I went to my local baker one morning. I asked him, let's call him Mr. Fitna, for a loaf of his finest bread. I liked Mr. Fitna, because every loaf was better than the last and always had a distinguishing feature.
"Shahid, this is the very last loaf I will make. It is the seal of loafs. Once I give this loaf to you, no more loafs will be made!"
I was perplexed. "But Mr. Fitna, is that really it? Is it really the last in the line of loafs?"
"Yes Shahid. But consider it a blessing. Every loaf I have ever made has been better and different. And every time a new loaf of bread came, you wondered if it really was a true loaf, whether you should stick to the old one or not, or whether to try the new one. Now you know that no loafs will come, you will remember this finest loaf of mine for all time and it will keep you happy until my bakery closes!"
I felt a bit happier. "But Mr. Fitna, you told me that you put a loaf of bread in the freezer, one you made a while ago! Won't I ever get to try that one?"
"Shahid, you have a good memory! Yes, that loaf is in the freezer. It's not my best loaf, but it was ok. I had a bit of it, and saved the rest for later. The day I close my bakery, I will defrost it, we will share it and it will remind us of the beauty of this last loaf I have made today!"
"But Mr. Fitna, won't that make it the last loaf?"
"Don't be ridiculous Shahid. You're having the last loaf today! I made that loaf ages ago, this new loaf I made today. You might taste that loaf later, but it will be the same old loaf. How does that make it the last loaf?"
"I see Mr. Fitna. That makes sense to me."
The following day I went back to the baker, Mr. Fitna, more out of habit than anything else.
"Shahid, I have a surprise for you!"
"Oh yes Mr. Fitna? What is it?"
"Do you remember yesterday I told you that the loaf of bread I gave you was the last loaf? Well, I got one of those buns and slapped it into the tin that I made the last loaf in and here you go, a new loaf of bread, but not really a loaf of bread, more like a shadow of the one I made yesterday. A reflection of its glory. It in no way infringes on the finality of that loaf of bread!"
"Mr. Fitna, you're confusing me. Is this a new loaf or not?"
"Well yes Shahid, but in a shadowy kind of way, and it doesn't have any new ingredients, they were already there!"
"But Mr. Fitna, what are you claiming? Was the loaf of bread yesterday truly the last in the line?"
"Oh Shahid, you are
stupid! How would that loaf be great, if the tin which was used to make it couldn't be used again to stamp out new loaves in its image?"
"Mr. Fitna, you are desecrating the memory of your greatest loaf of bread! The last in the line! No more bread was to be made! And yet here you are with a counterfeit bun in a worthless tin, with no new or changed ingredients?"
"Well no, not quite, I abrogated yeast, so this loaf is incapable of rising up! But I can assure you, this is to me like a second advent of yesterday's loaf of bread, as it possesses all of its qualities. But you know, although the tin has been re-used the once, I don't think I'll use it again, so I threw it away. Now no more bread will come!"
"But Mr. Fitna, you told me that yesterday! Aren't you really saying that the worthless bread you have made today is the last in the line of bread to be made?"
I was really confused. The bread I was offered yesterday had been the best I had ever tasted. And now I was being offered this useless counterfeit, mocking the image of the original, whilst sneakily singing its praises. Everyone could see that it was a shadow of the original in a pejorative sense, not a reflection in the glorious sense. A pale imitation. A fraud. And what was all the circuitous nonsense that Mr. Fitna was contriving to convince and confuse me with?
"If you eat this bread today, you will be showing me how much you loved the best of bread yesterday! Eating this bread will be like a homage to the Signet-Ring of loafs! In fact, I don't believe that you really love that finest loaf, or believe it was the best, unless you eat this loaf today. Only through eating this bread today, can you be assured of being amongst those who thought the bread yesterday was the best ever made!"
"Mr. Fitna, what would you say to all those people who tried that loaf yesterday, but didn't come to your shop today to see this fake loaf? Or those who having heard what you said about yesterday's bread being the best ever made, and the last in the line until your bakery closes, only testified to the tastiness of yesterday's seal of the loafs?"
"Shahid, it's simple. Those who distinguish between the greatest loaf of bread ever made and this new one today, have neither seen it, nor recognised it!"
"Mr Fitna, has anyone ever told you that you're full of...."