I am in Samael’s voluminous, colorful Renaissance Era library, replete with living manuscripts and old fashioned globes, Newton’s cradles, and turn of the century chemistry sets. He is perusing a shelf on mathematics and philosophy while I read a racy grimoire. He gives me a questioning look.
“You’re looking in the wrong places for answers that existed hundreds of years ago,” he finally says.
I close the illustrations of the spheres of heaven and hell, the Sephiroth and Qliphoth, all on trees of memory and remembrance.
“What do you mean? I thought you were a sorceror. That’s what people summon you for: magic.”
“Science is magic, Allie, and math is the language of the universe,” he opines. “Read over magical charts and correspondences all you want, but true magic is here, in the natural world, in physics and biology and chemistry the laws of the universe. What started in the Persian Empire, with the Sumerians and mathematics, the Egyptians inventing zero, the Greeks charting the stars, it is blossoming in the 21st century. Humanity is at a turning point of scientific revelations: they can choose to embrace their fruiting knowledge, or turn from the dangers of climate change, pollution, and overpopulation. Only one path will lead to true gnosis and heaven on earth.”
“What do you suggest I read then?”
He smiles, overexcited to be teaching me once again as he shifts into his professorial mode, and pulls down a textbook. It is called “Science and Reason,” spanning science and philosophy and the intersection of the two fields, and when I wake up, I google it, finding out it is by Professor Henry E. Kyburg. Samael does that: gives me book recommendations in dreams, only to have the books turn out to be real. The Amazon page reads thus:
In this work Henry Kyburg presents his views on a wide range of philosophical problems associated with the study and practice of science and mathematics. The main structure of the book consists of a presentation of Kyburg’s notions of epistemic probability and its use in the scientific enterprise i.e., the effort to modify previously adopted beliefs in the light of experience. Intended for cognitive scientists and people in artificial intelligence as well as for technically oriented philosophers, the book also provides a general overview of the philosophy of science for the non-philosopher by one of the leading authorities in the field.
“Interesting,” I murmur, reminded of my ethics classes, biostatistics, and computer modeling, not to mention calculus. I reach a section on the nature of probabilities. Sam fingers a passage from an old 18th century book, and I find it is Mark Twain, a quote on science.
“Samuel Clemens knew a thing or two about science,” Samael laughs.
I take that as well, reading the underscored passage:
In the laboratory there are no fustian ranks, no brummagem aristocracies; the domain of Science is a republic, and all its citizens are brothers and equals, its princes of Monaco and its stonemasons of Cromarty meeting, barren of man-made gauds and meretricious decorations, upon the one majestic level!
I close the earmarked, yellowed page and set it down on the rosewood table. “Interesting, so you’re saying I should study less of the occult and more science?”
Samael nods. “Science is where man becomes legend, where angels and demons meet in chemical combustion. All the workings I do is science so advanced, to you it seems magical – crossing time, knowing the future, traveling interdimensional planes, existing throughout the cosmos – it takes practice, but it is science. There are countless dimensions, countless worlds, countless things to discover – here would be a good place to start!”
He stacks antique copies of the Principia Mathematica on top of the Mark Twain collection and Science and Reason. “And this, of course, for fun – you are Heathen, better to familiarize yourself with your ancestor’s tales.”
He pulls an illustrated volume of the Lokasenna written in both English and Runes to crest the stack of recommended reading.
“I expect you to report back to me what you learned from each book.”
“But I’m hardly a mathematician!”
“You’re blessed with mathematical acumen and trained as an analytical biologist. Flex the muscles you haven’t used since college.”
And that was how Satan gave me math homework.