The Grand Inquisitor to Jesus Christ:
“Great conquerors, like Timoor and Tchengis-Khan, passed like a cyclone upon the face of the earth in their efforts to conquer the universe, but even they, albeit unconsciously, expressed the same aspiration towards universal and common union. In accepting the kingdom of the world and Caesar’s purple, one would found a universal kingdom and secure to mankind eternal peace. And who can rule mankind better than those who have possessed themselves of man’s conscience, and hold in their hand man’s daily bread? Having accepted Caesar’s glaive and purple, we had, of course, but to deny Thee, to henceforth follow him alone. Oh, centuries of intellectual riot and rebellious free thought are yet before us, and their science will end by anthropophagy, for having begun to build their Babylonian tower without our help they will have to end by anthropophagy. But it is precisely at that time that the Beast will crawl up to us in full submission, and lick the soles of our feet, and sprinkle them with tears of blood and we shall sit upon the scarlet-colored Beast, and lifting up high the golden cup ‘full of abomination and filthiness,’ shall show written upon it the word ‘Mystery’! But it is only then that men will see the beginning of a kingdom of peace and happiness.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky from The Brothers Karamazov
“The Grand Capitalist”
There had been a story circulating on the San Francisco streets that He had resurrected and was gifting love (the miracle) to human beings, those down and out wretched folks in the dumps. And it was for this, He was marked as the worst, most dangerous criminal in the entire system. On Sixth and Mission, under cover of darkness, the SWAT team charged, guns ablazing, and arrested the man who looked like a simple hobo. After interrogating Him and gaining no response except for empty eyes, they brought Him to a special judge at 850 Bryant, The Hall of Justice, The House of Horrors.
With glory and pomp, The Grand Capitalist strutted into the jail’s psych ward pod. Dressed in a sharp red single-breasted sharkskin suit, crisp white shirt, red silk tie, and spit-polished black oxford wingtip shoes, Grand wore white felt gloves that protected his precious soft hands that were used to command. Grand’s face was a strange orange hue that no one dared call strange.
Grand took a seat across from Him who was wearing nothing except for an adult sized diaper, as He had been constrained to suicide watch and was not even allowed toilet privileges. He was a Brown man with hair like wool, unshaven, unkempt, a homeless creature, the most despised in their system.
“I know who you are. Figured you’d have come a long time ago to save your sheep, but no, you did not answer their prayers. There was only me, their true savior.” Grand smiled shiny white diamond teeth. “You have no one to blame except for yourself.” Grand waved over Him. “And now, look at you.” Grand’s face dropped in disappointment.
He, with a funky stink and hollowed out black eyes, looked at Grand, looked into him. Sat silent, lips closed, heart open.
“So, you been out starting shit, ay? For what? You actually think I don’t have enough food or homes to give them? You think you are the only one capable of those miracles? Don’t you know that all I got to do is snap my fingers and every single person on planet earth is fed, housed, and fulfilled? I, not you, have the power right now to make everyone a millionaire! And it will in no way bankrupt me because I simply invent the number, and it is reality!” Grand beat his breast as if it were a giant drum.
“What can you do sitting there all stupid?” It was a pathetic question.
He sat silent and paid attention, while the Grand Capitalist was happy, proud that even the King of Kings must submit.
“What to do with you? My special enemy of the state.” Grand stood up, the creases on his red pants still sharp. He sauntered in a circle, quietly entertained medieval torture, a good old-fashioned barbeque burning at the stake. “No, I do not need torture. I do not need to feed you to the lions or feed you to the flames, especially so that you can become some kind of martyr. Here in my era, in this twenty first century, I am beyond needing torture, because I am more human than you could ever have imagined— compassionate, giving, intelligent.” Grand was giddy, mouth opened wide. “My punishment is humane and merciful. For the rest of your life, eternity, I will imprison you in a crystal palace where you will play games, chess and kites, wilas. Pelican Bay State Prison, Homes! Tomorrow you will be shipped to the SHU—Security Housing Unit, lockdown 23 hours a day. Lots of naps. No escape.” Grand was pleased with the solution, delighted in his genius. The two armed sheriffs shuffled their feet inside their shoes.
“Am I cruel?” Grand confronted Him. “This is necessary, utilitarian. I am the good guy. Allow me to explain:
You fucked up, confused them with hope. Now you have no right to add or change anything to what you said before, because once you open your mouth with your stupid wisdom, you actually curse them all to hell. Humans are too stupid to know what is good for them, such fickle creatures.” Grand thought he almost saw Him smirk and was enraged.
“Do not think that they actually love you. They love you today, but will help send you to your doom tomorrow, for that is what I will tell them to do. They believe in and know me. They will forget You when You are at the Supermax Pelican Bay Prison. They will make excuses that they do not even have money for stamps!” Grand loved his jokes. The sheriffs laughed.
“You fucked up when you gave them freedom, for freedom of faith is a torture, a horrible wicked punishment. Rebels can never be happy. They suffer. They drop out of school. They think they have the answers to nothing and then get frustrated with themselves, finding no peace in freedom.” Grand was serious.
He did not move in his chair. He kept his hands on his naked knees.
“As I said earlier, it is Your fault.” Grand pointed down at him. “You gave us the right, first the organization of the church, which led to total bloodshed, millions murdered, and a perversion of any holy message you had. That then morphed into a racket, the greatest system ever created, and not by God, but by the genius of human beings—Capitalism.” Grand stood straight, took off his white gloves, showcased his bony white hands and gold-ringed fingers.
“You, you, what the fuck did you do but give them images of contradiction that they can never understand, for you speak of a world they can never see, and what the fuck does that mean to men and women that need to see?” Grand’s eyes pushed far out into his face.
He, sitting like a student, kept his eyes sunk into his soul.
“Humans can’t make sense of freedom. Humans understand and love bread. You should have chosen to give them perpetual bread instead of some crazy impossible idea about perpetual life. And since you couldn’t do it, now it is I who have created perpetual bread with my genetic modifications, GMO’s—towering tomatoes, outrageous oranges, super cows! My science destroys your stupid temple with all of its mysticisms and superstitions. Nature bows before me.”
The Grand Capitalist’s red contrasted starkly against the dull gray room.
“Humans are too petty,” Grand continued, “like ants, too insignificant to be free. Obedience—they love it. Freedom has become unbearable and fearful to them. You more than anyone should know the sickness of humans. Agonizing freedom leaves them in hell, and this is Your fault, Your Father, Your Son; it is bad family, bad parenting to give them freedom they cannot handle. It cannot be love to let your children suffer so much. You must hate them.” The capitalist clenched his fists and looked at Him with such fury, ready to tear him apart, to bully the weak-looking hungry Son of Man.
He simply sat there hearing sharkskin’s gruffy voice.
“They love authority, miracles, not mystery! People can’t reject a miracle, but instead of giving them what they want and need, you leave them alone, abandoned, at three o’clock in the morning, trying to believe in something they cannot ever see or hear or understand. When they need you most, you are not there.” The Grand Capitalist was spitting his best logic.
“Man seeks miracles, and if you do not give them to him, he creates them. That is what I have done. I am a good man. I multiplied more powerfully than multiplying loaves of bread during a sermon on the mount. I created new mounts—property. I created technology, the ultimate icon.”
Sitting on the cold steel chair, He closed his eyes and took a deep breath in.
“But, no, you refused to enslave them with your miracles. I, on the other hand, am not too humble to showcase my magic, and that is why they love me more than they love you.” Grand towered over Him.
“You expected them to be at your level? How many? How many in all these centuries, these millennia, have been at your level, ready to be burned in your name, how many did you simply leave in torture? How many lives did you waste?” Grand imagined Him suffering, listening and regretting.
He did not look away. Him just sat there ears open intently.
“Once they figure out your lies, have wasted their lives, they curse your name, but it does them no good. Their blasphemy makes them even more unhappy and confused! That is what your love and free will gives them—unhappiness, confusion, torture.”
The uniformed sheriff guards put their hands on their holsters.
“I, we, give them something new and powerful, a mystery they can truly believe in, for they do not know exactly how it, my system, works, but they trust it nonetheless because they feel its real effects in their lives. We, the geniuses, relieve them from their existential crisis and guilt. The logical, intelligent mystery is what they must obey, not their own stupid conscience, which gives them no answer. We lift their torments from them with things, gadgets, capital!”
“And now, because of the science of technology, the new capital is not even a thing, but nothing, just like You are nothing! I have mastered You more than you have mastered even Yourself! Everything I give them is in a make-believe illusory Cloud, and they obey the Cloud that they cannot see, and believe in and connect it to our thing called money that they believe actually has value because I simply command to them that it has value. And they do not betray me!”
Grand was on a groove, in a frenzy, and did not want or need to say it, but he said it anyway: “I don’t want Your love because I don’t love You.”
He sat still following the capitalist walking and bouncing around. Absorbing everything.
“We are not with you; we are with it: Technology. Perfection. Two plus two! Who can deny that? We use it for our advantage to gain this kingdom on Earth, and ultimately the beast of Technology will wash our feet with its blood. We are the Gods, not it.
We control it.” Grand was smug and sure of smart humans’ power, could not imagine they were in any way enslaved by their own scientific Frankenstein.
“We show stupid humans that they can only be free if they give up freedom and submit to our intelligence, the computers’ algorithms. Then the herd just lives without worrying about freedom and eventually stagger quietly to meet their deaths. That is the best solution we can give them, and it is working. We do not need you.”
His naked scrawny hairless chest heaved up and down, His back against the cold steel chair.
“I am not afraid of you and your impotent power. I was stupid once, but I made the courageous choice to serve madness no longer.” An overwhelming feeling of hatred overcame Grand, and though he prided himself as being a logical player, Grand knew emotion was taking over.
“If anyone ever deserved our prisons, it is You.” The Grand Capitalist commanded it with spite, with a seething revulsion that dripped from his lips. Grand said it intentionally to hurt Him, to kill Him. And He knew it, understood, and accepted all of the man’s brutal truth.
He rose to his feet, stepped forward in a precise motion, and planted a Judas Jesus kiss on the Grand Capitalist’s cracked lips. The sheriff guards tackled Him to the floor.
He did not fight back.