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WIM Mystic

by on March 17, 2013



                                    To be, and not to be…

                                     by Marco M. Pardi


For decades my mother was fond of telling people, anyone, that I did not start speaking until about age 4. This apparently was one of her ways of proving that I was, in the language of the day, retarded. I prefer to think I was just considering my words.

By that time I had been made well aware that I was “the biggest heartbreak” in her life, being born male. But it was hard to feel something for someone you barely knew. A debutante raised in Italy, Switzerland and France, married to an Italian aristocrat naval officer, and soon to be an OSS officer herself, she was confident that I was well taken care of by my nursemaid, Rosa, who walked me daily through the Piazza del Popolo of my birthplace, Roma.

My earliest memories of Cara Mama were those nights when she came into my room, took my hand to stroke her cheek, and slumped over feigning death. I would cry and wail. She would then get up laughing and leave the room. A bed time story.

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I hope tonight I will not weep…….

I remember the night I got my wish, probably sooner than she expected. She sat, I stroked, she slumped.  I probably did not say anything, certainly not what I like to think I was thinking; “So, you’re dead. Fuck ya'”. After that it was just lights out, a wonderful metaphor for those opportunities to find peace and joy in life. I would seek lights out in various ways over the years.

My pre-school days in the U.S. were spent in solitude, eavesdropping on the tutor teaching my older brother American English. He was soon to go to boarding school 130 miles out into the country. Posing as a household fixture I watched the reading lessons, later using them to decipher the newspaper comic pages where the illustrations helped with the meaning of the dialogue. My favorites were: The Phantom; the Lone Ranger; Krazy Kat; and, Pogo. The common denominators were solitude, albeit with a sidekick or a non-human companion. Lil’ Abner figured in there as well, Daisy Mae being important to a developing young prostate. But Pogo centered me. Not yet having developed an English vocabulary beyond a few words, I misread one of his favorite sayings, “Woe is me” for “Who is me”.  Who is me? This was more than merely profound, it was deeply personal. It went straight to the soul of the person that I felt I was becoming; straight to the soul of the person I was beginning to understand and could not reconcile with the apparent attitudes toward me of the people around me.  And, it was private in ways no one could breach, lights or no lights. Whatever I found, it was mine.

And so began my intrusive analysis of words and their meanings. The most elementary level of analysis is one through which one determines if one understands what someone else means when they say something. It presumes a great deal about the other person, and where there is misunderstanding it places the blame on the self.  That level came quickly, especially to a child more accustomed to listening than to speaking.

The deeper, and potentially far more troublesome level of analysis is that wherein one examines and determines whether the other person fully understands, and therefore means what it is they are saying.

Ordinary and mundane utterances and conversations, illogical and presumptive as they may often be to a young but growing mind, usually prove not worth the cost of the attempted analysis. “Because I said so!” is too often followed by elevated and harsher responses; the search for why often ends with an hour long stand in the corner, or worse.

At age 5 it happened.  I was dropped off at the boarding school, a monastic military school run by the Ursuline Order.  Here I was presented with my first opportunities to examine the meaning of words, and whether their users really understood their usage.

The nuns (the “Twisted Sisters” as I would later recall them) began working on my recently minted immortal soul. Oh?

What is immortal?

It lasts forever.

What does forever mean?

It has no end.

I’ve been forever?

No. Eternal God created you.

But, isn’t a beginning an end viewed backwards?

That is one of the Mysteries to be revealed after you die, Mister. In the meantime, you will report for your meeting with the paddle before bedtime.

 If “well rounded education” means getting hammered on both ends I was an over-achieving student. I was determined to pick the lock to the Celestial Mystery Safe, the fall-back of cornered believers.

But through the years the adventures in epistemology broadened and deepened.  The first and most obvious opportunities arose in the context of theology, and I was a voracious consumer of theological thought. Though I never went through the “invisible friend” stage of childhood, it was always Pogo, not Jesus, Mary, or even “God the Father” at my side. An absentee father had been my reality since age 1; that closet was already taken. No, my interest was not in mythical or long dead – or both, figures; it was in Who is Me?

Egocentric?  Not if you actually examine the theologically based utterances so glibly exchanged in religious and in everyday life. Eternal soul, I’ll love you for eternity, that pot roast will take an eternity. Most people envision being drawn into the future, over the horizon in time, a true long shot; endless. But that makes eternity linear, raising again the nun’s mystery of how I, as a freshly minted eternal soul, should not consider my “creation” as a beginning and therefore an end, depending on which way I am facing. Furthermore, no mysterious indoctrination is needed to realize that a line, even if infinite at both ends, has other points of termination (or non-line) by virtue of its width and its depth – each of which constitutes an end point, as anyone who has gone through veni-puncture training would certainly tell you. In eternity there could be no limit on width, or on depth. The linear model of eternity clearly does not hold up, or even down.

What about a point? Again, a point has dimensions. Our very ability to identify a point is firmly bedded in our ability to perceive non-point, its surroundings. Point will not do. In fact, nothing (no-thing) can represent eternity.  And, since eternity has no dimensions, we can’t “experience” it.

No dimensions? What about the Universal Constants, such as the speed of light? Actually, the speed of light (C) has varied in measurement as much as 1.3% between 1928 and 1945.  What we now have is universal consensus, not an absolute value, of 299,796 kilometers per second. And a meter?  Again, with recognized variance, the consensus is that a meter is the length of the path traveled by light in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second. Okay, how long is a second, anyway? Here, too, there is no absolute. It is defined as the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of vibration of the light emitted by cesium 133 atoms in a particular state of excitement defined as the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state. (Science Set Free, Rupert Sheldrake 2012)  We’ve already seen that light varies in emission speed.  We must also recognize that, as in the Theory of Relativity, all of these concepts are relative. They are as meaningful as the tank toys we put in fish tanks. More interesting would be to ask the fish, “How’s the water”?

Everything in the preceding paragraph is reckoned in finite terms. Infinity, a synonym for eternity, is boundless by any measure, in any direction. Even the act of labeling it as a meaning domain in one’s mental conceptions is the act of rendering it invalid; thinking “infinity” is meaningful only in the context of finite, which then posits something outside what we have agreed are the non-existent boundaries of infinity.

Where does that leave us when someone says God is infinite?  And how do they commonly pose that proposition? My early training emphasized that God was indescribable but then quickly stipulated the Three Heavy Omnis; God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.

 Not consciously foreseeing my career as an educator, I demurred from pointing out that the Omnis are redundant. Grant any one and you automatically get the other two. Reduce or make conditional any one and you automatically invalidate all three.  My erstwhile colleagues zeroed in on omniscience – “If God knows everything in advance, how can you sin?”, and omnipotence – “Can God make a stone so heavy he can’t lift it?”. While they were recovering from their meetings with the paddle I was considering omnipresence. People said God was in heaven. Okay, does that mean everything not heaven is where God is not? If so, no omnipresence and by instant extension no omniscience or omnipotence either.

If God is only in certain acts, e.g. love and selflessness, or certain places, e.g. anointed sanctuaries and not in the rape of an infant or the crack house in “that” part of town then we have restricted God to being only in what we like, which is often a far smaller portion than that which we don’t. Pretty small God.  Granting the infinite descriptor, we would have to say God is fully and completely in everything (acts, places, things, ad infinitum), no thing more and no thing less. That being the case, it is again clear that even conceiving of a God is limiting a God. And the feeling of being God is “wrong” only when it implies exclusive proprietorship. Of course, the larger issue of whether anything can be “wrong” is food for another day.

Throughout the years I have spent in at least two major careers I consistently found myself having to formulate questions and listen carefully to the answers. I have also faced harsh interrogations. An old axiom is: Framing is everything. People have asked if I think there is a God. My consistent answer: the question is irrelevant. If there is a God, there is no God I can point to.

What about afterlife?  The way this is commonly asked presumes that some sort of eternal spiritual existence begins once physical life stops. Hence, the use of “after”. But we have already seen that eternity logically has no dimensions; it doesn’t “begin” anywhere.  My lifelong (physical) history of a multitude of the various kinds of experiences described as non-physical enables me to comfortably feel that I was never not. But that does not deny my physical conception as a zygote turned old crank.  My physical attributes are only the clothes I wear on going out, or in, for the day – my “time” on this plane.  I always was, I always am, and I always will be, per omnia secula, seculorum.

I do have serious questions regarding how a spiritual entity maintains a sense of self-identity, and if that’s even necessary. Is it only a habit, to be dropped in the same way that obsessive-compulsions are dropped? I get tired of me even now. Hell must be a mirrored room. This is reminiscent of the early Harvard studies with stimulus deprivation and with LSD and the recent studies with DMT.

Years ago a student asked me if I believed in reincarnation.  Not wanting to excoriate him over the insulting implication that I would be so utterly simple as to believe in anything, I said only, “I reincarnate every instant. I appear roughly the same only because I haven’t quite dropped this habit.” 

Pogo is telling me to give it a rest.


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  1. Mary Ehrlich permalink

    Elegant and thought provoking. I look forward more writings on this very interesting topic.
    It would appear your difficult childhood resulted in a positive outcome, more so for those you teach than even yourself.
    I shudder to think what you would score on the Adverse Childhood Experiences test (


  2. Great new article. Thanks. I had a very difficult time trying to post a comment. It kept saying I needed to log in which I would do and then it would say it again. The final time it posted it, but I hadn’t proof read my comment. I don’t see a way to make a correction once posted. I will be more careful in the future about hitting “Post Comment”.

    I’ll have to try to post something on your next article and see if the problem resolved itself. I am still thinking all my problems are related to Windows 8. I will be talking to my Indian tech support friend again in the morning.


  3. lorymusanaka permalink

    There are so many parts that hit a chord or opened a window on something I had never thought about before, so it was eye-opening in many ways. Especially the way you put it and the choice of words to express it …

    for instance:“a line, even if infinite at both ends, has other points of termination (or non-line) by virtue of its width and its depth – each of which constitutes an end point” (…why did I never think about it ?  ),
    or something like “What we now have is universal consensus, not an absolute value”, which is true for just about anything on Earth and is something that should be taught to all big leaders of religions and states. (I love this statement expressed in this particular way !)

    Then you succeeded in describing something that I (after the OBEs experiences) have always tried to describe and never could, at least not as well as you just did : “multitude of the various kinds of experiences described as non-physical enables me to comfortably feel that I was never not.”

    And there are others actually, but the big thing came for me when you said:
    “it is again clear that even conceiving of a God is limiting a God.”
    This is something I have always profoundly believed, but rarely expressed. So that is why many theological discussions or imposed beliefs felt so limiting and to no point even to the teenage me, when I was too as yourself in a Catholic school (run by sisters).

    For me God can be known (and this meant as in `experienced`) only in the heart. My mind, stretch as it may, has no chance to even get close.
    I really love the way you express yourself !

    Yes, you have a way with words ! or rather a love affair with words, or rather a love-hate affair with words !!!

    And to finish on a lighter note , the ` one OMNI is enough` part did make me laugh ! so obvious, but does anybody ever notice ? not my nuns for sure !!!!! 

    So thank you for all this piece of your mind generously shared with us !! it was brilliant !!


  4. Thank you, Lory.


  5. My Journey Out of Darkness permalink

    This is great, Marco! We thoroughly enjoyed this one! My mom thinks you talk like me. We have had many discussions about these types of topics over the past few years. I remember bringing up the omnis to my mom at the point when she was heavily into Christianity. I think this may be when she began to reconsider her faith. The answer to the question about what Spirit perceives themselves as is that we are the same as in life. The difference is that we are more aware of what is around us. We can see the entire picture and understand why we and everyone else said and did the things they did. I do not find it boring. I prefer it much more here than on Earth. So does my mom but she has to wait! We need to understand that there is so much more than what we can perceive while we are incarnated. Things are much more beautiful than you can see!


  6. Thank you, (John) I enjoy your participation and look forward to more. Marco


    • My Journey Out of Darkness permalink

      You are welcome, Marco! I enjoy your writing and your attitudes and opinions about things! – John


  7. Dana permalink

    Marco, I thoroughly enjoy reading through older posts. This one brings a lot of sadness, thinking of the utter lack of “love” and nurturing you had from a mother when you were a little boy. As you know I felt little to no love as well, although my own mother wasn’t nearly as cruel as yours. I would challenge anyone who claims there are “motherly instincts” by showing them this post.

    Like me you were a little terror in religious circles. As a child I asked the questions no one could answer in Sunday School. Too often I sensed I’d only angered the ones asked. “Oh, we’ll know when we get there!” or, “There are just some things we’ll never know.” By the fourth grade I decided it was all a bunch of B.S. and I haven’t wavered much from that since. I tried to “believe” on a number of occasions, feeling somewhat left out by my seeming inability to have religious beliefs. Now I’m simply grateful I’ve been able to think for myself throughout my life.

    I much preferred my own deeper and more interesting childhood thoughts. And still do as an adult.

    Please know if you respond, I’m not receiving email notifications of responses to my comments. If I fail to maintain the conversation here, that’s why.



    • Thank you, Dana. I suspect that for all our lives our minds were older than we were at any given time. We somehow knew better.

      I also don’t see the box to check to get notified of replies. Perhaps older posts drop that option at some point.


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