – the upper from the lower, for all are made as one in a twisted parody of the one truth. And in your ignorance, you say: Look we are whole and as one. We are one people. One love and one life. But you are not, for you seek unity, love and brotherhood in all the wrong places, like the second daughter. You desire this love to be manifest and external, and for that it will become hidden. You deny the differences within each man and each myth and each emotion – the differences which unites and selects – and for that the monster within you will become make you inhuman, the human within devoured by the monster within, just like the third daughter, and you cannot cast it out for you do not understand yourself – refuse to see yourself.
Yes, our identities are simple myths, and that you can find nothing there with your eyes, but that is because your eyes are blind, and your ears are deaf. And you lack the divinity and the compassion which makes man whole. Though you desire for peace, for love, for unity, compassion, you will not have it for you do not have it within you, and the darkness within you will consume you and the world will be drenched in darkness. And finally you will move away. An expatriate and displaced creature that will not only be alienated from the world but from itself. Some may say, “look the future is bright!.” Oh but it is not bright. You have fallen and you do not know how to find your way back. And even if you do, will you like it? It’s not a pretty road I assure you. This is your wicked generation. And I give you this story to redeem you if you are strong enough. These word scared me. “ Everything will be resolved into their place. Oh yes, we will always go to where we belong, not because we are compelled but because it is who and what we are. And with that, child leave me, I am old and tired and I need my sleep.” “ Is that the end of the story sir?” I would always ask, always curious if something would be different this time. His answer always made me curious. “ The missing pieces you will have to find for yourself. The end.”