and a world away mannfred gazed out the window while writing in his sensitive longhand one more chapter of his ongoing novel, now projected at around 900 pages somewhere in the year 2010. it would be the long-awaited sequel to his 1972 opus "the world and everything in it", which critics had spent the last 37 years hailing as the greatest work of philoso-poetic genius since james joyce...though in recent years there had been a slight falling off in this steady hail, alas, and it was for this very reason that he was engaged upon the present work.
however, his new quantum-based philosophy, which attempted to meld form and function via very short words and fast sentences, would be sure to win them back. later, he would explore the origins of the universe via a page of flashing prose which radiated in all directions, to be followed by many millenia of quiet expansion, one word per page until further notice. soon, clusters of ideas might appear, proto galaxies or mini-poems, let the reader decide for himself. finally a mature universe would be represented by a blank page with the words "to be continued", and he would turn to the knottier issues of god, free will, and the human purpose.
he had just finished the "god" section, an admittedly short one as his personal experience of god was quite limited, though he had several interesting ideas and would be happy to share them with god or his representatives if the opportunity arose. in the end, it had consisted of extracts from various holy works from around the world and through the centuries, with marginalia by himself in contrasting colors. a respectful attitude prevailed, with a few timid excursions into his own more humanistic leanings. finally, his own feelings on the matter covered a double spread of violet ink and sweeping words, a poetic tribute to the mystery at the heart of it all.
now, he was approaching free will, and found it easy enough going. "what sort of god would not permit free will?" was his polite enquiry, and he could not conceive of such a god other than as a poorly behaved master who failed to even tip the servants. why, even his own cleaner exhibited plenty of free will; in fact she at times seemed to have more than yours truly and would move his books around unmercifully, leading to several hours of delay as he recaptured his notes. thus, a system without free will must be the product of human psychological insecurity and the desire for a divine parent or schoolmaster to remove all need to make one's own decisions, he pontificated, glad to be up to date on the latest in social psychology and other useful fields.
the human purpose was proving more intractable, and as his passing acquaintance with god improved, he began to suspect he had better leave it to that gentleman. however, his publishers expected no less and he would have to dash off a few obscure poems to cover his general sense of the case. that would certainly be no trouble to such as himself! and with an elegant flourish, he began.