Chapter 8: Krishna in Kapota

Across the Ponde, another unlikely heroe arises, the sixth generation hasidic savant from Mumbai, Krishna Katz. He doth apprentice himselfe to a professor of neuropathologie at Oxford. The Heroe endeavors to mappe the Human Brain onto the Mappe of the Worlde. His chief success is in mapping his desire onto his Beloved, Sita. All is reported to the Reader by the neuropathologie professor from the vantage point of The Redemption.

The Reader is reminded that this is a continuation of Undivided: The Redemption Inquiry. The eighth chapter of the novel and the third of…

Part the Second—Winds of Change: In which the Soule of Humanitie ascends to the realm of Human Intention, whereby the course is set for the proximal conversion of thought to action. Two heroes arise, architects intent upon Humanitie’s Redemption.

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Krishna Katz was a sixth generation hasidic master. A little less than a century before Krishna’s birth, his 21st century forebear, Levi Katz, jettisoned his life as a Chabad emissary to a large American town on the eastern seaboard. The family meandered its way to Vermont where they founded a New Age Hasidic retreat, “The Assembly of Strangers.” Their wanderlust was sparked by the rare coincidence on Wednesday April 8, 2009, of Passover Eve with the Blessing of the Sun. The Sun, the Warm One, HaChama, the Levitical epithet for the heavenly body jazzing up the surface of the planet with heat and light. The burning ball slams back into its niche in the cosmic matrix, the place where it was birthed, word into matter. It’s the bizarre holiday when we Jews radiate our mojo back through the Matrix of Matter to the sun that it may continue on its path. The theurgic blessing is recited in odd little gatherings throughout the world,”You are downloaded, O Encrypted One, Our Mutability, Rulemaker in eternity, Who does the doing of creation.” Wild, a cosmic demiurgic mystery! It was all over the newspapers in 2009 for the first time ever. A handful of cities put on the dog to celebrate the occasion. A whole lot of Peace, Love and Woodstock, dangerously close to pagan orgy. Colliding with Passover made it a calendrical rarity. The previous two times Passover and the Blessing of the Sun crossed paths were Wednesday April 8, 1925 and Wednesday April 8, 1309. It wouldn’t happen again till the year 2121. Not clear anybody’d be there to celebrate then. 

Two thousand nine was a formative year for the newly minted Katz dynasty. It took another one hundred twelve years before the family birthed its penultimate Rav. He was given a kind of weird name for a hasidic rabbi, Krishna. That was the Mumbai effect. Krishna was taught the gematria, the numerology, of his name, permuted from Sanskrit to Hebrew, every Sabbath from the day of his birth. His mother hailed from the Bene Israel community in Mumbai. Her father, Krishna’s maternal grandfather, Zaydie Shraga B’rachaman, was a polyglot genius, a scholar of both Sanskrit and Hebrew literature. He was also a kohen, a 22nd century bearer of the hereditary priestly caste lineage. He was shipped off to Mumbai as a greenhorn rabbi by the elders of The Assembly to immerse himself in the heady waters of subcontinental culture, to be the smiling face of Pan-Galactic Yiddishkeit. He and Krishna’s paternal grandfather, The Mumbai Zaydie, who also happened to be a kohen, had been chevrusas, study buddies, at the Brunoy Yeshiva in Paris. They were fellow shluchim, emissaries, schlepping to Mumbai. The fact that Shraga’s only daughter was hitched to the Katz dynasty gave him interstellar nachas, inexpressible pride and joy.

When the newlyweds Krishna and Sita Katz moved to Pittsburgh for grad school, Sita’s father Rav Chaim B’rachaman HaKohen, a protege and nephew of Krishna’s maternal grandfather, wept with joy and bitterness. He nearly decided to sit shiva for the couple. He feared for their safety in the barely civilized country of their destination. The financial corridor that ran from Boston Mass down to Washington DC had by that point devolved into a series of coastal urban swamps, the Mid-Atlantic ‘Trust Belt’. A large, wet fist had pounded The Big Apple, The Hub, The City of Brotherly Love, Charm City and all the quaint little college towns that lined the New England and Mid-Atlantic shore. What remained was a tattered patchwork of refugee centers that looked a helluva lot like the sprawling slums of 21st century Mumbai. Meantime, Mumbai had been resuscitated by Grameen Bank with a leg up from a few philanthropic Indian billionaires. A hedge against rising radicalization among slum dwellers. Grameen was out there saving the world while the US was going down the tubes. Grameen’s Global Social Business Summit was a first responder to the cataclysm of the Corporate Singularity of 2009. But their salvific volleys were unable to penetrate the heavily protectionist US market. American cities had been kicked to the curb by the wealthy elites who had headed for the highlands of Port Jervis, the Catskills and the Green Mountains. That is, the ones who had not already taken their bats and balls and moved their game off shore. Hedge-funders, reinsurers, sellers of toxic derivatives, and business-politico chimeras all made out like bandits. The poor and the middle class were left holding the decaying and soggy urban bag. Hence ‘Trust’, two centuries of shared communal assumptions, the basis of the life of cities, betrayed.

Pittsburgh had fared oddly better. Like other inland metropolises embedded in coal shale fields, the unrestrained fracking of the surrounding rural areas brought them a bonanza of much needed capital. As Mother Earth was coaxed to let fly her industrial strength flatus, simple country folk, who had been bilked by big out-of-state energy companies, fell sick at the poisoned cup of their own tap water. The aquifer was dosed with toxic effluents, an inherent vice in hydraulic fracturing. Environmentalists were met with stolid resistance on the part of the impoverished citizenry who were completely in the thrall of disinformation campaigns funded by fossil fuel oligarchs. The good people of Armstrong, Butler, Lawrence and Beaver counties became fodder for the medical-industrial complex. King Faisal University Medical Center had engulfed Pittsburgh and most of Western Pennsylvania as its major employer, a trillion dollar a year budget in its grip. A caravan of ‘zebras’, medicalese for improbably horrible diseases, rolled on gurneys down O’Hare Street into King Faisal’s open maw.

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Krishna Katz was a medical neuro-ethicist at King Faisal. He became the go to guy for a vast swathe of the university community soon after hitting the ground in Pittsburgh. He was a polymath like his grandfather Shraga. You could ask him anything. Either he’d know the answer right off or he’d know how to get it. He and Sita chose Pittsburgh for postgraduate studies, he in Neuroethics and she in Cyber Law. Reb Krishna had received his smicha, rabbinic ordination, directly from his paternal grandfather, the Mumbai Zaydie, shortly after graduating from the Brunoy Yeshiva, on the eve of the big Mumbai wedding. Krishna’s yeshiva was precariously perched on Ile-de-France. During his stint at Brunoy the rise of the water tables for both the Thames and the Seine basins set off a mini apocalypse. The yeshiva, acting on an inside tip, wooed Oxford into a joint venture in the rocky bosom of the Pyrenees. The Paris Flood of 2102 dealt a deathblow to the city’s grid, billions of euros lost in the ether. As so many European capitals had gone, Paris went whimpering into incoherence. The morbid silver lining was that the overwhelming epidemics of Yellow Fever, Cholera and Dysentery reduced the surplus population. London and Oxford had not fared much better. They were keen for a retreat to higher ground. It was beginning to look inevitable. 

A group of Oxford money men were in negotiations for a lease-to-buy arrangement with Chateaux de Lastours. They had ogled some similar properties in the Scottish highlands, but extreme weather blown in from the North Sea sunk the deals. The Chateaux de Lastours was a cluster of four Cathar castles in various stages of disrepair. The current owners, a failed gambling consortium, needed a quick infusion of cash. The high ground there was unassailable by the current siege of lowland floods that ravaged the major cities of Europe. The Yeshiva chose Krishna as the student body representative in the horse trading. He was a stellar yeshiva scholar while at the same time having one foot squarely planted in the secular world. The yeshiva’s anonymous Russian godfather gave Krishna his blessings. Before the dickering was through Krishna had wangled a side deal for a one year neuroscience MSc at Oxford, funded in toto by the Wellcome Trust. That was his path to Sita. And that was how I met those two cosmic lovebirds.

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Krishna was a shining star in the Oxford firmament. It was painful to send him off to Pittsburgh right after the wedding. In that life I was a professor of Neuropathology, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences. Herr Professor Doctor the Honorable Rabbi Baruch Klionsky at your service. Bernie to my students. Krishna had the misfortune to wander into my office on a day when I was having a flaming gout attack. Not a pretty sight. I was consumed with exquisite regrets for the recombiHepatopâté. Not worth it, its certified kosher hechsher notwithstanding. As I sat behind my desk trying to squeeze the pain out of my left foot, in walks this cherubic kid with a wispy beard wearing a black fedora and kapota. I’m quite sure there were bright globs of sweat on my radiant red face. Nonetheless, he addressed me crisply with the proper Yiddish greeting, “Sholom aleichem [peace be with you], Herr Professor,” to which I could barely grunt the rejoinder, “Aleichem sholom.” “Should I come back another time?” He looked genuinely concerned. I was touched. I relaxed a tiny bit. “No, it’s a touch of gout, not to worry. What can I do for you, my young hasid?” We didn’t see too many black hats, let alone kapotas, in the U.K. anymore, since the mass exodus of Jews headed for the Holy Land at the beginning of the last century. There he stood, a nineteenth century apparition in my twenty second century neuropath lab.

“Oh, I guess the kapota is a giveaway.” He had a funny accent I couldn’t quite figure. “Where I come from,” he continued, “kapota is also a word from the yogic tradition, meaning ‘pigeon’ in Sanskrit. Kind of funny, don’t you think?” To demonstrate, he flapped his arms, bobbed his head back and forth, and made cooing noises with raised eyebrows, the coattails of his kapota flapping in response. It was so comical that it completely disarmed me. I stifled a guffaw behind my cupped hand. There was a distinct charm about this young hasid. I didn’t know it then, but he was fast on his way to making a permanent home in my heart. “Ah, the subcontinental species of pigeon! Now I can place your accent. Mumbai? So what can I do for you, Mr. Kapota?” He smiled back at me. “It’s Rabbi Kapota. Actually, Krishna Katz of the Bene Israel community of, yes, Mumbai.” He bobbed his head and continued. “I’m here on a Wellcome scholarship for the one year M.Sc. gig in Neuroscience. But what I really want to do is a brain-mapping project with you while I’m at Oxford. It’s my job to shlep this information back to my community. You see I am a shaliach, you know, an emissary; or if you prefer, a carrier pigeon for science.” 

I returned his smile, intrigued. “And what exactly are you interested in mapping, my young carrier pigeon?” He looked a bit abashed, shuffled his feet and stared at the floor. A dove in the cleft of the rock. “Well, this may sound naive, but I once saw a map of the brain splayed out with both hemispheres flattened and their front ends en face. You could click anywhere on the image, trace all the projections. It hyperlinked to the functions for each chunk of topography. Superb, really.” My eyes widened. “That’s our map, my young neurocartographer. The digitizeable projection map, DigProM.” It was Krishna’s turn to smile. “Yes, I know. That’s why I’m here. I saw it in your article in an archived copy of SciAm. My first flash was to the map of the world we studied in yeshiva. The ancient Mercator projection, but yours was of the brain. So I searched your map for the ‘site’ of the Holy Land. You see, I had already decided that the Mediterranean Sea was homologous to the left Sylvian fissure. I found myself pointing right at Wernicke’s area. I looked it up and discovered to my great excitement that it was the language receiver of the brain. The Holy Land, mother to the oldest languages on the planet. By our community’s way of thinking, the location of the central receptor for the Divine Voice, the Holy Temple. Wow! You know what I mean? I knew I had to study the whole map. You see, I want to know how this planet is wired for sound!” I could see him vibrating in front of me. But I was skeptical, to say the least. What could a map of the brain possibly have to do with a map of the planet? Krishna persevered. Or perseverated. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. So I made an appointment to see the young kapota during office hours.  It wasn’t until an hour after he left, as I closed up my lab and thumLocked the door, that I realized my pain had eased considerably.

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Krishna gazed at my face with the intensity of a lover. He compelled me with his every demand for knowledge. It began with that first visit during office hours and continued for a lifetime of exalted and passionate discourse. “I’d really like to tell you about our functional brain imaging research.” Quite the pickup line, eh? My gout a distant memory, I was truly in my element whenever a bright young thought gobbler came pecking at our trough. “A century ago functional brain research was hobbled by the unreliability of studies that were chained to the mercurial clinical status of our subjects, to moment-to-moment microscopic shifts in the testing environment and equipment, and to our ignorance of the actual wiring of this most complex of all biological systems. That has totally changed.” I sat back to let the young hasidic emissary lean forward and take it all in. “First, with the invention of optogenetics, we were able to light up functionally related neural thoroughfares in the brains of unmolested living animals. No harm done. Eventually in humans. We sent fluorescently tagged molecular ion channels into the brain that, by piggybacking on viral particles, sought out and thwocked onto neurons bearing little flags saying “Over here, chaps. ‘X’ marks the spot!” Our lab’s innovation was to flood the brain with nanochips tuned to the particular wavelength of light emitted by the fluorescent tag. Message received, these chips then emit an ultra-precise nano-GPS signal. And voila! Neural circuit mapping in living brains has begun.” 

“Francis Crick, one of the DNA molecular map’s two fathers, predicted this would happen at a speech he gave at UC San Diego way back in 1999! The guy really earned his genius stripes. At the turn of the last century, the folks at what used to be called Sloan-Kettering, now The People’s Cancer Institute, were the first to deploy a crude version of the technique for treating patients. But way before that, the first widely usable fluorescent probe was a bugger called Chameleon. By 2013 a Stanford team had not only perfected the labelling and detection/localization technology, but they used it to control neural circuits in parts of the brain, the heart, the inner ear and the face. Inhibitors and activators ticked away in the control part of the genetic sequence, along with the molecular sensors. The tricky bit was how the light got in, at first via windows placed in the skulls of experimental animals or by implanted fiber optics. Not entirely harmless, I’m afraid. They even tried shining a flashlight through the skull, using a supersensitive opsin, ominously dubbed Jaws. The Stanford crew could transilluminate skin to fiddle with peripheral nervous tissue. Twenty Thirty One saw the big leap, nanoLED’s at MIT. Problem solved, a fully enlightened brain. Non-invasive, highly accurate, bidirectional communication with living brains.” Krishna sat in silent attention. He had no idea any of this was possible.

The young carrier pigeon’s silence grew suddenly deeper. I had to nudge him, “Are you following all this? I’ve thrown quite a lot at you.” Without the slightest delay he piped up, “Of course, Herr Professor Reb Klionsky. This is quite exciting.” Then he looked me right in the eye, “It’s also terrifying.” He was rocking in his seat, both hands over his mouth in muted awe. I completely concurred. I didn’t dare let on that I knew that the military and law enforcement blokes in the UK and the US, and most likely a profusion of foreign powers, were well into the development of optogenetic weapons, correctional tools and psychoEd devices. None of this would pass muster with an IRB. That’s the crew in every scientific institution who make sure there is no repeat of the monstrous experimentation of Josef Mengele under the prurient eye of the Third Reich, or the Tuskegee Experiment under the blinkered eyes of the US Public Health Service. But who would ever know? The only reason I knew of this dark matter was by way of my ‘evil’ twin, Dr. Mendel Klionsky. My brother was a more gifted neuroscientist than I. He worked at the officially non-existent MI7, the black ops branch of the British Secret Service. There was no way I could blow the whistle on the scoundrels, knowing what I knew about Mendy’s handlers. They’d snuff him without batting an eye.

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CONDENSATE. It was twilight. The Boss had asked me to step outside with him. Into the cool of the evening. Something spooky was about to happen. I could feel it. I had done everything the Big Guy had asked for. I would hold nothing back. Some years later, even my own son, for God’s sake. I still regret that. My wife never forgave me. I tried to explain to her that our boy would be in the business too, just like his old man. But by the time we got back from the job she was gone. Checked out. There was a rumor she took her own life, or that she kicked from the shock of knowing what the job was I took little Izzy on. I’ll never know. How I loved her. I still have Izzy, sickly little boychik he turned out to be. I call out her name some nights. But back to that weird evening, outside on the lawn with the Boss. He wasn’t much for words. I kind of had to read the tea leaves, always looking for a sign on his face of what he was really thinking. He gave hints, made mysterious gestures. But that night beat all. I’m telling you. He’d already had me pull up stakes and leave my last gig. Pop had a good business, but I got my people to go all in on the deal. You see, I always work by persuasion, more flies with honey, etc. etc. I already had taken some flak from a local big shot. Seems he had eyes for my gal. The Boss got a message to him one night and he laid off after that. So there I was, standing out on the high desert with the Boss, feeling a weird mix of gratitude and cold fear. Funny thing is I didn’t feel any resentment. In spite of all the fast moves and the risk, I had bet all my chips on the Boss. I was waiting for his next move. 

He sighed and looked out at the long shadows that crossed the property, the glow of the sun just below the horizon. It was beautiful, but something was making the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Then he told me. We were all going to work for some real heavy on the other side of the border. It really wasn’t what I had in mind, but the Boss knew I was in. Then came the real shocker. More than likely we’d have to work for peanuts and put up with all kinds of abuse for a pretty long time. Said we’d get used to being strangers. What the? But I said nothing. The Boss got real quiet. Then he told me when the time was ripe he’d bring us back to this very spot, pockets filled with gold. I could see he was dead serious. He said when we got back he’d help us rub out all the other mobs on our turf and we’d stake out the whole territory for ourselves. He almost smiled. I kinda relaxed a bit, God knows what reason. What came next was pure Harry Houdini.

Somehow the Boss got the barbecue going without my seeing how he’d done it. Only then did I notice, as my eyes got used to the dim light, that the Boss had hacked a bunch of critters in half and lined up the matching parts in two straight rows. Man it was gruesome. I kept having this feeling that at any moment the parts would leap up and recombine themselves into some kind of horrible monster. But I was in no position to pass judgment right then. I had to shoo away a couple of buzzards that thought they’d found a free buffet. He made like he wanted to stroll with me between those two rows of half carcasses. I gotta say it gave me the creeps. Nearly passed out, actually. Maybe that was the idea. It sure was unforgettable, etched in my memory like it happened yesterday. That’s when he swore on anything that meant anything to me that he’d make good on his promise. It was like some kind of seance. Maybe he slipped me a Mickey Finn. I dunno. I turned around and the barbecue and a burning torch were moving down the aisle between the parts, coming right at us. I swear there were either little guys moving the stuff or some kind of rope and pulley set up. Beats me. With the Boss anything was possible. Too dark to see. By the time it was all over I was exhausted from the sheer emotional whiplash of it all. He nodded goodbye. I went home and slept like I was dead. [from B’rachaman, Sita, Covenant of the Divided Self]

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I nodded to Reb Krishna, “Yes, I see you appreciate the awesome power that has been unleashed upon the world.” We both sat in silence for an uncomfortably long minute. You see, dear reader, I knew you and my brother Mendy were watching me. I know, it’s just your job as an apparatchik of the cyber-security complex. But by now, post Redemption, you ought freely admit that you and all your cronies drove humanity right into the hands of the AI’s. Your ceaseless need to monitor and control, to collect endless bits of trivial information and then distort them to your own perverse ends. And your fascination with machines, mechanization, automaticity. Every human function reduced to bits and bytes. Not only calculation, spatial navigation and speech; but emotion, empathy, reciprocity, motivation, judgment. All of which required constant monitoring, constant testing of hypotheses. Total mindfuck. Until we could no longer draw a bright line between human and machine, inside and outside, thought and action. Did you not get it that you were creating a backdoor for the AI’s to reach right inside our collective cerebral cortex and pull the plug on humanity once and for all? None of this matters now that the Redemption has happened, but surely it would be healthy to do a little truth and reconciliation tango. Don’t you think? It’s what every soul inevitably must go through, willy nilly, a metaphysical accounting. Nu? But I saw no reason to terrify the young rabbi by revealing that his wildest paranoid fantasies were already tricked out in technicolor by the very government agencies charged with safeguarding our democracies. Pardon my cynicism. Where was I?

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PARTITION. The idea that the fact of existence by itself carries along an incurable guilt is Greek (Theognis 327) and anybody who claims that he surpasses it, commits arrogance and therefore he becomes guilty. The first half of the 6th century is a period of great social instability in Miletus, the city state where Anaximander lives. Any attempt of excess leads to exaggerations and each exaggeration must be corrected. All these have to be paid according to the debt. The things give justice to one another with the process of time. Justice has to destroy everything which is born. There is no external limit that can restrict the activities of men, except the destruction. Arrogance is an expression of the chaotic element of human existence and in a way a part of the rebounding mechanism of order, because pushing it to exertions causes destruction which is also a reestablishment.[ from Sir Cecil Maurice Bowra, The Greek Experience]

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So it was with great gusto that young Krishna dug into his compulsive mapping fantasy, mining every bit of data generated by the Human Synaptome Project and our optogenetic extension of it. At least he would use the information harmlessly. I had to admit the hasid’s project appealed to some atavistic impulse lodged within my own cranium. With each correlation I felt myself lured in a bit deeper. We even unearthed the funds to get him a young coder from Cybernetics to bird-dog him with the mapping software. That was Sita. More on that later. The main bits were fairly obvious. Once you accepted Reb Krishna’s assertion that the Caribbean Sea was the Right Sylvian Fissure the rest was clear. The Atlantic Ocean was the equivalent of the interhemispheric fissure between the frontal poles, and the Pacific was the continuation of the same fissure between the occipital poles. The whole model fell rather neatly into place. A pleasing symmetry. The continents of Africa and South America made perfect sense as the Left and Right Temporal Lobes, the seats of acoustical and rhythmic experience, and intense emotion. Think of the great musical traditions of Africa and South America, most compelling on the planet. The Left Hemisphere of the brain correlated to the Eastern Hemisphere of the globe, the Old World, source of lineage and logic. The Right Hemisphere of the brain was the Western Hemisphere, the New World, the source of innovation and, to this Old Worlder’s way of thinking, a hotbed of twisted gestalt logic. 

The boundary between the frontal lobes and the parietal cortex was a bit trickier to define.We finally decided—you see I got shanghaied into the deliberations—that the Indian Subcontinent up to the Rift Valley was the Left Parietal Cortex, and the Mexican/Central American landmass was the equivalent of the Right Parietal Cortex. I imagined the Kabuki theatre of boundary setting between adjacent functionally distinct cortical areas. Boundary disputes in which the warring parties simply agree to fall on their swords in order to create a nice crisp border between the two neighboring states. Apoptosis, programmed cell death. Does the trick every time. Very civilized, albeit macabre. Both India and Mexico, exquisite feasts of texture and taste for the empires of the somatosensory cortex. North America divides into the Right Frontal Cortex East of the Rockies, and the Right Occipital Cortex West of and including the Rockies. California, the land of the visual cortex. The Eurasian landmass is divided by either the Volga River or the Ural Mountains into the Occipital/visual East and the Frontal/executive West. The eye versus the ‘I’.

Krishna cocked an eyebrow at me, but let me go on in spite of his burning desire to impress his hot cybernetics tutor. Age before hormones. “Ok kids, here’s where it really gets exciting, when we start to look at the smaller functional subdivisions.” I could see the two incipient lovebirds rolling their eyes conspiratorially, humoring the old man. I had the decency to blush and slow down. Krishna piped up in pseudo-deference, “Herr Professor Dr. Klionsky, may I?” Abashed, I nodded at him to take over. “Right, then. So it’s in the details where we find the devil, nu?” Sita stared at him with such piercing attention it didn’t take a genius to know exactly what was happening. A great shidduch! A match made in heaven. Is that the neocortex? Nevermind. I still remember the wedding in Mumbai. It literally brought heaven down to earth, in the form of a monsoon. The rains kicked off right at the climax of the chuppah, the wedding canopy, drenching the undaunted celebrants to their skins. The climax after the chuppah, if you’ll excuse an old man’s euphemism, brought me to the most unlikely place—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—the following year, for the birth celebration of the last scion of the Katz dynasty. It warmed my frozen old gout-ridden heart to see the two of them nodding and cooing in the well-papered confines of my lab.

Although Sita wrote code as a work/study job on campus to earn a few rupees, she was actually a brilliant budding jurist in Oxford’s Public International Law program. She was particularly keen on m3 law, the governance of the Massive Multiplex Matrix. She could have done the tutoring with her eyes covered and hands tied behind her back. But then she would not have the vision of her beloved dancing before her eyes. As Krishna warbled on about the motoric basis of the language and cognitive functions of the prefrontal cortex, and their correlation with the control over the globe exerted by Western Europe and the Eastern seaboard of North America, Sita simply purred and twirled her jet-black tresses in her fingertips. I have to admit I perked up when he got to the bit about the superior parietal lobule being the center of numerosity, a gradient of ‘less’ and ‘more’. It was absolutely brilliant. Numerosity, the gift of both the Olmec culture in Mexico and the Aryan culture in India, the guardians of the zero in each of their respective hemispheres, without which we’d all be left counting on our fingers. Ultimately, however, the most successful aspect of Krishna’s ‘Minding the World’ project, as I liked to call it, was his betrothal to Sita. There just wasn’t the time to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s. In his rueful frustration, Krishna, who had become quite the American blues aficionado, unofficially dubbed the project ‘A World of Trouble On My Mind’. So we archived the data before the end of the year and gave the two of them a royal send off. My heart soared as I sent them winging their way back to India to rejoin their respective dovecotes in Mumbai. Two cosmic energies whose union would bring us all a little closer to the bliss of The Redemption. 

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About the Author
Michael Diamond is a writer based in the Washington, DC area. He practices psychiatry there and is a doctor of medical qigong. He has published occasional verse, fiction and translation in Andrei Codrescu’s journal, The Exquisite Corpse; in the journal Shirim courtesy of Dryad Press; in the online journal for Akashic Press; and in The Journal of the American Medical Association. He lives in the suburbs with his wife, an artist and illuminator of Hebrew manuscripts, their dog, two cats, a cockatiel named Peaches and a tank of hyperactive fish. He has had a strong interest in Torah since first exposed to traditional stories as a child. Over the course of his life he has run the gamut of spiritual exploration of many world traditions of meditation and mythology. For the last several decades he has landed squarely in the traditional Jewish world. His writing is informed by all of this experience, by his curiosity about today's world and by his desire to mine the Jewish experience for its hidden and revealed wisdom. Torah Obscura, as in camera obscura, from Latin, meaning "dark room", also referred to as a pinhole camera, exploiting the optical phenomenon that occurs when an image of a scene outside of a chamber projects itself through a small hole and can be seen on the inner surface of the chamber. A glimpse of an otherwise invisible world afforded by a small aperture for light. All materials herein copyright © 2018 Michael S. Diamond. All rights reserved.
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