Who was Ignatius P. Dufreis, and why have you never heard of him?
Ignatius Dufreis was a contemporary scholar known at one time for his expositions on the neo-trinity of “sex, drugs, rock-n-roll”, and the deleterious effects engendered by adoration/emulation of this trinity on society. He later developed the theory that modern, secular society was, through its decadence, (a decadence largely brought on by attempting to attain the false paradise promised by “sex, drugs, rock-n-roll”), developing what he called the “artificial mind”, which he identified with Lucifer.
Briefly almost famous, (or, more correctly, almost infamous, as his jaded, perverse lifestyle was at complete odds with his writings), he seems to have been completely removed from history. I can’t find any direct reference of him, and his writings seem lost. All that we have now are indirect, vague commentaries, often critical, of what he produced.
So Ignatis is missing. Why should we care?
We should care about Ignatius, or more specifically, we should care about what he wrote, for several reasons. First of all, if he is correct, and we are inadvertently creating The Devil, don’t you think we should do something about it? It’s one thing to bring Evil into being through ignorance; it’s quite another to do it willingly.
Secondly, we should note that he predicted his own future irrelevance, as he foresaw that Evil, (or, more charitably, Opportunity), will stifle all who attempt to identify it. Speak out against the coming troubling changes, and those deluded souls who hope to profit from them will see to it that you are silenced and forgotten. Perhaps he was mistaken, or perhaps he was a fool? Neither really matter, because his story deserves to be told just as surely as anyone else’s. We are all children of God; each of our voices is precious to her.
Finally, we should learn from the sorry lesson of his own life how difficult it really is to live your principles, to “practice what you preach”. Nicknamed “Puffy”, he pursued a life of pleasure, immersing himself fully in all the sins of the flesh, while at the same time writing on the need to separate from the physical world, and like an ascetic meditate on the true realities behind material existence. A study of his life may help us better understand, and cope with, our own shortcomings we all have as human beings.
Okay, he sounds like an interesting fellow. Where can we learn more about him?
There, Gentle Readers, in your question, is succinctly expressed the almost insurmountable challenge to an appreciation of Ignatius Dufreis, for as best I can determine nothing he wrote still exists, nor can any direct biographical references or even direct commentaries on his writings be found. As I wrote at the beginning of this article, it is as if he has been erased from history, purged so thoroughly from our cultural memory that he never existed at all!
So what are inquiring minds to do?
Were I writing this article 40 years ago, when the Internet was but a fantasy in the fertile minds of a few computer engineers, I would answer that your best bet would be to search yard sales and used book stores, hoping to find an unauthorized replication of one of the leading encyclopedias of the time, and checking for entries on “Ignatius Dufreis”, or perhaps even the “Artificial Mind”. Such a process is largely hit-or-miss, and may take years, but bear in mind it was highly successful for Jorge Borges, as it led to his discovery of not just a secret society, but arguably an entirely new world and layer of reality. (“Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”, published in his book “Labyrinths”.)
But, alas, with the decline of the printed word, fewer old tomes exist for us to peruse, to search for a whiff of Mr. Dufreis’s presence. Besides, Ignatius lived well into the early 1970s, (or so I believe), so the older printed material could at best speculate upon his eventual incarnation. (I take it as axiomatic that the concept of Ignatius would one day become flesh. A heretical notion, perhaps, but one as obvious as the nose on Phred Phin’s face.)
Fortunately we can turn to the Internet to aid us in our search. With a minimum of effort I can locate two promising sources: the title essary from “Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History” by Stephen Jay Gould; and the wonderful “A Confederacy of Dunces”, by John Kennedy Toole. (Yes, I know both of these are from books! Do I contradict myself? So be it!)
While neither directly mentions “Ignatius Dufreis”, Mr. Gould does refer, critically, to a caricature called “Ignatz Doofus”, and Mr. Toole … well, read his book, and if you don’t believe that significant parts of his main character, “Ignatius J. Reilly”, are based on Mr. Dufreis, then I suppose you also believe the rantings of your local politicians.
But the real key to understanding these, and other, oblique references to our man of interest is to utilize the technique I call “channel-reading”. First developed by the United States Supreme Court, “channel-reading” is the process by which a text is closely examined, searching the words and phrases for partially obscured, shadowy meanings, thereby rending the text a “living document” in which all sorts of new and wonderful observations and conclusions may arise.
Channel-reading is such a significant development in the process of conveying human knowledge and experiences that it really deserves an article of its own. Someday maybe I, or a more gifted author, will write such an article, but until then it is best learned through the art of imitation. I can think of no better source to imitate than the previously mentioned U.S. Supreme Court, as the Justices are themselves masters at this art. Just bear in mind that sometimes their vocabulary leaves a lot to be desired.
So I will end this article with words of encouragement: the truth about Ignatius P. Dufreis is out there somewhere, in some form or other. It is up to us to dig through the verbiage and creatively interpret the hidden references to this man. Don’t let the passage of time, or the restrictions of a simply literal reading of the sources, leave the fact of his great influence in dusty penumbras of indifference. Reality is only limited by your imagination!
Originally brought to the light of day by us on FullofKnowledge.