Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Just some poor shmuck

Today's excerpt is fom the tragi-comic novel Satan: His Psychotherapy and cire by the Unfortunate Dr. Kassler, J.S.P.S. by Jeremy Leven.

Published in 1982, I read it an untold number of times during that decade, but it's safe to say I haven't read it any time in the last 15 years. What I recall is that Satan, embodying a computer created by a cranky physicist, jousts with Dr. Kassler through 7 therapy sessions. In between, we get the tragic story of kassler, of whom it can said nothing ever goes right. Plenty of satirical, yet serious discussions of religion and pyschotherapy trade scenes taking place in sex clubs starring Henry Kissinger.

This is from the first therapy session:

"I'll tell you what He does, Kassler, All day long He sits on a throne that's surrounded by an emerald rainbow. All around Him are twenty-four elders wearing white robes and gold crowns."
"Like in revelations."
"Exactly. Lightning and thunder come out of the throne. In front of Him are four creatures covered wit eyes, inside and out, who sing all day and night, 'Holy, holy, holy is God the Sovereign Lord of all, who was, and is, and is to come.' Then, as if this weren't enough, the elders throw down their crowns, fall on their knees, and cry out, 'Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power, because Thous didst create all things; by Thy will they were created, and have their being!' I tell you Kassler, it's enough to make you sick to your stomach."
Kassler looked ahead and said nothing.
"It never stops, kassler. Never. And I'm supposed to be vain!"
"These feelings about God," Kassler suggested, "these are why you were expelled from heaven?"
"I don;t think so. The real problem is that I don't know why I was thrown out. I know when. When was August first. A long time ago. But why? I'm not sure. hat's another reason why I'm seeing you, Kassler."
"what were you told?"
"That I was being given dominion over man, over the earth, that I was to be a great symbol of protest against tyranny, a vindicator of reason and freedom of thought, the supremest incarnation of the spirit of individualism. It sounded great. Of course, it wasn't long before I realized that I was just being bumped downstairs."
"and it was shortly after this that you began to hate God?"
"I don't hate God. I don't think I've said that, have I? It's not true. I love God. He's my brother."
"But you don't give Him very much credit for knowing what He's doing?" Kassler asked.
"Not at all. I give God all things but one - the experience of feeling inadequate, being subject to a higher authority, weakness, being human, if you will. We know loss, Kassler, helplessness, having our best efforts go for naught. You and I share one experience God will never understand, the feeling of not prevailing."


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