Events that unfolded in Shushan, the capitol of the Persian Empire, more than 25 centuries ago, had a traumatic effect on two angels assigned to the operation. Revealed here are transcripts of their sessions with their earthly therapist.

Session I

Angel 2343bx8.5 came to me out of desperation after repeated attempts to obtain assistance through the medical professionals supported by his employer’s benefit plan. As I was of yet unfamiliar with psychological treatment of such beings, I initially hesitated to accept an angel as a patient. However, hearing that this particular angel had been unable to find effective therapy through angelic professionals, and having determined that his insurer was in fact prepared to pay at the top of the fee scale, I accepted him as my patient.

This angel’s appearance bespoke signs of hyperactivity and attention deficit. As well, he swung between the poles of manic depression within matters of seconds. In general, his presence occupied the entire space and riveted one’s attention in such a way that his madness was almost contagious. I, personally, could not handle him for more than twenty minutes at a time.

In our initial session, it was determined that much of this angel’s trauma was due to occupational hazards that are apparently common in his profession. Obtaining an intelligible history, however, remained elusive. An excerpt from the transcript of that session follows:

Therapist: So, already at a young age, you had determined a career for yourself?

Angel: Doc, I can’t describe to you how excited I was as a young angel when I saw the big guys doing all that stuff! I so eagerly awaited the day that I too could mess around with the laws of nature, transforming water into blood, making dirt into bugs, splitting oceans, totally overturning the whole scheme of things just to mess up people’s minds! This stuff was better than playing with a ton of dynamite!

Therapist: So how did your parents react to all this?

Angel: Parents?

Therapist: Oh, yes. Well, your teachers in school, then. What did they think of these destructive tendencies and ambitions of yours?

Angel: They put me on Track B.

Therapist: Track B. I see.

Angel: I was so relieved, because so many of my friends had been forced to enter Track A or C or . . .

Therapist: You’ll have to fill me in . . .

Angel: Track C is really just another branch of Track A, just like D and E. Just that they wanted to make guys feel as though it was some specialty . . .

Therapist: And Track A is . . .

Angel: Exactly! What’s the point? They couldn’t get anybody to enter Track A anymore, so they make up this Track C stuff!! And when that doesn’t work . . . It’s all a game! Just say the truth: Track C is just a mollified version of Track A. But no! Those bureaucrats . . .

Therapist: You’ll have to excuse me, but . . .

Angel: There’s no excuse!! After all, who would want to enter Track A, anyways? Is that what we became angels for? Is that the whole point of having supernatural powers and hyper-frequency energies? They might as well have us pushing paper and filling out forms in triplicate! In fact, I bet that’s what they . . .

Therapist: Excuse me, but I’m human, and . . . just what is Track A?

Angel: That’s the Nature Track.

Therapist: Hiking?

Angel: No. Nature. Like physics.

Therapist: I’m interested. How do they teach physics up there?

Angel: Dull. It’s all the skill of understatement, you see. How to make something real spectacular look normal. Eventually, if you’re dull enough, they pack you off to The Academy of Natural Science. That’s a post-secondary institution where you learn how to make just about anything look normal: orbiting planets, energy fields, even birth and death—those guys can take the most amazing, inexplicable miracles and make them look so normal, nobody will even ask a question. Why, the entire cosmos is being regenerated out of absolute nothingness at every moment, and nobody even wonders about it! Can you imagine?

Therapist: They have a technique?

Angel: Basically, there are two tricks. One is consistency. You know, you do something just once and everybody’s talking about it. You continue doing it over and over like nothing happened, and they take it for granted. It’s a cover-up game. I figured that out without even going to their dumb institution.

Therapist: And the other trick?

Angel: That’s a matching game. Gets a little more complex, but still pretty insipid. You match up behaviors with the features of objects, so that things appear to be behaving according to their own makeup. Water looks and feels like it should flow, so you do that with it and just keep doing it. Stuff that looks weightier gets more weight. Ethereal stuff gets less weight. Eventually, people may even start believing that everything just follows a simple one-dimensional paradigm of cause and effect. Isn’t that crazy? It’s a 26-dimensional universe with 61386 channels of resolution, and these guys make it look like time has only one dimension!

Therapist: Sounds like that takes a lot of skill, ingenuity, knowledge . . .

Angel: And no inspiration. You know who that track is for? It’s for the guy who can make Chopin and Liszt sound like computer-generated trivia. Guys who can take a masterpiece of a landscape and make a six-color paint-by-numbers set out of it. Guys who can transform the world’s most hilarious joke into a bedtime story.

Like Joe Angel. You know, the kid with the bowtie and neatly combed hair? Why, I remember when Joe bought his first fireworks set. He handed out earplugs to the whole neighborhood and made sure to set it off in the middle of the day when nobody was home. At carefully planned, three-minute intervals—just to be consistent. Then he mailed out letters of apology . . .

Therapist: And you disagree with this sort of procedure.

Angel: Blow the neighborhood to pieces, that’s what I say! If you're not going to shock anyone, what’s the point? That’s why they put me in Track B.

Therapist: That’s the destructive track? Like the Angels of Doom type of thing?

Angel: Destructive? Doom? Are you kidding?! Track B are the ultimate angels! Why, if it weren’t for us, humanity would never have survived this long. You would all have been zapped—by totally natural causes, of course—at the very first act of inconsistency.

Therapist: By the Track A guys?

Angel: And Track C. And Track D. Why, if it were up to them, anything that didn’t fit in to a neat, orderly scheme of things wouldn’t exist longer than a nanosecond. They’re all procedural programmers—everything’s got to be real predictable, including the end user. And, as we all know, nothing’s messier than a human being. Bad end users. Bad, bad, bad.

Therapist: And just why are you seeing me then?

Angel: You guys are just so chaotic, wild, unpredictable, mischievous, erratic and totally lovable! Just nothing you do fits into any pattern. You know, there’s nothing in the universe as unpredictable and messy as a human being. That’s why I find you so fascinating. And so do all the other Track B guys. We strongly identify with you. That’s why we're always out there saving your skin at the last moment.

Therapist: Track B is . . . Cognitive Therapy? Object Programming? Chaos Theory?

Angel: Track B is the Supernatural Track. Miracles. Signs, Wonders. Blow consistency and nature out the door! Without us, you guys would be nowhere! Take yourself, for example. You know how many times over the last twenty-four hours one of my friends had to whisk you out of the hands of those nature fiends with an open miracle?

Therapist: I didn’t notice.

Angel: Yes!! Now you’re getting it! You didn’t notice! Nobody ever notices! That’s the whole problem! That’s what we’ve been having to deal with all this time! And it’s driving us nuts. It’s those Nature Fiends, and, doc, there’s nothing we can do about them!!

At this point the angel began raving and ranting until he was about to dissolve into the ether. I quickly called our session to an end, allowing myself enough time for research (and recuperation) before the next visit.

Session II

© Yoram Raanan
© Yoram Raanan

Throughout the week following that visit. I carefully noted incidents in my life that appeared out of the normal pattern. As it turned out, I found myself unable to determine any pattern of normalcy to judge by. Almost nothing was predictable. But, most puzzling, in hindsight all seemed quite natural. This, in itself, opened my mind to hear in greater depth what the angel had to say.

The angel arrived for the next session late and with obvious signs of depression. His wings were visibly more wilted and the glow around his face was rather green. I felt it necessary to direct our conversation towards matters which he found stimulating and uplifting. A significant portion of that session follows:

Therapist: We’ve talked enough about that, now. I’d like to hear a little about your own track, Track B.

Angel: Track B was everything I ever wanted to learn. Basically, it was about how to sabotage the Track A guys.

Therapist: Espionage?

Angel: That’s it! But very hi-tech. Ooooohh! I like it! What was that word you used again? E S P I O N A G E. Yes! We totally messed up everything those guys had so neatly programmed. Doc, it was so neat!

Therapist: Uh, I’m a little worried for the couch you’re jumping on. Perhaps you’d like to walk around a little as you talk?

Angel: ?

Therapist: All right, then maybe just hover.

Angel: Let me tell you how it works. The material world is just a product of layers upon layers of programming and interface, all of which serves to protect the end user from the deep abstractions of higher-level coding. I mean, if you would try to generate this world straight out of the embedded instruction set, there’s no way you could get a physical world out of that. Not even from system native code, or even assembly, or even a 26GL language. You need to totally get away from the native stuff into highly metaphorical and deeply defined interfaces . . .

Therapist: Uh, I’m a psychologist . . .

Angel: It’s okay. You’ll recover. The point is that that’s not the point. It’s that, nevertheless, whatever happens down where you are starts off in much more abstract terms at a deeper level of existence. So by a little messing around with the wiring up there, we can have a major impact on what happens down here!

Therapist: How does that differ from standard physics?

Angel: It doesn’t, really. And that’s the beauty of it. We can blow their whole front and keep the system intact at the same time!

Therapist: Blow their . . .

Angel: Remember? The consistency game! And the matching game! When we start fiddling around with their code, consistency is out the window! And behaviors no longer match object properties! So everybody points and says, “Look! A miracle, a miracle!” Even though everything beforehand was also a miracle. But now they notice it. It totally blows their minds.

Therapist: Whose minds?

Angel: Listen, doc, I’m really not supposed to let any of you material beings in on this, but since I trust your professional confidentiality, and you are my doctor and all, this is our plan: we figure that with enough strategically placed miracles of this sort, eventually the whole cover-up will be shattered! I mean, eventually people will start questioning everything. They’ll see through the whole facade and realize that the whole thing is one blasted miracle!!

We almost accomplished that, you know, back in the good old times. I was just a little guy then, but I got to watch it on the news. They totally blew away the minds of the greatest scientists of their day! And these were humans that knew stuff! They could handle the stick-to-snake, water-to-blood, and even multiple terrestrial amphibian stuff. But when our guys started getting into dirt turning into insects and light becoming thick darkness and stuff like that—they were lost, just lost. Eventually, even the most committed naturalists had to concede the Track A guys are not in charge.

Because they’re not!! They never were! It’s a bloody chutzpah of theirs, parading themselves before the whole world like they’re the ultimate masters of the universe!!

Look, doctor, you’re a good doctor, but if you would hear some interns whispering that you held complete mastery over your patients, wouldn’t you protest? Isn’t that the ethical thing to do? Of course it is. But these Track A guys—ethics? The whole world was putting up temples to worship them, offering them sacrifices, singing and dancing their praises just to get on their good side, and do you think they said a word?! If you don’t mind me saying so, I think they got a big kick out of it!

That’s where we came in—with official orders from the Boss, of course—the Big Boss—and we blew their ploy. Boy, by the time we were finished, that whole country, even their top honcho, knew who is really in charge!

I waited for the patient to descend from the ceiling.

Therapist: It appears this was a major turning point in your life.

Angel: Yes. Look, doc. I'm trying to calm down, but . . .

Therapist: But by the time you got out of school, things weren’t the same anymore.

Angel: You’ve been at this profession a long time, doc. I can tell. You’re two steps ahead of me. No, it wasn’t the same. The whole paradigm had shifted. No more Pharaohs, no more Egypts, no more wild and radical spirits like Moses and Joshua around either. Sure, the Track A cult had suffered some major credibility defeats, but at the same time, our guys had been so shackled with bureaucracy . . .

Therapist: Did you receive a position upon graduation?

Angel: I jumped straight into senior office.

Therapist: And what was your first assignment?

Angel: It was, it was . . . doc . . . I don’t know if I can handle talking about this . . . do we have to?

Therapist: Well, if you want me to help, we’re going to have to come head-on with it at some point.

Angel: Okay. I understand.

Therapist: Was it still in the ancient world?

Angel: Doc, I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know if I can talk about it. It was very traumatic.

Therapist: Whereabouts?

Angel: Persian Kingdom. Asinine king. Clandestine Jewish queen. Megalomaniac advisor.

Therapist: Shushan?

Angel: Doc! No!!! Please! I can’t, I can’t!!!

Therapist: Oh well. It was a good couch.


Obviously, at this point it was necessary to cut the appointment short, once again.

Session III

© Yoram Raanan
© Yoram Raanan

Over the next week, the image of the angel vaporizing my couch and the sound of his high-pitched scream haunted me incessantly. So did his perspective of the true workings of everyday physics. More and more, I noticed in my daily life strange coincidences and eerie, unexpected events. By the end of the week I was looking under the bed, behind walls and up on the ceilings for hidden angels. At times I regretted taking this patient on, as I felt the strain on my own mental health.

By telephone, it was agreed that our subsequent meeting would take place in a sealed and padded chamber. I instructed the angel on relaxing breathing techniques, and suggested he take frequent outdoor excursions and get plenty of exercise to reduce stress and anxiety. Pharmaceuticals were not applicable in this case. Except for myself.

I was pleasantly surprised when the angel appeared on the dot for the appointment, a calm, relaxed aura about him. During our session, he found himself capable of relating incidents lucidly and even with some objectivity.

The following transcript has been edited for the sake of the professional reputation of those involved:

Therapist: Now take a deep breath, and while breathing it out, say, “Shuuuuuushaaaaaaan.” Come on.

Angel: Shu-u-u-u-usha-a-an.

This exercise was repeated several times, until the desired state was achieved.

Therapist: That’s it. Now, let’s start from your initial briefing on the Shushan affair. And remember, if anything seems to be too traumatic to discuss, just repeat this exercise and continue.

Angel: Shuuuuuushaaaaaan. I remember the briefing room well. I sat there with my buddies from our office, guys I really respected and could work together with as a team. And there were these other guys there.

Therapist: Any that you recognized?

Angel: Yeah. One of them was Joe Angel. That's how I figured out they must have been from the “A” Team. But, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what in heaven's name the “A” Team was doing there. This was a miracle job, for earth’s sake!

Therapist: But the project coordinator explained . . .

Angel: He said, well, to tell you the truth, I didn’t really follow what he was talking about.

Therapist: Try to remember. Perhaps you did follow, but you don’t want to remember.

Angel: He said this project was going to be something completely new and revolutionary. A major step forward in the development of cosmos technology. Which I don’t get. I mean, if you want to go forward, what are those “A” guys doing here? This just sounds like more of their stinking bureaucracy, that’s what it is! If they would only let us have some free rein . . .

Therapist: Say with me, “Shuuuuu . . .”

Angel: . . . shaaaaaaaannnnnnnn.

Therapist: Let’s talk in objective terms. Just describe what happened; we’ll keep the judgments for later.

Angel: All right, then. Of course, he described the situation down there. You guys were in hot trouble once again, and we had to jump in and save you. Typical case, except that this was the first time we had to do this on a major scale since the Israelites had left the Land of Israel. But that was no sweat. I mean, Egypt was also outside of Israel, and hey, maybe this was our chance to do a number like that again. I got to tell you about what they did in Egypt when I was little . . .

Therapist: Let’s stick to . . .

Angel: Yeah, okay. The guy asked for suggestions. Of course, our team had great suggestions. And we were fully prepared. We had our charts, portfolios, 3D simulations, all at our fingertips. And there were so many ways to go. Hey, we even had a plan to blow Haman and his entire army off the surface of the planet without causing any harm whatsoever to innocent bystanders! Now if that wouldn’t be an eye-opener, I don’t know what would.

Therapist: Neat.

Angel: But it was knocked down. The coordinator guy pointed out that this didn’t take into account the natural means already at our disposal. Such as the fact that the Queen was Jewish and so on. So I spoke up—’cause it really bothered me to see my buddy’s great ideas shot down just like that—and I asked a simple question.

Therapist: Yes?

Angel: Shuuuuuushaaaaaaaan SHUUUUUUUSHAAAAAAAAN.

Therapist: Are you ready now?

Angel: Okay, look, I should have kept my mouth shut. But they had this planned anyways, I know. So I said, “So if you’ve got all these natural means at your disposal, what do you need a miracle for?”

Therapist: Good question.

Angel: Dumb question. The next thing the coordinator did was turn to the “A” guys and say to them, “So then, how would you fellows deal with this utilizing all the natural means at your disposal? Do we need a miracle after all?” Doc, my buddies were ready to have me evaporated.

In the meantime, these “A” guys are going on and on about how with the proper political push and pull, a few very predictable assassinations here and there, and a touch of palace intrigue, the whole job could be pulled off without any external intervention whatsoever. Who needs miracles, they said. Yes, doc, they actually said that to our faces!

Therapist: Shuuuuuu . . .

Angel: shan. You ain’t heard nothing yet. You see, the coordinator disagreed with them too!

Therapist: That must have been a relief.

Angel: A relief!? It was a nightmare!! If we didn’t get the job, at least we could just walk away and let those guys make a mess of things. Next time, they’d call us back for sure. But no. This guy had the most nefarious scheme you could imagine up his sleeve: he wanted us to work together!!!

Therapist: Stay objective. Tell me his words.

Angel: He said, “Guys, I want you to work together on this and come up with the most original miracle ever. One that breaks none of the standards of team ‘A’, yet fulfills all the requirements set by the Miracles Standards Committee.”

Therapist: You have standards?

Angel: Doc, you’re a nice guy. Don’t say things like that. Of course we have standards. We’re a highly respected professional community. If we didn’t have standards, how could we protect our workforce, our reputation? Any nerd Joe Angel could come along, running some dumb and natural sequence, and throw in a miracle once in a while to keep things working. Now, this guy’s not union, he’s untrained, and he doesn’t pay dues. That's why, if a miracle is to be performed, it has to be done by licensed Track B engineers. And there are basic, minimum requirements. Any miracle performed must:

1) Involve new energy from beyond the standard cosmic system.

2) Be directly under the supervision of the Heavenly Court of Justice.

3) Have its origin in some super-cosmic system that was in existence prior to the completion of the six days of creation.

Therapist: What happened to blowing minds and opening eyes?

Angel: That’s the art of it. You don’t standardize art. Standards are just to keep out amateurs and scabs.

Therapist: And the “A” team, they have standards, too?

Angel: They have substandards. Heh-heh-heh. Why, that’s it, doc! That’s their whole problem! They have so many rules and regulations and red tape—but it’s all on purpose! The whole thing is a cover-up! The Laws of Nature are a conspiracy!

Therapist: But as far as conflict with your standards . . .

Angel: Did you get that, doc? The laws of nature are a conspiracy!! That sums it up in one sentence! And he wanted us to go into cahoots with them! He was demanding unethical collusion!

I was getting nervous. We had only just started the session.

Therapist: Let’s speak objectively again. Let’s think into just where it is that your team and the Track A angels are in conflict. That way . . .

Angel: We have ethics. Can you call what they do ethical? Aside from the collusion bit. Look, I know that’s shocking. It’s outrageous. It’s also the fact. The Laws of Nature have no ethical considerations. They are programmed strictly according to just the highly rationed energy allotted to the cosmos for each specific moment.

Therapist: But this way, there is no conflict of job description.

Angel: That’s how it's supposed to be. But this guy, this coordinator guy, he comes along and tells us we have to break all the rules! We have to make miracles under their supervision. Natural Miracles, he wanted! They wanted energy levels that had never before been allowed into the cosmos to enter quietly and fit into natural schemes! They wanted miracles that took into account all the natural phenomena and didn’t disturb any of them! They wanted physics to act ethically! They had us make focus groups and team confidence-building sessions, white-galaxy-river rafting together. We had to discuss our differences and commonalities and go to parties together. It was sick! sick! sick!!


Therapist: Stay objective now. Lets talk about your success. After all . . .

Angel: SH A A A A A A A A N N N N N N N N N . . . . . . . . . . . .

Therapist: No! Not the padding! We need the . . .

Angel 2343bx8.5 never returned to my office, at least not in that original physical form. It was determined that our next session would have to be by long-distance phone call. That way he would be able to retain a non-physical form, which could withstand extremely high levels of emotional current, and nevertheless continue with our therapy sessions.

The Shushan Files, Part II

© Yoram Raanan
© Yoram Raanan

In the wake of that disconcerting episode with its gruesome finale, the Angel's absurd accusation, "The Laws of Nature are a conspiracy!" rang relentlessly in my mind. Like the inane melody of a country hit played and replayed mercilessly through the speakers of the clinic's waiting room, they began to pervade my consciousness. I had heard conspiracy theories to explain behavioral psychologists, Internet advertising, continental drift and adolescent acne — but the Laws of Nature? As far as I was concerned, it was the laws of nature that paid my bills, ensured the earth would be under my feet every morning and guaranteed that what we doctors knew one day would not change the next. How could a conspiracy be so infallible?

As I have mentioned paying my bills, I should note that collecting payment from the patient's insurer proved somewhat awkward. For one thing, the address supplied simply did not exist in this universe. Fortunately, I was able to ignore this matter, as I had coincidentally received a promotion to department manager at the clinic and come into some extra cash by winning a lottery that very same week.

As for the patient, we had obviously not been able to arrange a subsequent appointment, so I did not know whether I would see him again or not. In any case, it was clear that I was unequipped to deal with Angel 2343bx8.5 without further research. But, search as I may, there were simply no catalogued studies on angels nor on "anathema to natural law."

The solution arrived in the propitious form of yet another heavenly patient, Angel 0112358-13-21... (a.k.a. "Angelo Fibonacci").

His appointment had been set two weeks earlier at 9:30 AM. At 9:25 precisely, he plodded into reception. Bent over deeply, his wings wilted and gray, his presence literally sucked the color out of the waiting lounge. Even the color TV and the National Geographic pictures went black and white. When he finally looked up, I saw it: The bow tie gave him away. Right off, I knew this was someone Angel 2343bx8.5 did not party with.

© Yoram Raanan
© Yoram Raanan

Angelo Fibonacci dragged himself into my office, his nose tracing along the carpet.

Therapist: "Mr. Fibonacci, you are here to discuss your feelings of inferiority, low self-esteem and general worthlessness. How long have you been harboring these feelings?"

A long silence. I waited. Then... very softly...

Angelo Fibonacci: Since Shushan.

T: Ohhhhhyessss

AF: You know about Shushan?

I needed to stay professional. But the excitement was hard to hold down.

T: Just continue with the history. What happened on the Shushan project that aroused such emotions?

AF: It wasn't so much the project. The project was very...well...redeeming. It was... one of the miracle angels. His comments to me were so... hurtful...

Angelo looked up for a moment. His eyes caught something on the wall. For a moment, I thought he was introspecting. I was wrong.

AF: Doc, that bothers me.

T: Tell me about what bothers you.

AF: The picture.

T: The whole picture?

AF: Just the one on the wall.

T: You don't like Ansel Adams?

AF: It's off.

T: Off?

I watched as the picture adjusted itself slightly on the wall.

AF: That's much better. Where were we?

T: Shushan.

AF: Oy. Can we go somewhere else?

T: You seem to associate Shushan with pain.

AF: Your desk.

T: I like my desk the way...

It was too late. My familiar wading pool of papers had already filed themselves neatly into a warehouse foreman's dream of neat, even stacks.

T: How long have you had this compulsion for neatness?

AF: No, doc, please!! I can't take any more of that criticism. It's very hurtful. Why do you think I've come to you? Do you think I was always a depressed angel? No! I used to be very well adjusted. I liked my life. I liked my job. I felt needed. Important. Until I had to work with him and he wouldn't let me alone. That's why I came here. And now, you, too...

He was crying. I've had patients cry in my office before. It's part of the therapy. For me, it's just another procedure. But these tears I couldn't take.

AF: There's nowhere I can go! It's true! It's just as he told me. I said, maybe I've got an inferiority complex. He said, no, you just are inferior, ask any psychologist. And he gave me your number. And I come here and it's true! You agree! I am just inferior and that's it!

Out my window it was pouring rain. I wondered if there was any connection. I also wondered what was going to happen to my golf appointment. I knew I had to think fast.

T: Angelo, that's not true. I haven't provided you with any diagnosis whatsoever. I'm not here to provide diagnosis. I'm here to help. To bring some sunshine into your life. Now let's get to some of those clear, sunny thoughts and wipe those clouds away.

AF: You think my obsession with neatness and consistency is an illness. You don't appreciate just what goes into keeping an entire natural order natural and orderly.

T: I certainly understand it takes a clear, open mind.

AF: Clarity! Gevald!!!

I was failing. Miserably. There was a full-blown thunderstorm happening outside.

AF: It's downright miraculous, that's what it is.

T: Miraculous... but I thought you were...

AF: ohno ohno ohno... what am I doing here? What's this humanoid going to help me? Doc, you don't know the first thing about natural law and order, do you?

T: I'm certainly eager to be enlightened. That's part of my job. So if you care to...

AF: Miracles as you know them-those are just reckless hacking. We create a magnificently elegant finite loop and they go punch a leak somewhere and pour in infinite light from beyond. From outside the system. What's the big deal? They didn't create anything. All their fame and glory rests solely on wrecking what others have accomplished. If The Boss wanted infinite light, He didn't have to make a world. That's what He started with-Infinite Light. A world is supposed to be finite.

That's what they did in Egypt. That's all they had to do at the Red Sea fiasco-they keep boasting about that year after year. Once they even brought down the entire system-we had to throw the entire heavenly body scheme into pause-just because they couldn't bother looking for a more elegant way to finish off a regular battle event.

T: What went into pause?

AF: The sun, the moon, the stars...

T: The sun?

AF: Joshua could have easily won the battle by natural means...but no...they wouldn't listen...

T: So what would have been better about...

AF: Natural means is awesome. It's a science. It's an art. It's the ultimate art. The Boss made it that way and He likes it that way. He even said, after He created it, "It's very good." Not just good-very good. You don't go wrecking something that's very good and beautiful for no reason.

T: But miracles are infinite light.

AF: Miracles are darkness!

T: no... please don't say that.

AF: People see a miracle and they have no clue what's going on. You can't study miracles. You can't make a science out of them. If there were nothing but open miracles, there would be no education, no universities, no professors, no doctors...

T: Oh, that's no good.

AF: People see a miracle and they say, "Hey what?" Then they just walk away and pretend nothing happened. I've seen it over and over. Those Children of Israel that left Egypt, they were broken and oppressed, so they could handle it. But their oppressors never got the point. So what did those miracle maniacs do? They drowned them. You know about those kind of scientists-they drown the specimens that don't match the desired results, right?

The ceiling was leaking real bad. I thought I might soon become one of those specimens.

AF: The point is that if you want people to learn, to grow, to really appreciate the wonders of creation and the Creator, you need nature-not miracles. Take Abraham...

T: Is he coming here, too?

AF: Not a bad idea. But only through natural means.

T: How's he...

The Angel was already fudging with the buttons on my video display — the one I use for educating patients.

AF: How many dimensions does this thing display, anyway?

I had no idea what he was talking about. By the time I figured it out, there was already a three-dimensional display projecting into the middle of the room.

T: Uh, two.

AF: Two? How was I supposed to know. Oh well. Some glitches in the natural order are unavoidable.

Now, here you have little Abraham as a small baby, examining the world about him-the stars, the moon, the sun, the clouds, the wind...

T: Yes, yes. Grandpa told me the story.

AF: ..the rain. And he saw that things happened with a singular order, a design. Nothing was haphazard. He saw it is an intelligent system-even though it superficially looks like inanimate materials. Something like, if I meet a person and I see that he does things with design and intent, I know he's got a mind, right? I mean, it may look like just a hunk of blood, flesh and bones with a chunk of gray meat up in the attic. Intuitively, you would think it's ridiculous that this thing could produce intelligence...

T: Please. Let's just focus on the video...

AF: Good idea, listen to Abraham himself:

Abraham was now older in the video. Old enough to be explaining things to a crowd of people gathered about him.

Abraham: So look at this world! Does it really look like a mess of gods fighting with each other? Don't you see the harmony, the oneness, the synergistic gestalt of it all?

The people were stroking their beards and nodding their heads. There was a wet, burnt smell in my office.

AF: Note the cognitive approach. Highly effective. No need to convince with signs and wonders. People come to realize the truth on their own. Miracles, on the other hand, would just plunge them into confusion.

Abraham: So we see a Single Intelligence involved in all this. The universe is alive with a single soul within it! G‑d is here now!

More stroking of beards. More enthusiastic nodding. Meanwhile, the electronics on my video display were crackling.

AF: You see, if they would know The Boss from miracles, they wouldn't think of Him as here now! They would think the only way He can be here now is by busting reality as they know it. They would think, "It's either G‑d or a normal world-but you can't have both."

Seeing G‑d in nature brings them to an understanding of an imminent, withit G‑d. That's what Abraham's ideas are all about.

Abraham: But that is not all there is to this Single Intelligence. Look deeper and you will see the Infinite within!

At this point, the water level on the floor finally zapped the electronics and the Abraham video along with it.

T: There's really no end to this...

AF: Yes! You caught that. Abraham also discovered there's no end to the depth of this wonder. After all, you are probably asking yourself: If Abraham discovered The Boss through nature, how did he know about the Infinite? You probably think we nature angels have something against infinity, right?

The truth is, we are constantly working with infinity. Just that we have a more mature approach. To them it's a game. To us, it's an art and a science.

T: [looking up] Maybe you could just think of a way of holding back what's coming down from up there?

AF: Yes, doc! Now you're on the ball! That's exactly what we do! From up there, infinite light is pouring down. Our job is to contain the infinite within a finite order.

Like, imagine that up there in those clouds was an infinite reservoir of water.

Now it was me crying.

AF: ...and your job was to make sure only a trickle, just enough for a good deluge, managed to reach the earth. Because, otherwise, there wouldn't be any earth, right?

T: No. Just mud. Sopping, unplayable mud.

AF: So that's the situation we have to deal with. Doc, did you ever notice that the laws of nature are really infinite?

T: Um, can't say I did.

AF: Well, you're a human, so it's not really your fault. But if you would think about it, there's really no reason that any of the laws have to be the way they are. Take Newton's laws of motion. Or Planck's constant. With modification, of course-they're only humans. Gravity, electromagnetism, the nuclear forces. The point is, there's no reason they have to be the way they are. There's no reason The Boss couldn't have done things entirely different.

T: I've noticed.

AF: That means the source of all these laws and rules is unlimited. And they are, too, in a way. You probably haven't realized this, but do you think things were always this way? I mean, since the Beginning?

T: No. Only since you guys started coming here.

AF: Well, they have been. Since the end of the sixth day of Creation, those constants and laws haven't changed. Not one iota. The size of the universe may change. Relative time wobbles around. Light speed is slowing down. Certain higher dimensions have become a little more flat. Chicken soup isn't as effective anymore. But the basic laws and equations that were arbitrarily decided at the very Beginning-none of that has changed even to the smallest quantum. Now how is it possible that these things don't wear out?

T: They're supposed to wear out?

That was a mistake. A bolt of lightning and immediate thunder shook the building. The lights were out. Everywhere. Everywhere except for a mysterious light in my office.

AF: Why shouldn't they? Do you humans take everything for granted? Everything else wears out-because everything is finite. Same with the laws of nature. It all gets sustained from somewhere. So if that source were finite, the laws of nature would be wearing out, get it? So we nature angels, we skillfully manage the channeling of infinite possibilities and infinite energy into tightly defined and limited packages of natural causes.

Now that's what I call beauty and elegance! A nexus of the finite and the infinite! Absolutely wondrous! Not like what those ruffian gangster miracle snobs are trying to push on us-to them it's either/or: Either a finite world or infinite light.

Get it?

T: Uh. I'm just a human. Kind of inferior, you know. I...I just wanted to play golf real bad this afternoon. I really wanted to have an office with an upholstered sofa and lighting and a...a dry carpet...

AF: Oy, doc. Look what I've done! I should have known it was contagious! Next thing, you're going to start talking in mono-spaced type.

T: It's not like I'm a golf fanatic or anything. But all this angel therapy has been driving me nuts. I need a break. If I don't get out there to the match this afternoon, I don't know what's going to happen to me. Look, I don't know why I ever accepted these angel patients. I really can't take it. It makes me feel stupid, incompetent, confused and downright inferior.

AF: You don't need to feel that way, Doc.

T: I'm not inferior?

AF: Being inferior doesn't make you incompetent. Look, I came in here pretty gray and now, well, I'm feeling a lot better about myself, my occupation, my position in the cosmic order...talking things out over here to a non-judgmental human has really helped. You've really brought some... some...

T: Yes, some...

AF: ...some sunshine into my life.

T: aaaahhhhhhhh.

One look outside and I almost jumped out the window. Blue. Big Blue Sky. Birds singing. I spun around quickly and asked:

T: So do you think there's a chance I could even win that game this afternoon?

AF: Win? I thought you just needed some stress release? We don't do winning. If you're good, you win. Given your condition...well. Natural law, y'know, like we were talking. You don't want those miracle hackers mixing into your life, oh no.

T: Oh no. Just that maybe you could make it happen, well, naturally.

The Angel's brow furrowed. He looked at me suspiciously.

AF: Now where did you get this idea of natural miracles from?

T: Well, I got this promotion, for one thing. Not quite the natural thing for a... well, you know my... professionalism issues...

AF: It was a miracle.

T: But it was very natural. And all sorts of other things lately...

Angel shook his head, muttering in muffled tones.

AF: Oh no. Oh no. Wait! Where's your phone?

T: Angels need phones?

AF: Natural means whenever possible, remember?

The Angel had already grabbed a phone from my desk. He didn't dial nine. I don't think he dialed anything, really. In fact, the phone was just a toy one of my kids had left there. But he was talking to someone, somewhere. Another one of those glitches in natural law, I guess.

AF: Pi? Yeah, this is Fibo. No, I have to talk this way. I'm on a mission. Okay, it's a medical leave. But I need you to look up some coordinates. It's at Tof4261º in only 3D at active space. Yeah, way down here. He's a shrink. Not too good. You see any possibilities for promotion there in the last few creation cycles? It's okay, that's what we thought. Look, one more thing: Any signs of hacking? Leaks? System piercing? Nothing. Look, it's okay, I can handle it. Really. I'm feeling much better. We'll talk when I get back.


Angel Fibonacci was back down on his chair, nose back to the ground, wings wilting once again. I could barely hear him mumbling.

AF: He doesn't even ask us. We can't do it. We don't get it.

T: Uh, this is a different matter now?

AF: No. The same one. We're incompetent.

I glanced out the window in trepidation. My worst fears were confirmed. The big, black clouds were on the horizon, swiftly returning. I had to think fast.

AF: We do nature. They do miracles. Somehow, for some reason, He wants both. At once. But He's the only one that can do that. So He just bypasses us. We become superfluous. Redundant. He does it all Himself.

T: You mean, like my miraculous promotion.

AF: It's impossible. He breaks none of the Laws of Nature, and at the same time, He breaks all of them. It all remains finite and at the same time, He reserves infinite possibilities-He gets whatever He wants. Nobody can figure it out. He wanted us to do just a small mockup of that in... in... that place...

I knew better than to fill in the name. I was wracking my brains. I knew that this was it. Either I was a therapist, or I was going the way of Pharaoh's army. I put everything I had into it. I don't know where the words came from — and I knew I was really risking it — but I truly believe those words saved my life.

T: Fibo, look, you explained very nicely all the advantages to neat, consistent patterns of nature. It makes for an understandable reality and brings wonder into focus. It makes the unknowable very knowable. It makes the infinite imminent.

But there was a friend of yours here a few weeks ago that had a very good case for miracles. You have to understand his argument.

He was still listening. He didn't crack up when I said that.

T: Miracles are when the Infinite comes out in the open. Not just the background. Miracles get people to question their whole take on reality. Us humans need to be shaken up once in a while. Miracles show there's something beyond, something transcendent.

AF: So you think they are better than us, after all. They're the real angels and we're just nerds, right?

T: I think that each of you has something to offer. Now if you could get it together to do something real special... like a miraculous nature or maybe a natural miracle... that could truly be deep and beautiful.

AF: You want imminent and transcendent all at once. Infinite and finite in a single package.


AF: Well, I suppose, to The Boss, they're just two modalities of the same Power of Being.

pause. A few quivers of the wings.

AF: So, you think, if we talk it through, we might be able to create some synergy. Like a miracle that permeates the natural realm. Or a state of nature that is only a veil for the miraculous. Crisp and natural on the outside, miraculous and chewy on the inside.

T: Actually, I was just thinking you might want to start with my golf par.

AF: Perhaps. But that may still be beyond us. We have to leave some things for Him and Him alone. But maybe, in Shushan...

He said that with an astonishing calmness. It was the first time I heard that word without a trace of anxiety or hysteria. In fact, he even smiled. I noticed a twinkle in his eye. And then he was gone.

I checked out of the office with just enough time to make it to my game. The turf was surprisingly dry for such a stormy morning. Bill and Dave played fairly, but my game was downright impressive. I guess all that training and perseverance finally paid off. I guess.

© Yoram Raanan
© Yoram Raanan