Thursday, August 23, 2018

Timothy Spearman writes

The short story by Anton Chekov called “The Bet” is based on a wager made between a banker and a young idealistic lawyer. The banker bets the young upstart student of jurisprudence that he could not tolerate 5 years of solitary confinement in a prison environment. The young idealist takes him up on his challenge, even raising the stakes to 15 years, in an endeavour to prove his point. The banker accepts the challenge under the proviso that he must cough up $2 million if his prisoner is able to do the time. The prisoner serves his time, spending his years in study, devouring the classics, the New Testament, treatises on philosophy and theology, finishing his period of confinement with the eclectic archival tastes of a pretentious dilettante. In the end, having grown weary of the inane struggle called existence, he decides that he no longer needs or even wants the money. There is no longer any point in honouring the terms of the wager, as he has an appetite for nothing this world has to offer. He leaves a note for his jailer, who at one point he upbraids for the decadent lifestyle he has fallen into:"You are mad, and gone the wrong way. You take falsehood for truth, and ugliness for beauty. You would marvel if suddenly apple and orange trees should bear frogs and lizards instead of fruit, and if roses should begin to breathe the odour of a sweating horse. So do I marvel at you, who have bartered heaven for earth. I do not want to understand you." Sage words iterated by a man who has lived the life of an ascetic, renounced the world, foregone all worldly attachments, freed himself from desire, and gained complete liberation from the cares of this world.Now apply his words to today’s bankers who control the world and their lackeys in government, the media, academia, science and industry. Name a single minion of the unholy alliance who has not “bartered heaven for earth” and sold his soul to the devil, and who does not “take falsehood for truth” in his prostituted existence. Even the arts have failed to uphold their once high standards, seeding the field with a crop that substitutes “ugliness for beauty,” and doling out honours to the sick, the cynical and depraved products of the dark imagination, the works of Steven King, Roman Polansky, Christopher Nolan and other bastions of the so-called entertainment industry. But we are as much to blame for buying into this fraud and participating, bartering heaven for hell in the process, and making Lucifer our king. There is even a TV series now called Lucifer, which those living under his spell find fit entertainment for their children. But then it is not as if we weren’t warned in Ephesians 2:2 that he is “the prince of the power of the air,” not to speak of the airwaves. Care to place bets that the vast majority of us will soon barter away our freedom to live in the global security state offered up to us by the New World Order of Lucifer? And so the chaff is separated from the wheat, which blows as so much dust in the wind.

1 comment:

  1. Dr. Anton Chekhov once said, "Medicine is my awful life, and literature is my mistress." In addition to being a seminal playwright he was also a leading writer of short stories. As a young man he began writing daily short, humorous sketches, and vignettes of contemporary Russian life, churning out 500 of them in 8 years; since he treated his poor patients for free he wrote for money. He wanted to call his 1st collection of stories "Buy This Book or I'll Smash Your Face In," but was persuaded to call it "Motley Tales" instead. At about that time, when he was 26, he was told by Dmitry Grigorovich that he should write less and concentrate on literary quality, leading the young writer to confess that "I have written my stories the way reporters write up their notes about fires – mechanically, half-consciously, caring nothing about either the reader or myself." Two years later, partly through Grigorovich's intervention, he won the Pushkin Prize "for the best literary production distinguished by high artistic worth." The following year, after spending 8 days on it, he wrote "Pari" ("The Bet"), which was published on 1 January 1889 as "The Fairy Tale." When the story was collected at the turn of the century he retitled and revised it, eliminating its final section in which the lawyer adopted the banker's attitude. "As I was reading the proofs, I came to dislike the end, it occurred to me that it was too cold and cruel."


Join the conversation! What is your reaction to the post?