"What are you saying?" that was all I could reply.
"Nicolai proposes something akin to a triple concerto, which, as you said yourself, is an extremely rare composition."
"Are you suggesting a triple marriage celebration of two men acknowledging that they are joined to a single bride?" I asked astonished. "That comes from Nicolai?"
Anton nodded quietly.
"But doesn't he know that an artificial marriage institution denies the reality that we are already married to one another as human beings? It denies a universal principle, wanting to create something that already exists."
"You are thinking of the 'old' Nicolai, Peter, the privatizer. That Nicolai no longer exists." Anton began to laugh. "He grew up just as we all did. He recognized the principle of the universal marriage of all mankind as human beings, and that it is greater than all of us and exempts no one. That changed him. One he recognized the principle he had no choice, as he had put it, but to respond to its imperative. They way he sees his triple wedding proposal, it wouldn't create a unique bond as the conventional weddings intend do, but would merely acknowledge the bond that already exist. He sees it as a celebration that brings together three people committed to the universal principle of our all-embracing humanity, an acknowledged community of principle, a base for further development."
"Wow! Nicolai really has changed, and you with him," I said astonished. "And here I thought you were proposing a triple polygamy of two men married to a single bride."
Anton shook her head. "Nicolai would have never proposed that, not the old Nicolai or the new. So it isn't a marriage to a single bride," she added and laughed, "but an acknowledgement of a profound reality by all three of us to one another in a unity that reflects the community of principle that already unites us. If love were a vertical affair reflecting the Byzantine model, then a triple marriage would be impossible. It would become a polygamous orgy and end in chaos before it even got off the ground. But with love unfolding into a lateral flow out of the resources of everyone's own self-love, the impossible becomes possible because the reality already exists by which we are one, and needs only to be acknowledged. In a lateral flow we can easily connect up multiply, in any way we choose and support one-another and cherish one-another. In fact we cannot avoid that. The triple 'wedding' wouldn't create a boundary, it would signify an enduring celebration of the principle involved that everyone will need to acknowledge at some point in the continuous development of civilization. Civilization needs to become a celebration instead of being just a foundation for survival, precariously upheld in the face of countless conflicts. Nicolai proposes to start building a foundation for a real civilization. That is what he is inviting you to become a part of. Who else would he invite, but you? You are the one that came foremost to his mind when the question arose. Don't you agree that he chose wisely? He loves you. He loves what you stand for. He fell in love with you way back in Suchumi on the boat on the Black Sea when you discussed the 'dimensions of civilization,' as he put it, and how the Soviet Union might be saved."
"Wow! And Olive was part of that scene back in Suchumi. We had long discussions about everything from depopulation to universal love. She was also working extensively with Nicolai during the conference there. I met Olive only for one day. We talked all night through and had ice cream and wine along the way at three in the morning in a drab place across from a gas station on a highway in the middle of nowhere. And then we talked some more until the sun came up. And it wasn't all talk."
"Maybe that's what got Nicolai curious about you, Peter. Olive has a great talent in brining people together and bringing the best out of them. So it wouldn't have been too hard for her to predict what this might lead to."
"Well, she war right, Anton. What is happening now is more or less what Olive had predicted about you and me," I said to Anton. "She predicted this several times already. She kept saying that she would be at our wedding feast. She said that last summer. And I think she knew what kind of wedding feast that would be, a feast of celebration of something that she recognized already existed."
"How could she have known all that?" Anton asked.
"If one understands the principle involved, it is easy to make accurate forecasts," I said her quietly. "This means that she understood us better than we did ourselves. Of course once the principle is recognized, a certain outcome is inevitable. She could have forecast on this basis that the triple wedding would be recognized as a kind of minimal platform that metaphorically represents the entire sphere of Helen's lateral lattice in which we find our universal humanity."
"She must have seen this result as natural and inevitable," said Anton. "Indeed, if it is natural, its unfolding must be inevitable."
"In Caracas you said to me that we shouldn't seek just beautiful mornings," I said to Anton. "You demanded that this idea should be expanded to: always! That jump was tremendous, Anton. It turned our dinner dance that night into a rich sexual affair. Now you are adding a whole new dimension again, with no limits in sight. If you had said this a long time ago back in Moscow when we had dinner together at the Sevens Heaven restaurant, what you are proposing now, I might have fainted for joy, though it wouldn't have been possible then."
"No, Peter, you would have been puzzled. You wouldn't have understood enough to see the foundation for this joy. You would have been scared." She began to laugh. "We were both too ignorant for any of that, like two blind leading one another into a land we knew nothing about, that we could barely see through all the fog."
"Even if you had said the same in Caracas when we first met again, I would have thought I was dreaming. But then after Caracas, if you had made the proposal in Queensland, I would have congratulated you. I also recognized in Queensland that would never loose you again. So, yes, a celebration is in order as an acknowledgement!"
"Isn't that exciting, Peter?" She paused and grinned. "Now let me add one more dimension above that," said Anton. "The added dimension is quality, the sublime."
"You are saying that the triple wedding represents a qualitative advance to a higher level," I replied, "and that any advance beyond that would have to involve a qualitative advance once again that uplifts the whole platform to a still higher level? In other words, it would not be an open-ended free for all. It would be something that is boundless in form, but rigorously bound to an escalating attention to the principle that constantly ennobles the universal union of mankind as it should be reelected in us and in all people, as we begin to understand more and more of this principle. Do I make sense?"
Anton nodded again.
"And you are inviting me to become involved in that?" I added. "What an honor! But what about Sylvia, and Heather? Suppose that they would want to become a part of this formally acknowledged union that is but symbolic of a larger reality. What would happen then?"
"What about it?" said Anton. "Would their joining in that acknowledgement in celebration not produce a qualitative uplift? In Caracas we were all married to each other for all practical purposes, were we not? And look, what a qualitative jump came out of that? Isn't that what a union of hearts is all about? A marriage celebration, therefore, represents a commitment to a qualitative increase without end. As you said, we have to learn to run with that. Isn't that also what defines your marriage with Olive and with Sylvia, individually? And then there is you're your marriage in India that is already uplifting the life of countless people, more than anyone might know. Those are just a few bonds that you have acknowledged so far in a profound celebration. I am sure that countless other such marriage bonds exist that love has forged, that have not been acknowledged in celebration, but which have produced the same kind of qualitative uplift in your life and their life, which you merely haven't bothered to acknowledge, not even to each other. And yes, sex may be involved in all of them as an aspect of being alive, in the passion for living by which we are all enriched in our self-love. Still, the sex and the passion won't be the defining factor. The defining factor involves an element of the sublime."
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