The Book of Nine – Postscript to Addendum Four

May 29, 2017


A Speculation Upon Religion, as recounted by Fylos of Zoomaria


“What is religion?” asks Hanrahan Yohan Sebastian Brùge, turning his palms to the sky in perplexity. “What are religions? How should we describe them? Where are the words?”

My master speaks, as he often does, in a manner telling me he is about to answer his own question. He strokes his chin, leans forward with a glint in his eye, is about to continue when, abruptly, the sage of Lutz interrupts. “The answer is easy,” Skotzolheimer says. “Religions are dream-worlds for those who cannot face the existence into which they are thrown, a sop for the weak minded… Surely that is description enough? They are baubles of thought for those who desire a world of fantasy instead of a world of fact. You must surely agree with that? They are jee-jaws for those too timid to behold with a steady gaze the world before their eyes.”

Skotzolheimer is wizened and ancient, a man of great distinction, whose legs and arms are as thin as the bones within them but who possesses the head and shoulders of a giant. He is renowned throughout Utsk for his wisdom and his skill with words, achievements I now immediately apprehend. Yet my master, Hanrahan Yohan Sebastian Brùge, is undaunted. He chuckles, scrutinising the sage fondly. “Well put, my friend, well put. But there can be many definitions can there not? And some more apposite than others? Let me share one which appeals to me more than most, more even than your wise words, though perhaps only because I have yet to understand them. It is this: that religion is a wedge driven between folk, designed expressly and specifically to be the indicator of difference, the creator and perpetuator of otherness, the abyss between tribes.”

“Oh, very good, very good!” Skotzolheimer, or more fully Gabriel Marqueuesay Skotzolheimer III, ancient though he is, claps his hands like a child. “Very good, dear Yohan. But let me offer another… What of this? ‘Religion is a tool used by the cynical to control the susceptible, a lever used by the greedy to control the gullible, an angle employed by manipulators to control the manipulable’?  What of that? What of that? Is not that a deeply satisfying definition?”

“Profoundly satisfying, my dear friend. Deeply so. Yet I have another: religions are, if you will permit me to offer a more simple diagnosis, ‘Words which bestow authority without right’…”

“Indeed! Indeed!” Skotzolheimer enthuses. “A well-turned phrase! Pithy and pointed! Almost cruel in its precision. ‘Bestow authority without right.’ Nice, nice, very nice. But equally to the point, perhaps: ‘Words giving superiority to the few while diminishing the many’?”

“Ah, yes,” my master agrees. “Very elegant, indeed… All is hubris, arrogance and pride amongst poor humankind… and thus it has always been. Where is religion without its pomp and ceremony, without its velveteen robes and golden finery?”

“Finery which gives the arrogance and pride of certainty – which is a crime against intellect in itself, for certainty, of all things, is the enemy of knowledge… while, at the same time, being no more than the mother’s teat to the child we each and every one of us carries in the depths of our minds.”

“A comfort and a sop in the face of the unknown… Yes, Marqueuesay! And another short definition: ‘Mountains of supposition up which the power-hungry scale’…”

“Succinct yet true! Are not hierarchies of power and the pretence of knowledge at the heart of all religion? Then I have yet another. ‘A justification for actions for which there is no justification’…”

My master slaps his knees. The admiration is mutual: two great and insightful minds striking one against the other and casting sparks of genius this way and that like firecrackers at a Nikolskian wedding. He says, “Try this: ‘A way for the ignorant to cover the abyss of their ignorance’…”

Skotzolheimer: “Wonderful! Wonderful! And, ‘Nonsense by which fools make sense of their lives’…”

“Very often, yes. And ‘Fairy tales from a race in its infancy which should long since have been abandoned’.”

“Long since! Long since! And even, ‘Fairy tales from our childhood, which we should long have outgrown’…”

My master, diplomatic as ever, at last puts up his hands. “I surrender! I surrender absolutely! Your words exceed anything I can offer in the  way of wisdom and insight.”

“I wish that were true,” Skotzolheimer says. “And, of course, most poignantly of all, all these things will be said of all religions, past, present and future, except our own…”

My master smiles a little smugly. “Other than of mine, of course, for I have none.” – as if his earlier words were not enough to convince any listener of this. “I have no creed whatsoever and have never so indulged. I travel widely as you know, often on foot, and I would not wish to be saddled with such a burden, constricting and constraining the world before I have even witnessed it with my own eyes, telling me what I must think and how I must behave in regard to all forthcoming places and events, a set of chains and shackles sent into the pregnant future by the thwarted and belligerent past. What a weight! What a curse! What an onslaught of nonsense inherited from a burdensome history we would do better to forget! No. No such mental and moral servitude for me…”

“If not in gods, or some other form of religion, then in what do you believe?” asks the sage of Lutz, shaping his fingers as a steeple, for he was certain he knew the answer.

My master – you know him well: the green-clad wanderer, explorer of continents, lover of all living things – laughs his handsome, generous laugh which informs me that all is well. “I believe very little,” he says. “If a thing cannot be shown to be true without preposterous assumptions or threats of doom I am reluctant to make space for it within my already over-cluttered mind…”

“Then I shall believe as you believe,” says the sage of Lutz, and he too slaps his knees and laughs. “Just as you, I shall believe in nothing and in everything, in the world of wonder before our eyes and not the fanciful constructs of our infantile minds.”

“I am glad,” says Hanrahan Yohan Sebastian Brùge. “If I have done only this small good thing, I am glad.”


How to be happier

November 21, 2014

Be happy!!!!


Laughing out loud:


zero ideology



Copyright Luke Andreski 2014

The Garden of the Sun – a Maxus Irie hymn

August 25, 2013

We are living in the garden, the garden of the sun

Each spark of life is precious, yes each and every one

We are the necklace of a thousand stars alight on nature’s breast

Each spark is its own miracle, by love and nature blessed


We strive to be the best we are, in happiness and love

We stride through nature’s garden, the shining sun above

We strive to share our love and joy, the whole wide world around

You hear our ardent singing – a wondrous, thrilling sound!


We are strong and we are mighty, yet we are humble too

We will share our mighty energy and gentle love with you

We share the mighty energy of the burning sun above

And transform this human world of ours with happiness and love


We are potent in our happiness, we are generous in our love

We share the mighty energy of the burning sun above

We need no mighty castle, no fortress in the air

If you scale the highest mountain, you will already find us there


If you scale the highest mountain, you will find us by your side

We are part of every living thing, in tooth and nail and hide

We need no mighty army, no weapons wrought with care

Look, thee, in the mirror: you will see us standing there


We are living in the garden, the garden of the sun

Each spark of life is precious, yes each and every one

We are the necklace of a thousand stars alight on nature’s breast

Each spark is its own miracle, by love and nature blessed!

© 2013 Luke Andreski. All rights reserved.

Happiness should be fun

August 18, 2013

I knew I had a calling for happiness from a very early age. I was thirty when my father asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I sucked my thumb for a moment, gazed up into his wise, fatherly face, then, withdrawing my thumb and waving it toward the sky, I cried, “President of the world, Pa! That’s what I want to be!”

Pa didn’t stop laughing for almost three hours. Then he took a sedative, swigged at the bottle of gin he always kept in the top drawer of his desk, tweaked my nose, ruffled my hair, and said, “Hey, son, that’s great news. But let me tell you this for sure – whatever you do, don’t ever grow up!”

I tried my best to follow my father’s advice but following Pa’s advice is something I’ve never been good at. Over the intervening years I grew up quite a bit. I’m now seven three (in heels), long in the tooth, greying of hair and widening of girth. In fact I’m almost as wide as I’m tall – and with each year I draw closer to an ideal representation of a sphere… I’ve become, at least in one sense of the word, increasingly worldly as I’ve aged.

Yet none of this has changed my perspective on life. My wild ambition remains undaunted, as does my dedication to being happy and to helping others find happiness too.

After that perplexing yet formative episode I needed to decide what to do with my life prior to becoming world leader. These things don’t just happen all at once, you see. They take planning, preparation and patience, patience, patience. So, as anyone might have predicted, my mind turned to the notion of joining a cult. I had come to see that it was my Ma’s turn to laugh so hard that she needed medication and I was confident that this was the way to do it.

People tell you that you should take your time when preparing to embark on momentous journeys, so I took my time. Years later I researched a few cults. There were some I liked, some I loathed, some I found a little disturbing… and some that weren’t even funny. (“A cult that’s not funny!” I remarked to Ol’ Stephanie, my wife. “What’s the point of that???”) Eventually I joined a cult that claimed that it wasn’t a cult at all. It was called the Church of the Third Veil. After three months of orgies and meditation I went home and told my ma. I couldn’t wait to see her face! “Ma,” I said. “You won’t believe what I’ve gone and done!”

I told her all.

Nothing. No response. It was like talking to a corpse in the final stages of putrefaction.

So I embellished the facts a little. “What d’ya think of that, Ma? Pretty amazing, eh? …Ma?”

When that got me nowhere I embellished the facts a lot: techniques, positions, more techniques, more positions, everything – but to no avail. Ma didn’t even break a smile. “Go to it, son,” was all she said – and “That’s my boy!” and “Give ’em hell!”

So I did.


The Church of the Third Veil sacked me some three years later, by which time I was their Spokesman for Alien Invasions, Hostile Incursions, Renditions, Water Boarding, Foreign Affairs and The Environment. As I later told Ol’ Stephanie, this was quite a blow. For a brief few weeks I suffered a diminution of my normally miraculous “h”-factor. The sense of happiness that had kept me ticking over even when the engine of my life stuttered and stalled was still there, deep inside me, throttling hard, but for a scant year or two it felt muted, dulled, daunted by the tribulations of life and time. Had I taken a wrong turn in life? Had it all gone horribly wrong? Was I plummeting into an abyss from whence I could never return? However, being almost perfectly ball-shaped by then, I bounced back in no time at all and came up with an alternative ploy.

After a most peculiar initiation I joined that sinister and litigious cult, the Savantologists. The Savantologists are a very different kettle of fruit and vegetables from the frankly raving Church of the Third Veil – and their path to enlightenment is a very merry and expensive one. But one thing kept me going. The sight of me, Luke Andreski, being enlightened, would be a sure-fired way of making Ma laugh!

So, poorer, thinner, older and wiser I found enlightenment of the Savantological kind… and went home with a great big smile on my face. I went in to my mom and she was there, in the chair she always sat in, and she looked up at me with that look she always gave me, and I showed her the new, enlightened me. “Look ma! It’s me!”

I even did a twirl.

Ma didn’t laugh.

She didn’t even smile.

She just gave me that mean, beady look that any son knows spells truble and said, “Son, your pa’s not very happy…”

“Pa’s not happy?” I tremoloed – all a tremble with worry and doubt and that extra little tingle of fear that I always got when my pa was mad. (What he did to those neighbours when they parked their car in front of our drive is another story entirely…)

“Wh – why, Ma? Why’s Pa not happy?”

“It’s you, son,” Ma said.

“Me, Ma?” I squeaked.

“Yes, you, son.” She looked at me long and hard, then said, “What’s all this following this and following that, son? What’s all this ‘being this’ and ‘being that’? What all this to-ing and fro-ing and um-ing and ah-ing when you were meant to be a force for good, a leader of men, a finder of truths… president, for crying out loud, of the whole wide world? Isn’t that what you said you were going to be? Isn’t that what you told your pa?”

“Ma!” I said. “Why, Ma – !”

There were tears in my eyes. Then there were tears on my cheeks. Then there were tears dribbling down my chin. I wasn’t completely sure whether they were my tears or Ma’s… but after an hour or so of sobbing I took a grip of myself. It hurt. “Ma!” I cried again. “You’re right! Pa may be away with the fairies and the wrong side of the kitchen but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to make him happy – so that’s just what I’m going to do!”

Ma snorted. She rocked to and fro, back and forth, in that old chair of hers, puffing on her pipe. The fragrant smell of Satan’s Finest Gold Blend filled the room. “Ma!” I yelled. “Put that out! You don’t need that!” And then it hit me. It hit me like a meteorite knocking the earth back to the age of the dinosaurs. It hit me like a sack of calf livers dropped from the highest building in the world. What Ma needed, what everyone needed, and what Pa needed most of all, was a simple straightforward route to happiness – one that didn’t need medication or hallucinogens or weird science… or bizarre beliefs or inner circles or a whole load of money and time… just something simple, just something friendly, just something happy… just something nice!

“Ma!” I said, my brain lighting up like a bowl of fruit beneath an impressionist’s brush – “Ma! I know what I’m going to do! It’s obvious! I should have knowd it all along!”

“Oh yes, son? And what’s that?”

“Ma! Ma! I’m going to start MY OWN CULT!”

Ma pulled her pipe from her lips. Her jaw fell. I think I had surprised her for the first time in her life. She looked like a horse that had recently chewed on a wasp.

“I’m going to start a happy cult, Ma! A nice cult! A captivating cult! A cult of happiness and joy! And why should religious folk have all the fun, Ma? With their hymns and their rituals and all their goings-ons and prayers! Ma! I’m going to invent some rituals and hymns and prayers of my own! Rituals and hymns and prayers for everyone. Rituals and hymns and prayers that atheists can do and sing and pray! Rituals and hymns and prayers that agnostics can do and sing and pray! Rituals and hymns and prayers that Christians and Hindus and Muslims and Jews and – and Zoroastrians and Zarathustrians can do and sing and pray! That everyone and anyone can do and sing and pray just to be a little happier! That’s what I’m going to do, Ma! Just you wait and see!”

And my ma’s chair creaked.

Back and forth.

To and fro.

Creak cra-creak  creak.

Creak cra-creak creak.

And then I realised that it wasn’t my ma’s chair creaking at all. No. It was my ma laughing… and my ma laughed like a creaking chair for a very long time.


Happiness – the website:

Happiness – the ebook:



                                (Elsewhere – just try your local Amazon)

Happiness – the t-shirt:




The Maxus Irie Book of Happiness

August 9, 2013






Fed up with

bad news?


Put it all

behind you…



Maxus Irie

The Captivating

Cult of Happiness

and Joy



The Captivating Cult of Happiness and Joy

February 21, 2012


Strong – but want to be stronger?

Successful – but want to excel?

We cordially invite you…

…to join our cult.


The Captivating Cult of Happiness and Joy

Launch: March 2012

© 2012 Luke Andreski. All rights reserved.

The biosphere electric

November 2, 2011


Posted today on Facebook by William Tarkovsky:

“I sing the biosphere electric, the interplay of fin and wing, of limb and exoskeletal jaw, the overwhelming joy of physical existence, the unutterable thrill of existential life. I sing evolution’s scaling splendour, venom, sting and claw. I sing our place as evolution’s mentor, it’s guardian at the door.”