Hey guess what: tomorrow is October 3, and ever since I was born, October 3rd has been my birthday. I’ve clocked 71 of those tomorrow. 71 earth orbits around the sun, that’s a lot of space miles, yes? Or is that space smiles? 🙂 I’m not fishing for “Happy Birthday” wishes here, in fact I don’t much care for them, but I am reminding myself that I’ve made it into the company of “elders” and that gives me some leeway, as Ashley King of https://misfitspirit.wordpress.com/category/blogging/ said in her latest post, to express unpopular opinions. Well in my case, I call them thoughts, but they remain unpopular nevertheless because, well, they don’t come from the same trough most people fill up their minds from.
So, without further ado, here’s a short story (longer than my usual shorty shorts) or if you prefer, a parable, that expresses my life’s philosophy to this point.
[a short story by ~burning woman~ told by Sha’Tara]
Quote: “Since my house burned down I now have a better view of the rising moon”― Mizuta Masahide (1657–1723)
Quote: “The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.” ― John Keats
“It’s wrong… it’s all wrong, all so wrong!”
The old woman lies, thin and straight in the center of her retirement home bed, small bony hands clenched in tight fists pressed hard against her temples, pushing up strands of thinning grey-white hair. She has her eyes tightly closed, as if she’s trying to see something in her mind that her physical surroundings would only confuse or cancel out. She hears the voice again.
“Please auntie Zee, please don’t make a scene or they’ll give you more pills to calm you down and I’ve come a long ways to visit with you. Can we talk, please?”
Zee opens one eye, slowly, deliberately, and stares at her eighteen year old grand-niece sitting primly in the bedside chair. With great effort, she unclenches her hands, drops her arms onto the covers and cautiously opens both eyes. With piercing blue eyes, she looks at the tall girl, scanning her attire and tight pony tail of thick auburn hair. She lets out a deep, deep sigh.
“Oh Sandi, thank God it’s you and not Jean. I had a very complex dream last night, or was it earlier today, and I was re-hashing what I was being shown. You probably don’t want to hear about that – Lord knows the rest of the family sure doesn’t want to hear about my “visions” and dreams.”
“Don’t lump me in with them, aunt Zee. I’m only eighteen but I’ve always preferred listening to your “stories” than to the rest of ‘em. They bore me to death, those people. That’s why I left home to be on my own. I’m fed up with the whining, the oneupmanship and infighting plus the endless BS. You know that money you and uncle Doug gave me so I could at least get a couple of college years in? They were trying to get their hands on it. ‘We’ll invest it for you,’ they said. I’m done with that bunch. So, sure, tell me about what’s all so wrong. Tell me all of it, I want to hear it. Can I record it?”
Auntie Zee, known as Mrs. Zelda Mortimer to the retirement home files and Ms Zee to the staff, pushes the button that brings her bed up and leans back into a thick pillow for comfort. She smiles at Sandi.
“Sorry, again, for thinking of you as part of the family. You were never. Of course you can record what I have to say. You may find some of it useful, who knows? Could you pass me that ice water and bring the bowl of jelly beans closer so we can dig in?”
She sips her water through the straw, grabs a few candies from the dish and sighs. “Some of life’s little but important pleasures, my dear.”
Sandi giggles and helps herself to the jelly beans also, then waits. Zee closes her eyes, chewing slowly on her jelly beans then begins her “sharing.”
“Way back when, even before I was a teenager, I used to have dreams, visions, and “encounters” which I’m sure you’ve heard about. Maybe I should have never told anyone but it’s hard to keep such things to oneself, especially when the information is not for you particularly, but concerns so many people. Did you know you’re never too young, or too old, to be taught, and to learn? That even when you know you’re close to dying life remains a deep mystery unraveling itself in your mind? That when you are thus engaged, life and death blend into each other and you don’t really mind “dying” since your mind has freed itself to wander away from your body, rediscovering an old freedom it used to know before it incarnated? I’m telling you this because I know you have it in you to be a visionary, though what you do with this information is your business, not mine.
Zee let out a deep sigh. “The problem is sorting it out, the real from the fake, the truth from the lie. I used to believe that it didn’t matter as long as I could hold the entire picture together, at the same time, in my mind. I could see the juxtaposing of lies and truth; of real and, well, not so real, or at least, not so real in this space. Nothing, you understand, can ever be “unreal” and there is no such thing as fiction…”
“Stop, wait, auntie Zee. What do you mean, no such thing as fiction?”
“Well, what’s fiction? Is it what can’t be… or what we can’t figure out how to make it be? What’s real, what’s not real? Let’s take some truly dichotomous examples: a cow versus Tweety Bird. They’re both “characters” but to the average mind, a cow is real whereas Tweety is a cartoon character birdie. Tweety, to the average mind, does not, and cannot exist. This way of viewing reality is what causes mankind to repeat mistakes and never actually learn anything. It is the kind of thinking that always leads to a far wall from which you can only turn around and retrace your steps. Listen to me, Sandi, and try not to think of me as a crazy old woman. The wall is what isn’t real. If you want to, you can enter a world where a cow and Tweety exist side by side and there is no dichotomy – no problem of discerning what is real. It’s all real.
“Think of it this way: how did the cartoonist discover Tweety, and his other friends in the Looney Tunes cartoons? They had to come from somewhere, so we say, they were imagined. That is the same as saying that anything imagined comes from nothing, making the “imaginator” a kind of god, having the power to make something out of nothing. How many previously imagined things have been made real through science and technology in particular? So, something “real” comes from “nothing” and no one, it seems, notices the very serious problem here, that people can actually make something from nothing.
“There is, however, another conclusion that can be made. That would be that these “unreal” or “imaginary” things come from another dimension, another universe perhaps, but they have to come from somewhere, somewhen, somehow. Close your eyes and walk to that boundary, that wall that claims to be the end of reality. Walk through it. Don’t tell me what you see there, just let your mind absorb the view without getting absorbed in the details – they don’t make any sense at first. Have you ever heard of the 13th floor?”
“Well, there is an older movie on that topic, people traveling forward and backward in time, that sort of thing. At the end, the main character finds himself in the future, on the 13th floor, and looking forward in time, he sees that nothing is as yet made.”
“What do you think the writer, and the movie, were attempting to portray about life?”
“That either nothing is real, including myself, here and now, or everything is, and that it is us who create ourselves and our reality.”
“And what do we use to create that reality?”
“I’m not sure. I’d say, imagination, but that’s too slick an answer, and it doesn’t explain anything, not really.”
“I always told you you were very smart, Sandi. Even as a young child, you weren’t fooled. You questioned everything. When did you stop believing in God, or in deities in general?”
“Oh, when it no longer made any sense to pray for stuff to an omnipotent deity and nothing ever, I mean not ever, happened. There never was any sort of undeniably miraculous response to all the prayers I heard. Those who prayed stayed in the same boat as those who didn’t and those who openly rejected and mocked.”
“When you stopped believing, did God stop to exist?”
“I think that God never existed; that I believed in a man-made chimera, a convenient fiction invented by a certain class of individuals to lord it over others, and to take their money.”
“That’s a stock unbeliever answer. Can you do better than that?” Zee smiled at Sandi, her piercing blue eyes now wide open and challenging.
“You want me to say that…”
“Stop! Stop right there. I don’t want you to say anything. I want you to think about your answer regarding God’s reality.”
“Oh, I see. Fiction. If God is a chimera, fiction, that means He exists, no matter what I think. That means God has existed on man’s world from the beginning that man began to “see” God and will continue to exist here as long as someone believes in Him. God is eternal and omnipresent, but not omnipotent because his creator, man, hasn’t evolved into that dimension as yet. But God and Man are essentially one and the same, though most people would hate to face that, not being willing to take on the mantle of responsibility they continue to drape God with. So, because of belief systems, God exists, is real, and does whatever his believers or followers ascribe to Him even though it’s the people, or nature, that have accomplished what is ascribed to God.”
The old lady claps her hands, if feebly, exclaiming, “I knew you would figure it out!”
“Does that mean that “I am God” as in the sense of that New Agey teaching? Should I think of myself as God, then?”
“Why bother with the title? It would be a totally unnecessary burden. The concept of “God” is so corrupted and compromised to greedy and evil corporate entities, why would anyone want to wear that label? Why not just be Sandi? If you called yourself “God” do you think that would help you get things done easier? Do you think it would allow you to perform real miracles? The most serious problem with the God concept is that it is too alien for this world. People haven’t figured out how to be “God” and yet they have projected their “God” into this reality, hoping against all nature, science and common sense, that their character will perform acts his creators cannot. Does that remind you of something?”
“Yes, Looney Tunes! The characters in those cartoons can do many things, and survive many incidents that their creators could never do. Essentially, God is still nothing more than a cartoon character at this point in time and our mental evolution.”
Zee nods her head slowly and closes her eyes. There is a satisfied look on her face. She is proud of her niece indeed.
“Ah yes dear?
“If we are given time, do you think that eventually we will become, you know, like God, omnipotent; able to do things that today can only be classed as miracles?
“I can’t imagine humanity ever becoming omnipotent, that being what you’d call an absolute and no mental or material reality can support an absolute value. We can know of their existence but we could never “go there” since we chose to participate in the created orders and left Spirit. Only pure Spirit can exist within absolute values without destroying itself. I can however imagine us getting pretty close. I can imagine us developing empathy and creating a utopia based on such a sense. That in itself would be already be far superior to any of our divinities’ revealed characters.”
“Aunt Zee, when I woke you up, you were saying something scary. You said “It’s wrong, it’s all so wrong!” Do you remember? Can you tell me what it is you saw in your dream, or vision?”
“Oh, that. Yes certainly. A recurring nightmare. Not so unusual for dreamers or visionaries in times like these. You see, I observed the destruction of this global civilization. I saw the chaos, the famine, the wars, the genocides, the incineration of entire cities and death beyond counting, not only of people, but of much that remains of wild and domestic animal life on the planet; birds literally falling out of the sky, and millions of fish dying in the seas and their putrid flesh washing up on sea shores and rivers all over the world. I saw what appeared to be the end of mankind, only it wasn’t the end.
“In all our visions, there is always a ¹deus ex machina: either a remnant, or some divinity comes to the rescue. It doesn’t matter to me which; all I know is, we will not be allowed to destroy ourselves completely. Why not? I asked. The answer is one that few, if any, ever want to hear. We won’t be allowed to destroy ourselves completely because our real masters, which are hidden forces, powers and authorities; the puppet masters who lord it over these worlds, feed on our suffering and pain. They lust after the smell of warm, freshly spilt blood. They thrill to the screams of the dying: that’s where they congregate to gorge themselves and hold their macabre dances. That is why they will not allow wholesale nuclear destruction in the coming wars. The nuclear option is too quick, giving too short a time for them to enjoy the horror attendant to the deaths.
“Our civilization’s end is going to be one of their great orgies, lasting hundreds of years during which billions will suffer and die in brutal, primitive ways. But there still will be no end to the suffering. Even as we die, they have already made plans to stop the carnage and rebuild the race so they can nurture a new death orgy in time. It’s in our programming, you see, to never, ever, learn from our mistakes. We don’t see them as our mistakes, but always as someone else’s. It’s never our fault, therefore we never can truly repent and change. So… we remain mind-slaves and victims and while we indulge our innate violence against one-another so creatively, we never discover who our real “leaders” are, and what they want us for.
“We don’t understand what it means to change our mind. There is a joke from my time about having an open mind. At the height of our materialism we allowed ourselves to be brainwashed into believing that our brains and mind were one and the same. So the joke went like this: he was told to keep an open mind, so he did and eventually, his brain fell out. But it was more than a joke, it was a deep belief that to change your mind is to express doubt; to show weakness so that eventually we will be unable to maintain our great religious, national, race, values. Believers and patriots are not permitted to change their minds, although they can move their allegiance between a trinity of “gods” or ruling forces. They can believe in their religiously defined God. They can believe in a particular type of government, or aspect thereof. They can, if the first two don’t do it for them, switch their allegiance to Money, to some sort of powerful financial system, for example capitalism. These three are in essence the gods of mankind. They have the power to make people do things completely contrary to their own nature, remember that, Sandi and you will not be taken by shock and surprise when you see people you thought you knew do things you know they would never do “in their right minds.”
“There is a block on our understanding so that sooner rather than later, after every war, we plunge ourselves into the manufacture of “new and improved” implements of war, ever and anon because we love war; we love the financial benefits derived from it; we are ever seduced by the “romance,” the adventure, the thrills, that tradition ascribes to warfare. Our trinity of powerhouse “gods” – religion, the state and money – unite, join hands, in times of war. Without that agreement wars would not be possible. However insane this may seem, it is who and what we truly are.
“If you doubt this, consider how many best sellers were written about war during the episode we call ‘the Cold War’ where the imminent threat of nuclear annihilation was kept foremost in our thoughts, much as it is being repeated at this moment in time. Religion was a very big factor in promoting, not just the cold war, but its peripheral “hot” wars that justified it. All the world’s governments, through the United Nations, and their economies, were involved in this conflict. Capitalism came to rule and ruin all national economies without exception, while the world’s focus was on the conflict-for it’s always but “one” conflict regardless of how many theatres it plays in.
“Wars give us a new sense of freedom from a constraining legality and morality that we hate, all denials of it to the contrary. We, the people of earth are not what we believe ourselves to be and our historical performance, as a species, proves it over and over.”
“Wow, aunt Zee… you’re kind of scaring me with this. I’ve never heard you speak like this. Is this what you were shown in your visions and dreams, or did you figure it all out for yourself?”
“Both, I think. It’s hard now to sort it out, what I remember from my dreams, what I remember from reading and observing. I didn’t mean to scare you, but I wanted you to know this, to have it for yourself.”
“It’s OK, I can handle it now. But tell me, is that what you meant by “It’s all so wrong?” That we are doomed to repeat our history, however horrible, like, forever?”
“No dear, I’m afraid I haven’t told you the saddest part yet.”
“Oh! What is the saddest part, aunt Zee?”
“The saddest part, as I’ve been shown, is that we are born equipped with the antidote to our repeating folly but we refuse to consider it, or use it. We would rather condemn billions of our own, never mind the others, to unimaginable horror and death, than try one simple move that would cancel out this coming nightmare –“ aunt Zee snorts – “ah, what am I saying, we’ve always been in this nightmare! Only now with greatly increased population and the congregating of the largest groupings into cities, with less supporting land to fall back on, this means the coming horror must spread exponentially.”
“Bottom line then, aunt Zee, what should we do, what can we do?”
“There is no longer any “we” in this. The “we” has been an abject failure and is about to demonstrate how terribly dangerous “we” can become. “We” is going to make things a whole lot worse than they are now as you will see for yourself.”
“What can I do then?”
“That is the proper question. If you would practice being “God” your future is going to give you plenty of opportunity. The antidote to Armageddon is the unfeigned practice of compassion through self empowerment, or self-reliance if you prefer.
“Oh yes, you will see people walk forth into hell on the wings of love and brandishing their weaponry. On their faith in “God” and calling divine blessings on their weaponry. Filled with hope in the invincibility of their weaponry. They will see their weapons, their fears, hate, and lusts, as all aspects of their particular God. They will not be aware of any contradiction between their beliefs and their acts. They will pray, and they will kill and be killed. Even at the worst of times they will not come to an understanding of how to end it. They will choose death because that is what they have always done; it is what they are programmed to do.
“Now listen to me carefully, this is critically important for you to grasp this, to try to understand. The compassionate will do none of the things I have mentioned. She will never participate in any of it. She will stand her ground and offer whatever she has, or can, to all and sundry. She will not take sides. She will not defend her “space” whatever that is. She too will die, of course, but it will be a death of no value to the vampires; it will be a poison to them. She will be an oasis of change and if the resurgence of “man” is based on her stand, then the new race will be of no value to the predators and they will leave this world.
“What is so wrong, is that so few will have the mental wherewithal to understand this; the vision and courage to reject all of society’s old values that have been, since time immemorial, specifically tailored to serve the predators.”
Zee showed signs of exhaustion at this point and Sandi exclaimed, “That’s a lot for me to think about, auntie Zee. I’ve totally tired you out and I have only a half hour left to get a taxi and catch my bus at the depot and I can’t afford to miss my shift at the lab. I’m sorry I made you talk so much. I’ll come back next Tuesday and we’ll talk about what I’ve learned from this; what I decide to do.”
“Come here, Sandi. Hold me… Look dear, there isn’t going to be a next Tuesday for us; I’m going home. I waited for you, so I could tell you. This is my last vision and my last share. I’m so thankful it is with you. Let’s say our final goodbye now, then you go on and live the best life you can figure out for yourself. Perhaps we will meet again, out there, though I’m told that isn’t how it usually happens. You’re the life-raft I’m casting out from this old sinking ship. Look to the stars and sail smart.”
Sandi felt like remonstrating but knew better than to argue. “If that’s the way it must be, then good bye, auntie Zee.” Trying to put some levity in it, she adds, “And say a big and loud “Hello!” to the Cosmos for me. You know what? I’ll look for you, I don’t care what doesn’t usually happens. Our conversation isn’t finished, damn it!”
Sandi wiped the flow of tears from her eyes, and cheeks, smearing make up as she walked deliberately through the door and down the hallway without looking back. She wouldn’t be coming to the funeral: that was a matter for the rest of the family to fight over. She had an appointment with her own destiny that had yet to be formulated.
¹Deus ex machina: The term has evolved to mean a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the inspired and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object. (from Wikipedia)