Hugo Santander Ferreira
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Keyhole

 
 

God, evolutionist

    One Monday morning Alexis Tanner, a 56-year-old bank cashier who during his childhood had achieved certain celebrity as the main character of a tooth-paste TV commercial, parked his 1980 Toyota on a street along Saint Joseph's University. He swapped its console with his handkerchief and turned the radio on and off, checking its volume. Once satisfied he stepped over the snow, locked his car and walked up to a corner, where he patiently awaited for his buyer.

     He licked a drop of coffee from his mouth, a remain of a hasty breakfast, put his sunglasses on and glanced at his watch. It was ten twenty-five. He looked around, searching for a bench where he could sit down.

    There was none.

    "Ain't gonna be warmer!" he uttered covering his ears with his mittens.

    Tanner had stayed at the mechanic's shop until three am, while his car was being repaired. Once at home he was unable to fall sleep in his bed. His mind was haunted by the outcome of his financial situation. Once again he was at the verge of bankruptcy. Once again he was about to face the stern eyes of his creditors. His salary as a bank cashier was just not good enough to cover the increasing quotas of his mortgage, not to mention his utilities and his wife's extravagant expenses.

    “If I were able to get five thousand dollars from those wealthy Arabs!” he thought. Every morning, on his way to work, he had driven by the International School for Foreigners at Saint Joseph’s University. It was there, on a rainy morning, that he had the opportunity to pick up a hitchhiking young Arab student, who minutes later told him, in a broken English, that he knew someone, a friend, interested to buy a car.

    Alex had got up from his bed without a minute of sleep. No sooner had he left his home than he felt his heart leaping at the proximity of his appointment. In spite of his lavish life style, his means were not superior to those of a middle-class clerk. His bank was about to reposses his house, and albeit his wife’s collection of fur coats, his  sport car and some memorabilia appear to be his only assets. Seven years ago he had paid seven thousand dollars for a Toyota Supra 1980. With an aerodynamic design, electric windows, leather cushions and a 2.8-liter inline 6-valve-cylinder motor, Alex’ Sport car proved to be a lemon five months after its purchase, when it broke down on New York's 5th Avenue

    “Swine!” he muttered casting a glance on his Toyota, “Now it will be my turn to let you down!”.

    “This car won’t go far,” his mechanic had told him the week before, after Tanner had paid two hundreds dollars for a used-carburettor he got in a derelict junk-yard . “The best you can do is to fix it and sell it.”

    “Unless I decide to change the motor and the rear axles,” Tanner proudly replied.

    “A new car won’t be a bad idea neither," the mechanic smirked at him.

        “Do it then,” Tanner sighed.

   “You may try to sell it to a foreigner,” the mechanic replied in a consolatory voice,“ there is a Chinese proverb that says that only a fool would be unable to take advantage of a foreigner. And let me tell you, you can see them here all around the place”.

    "Aren't you a foreigner?," Tanner snarled at him.

    "Well, I'm English. You know what sort of chaps I'm talking about, don't you?"
    
    That day, Tanner decided to let his wife know of how grave their financial situation was. For years he had never spoken to her about money matters. He had never been asked neither, but now, he felt, it was the moment to try her matrimonial vow, that that said that neither he, nor she will separate from each other in happiness or distress.

    When Tanner arrived home his wife embraced him. “A very unusual type of reception,” he thought. He procastinated his decision, then, and made love to her.
    
    “The mechanic called you, Honey,” she said from the bathroom, “He said he has found a solution to your problem. I couldn't talk to him for long . My sister was on the other line. What problem do you have, Honey?”

    Tanner decided to postpone their crucial conversation then, in the hope that everything will be sorted out soon.

    “Oh! It's nothing,” he exclaimed, “I’m just planning to buy a new car, a Mazda, or perhaps a Porsche. That depends of the credit I get".

    “You are the best man in the world!,” his wife said.

    One week later he paid five hundred dollars to his mechanic, a sum which, he was made to believe, was going to be recouped and multiplied with the sale of his car.

    “The motor runs silently, the speed is fine and the brakes are new. It will run properly for two weeks or three.

    “What after?”
    
    “We‘ll see,“ the mechanic grinned, “I cannot guarantee you. The best you can do it is to sell it as soon as you can."
    
    Tanner’s apprehension faded off as he saw his customer appearing around the corner. He studied him: a young thin man wearing an Armani green leather jacket and a red scarf.

    "Well," Tanner said stretching a pair of leather gloves in his hands, "Are you Arab, then?"

    "I‘m from Lebanon" His customer replied in a nervous tone, "¿have you been there?”.

    Tanner realized that his conversation about Middle-East geography and culture was over.

    “Not yet... Are you interested to buy this car, right?"

    "Yes," the young man stuttered, "Ali told me it was for sale."

    “Ali! What a nice body! You can call me Lex, kid.”

    “Sure, Lex,“ the young man replied. “Likewise I’ll be grateful if you call me Rick.”

    “Your English is not bad,” Tanner smiled in a patronising way, “you just have to improve your accent.”

    “That’s why I came here”.

    Tanner had understood by then that his customer was not going to be the easy prey he had awaited for the several past weeks.

    “Ten thousand dollars for my car!,” he grinned shaking his head. “A real bargain, isn't it? A 1990 Celica Supra Toyota! A collectors trophy! You have a good taste, kid!

    “Rick”, the young man corrected him.

    “I’m sorry Rick”.

    “That’s all right”.
    
    Tanner sensed he had broken the ice with his apology.

    “I like your Armani jacket by the way."
    
    "Thanks," replied the young man.

    “I’m thinking to get one like that,” Tanner added unable to miss an opportunity to show off.
    
    “You won’t be able to afford it,” Rick snarled at him.

    “Excuse me?, ” Tanner replied out of guard.

    "I like your car,” Rick said in an imperative voice. “But I find it rather dear".

    "Dear?" Tanner gasped. "Are you kidding me?"

    "I went yesterday to Ardmore, where I saw a customer buy a car very much like this for nine thousand dollars."

    Tanner felt that his heart had stopped for a few seconds. ¿Could he be more fortunate than that? Two months ago, in a moment of despair, he had almost decided to haul his car to the junk yard.

    "Last night you agreed to buy this car for ten thousand dollars" he said in an effort to look impatient.

    “We didn’t agree about the price,” Rick muttered. “I recognize, though, that you discussed it with Ali”.

    Tanner realised that this was his opportunity to push on.

    "There is no need for us to argue, Rick" Tanner added, "How much is your budget?"

    “Nine thousand,” Rick replied in a boastful tone.

    Tanner congratulated himself. He  had undoubtedly a fine understanding of psychology. “Can you pay for it?" was the sentence that had stirred Rick’s shame, indignation and pride, all at once. 

    “Can I drive it?,” added Rick shivering.

    “I’m so silly!” Tanner chuckled. “It’s freezing out here, and your jacket is so thin! Let’s go inside.”

    Tanner led his customer along the street. After taking the gloves off from his hands with the help of his perfectly white teeth, he took out a key holder from his pocket. A silver-color key shone in his fingers before he inserted it, with artistic dexterity, in the driver’s door‘s keyhole. Two seconds passed before the muscles of his forehead contracted.

    “Are you all right?,” Rick asked peeping over his shoulders.

    “I’m perfectly fine!,” Tanner gasped as his movements became more and more frenetic. “It’s just the car door, which is a little bit frozen!”

    Tanner stirred the key once and once again, until it broke in the keyhole.

    “You, fucking bitch!,” he screamed.

    Victim of his own despair he kicked the car with one of his metalic boots.

    The door slid and fell ungraciously onto the street.

    Tanner smiled nervously at his customer, who in return looked at him, not as an American citizen, not even as a human being, but as a mere curiosity.

    “So... so... sorry...” stuttered Rick before turning his back on him and walking away,  along the street.


Philadelphia, November 1994
 


Cordoba Mosque
    Our journalists oppose science to religion, under the assumption that the former is the bearer of happiness and certainty, and the later of guilt and credulity.
    Most of them fail to realise, however, that science is but an attempt to establish a concrete interpretation of reality, in the same way that religion is, from its very onset, an attempt to establish a metaphorical interpretation of reality. 
    Whereas The Bible abounds in symbolic narrations, scientific treatises aspire to mathematical precision. Their common purpose, nonetheless, is knowledge. The Vatican, as  Edward Gibbon remarks in one of the last pages of his work, might be mostly remembered in the centuries to come as the main sponsor of the poets, scientists, artists and philosophers that undermined the foundations of the Church by making of renaissance Italy the cradle of free thinking.

    God himself appears to be, according to The book of Genesis, a consummated evolutionist. The first versicles of The Bible, that many biologists quote sarcastically by heart, constitute the most precise account of evolution written before Darwin's publication of The Origin of Species. The parallel between the literary account conceived by an anonymous Jewish amanuensis of Babylon and that postulated, corroborated and established by modern science, cannot be dismissed as mere coincidence.
   
    Centuries before Darwin, Origen and Agustin had already understood that the oldest narrations of The Bible were myths on a creation in constant evolution. Not surprisingly, some modern Christians apologists explain that the seven days of the creation correspond in reality to seven ages, an affirmation that displeases fundamentalist believers and anticlerical evolutionists alike. They might be more willing to accept, however, the existence of six pivotal days disseminated through a time-span of several billions of years. Darwin himself did not believe evolution could occur in a single day, but he was unable to distinguish evolution from adaptation. Pandas are in danger of extinction at this very moment, and in spite of the rudimentary thumbs they appeared to have developed in order to adapt to their harsh environment, none of them has evolved into a rational being. Two centuries of archaeological research have passed since Darwin published his main opus, and scientists haven't been able to discover yet what force or phenomena transforms a fish into a reptile, a reptile into a bird and any of them into a mammal. Their common presumption is that radiation alters the genes as to produce new better creatures, but such supposition has been confuted by the human deformities born after the recent atomic explosions of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Chernobyl. Whatever be the force behind evolution, it is quite evident that it has transformed life in very few occasions. A chronological description of such evolution is narrated in the first versicles of The Book of Genesis.
    
    1) The evolution of nothingness into light: Evolutionists argue that a great explosion expanded matter and energy through a vast space, a conjecture anticipated by the third versicle of the Bible: "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light (1)."   The Book of Genesis goes even further as to include a description of the geological changes of our planet before the creation of life: "And God said, ‘Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.’ And it was so."
   
    2) The evolution of earth into vegetable life: Whereas contemporary accounts of evolution assume that life was born in the seas, first as unicellular creatures and then as fishes, the Jewish amanuensis places the origin of life beneath the earth, from where it sprouted out as vegetation: "‘Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.’ And it was so." His discourse is far more consistent than that of our evolutionists, for whereas vegetables and trees are born and reproduced without external help-feeding of water and minerals from earth, animals subsist by grass, fruits and roots.
   
    The intelligence of plants is a mystery that our scientists discreetly avoid, for, again giving priority to animal life, they have defined intelligence as a sub-product of an organ that all plants lack: the brain.  In 1909 Maurice Maeterlinck wrote L'Intelligence des Fleurs, a rumination on the consciousness of plants.
   
    This passage of The Book of Genesis solves also the riddle on whether the tree was prior to the seed or vice versa: “The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.”
  
    3) The evolution of water into fishes, reptiles and birds: In 2001 a team of Chinese and American scientists shook the prevalent theories of evolution by the discovery of a 130-million-year-old fossil dinosaur covered from head to tail with downy fluff and primitive feathers. This hybrid creature, not reptile but bird, not bird but reptile, corroborates one of the most controversial passages of the book of Genesis: “And God said, ‘Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.’ So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.”
   
    4) The evolution of earth into mammals: The Book of Genesis does not state that new species were created from previous species. They all were created from dust, a term that is frequently referred in The Bible as the raw material or the source of life. What distinguishes the Jewish amanuensis of our evolutionists is a mathematical cipher. Whereas The Book of Genesis announces four derivatives from earth: vegetation, reptiles (a group that includes unicellular creatures, crabs, fishes and birds,) mammals and human beings, our evolutionists reduce -in an effort to diminish the importance of the force of the phenomenon that designed  life,  the mutations from dead matter to organic matter to a single occasion. 
   
    Before Erasmus Darwin wrote the passages on creative evolutionism that inspired the career of his illustrious grandchild, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck prescribed that creatures evolve because they want to, a postulate that pantheists may borrow as a proof of the ubiquitousness of God. In the 1960s James Lavelock formulated the Gaia theory, which proposes that our planet functions as a single organism that maintains conditions necessary for its survival. Lavelock’s thesis, which had been previously formulated by Gustav Theodor Fechner, and that Buddhists extend to the universe itself, coincides with the passages of The Book of Genesis that affirm that mammals evolved from dust. Earth, as one of the oldest proverbs of humanity says, appears to be our mother: "‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.’ And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.”
   
    5) The evolution of earth into human beings: Several writers of The Old Testament identify man with God, a theological statement that eventually condemned Jesus Christ to the cross and that anticipated the ethics of our secular age. The full articulation of the God-Man equivalency not only invalidates the hierarchies of the Church but also those of our political world, for if any man or woman is God, God cannot discriminate himself from God. The passage of The Book of Genesis that states the supremacy of men over animals and plants has been also recently verified by the squander of natural resources in the hands of our most prosperous societies:  “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image,  in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.’ And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat.’ and it was so.”
    New archaeological discoveries will confirm or deny the chronological discourse of creation stated in the first myth of The Bible. It would be an error, however, to reduce a symbolical narration to the arid discourse of scientific scholarship, for The Book of Genesis is not only historical but metaphysical and teleological.
   
    7) The evolution from life into eternity:  Both God and man are consummated creators, ultimately rewarded by eternal peace. “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested  from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”
   
    This passage echoes the final verses of the Poem of Gilgamesh, in with we read that men must die in order to rest after a life of toil.


Montenegro, Gervasio, "Nuevos ensayos de Metafísia" (Puebla, 2004)


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(1)  Some pious physicians reduce God's creative role to this single day, that's to say, to the creation of a single atom.




Hugo Santander Ferreira © First Film Productions 2011