Mark Twain died a hundred years ago this year, and his final novel, No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger, was left unpublished at his death. My friend Bob from NYC recommended I read it, and since we’ve reached the mid-term of the 44th American president, I thought at least the numbers lined up. It also occurred to me that I was 44 years old when my ego “died”.
It’s an action/fantasy/gothic story set in medieval Austria, though with a time traveling wizard, plenty of 19th century America makes it into the tale as well. Twain was attempting to set out his metaphysical views, and it has plenty of fascinating little synchs, such as his Austrian villain was named Father Adolph, who’s character was based upon Twain’s unfavorable impression of Dr. Karl Lueger, leader of the anti-Jewish Christian Socialist Party and Burgermeister of Vienna.
The book contains Twain’s usual criticisms of organized religion and the futility of a dualistic, adversarial approach to reality.
“This version also introduces an idea Twain was toying with at the end of his life involving a duality of the "self", one being the "Waking Self" and the other being the "Dream Self". Twain explores these ideas through the use of "Duplicates", copies of the print shop workers made by No. 44.” --wikipediaAn odd dream of a few weeks ago pre-conditioned me to accept this idea: I had a vivid impression of being a captive patient in a hospital, and the doctors wanted me to go somewhere to get a needed treatment, but I steadfastly refused to go. I remember thinking of this treatment as being like in prison, and they wanted me to go back, and I did NOT want to go back! So they distracted me and suddenly jammed a hypo in my arm, which almost immediately put me to sleep, and as my subconscious self drifted off, my conscious self became awake.
Twain’s “Duplicates” had a very similar idea of the waking state - it was like prison, to be chained inside a rotting body of flesh, when they could be out exploring the galaxy at the speed of thought! According to Twain, I am indeed me, myself and I. (Thanks to the Happy Creatures for recently pointing out 111 symbolism).
In the end, 44 reveals himself to be a Shiva/Satan/Light Bringer character, who’s main purpose was to show August the deceptive illusions of his culture and his own mind, the teachings of the Catholic Church being the most egregious example. 44 teaches August about the dream nature of reality, that in fact there is no thing at the center of every particle and universe, except a mere thought. As August accepts this, even 44 begins to fade away, a creature of his own imagination.
"In a little while you will be alone in shoreless space, to wander its limitless solitudes without friend or comrade forever--for you will remain a thought, the only existent thought, and by your nature inextinguishable, indestructible. But I, your poor servant, have revealed you to yourself and set you free. Dream other dreams, and better!"As another illusionary election comes to a close, I ponder the nature of duality and bi-partisan politics. How odd that at first the nation saw Obama as their savior, and now many see him as the devil incarnate. In the book, Twain's No. 44 impersonates a third-rate wizard in order to raise the wizard's standing amongst the locals. The wizard dressed the part and seemed to have a kind of mystical aura around him, though he had no actual magical powers, except when 44 was "playing the wizard".
Our own "44" is fond of playing the wizard, though he must privately wonder when something like the Norway Spiral occurs. Has Obama read Twain's dream novel? Does he know that the wizard is likely to be burned at the stake by an angry mob of
Row row row your boat
gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream.
The Mysterious Number: "Mark Twain’s rationale for this arresting number-name is not certainly known, though there are some interesting clues, not the least of them being Twain’s early acquaintance with the two Levin boys in Hannibal. They were the first Jews he had ever seen, and they seemed to him ‘clothed invisibly in the damp and cobwebby mould of antiquity’. The youths of Hannibal JOKINGLY nick-named them ‘Twenty-two’, that is, ‘twice Levin’.”
"For Carl Jung, four or a multiple of four symbolized psychic wholeness. “The number forty-four would intensify this significance. (C. G. Jung, Man and His Symbols). Mark Twain’s work of course antedates Jung’s, however, Jung did not claim to have invented the signification of fourness, but only to have elucidated it as an abiding symbol of the whole personality, the greater Self that includes both the conscious and unconscious mind."
Mark Twain made an appearance in STNG - "Time's Arrow" and I recall that he deliberately left a pocket watch of his in the ground, to be found by people in the future. He also explicitly told us to seek him in his books. I wonder... was Samuel Clemens a time traveling shape shifter?
Very curious that I am experiencing difficulties with a 3D file called Orion 2 right now. Orion is the hunter.
A list of 44 meanings at Star Theory (scroll through conspiracy land to bottom).