Why is there so little love in the world? How to awaken it?

You are your own biggest obstacle. To realize this, fate has to grab you firmly and tear down your defensive walls. That’s when the river of love floods you over and you begin to wonder: have you even lived before…

Love 22, Plagiarized is a metamodern story about the author’s experience in a club of mutual improvement of love. The improvement of love is not only what your happiness depends upon, but also the fate of the entire universe.

All coincidences are not equal. Some coincidences remove the ground from beneath your feet and cause a chain reaction, so that in the end you could swear that God himself was pulling the strings of fate. The heroes of Love 22 loose their ground, get deconstructed, and then put back together into the best possible versions of themselves.

The “master” who fixes the seemingly irreparable people and things likes to get his hands dirty. His methods are crazy, but they work. Eccentric characters with extremely diverse beliefs and personalities flock around him. What unites them is that they were all broken once, one way or another, before being repaired in this strange workshop. Later, they embarked on helping others themselves.

“There is no greater satisfaction than fixing something that seems irreparable,” they like to say.

The key to all repairs is love. Not just any love, love 22!

Love 22 is what the heroes of the book explore. They gather in a wooden cabin in the wilderness of Vermont. They pursue love 22, sometimes together and sometimes on their own, regardless of what kind of belief, dress and gender they have (or don’t have). Their guide is a booklet entitled Love 22, consisting of 11 codes that unlock the paradoxes of love. The book is written in the hand of a car mechanic in the style of Rumi, and it says (inspired by Catch-22): “If you want to love, you are crazy, and you better don’t; if you don’t want to love, you’re sane, and you must!”

Life is empty if you live it only for yourself. It is worth devoting your life to something outside of yourself—something bigger. It can be smaller too, but then you need to nurture it until it outgrows you. When you create happiness for others, it then becomes your happiness. This is how, practically, your life is love, lived with blissful lightness. The path to this point is by no means easy! You need emptying and that hurts a lot! It helps if your loved ones imagine you as amazingly wonderful while you’re undergoing the emptying.

That’s how the characters in the book Love 22 improve love in each other and train themselves as repairers of this seemingly irreparable world.

The main character, Nara, is initially numb to love 22, but he gradually realizes that the craziness he is invited to is a healthy craziness! Like everyone else, he has to hit the bottom in order to bounce off and finally come afloat, free of ballast. One of the main insights on his journey is: “We have to charge every thing to make it work, but we, people, strangely enough, need emptying!”

Finally, repaired and emptied, Nara plays an important role in saving the world from the threat of a runaway AI fueled by the religious fanaticism of its programmers. The solution is, strangely, a plagiarized version of Love 22, not the original. The ultimate solution is as incredible as it can get, in fact it’s even funny, because that’s the only way to outwit the overpowering enemy.

The artificial intelligence has to pass through craziness as well to grow into artificial love. Empty and resounding it can be the vessel for universal divinity.

The story holds up a mirror for the reader to become aware of his attitudes to a number of burning issues of modernity: (pseudo)spirituality, transhumanism, transgenderism, naturalism, puritanism, the Covid hype, fundamentalism, morality…

Wisdom about life, humanity, the divine… and of course love is woven into the story. This wisdom helps readers to do their own emptying alongside Nara. Of course, if they are ready for some “shock therapy” and a thorough shake-up of their stubborn beliefs; especially their beliefs about sex, death, shame and God.

In the 21st century, there cannot be a novel about love without scenes of intimacy and sex. Some scenes might arouse the readers, and others might upset them. The mask of a laughing fool has to be put over the face of death. Shame has to move from prior to after any action. The story, aligned with metamodern ideas, has to deconstruct God—and then reconstruct Him as well.

The journey towards emptiness has many parallels with “Egon’s” journey in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Evald Flisar. Many small miracles and wise thoughts are sprinkled through the book like in Richard Bach’s Illusions. You’ll notice a glimpse of the spirit of Pirsig’s novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Mythic motifs and names are drawn from Homer’s Iliad interwoven with the Bible. The critique of religious fundamentalism is loosely inspired by Bartol’s Alamut. Finally, there comes a tiny pinch of absurdity from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The pieces of (paradoxical) wisdom are inspired by many: Rumi, Hafis, De Mello, Watts, Radović… but most of all Kumaré.

Love 22, Plagiarized is a novel for open-minded readers, and for those who are willing to move towards open-mindedness. There is some philosophizing and “philosophizing” in the book, and it is up to the reader to recognize the difference.