facebookgoogle plustwitteryoutubeinstagram pinterest

Chapter 02: Mixed up Questions

Katrina turned to George as soon as the movie that they were watching together ended, so as to bring him out of his long chain of wandering thoughts.

•Katrina: George! George! Don’t you want to get over all you are going through?

•George: What do you mean?! Yes.. Sure!

•Katrina: Our new neighbor told me about the famous psychiatrist Tom Erickson. She said that she sought treatment with him.

George sat up straight and turned to face her. There were mixed expressions on his face that showed that he was troubled. He remarked sarcastically:

•George: Great! Now I have to go to a psychiatrist to ask him to please teach me how to forget that I do not know the reason I was created or why I am alive?!!

•Katrina: No, rather to ask him how you can find out why you were created and why you are alive?

•George: And he’s supposed to know the answer?!

•Katrina: Yes.

George bent his head backwards, and his usual obsessive thoughts soon took him away.
Anxiety and trouble took hold of him again while he was engrossed in his thoughts. Katrina noticed that he was wandering off once again, and she realized that once he started to wander, his concerns and fears would take hold of him again, so she called out to him loudly:

•Katrina: George!

•George: What? What? …..I want to ask you something: Is that Dr. Tom of yours a Catholic? Or do you have another cause for your enthusiasm?

•Katrina: George, my darling ... My enthusiasm is for us to live happily together. You may be right in that I deliberately escape from myself, but is that not better than the life of confusion and uncertainty that you are experiencing now?!

•George: Well, I’ve already made my decision that I’ll search for the path to happiness. I won’t run away any more. Instead, I’ll endeavor to find the answer…. He smiled, and continued: However, I’ll not be searching for that path with the help of a Catholic priest! Let me inquire about that doctor first.

•Katrina: Let’s inquire about him, and I pray to the Lord that the doctors will be able to heal you.

•George (laughing): Ha ha ha, so now I am a patient who needs to be treated, and not a philosopher searching for an answer?!!

•Katrina: The treatment is to reach the answer, and not because you are sick... She winked at him and threw herself over his chest, and said: Do we agree on that, darling?

•George: Yes, agreed.

George was keen to get some information about Dr. Tom before making an appointment to visit him. He went to his Facebook page and read about the conferences that he attended and the type of research papers that he presents. He also read what his patients wrote about him. An almost full picture was formed in George’s mind about this excellent international psychiatrist; highly intelligent, well-cultured and a lover of philosophy - one that was able to blend between modern medicine and a variety of philosophical schools.
George read through the patients› views and comments. He realized that Dr. Tom is also someone with eccentric behavior; his knowledge and psychiatry contradict his personal conduct, especially in his relationships with his female patients. George also noted that Dr. Tom was not Catholic, as he thought, rather he was not religious at all. He was an atheist who did not believe in religion, as a whole.
George, time after time, postponed the booking of his appointment at the doctor›s office. He did not feel even the slightest desire to go to a doctor that opposed the very reason for his quest. Though he promised Katrina that he would go, he continued to procrastinate until one day she surprised him with an appointment that she had made for him at four o›clock that afternoon, and that she would accompany him too. He consented to her wish despite his dissatisfaction with this particular doctor! He said to himself: «This is a futile attempt, but it will not harm me and will at least help me get Katrina off my back.»
George and Katrina went to the doctor. The clinic was quiet, elegantly furnished, with matching and comfortable colors. Nothing disturbed the calm scene except a man with suspicious looks and features sitting at the front desk. George told the receptionist that he had an appointment. He coldly replied:

•Receptionist: My name is Brad. I have not seen you before. I think that the doctor is busy right now.

George turned to Katrina, and said to her:

•George: Didn’t you book the appointment?

•Katrina: Yes, I was here three days ago and I did!

Brad slyly replied:

•Brad: Yes, yes, sorry, now I remember; you did book an appointment. Please go in, he is waiting for you.

George went in with Katrina, feeling surprised and offended by Brad’s bad attitude. Dr. Tom welcomed them and asked:

•Dr. Tom: Could I please speak with each of you separately?

George replied:

•George: But the appointment is just for me!

•Dr. Tom: Katrina is your wife and she is the person closest to you in your life. She’ll be a great help in understanding your situation. I would like to sit down with her first for a few minutes, and then sit down with you.

George went out to the reception room and sat down on one of the seats in silence, feeling highly annoyed. Brad said to him:

•Brad: So I see that Dr. Tom is in session with Katrina!

•George: And how do you know her name?

•Brad: She’s the lady who came three days ago to book your appointment.

He smiled slyly and said:

•Brad: Yes, Dr. Tom is sitting alone with her - lucky him, a handsome man sitting with a woman which has the charm of the East.

George grabbed a magazine to keep himself from being distracted by Brad. As he stifled his anger and discontent, he remembered Tom’s suspicious relationships with his female patients. He almost went out of his artificial calmness, but contained himself. He thought it better to wait a bit, though with the passage of time his annoyance and irritation only worsened.
Katrina came out ten minutes later laughing, and called her husband:

•Katrina: Darling, the doctor›s waiting for you. I›ll go now. I have an appointment at the church.

George went in. The smile which was on the doctor’s face quickly disappeared and he received George with rigid features. Dr. Tom asked George:

•Dr. Tom: Why do you want to know who created you, why you are alive and what your final destination will be is?

•George: Because I want my life to have some meaning, something that puts my soul and my existence in order.

•Dr. Tom: Mmm…It seems that I am sitting before a distinctive and well-cultured case. Why don’t you use the philosophical ways of thinking?

•George: I don’t understand, what do you mean?

•Dr. Tom: How don’t you understand, O philosopher! When we answer in a philosophical manner, each answer is based on a package of questions that helps to find the answer.

He was quite for a while, then added:

•Dr. Tom: In order to answer your questions, I’ll have to ask you some other questions first, for example: where can we find the answer? Rather than delve into the answer, let’s search for where we can find it. Moreover, what are the criteria needed for it to be correct? Do you not agree with me that this is a logical, philosophical and convenient way to deal with the questions?

•George: Perhaps…

•Dr. Tom: The advantage of this method is its ability to extract answers from inside you and your soul. He smiled and continued: It is undoubtedly better than the Catholic method which is based upon the complete acceptance of contradictions, without any reason! Let’s meet again next week. Try to bring me answers to the following two questions: where can we get the answer from, and what guarantees that the answer will be correct? Do we agree on this?

•George: Despite the bad things you’ve just said about Catholicism, what you said is logical and rational. Yes, agreed.

George left the doctor’s room. His eyes fell on Brad, who met him with a sly smile:

•Brad: A successful session, and give my greetings to Katrina!

Tom’s questions, his method of talking and the logical way he thought all received a great deal of assessment from George. He was driving and talking to himself: “The questions that I initially had are now even more troublesome because of what Dr. Tom said. What that doctor did was merely add more questions to those which I already had!”
He went to a nearby café and ordered a cup of coffee. The waiter brought the coffee and put it on the table, but George was so deep in thought that he did not notice him.
The waiter coughed gently to alert him, but he was so absorbed in his thinking that the waiter finally left him. After a while George realized that there was a lukewarm cup of coffee on his table.
He called the waiter and paid him the check, and then said to him:

•George: Imagine that! I did not notice that you brought me the coffee. Sometimes our internal questions distract us even from ourselves!

•The waiter: Internal questions are signs of awareness and intelligence, but...but if there is a surplus of such questions, then that is a sign of internal conflict, and contradictions in beliefs and ideas.

George was taken aback by the waiter’s words and analysis, so he continued his dialogue with him:

•George: What causes these conflicts or contradictions in your opinion?

•The waiter: Many things; the most important of them is that a person has not reached a satisfying answer about the major issues for which he lives, such as: why are we created? Why are we alive? What will our final destination be? The problem lies in complexity, for simplicity offers us deep answers to those questions more than that which complexity does, since complexity does not usually go further than the outside surface of any problem.

George opened his eyes in surprise:

•George: And how do we find the simple answers to these questions?

•The waiter: A lot of people escape from answering these questions by occupying themselves with trivialities, drinking alcohol, sex, and so on. Inquiring about such matters are one of the important signs of awareness, but...

Another customer summoned the waiter, interrupting their short dialogue. The waiter apologized to George, took the money for the cup of coffee and went away.
George left and drove his car aimlessly, in no particular direction. He could not forget the words of the waiter for they stirred him, agitated his mind and touched his feelings. He wished the waiter could have completed what he was saying, even if he paid him ten times the price of the coffee. He was surprised by that feeling of trust that he felt towards this waiter, despite him being a simple worker, and a complete stranger. His features and looks indicated that he might have been Greek or of Latin descent.
An hour later, George found himself still driving around in the same area, so he decided to go back to the cafe again. He returned and sat down at the table and ordered his usual coffee. Another waiter brought it, so George asked him about the earlier waiter.

•The waiter: Who do you mean, sir?

•George: I was here an hour ago and I was served by another waiter of Greek or Latin descent.

•The waiter: Maybe it was Cat or Adam. Sorry, but both of them finished their shift about an hour ago and now it’s our shift.

George quickly gulped down his coffee, and when he was leaving he asked the waiter:

•George: When does Cat or Adam’s next shift start?

•The waiter: Tomorrow at nine in the morning, until five or six o’clock in the evening.

•George: Thank you.

George returned to his home and was received by his two sons. He asked them about their mother.
Michael told him that she was still in the church, and that maybe she was delayed a little that night.
George sat in the lounge waiting for Katrina to return from the church.
When she returned it was ten in the evening. She was exhausted and cumbersome, reeking of alcohol, although still conscious of what was happening around her. The moment she saw George she asked him:

•Katrina: What happened at the doctor?

•George: He’s an eccentric doctor, somewhat convincing though. He turned resolutely to Katrina: What did he want from you when you sat alone together?

•Katrina: I do not know, darling. He just welcomed me, and introduced himself and told me what he could do for you, and then asked me about my work and my life... He was very tactful and polite…

•George: Also very handsome! Didn’t he ask you anything about me?

•Katrina: Yes, but only when I was about to leave. I told him that you are worried about your questions about life!

•George: That›s all?!

•Katrina: Yes, that›s all. Most of the time he was talking about himself and about me. How polite he was!

•George: Hmmm. What you say about him is strange though, as he is an atheist and does not believe in religion, and even fights religiosity; thinks that it is a disease. And he seems to me to be very insolent too!

•Katrina: George! He was very kind and polite with me! He did not talk to me about religion at all, even when he knew that I am a teacher of theology. Anyway, you went to him for his knowledge of psychiatry, not for his religion or for his manners!

•George: And with whom did you stay up late drinking?

•Katrina: You are not my guardian, and it is my right not to answer that question, but still I will: we were in a ceremony that had the priest›s blessings.

George was often annoyed by Katrina’s evening ceremonies, and her drinking of wine. He found it contrary to the religiosity for the sake of which she exerted time and effort. However, it seemed to him that perhaps he was a little harsh on her. He tried to change the course of their conversation. He said, sarcastically:

•George: I went with a set of questions and the man just added more to them, and more confusion to that which I already have!

•Katrina: How was that?

•George: Instead of answering my questions, he asked me other ones and asked me to answer them too.

•Katrina: More questions!

•George: Yes, where do we get the answers to these questions, and what guarantees that these answers are correct?

•Katrina: Despite these bizarre questions, maybe he is right!

•George: Let’s leave the topic now. I met another bizarre man today. He shook me from inside and, by coincidence, talked with me about the very topic for which I had visited the doctor!

•Katrina: The same one, how coincidental!

•George: Indeed, this is one of the most bizarre coincidences!

•Katrina: What did he say to you?!

•George: I do not know exactly. He did not complete his discussion with me; but it seems to me that he, unlike Dr. Tom, is a religious man. He was talking about relying on simplicity in answering questions and about the depth of simplicity, and the meaning of life and happiness. He then stared hard into her eyes and said: And about people escaping from answering them by drinking alcohol and staying up late at parties and so on!

•Katrina: As he is a religious man, then his words must be correct. Perhaps he was just a little harsh on the subject of escaping from answers! She smiled and said: Maybe he is Catholic! My darling, you look tired and it seems that you cannot focus on what you are saying!

•George: Maybe...Maybe, the thing is that he shook me from the inside. Anyway, let’s go to sleep now. I have a lot of work to do in the morning.

George and Katrina walked to the bedroom. Once they got ready to sleep, Katrina’s mobile phone rang.
She looked at it in confusion, and then she answered and welcomed the caller quickly, using short words, and then remained silent for a long time listening. Then she ended the call.

•Katrina: We have an appointment on Wednesday, at eight in the evening. We’ll spend the evening together in the church.

•George: Who was the caller?!

•Katrina: Someone who wants to learn about Catholicism.

•George: He wants to learn about Catholicism in the evening!

•Katrina: In the church, not in a casino or a brothel! Or would you rather he learn about it in the cemetery! Let’s go to sleep, you have become too sensitive.

In the morning, George woke up before Katrina and the first thing that came to his mind was the waiter whom he did not know and what was behind the secret of his attraction to him. He made up his mind to make a stop by the coffee shop again to meet him.
He soon remembered the phone call that took place the previous night. He did not know why, but he took Katrina’s mobile phone, switched it on and wrote down the number of the person who had phoned her the previous night, and then returned it to its place.
George went to work early as he had a backlog of work, especially since he asked permission to leave early the day before to visit the doctor. He had just entered his office and started his work when the phone rang. It was Kach; his boss:

•Kach: Good morning.

•George: Good morning.

•Kach: How was your visit to the doctor yesterday?

•George: Okay I guess. I’m still at the beginning, things will become clearer later.

•Kach: Good, but you are wasting your time and money. Thinking about such matters is a waste of time. For me, if you will tell me who will pay me more I’ll make him my God , if you wish... He laughed loudly and then said: Will you come to my office, please? We have urgent business that came up yesterday.

•George: Yes, I’ll come to you, but after an hour, if possible.

•Kach: Hmmm ok, after an hour then.

George phoned the previous night’s caller from a different mobile phone. He heard the voice of Dr. Tom at the other end. George could never be wrong about that voice with its distinct hoarseness.
George heard Dr. Tom say on the other side: Hello... Hello…Who is it? Can you hear me?
George immediately hung up feeling irate. Why did Katrina not just tell him that it was Dr. Tom who was calling her? Why did she hide his identity from him? Why ...? Is this entire life full of complex questions?!
George went back to his work. He tried to finish some of the work he had quickly. Exactly an hour later he was in Kach’s office. Kach stood to welcome him and said:

•Kach: My friend, did the doctor cure you from your obsession?

•George: I am neither obsessed nor sick. I went to the doctor so that he would help me answer my questions.

•Kach: It seems to be a sensitive topic for you. I was only teasing and you know my opinion well. Forget that matter now and concern yourself only with increasing your money and enjoying life and its pleasures. Anyhow, let’s put that aside now. I requested to meet with you because the technological employment company in India sent us note saying it agrees to our terms. We need to quickly employ a number of employees from that company to strengthen our alliance with the software distribution company in India. One of us must travel to India within two weeks. Are you ready?

•George: So soon?!

•Kach: Yes, unfortunately. And I cannot travel since the trustees meeting, as you know, will be held in two weeks.

•George: I›ll check my state of affairs at home and confirm with you during the next few days. Would you please load complete copies of the contracts and agreements on the intranet network for me to read and study? I›ll see you next week when things will be clearer for me.

•Kach: So, until next week then. I hope that you will prepare yourself for the trip... He smiled slyly: Put that doctor›s business aside, I have a surprise for you which I›ll tell you about next week.

Bewildered, George went back to his office. He studied the contracts and agreements which Kach had loaded for him on the company’s intranet network. He wanted to travel, but he was busy with three things: the waiter, the doctor and Katrina!
Since the morning he had made up his mind to pay a visit to the waiter. As for the doctor’s appointment, he could tell him he would postpone his usual appointment before embarking on his trip; but what about Katrina?! Is it possible that his religious wife was having an affair with the atheist Dr. Tom?! How impossible!!
After work, George went to the café hoping to meet the waiter. When he saw him, he felt a relief that surprised him. He sat down at the table, and the waiter came and asked him:

•Waiter: Your order, sir?

•George: Coffee please...One moment, is your name Cat or Adam?

•Waiter: Adam, sir.

The waiter went to fetch the coffee, and when he returned George said to him:

•George: Could you sit down, please, I want to talk to you?

•Waiter: Sorry sir, It’s my pleasure to serve you, but I have other tasks to do.

•George: Would you allow me to give you a lift home after your shift?

•Waiter: How generous of you sir, okay then.... At least I won’t have to ride the bus... my shift will be over after half an hour.

•George: I’ll wait and drink my coffee until you are ready, and I assure you that it will be my pleasure to give you a lift.

•The waiter: Thank you. Excuse me.

George sat slowly sipping away at his coffee, recalling Adam’s words which had shaken him so violently, and asking himself: “How amazing is this waiter! How could he, in a few moments, understand me even though he does not know me? How did he realize that I am suffering from thinking about these critical issues, greedily seeking to know the answer? Depth with simplicity, what a philosophy!”
Adam interrupted George’s chain of thoughts and said to him with a smile after he had changed his work clothes:

•Adam: I’m ready, should we get going?

•George: I am ready too. Do you want to go home, or should I invite you for a cup of coffee in this cafe, or dinner at a nearby restaurant?

•Adam: If the choice is mine, I’d prefer the third.

•George: The Happiness Restaurant nearby might be appropriate.

•Adam: Very appropriate, I like its name, the spirit of happiness is a beauty that is overlooked by a lot of people, unfortunately, in this time of confusion, uncertainty and unhappiness!

•Adam’s words had a severe impact on George. He felt them targeting and besieging him, but he preferred to remain silent.

George and Adam entered the Happiness Restaurant and they found its name most fitting to its atmosphere inside, for the colors of the décor were cheerful, and the lighting brilliant; all of which really enriched the atmosphere with comfort and happiness.
They sat at one of the side tables and the restaurant waiter brought them the menu. George said to Adam:

•George: Please, choose whatever you want to eat.

•Adam: Okay, I want fried fish with green salad.

•George: For me a beef steak with potatoes, please.

Once the waiter left, George said to Adam:

•George: Here we are in the Happiness Restaurant. Yes, happiness, that feeling which many people lack in this time of doubt, confusion and despondency...as you said!

•Adam: It is true. Yes, doubt and confusion seem to kill the meaning of life, people are transformed into cogwheels in a solid machine, without any sense of their movement or taste; just machines that do not understand the meaning of happiness, let alone live it.

•George: So you are one of the supporters of escaping from confusion and uncertainty to blind submission?

•Adam: Never...never! Escaping makes one’s condition worse, even if he may show otherwise. The first condition is one who is hungry and is screaming that he is hungry, and the second is one who is hungry but is screaming that he wants to sleep!

•George: Ha ha, then both of them are hungry!

•Adam: Except the first is wiser and smarter in dealing with himself.

•George: Answer me honestly: are you happy?

•Adam: Ha ha, you want a simple answer: Yes, happiness is an impression of our view of ourselves, of life and of the souls in the universe.

•George: I’m afraid that your happiness is like that of my wife who is religious, who, in your own words, escapes from answering by drinking and staying out late! Then there was a short silence, and then he said: What is the meaning of life, in your opinion?

•Adam: The person who escapes from answering big questions will never feel happy, even if he or she claims to impersonate and represent happiness...As for your question about the meaning of life; it is, in reality, composed of the three questions, namely: why are we created? Why are we alive, and what is our final destination or where are we heading?

•George: So what are the answers to these questions then?

•Adam: Do you think that there is a person who feels, tastes, smells and breathes happiness and yet doesn’t know the answer to these questions?!

•George: Give me a clear answer please. Do you know the answer to these questions?

•Adam: I think that I have answers which are very clear and convincing to me, but the answer does not lie in conveying my beliefs to you - you apparently know more than I. I’m still a university student majoring in the study of religions, while you, on the other hand, are a senior engineer.... The other thing is that the answer is that answer which our soul and our life provide, so then logically, even if I gave you any answer, would it mean anything to you if it is not a part of your soul and your way of thinking?

•George: You remind me of an old man I met on the road. He claimed that he was happy, and he told me exactly what you’re saying now.

•Adam: Do you mean that I’m wise and speak as a man who has lots of experience and knows the world, or that I’m philosophizing things using words that do not make sense?! In any case, your problem will only be solved by persistently trying to reach the answer.

•George: It is as if you are speaking the old man›s very words! But, to try what exactly?

•Adam: Try to answer these questions, to be happy in your life... Then he looked deep into George›s eyes and said: Let me ask you a question: Where can we find this answer?

•George: Hmmm! Now you are saying what the doctor said!

•A tiny chuckle escaped from Adam, but then he continued:

•Adam: My oh my, you›re a combination of quizzes! What doctor are you talking about? Was the old man a doctor?

•George: Sorry, it seems that I am tired. No, not the old man. They are two different people. I am currently being treated by a doctor in my quest to find happiness, for I have been extremely troubled by these questions and they have caused me much worry and grief.

•Adam: How is that? Did the grief of these questions reach such an extent that you need to see a doctor?! I assure you that there is no answer from outside your soul and your life. Anyway, is what I said similar to what the doctor said?

•George: He said that before searching for the answer, we must determine where we can actually find the answer.

•Adam: From my point of view, this is a fair and simple way to present the matter. Simplicity is the key to success and to achieving the truth. Complexity on the other hand is a cause of failure, fatigue and confusion…your doctor seems to be logical and good, is he?

•George: Logical, yes, but I do not think he is good. He is someone who you don›t feel comfortable with, and it also seems that he is immoral.

•Adam: So what do you intend to do then?

•George: I›m not sure. I›m thinking of continuing my treatment with him until I see some results, but please answer me: where can we find the answer?

•Adam: Sorry, I do not want to contradict the doctor, what did the doctor say?

George laughed at Adam’s response, and although he felt that he was encircling him and compelling him to answer, he was enjoying himself while he was contemplating over how Adam was avoiding giving him an answer...He did not want to answer, so it seemed, but why?!

•George: He said to me that I should search myself, and asked me where the answer could come from. And what guarantees that the answer is correct?

•Adam: A beautiful, wonderful, simple and profound beginning, but I’m not a doctor to evaluate the doctor’s opinion!

•George: Where can we find the answers?

•Adam: Look inside your soul by analyzing the various religions.

•George: Religions!!

•Adam: Yes... religions; if it isn’t in religions, would you rather we look into atheism?!

•George: How much I hate atheism! It is a defect in reason and knowledge.

•Adam: So, then one must look into religions.

•George: Most probably. I’m going on a business trip to India which is a country full of ideas and religions. Will my travelling there help me to get to know different approaches?

•Adam: Well I’m not a doctor to criticize or rectify, you’d better ask your doctor, but I’ll tell you my opinion, frankly: it’s good to know the systems employed by these ideas, religions and sects in order to answer these questions, and the more the system is simple, smooth, logical, and realistic and also satisfies the soul and life, the more the answer is closer to the truth.

•George: And how do you suggest I look into these ideas and religions?!

•Adam: My opinion is to first get a general view.

•George: How?!

•Adam: We can think and distinguish two approaches: one based on religion, and another based on atheism, as we have just said a little while ago, and I’m definitely with the view that is based on religion. Did I tell you that I am a student of religious studies?

The waiter came with food. George preferred to end the dialogue in fear of his guest becoming upset - this guest who was sitting with him for the first time but to whom he felt so close as if he had known him for a long time.

•George: I don’t want to keep you from enjoying your meal, and it seems that I am burdening you, but the fact is that I need your help. Maybe my meeting and knowing you is only recent, but I feel very comfortable with your words and I hope I am not inconveniencing you too much.

•Adam: No, by all means not; you are not inconveniencing me in the least. Your invitation to dinner is enough for me, especially since it is in the Happiness Restaurant!

While they were eating, George tried to change the course of the discussion and he found an interesting subject in food and cuisines that might gradually ease the philosophical atmosphere that had enveloped them....However, he soon returned the wheel of the discussion to their first dialogue, because inside himself there was a strong curiosity towards Adam, and his cautious manner of answering.

•George: Why is it that the approach of religion is more worthy of my attention than that of atheism? By the way, my doctor is an atheist who denies all religions and even makes fun of them, in fact.

•Adam: Though I predict from your words that he is an excellent doctor, yet I’m sure that atheists are the most miserable people and that they are continuously escaping from themselves. As for why the approach of religion is more worthy than that of atheism, this has many details that I can put in a nutshell through the following quick points: First: is it plausible that someone knows why we were created better than our Creator Himself? In other words, the only way we are be able to find out why we were created is through the Creator Himself? Atheism denies the existence of the Creator, the Lord God. Second: Atheism contradicts itself in every part of its theories; because it assumes that the world is moving according to precise laws that do not change, and that this precision was created by chance and without any system or creator. Thirdly: they, that is the atheists, often hide their faith in God inside themselves. What they hide clearly comes out when they are hit by a tragedy or a calamity. The first thing they say is: “O God”. Fourth: I’ll be candid; do you think that atheism is the truth, or an attempt to escape from the truth, even if this escape is to a mirage or a vacuum in the soul?!

•George: Just one of these points is enough, and they are even more convincing when you put them all together! I completely agree with you, so you needn’t say any more. Atheism is an illusion which makes its follower think that it is a scientific, not a metaphysical, way of thinking, while in fact its way of thinking is completely unreasonable and unscientific, and leads one to lie to himself and then lie to others too. Afterward he added: But the main issue is: which religion should we follow? Religions are as many as the number of human communities... He laughed and said: No, wait, perhaps even more!

•Adam: I totally agree with you. They say there are more than 10,000 religions, and in Christianity alone there are 33,830 different sects! But would you not like to continue discussing the general view first?!

•George: What do you mean?

•Adam: We divided the approach, in general, into believers and atheists, isn’t that so?

•George: Yes.

•Adam: Depending on the general view, religions and faith are of two types: either religions of a heavenly decent coming from God, or those that are earthly and manmade.

•George: I understand what you are saying. Which one do you think is better then?

•Adam: Don’t worry about what I think! Didn’t you say that you are travelling to India?

•George: Yes; and what does that have to do with our subject?

•Adam: India is a country rich in ideas, religions, sects and beliefs, both earthly and heavenly. In India, you can compare between the followers of the heavenly and manmade religions, and see them actually in practice, not in theory.

•George: Though I have a clear opinion about that, I do not mind postponing the topic until after my return from India. I have a question though: do you think that this is the path and the procedure that might take me to the answer?

•Adam: Guidance, success and certainty are granted by God. If you are sincere in your search, I believe you’ll get there. The important thing is to have a true intention, and to be persistent and make sure you take things simply, without complications, and cheerfully, not pessimistically.

•George: There you go again, sounding just like the old man!

•Adam: Where might I meet this old man? You have made me want to know him.

•Adam: I do not know, I really do not know. I was in a very bad state at the time and he took my phone number, but I did not take his. He said he would be in contact with me. Oh, by the way: could you give me your number and your email address?

Adam tore out a piece of paper from a small notebook he carried with him, and wrote his phone number, e-mail address and his Facebook page link. He gave them to George and said:

•Adam: I’m sorry, you know that I’m just a waiter and I don’t have a business card to give you!

•George: Don’t worry. I’ll see you as soon as I return from India, okay?

•Adam: Okay.