The Past Exists
I met Plato sitting on his
And I asked him:
Now that you’ve ascended
Light as air
What have you
Beard no more,
The brightest Youth of Joy
Eyes sparkling, looks
Kindly upon me, and in
Brotherly vigor shakes my shoulders
It’s all here! It’s all here!
IT’S ALL HERE!!!”
“It’s been twenty-five hundred years
But I still say, oh
“Nor do I tire
Of giving the Tour, why
Look around you!”
“Can’t you see? Or are you
Still stuck in that cave of
“My friend Lewis maybe
Understood this place
Better than me. You see
That everything’s very Hard,
very Dense, very Solid,
Like it’s made out of Diamond.”
“By the way, the grammar here is very strange.
In our dialect, Every Thing Is Capitalized
Because Every Thing Is A Proper Proper
Noun. Even Verbs.”
“Do you know why that is?
It’s because… wonder of wonders…
There are dense networks, intensely connected.
Which if abstracted, many times refined
Up one level, up another, you’ll realize
No two things are separable.”
“I suppose it stands to reason, but I didn’t
Quite see it. At least, not In Time.”
“How shall I explain it?
I could just tell you, flat out. But I’d rather
Give you a riddle.”
What is Beauty without Truth?”
“Or Grace without Honesty?”
“Justice without Freedom?”
Dazed for a while, then in
Dawn of recognition lit:
beauty, but less than Beauty.
grace, but less than Grace.
justice but less than Justice.
“Very good! You’ve remembered.”
“The Virtues Are All Connected
And you can’t pull them apart.
They’re inseperably fused
Remembered? What do you mean?
I only just learned this!
“In the netherlands,
You call it learning. But all this learning,
Is really just Remembering. Remembering
What is here. What is Eternal.”
“Before Time, you knew this.
In Time you forgot.
And In Time you may remember.
But Here, you always were,
Always are, Standing here,
With this Truth literally In The Room.
So you need no Memory at all here.
Who needs Memory when
Everything is Present? When Everything
can just be Seen? Touched? Accessed?”
Help me remember this.
If Virtues are all connected,
How about vices? Should I capitalize
“Oh that’s another strange thing.
My friend Lao Tzu — so many wonderful
New friends up here — understood this, even
Back in the shadowlands.”
“You see, Virtues rely on Vices.
Time for some more riddles.”
“How can you have…
Tragedy without Comedy?
Romance without Betrayal?
Joy without Sorrow?
Pleasure without Pain?
Stars Without Night?”
I don’t suppose you could.
“I could go on, but you get the point.
Inextricable linkages. They’re clear as day here.
Harder to see where you stand.”
“Why, I had lunch with Hitler the other day…”
Lunch with whom!?
Oh? That offends you? Yes, there are many a shock here.
Many a shock. I’m afraid it takes an Eternity
To get used to it. But you’ll see he’s quite reformed,
And I’ve quite forgiven him. So have you, by the way.”
“Anyways, he was just telling me of the
Unimaginable unimaginable guilt and regret
He experienced when he first arrived.
He wept and wept
For an age.”
“We saw him sitting there,
In hellish misery. He tortured himself.
Invented things. Instruments of Misery.
Oh, it was awful!”
“Of course, we took it all away.
Contrition removed them.
(She’s lovely, by the way!
You have to meet her.)”
I am sure she is.
But he isn’t.
He deserved what he did to himself.
“To my surprise, Mercy
only made it worse.”
“He screamed at Her to go away. She stood fast.
He hated himself. He hated that we wouldn’t let him
Hate himself in Form. But he kept on
Hating himself in Spirit.”
“From his perspective,
Penance didn’t have the decency to let him
Pay! For a long time,
Compassion burned him white hot. You could
Hear the screams.”
“At last, Unconditional, Grace and Love invited
Creativity to a secret council in that Tower — that one over there.
And they concocted a Plan.”
“Joy, who is not very good at keeping secrets, heard about it and
Leaked the whole thing, so we all got in on it…”
“For an Eon,
We waited, making ready.
Preparing our Seige.”
“Then we sent them.
One by one. Every hour,
Of every day, of every year,
of every decade, for a century.”
What did you send, sir?
“Yes, they began The Invasion.
Wave upon wave of them.”
“So much preparation went into this.
We asked the Muses —
Oh my, there she is! Excuse me.
Erato! Erato! Darling! Still on for dinner tonight?
I wrote you something…”
My dear Plato! You’re blushing!
“Ahem. Where was I? Oh yes. The Healing.
Yes, the Muses touched each one, Inspiring them,
Filling them with strong Magic. Readying them for their Task.
Finally, they were each sent to tell their
“Yes, their Story. Capital S, you know. As in,
— And, if you don’t, mind, I must flow into Heaven-speak —
Their Whole Story. Every Chapter, Every Verse.
Not the Abridged Versions. More of a Re-Enactment.”
“That charming fellow Shakespeare helped a little bit with the
Staging and Lines.”
“It didn’t take long. The poor chap.
Hitler was sobbing after the first Visitor.
A different kind of tears this time.
So we sent the second one.”
What were the stories about?
“Back in the netherlands,
Lewis used to say,
No one is told any story but their own.
Which is a great relief.
But here, we break that rule.
Ha! There ARE NO RULES! Hahahaha!
Oh Joy. It’s indescribable.
You couldn’t do wrong
Even if you tried.”
“Anyways, we broke that rule with Hitler.
Or rather, in breaking it so fully,
we fulfilled it fully. We told him
His Full Story. We told him His Story
By telling him Every Story of Every Life
That he Ever Touched, Directly Or Indirectly.”
“You can’t imagine what that did to him.
The range of emotion was extreme.
There were love stories of absolutely Divine Power
And heroic epics that made Homer Date Jealousy again for a while.
(The last time was when Tolkien arrived).”
“Whole families came to him, holding hands,
Laughing, dancing around him. Holding his hand,
Bringing him into the circle. Celebrating! Feasting!
Crying! Thanking him over and over again.
For the life they shared together. For the gifts of Destiny
They received that would never have been theirs without him.”
“Then Tragedy brought the Saints
Who suffered every suffering under his dark reign.
Every single person thrown into every oven.
Every soldier slain, every mother bereaved.
They told their Stories. And in gratitude, forgave.
After getting to know each other so thoroughly,
so intimately — like lifelong lovers, closest friends — it was very strange
For them to remember their former Hatred. To remember
How bitterly they hated each other. Hated each other,
Whom they never knew!”
Never Actually knew. Never Really knew.
“This led to quite a realization.
(Satori being commonplace as dessert here.)
The realization was this:
You can only hate that which you don’t know.
And that which you don’t know
Does not Exist.”
“Or rather, let me be clear. Everything Exists.
Even Nothing. Nothing is all over the place.
She’s here with us in the room.
“Hatred exists too.
He’s just over there. With two friends.
In Eternity the only thing to Hate
Is that there’s nothing to Hate!
So Hate is complete with Laughter.
And hangs out a lot with Irony too.”
“I am not sure what hurt him more.
The stories of Joy or the stories of Sorrow.”
He kept screaming. HELL!
And IT BURNS. Though
we covered him with soft moist cloud,
and fed him manna. I have never seen such
“That adorable eccentric Blake — yes, still an eccentric,
but he is very very Rich and Famous here,
Spent a whole lifetime down there storing it up — Anyways,
When Blake lived down below, in the shadowlands,
He used to say that it was a
Realm of joy and sorrow mixed.
And he was right.”
“But do you know what he says now?
This Is The Realm Of Joy Beyond Sorrow.
We are here, Eternals, in Eternity,
Outside Of Time. Sorrow exists in Time.
But Joy Exists Forever. And Ever.
And Ever. Amen!”
“Ha! Ha! Are you Surprised at my Language?
Of course I’ve become “religious”!
No Faith required anymore. Although I worshipped
Truly on earth, by another Name. Goodness gracious!
What DO they teach kids in school these days?”
But Plato, what happened to Hitler?
Was he doomed to Sorrow?
“No fortress can withstand a seige forever.
Especially when Love is Commanding all the Armies
Of this High Host Of Heaven!”
“Which should come at no surprise. Even
In their earthly forms, mortal generals of immortal genius
Beat this guy. Paton won’t stop talking about it.
Those Transformation just turns his words into
Butterflies and roses every time he swears.
Anyways, we utterly Destroyed Every Last Bit
of his defenses. Until Purity took his Heart out of the Fire
And it was made New.”
Yes, but Plato, what happened to him? Was he punished?
How can you stand to live with him?
“My dear boy! I had breakfast with him this morning.
He is now fully outside of Time. Fully here with us.
Thankfully, he does not suffer sorrow anymore.
“Look out the window. You’ll see him.
Standing there, in the courtyard.
Reading underneath that tree, near him, is Anne. Anne Frank.
They’re Falling in love, I hear. It’s very Romantic.”
But that can’t be! This is horrible!
“I see that look on your face. I recognize Disgust.
Stop. Please consider.”
“This is The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell that Blake talked about.
You loved it when you read it. Now it is real.”
“What is extraordinary to you is quite ordinary here. Anne is an ordinary girl here. Adolf is an ordinary boy. Both have been made Innocent. They’re like children again. Have you ever met an evil infant?”
How can he of all people be innocent?
“Everyone has a Purpose, not fully revealed in Time. His
Purpose was, at last, revealed to him. Fully revealed.
Now he realizes that he was a Bodhisattva,
As much part of the Divine Order as a Black Hole
Or a Hurricane, a Volcano, an Earthquake, or an Asteroid.
Quite necessary for the salvation of all beings.
Indeed, he played a mighty role,
and is held in high honor for his sacrifice.”
“Very few have sacrificed so much. It had to happen.
Somebody had to experience it. The horror of creating
Such pain. Then, of experiencing it —
by the laws of Divine Physics, which is Just.”
Didn’t he have a choice? Didn’t he chose Evil?
“Before entering Time, he volunteered.
As a gallant act of Love, Freewill, and Predestiny,
He chose that path. This choice was a choice for Good, for Love.
And then, In Time, he chose Evil, Hate.
Do you see the Paradox?”
… I don’t know what to say.
“I can see you’re quite bothered by this.
I did not live in your part of Time. Adolf is not special here.
You won’t believe some of the Stories people have.
So I’m not as bothered as you would be, having grown up
When you did. Remember, you don’t know the whole Story.”
“But I understand your struggle.
I wrestled with Another, and he won.
But I have breakfast with Him tomorrow Morning.”
I don’t understand. How is this possible?
“Perhaps Alan Watts, or any of the other Buddhists here, can explain this Mystery better than I can?”
No, I remember.
I remember Watts talking about this.
I just thought it was in jest.
I even remember reading YOU Plato.
Even though I was just a teenager and knew nothing,
I could grasp that there was this flaw in your theory.
That the Forms could not be isolated.
This was a great Mystery to me. It occured to me
That Everything must be connected in some way.
I Remembered some of this, then.
In my Heart I knew it was True.
But I left it at that.
I dropped it.
Why didn’t I see this?
“The problem was not that you could not SEE this.
It was clear as Day to you. Even In Time.
You were not confused by the Idea of it,
but by the Reality of the Idea.
Put another way:
Seeing you did not see.
Hearing you did not hear.”
“You knew the truth,
But you didn’t take it seriously.”
“But don’t you see? That’s the whole point!
The problem is not that we don’t arrive at Truth.
The problem is that we don’t take Truth seriously.
You were told on earth. You will be told again here.
It. Is. FINISHED! It is REAL!”
“I mean, how could the high goddesses — Grace, Redemption, Love, Forgiveness — possibly even exist in this place, in all of their dazzling Purity, if this was NOT the case, if even this one soul was excluded?”
But, but then… What of all the thieves, murderers, rapists? All the nasty and mean people? What of the other horrible tyrants? What of Satan, of Evil himself?
“Yes. Love claims them All for Her Kingdom.
And She Will Not Rest Until
Every Last One, Returns.
Until, Every Last Heart, Melts.
What…..!? How can this be?!
“Haven’t you read Dante? Milton?”
“I told you! It is REAL!”
What about my past?
“The Past EXISTS, Francis.
We will take you back there, as soon as this interview concludes.
You are very blessed, very loved, to be granted an audience before your time.
But I look forward till our next meeting.”
“Here, let me show you.
Look at this window.
Window, Show Us!”
Plato put his arms around me,
As I wept, at scene after scene from my life
Came flashing by.
The Window Became The Room.
And I Was There. I Was Back There.
And I Wasn’t Just Watching Myself.
I Was Myself. Re-Enacting Every Decision.
Back In Time.
Nor did I feel trapped.
Nothing was forced upon me.
Everything I had once regretted,
Even vile things, I did again. I did them even with joy.
For I saw just this glimpse their full purpose.
“You know. You’ve thought of it before.
Experiment with the timeline.”
And I did. I did everything differently.
Everything I ever wanted to do everything.
I righted every wrong. Corrected every “mistake”.
And I saw what happened next.
Played through all of the timelines.
On Fast Forward. Time was strange in that
Simulator. I played long enough to realize that
There is no optimal path. It is all
My body was capable of a strange thing.
They have an emotion there, we can only glimpse here.
It is full-Laughing and full-Crying — both at the same time.
What a relief.
Then I knew it was time.
With a kiss on my forehead,
Brightest smile, happiest wave,
The handsome Youth said,
with such Force of Love
I shall never forget,
“All Will Be Most Well.”