“How I shall admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult, when I behold so many proud monarchs, and fancied gods, groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness; so many magistrates who persecuted the name of the Lord, liquefying in fiercer fires than they ever kindled against the Christians.” Tertullian, 160-225 AD “Here there is no hope, and consequently no duty, no work, nothing to be gained by praying, nothing to be lost by doing what you like. Hell, in short, is a place where you have nothing to do but amuse yourself.” Bernard Shaw 1856-1950 “I dreamed I was awakening from another dream—an uproar of chaos and cataclysms—into an unrecognizable room. Day was dawning: light suffused the room, outlining the foot of the wrought-iron bed, the upright chair, the closed door and windows, the bare desk. I thought fearfully, ‘Where am I?’ and I realized I didn’t know. I thought, ‘Who am I?’ and I couldn’t recognize myself. My fear grew. I thought: This desolate awakening is in Hell; this eternal vigil will be my destiny. Then I woke up, trembling.” Jorge Luis Borges, 1899-1986 Tertullian, damp with fear, awoke from yet another nightmare. Then—by small, stirring degrees—relief slowly entered his blood and from there his heart as he realized that he had, yet again, managed to escape. Day was dawning: light suffused the room, outlining the foot of his bed, a high-backed chair, a writing desk, a water carafe, empty now, a roll of papyrus which, he knew, held his unfinished exposition of Hell. But for all these things, the room was unrecognizable. He looked around again, tardy sleep lingering, making the room shift slightly each time he blinked, and he thought fearfully, “Where am I?” He realized that he didn’t know. He thought, “Who am I?” He realized that he did not know, that he did not recognize himself. He looked down at his hands: they were not his hands. He looked at his feet: they were not his feet. His fear grew. He thought: This desolate awakening is in Hell, true Hell, I have descended into in my own creation. I have built myself this cage. This eternal vigil will be my destiny. I am here to stay. With that thought, the world grew air-less and he could inhale nothing but panic. And with that breath escaped the last vestige of relief. Then he awoke. Trembling and clammy he threw his eyes wide open to the dawning day, light suffusing the room, outlining: as he looked down, the foot of his bed; as he looked to his right, his high-backed chair, his writing desk, and upon it the water carafe, not quite empty. Also upon the desk: the roll of papyrus he knew held his as yet incomplete exposition of Hell. Then he remembered: Hell. Unfinished Hell. Sleep crept into his room unbidden, had embraced him and then wrestled him out of his chair and onto his bed, demanding a moment, just a moment, just a moment. He heaved himself up onto his right elbow, looked around the room and for a heartbeat wondered whether he was to wake up from this dream as well. Then he sat up all the way. He touched his face and recognized the jutting chin. His fingers. His chin. The now stubbly, harrowed cheeks were his too. And so were his hands: his hands. His feet: his feet. Even so, he rolled the rough hem of the blanket between his fingers to feel the coarse fiber almost like sand against his skin: yes, this was his blanket, and these were his fingers, yes, and this was his skin. He rubbed the blanket against his cheek, then across his forehead, and again to make sure he was truly awake. He was.