Short Story Page

The Whole Man

by don lehman jr.

Once upon a time there was a man with a sense of peace, meaning, and understanding. He was a whole man.

There were many people around him who had no peace, no meaning to their lives, and very little understanding. They were partial people.

These partial people sensed that this whole man had something that they didn’t have. Because he had something that they didn’t have, they wanted to come closer to him. They felt vaguely that they could share some of his wholeness if they got close enough to him. They instinctually hoped in their incompleteness that they might become more whole. They felt that the closer they were to the whole man that the more whole that they would become.

There was nothing malicious about their intentions. They were simply moths attracted to the Flame of the Whole Man. They didn’t want to steal his wholeness. They simply wanted to share it.

These partial people began worshipping this whole man. They brought offerings to him and told him that he was god.

The whole man had achieved his state of integration on his own through his own practices. He had never experienced worship before. He believed the partial people. He believed that he was indeed god or at least better than the rest.

The whole man had forgotten why he had become whole. He believed his worshippers when they called him god. He believed them when they said that salvation depended on being next to him and in believing in him. He was corrupted by their worship.

The partial people had been raised with a value system that offered salvation through ownership and possession. In their primitive way of thinking, which, I stress, was in no way evil, they began trying to buy the whole man and his time. They felt, because of their primitive value system, that if they owned his time that they would own his wholeness. They wanted to buy a cloud.

“How much does it cost?” “I’ll pay anything for it.” “What’s my high bid?” “You too can be the proud owner of wholeness. All you have to do is send $$$.” These were a few of the phrases emerging from the depths of the swamp.

Inevitably because of their sense of financial opportunity, the richest of the partial people started negotiations to buy up the whole man, not just his pieces, in order to corner the market.


Partial person, representing an international conglomerate, of course: “Look son. Let me represent you and I’ll make you a scadillionaire.”

Whole Man: “I’m not sure.”

Partial person: “Listen, the world will be yours. Your time is now. I’ll help market you. You’ll be famous, a celebrity. I’ll make you a household name. Everywhere you go people will recognize you and want your autograph. We must cash in now. It will be too late tomorrow. Sign here on the dotted line.”

Whole Man: “Why?”

Partial Person: “We will give you lots of money, and you will perform for us, I mean, share your wholeness with us.”

Whole Man: “Why?”

Partial person: “So that you can become rich.”

Whole Man: “Rich? I don’t need much money. I am whole.”

Partial Person: “So that you can become famous and powerful.”

Whole Man: “Famous and Powerful? I’m playing with angels and you come to me with promises of fame and fortune. Be off with your trivial views. I’m only here to help.

Partial Person: “Help?”

Whole Man: “Yes. I’ll only sign if it’ll do good for others.”

Partial Person: “Others? What others?”

Whole Man: “I would like to help the other partial people become whole like me.”

Partial Person: “Oh! Those others. Of course you can help those others, those other partial people, to become whole like you. Becoming rich, famous, and powerful will help a lot.”

Whole Man: “No. You must look inward. Lots of meditating. You must turn the light around. Lots of exercise to tame Brain. You must eat good food to purify the Body, your temple.”

Partial Person: “That sounds far too difficult. Meditation, exercise, and good food? Yuck! What say, I just interview you and stand next to you. I think that will be sufficient. Then I won’t be quite as partial. Right? Cause I’ll be in your presence.”

Whole Man, who was not so aware of his own roots: “Yes. I guess that makes sense.”

Partial Man: “Then I can share your presence with the whole world and the whole world can become less partial.”

Whole Man: “That seems right.”

Partial person #1: “Of course it’s right. You are the Whole Man, are you not? Just being with you is liberating. When I market you, we will be liberating the whole world.”

Whole Man: “Are you sure?”

Partial Man: “Of course I’m sure. I’m only thinking of the good of all those partial people out there who want to be whole like you. Think what a service it would be to the world to share you with everyone rich and poor. There is very little in this for me. I’m just helping out.”

Whole Man, hesitantly: “Sure! I guess so. Why not?”

Partial Person: “Yes. Why not? Just sign here and we’ll take care of all the details.”

Whole Man: “Well all right.”

The Marketing & Selling of the Whole Man

After buying the whole man, these partial people began selling off pieces of his time. Because we exist as part of a space-time continuum, we are just as much time as we are matter. So these partial people were buying and selling pieces of the whole man, who was becoming partial more of the time.

Naively these partial people felt that each piece of time of the whole man was divine, invested with godlike powers. Each part of the whole man, according to the marketing, had mystical powers, which could bring salvation to the owner. Watch him on TV. Listen to him on the radio. Read about him in the newspaper. Ask him into your heart and you will be saved. His image, his sound, and his thoughts were all considered divine and worshipped accordingly.

The partial people wanted to believe that it was that easy. “Hard work, exercise, good diet, and meditation.” the whole man would continue to preach. The partial people put it to music, danced to it, sang it aloud, but never really heard it

Although no partial person became whole by buying a piece of the whole man, they began fighting over ownership because that was all they knew. The whole man had forgotten why he had become whole in the deluge of worship that had overwhelmed him. He therefore was unable to give these partial people any clues. Their partiality was overwhelming his wholeness. He was becoming partial like them.

Soon society became stratified around who could be closest to the whole man. The rich and powerful could shake his hand. The upper classes might be able to see him on stage, front row seats, $250 a pop. Of course, the middle class and poor in our egalitarian society could all see the whole man on TV, or read about him in the newspaper. All these partial people, rich and poor, famous and infamous, powerful and weak, wanted to share in his wholeness. And - thanks to modern marketing techniques, they were all able to share in his Wholeness, superficially at least.

As the partial people’s worship consumed the whole man’s time, the whole man was consumed as well. Although the partial people felt a little less partial in the presence of the whole man, they never really became whole by being next to him. The whole man, however, surrounded by so many partial people, became a little less whole. And anything less than whole is partial. So our whole man, due to so much contact with partial people, was becoming partial himself.


Partial person #1: “I own his days.”

Partial person #2: “Well I own his weekends.”

Partial person #3: “I’ll pay you for his mornings.”

Partial person #1: “What’s my high bid on his Saturday evenings.”

Partial person #2: “I own his copyright.”

Partial person #3: “I own the movie rights to his life.”


Inevitably the rights to the space-time continuum of the Whole Man became so valuable that they became traded upon the New York Stock Exchange and on the Chicago futures market. Laws were written governing its sale and purchase. The agent and his helpers marketed this whole man across the face of the earth.

The whole man was whole because he had found happiness within. But gradually, very gradually, he began looking outwards for his happiness. He felt a superficial glow when he bought a new set of clothes. He felt an even greater flush of superficial happiness when everyone started complimenting and worshipping him.

Always before, his happiness had been deep but private. He had gotten no outward recognition for his inner state. He had been a nobody, quietly ecstatic. Now he was a somebody, quietly unhappy, but publicly envied.

Unfortunately the attention had been intoxicating and this whole man had gotten drunk on it, losing his center and wholeness in the process.

Partial person #1: “I own his Sunday evenings.”

Partial person #2: “I own the history of his life.”

Partial person #3: “I own his words and quotes.”

The partial people continued to babble.


In possessing the whole man, these partial people had destroyed him. Very gradually this whole man became a partial person, like the rest. The partial people began wondering what they had seen in this whole man. “Where did that Whole Man go?” they began to ask each other.

His futures in Chicago crashed. His stock on the Exchange had to be propped up to prevent a more widespread collapse. The partial people, surrounding the formerly whole man, who owned the greatest shares of his stock, began unloading their stock on the unsuspecting and the naive. The partial people began sucking as much out of the whole man as they could before the Fall.

Fragmented into many parts by the partial people the whole man was sucked dry and left a shell. He wasn’t whole. He wasn’t even partial. He was empty, nothing, a nobody. He was the hangover after the party when all the partial people had consumed him.

None of the partial people were whole. As a matter of fact, their appetites had merely been whetted. After consuming the whole man and spitting out his seeds, they went on a search for other whole people to consume. They loved the flavor of wholeness. It was so rare and hard to find.

The whole man was left a shell. In his intoxication by praise, he had left behind all those things that had made him whole. He had forgotten the real source of his integration. Likewise his wife, children, family, and friends had forgotten him as he had abandoned them in his quest for glory.

The End