Stalking Vol 2: The Bridge of Reason
Iran and the Blues
I pondered her point of view, and sniggered dryly over the impossibility of getting people to
listen as Bonnie said, "We’re going to look at your travels to consider the conformation process
in different cultures."
"Ready when you are," I said as if it mattered.
"I think maybe you are," she said. "You’ll recall from our conversation at Chez Michel’s,"
she said, settling into the new topic, "that you designed the span of your experiences to
encompass how the average person’s beliefs are formed, and how people react in various
circumstances of increasing pressure and fear. You now know that you represent individuals who
represent nations who are leading their children down the path of ruin."
"I remember; you’re saying that my fear is archetypical?"
"You could have it no other way, and it’s more pervasive than you can imagine… for now."
She tapped the table lightly as she made her points.
"When we first met, you were so sensitive to the word magic that you claimed there was no
such thing as a mystery—just ignorance. You also claimed that nothing spooky had happened to
you, as a derisive term, when I was talking about a mysterious side of mankind's awareness. You
did this because unimaginable depravity had crushed your sense of wonder in general, and your
faith and trust specifically. Your stunned reaction to meeting K ha-lib, and dismissive attitude
about anything spiritual also proclaimed the degree to which religion has influenced you,
because you viewed from the standpoint of their failures."
"That information was so far off the norm that you surprised me."
"You told me that you had lost the capacity for surprise?"
"I said that in the context of malice and cruelty, not in the sense of hearing pure crap. I know
"Do you? I think that you were not surprised; you were frightened." She sipped the last of
her wine and set it aside. "There are two chapters in your book that form the bookends of your
surreptitious study of a society’s conditioning to fear. What do you think they are?"
"Hang on: to be clear, part of my personal quest was to become severely affected by the
average person’s beliefs taken to their end point… correct?"
"Then recover from them so that I understand the full cycle?"
"So what does that have to do with the alphabet of mastery of anything?"
"Emissaries can’t teach what they don’t understand, and only experience can bring them to
the comprehensive knowledge of their individual missions. You needed to know this definitively,
while you also needed this specific lesson, so nothing is wasted. We were talking about your
study of a society’s conditioning to fear..."
"Right… El Salvador was the big one," I said with a shrug. "It was all-pervasive; nothing
else ever came close."
"There was nothing surreptitious about fear El Salvador," she said with a dismissive wave.
"A short while ago, I helped you reassess a section of your book in which you said crews hated
working in some countries."
"You said we couldn’t hate people we had never met, and that we actually feared cultures
we didn't understand. That was about Iran."
"And?" she grinned.