For the life of me, I don’t understand what got into me for even laying eyes on this book aside from one reason that I am not really proud of. I admit that I was officially a huge fan of that notorious local writer Jessica Zafra. Was. I’m putting a stress on that word. In her essays, she always mentioned what a wonderful book this is. She kept on yakking about it. She was a high school geek; she can’t help touching this book about the young King Arthur.
A few months back, I chanced upon this book talk hosted by none other than my once favorite local writer. The talk was about favorite books. There were various guests from various spheres of the society. There’s a Colombian national whose favorite was Love in the Time of Cholera. There’s this weirdo who claimed Naked Lunch as his favorite. And he didn’t even finish reading it yet. Huh? There’s also an ex-senatoriable who lost. I forgot his favorite book.
Then the question and answer portion from the audience took place. One posh-looking yuppie asked what books aside from The Catcher in the Rye does Zafra often return to. She answered nonchalantly The Once and Future King. I squirmed a bit. I read that years ago.
Alright, I admit it. I read this because Zafra recommended it. I was also a high school geek, but not as geeky as those science fiction readers that I only hear about. I never really talked to one. Now that I think of it, my class didn’t have a lot of readers and geeks. I was terminally unique at that time.
So I gave this book a chance. I have not a lot of idea who King Artur was, and this enlightened me. I have to admit as well that I was hooked to the book. I’m not a reader of medieval adventure stories, but I think there’s more this book offers.
There’s unrequited love. There’s infidelity. There’s trust and betrayal. Friendship. A lot of larger than life issues are embedded in the chapters. I particularly love one chapter. It’s about the seventh sense.
We all know, as good students in the elementary class, that the five senses are sight, hearing, smell, taste, and feeling. The sixth sense is not the paranormal sense, contrary to popular belief. It is the sense of balance. It could actually be a subset of the sense of hearing since balance relies on the ears. Thinking about that, the paranormal sense could also be a subset of other senses, especially the sense of sight.
Going back to the seventh sense, the author said that it is the sense of the knowledge of the world. It is unlike the other six senses that can be grasped at an early age. The seventh sense can only be achieved at the middle age or so.
It would take a lot to explain this seventh sense, but I’ll try my best. The seventh sense is achieved when we stop asking about morality and we learn to condone immoral things as the most mundane of daily activities. At a young age, we all know that a married man sleeping with another married woman is not right. When we stop caring about whether it is right or wrong, when we accept that this act and other similar ones take place under our noses, when we just sigh when hearing about such, when we stop seriously thinking about them, we already have achieved this seventh sense.
The seventh sense operates differently. It is almost a life-long process. One needs to gather a lot of experience to achieve it. When our souls have weathered the whims and caprices of time, we will have this intuitive knowledge of having gained it.
I barely talked about the book, but that single chapter is promising enough. It’s not even a whole chapter; it’s just the opening paragraph of that chapter.
I even pegged an amateur short story on this seventh sense. It really captured my philosophical aspirations. So I typed my story and submitted it as an entry to the annual literary awards of our university. I was a runner-up. I lost.
I was a freshman then. I guess I didn’t have enough knowledge to win then.