The two brothers argued a lot. Alan was convinced that the sole reason for the mono-myth’s existence was to add meaning to an otherwise meaningless world, or put it in another way, people were bored. His argument was that the sole raison d’etre for the mono-myth was that people through time, irrespective of their cultures, and customs, needed to justify their existence by going on elaborate myth making journeys, so as to add purpose to a rather pointless and mundane existence. But Lawrence wasn’t having any of it.
As far as he was concerned life was teeming with meaning and purpose. His argument was that a sperm doesn’t causally swim towards the egg, stopping of for hash browns and coffee along the way. It doesn’t stop before the egg and think about returning. The sperm moves with purpose towards the egg. It knows its mission and ensures that its purpose is fulfilled. Lawrence would apply this to all human beings, in as much that we do have a purpose and a potential to fulfil it, even if it were just for us to become better people. Which means life has meaning.
Lawrence had decided to go on his Hero’s Journey. He felt the deep dark calling that wanted to lure him out of his everyday ordinariness and onto a journey of self-discovery that would challenge his deepest and darkest fears, so that he could return to the world a better man. And pass on that knowledge to other eager Hero’s.
Alan chose to stay at home munching Pringles and watching the Nature Channel.
‘Why carry coal to Newcastle’ was his motto. Alan would rather study esoteric literature from the safety of his own living room. He was convinced Lawrence’s literal journey was a waste of time and that the mono-myth was a psychological transformation that one could obtain without moving an inch.
While Lawrence sought solace in the mystical realms of India, chanting mantras with the Saddhus or whirling dervishes with the Sufi’s of Arabia. Alan went to the library and dug out dirty old leaflets on metaphysics and alchemy then returned to his couch to pop a few more Pringles in his mouth, while attempting to wrap his skull around Madame Ishrubb Utter, A German philosopher who believed that reality was a three-dimensional continuum, that when transcended could reveal the profound truths of dual-emptiness.
Alan hadn’t a clue what he was reading but the language appeared so exotic and profound, he was completely hooked. And so it went on until one day Lawrence was due to return, and bestow his ‘boon’ upon society. Alan was having none of it.
The door swung open and Lawrence sauntered in. His smile overlapped his face. His shoulders pulled back with more purpose than Alan could have ever mustered. Alan remained smugly stuck to the couch, hands and arms folded behind his head, a defiant pretzel. He had quickly hidden the Pringles and Malteser’s under the couch, and placed a few of his profound expositions across the living room floor for Lawrence to see. Master Eggarse’s ‘Meaningless Book on the Dual-Existence of Relative Emptiness’ looked towards the doorway, along with Tit Not Thans ‘All Mysteries Resolved In A Single Afternoon.’
‘I have returned Brother. And I hope you agree with me when I say, a little wiser.’
Lawrence winked and smiled at Alan, who just lay back on the sofa. His hands still folded behind his head.
‘Come in Lawrence. Don’t forget to wipe your feet on my GOD mat.’ Said Alan.
Lawrence looked down to find that Alan had actually gone to the effort to pay a firm, good money, to create a straw mat with the word GOD stitched into it. This made Lawrence very uneasy. While hardly a devout Christian, a lot of his purpose and drive were derived from his belief that the sole purpose for fulfilling our human potential was that it would bring us closer to god, and ultimately heaven. Not that he would call it heaven. He would use the word nirvana, or when feeling vague, would call it ‘some-thing’, as if it was a mysterious form of gas that ooeed and aahhed around the atmosphere just before you went to bed at night.
‘So what great knowledge is it that you have brought back with you? Please, bestow your boon upon me.’
Lawrence came into the living room and surveyed the room disdainfully.
Alan’s walls were covered with page three girls from the 1970s, or famous pop groups from the 1980’s. Clearly Alan was living in the past. Lawrence felt sorry for his brother and was worried for his future. Here was a man begging to be saved. Lawrence went down on his knees and started to say the ‘Bright White Light of Love’ mantra that had been given to him by a small tribe in Botswana. He mumbled his incoherent mantras while Alan watched with amusement.
‘Your words sound great Lawrence but with science advancing at an incredible speed and physicists on the precipice of understanding the dark matter that holds everything together. Do you really think that your quaint words that fall onto the living room floor contain any meaning, other than what you, and the people of Botswana, place on them?’
Lawrence hid his aggression behind his highly arched left eyebrow and looked up at Alan.
‘The very fact that I place meaning in the words, and that the people of Botswana have placed meaning in them, for a thousand years, gives them their power, and creates a world of power around them.’
‘Of course we did manage to get by before language was created.’ Said Alan reaching secretly under the sofa for a lost Malteser.
Lawrence spun round on this.
‘Yes, and it was a world of God, and beauty.’
‘Or a world of pain and suffering, as cavemen, and cavewomen roamed the streets all day looking for food. Killing things and trying not to kill each other.’
‘Ah, but as we learned to talk with our divinely created consciousness. We created a better world for ourselves. Built homes, made clothes, created stories around the fire; bettered ourselves and the world we lived in because it is an innate purpose hidden within us.’
‘Or we just created the wheel so we could run away from the tribes people that wanted to eat us, or created fire so we could make weapons to hunt and kill, and ultimately build castles to protect ourselves from extinction. What you see as advancement. Is just man protecting himself.’
Lawrence gave Alan one of those smiles Oprah would have given to a small child that had overcome an apparently insurmountable challenge, which these days involved managing to keep the fingers away from the twinkie jar. Everyone was a hero these days. Lawrence continued unabated with his tales of his times in India and Tibet and the great teachings he had perceived over there. Just as Alan was getting bored of the whole Lawrence journey thing a great roar was heard from outside.
Alan and Lawrence looked towards the window unsure what the noise was. Maybe it was a military fly past. But again a violent roar was heard and then people started to scream.
Lawrence and Alan rushed to the window to see what was going on. They poked their heads outside the window and thousands of people were running away from something. A loud thudding sound was heard as if some ginormous beast had escaped from the zoo. And then came a loud booming voice that terrified the life out of Lawrence and Alan.
‘Tribble, fibble, fumble, trunt. I am the voice of the Irelefunt.’
Lawrence looked at Alan with a quizzical look. He had travelled widely and had seen many an exotic creature but had never heard of an Irelefunt. Alan, although not as knowledgeable in exotic creatures, had watched National Geographic three years straight, and he too had never heard of the Irelefunt. They went back to being terrified and bravely stuck there heads further out of the window.
‘Siffle, jiggle, bibble, phunt. Here I come, the Irelefunt!’
Lawrence and Alan’s eyes were wide with terror as the first foot came clumping around the corner. The foot itself was shaped like a duck’s foot but covered in hair and its legs were lizard like and chubby as its whole body came round. Apart from the legs it looked like an elephant but had a red trunk and yellow body. Its eyes were very large and cross-eyed and the ears ludicrously disproportionate to the rest of its body.
Lawrence and Alan ran back into the living room in a state of panic. Lawrence fell to his knees and pulled out his prayers beads repeating as many mantras as possible. Alan briefly thought about God but considered it a bit of a cheek asking for assistance at the last minute, which he was not about to do anyway. As a rationalist it was far better to call in the army, and blow the hell out of this absurd object.
Alan snatched Lawrence’s worry beads almost as a knee jerk reaction from not knowing what to do. They both trembled pathetically on the living floor.
‘We’re all doomed. The God’s have abandoned us, God has abandoned us.’
‘The only thing that can save us now is the good old US of A.’
The thudding came closer and closer until a giant blue eye measured itself across the window frame. Lawrence and Alan held onto each other tightly like two badly formed arguments at a University debate.
‘Irelefunt want to play.’ Said the comic monstrosity, and it put its hand through the window and grabbed Alan and Lawrence in one single swoop. It pulled them through the window and out into the world.
They both screamed with more terror than before, as it placed them both into its pouch. Then the Irelefunt made a massive cosmic leap off planet earth and into an unknown destination.
For what seemed like aeons, but was actually only twenty five minutes, they tumbled and fell through the darkest reaches of outer space, leaving their worlds behind them. Leaving their arguments back there, until they noticed a planet appearing in the distance looking not too dissimilar to planet earth.
Lawrence and Alan had fallen into a semi-trance like state but were now WAKING UP! Lawrence looked up at the Irelefunt’s big trunk and pulled on it hard.
‘Trinkle, tinkle, sipple,’
‘Oh never mind the bloody nursery rhyme.’ Said Alan, who was suffering from de-pringle-isation.
‘Where the hell are we going to?’
The Irelefunt suddenly spoke with great clarity and certainty.
‘I am taking you to a world where there is no religion, no spirituality, no esoteric teachings, no past and no future. It is not that these things have been banned. It is just that as you pass into this brave new world’s atmosphere your essence will naturally harmonize with the laws of this planet, and all defilements will cease to exist. At last you will be at one with yourselves. ’
Alan and Lawrence jumped down onto the ground of this tranquil and blissful planet. Their minds were stunned by its radiant beauty. It was as if they had landed in the middle canopy of Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. No religion, no war, no arguments; and no more uncertainty.
Alan and Lawrence looked at each other and for once they were thinking the same thing.
If the vacuous sincerity didn’t kill you, the lack of a decent shopping mall, good television and no music would. They both hopped back into the pouch of the Irelefunt and demanded to be taken back to Planet Earth.
It had been rumoured that Alan was now on the run in Brazil. He had offended a small tribe of warriors that had hidden in the amazon for hundreds of years. Alan knew that the God they prayed too was in fact one of the first Aga cookers ever built.
Just to prove it to them. He tried to whip up a quick Spanish omelette but the tribes-people were furious.
Lawrence was last seen wondering the high streets of Croydon, South London, mumbling his incoherent mantras. Everybody that looked at him thought he was mad. The Deities didn’t. He was one of their own. An urban light house shining the Bright White Light of Love mantra into the souls of those less fortunate than others. Offering hope in a hopeless world.