Cutter’s Delusion

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: September 11, 2019

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Submitted: September 11, 2019



Cutter’s Delusion

By Stunned at Sunset


It was Cutter's delusion; a claim lost among the stars.  He’d left his homeland centuries before making his way into this rugged wilderness to escape the insanity and evil he had left behind.  But it didn’t seem to do him much good.  He never stopped feeling troubled—like a place where water is always turbulent.  Now, he’d set himself up on this mountaintop as far away from civilization as he could.  He had made some friends in this country over the many years of his odd and rather unusual life.  Those most current of his acquaintances paid him friendly visits now and then—brought him gifts of delicate foods and paper and typewriter ribbons.  That was nice.  He still wrote for Newsweek and still made a decent living but he had gradually shifted his emphasis to environmental issues over the years.  His popularity had waned somewhat; obviously because the environment was no longer a hot topic in the media.  And, saving the planet from the gradual destruction of its ecosystem was no longer of any particular concern to anyone least of all those whose life-style had come to represent the mobile, resource hungry, in-your-face brand of neo-capitalism that had become so popular in recent years.

“Poor wretched people,” he often would say.  Most of them never realized that they were being exploited on a scale never before experienced in human history.  In debt up to their ears and absolutely possessed by the need to acquire material possessions that made little or no difference in their quality of life, this was a generation preoccupied with Bling!  In Cutter’s view, it was just another iteration of the same old shit he’d seen over the last two millennia the only difference being in the abject audacity of the campaign of deception in which everyone around him had become so completely embroiled. 

He’d just recently been commissioned by National Geographic to do a story on the local wilderness area; they were primarily interested in the effects pollution may have had on the watershed.  Cutter had enlisted the assistance of his environmental scientist buddies and had written a really thought-provoking article that, surprisingly, had garnered the attention of Congress.  God knows what they would do with the information; maybe his hard work would help those who really cared.  He couldn’t say.  This morning he’d been out along the trails behind his property photographing the majesty of the natural architecture when a storm rumbled along over the peaks of the mountains to the west.  It hadn’t caught up with him yet so he felt he had some time to capture the essence of his subject matter in the strange and beautiful contrast that always manifests itself whenever light and darkness compete with one another. 

He tried to hurry along, the storm was passing east-northeast down from the grand lakes along paths of swirling ether now pitched against the season of summer and a cooling rain broke through the ponderous heat.  It was a tumult that fell toward the thirsty earth in sheets so heavy the animals below could hardly breathe.  Black clouds cast bright bolts of lightning upon roiling plains withering the grass before them.  Mountain streams were gorged with turbulent waters as the mindless madness carved its way along.

The horizon became indiscernible when the storm front passed high above the mountain tops.  Powerful winds savaged the tall trees stripping branches from their great trunks and pummeling the larger game that hid beneath the forest canopy with millions of stinging droplets.  The salvation, brought by the thunderstorm, was tied to the spinning landscape by the fabric of an ancient arrangement from which there seemed no escape.  Nature proffered no tolerance and the primal force raged on.

Cutter had sought refuge for a time, crouched in a shallow cave—a fearless field mouse his only companion—safe from the terror that lay just outside.  The entire breadth of the valley, three hundred feet below, was visible from his vantage point.  He watched a herd of white-tailed deer follow their patriarch along well-worn trails to the apparent safety of a dense stand of pines.

Darkness changed the shape of everyday things making them appear sinister—even threatening.  Yet within the hour the tempest had subsided giving way to the rich hues of a setting sun and the quiet of dusk.  He shook his head in disbelief and noticed that his tiny friend had fallen fast asleep in a lump of dry grass that had spent its last effort reaching for sunlight.  Carefully, he crawled out upon the ledge, dropped down to the trail a few feet below his position, and made his way back toward his cabin.

Enriched by the latent humidity, the musty odors of his mountain hideaway piqued his senses–-coupled his mind to a time when he was a boy.  His memories fixed upon an event so long-past he had nearly forgotten it.  In his reverie he sat upon the back steps of his grandmother's house and heard her call him to a late afternoon meal that she had resolved his growing body needed.  She was always kind to him.

He stepped up on the porch and walked across to the threshold opening the cabin door.  At the fire's edge across the room a bursting bubble of moisture erupted from the simmering stew.  It leapt over the rim of the pot and into the mellow flames that danced beneath the mantle hissing as it evaporated.  The sound cast him from his reflections and he stood, motionless for just a moment, wondering what his reaction should have been.  Walking over to the fireplace, he grabbed a handy pot holder and lifted the stew pot off the hearth setting it aside to cool.

Gone now, her passing a major event in his life, he had not seen his grandmother for more than two thousand years.  A feeling swept over him—an emotion so elemental that he hardly recognized it for its virtue.  He wanted to stand beside her again as she sat by the kitchen window.  Together they would feel the cool night breezes of summer descend upon them carrying the fragrance of her person: scents of cooking oils and laundry soaps—of homemade bread and the aroma of strong tea.  His grandmother loved him.

Tears forced their way into his eyes.  From what obscure corner of his subconscious had these feelings found their freedom?  He gathered his faculties and shut away the longing for his heart ached to reconsider the loss of that special friendship.

What is it that takes us back through time to such tender moments?  Is it the frenetic struggle of life, in general—a continuum of catastrophes marked by occasional contentment?  So violently are the forces of the Universe thrust upon us that we are compelled to invent abstract explanations for all the tragedies that characterize our mean existence.  And it is a pathetic set of circumstances that combine to shape our lives.

The human condition is enslaved to the artificial ethos of exploitation.  We grope along the twisted fabric of space and time like blind moles burrowing holes into reality, hoping that an agreeable change will either foist itself upon us or, like Riemann's cut, draw us through some unseen doorway into a parallel dimension where Alice is real and wishful thoughts form the foundation of our observations.

People dream dreams built with incredible architecture—that fold space and bend time.  Our mere attitudes form powerful forces that oblige the rest of Creation to deal with terrible consequences-–consequences that are material—that annihilate entire communities obliterating even the notion that they once existed.  And, to put it all into perspective, to make it fit for our puny intellects to consume, we characterize our natural propensity with subtle phraseology.  We are always at arm's length with our animal nature squeezing its manifestation into vague descriptions of the articles of our common experience.


It was such an unfortunate little village in the Polish countryside, he thought.  He had visited the site decades after its destruction when he had worked for Time Magazine.  It was just an empty field by then.  How many children—happy, content, rose-cheeked little children had been born there down through the centuries.  Now it is forgotten.  Utterly destroyed, its inhabitants murdered or taken off to be worked to death by the proponents of National Socialism, its location was nothing more than a place for its ghosts to haunt.  But, then again, we all promised each other that we would never forget.  We wrote poems and produced epic sagas on film.  There was a burst of indignation among the ruling elite for just a little while and then our dysfunctional intellects forgot all about the tragedy.  The emptiness continued . . . the darkness overwhelmed us . . . our essence, the brute that makes us die, somehow healed our psyche.  And then, my God, we began again!

Consuming the stew refreshed him.  He did not often take game reasoning that God would not miss a rabbit or two.  At such times, when the craving was uncontrollable, his simple thoughts were torn between compact objectivity and unmitigated loathing.  Perhaps it was the solitary lifestyle that made him focus on so many diminutive aspects of living on this strange and faraway planet but he couldn't help wondering about himself:  what he was, where he was . . . when he was . . . whatever.  He already knew who he was.  He’s the fellow in the room—the thing that makes noise as it breathes . . . the rabbit-killer.

He threw a few small logs onto the fire to replenish it.  As it waxed more vigorous, the interior of the cabin became animated with its dancing colors of red-orange and yellow and of the shadows cast.  Beneath the cupboard lay a package a friend had sent.  It was filled with useful things:  coffee, dried figs, dates and apricots, sugar, and a selection of herbal teas—all carefully wrapped in the pages of a dated newspaper.  From his chair by the fire he could just make out the visual impressions of a photograph on a page that he had crumpled unwrapping the tea.  His curiosity was aroused; he had not thought to examine it before.  He stood and walked to the cupboard, knelt down and retrieved the page.

On the table beside him he carefully pressed and patted the newspaper with his hands until its surface was sufficiently readable.  There, in rich hues of grey, were the images of several human corpses.  The caption beneath read ". . . they had been executed by rebel forces."  There they were—men, women, and little children— slaughtered for being something other than what the ideology of their enemies required.  Utterly destroyed because their countenance and deportment did not conform to someone's expectations!  Even the knowledge of it was reprehensible.

As a journalist, these shameless offenses had left him distraught.  He could no longer cover the carnage and had fled to the outback to escape the daily grinding. Now he found it oozing into his consciousness wrapped around a package of tea!

Returning to his chair by the fire, he restored his composure.  He extended the recliner back a bit and sipped his tea.  Our kind has labored through an epoch of evolution to reach the bottom of the barrel and, once thereon, we bored our way into hell!  Why do we love it so?  What is it about the smell of hot blood that stimulates us? How can the sight and sound of screaming children being put to death motivate our intelligence?


It is a place so far from his recollection that no one he knows believes it lies beneath the same sun.  None of us can fathom its importance.  It is a strange word rolling off the lips of the media people, a place where humans go to die, an allegory, a fable, a supposition in someone's prayer in some distant future when God's wrath consumes the whole of Creation for the sins of ten thousand centuries.  Kali, do not grieve...we are legion—the spawn of your womb come to nourish you with our own flesh...Such devotion!  We are mindless.

Hours passed and he had moved to a rocker on the porch.  From there he considered the consequence of his having comprehended evil.  Many millions of stars, their bright points poking holes in the black veil of deep space, glimmered through the atmosphere.  Fire flies drifted through the tall grasses in the meadows.  The aroma of wet earth permeated the evening air.  From the west a mild breeze wafted through the woodlands rustling the leaves.

"My God," he thought!  The ebb and flow of time had deceived him.  He had always believed in a superficial speculation that the presence of mankind was extraordinary—that a higher authority had given to us a living garden to be subdued and serve our ambitions.  For thousands of years the extravagant claims of philosophers compelled us to arrogate our own significance and we contemplated our existence in terms that gratified our subordinating emotions of fear and revulsion.  But that had not been the truth that Yeshua had told him.  Yeshua had explained that we fear death and claim immortality—not in the name of that Supreme Intellect that governs the reins of our reality but according to a definition of what we call our supreme value!  And it is this self-appointed sense of importance, this penchant for aggrandizing our participation in the universal scheme of things that dazzles us to the extent that we cannot compass meaning in our lives.  Ah!  He was a prophet!  The kind of prophet that argues our purpose is “ serve God,"  for "God" is One...all is One.  But our temperament baffles us because we cannot determine the nature of God.  So we live in constant anxiety and die the embodiment of great expectations.

What a waste of precious energy!  We are here because the immeasurable forces of an unfathomable cosmology combined to form the origin of our materiality.  Our essence is borne upon the all-embracing supremacy of these forces—a dispassionate power that creates and then destroys in innumerable cycles.  We are the product of constant, crushing, irresistible transformation.  There is no beginning for us and there will never be an end to those things that God conceives.

And so, we serve God in any case because Its magnificence consumes us.  From the center of the Universe Its sovereignty reaches out, across the vast nothingness of that which we struggle to comprehend, and molds the very essence of our being!  What else can we do but submit to the inclination of so great and overwhelming force?


is a place where people are delivered into the light of a resplendent sun, where they live in blighted agitation, and where they may die lamenting the day that they were born.  “All around us, the vibrations of our ignorance collide to create Chaos...despair exhausts us as we soak the earth beneath our feet with our own blood,” he thought!

Cutter walked back inside his cabin and sat at the head of his modest dinner table.  In solitude he wrote words that best described the thoughts drifting through his troubled mind; he had not slept and, after a time, filled several pages.  His narrative formed the justification for an obsession:  He wanted to be free—not the abstract idea that cloistered sophists make so much of from the safety of their hermitage.  No, he wanted access to the physical freedom from the natural forces that produced his person—to travel to distant galaxies, explore alternate dimensions, and enter a covenant with an all-together different reality.

He did not like the killing that took place; the killing made him feel so desolate.  Its destructive process was of an arbitrary and capricious character, an artificial circumstance because so much reason lay behind it!  Even murderers have reasons...Nature has no reasons.  In his effort to travel to a vantage point somewhere outside his quantum-mechanical body and view the human pathos from an unfleshed perspective, the thought occurred to him that, however rational our actions might appear to us, might we be nothing more than an instrument of that sweeping power?

There is justice.  We are the ordinary bug on a blade of grass, the sweet song of a solitary sparrow, the dolphin and the tree, the beast that plods the field and the eagle that navigates the heavens.  Our spirit can compose the courses of great rivers and plumb the depths of endless oceans.  We are the heart that beats within and the intelligence that reaches out for the patterns of infinite duration and the substance that binds them all together.

These are the portraits of consequence with which the Christ struggled to envision in the garden at Gethsemane—a mythical place invented by a people who lived oh so long ago.  They are the chronicle of the Cheng-tao Ke and were written of in ancient Sanskrit before the dawn of modern civilization.  We are the upadhithe deception—the disguise that God has assumed.  The harder we search for the truth, the less likely it is that we will find it.

...John E. Cutter. 

He is the knower.  From this higher plain he can see his body walking in a garden not unlike Gethsemane.  Above him the sky is a breathless, clear blue.  Below his feet the grass is deep green.  And all about him the people sleep.  “Will you not pray with me one hour?”  He remembered those words spoken by his dear friend.  He had failed him too.

Cutter sat back in his chair.  He reached over and took up the newspaper in his hand.  Gently folding it again he read the headlines on the first page.  The “insurgents” (as the morons in the press were want to call them) were at it again.  Killing their fellows to advance chaos and their gluttonous avarice for absolute power over the lives of everyone around them; they were madmen, he thought. They didn’t even know what they were doing!  The world was coming to an end!  It was apparent to him at the very least although he knew of many others who shared his point of view.  After all, how long could it go on?  Over the many centuries he had never seen the seething madness last for more than a century or so before the collapse came and everyone went off screaming into the night.  He understood that, in these last days—these final fleeting moments caressed by civility, most of the population preferred to have lies whispered in their ears and they certainly seemed to prefer a belief in a distortion of the truth—at the very least.They probably all thought that he was the madman! 

Often when he managed to attend the dinners and the other social functions for which his job required his participation, he would make every attempt to articulate the warnings in the most erudite and courteous manner possible.  But, most would slowly shake their heads in sympathy; they all were a study in compassion because he knew better for, when the edge of darkness engulfs us—brave souls, to where will our pilgrimages take us?  He so wished that they would comprehend their predicament and put down the keys to their prison but he fathomed that his fellows preferred dying in obscurity and profound ignorance.  He put the paper down.  “Let them learn the hard way then,” he thought, “this voyage through Eternity begins with understanding.”

From the northwest a glacial wind moans along the ancient rock.  Space and time are mysteriously balanced at the advent of Dawn.  The textures of the meadows sparkle in the subtle light—their grasses laden with moisture.  Living things give pause to drink in something holy and a curious silence descends upon the moment.  We must leave your world now, screaming madness, howling terror all around us.  There is a dream that we must dream.  It is a dream in which all those innocent children are resurrected from the dust of the earth and sent to a place called Paradise.



© Copyright 2019 Stunned at Sunset. All rights reserved.

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