This district was one of Seven Wonders,
According to travellers and geographers
Drawn to admire anything large scale,
And best seen, as I now did, in September,
When the summer smogs have lifted a little.
This year, with the drought, vistas and views
Were enhanced by a superb visibility
That often extended for many metres,
Not that I understood what I observed.
What did all these pipes and boilers mean,
And what liquids filled these vats and tanks?
To what purpose moved the wheels and the drums,
Clattering machineries and conveyor belts?
My powers, had I bothered to exert them,
Might have brought up detailed schematics,
But you needed no Moses or Mahomet
To divine the one goal that drove it all.
The goal was, I reflected, the same goal,
The same single-minded pursuit of wealth,
That impelled me, that gave motion to my limbs.
All the sinews and joints, muscles and bones,
That bent, flexed and stretched to walk me along
Were informed by the same ulterior motive.
They did their job, worked for greater glory.
You were, then, at this point still composed
Of normal human tissue, and not yet
Made with many clockwork wheels and springs?
Clockwork? Where have you been, Marguerite?
I may be more advanced in age than desired
In the latest of electronic fashions,
Burdened with an antiquated memory
Corroded by exposure to heavy damp
And by early onset obsolescence,
But I'm an artifact, not a fossil,
A fake parrot, not a pterodactyl.
And though profound changes were underway,
Were already proceeding in clumps of cells
In the dark recesses of liver and lung,
Proceeding with work without my knowledge,
Betrayed only by soft, muted chuckling,
This wasn't where my attention was fixed.
It was self-improvement that I now addressed.
It was a question, I saw, of attitude,
Of proper focus and orientation.
Consequently, as I approached the Temple,
I made careful mental preparations,
Jettisoned unhealthy scepticisms,
Aligned my faith to closely correspond
With that of the natives of proud Nineveh.
To fail to accept that faith is folly;
Those who fail to observe it will be observed
To fail in every endeavour pursued.
Yes, I perceived well how things were done.
Do you speak again of numerology?
No, but the thought is not unrelated.
It's the idea that by thinking alone,
That by sheer force of personality,
A man can succeed in any ambition.
You need only talk yourself into it.
Known as the power of wishful thinking,
It's dogma for all who'd prosper here.
None who work to transmute lead to gold
Can afford not to embrace this teaching,
And those citizens who do not so work,
Do not work at all, for transmutation
Is Nineveh's only working industry.
And what is it that changes lead to gold?
The philosopher's stone, said Marguerite.
We learned that in elementary school.
And of what is the philsopher's stone made?
Confidence, of course. The confidence game,
In Nineveh, is the only game in town.
Wishful thinking is nothing but fantasy
Without confidence to energize it,
To arouse it into purposeful action,
To inflate it into a lifesize doll.
What else exists to give appearance depth?
What else anchors our fondest constructions?
Confidence is the Godhead's own substance,
The pact that binds the atoms together,
Keeps them packed, stuffs up creation's cracks.
Without confidence, civilization falls.
The highrises topple, factories close,
Traffic slows and brakes to a complete stop.
It's all that secures our prized possessions,
Prevents them from crumbling back into dust.
Without confidence, there'd be no selling,
No advertising and no promotion,
No plastic packaging for fine products,
No cosmetic to paint our faces hale,
No preservatives to embalm our foods
Against the retreat of gold back to lead.
And it's the one essential ingrediant
To a happy, healthy and prosperous life.
If I were to succeed in my bold ambitions
And to see my career flourish in Nineveh
I would have to ingest its tenets entire.
Yes, I perceived how things were done here.
Prophecy was only the first step for me,
And I hoped in time to work my way up,
To become a scam broker, buy and sell,
Trade scams on the Nineveh scam exchange,
Or start my own alchemical company,
Put out an initial public offering
And promptly retire on the rich proceeds.
Liber Jonae Contents