THE ATHEIST’S GUIDE TO HELL

2 Mar

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He’s a political prisoner, thoroughly broken. He accepts that reality is dictated by government decree, that the trust he’s had in the evidence of his own senses and memories has been a form of insanity. He knows he is still insane but prefers to be so. He has been kicked in the balls with heavy boots, truncheons to the elbows, starvation, sleep-deprivation. He’s been on a metal slab some weeks, skeletal from the want of food. They’ve been giving him electricity therapy, almost unbearable. But effective. He now understands that 2 plus 2 equals 5 if the government says so.

That’s in the past. Now he’s fed and fixed up and sort’ve in love with his master torturer. Finally, a man who understands him. With whom there is honesty. He’s not some kind of terrorist. He’s thrown no bombs, supplied no poison. He’s committed no real crime because there aren’t any laws just the constant obligation to be guided by herd instinct which is guided by fear, television and surveillance. The activities that led to the arrest are: keeping a diary, having some occasional lovely fucks with a girl from work. Reading a book. Um-ah.

And now he finds himself in a room. A room he’s heard about. Something’s in it, he understands. Something bad. He asked his master torturer about it and the guy tells him he already knows. Everyone knows what in Room 101, he says. And now here he is. Room 101. The master torturer enters.

“You asked me once,” he says, “what was in Room 101. I told you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.”

Enter a stormtrooper carrying a box, the master torturer continues:

“The worst thing in the world varies from individual to individual. It may be burial alive, or death by fire, or by drowning, or by impalement, or fifty other deaths. There are some cases where it is some quite trivial thing, not even fatal.”

In a world without God, so the 20th century teaches us, we make our own god of whatever king is available. And he creates Hell and brings it to Earth. Understand, this political prisoner has been watched all his life. His face has been rigorously scrutinized by a hidden apparatus of technocrats who can utilize all manner of new gadgetry to get inside everyone. They know you’re not one of them, they see it in your face. And they watch you until the right moment. And then they take you and break you. All the way down.

During the European Middle Ages there was very little room to move intellectually. Learning was controlled by the Catholic church and often the political realities of the Church and the scriptural proclamations of Jesus of Nazareth were mutually exclusive. That wasn’t so much a problem because the only people that could read were inside the circle of power. The secular political structure tended to demand what we’d think an unreasonable amount of loyalty. A criticism of the reigning monarch was treasonous most places. But they were concerned more with alliances in battle then the intellectual contemplations (if any) of their fellow patricians.

The Churches, the Kings and the occasional Queen tortured and executed their subjects at will. The Church declared certain arguments heretical and the penalty could mean expulsion from the spiritual community and possibly excrutiating death. They set you on fire. Ordinary banal justice wasn’t much better. In the 14th century a peasant, pissed off that a friend insisted on drinking his money instead of repaying a loan, went to the guy’s house and pinched some tools worth the value of the loan. His punishment: castration and blinding. And after all that he’s reported to have thought it a fair cop!

Still they could not, and would not, enforce the kind of mind control inflicted upon our political prisoner in his reality decreed entirely by the government. Why? They didn’t have the technology but they had God. And they had Hell. The prisoner does not fear Hell after death. He looks forward to death as release from his tragically dismal life. AT the moment, he’s been broken as thoroughly as the medieval ancestors of our master torturer could do.

But our master torturer is superior to his forbears. Before his arrest, our prisoner had told his lady that he would never betray her. He didn’t mean he’d out against torture. They both knew they would be caught and broken, that they’d confess all. But they wouldn’t stop loving each other. They can break your body and they can break your mind but they can’t get to your heart and soul. That is their conviction. The master torturer understands, he knows that the prisoner has not betrayed his love.

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The worst thing in the world for this guy is rats. A cage is strapped to his face with two of them; big, yellow, snaggletoothed gnarly and hungry. They’re a few centimetres from the skin on his face. The master torturer tells him calmly that he’ll do what he’s supposed to. But he doesn’t tell him what that is. So our prisoner convulses with blind animal panic. What!? What do want me to say, what do you want me to do? Anything you ask, just ask. Tell me. Please!

They don’t of course. And in this prolonged moment of unbearable horror he sees his lover’s face in the eye of his mind and screams. Do it to her. Don’t do it to me. Her, not me. Not me. And he means it. The master torturer has perfected the arts of Hell on Earth in the way that the priests could not, would not ever do. Your body could be burned, your mind must be controlled. They’d agree, but they respected the soul. There is no respect for the soul in a world where it officially does not exist. In that event, and with these expertise, these techniques they can and will reach your soul.

And burn it while you’re still alive.

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