Hagbard roared with laughter and slapped Joe on the knee. "Beautiful!" He held up his hand in a distinctive gesture. "What I am doing?" he asked.-- The "Illuminatus!" Trilogy, by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson
"You're giving the peace sign, only with your fingers together," George said, confused.
"That's what comes of being an ignorant Baptist." Joe laughed. "As a son of the True Church, I can tell you, George, that Hagbard is giving a Catholic blessing."
"Indeed?" said Hagbard. "Look at the shadow my hand casts on this book." He held up a book behind his hand, and they saw the head of a horned Devil. "The sun, source of all light and energy, symbol of redemption. And my hand, in the most sacred gesture of benediction. Put them both together, they spell Satan," he sang to an old tune.
"And what the hell does that mean?" Joe demanded. "Evil is only a shadow, a false appearance? The usual mystic mishmosh? Tell that to the survivors of Auschwitz."
"Suppose," Hagbard said, "I told you that good was only a shadow, a false appearance? Several modern philosophers have argued that case rather plausibly and earned themselves a reputation for hard-headed realism. And yet that's just the mirror image of what you call the usual mystic mishmosh."
"Then what is real?" George demanded. "Mary, Queen of the May, or Kali, Mother of Murderers, or Eris, who synthesizes both?"
"The trip is real," Hagbard said. "The images you encounter along the way are all unreal. If you keep moving, and pass them, you eventually discover that."
"Solipsism. Sophomore solipsism," Joe answered.
"No." Hagbard grinned. "The solipsist thinks the tripper is real."