[ short story from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]
“No Sidhe would ever have history in a book. Written words bind. Long memory is best. The past stays alive then; it can change like any living thing.” (Songs of Earth and Power – Greg Bear)
“We deserve each other, we and our god. We are both incomplete and lost.” (Songs of Earth and Power – Greg Bear)
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident.” ( Arthur Schopenhauer)
“In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” (George Orwell)
As strange (perhaps upsetting) as it will be to many, I must begin this “story” with a simple truth.
I am no more, no less than an “alien” as you would call me (were you free to think your own thoughts about such things) having returned from “the other side” of your universe to take some readings and make recordings relating to the conditions of life on this Earth planet after a few millennia’s (reckoning by your time, not ours, of course) travelling around and keeping track of a few other worlds assigned to me as Recorder, currently rated as Hegemony Representative class 3. I’ve now been orbiting your small world for a few hours (reckoning by universal time) and here’s as good a place to correct any misunderstandings you may have regarding my use of “time” as you understand the concept.
There exists an infinite number of times and an infinite number of ways time can be observed or used. Your observation of time is not ours.
As some of you are aware (though you probably have no clue as to what it adds up to) there have been those who caused it to be recorded in many of your “sacred” literature, as a reminder to you, that to a god (a creator) a day is as a thousand of your years and vice-versa. Do not assume this to be nothing more than hyperbole! Soon, should your species survive the next five hundred of your years, you are going to have to wake up, grow up and stop assuming that something “is so” just because you can’t prove it isn’t! That’s not how you go about evolving!
You will never understand your own life on this world until you understand and accept this incredible discrepancy between how you perceive the passage of time and how we do. For me, only a few days have elapsed since I was here last (as a Recorder), but for you it has been a passage exceeding the scope of your historical records. Another point I should make: for you, short-lived beings, time is everything. For us, accustomed to contemplate life within infinity, time is a convenient measuring device, nothing more. Would you find it strange if I told you that I know of places where time does not exist – because it isn’t needed? Think about that.
What unexpected change has greeted my instruments, and my own senses in such a minuscule amount of time! The information available to me at this moment is, to say the least, quite shocking.
That something has gone terribly wrong with the designers’ and engineers’ predictions, of that I have no doubt, but what is (or was) the cause of your explosive expansion that can only be labelled as a type of collective madness? This feverish rush to overpopulate and consume the planet’s most precious and finite resources leading to wholesale massacre of non-man life, to sociopathic wars and genocide? To endless fear, hate-mongering and distrust between your assortments of social groupings?
Why did you not “get it” that you cannot have a viable planet without cooperation; without give and take; without judicious sharing and more to the point, without compassion? I could go on with all the evil things you do and sadly, you would not be surprised. You know that much about your history and your own complicity in it. Water on a duck’s back, some of you would say. Or shrug off my claims, however much you intuitively know they hover near the mark; or sneer – one of your common last ditch come-backs. What would hold some water with us would, instead, be an admission that you are negatively impacting this world; an expression of a bit of common sense logic, and some sense of expressed responsibility, perhaps even some guilt. Too much to expect I suppose when you have yet to accept the necessity of respecting others of your own species in your own neighbourhoods.
While absorbing and analyzing this information, I’m cruising about up here, completely invisible to your primitive probes. At the moment I’m setting up and adjusting the monitoring instruments that will track my time among you until I return to this ship – in a couple of my hours, an approximate eighty year life span for you – and for me while encased in one of your humanoid bodies. My two allocated servant androids have programmed themselves and stand ready to take me down to the planet surface and return to pilot this craft in my absence. For reasons of entrainment and chronology with my earth brain the craft’s intelligence has switched its time-scale to that of your solar system.
I’m a bit nervous about meeting with you, the *ISSA type life forms, or beings, who have done such amazing things in so short a time. You are frightening and intimidating, existing as a kind of humanoid singularity that pulls everything into itself for no better reason than some senseless need to experience physical growth through intense sensory agitation and emotional arousal. I note here that previous Recorders have compared your species to a cancerous growth. The description seems apt. Every indication shows that you are not only out of control but completely maladapted to your world. Driven by some subconscious urgency, you have spread yourselves to every conceivable sector of your planet leaving less and less shared living space for those non-humanoid species that make it possible for you to survive here. Why have you not chosen to limit your numbers instead of wasting space and resources this way? Why choose this global game of Russian roulette that can only end in death?
I find myself here looking at a gargantuan catastrophe combining race hubris, leadership misdirection (lies) and deliberately wasted opportunities. Am I to record, for the Hegemony Council in charge of developing *ISSA worlds, that your species is insane and recommend that you be entered in the records as a failed event? Though I cannot know what recommendations other Recorders have made regarding your status except for some generalities – I do know that six negative recommendations equate entering a process of termination. And I can freely share this internal information with you because I know that hardly anyone of you is either capable, or willing to consider this as a valid comment worthy of consideration. There is a standing joke among us: If you want to be disbelieved on Earth, be sure you’re telling them the truth.
Although a termination is a rare event, all concerns must weigh for the galaxy saddled with such anomalies as Earth. Based on our observations, how could your species be permitted to develop space flight capability through discovery of so-called worm holes or access to an Einstein-Rosen bridge allowing you to spread your madness through this galaxy, and beyond? You have utterly failed to develop and demonstrate even a fraction of empathy and personal or social responsibility for one another and for your world – the two basic, foundational requirements to a successful colonization on any *ISSA world. I see here that the terms emphasized by my predecessors are: selfish and utterly self-absorbed, rare exceptions noted.
Of the days when you had “gods” among you, you still possess some written instructions. Of the instructions they gave you to ensure you would enjoy long, healthy and happy lives, it seems none of you care to study them, much less implement them. Instead you go on about your invented “businesses” as if in such you could ever find a life and a future. You may have noticed though that your “gods” – whether the old familiar ones or the newly invented singularity you call “God”- have grown quite deaf to your pleas. They are silent in bringing about any modern teachings to correlate with your technological evolution. As a result, a growing number of you is opting for the assumption that there are no gods at all; that there never were; that the concept of divinities is old superstition that must be done away with if you are to “be all that you can be” as you like to claim. Well, at least it’s something. Your poorly defined concepts of secularism won’t work either, but it’s an attempt at bootstrapping. Whether you believe you are descendants of apes or of specially modified cloned beings, or actually created from mud doesn’t change your general outlook. Point: you remain as a species, sadistic predators.
Once I have established a natural sort of contact with some of you, what should I say to you? I know what I want to say: “What in hell do you think you’re doing, idiots?” But you’re quite used to hearing that and from my input, are utterly immune to any sort of positive reaction to it. When it’s fired at you as a joke, you laugh and accept the label as appropriate. You do know what you are. The problem is, you’ve forgotten how you came to this mentally fallen state and certainly have no clue how to get out of it, if any of you even believe there is any need to arrest your own downfall. As one of your witty types said, you are a bunch of people in an SUV heading into a cement wall at a hundred miles an hour and fighting over the best place to sit.
The problem, as I see it, and I’m sure that my couple of hours among you will prove me right, is a question of time. Your lives are so impossibly short you can’t see what you are doing to your world, and to yourselves. You no longer possess the necessary “life” time to develop a practical sense of empathy and responsibility. You feel rushed, constrained to spend your few minutes of “air time” under the sun playing at carnal love: in what you call making money by exploiting what resources remain to be squeezed from a desiccating world, or immersed in three-ring circuses of mindless entertainment. You can’t grasp how you are choking and destroying your one and only life-sustaining environment. You cannot grasp the extent of your sickness because you have no healthy society to compare yourselves to… and if you did you’d in all likelihood destroy it rather than change yourselves.
The few among you who have developed a hazy thought process around the problem simply do not have the time-reach, either in past history, current knowledge or any reliably developed futuristic projection, to present a credible picture for yourselves, never mind to present such to your opposition – which is well-organized and masterful at spreading disinformation. The history of “man” is quite simply too short and too manipulated by a number of vested interests to lend validity and reliability to any sort of hard-core, unchallengeable conclusions. Even your modern science and attendant technology which many of you consider quite sophisticated remains at a dangerous primitive level and its manipulators no more than sorcerer’s apprentices. It is weighed down with critical errors of observation – again due to short-sightedness from time (and space!) constraints – and remains a completely unreliable tool with which to develop any useful long-term action.
I could fill in some of the blanks for you but of course, having no institutional status among you, there is no way your minds would allow you to accept my input anymore than you would allow yourselves, as individuals, to trust in your own problem solving abilities. You have these abilities, naturally: they are part and parcel of the set-up for any world peopled by *ISSA consciousness, but you are programmed and brainwashed to believe otherwise and you cannot, will not, even try. You need gods; you need leaders; you need experts; you need power groups: you still lack even a rudimentary awareness of self-empowerment.
Any logical and simple solution I could give you to save yourselves, you could neither see nor believe. Nor is that part of my mission, or if you prefer, my observational status. I’m no teacher or prophet or other kind of entity that would seek to grasp some power over you to force you to see what I see. Surely you have enough of that going on here now! I see how easily you are manipulated by your ubiquitous rulers: your religious preachers, your media pundits; your System-contracted professors, medical doctors, lawyers, judges; your political leaders, your erstwhile bankers and CEO’s, your corporate-owned white-robed researchers and “scientists” and even your entertainment celebrities. From my “alien” observation, I know the aforementioned powerful and popular people form the greatest deliberately organized obstacle to mental evolution: together it comprises an elitist class of legalized criminals.
You may question the label of “criminal” ascribed to my list so let me at least say this: what do you say of a professional whose mandate is to impart justice; to instruct, defend, protect, imposing impartial justice according to a written code, who goes through the motions only to render biased judgments to satisfy some vested interest for as crass a reason as paying off the mortgage? What of those who get rich by defrauding, exploiting, oppressing and murdering large numbers of helpless members of their own species? What of those of your media and politicians who lie to cover the misdeeds and crimes that pay for their own well-being? Would you not call that criminal? And do you not wallow in this depravity, knowingly, day after day, doing your best to ignore it as long as it does not affect your personal interests too onerously? Do you not freely “deal” with these crimes by endlessly indulging in blame-shifting and creating scape goats?
Here goes! “Computer, now leaving shuttle craft E-22 for Earthian tour of duty. Will return with records in one Earthian life-time. Send time and coordinates via sub-space probe. Initiate emergency recall sequence.”
A child was born of a young girl in a UN refugee camp on the northern border of an Earthian country called Nigeria. The father was declared unknown though it was common knowledge the girl had been raped and the man was a soldier. The girl was taken away from the camp, judged an adulteress and stoned to death according to the law of that land. The child survived. She became a teacher in the camps and she wrote books of her experiences. In her old age she became blind. One day she walked from the camp and was never seen again. That was the day before China and India went to war with each other and nuclear weapons were used by man for the second time in history.
*ISSA: acronym for Intelligent, Sentient, Self Aware.