Sun Ra - Column for 6/30

The Interview (fiction)

New York City
January 19, 2011
Allen Kovacs is the world's richest man. From a modest inheritance, he built a multi-billion dollar investment empire during a decade that saw deflation, recession, and an overall erosion of real wealth. Intensely secretive, now, for the first time ever, he has granted a public interview. NewsTime's Diana Nguyen met with him last week for an hour that produced one of the most startling interviews of all time. Here it is, in its entirety.

Diana: Thank you for granting us this interview. The world is incredibly eager to hear from you.

Kovacs: My pleasure.

Diana: To start with, this is your first-ever interview. Why have you shied so violently away from the public spotlight, and why have you decided to come forward and speak with us now?

Kovacs: There is a simple answer to both of those questions. Until now, I was instructed not to speak with anyone about what I was doing.

Diana: You were instructed not to?

Kovacs: That's right.

Diana: By whom?

Kovacs: By God.

Diana: (pauses) God instructed you not to talk to anyone?

Kovacs: Well, not to talk to the press.

Diana: I see. And God has now told you to do this interview?

Kovacs: No, but He removed His stipulation against it. So I felt it was the right thing to do.

Diana: I see. And, um, why has He allowed you to come forward at this point?

Kovacs: He doesn't tell me His reasons. I assume, however, that it is because He has instructed me to embark on a new project, and that secrecy is no longer required for my new task.

Diana: I see. And what is this new task He's laid out for you?

Kovacs: (laughs) My apologies. I don't mean to sound so serious. Basically, God has told me to stop gathering wealth together, and to start spending it on His next purpose.

Diana: Which is?

Kovacs: Space exploration.

Diana: Space exploration?

Kovacs: Yes.

Diana: I see. (pauses, looks at notes) You know, we've totally gone away from the questions I had prepared.

Kovacs: (laughs) Sorry about that.

Diana: Let me take a step back, and ask you a few of these.

Kovacs: Be my guest.

Diana: So, Mr. Kovacs, you are, at present, the most successful investor of all time. During the beginning of the century, when all the economies of the developed world were shrinking, you amassed a fortune worth in excess of fifty billion dollars in a little over a decade. How did you do it?

Kovacs: God told me how to do it.

Diana: He did?

Kovacs: (laughs) It's not very useful information, is it? Sure, after a decade of investing, I have some great insight into what investors should look for. But basically, especially starting out, God told me what to buy and what to sell, and that's what I did.

Diana: God gave you stock market tips?

Kovacs: Yeah, pretty much. Although of course it was also real estate, commodities, currency. Almost daily, God would tell me what to do, and that's what I'd do. If He didn't say anything, I just went with my best guess. (laughs) Those didn't usually work out as well.

Diana: Right. (puts aside notes) So when did God start telling you what to invest in?

Kovacs: Enron. He told me Enron was going bust. That was, what, 2000? 2001?

Diana: And God talks to you every day?

Kovacs: Not so much any more. Back in the early naughties, yeah, at least once a day.

Diana: What does He sound like?

Kovacs: Actually, it's kind of hard to describe.

Diana: (pause) Ah. Okay, then, why do you think God speaks to you, in particular?

Kovacs: Heck, I don't know. It's not really my place to ask, you know?

Diana: So this is more of a monologue than a dialogue.

Kovacs: (laughs) Yeah.

Diana: Does God tell you anything besides what to invest in?

Kovacs: You make it sound so cheap. (laughs) He tells me what to do, basically. Investing has just been the bulk of that instruction.

Diana: So you're some sort of prophet.

Kovacs: Oh, heck no. If I were a prophet, I'd be out preaching. No, I'm more of a... an agent. God tells me to do something, and I do it. So far He hasn't mentioned anything about proselytizing.

Diana: And He's made you the richest man in the world.

Kovacs: Yeah, pretty much. But you have to remember, He's got a reason for it. He wants me to use that money. I figure, the odds of my dying broke are actually pretty high.

Diana: I see. And now He's decided to have you spend your money on space exploration?

Kovacs: Yep. I'm finished with the business of amassing wealth - which is why I can grant this interview. If I had spoken up earlier, I think it would have really messed up my ability to invest without large numbers of people jumping on board. But now, I'll be spending down, so there's nothing for people to jump aboard.

Diana: Why space exploration?

Kovacs: You have to remember, Miss Nguyen, that I don't know why. I'm really just doing as I'm told. I can make educated guesses, but God's reasons are His own.

Diana: What's your educated guess, then?

Kovacs: I think it's just something we are supposed to do. Humans, I mean. We've run out of space down here, but He wants us to keep going. And He's not satisfied with our progress.

Diana: I see.

Kovacs: Another option, of course, is that a comet is going to plow into the Earth. I really don't know.

Diana: (long pause) Kovacs: But I really doubt that one. I think it's just because he wants people to spread out some more.

Diana: Ah, Mr. Kovacs, you must be aware that, if people believe you, your... revelations will have tremendous impact. Just for having happened. I mean, they directly address the existance of God, for one thing. How do you think, say, Hindus are going to react to this?

Kovacs: Well, like I said, I'm not a prophet. He doesn't explain things to me. But I get the sense that He's not a strictly Judeo-Muslim-Christian God. I think that all religions are in some way correct, and that I'm only picturing Him as the Christian God because I was raised Lutheran. But I'm pretty sure that the Hindus, and the Buddhists and the Zoroastrians and so and and so on are all right, too.

Diana: But... isn't that contradictory?

Kovacs: If you are omnipotent, nothing is contradictory. Just because you and I cannot understand how something works, does not mean it does not work. God is mysterious because you cannot apply rules to Him. He is the rules. And if to me He is God, to a Hindu he could equally be Krishna and Shiva and Ram and everyone else, and be three hundred separate individuals all at the same time that to me He is one.

Diana: Well, I can't say I follow that precisely, but I get your gist.

Kovacs: Like I said, I'm not a prophet. I'm just guessing.

Diana: Is there a Heaven?

Kovacs: Sure. There's also reincarnation, and several other concepts.

Diana: So you wind up going where you think you'll go?

Kovacs: Oh heck no. You wind up going where you deserve to go. You only go where you think you'll go if you've deserved it. No, I'm pretty sure that a number of startled pagans are right now in Hell, and that at least one televangelist has been reborn in a hide tent in Inner Mongolia.

Diana: That sounded like you weren't guessing.

Kovacs: (laughs, shrugs) Maybe I do get told some things that I don't strictly need to know.

Diana: Let me ask you again - why has God decided to speak to you?

Kovacs: I don't know.

Diana: Do you have an educated guess?

Kovacs: Several. But I think I'll keep them to myself.

Diana: I see. So, uh, do you have any information on what God might want the rest of us to do?

Kovacs: (laughs) Not really. But I get the very, very strong impression that you already know. Be good to one another, be generous, etc. You know when what you're doing is right. And if you find yourself rationalizing, you usually know what you're doing is wrong. I think He gave people a very good sense of what they should do, but people are also easily able to ignore that sense.

Diana: I see. Do you go to church?

Kovacs: Sure thing. I've found a nice little non-denominational church where the parishoners have a whole lot of discretion. I can't get there every Sunday, but most of 'em.

Diana: Is that important? Church-going, I mean.

Kovacs: To me. I don't think a lifetime of church-going or church avoidance really matters that much, aside from your motives.

Diana: What about the Bible?

Kovacs: What about it?

Diana: How strictly should one interpret it?

Kovacs: You know, I could have sworn I'd said I'm not a prophet. Loosely, I'd say. Remember that it's had to be used over millenia by people in very different circumstances. So it's very flexible, which is both good and bad, but necessary. It's one-size-fits-all, so you have to take that into account.

Diana: Let's get back to your current plans. What are you going to do in the next few years?

Kovacs: Well...

For the rest of this interview, please microcredit $0.04 to your NewsTime account!

- Sun Ra

Columns by Sun Ra