A rendering of Leviathan. Source.
This week: Raise you five," said Waterhouse, throwing down another five-ton note," page 715, to page 729, "Don't you remember any of the last ten minutes?" said Hagbard.)
I feel a bit stuck in this week's episode; much is explained, but I don't really see how to talk about it without putting a bunch of spoilers in a blog post.
But I do think this section has a passage has a pretty clear exposition of one of the book's main themes, a political and spiritual libertarianism of "do not lay your own trip on others." It comes during Ms. Portinari's Tarot reading, when she is talking about the Buddhist concept of the Wheel:
The most important lesson of all, the one that explains all the horrors and miseries of the world, is that you can get off the Wheel at any point and declare the trip is over. That's okay for any given man or woman, if their ambitions are modest. The trouble starts when, out of fear of further movement — out of fear of growth, out of fear of change, out of fear of Death, out of any kind of fear— such a person tries to stop the Wheel literally, by stopping everybody else. That's when the two great bum trips begin: Religion and Government. The only religion consistent with the whole Wheel is private and personal; the only government consistent with it is self- government. Whoever tries to lay his trip on others is acting from terror, and will soon resort to terror as a weapon if the others won't accept the trip through persuasion. Nobody who understands the whole Wheel will do that, however, for such people understand that every man and every woman and every child is the Self-Begotten One—Jesus motherfucking Christ, in Harry's gorgeous brand of English."
Also, reading this 14-page chunk of the book with its explanations tying together many of the plot strands reminds me that many of my favorite works of fiction are big works: Works that create their own world. I'm thinking of Illuminatus!, of course, but I'm also thinking of works such as Ulysses (which covers the events of one day, but which contains so much, people are still trying to figure it out); The Lord of the Rings (which according to Tom Shippey, Tolkien thought of in a way as a true history of a world), Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susannah Clarke, Neal Stephenson's long novels, and the way that modern science fiction is dominated, as Eric Flint writes, by series, entire groups of novels. Readers want to immerse themselves into another universe.
And don't you love Joe's realization of the universe all of the characters are in, and the description of the authors as the Secret Chiefs? (Page 722.)
(Next week: End of Leviathan and beginning of the appendices! "George was thinking. He remembered something," page 729, to page 742, "call Gold and Appel Transfers and leave a message," page 742.)