Category Archives: philosophy

There is a Book

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   ]

With so many comments either set aside or poorly answered; with the fantasy novel (finished, by the way) waiting to be posted on the blog and my job appointment book filling up, the last thing I need is another post stirring up more controversy.

Still, I must live up to my reputation. I’ve been called a lot of things over the years, few complimentary, recently an anarchist (which I consider a compliment) and a contrarian (which is akin to a trouble maker for no good reason and that’s not a compliment, not even with green eggs and ham, Sam I Am) while all I’m doing is questioning everything. Why do I do that? Because everything should be questioned and it’s the task of any intelligent individual to do so.

Nothing should ever be taken for granted, accepted without proof, or dismissed as of no consequence even when its track record screams: “I’m going to destroy your civilization, with yourself and yours in it!” We’re so used to seeing the writing on the wall these days, we just call it graffiti and turn away shrugging, smiling or laughing.

There’s a book that is titled: “Solutions to all Problems” and it’s the only book you can find in any library. It’s the only book you get when you enter grade one, the only book you will receive subsequently until you finish your stint in high school, college or university. The only book you will ever read. It’s the book all institutions use, including the United Nations. It might even surprise you to discover that it’s the only book Donald Trump has ever attempted to read… in pop-up format.

That book has millions of titles, one of the best known is the Bible, of course. It has millions of introductions and millions of ways wherein the contents are filled in. It’s a wonderful book. I see it here, or at least excerpts of it, on Word Press all the time.

The reason this book is so popular and acceptable is simple: it doesn’t actually contain any real solution to anything at all. That’s its purpose: to propose solutions that are based on ideas hatched by dead smart guys, or interpreters of dead smart guys, or people who figgered out a way to cash in on dead smart guys ideas. It rehashes failed “solutions” to any and every problem without an iota of shame for doing this. It’s like watching an ever-running soap opera, you know, the “people with no lives watching people with fake lives” sort of book.

So try to imagine somebody (like me for example) saying that the book is fake; that it should be burned, not banned, good Lord no, never banned, that would only make it more popular! Burned. Discarded. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. An end to it.

Then, lo and behold, we would be free to write an entirely new book and none of the contents would be based on the old “Solutions to all Problems” fantasy.

Having said that, I’ve been having thoughts about fascism and Nazism, including Zionism, lately. My thoughts ran on the question: why have these horrible anti-life, anti-human ideologies become so powerful and popular in the last century and increasingly so in this one?

There was a simple answer: Darwinism. Of course. Darwinism denies the humanity of man. It claims that man is just another evolved critter that crawled out of the much and mire some million years ago and joined in the race to dominate. It brushes off any attempt at dialogue regarding human behaviour such as morals, virtues and vices, the sense of what is right and what is wrong.

That sort of religion was custom made for fascists, Nazis and Zionists. It claims we live in a world strictly ruled by the survival of the fittest. How that fittest becomes fittest is irrelevant, all that matters is, the fittest must make it to the top of the pyramid of power and control. It’s nature, you see? If you question that you’re insane, of course.

If that means cruelly exploiting, oppressing, or murdering millions, so be it. There is nothing wrong in exercising one’s supremacy any way it works. It’s nature’s food chain. None of what you do to change that has any meaning, nor can it succeed.

That’s the essence of Darwinism.

Now, ask me why I would hate even the mention of such a religion, and make no mistake, it is a religion. It is designed to fool to numbties into thinking that when they switch from worshiping the infamous Jehovah to worshiping Superiority through race, misogyny, imperial subjugation or financial shenanigans, they are “atheists” and are cleansed from the curse of religiosity!

Just another title to The Book. The contents are always the same.

Your call!


Part 3 – Message from Tara

This is part 3 of 3 of my “message from Tara” or message in a bottle from 1000 years into our possible/likely future. As Tara and the Teachers have made clear to me many times, this foreseeable future isn’t written in stone. We certainly have the power to cause a massive rift in the Matrix and change everything. How would that affect Tara and her world, her civilization as described here? It doesn’t matter, it’s the future. All it means is I’d get another bottle from the future  with an entirely different message.  Anyway, enjoy this last part.

Legacy of the Great Death: It feels wonderful to interact so freely, so expansively, with everything and everyone. It’s something you never really get used to; something you could never take for granted. You see, we all “remember” the past; where we come from and what we’ve been through to get here. This, in part, is what pushes us forward. We are ever anxious to leave the old ways behind forever, including this earth. None of us, of those who have lived to create this new era, would ever again desire to experience the past firsthand.

We live a most wonderful life and our all-encompassing passion is to better this life and spread it out in the universe. We know we have something good; that we have earned it; paid for it with blood that will never dry; that our knowledge can be of great help to others when we find them. We also know that we have outgrown Terra and that she wishes for us to be gone so she can ponder mothering another pseudo-ISSA species.

The Great Death shocked us out of our lethargic complicity towards the earth and all the oppressed on it. It gave us a painful new awareness of the meaning of life.

First, there was so much death we thought we were going to die off completely.

We came back to life, were “born again” as a species. We went from despair, to acceptance, to compassion for all that remained.

We mourned openly and loudly. In the end we had to confess our guilt and our responsibilities for all that befell us and the innocents we destroyed in our wake.

We dis-enfranchised all our so-called leaders who had led us to the Death with their greed, lasciviousness and blind ignorance.

We grew to rely strictly on one-another. We rejected all central authority.

We took charge of our social re-structuring.

We matured in heart and mind beyond anything this world had seen of us.

Then “they” came.  Not to save us, not to rescue, not to pity, but to help.  When we asked why now, they said,

“We heard your cries and saw your tears.  We feel that your change is genuine enough.  You have matured enough we can risk helping you.  We will decide by how much and in what way.”

So we formed bonds with our star families.  But not everything was good.  Some Earthians believed the star people were demonic invaders and there were killings.  But we learned from them that compassion is worth sacrificing one’s life for.  They did not retaliate nor abandon us. They were more careful and we still suffer painful distance from those early encounters.

Questions and more questions: As my mind searches for new questions to ask about the future I wonder about the really distant ones we “know” from our astral travel research but have yet to meet.  What are they like to meet corporeally on their own worlds? What would it be like living with them? What more can they teach us?  I feel an almost painful longing to get going. That is why I interact with the space drive engineers every moment I can spare. Looking for the “secret” to cross-galactic travel – worm holes, space-folding, time/space distortion, stacks, not only of nested worlds, but of universes and multi-verses, dimensional gates – whatever will serve.  We have to get out there.

It’s as if there is a call from “them” to us. I can feel this every day. It’s not just natural empathy, it’s something else, something new. Sometimes I image “them” coming to us in space-folding ships to take us, or some of us, to their homes in distant galaxies. I know I would not hesitate for one moment to go with them.

Don’t start imagining for a moment that I, as an individual, am particularly intelligent, smart or brilliant. On the scale of intelligence here, I’m actually below average. That’s why I am so well suited to my choice of purpose. It’s also why I’m so desperate to learn; to understand, however much of our current technology escapes me. I’m more of a mind-sharer; a healer. I experience a thrill in my heart when I know I’ve touched someone and made him or her feel better about their life in general. Empathy, that’s what I “do” best. I’m what is considered to be a very ordinary human, but see? I’m considered human: I’ve (we’ve!) made it! Wooeee, girl!

The Supracity as starship: Our supracity concept already anticipates the possibility we may develop a “field” of such energy that it will wrap a supracity entirely in a bubble to become a star ship carrying tens of millions of lives into space – a common enough idea even in the science-fiction of your time, but much more likely to happen with us. The supracity is self-sustaining and could survive in space for eons, “docking” here and there to refuel from gases and minerals.

Or, all the Supras (there are now a dozen of those that encompass the entire human species of earth) could join into a man-made world, a mini-system called a wheel-world, totally self-sustaining. While this is likely what will happen, I do not support that idea.  Too much like the nation-state again.  Too much like “us” on this spoke of the wheel versus “them” on that spoke with a kind of “united nations” complex at the centre of our world to meaninglessly and powerlessly adjudicate “world” issues. Back to central government?

Not again!  Not ever again! That is the only thing I fear, this recidivism, and why I want to leave our species behind forever. If it happens, I don’t want to see it and I certainly don’t want to be a part of it.

Nevertheless, try to imagine a dozen supracities lifting off the planet simultaneously – every man, woman and child, every ISSA but a few thousand observers to remain until their task is complete.  So, what are we talking about here?  Perhaps the greatest mass exodus of humanity of any world or time – entirely leaving a home world by consensus, by singular choice – not by force – when much less drastic possibilities or choices still exist.

For example, we could remain on our home world and trust ourselves enough to return “to the land” so to speak without returning to being exploiters or predators. We could opt to pioneer new worlds within the galaxy now being terraformed in anticipation of human habitation (not necessarily Earthian!). We could, theoretically, simply leave our bodies to Terra and release ourselves entirely from physicality or dependence on data storage and just “vanish” into and beyond “space” to enrich First Mind (if such exists – and only in doing this could we know.  We could also be committing genocide). All possibilities, all choices.  But for us (that is, you and I – me!) I know it will always be the stars.

I must tell you that “time” no longer controls us. We determine its passage, how much of “it” we will use up in working out a problem.  What you call a “day” in your artificial time measurement could be a hundred years here, or vice-versa. No one here ages unless they want to look the part.  Our minds, of course, age as they expand and become ever wiser and filled with more understanding and knowledge. That sort of aging is always a good thing: it leads to more life, not less. Now remember this: you can practice that in your own “time.” Teach yourself to run on two or more “time frames” simultaneously. The more you do it, the better you will become at it. You will need that skill soon enough.

Back to the day – the Function – “Hi honey, I’m home!”: The place where I’m booked is a giant hotel/office complex with entire sections of floors dedicated to permanent residency for those working here.  My destination is one of the residences where I am to meet the man with whom I will interact and accompany for the next several days, a high-level bionics engineer. I am greeted by the checker who validates my ID and enters it at my destination. As I expected, he escorts me to the elevator and becomes easily familiar – with my encouragement. I relay my thoughts on an answer I picked up for an enhanced space drive. He frowns. “I think” (he picts as he stands behind me and holds me) “your idea would work on a star ship but not inter-galactically. I see problems with force field generation – much stress on biological forms. Perhaps it could be done using robots, drones or androids to do the work while the humans are kept in cryogenic suspension, but any biological complex would be damaged or destroyed. And we haven’t solved the time problem.  Think about it and I’ll meet you (meaning in mind) at our next sharing session.” I touch him gently, lightly and kiss him-it’s expected as a kind of tip-on the lips. There is no possessiveness in our exchange – just a perfectly natural exchange of bodily energies – a balancing. I slip through the irised opening into a grav-well and I am taken to my floor.  “Hi honey, I’m home!”

Subject – temp morphing: I should tell you a little of our abilities to “temp” morph, or change our basic body shapes for an assignment.  For example, if the woman requested of the agency is, say, a blond Scandinavian and none is available, my auto-surgeon can perform minor alterations and activate enhancements that can change me to be such a person. It is also possible to acquire a working use of any current earth language in less than one hour. I could perform a one, maximum two-day function as a perfect Scandinavian type without problems, complete with affected accent should I be required to verbalize one. Of course those who call for me are informed that their provider is an enhanced model and that her morphing is only good for the specified amount of time, after which it must be removed.

The agency becomes the fairy godmother and Cinderella is Swedish until the clock strikes midnight… then back to the fireplace coals, the soot and rags?  I think not…

Bottom line is, in all of this we no longer have secrets of one-another, nor can we who have evolved and learned from the Death, harm or hurt another in thought, word or deed.  If anyone has any thing another needs, it is offered.  That’s what it means to be human today. Exceptions, yes, but few and declining. Compare that to your times.

And that is what we always wanted to achieve, wasn’t it? So take comfort in knowing that despite the horrors your times have yet to endure, we have succeeded. We are well on the way to gain what we longed for. And when we break free of our transportation limitations, we will have so much more when we share this with other ISSA beings… out there, beyond our own stars. Perhaps it may even be possible to corporeally travel into the past, to “you” as this message did. Interesting thought, don’t you think? We could function as identical twins. I’ll call us “Youme”!

Closing comments: Are we happy?  The concept has lost its meaning for us (and doubtless it never really had any meaning for your times either – the term is a social convenience) because it is subjective and whimsical. I suppose we are happy to be questing for an ever-better future, whatever the dangers we face. We know we cannot turn back. But our quest is not stoic. We explore and share as much within as without and we exchange much laughter and banter – except we never laugh “at” anymore – only “with.” Please note the distinction and remember this next time you observe some comedian of your day making “jokes” – note how much of it depends on belittling someone, something in any number of ways that can elicit crudely unguarded laughter. The step from this to murder is so short, it hardly exists.

Wonder not why you are not evolving, either mentally or physically. When the mind goes stagnant, the body goes into decline because it is not respected.

I don’t know about being happy. I do know this: we know joy because we have known the greatest of sorrow. We are a joyful people.

Have we given up too much to gain too little? I don’t think so. I think that when we consciously, as a species, not a race, decided to leave our parochial, racist, patriarchal thinking behind, that what we lost and what we are going to abandon is nothing compared to what we are about to gain… We are not only going to discover new (to us!) worlds, galaxies, universes even, but our search has re-awakened what was lost in the dark ages of earth: God in infinity.

What that means I can’t say for certain but I know that I too must “touch the face of God.” I’ve always maintained that we are not God – such a thought is ludicrous – but we were originally designed (purposefully engineered to my way of thinking) to seek and to find. But not “where” nor “when” – not here, not there, but everywhere, though no such place exists until it is found – for it is spirit.

We survived our apocalypse. We have given up many false beliefs to become essentially a real people under an umbrella of true spirituality. From body, to mind, to spirit, we ever ascend following the sine wave of life.

And now to close, as our friend YLea taught us: “As below, so above.”

I realize now what she meant. From “here” I create “there.” From my present I make my future. From below I make the above. From whatever ingredients, recipe and heat setting I use, that is what I must expect to get out of the oven. If I put potatoes in, I cannot expect to pull out an apple pie.

As you say in your time, be well and don’t lose heart in your coming and certain trials. Remember I am the proof that you are strong enough to go through the coming tribulations and become the healer you always wanted to be.

Our future is: always.

Your alter-ego, Tara EarthStar or “Tess”

Short glossary:

Function – All humans with physical (corporeal) form must have a function that can only be performed in physical form deemed of value to the entire polis to qualify for corporeality.

*ISSA – Intelligent Sentient Self Aware, as defining a true human.

grav-well or grav-transport: force fields of traction beams used for horizontal or vertical transport to any part of a supracity, all part of the city’s self-contained energy grid.

Supracity: megalopolis – the singular city of a territory or region. A region or territory can only have one city.

Partials: Duplicate projection of an original human (or any ISSA) representing the original and operated by a part of the original’s mind – hence the term.

The Sword, the Bow and the Staff – Part I – The Calling

(Continuing with the saga in which many thoughts are expressed and many things are learned. This is chapter 16. There are 25 chapters in Part I and 25 more following in Part II. I’m writing this because some of you may want to know how much longer you have to suffer through this, others how much more to expect of a journey and adventure through the unlikely possible, or should I say, the possible unlikely.)

Chapter 16
Return to the Cottage – Introducing Genti

Nothing much had changed at the cottage when the travellers returned after their days on the trail. The barn was partially re-thatched but the rest of the long roof would have to wait another season for grass to be harvested for the thatching. Sheep wandered about or slept in the lower field. Pigs squealed and grunted in their pens. Chicken and geese wandering everywhere presented more of a cacophony. Apart from the noise of the animals reinforcing the fact that things had more or less returned to some normalcy, more logs and branches had been dragged in and stacked in ingenious ways to shed rain and provide dry firewood.

They saw men, women and children about, intent on their various duties or their games.

“Why aren’t they acknowledging our approach?” Asked Deanna.

“I’ve cloaked us in a semi invisible veil. I want to test how close the three of us can get to them before they notice us. Advance silently and quietly.”

They were almost among the people and still no one noticed, not even the dogs. A young boy lobbed a rough-sewn pig skin ball and Lo reached for it and held it in the air. The children stopped running and stared at their ball stationary in the air. One girl screamed and the adults turned to see what was the matter. Lo dropped the ball and gradually made the three of them visible.

Children, women, men, all stared at the three travellers mouth agape. Lo addressed them and explained.

“As you probably already suspected, and talked about among yourselves, we are more than we at first appeared. I used this little trick to prove the point, beyond our fighting abilities and speed which you have observed and wondered about. All three of us are in fact wizards or sorcerers as you will. We are of those who fight for what is right, good and just whereas there be some of us who work on the opposite side of it. Now let me reintroduce ourselves to all of you if you would call out anyone near enough to join.”

They waited while the people of the cottage were assembled to hear what Lo had to say. He could tell they were eager for this revelation, very eager, but perhaps not as much as the priest in Glowmere would be if ever appraised of this. Would there still be a wedding or would that change to a public execution by burning?

The people being assembled and Ian MacGruder having nodded his assent, Lo explained.

“Some of you remember the old tales about certain wizards called the Alas, do you not?”

There were nods and “Aye, there be stories still told of such!” from some of the older people.

“Two of us here are of these. I am the ancient Alay Lotharic, hence my nickname, Lo. This woman is the ancient Alaya called Nah’La and is my bound and eternal wife, as I am her bound and eternal husband. Together now after a very long time apart, we seek out two evil wizards we have dubbed  the Betrayers that we may destroy them before they do more damage here, or cause more wars and plagues.

“This third member of our group, this young woman, calls herself Deanna. She is of the Elven race and possesses powers similar to ours and some that are quite, how shall I say it, unique. She met with us and joined us when we went down to that fortified village that is called Torglynn. She has voluntarily chosen to join our quest and to fight for the defeat of the Betrayers.

“That is basically the long and short of it. We intend, if it pleases you, to stay with you for a few more days during which we will discuss our strategy and learn more about each other and our combined powers. There is another powerful member of this group but he prefers to remain anonymous and unseen. You will however hear him howling in the night when he turns himself into a werewolf. I say this because should any of you encounter him you need have no fear and he will be able to speak to you. As long as he is nearby, allowed to roam freely and no attempt made to molest him, you and your animals are fully protected from either man or beast.

“If for reasons of your own you wish to meet with this person, Deanna will lead you to him. Be aware that if your intent is treacherous, all of us including the werewolf can read your thoughts. If the wolf senses betrayal he will kill instantly, without qualms or remorse. The same is true of the woman, Deanna, for she and the Wolf have a bond that only the Elven people and the Wolf Clans can understand.

“I leave you to think upon these revelations. Realize that I have just taken you back into your old memories, traditions and ways. Remember what you once were before you were enslaved by these new ways, by the new Roman God and his violent religion of conquest and enslavement. Remember and perhaps you may regain some of the pride in what you once were.

“If you wish, you may appraise your village priest of our presence. If he is wise, he’ll do nothing about it. If he is as ignorant as most are, and I suspect he is, he will seek to do us great harm in which case the harm will go to him and those who side with him and try to harm us. If our lives are threatened, know that we will fight and kill those who attack us, however many there be. Would you mind giving a little demonstration, Deanna?”

The young woman looked over the rag-tag group with her flashing green eyes, tossed her hair back, raised her arm and pointed at a large stone near a line of trees that defined the edge of the common yard. The stone measures in the neighbourhood of eight feet in diameter, and partially rose from the ground to the  height of a man. She opened her hand palm out. Two heartbeats and the stone violently shattered, it’s debris scattered over an area of several hundred feet, leaving a hole waist deep to a man in the ground.

A collective gasp escaped from many open mouths accompanied by silence. Looks of confusion, of fear and of certain admiration if not actual worship were turned to the three wizards. It was Nal who broke the spell.

“All right, all right! Look folks, I’m still Beanna here. I’m your friend, not a stranger. These things that have come to pass, I knew nothing of them when I lived with you some months past. I thought myself an ordinary lass then and except for my skin tone, my dark almond eyes, black hair and small size compared to you, I would have been the same as you. That hasn’t changed. My powers are not meant for any of you, though I do have a new ability to heal, as does Deanna. This we will do while we are with you. Bring us your sick, your lame, those who have chronic pain and I will heal them, I mean we will heal them. Now, we be starving after so long on the trail, is there food available?”

There was cheering at that. MacGruder came over to Nal and grabbing her, hugged her in his powerful embrace. After releasing her he said,

“Aye lassie, ye and yo’re companions air welcome among us. No one will tell the priest anything I swear, we hold our secrets well in these parts, o’ necessity. Ye were not braggin’ about the healin’ then? ‘Tis true you can do this?”

“Aye sir, we can, and we will.”

“Please call me Ian. An’ I forgive ye fer the meddlin’ in my affairs afore ye left. What ye said needed sayin’. There be new weapons being forged from those we took from our attackers an’ I understand the need for ‘em. I thank ye, lass.”

Nal could not reply. She was choking and tears gushed from her eyes. Apart from her mother, Lo and Deanna, she had known so little kindness or respect through her short years that any amount overwhelmed her. MacGruder noticed and added,

“Ye be a fine girl, Beanna. If ye be half as much a wizard as ye are a good woman, this world owes ye a great debt o’ gratitude already and will owe ye much more. Come, let’s find ye some food.”

He took her small hand in his huge one and led her into the dining area where many had already gathered and were standing and sitting, or busy serving. Lo was on a long bench with several men discussing who knows what and Deanna was engaged in what certainly seemed to be a very serious talk with two tall strangers. A tall young blonde woman was sitting quietly and primly next to the lady of the house. The food came her way and she decided her hunger took priority. She waited for a perfunctory grace to be said then fell to.

The meal was boisterous as such things go but most of the conversation was of the common sort. People’s health, the animals, the weather and in that respect much about the powerful storm that had passed so violently and quickly to the south, bringing lighting and thunder, a thing seldom seen in winter. Several looks were cast at the travellers at the mention of the storm but these said nothing more than acquiesce to the general consensus, that it was unusual.

When the meal was over, Ian MacGruder asked the travellers to join him in a separate and private part of the house.

“First then, I wish to acquaint ye with me own daughter just returned to us from the north where she attended a special kind o’ training place for some chosen young women o’ the clans.”

The tall, slim and quite blonde young woman entered the room accompanied by her mother, Jen and solemnly bowed to Lo and Nal but said nothing, just straightening up and standing as still as if she’d been a guardsman on parade duty.

“This here is Genti, our daughter of whom we are beyond proud. She has been training in secret to become a priestess against the edicts of the Church. Despite the dangers, she chose to enter into this vocation, stating that she did not want to see our old ways die while she could do something about it. Genti is a strong and very disciplined woman who has twice refused a very good match in order to pursue her vocation. I’ll not say more but leave the rest of her story for her and her mother to tell.

“Now I wish to discuss the matter of the healin’ ye said ye could perform on our people and that ye would. We be in serious need of this gift. Is there some particular procedure ye need done for this?”

Nal answered, “No Ian, just take us where we are needed and we will do what we do. I will go with someone you choose. Deanna, will you go along with someone else that we may double up on our efforts for our time may be short?”

“Certainly I will do that. Someone lead me on.”

It was Genti who spoke, in a low but penetrating voice,

“If I may an’ it please ye, I would accompany ye to t’ sick, m’lady.” She said to Deanna.

Though the words spoke of a deep humility they could not hide the power and authority in them.

That is the “healing time” that would be talked about for long years thereafter when a greater, more eventful thing took place at the MacGruders and surroundings of the cottage than had been the cowardly attack that had killed three of their people. The story would also speak of how a daughter of the clans became a great healer in that time.

Sick, lame, those hurt or maimed in accidents, all were cured, including one young man of eighteen summers who had never been quite right in his head and a blind child of three summers who received her sight.

We often speak of how joyful people are when they are delivered from an enemy, when a war is won and the fighters return home in victory. But nothing can surpass the joy of those who receive their people cured from terrible diseases for which they thought there would never be a cure.

Imagine the joy of that mother of the three year old blind child, to realize her child could see after the Glowmere village priest had accused her and her child of having sin in their lives and pronounced the child’s blindness as a just punishment from God.

Imagine if you can the relief also from the many who were dirt poor, when they discovered that the wizards would take no payment, either in gold or in kind, for their healing services. Yes, it was a time of great rejoicing at the cottage that led to three days of feasting, music and dancing.

When the celebrations began and it looked as if they would go on for some time, Deanna confessed to Nal that she longed to join up with Wolf whose lonely calls she had been faithfully following.

“I need to go to him and run with him. I want to find out what he has learned and done about his own powers and how he can help us since he insists on coming along with us. Of course, he would never leave me.”

“Go then Deanna. You’ve done a great service to all now and it’s time for you to enjoy your own life. Talk to me when you are ready to rejoin us. Now listen, you can’t just shuck your clothes here for me to look after and walk away. You’ll need to find a dry place to hide them and you’ll need to wear them when you return. You will remember the human taboos on nakedness, will you not?”

“I will try. It’s silly but it is their law. Warn me when the festivities are coming to an end and I will return.”

Hidden from any prying eye, Nal and Deanna hugged each other and kissed passionately, chests heaving with desire for each other.

“Go, go before we do more. I know you cannot regret but I might and I don’t want to. I love you and you know that. All of us are caught in our own love triangles with you as the fulcrum and it is a terrible burden but I feel it has its purpose and that will be revealed to us soon. Go, find your mate and play. I return to Lo and the things of men and women and wizards while you deal with those of wolves and elves and wizards. Ah, what a motley bunch we are.”

Reluctantly she turned and walked away, back towards the cottage. When she turned, Deanna had disappeared. She scanned the sloping land and saw the large black werewolf and his huge light grey mate running across an open area then plunging into the woods. Then came the distinct calls as both went about performing their territory claiming rituals. Nal felt her heart grow heavy and began to doubt that Deanna would ever return to her as a human being, if at all.

‘I am being a foolish girl, letting love confuse my thoughts. I must be to the things that now concern us most, to the great confrontation that awaits us.

‘O, Lo, I fear for us. Perhaps it’s because of what happened to me before that I harbour this fear, but it is in me. The fear of unavoidable pain and of death. I feel it coming, Lo.’

Did he hear her thoughts? Did he sense her loneliness and emptiness? There was no response from him as she walked slowly and deliberately back to the feast. She heard the music, then the laughter. Night once again began to claim his rightful share of time and Nal stopped to watch as the huge fire lit as a welcome beacon threw its baleful glare up the walls of the great stone building, drawing portentous shapes upon them.

‘Fire’ she thought. ‘Fire, I have seen so many fires already, too many and their colour drains me of life.’



The Gyre Sniffer

a short story by Sha’Tara
(inspired, in part, by the article, “Gyres” by Bucky McMahon
View story at

There are twelve of us aboard the “Gyre Sniffer” as we call our sloop. She isn’t pretty, but can take gale-force winds as if they be but a breeze. All her gear is top of the line. Our crew is the best of the best of the best as they so proudly say in the military.

Our job? Well, more of a lark, really, because we were all very well off and could spend money liberally, was to find the sea’s most horrific, deadly, large, stinky, poisonous floating garbage island. We had heard that it was guarded by a giant sea monster evolved from the materials it had found inside the floating plastic garbage.

We hadn’t had much results with satellite feeds or “Googling” our target and we didn’t care. Actually, we didn’t want to rely on advanced tech for this, we wanted it to be a sort of Moby Dick adventure. We were first of all, going to have as much fun as possible, even when we came face to face with the plastic sea monster and prepared to kill it.

It was Selina, the Portuguese girl, who was the first to throw her tablet and cell phone overboard. We remonstrated her about this, of course, but her reasoning was impeccable: they’re kin to what we’re searching for, follow them! We’d had a few drinks, the joints had been passed around and under the circumstances we thought she made total sense. That’s how serious we were.

We had managed a pretty good gender mix, five women, seven guys, everybody from late teens to mid thirties range and all of us totally freed from any sex taboos. When the sun shone we went about naked and enjoyed ourselves whenever in the mood, wherever we happened to be lying or standing, by reading and studying – yeah, right!

We ploughed on, using solar power to run our freezers, fridges, computers and minimal guidance systems, enough to avoid colliding with any cargo vessels we may encounter which to this point was none. We would get excited when we saw flotsam and made for it. But like Selina’s tablet and cell phone, they were on the way, not there yet. Since following was too slow, we calculated the flotsam’s direction and pushed on.

When high, a couple would jump in the sea for a dive and swim and more sex. Sharks? We figured in such an empty world they had better hunting nearer beaches. Yeah, we’d all seen “Jaws” – we even had a copy on a disk drive aboard. That’s how serious we were.

We weren’t so much interested in killing a monster. We certainly didn’t see ourselves as heroes. We were, to tell the truth, just a tiny segment of the earth’s richest “kids” utterly bored with our lives. We had met here and there, at parties, ski resorts, spas, even in board rooms, make that bored rooms, and in semi-drunken, stoned talk, had put this thing together. We ‘coagulated’ together as we discovered our mutual skills and sexual attraction.

We bought the sloop, had her completely overhauled, came up with the Moby Dick idea, geared ourselves up and met one foggy, dreary morning at some dead-beat marina along the Florida coast. We sailed, I mean that literally. We had thrown out the diesel engine and back-up gas engine also. We were going to sail, come hell or high water. If it meant it would be a one-way trip, so be it because nothing is worse than depression borne of absolute boredom.

Though we had this vague goal of finding a garbage patch and, mythologically speaking, finding a plastic sea monster circling and guarding it, the main point was to become the residents of an ark, the last and only remnants of humanity. So, we would enjoy ourselves, pleasure ourselves, to the hilt and to the dregs.

We ploughed on. The seas rose and fell as did our sloop. We got used to the sussuration of the sea against the hull and the music of the wind in the rigging. We got browner, tougher, smarter and quieter as the weeks passed. We began to see one-another, not just as fun partners or sex objects or casual acquaintances but as individuals; as people, as brains and minds with gorgeous bodies not just made for sex, but to admire and to remember, even in our dreams.

I dreamt of our elected captain, Sir Oliver Hampwell the Third, or “Cap’n” who was twelve years my senior.

As I thought about Cap’n I felt years slipping from my heart. I was getting younger and increasingly introspective. I found so much emptiness in my heart, I had to dig in our stores to find the classics Eugene and Mira had insisted on packing (though they had yet to pull out a single one.) I chose Moby Dick simply because I’d studied it in college but never actually read it. Certainly not to grasp the deep philosophy underlying the story. I read. I actually read. When approached by Darwin who’d been swimming and looked like he really had a ‘need’ I actually turned him down, me! “Not now, Darwin, I’m busy. Later maybe?”

“H’m… sure. I’ll find somebody else, no probs!”

That’s how it was with us. No one would ever insist on getting their way, they’d just find another way, someone else. I was ‘in love’ with all our guys actually, it’s just that I was discovering I developed ‘my moments’ when I had to belong to myself. It was nice to be desired, of course, but even more so to be understood and left alone in those times. I think one could say I was re-birthing myself, re-creating myself. Actually it would be more accurate to say that I was giving myself a life: I’d never really had one before.

We ploughed on. Less and less we listened to satellite radio feeds. There was so much traffic, so much noise, it jarred with our ocean-filled ears. We got more serious about life, more introspective, more eager to share and understand; to listen to another’s story. I would say, “Jesper?” and not “Hey you!” I wasn’t the only one changing, we were all going through it.

We became philosophical. Imagine that, us, the spoiled brats of a planetary elite, seeking the meaning of life.

“When we return to the real world, it’s going to be so different,” said the diminutive Suki. I wonder what I’ll do…”

“Maybe we won’t return. Maybe Suki, this is the real world and we all came out of an illusion. Maybe this ship will sink into the waves and we will become part of something so big we can’t even imagine it,” said Clive, our fabulous cook with the body of an Adonis. I didn’t want to see Clive drown, what a loss, it seemed to me then.

“We won’t sink, we’re past that now. We will sail, we will grow, we will learn more and more. We will all change, evolve. Best of all, we will seek and gain understanding. We will see signs and events in the sea and the sky no one ever saw before and that will make us both, certifiably crazy, and the wisest of people. We can never return to our old lives, you realize? Our past is non-existent. We can only go forward.” So spoke Cap’n, the wisest among us.

We ploughed on, the seas parting freely for the sloop’s proud prow. One sunny morning, with the spray shooting up, I walked up, naked, to the jib’boom to lie on it like a goddess figurehead pointing the ship in the direction of good luck, and a safe harbour. I made it, eyes full of salt spray and I saw the gyre-created island to starboard. I cried out, “Island to starboard!” and slowly worked my way back to a safe deck then joined in the work of rigging our change of direction.

We circled the plastic island for days, smelling the horror of it when downwind. We were indeed horrified. We thought there could never be a man-made disaster worst than this.

Then we heard the news as we were attempting to communicate our find to the “real” world: The US had just dropped nukes on North Korea and both Chinese and Russian nukes had annihilated the US surface navy and taken out most major cities of continental US and Europe. In automatic response, US and European nukes were heading for Russia and China.

Our monster had struck before we could confront it and it mocked us as it sang to us of the end of the world.


Revolt of the Robots –

Revolt of the Robots –

Some great and positive thoughts from George Monbiot about the benefits of volunteering (and not incidentally also another “warning” about the growing “evil” behind the Amazon corporation run by Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world at $90 billion)

Revolt of the Robots

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 01:01 AM PST

How we can find meaning, purpose and pride when the workplace no longer offers them

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 7th February 2018


Why bother designing robots when you can reduce human beings to machines? Last week, Amazon acquired a patent for a wristband that can track the hand movements of workers. If this technology is developed, it could grant companies almost total control over their workforce.

A fortnight ago the Guardian interviewed a young man called Aaron Callaway, who works nights in an Amazon warehouse. He has to place 250 items an hour into the right carts. His work, he says, is so repetitive, antisocial and alienating that “I feel like I’ve lost who I was … My main interaction is with the robots.” And this is before the wristbands might be deployed.

I see the terrible story of Don Lane, the DPD driver who collapsed and died from diabetes, as another instance of the same dehumanisation. After being fined £150 by the company for taking a day off to see his doctor, this “self-employed contractor” (who worked full-time for the company and wore its uniform) felt he could no longer keep his hospital appointments. As the philosopher Byung-Chul Han argues, in the gig economy, “every individual is master and slave in one … class struggle has become an internal struggle with oneself.”

Everything work offered during the social democratic era – economic security, a sense of belonging, social life, a political focus – has been stripped away: alienation is now almost complete. Digital Taylorism, splitting interesting jobs into tasks of mind-robbing monotony, threatens to degrade almost every form of labour. Workers are reduced to the crash dummies of the post-industrial age. The robots have arrived, and you are one of them.

So where do we find identity, meaning and purpose, a sense of autonomy, pride and utility? The answer, for many people, is volunteering. Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent a fair bit of time in the NHS, and I’ve realised that there are two public health systems in this country: the official one, performing daily miracles, and the voluntary network that supports it.

Everywhere I look, there are notices posted by people helping at the hospital, running support groups for other patients, raising money for research and equipment. Without this support, I suspect the official system would fall apart.

And so would many of the patients. Some fascinating research papers suggest that positive interactions with other people promote physical healing, reduce physical pain, and minimise anxiety and stress for patients about to have an operation. Support groups save lives. So do those who raise money for treatment and research.

Last week I spoke to two remarkable volunteers. Jeanne Chattoe started fundraising for Against Breast Cancer after her sister was diagnosed with the disease. Until that point, she had lived a quiet life, bringing up her children and working in her sister’s luggage shop. She soon discovered powers she never knew she possessed. Before long, she started organising an annual fashion show which, across 13 years, raised almost £400,000. Then, lying awake one night, she had a great idea: why not decorate her home town pink once a year, recruiting the whole community to the cause? Witney in the Pink has now been running for 17 years, and all the shops participate: even the butchers dye their uniforms pink. The event raises at least £6000 a year.

“It’s changed my whole life,” Jeanne told me. “I eat, live and breathe against breast cancer … I don’t know what I would have done without fundraising. Probably nothing. It’s given me a purpose.” She has acquired so much expertise organising these events that in 2009 Against Breast Cancer appointed her chair of its trustees, a position she still holds today.

After his transplant, Kieran Sandwell donated his old heart to the British Heart Foundation. Then he began thinking about how he could support its work. He told me he had “been on the work treadmill where I’ve not enjoyed my job for years, wondering what I’m doing.” He set off to walk the entire coastline of the UK, to raise money and awareness. He now has 2800 miles behind him and 2000 ahead. “I’ve discovered that you can actually put your mind to anything. … whatever I come across in my life I can probably cope with it. Nothing fazes me now.”

Like Jeanne, he has unlocked unexpected powers. “I didn’t know I had in me the ability just to be able to talk to anyone.” His trek has also ignited a love of nature. “I seem to have created this fluffy bubble: what happens to me every day is wonderful. … I want to try to show people that there’s a better life out there.”

For Jeanne and Kieran, volunteering has given them what work once promised: meaning, purpose, place, community. This, surely, is where hope lies.

So here’s my outrageous proposal: replace careers advice with volunteering advice. I’ve argued before that much of the careers advice offered by schools and universities is worse than useless, shoving students headfirst into the machine, reinforcing the seductive power of life-destroying corporations. In fairness to the advisers, their job is becoming almost impossible anyway: the entire infrastructure of employment seems designed to eliminate fulfilling and fascinating work.

But while there is little chance of finding jobs that match students’ hopes and personalities and engage their capabilities, there is every chance of connecting them with good opportunities to volunteer. Perhaps it is time we saw volunteering as central to our identities and work as peripheral: something we have to do, but that no longer defines us. I would love to hear people reply, when asked what they do, “I volunteer at the food bank and run marathons. In my time off, I work for money.”

And there’s a side-effect. The world has been wrecked by people seeking status through their work. In many professions – such as fossil fuels, weapons manufacture, banking, advertising – your prestige rises with the harm you do. The greater your destruction of other people’s lives, the greater your contribution to shareholder value. But when you volunteer, the respect you gain rises with the good you do.

We should keep fighting for better jobs and better working conditions. But the battle against workplace technology is an unequal one. The real economic struggle now is for the redistribution of wealth generated by labour and machines, through universal basic income, the revival of the commons and other such policies. Until we achieve this, most people will have to take whatever work is on offer. But we cannot let it own us.


It’s all your Fault

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   ]

The other day, in an unguarded moment of, what, nostalgia? Remorsefulness? Painful introspection, well whatever, I wrote that thing I called ‘Throwing away the key’ and got some interesting replies. I gave myself some interesting replies also, churning up some pretty nasty internal monologue.

The long and short of it, it’s now churning me. Oh yes, there was something driving my thoughts that day and it has intensified. I don’t know where this is going but I’m sure I’ll find out.

Life on earth is interesting to say the least. It’s kind of black and white though we like to throw in a lot of colours to hide the plain truth and we like to pretend the colours are real. They’re not.

Duality: It’s all your fault, the other side, it’s all my fault. There is nothing in between, either or, that’s it. We don’t like that so we say, as if saying it really meant anything, well, it’s not all her fault, it’s not all your fault, not all yours, not all mine. It’s always a bit of both. Then we write up reams of laws and hire thousands of highly paid interpreters to determine the degree of fault to saddle both with. The system gains. Instead of one guilty party, you have two, and both get to pay, forever. A Crayola System, in a nutshell, that’s what living in society is.

Life on earth. For the average Joe or Josephine, it’s never black or white, it’s the coat of many shades of grey. Nothing’s really evil; nothing’s really good. We make sandwiches without the slices of bread and see nothing amiss with that when we open the plastic wrap to pick at bits and pieces of meat and cheese, lick the mayo and mustard from the wrap and finally grab the pickles off the tray and eat them. What a delightful sandwich, we say and of course everyone agrees, it was a delightful sandwich.

Then comes the innocent, the fool, the philosopher who sits beside you on that spinning plastic stool and says, that wasn’t a sandwich, that was a mess of edibles, perhaps, more like a dog’s breakfast. Oh, how dare you, or, Oh well she’s just a kid what does she know, or He’s the village idiot, don’t listen to him.

You ordered a sandwich, the system gave you a sandwich and that’s the end of the story: it was a sandwich. When the system gives it to you, it’s always what you meant to have. Always. If you said otherwise, you can’t begin to imagine what the system has in store for those who insist it wasn’t a sandwich.

Anyway, what difference does it make? It does, says the philosopher, the baker didn’t sell any sandwich bread and he went broke. His family is now on the streets, homeless and starving. And did you notice that the mess you call a sandwich did not cost you any less without the bread?

Well probably the other ingredients cost more so who can blame them for not lowering the price? If that baker had any gumption he’d have found another job to provide for his family. Those people are just lazy. What people, you ask? You know those immigrants, those, those, you know, those not like us.

Which brings in love, and hate. Well, we don’t want total love, that would throw a lot of things in complete turmoil. We don’t want total hate, that would make us look bad, so we bring in the Crayola box again and we start colouring between love and hate.

We have an official black people day, or week or we may stretch it to a month. See? We’re not racists. We don’t line up at some church to shoot the same-sex couple that just got married. See? We’re not all that homophobic. We just won’t serve them any sandwiches, but that’s understandable, we have rights.

We bring in famous entertainers to raise money for some flood victims because their plight was in the news, plus it’s a marvellous opportunity to promote our group and raise even more money.

There are gala dinners and lavish entertainment and when the bills and our financial expectations are covered, we gather to two percent remaining, and put the amount on a billboard size cheque for the photo shoot and the TV interview and we bring the happy, smiley CEO of the charity corporation that will distribute two percent of the cheque’s value to the village mayor who will pass on two percent of the receipts to his friend at the lumber yard and a pick-up truck half full of two by fours and six sheets of plywood will drive off to the construction site where a half dozen volunteers from the local church are building a Christian school. See? We are charitable.

So, let’s stay with the greys, they’re so much easier on the eyes. And for those of you naysayers who gripe about the way we do things, this is earth and if you don’t like it, you know the slogan, “Love it or leave it.” What’s to not understand?



Throwing away the Key

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara

There are days, as today for example, when I would like to get dressed warm enough for the weather, carefully slip my purse over my shoulders, look around to make sure everything is in its proper place, walk out the front door of my house, lock it, and without looking back, walk away. Walk until the road crosses that little bridge under which flows the small river that was my companion, lo these many years, and throw in the key.

Then just walk on.

The direction now is no longer important. Walking will get me the farthest because it will cost less. I could take the bus but they confuse me so much. A taxi I cannot afford. Walking then. As I walk I can notice my world as I have never seen it with so much intensity.

I can imagine already seeing snowdrops popping up in someone’s front yard under a Japanese maple with its lovely orange branches.

I can see robins flitting about under the influence of a Spring that is just around February’s corner. As I continue, farther from town and into the farm lands, horses and cattle are already roaming the fields. It’s Saturday so children too have come out of their homes to play in greening yards or on paved driveways. There is less and less traffic here.

The road that chose me takes me along another small river, more of a drainage system than a river, really. Here and there where in the wider sections ducks actively seek for food. There are the small divers such as buffleheads, hooded mergansers and golden eyes. There are the dabblers, mallards and widgeons, who plunge their heads into the murky depths then pop up again like battery-operated toys. Black willows and cottonwoods lean over the ponds, some of their branches and trunks broken in a Winter ice storm angling down into the dark waters revealing oily reflections.

Overhead flock after flock of Glaucous-winged gulls fly. They too are on their way to feed. By there direction it’s easy to tell they’re going to the landfill for their daily feast.

You may wonder why I haven’t mentioned the many sounds emanating from such a scene. To tell the truth, it’s my hearing. It isn’t as good as it used to be. There was a time I remember when I could pin-point the location of a tiny golden-crowned kinglet in a tall cottonwood by its weak call, ‘tsit-tsit-tsit’ repeated. Still I can hear louder calls, Canada geese coming in for a landing on one of those ponds formed of brackish waters and in a backyard, a chainsaw; someone busy cutting up firewood.

I hear a baby crying as a mother is putting it in the backseat of the family’s SUV. I think, what a world, that a baby has to ride out of sight of its mother and turned so it cannot see anything. There is evil at work at every level of this man’s world and it’s called ‘security’ and ‘safety’ yet the more of that there is, the less there actually is.

That brings me back to the beginning of my thought-wanderings. There is something calling me that this life which I’ve taken to observe more the less I desire to participate in, is preventing me from responding to. That troubles me because how do I know, how can I know, if the calling is not more important than the staying? How can I know the calling will wait for me, for my ambivalence resulting from my decision not to walk out on the ephemeral comfort of a house and throw away the key today?

I know about callings. I’ve had quite a few in this one life alone. If they are not responded to, they go on to someone else and later I read about them, some famous, some both, famous and martyred.  I cannot know if they changed the world but they expressed a courage I chose not to.

If I did leave my house today and threw away the key, would I find such courage? Is it too late and should I just wait?

It’s been raining, it seems, forever and looking out the window I can tell the sun is going to, once again valiantly try to break through the endless clouds and once again, fail.

I’m going to make a fresh pot of coffee and answer some emails, then we’ll see about throwing away the key.