Don’t tell me that you can see the back of your head in a mirror by using two mirrors. I said “a” mirror which means one mirror. Besides mirrors only give you a reflection of yourself at best. Using two mirrors will give you a reflection of a reflection. That is like saying I know Kevin Bacon because my friend has a friend who knows his mother who knows him very well. We are not talking about degrees of separation, but consciousness is kind of like saying “I know Kevin Bacon cause I saw him in a movie.” “How so?” a skeptic asks. “Because when I saw him I was conscious and he was conscious when I saw him.” “What the hell does that even mean?” cries the skeptic. “You don’t make sense!” But you say “See? There you go, trying to define consciousness based on what you can see and where you are, and what you think. Of course, you have to be conscious to think about all those things. I can tell you are conscious by your behavior, but can you tell I am conscious if I pretend to be asleep? NO! Because you can never truly know what is in my heart, my ears, my brain, my thoughts. I can not only pretend to be asleep, but I can also pretend to be awake (although some people try.) (Photo by Allan Mas from Pexels)
Of course, that makes no sense either. Even though it is true. Thousands, perhaps millions, of articles have been written about what it means to be conscious. Scientists have poured millions of hours of research into what consciousness is and what it is not.
The operative word here is SCIENCE. When the word science is invoked, it precludes and forbids the use of any other considerations other than those predicated upon the use of the Scientific Method. There are many things in this world that seem to be impossible to prove or disprove by experimental trial and error. This has not affected scientists from trying to invent ways to scientifically describe exactly what consciousness is mainly through the study of psychology. Psychology is all about the workings of the brain. The mind on the other hand seems to be separate and apart from the brain. And the mind is what is directly connected to the soul. The soul must direct the brain or else it is useless. It is as mysterious as Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the much-researched Theory of Everything that finally unites Newtonian Physics with Quantum Physics. Although, I am not a scientific researcher of renown, I do have a studied opinion on the matter… or I should say matters. I keep abreast of all the astrophysics, quantum physics, and scientific exploration of the human condition as I possibly can with only one small human brain to work with.
All that being said, I firmly believe that just as the Church discounted scientific discoveries for so many years, even to the point of villainizing, criminalizing, and forbidding studies they felt undermined the power of the Church and religious tenets of the day, I feel the pendulum has inevitably swung the other way. Now the scientists believe they are supremely superior to any type of spiritual beliefs. After all, without believers, fear of God, and tyranny, where would the Church have been? Probably penniless just as Harvard’s science department would be without endowments from believers.
I am in no way disparaging or disputing the belief in God or the Holy Trinity or Buddha or Vishnu or Mohammed or any other spiritual/religious beliefs in the modern world or the past. I do believe, as an American, that religion is not something to be forced upon anyone, anywhere, anytime. Likewise, science should not be forced upon anyone either. That is what Freedom is all about. Not just freedom to do something; but freedom NOT to do something. Yet freedom is not the subject of this post. Again, I digress.
Now to get to the meat of this discussion without further ado. My secondary male character is affectionately known as the Golden Eagle. That might sound like a Native American moniker, but it has nothing to do with Native Americans. It is the irritating nickname given to the Knight of the Golden Eagle, aka Lucio Dambretti, of Italian descent. Many puns and insults are attached to the nickname as you can imagine. He is also variously called the Italian Knight (he is the only Italian in the Council of Twelve), the Neapolitan (he hails from Naples, Italy), Sir Dambretti (to the Order’s lesser ranks), Brother Dambretti by his peers, Dambretti by persons who have disdain for his arrogance, Lucio by his friends outside the Order, and that Italian or Arrogant Bastard, Orphan, Ragamuffin, etc, by the people who known him best.
To tie Lucio Dambretti to the idea of consciousness and what that might be, I must reveal part of his Holy Mystery bestowed upon him at the time of his induction into the Council of Twelve. As the Knight of the Golden Eagle, he is endowed with the magical ability to see souls and interpret Egyptian hieroglyphs, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Treatise of Hermes Trismegistus (aka Thoth, the Atlantean; aka Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom, knowledge, and science). You may begin to see the connection already.
Lucio’s (I call him Lucio because he was born in my head and I love him as any mother might love their child) ability to see souls is an interesting ability but not one to be taken on lightly. In fact, Lucio has grown quite tired of seeing souls. He does not have to try to see them; they are always there. But like the kid known by the famous line “I see dead people”, he has learned to ignore it for the most part. The ability did not come with an instruction book and so, Lucio has learned how to best use it for the span of several mortal lifetimes.
To see a soul is similar to seeing an aura. Much can be learned from persons with the psychic ability to see auras, but the soul is not in the aura though it occupies approximately the same area. That is not to say it is actually occupying the same space as auras. Auras are produced by the electromagnetic emanations produced by a human being’s personal electrified field that disrupts the normal atmospheric fields. Souls are, of course, a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that science has not yet identified. Maybe even the part that contains the secrets of Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Theory of Everything.
But I digress. Souls are unique to each individual and as long as the soul inhabits the body, the body is thought to be alive and functional as a complete person. However, the soul does not necessarily ensure the proper functionality of the person since it is only able to use an intact vessel to do that. Imagine a jug with a hole in it. No matter how many times it is filled with water, it is unable to function properly because part of it is missing. A soul may be trapped inside an infirmed body. The life force in that body is also trapped within it to whatever extent the infirmity requires. Just because someone is paralyzed or in a coma, does not mean the life force has left their body, hence the soul remains unless, of course, it is somehow captured or otherwise removed by some means. Spiritualists may believe it is possible for demons, for example, to displace a human soul. Others believe a soul may be taken or bargained away to the Devil, himself.
It is said that Voodoo zombies are soulless creatures. Sir Dambretti would know the truth of that idea. And he would also know by the colors he can see within the soul whether a person is lying, but only if he cares to analyze the data he observes. He can gain much useful information from the soul and make a reasonably reliable report as necessary. However, do not confuse him with that wishy-washy empath from Star Trek: The Next Generation. She was always so indecisive and unsure and unable to explain what she “felt” from the people/ETs she encountered during her sojourn on the Starship Enterprise. I don’t ever think I heard her tell Jean Luc one time “You need to annihilate that thing because it’s definitely evil!” Lucio’s abilities are much more concrete than hers.
Not only can he see the souls of his fellow characters, he can smell them. And believe me, a lot can be said for how people smell biologically speaking, but they are not always so sweet- or sour-smelling as their souls. Lucio can ascertain the mood, intent, and/or mental attitude by the smell of the soul. He normally does not use this particular ability to write his reports, but he uses it for personal reasons sometimes, which is strictly forbidden. Lucio is not, however, too much concerned with rules and regulations, but that is a post for another day.
The visibility of the soul is related to the existence of consciousness. We know we have consciousness and some of us know we have souls, but we cannot see them or smell them. Likewise, Lucio cannot see his own soul (even in a mirror). Perhaps it would be better for civilization if we could, but that would also be a topic for further consideration. Dambretti’s mystery is most often called upon when new recruits are considered for membership in the Order. There is one duty, however, that Dambretti is sometimes called to perform that certainly, no one would want to be responsible for.
Whenever the members of the Council of Twelve are killed, they usually suffer an odd thing similar to the Near-Death Experience. The life force may leave the body or stay depending on the cause of death, but the soul does not remain with the body if the life force departs. If a Knight is rendered or perceived as dead or lifeless, Dambretti is called to find the soul. Normally, it is nearby, waiting to be released into the ether. Once Lucio determines the absence of the soul, the Knight of Death is called in to release the soul from the “broken body”. Ultimately, it is often Lucio Dambretti that has the final say on whether a fellow Knight may be dead, alive, or in need of Healing.
Such a responsibility affects men’s minds in different ways. Some become fearful and miserable, fearing a mistake, feeling guilt when there is none. Others become greatly bloated monsters with god-like delusions endowed with the ability to determine who lives and who dies. In Lucio’s case, his arrogance is not derived from the unnerving ability to see souls and make life or death choices for his Brethren, but rather from his self-propelled rise from the greasy floor of a medieval kitchen working like a turnspit dog to the intelligent, well-educated, talented, and powerful soldier he has become. He is proud of his accomplishments and proud of his station in life. He does not suffer guilt from doing his duty or anything else for that matter. He is a fatalist believing everything that happens, everything that people do or do not do
In the back of his mind, he is the eternal orphan boy dressed in ragged clothes, living in the tunnels and wells below the streets of Jerusalem. He is eternally grateful to his mentor and savior, Mark Andrew, while simultaneously suffering from jealousy of the worst kind. His love/hate relationship with the Knight of Death is his worst nightmare. He wants approval and acceptance and at the same time, he wants to be Mark’s equal… in everything. He wants everything Mark has. Everything.
He is not without friends and admirers, however. Some of his Brothers enjoy his company. The younger members of the Order want to be like him and look up to him. He is their hero and anti-hero. His Apprentices love him. Even Mark Ramsay loves him. But the love he craves above all is the love of Meredith Sinclair.
Unfortunately for him, he can see that Meredith is completely sincere about her love for Mark Ramsay.