Thursday, 27 February 2014

Knowledge of Angels

That’s actually the title of a novel I hope soon to read.

There used to be a chap here in this village who claimed to see and converse with angels. A friend of mine said of him ‘I’ve no doubt he does; what I don’t understand is why the angels are wasting their time with him.’

Not long ago, at Nelson Mandela’s Funeral, there was a man who made lots of rather simple gestures during the speeches. He was supposed to be doing sign-language for the benefit of those who couldn’t hear, but you didn’t have to know a lot about sign-language to see that this was bullshit. Later, the chap claimed that he had been distracted by seeing angels about the place; he went on to admit he must have been suffering a ‘psychotic episode’. Fair enough; these days anyone who claims to see angels is, very nearly by definition, psychotic.

But just a minute — if indeed there are such things as angels, where more likely for them to appear than at the funeral of that great man? Is it possible that they were indeed there, and this chap was privileged to see them, and it was only the crass insensitivity of the assembled great and good that prevented them too from seeing them?

Oh come on. There aren’t any angels to see.

But wait another minute — what about all those people, not just in South Africa, but also in the most respectable suburbs of England, who go to church on Sundays and perhaps say their prayers at night, and who sing, or pray, about angels? Are they all psychotic too? or hypocritical liars? Oh, but perhaps the angels about which the respectable suburban church-goers pray and sing are ‘Metaphorical’ or ‘Symbolic’. More bullshit. The average suburban church-goer wouldn’t recognize a metaphor or a symbol if it got up and bit him (or more likely her; and incidentally it’s something metaphors and symbols have a way of doing).

So — are there angels? If you say ‘Yes’, then you are a loony. If you say ‘No’ then you’re a hypocrite and a liar.

Personally, I’m on the side of the angels.


Today, by the way, is the
anniversary of the
Reichstag fire.

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