1 Book and back cover
5 Philosophy – The long-awaited fusion of Hgel and Marx
6 In the tent camp of the Prince / The new Islam?
290 pages; e-book 460 pages
Reading 1 First capter
Reading 2 The Sidhi
Reading 3 The Pearl of the Orient
Wald is a race against time, an old magician, the Rationalists, the Prince, the Leader of the Free Arab Tribes, the Pearl of the Orient and the most sought-after terrorist in the world, the late Mr. Osama bin Laden for the key of the world.
In his magnum opus, Grow proceeds from the assumption that even at the beginning of the Third Millennium, the perennial questions, such as the meaning of life, the soul and the nature of God but also questions about society, individuality and the state are still open.
Liberated from the zeitgeist, escaped from a pointless life of parties, sex and drugs, the double lottery grand prize winner Wald Whittman follows an amazing series of coincidences to his uncle’s estate, where he goes to recover, on to India and into the far north of Kashmir, where everything which was revealed to him in the loneliness of his uncle’s estate at the Grossrussbach coalesces and turns into an enduring lesson. Is he really the long-awaited prophet that people think him to be? Will the angel appear on the stroke of midnight to prove his authenticity? For Wald, prophets, magic, angels and an Allah who exists outside our world are all nonsense. The fanatical terrorists who have imposed a fatwa on his friend Maher and are hot on Wald’s heels from Vienna to Kashmir, have a completely different notion about those things, as well as the nameless, irreligious narrator who Wald has asked to write down this story and intervenes in it actively. In the foreground of the full-fledged, witty, enlightening discourse about existence and appearance, in the company of the retired, comical, cold-blooded US Californian Craig McNealy, who accompanies the entire story, Wald meets an old magician, the Rationalist, the leader of the Free Arab Tribes, the most dangerous man and most sought-after terrorist in the world, the late Mr. Osama bin Laden, and in the care of the Prince and his mujahideen, the Pearl of the Orient, the love of his life, the one he has been seeking as long as he can remember. The adventure, love and coming-of age novel Wald – Prophet at a Loss opens a risky Pandora’s box: no end of question that people today are afraid to ask, stream into the course of the story and condense into thrilling, amusing and amazing dialogues, revealing a new worldview and cosmology which seems not only to be more intact, but even more beautiful, meaningful and worth living. Can Wald, after Goethe’s Faust, Hesse’s Siddhartha, Castaneda‘s Don Juan and after everything we know, be an integral milestone of a new era, a new art and a new science? An extraordinary, multi-faceted, amusing read, nothing to shy away from, and a must in anyone‘s book collection.
Philosophy -The long-awaited fusion of Hegel and Marx
Wald – Prophet at a Loss is a novel in George Grow’s Books of Life series, one which carries his Integral philosophy, the “Scientific Integralism”, into the intersection between a new grasp of spirituality, individual, state and politics.
In some ways, it starts out in the tradition of novels of self-discovery such as William Somerset Maughm’s The Razor’s Edge, likewise set in India, or Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf, which also starts out with a disillusioned young European man looking for meaning outside his familiar social surroundings.
But the protagonist, Wald Whittman, finds himself cast as much of an enlightener as one seeking enlightenment, a predicament also reflected in Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King, whose recurring question “Why did I go to Africa”, is reflected in the query that our narrator poses to the protagonist “I wondered why you went to India”.
Wald is told in the second person. Our nameless narrator, a childhood friend of the protagonist, has been hired to record and note his adventures. Wald himself has dabbled in writing, business ventures and the social life of Vienna. He has also been involved with persons politically active in Egypt and the Middle East, more as an adviser than as an active figure. Over time, he senses that this milieu is draining him and he seeks escape, first to his family estate where he soon senses that he is being drawn elsewhere, and finds himself at the airport, simply because the lyrics of a song on the radio directed him there.
At the airport, he comes into possession, by sheer chance, of a ticket to Delhi and resolves to take advantage of it immediately. There he meets a travel agent who recommends that he visit Lake Dal in Srinagar, in the disputed province of Jammu and Kashmir, a melting pot of cultures and religions and a disputed area since the 1300’s, where armed Indian and Pakistani forces maintain an uneasy truce to this day.
In this melting-pot of Moslem, Hindu and Buddhist culture, Wald comes to visit the tomb of Yuz Asaf. According to an Islamic tradition, Jesus‘ brother was crucified in his place and he fled to the region, accompanied by his wife, Miriam, where they raised a family. This is reminiscent of Dan Brown’s The DaVince Code, which reminds us that there are many more legends of Jesus than made the final cut for the New Testament, and lead to an even greater interweaving of religious traditions, such as legends of the Buddha visiting Byzantium.
The story switches back and forth between Vienna and Srinagar as the narrator relates stories about Wald’s life and existence in Vienna and how they shaped his views and character. The narrator starts to come across a bit like Sherlock Holmes‘ Dr. Watson; perplexed but in admiration of his partner who, in his eyes, despite or precisely because of his „spiritual mood“, can afford an enviable life with beautiful ladies, excessive parties and extended journeys. Both are closer to Karl Marx than to the Pope of Rome.
The workwise relationship between the protagonist and the narrator is not like the one between Marx and his lifelong friend and mentor Friedrich Engels, who arrived to the same results in his examination. Unlike Engels, our narrator is skeptical and scrutinizing, and he accepts payment for his support. However, what Wald and Marx have in common is the conviction that the people “vanish” the more the state (with its rational legislation) takes possession of them and makes national subjects out of them with the result that the creative power which first makes man human is atrophied in them. In capitalism, not evolution but production is the center of all activities – a perversion that do not only destroy the environment and the global peace, but men themselves. Without that they need to be clear of this matter, men experience themselves as non-creative subjects, and in this form, they face off the fellow people as well alienated from themselves. Only from this point of view, Wald is glad that fanatical Islamic terrorists drive him before them – a chase that brings him to Kashmir, India – and that way, he escapes “the mop obsessed with ideological apparition”.
Interestingly, as Marx in his days, Wald operates with the idea of a revolution. However, the „exploited and mentally paralyzed masses“ need a theory that helps them to „overturn all relationships“. Wald wants to give them this intellectual weapon, but unlike Marxism, this weapon is not violent and not pointed at capitalists, but wakes up all those who suffer from it, but doing nothing, or to use Wald’s beautiful picture: „The head of this emancipation is the head and the heart of it the belief that jointly everything becomes (not worse, but) better“, whereby“ head“ is defined as his own philosophy and „heart“ as the meaning of life (evolution) inclusive real Democracy.
But in one thing he and the „authoritarian hothead and anti-Semitic drunkard“ Marx cannot cope: it is their conception of the sacred world. „Marx,“ he dictates to his friend, „did his work as a critic of faith and denominations and not as a critic of spirituality“. In other words: Although the matter is timeless, uncreated, as Marx and before him Hegel stated, is „the first, fundamental and eternal principle,“ materialism does not exclude Hegel’s Mind of the world as the spirit and the consciousness of matter, which becomes even more and more conscious with „the mind, the eyes and the hands of man“.
For Hegel, Marx and for Grow, history has meaning and purpose. But not only God, „the living universe,“ not only the working man, the proletariat, and not only the capitalist willing to invest are the motor of the processes in the universe, but they all as well as the natural processes are the engine of evolution.
In his grow – already Hegel stated – the Mind is used to use great personalities, because they push development quickest. One of them – Wald Whittman – arrives in Kashmir on March 31, 2008, where a series of individually appointed coincidences continues and culminates all of his existence in one spot and meaning. But „not only the Mind inspires man,“ as he says to the Sidhi, „also man inspires the Mind – even if this happens in both directions in the rarest case noticeably.“
Our anonymous narrator is still skeptical – even against Wald’s undoubtedly ingenious inventions, of which there are so many that he could fill eight showrooms and sell them almost entirely to investors. „Inspiration is just the beginning”, he tells the Prince and his charming niece. „We are constantly inspired by things and people. But only when the relations to them are consistent and numerous, they can be an indication of the world and its nature“ – a rare matter, since religion is a reactionary, idealistic and not integral matter to this day.
Wald’s biographer struggles to continue his work. Already Hegel exceeded the limits of knowledge drawn by Kant. He spoke of a world spirit, but did not provide visible evidence of the existence of such a being. Therefore, for him, as Bertrand Russell already objected to Hegel, there is no logical reason for believing this philosophy to be true in the end.
But the events roll out one pinnacle after the other, such as the identity of physics and metaphysics, the integral value, the course of man and humanity in three phases – culminating in the integral theory of history – and the cult of culture as the key for integral experience in which the „living universe“ speaks in „body language“ to us – with signs, with “arranged” coincidences and also with miracles that do not blast the physical law but the limits of expectation and possibilities.
Only when the narrator becomes involved in the events, as we can find them in the lecture today, and he is demanded to be a great personality himself, a second view open to him and makes the world understandable beyond the things. But even that must be doubted – as one can doubt even Mohammed, as he notices in the small tent village of the Prince. „Everything can be believed or doubted until you have experienced it first hand.“
Under the pressure of events, Wald’s exciting, dangerous, but at the same time, amusing and liberating adventure raises further conditions of his claims. Either they are picked up by any figure – as the magician, the Sidhi, the Prince, his eerily-prominent guest Osama bin Laden, by the boatswain at the pier or by the cold-blooded photographer from Pasadena – in vigorous-humorous debates or they are presented in meaningful scenes and events speaking for themselves.
Will he find in the mighty prince – as Marx did it in Engels – a partner for his revolution of consciousness?
After this report is completed, our narrator will start other book projects with Wald. They will appear as a series titled Books of Life and deal with the „scientific Integralism.“ Both non-fiction and entertaining prose will arise, highlighting those issues which are lagging far behind: democracy and spirituality rather than ideology and religion.
In the Prince’s tent camp / The new Islam?
The Prince and Leader of the Free Arab Tribes pursue an ambitious plan: He keeps a watch on the Arab Spring spreading across the countries and in this climate, a chance to build a new state with himself at the head. Like a hawk, he watches at the danger posed by the new formation of al-Qaeda and other extremist insurgents, who would not be Muslims but abusing Islam for their „diabolical ends“. Based on this assessment, the Prince and his prominent host, the late Osama bin Laden, understand each other excellently. However, what separates them is the idea of how to respond to the changing circumstances: Osama wants to defend al-Qaeda, which is sliding more and more from his hands, against the new power and its false prophets, and the Prince is going to define the challenges in the Islamic world with a new reformist, radical movement: The traditional currents in Islam would not be timely and would have to be replaced by an „enlightened understanding of Islam“, the principles of democracy and human rights, as in the Western world in the wake of humanism and Enlightenment had been developed. The Koran would have to be read historically-critical and was not the Pillar of Islam, but the Five Pillars of Islam would be the Pillars and also the Prophets of Islam – hence the word „Power of Rituals“. Spirituality shall replace the old book and religion of law, and in the category „good action“ (ihsān) evolution ought to be included as the main criterion and the meaning of life. According to the vision of the obese Prince, millions of liberal Muslims from all parts of the Islamic would come in his new state and bring it to fruition. In order to put the finishing touches to his high-flying plan, he has invited Wald to visit him. Wald accepted his invitation only because of his recent dream. However, the Prince knows the ancient prophecies, according to which the long-awaited Prophet and Innovator of the Islamic world is to appear in Kashmir these days. After he was informed of Wald’s arrival, he sent Christian to locate the alleged „Prophet from the occident“ and bring him to the small temporary tent village in the nocturnal wasteland of the Himalayas.
What follows is one of the longest, but also most exciting and diversified scenes in literary history, which takes place in the Prince’s little tent town on more than 100 pages. All around the splendor tents, there is nothing but darkness, lurking dangers and biting uncertainty. The whole world with its questions and needs seems to press from outside against the princely tent on the small embankment near the ostensible groundless cliff. Expected is a squad of bloodthirsty warriors, a pack of murderous terrorists, who have been sticking hard on Wald’s heels for weeks, a late onset of winter, which makes an escape seem impossible, and the Midnight Angel who, according to the ancient prophecy, is to confirm Wald as the long-awaited and long-desired Prophet.
In the dim light of smoking candles, Wald meets not only the boastful Tribal Leader and his polygamous wife, the most dangerous and most wanted terrorist in the world, boxes full of weapons and ammunition, but also a voluptuous belly dance group and not least his long-awaited and long-sought love, whom, despite the silky thread on which his life is hanging, Wald is seeking to unravel her princely uncle ——– beyond all an humorous adventure through all layers of life, in which it never matters what a man can or cannot believe.