Antierra Manifesto – blog post #84

The sun is hitting the far north wall, painting a dull orange-yellow into the texture of the weathered stones above the shadows cast by spired turrets thrusting themselves into the afternoon sky from the red-brown tiled roofs of ponderous square structures whose purpose I’ve never bothered to enquire about. There’s another piece of crenellation missing up there.  Why aren’t they doing a better job of repairing their keep, their great city?  On occasion while walking from the training areas to the forge carrying the weapons needing attention I noticed large cracks in the masonry between the square stones.  Are they just letting the keep fall apart because modern weaponry makes the idea of a ‘fort’ redundant?  Or is their economy collapsing from the combination of rising costs from raising, training and maintaining of slaves and perhaps even more relevant, a growing debt due to gambling?  Or is the war with Estáan expanding and draining more from the battered economy of Elbre?

End blog post #83
Begin Blog post #84

I’m remembering the confused economics of Old Earth, early C-21, near the end of my last ‘formal’ life there and do a comparison with what is happening here.  I don’t have much of a perspective of Malefactus, being a slave within a compound buried inside a city and no access to current events, to the history, of the rest of this world.  On Old Earth there was a common, mostly subconscious awareness that economics based purely on exploitation of any resource and measured by the interest of greed would cause a massive collapse of society.  Of course the inevitable happened on that world as its primary resource called crude oil, peaked and dwindled with little actually in place to replace it, despite the best of hopes at the time.   

What about here?  What’s it like, say, in some city or town on the southern shores of their ‘Great Sea’ as they call it?  What constitutes the basis of that economy?  Is it the same dreadful thing as here in Hyrete?  Or do they fish, farm, mine, grow fruit maybe?  I know the females are still slaves, no matter where one goes on T’Sing Tarleyn; that the basic labour is all done by slavery, but do they treat their slaves better?  I don’t know why they should and I have to assume that no matter where one is on this world things are as bad as here. 

Long ago my ‘Teachers’ taught me how to look at the things which I had no way of knowing for certain.  “As below, so above.”  Translated it simply means that when projecting into other dimensions, other worlds, other places or into the future, go with your knowledge.  Remember that knowledge comes from two sources irrevocably blended together: information and experience.” 

Why does it matter to me how women are treated in those places I can not know about?  It matters simply because all that I have gone through here, all that I am going to yet experience, is meaningless to me if such a passage does not result in the betterment of their lives in some way.  It matters because over the years I have lived here the women I have met, young or old, all have a place in my heart.  They are, to me, mothers, sisters, lovers, daughters.  It matters because I will never be free in heart as long as they remain slaves. 

“When none of it matters it will all be yours.”  So I was taught those many years ago on Old Earth.  I remember the lessons so clearly now that I’ve failed every one of them.  And you know, maybe that is the purpose of every ‘great’ lesson, that we never get them until we realize we’ve failed at what we thought they were about.  Only then can we begin to rise to the challenge: that beyond the obvious lies reality.  This I’ve learned about being truly alive: that it will never cease to amaze me, no matter where I find myself, nor in what circumstances. 

That may well explain why in some place beyond time I sat with many good friends, human and others and we decided to join the shadow beings who are called “WindWalkers” within the All-Thing.  The “Ever-Wanderers” or “Avatari.”  Such joy we felt then, when we sang our song in unison, its power vibrating among the stars and their countless worlds, participating and adding power to the music of the spheres.  When we raised our hands, we created a crystal of rainbow light that for a moment illuminated our spirits and minds and cleansed us of all blemishes.  We enjoined ourselves to remember, as it has been said, the voices of the dead and of the living and take that remembrance as the gift of the Avatari to the worlds we would inhabit. 

We could not have known then the nature of the trials that awaited us among the various planes of existence we would visit and incarnate.  We could not have known that it was every weakness and every failure we would rise from that would determine who we were and how we could function.  We could not have known that the only power that would serve us in the end was what we ourselves manifested from our surroundings and from within ourselves.  We could not have known that in most instances where we would be most effective we would simply give our own physical lives to these worlds.  And not just once.

I’ve now managed a few steps without help and away from any support.  I feel a bit more confident.  Slowly, I bend forward, keeping a shaky balance, then attempt to bend back.  I fall but wave the Cydroid away.  I get up and regain my balance.  My head continues to clear and that distant drum beat that was the beating of my heart in my damaged temple fades more and more.  I cross the alley to a stone pillar and lean on it.  Bal has followed me and stands next to me.  He’s wearing a silken mauve robe that flows in the breeze and he looks very handsome to me.  Why not?  By galactic standards I’m but a very young woman, not a battered crone who should have died years ago.  Ah well, I truly do not care actually that I don’t attract him anymore.  I may not have changed things much on this world but I have gained a new kind of adulthood, a new kind of understanding from my experiences. 

Maybe there is one great lesson to be learned before one evolves into full humanity; the correct answer to the Sphinxian question:

‘How does one become human?’

The answer could go something like this: to become aware that ‘any allegiance to a deity or concept or universal principle which puts obedience above decent behaviour toward an innocent is evil.’ [1]

Perhaps that is the ultimate lesson above all lessons ISSA beings must learn before they evolve into full humanity.  The correct answer to any demand for sacrifice, by any Power whatsoever, is to offer oneself in place of the other, even if the act seems utterly hopeless.  It never is.  Infinity redeems, not history, not time, not God, not the gods.

“Bal, how long have I lived here?”  For in truth I can no longer remember.

“You came here in the fifth month of the year one thousand three hundred and twenty-eight (1328).  It is now the seventh month of one thousand three hundred and forty-one (1341). You have been here thirteen years and two months.  Do you want the statistics on the number of times you fought and won in the arena?”

“No!”  The cry comes from deep within my spirit, from beyond time itself.  “I have won nothing, Bal, except my mind freedom when I defeated and destroyed the Warmo.  All the others, no matter who they thought they were or I believed them to be, are my victims.  I killed them, all of them.  Yes, it could be said I had no choice, but I had.  I came here of choice.  Yes it could be said I wanted to help the women of this world and that remains as true today as the first day I was branded and became a T’Sing Tarleyn slave woman and fighter.  But the blood I shed, especially the times I enjoyed shedding it, I must yet atone for.  Nothing is free; nothing is ever what it seems.  Every good or evil event has its opposite.”

“You are too hard on yourself, almost to the point of blindness.  If you refuse to see the good you have brought here by your sacrifices how will you ever succeed?  Antierra – you will die in that arena, perhaps soon.  The auto-med reports many failures in setting things to right in your body.  The Warmo did things to you we cannot repair.  Your heart is damaged but not all of your damage is physical, do you understand?  You must regain control of yourself for this world still desperately needs you.

[1]   Quote from “Hyperion” by Dan Simmons, p. 292

31 thoughts on “Antierra Manifesto – blog post #84

  1. Hyperion

    I can say that Antierra could speak my own thoughts in wondering if any good came from the hard labor and sacrifice. Perhaps the time of messiahs is long past and the world cannot be swept away by a single person’s lead. I felt those individual successes were all
    I could do but I knew all along I was building sand castles at low tide. I can say it did pass the time in magnificent ways. Perhaps Antierra is John the Babtist like in setting a stage that will spill her blood but usher in the next Desert Beast onto a path already paved. I enjoy these scenes of reflection where we learn so much from Antierra’s inner thoughts and secret conversations. Every true hero has his or her doubts after the dust has cleared.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thank you Daniel. I thought you would find much to shake your head affirmatively at those inner thoughts of Antierra. I know you have experienced similar drama and tragedy in your life as a soldier, with probably some bright moments of personal joy interspersed. Skipping around here… there is so, so much I could tell this world about alternative approaches to living an ISSA life! Whatever we are “now” doesn’t have to be: that is a gross lie. We can “change our mind” and certainly our ways. We can think differently. We can be generous, kind, understanding, loving to a fault, stunningly beautiful in spirit, angelic in deportment, soft spoken, peace makers, patient as the mountains, gentle… in short we can be good. That list comprises part of the true legacy we were not just promised, but freely given. It was stolen from us and we were implanted with its opposites. Now we must struggle somewhere between the evil and the good, never finding solid ground, always rising and falling to rise again. Always making contradictory choices day by day, never quite sure this, or that, is the proper response to endless promptings. We define ourselves by our choices but how do we know… for sure… “that” choice was the right one? Antierra, Joan of Arc, John the Baptist, myself as Helene Matthieu captured by the SS as an active member of the French Resistance and tortured to death in 1943, so many yet so few, pushed the envelope by choosing self sacrifice for the greater good. If we were to measure our “success” by what history shows and what is going on today we would have to laugh at our pain filled naivety. Did we really think we could make a difference, that our example would be emulated by the rank and file?
      But this is it you see, such as us who have suffered the ultimate pain, shame and defeat learned that that is not how life is measured. It’s not a ledger with red and black entries and a total at the bottom of the spreadsheet. Those of us who deliberately take on the confusion and pain of the world are looking for ourselves, for our stolen human legacy. I think, at least for me, that’s the bottom line. I don’t want to just exist to snatch little moments of scattered pleasures along my physical life’s short path, I want to live the live that embodies everything good a human life implies. I want to know joy and I already know from experience that the path to joy is through sorrow. Antierra is giving us a play-by-play example of how to walk such a path.
      I can’t imagine these thoughts being alien to yours… thanks for reading this “stuff” Daniel.

      1. Hyperion

        Thank you Sha’Tara. I find your words comforting and beautiful with a clarity unmatched. Nothing you have said is alien nor in anyway disagreeable. I get caught up in my programming web often. But it is a web I can eventually see and free myself from. I do believe we. An choose a benevolent path of compassion and remain altruistic toward our fellow earthlings. In spite of my twisting thoughts I always choose to give and help those I can. I do get chastised for it but in a way, I believe that one soul will turn to give back if the others just use that compassion to shore up their bad choices one more day. We can do it and others can follow in their own way. Nobody ever said it was easy. They just said it had to be done.

      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        “They just said it had to be done.” What a perfect close! I do get off on affirmation, and that’s affirmation.

  2. George F.

    “…which puts obedience above decent behaviour toward an innocent is evil.’ Human society, is, by this definition, pure evil. If we could adopt this philosophy now, the world would be a better place. Wait. I have already adopted this philosophy. Perhaps it will spread. The more I study evil, (as I write my blog) the more I become convinced that humanity suffers from what can only be called mass demonic possession. There is no other way to describe evil without referring to the mythological and the mystical.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks George. That is quite the comment, astute or to put it in the vernacular, “dead on balls accurate”! (compliments of the movie, “My Cousin Vinnie”) The study of evil is called “ponerology”. If time permits you may want to read some articles on ponerology and psychopathy. I’m posting this bit from Wikipedia as a teaser:

      Ponerology is the name given by Polish psychiatrist Andrzej Łobaczewski to an interdisciplinary study of the causes of periods of social injustice.[1] This discipline makes use of data from psychology, sociology, philosophy, and history to account for such phenomena as aggressive war, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and police states. The original theory and research was conducted by psychologists and psychiatrists working in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary in the years before the institution of Communism such as Kazimierz Dąbrowski and Stefan Blachowski.[2]

      Łobaczewski adopted the term from the branch of theology dealing with the study of evil, derived from the Greek word poneros. According to Łobaczewski, all societies vacillate between “happy times,” or times of prosperity, during which advanced psychological knowledge of the danger of psychopathological influence in the corridors of power is suppressed, and “unhappy times,” during which the intelligentsia and society at large are forced to recover this specialized knowledge in order to ultimately rectify the social order along mentally healthier lines. It is to be noted that “happy times” do not imply morally advanced times, as Łobaczewski makes clear that this “happiness” or prosperity may well be premised on the oppression of a target group.

      Łobaczewski defines many specific “characteropathies,” which Western psychology would probably term “character disorders,” as paving the way for the ultimate rule of “essential psychopaths” in full-fledged “pathocracy.” This is what he says takes place when society is insufficiently guarded against the minority of such abnormal pathologs ever-present in its midst (Łobaczewski asserts that the etiology is almost entirely bio-genetic.) He believes that they infiltrate any institution or state, prevailing moral values are perverted into their opposite, and a coded language not unlike Orwell’s “double-think” circulates into the mainstream, using “paralogic” and “paramoralism” in place of genuine logic and morality. There are various identifiable stages of pathocracy described by Łobaczewski. Ultimately, each pathocracy is foredoomed because the root of healthy social morality, according to Łobaczewski, is contained in the congenital instinctive infrastructure in the vast majority of the population. While some in the normal population are more susceptible to pathocratic influence, and become its lackeys, the majority instinctively resist.
      Personally, having no degrees and little love for psychiatry, I look at it the way you do: a real example of demon possession. A more politically correct term is to call it “group think” these days. Psychopaths instinctively know how to use “group thinkers” – religious types, red necks, sports fans, addicted TV watchers, bullies, racists, patriots, nationalists… there’s quite a list.

      I once asked a Teacher to explain to me what “sin” really was. She said it was very simple and it had nothing to do with religion. Sin, by definition, is anything thought, verbalized or done that has the potential to bring harm to another for one’s own satisfaction, financial gain or empowerment over that other. Pure selfishness, in other words. We’re seeing much of that flaring up all around us today. (more to come)

      1. George F.

        Comments like these are an “unintended benefit” of my blog…I’m learning so much and “meeting” so many free thinkers like yourself! Thanks!

      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        Still chewing on it, George. I like the direction it’s taking. AI fascinates me; it opens up such a wonderful Pandora’s box of goods and evils!!!

      3. Sha'Tara Post author

        Well, if she has to go that way… then so be it. Won’t be pretty on the long run but if she is inimical to the existing psychopaths running the planet, should make for some interesting showdowns. And if she has the power to speed up the development of her child to become her sidekick in kicking ass, what a show that will make… move over, Batman and Robin…

      4. George F.

        Good point. I thinks Akira is mirroring the way she perceives reality right now…she’s aware that narcissists and psychopaths have taken over the planet and she has turned into a little microcosm is this. (As above, so below. ) Plus, Akira can only fight fire with fire. She thinks humanity is currently caught in some sort of mass demonic possession…so Akira is going to be a reflection of this…You, and me, it seems, are empaths…and personally speaking, the horror or waking up and finally seeing the psychopathy surrounding us is a bit too much to take. At least it is for me. I knew “nothing made sense” and identifying it as psychopaths in charge is really the ONLY way to explain the social system. Cutting food stamps but cheering at the cost of a new $400 Billion Dollar High-Tech Fighter Jet? “Life is cheap. War is profitable.” But now I’m rambling…

  3. George F.

    “… is meaningless to me if such a passage does not result in the betterment of their lives in some way. ” As a fellow empath, I believe you’re setting yourself up for much suffering. I can feel you. Or perhaps that is a delusion as well.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks George. You are correct, the path of empathy on such a world as this one is fraught with sorrow – no avoiding it. Either we continue and take it, or we close off, which is a non-option for true empaths. That’s how we can tell if we’re “in” or not: if we can shut it down we are fake empaths. I think that our real nature also shows up in our writing… which says a lot. I also think the delusional are those who think they can have their cake and eat it too when it comes to compassion and empathy.

  4. George F.

    Economics is a mass delusion.Billionaires, having all that money, seem to have nothing better to do with it than to practice pedophilia. Of course, if you’re following the corrupt money trail of Epstein you know I can’t even make this shit up.

  5. Sha'Tara Post author

    I agree. Economics is the plutocrats’ trap in which they rounded up everyone else. Banking is the ultimate Ponzi scheme but its tentacles so forcefully and intricately enmeshed in global civilization that one can no longer function without the other. Every move made by businesses, corporations, national governments and empires must now be vetted by “the economy” – which is nothing more than a tool of exploitation and oppression operated by psychopaths and banksters.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      I hope most readers are aware that I am cheating. The story was already written, down to “That’s all she Wrote!” so all I am doing is editing the MS and breaking it down into “blog posts”. I do make such changes as I deem necessary here and there but the story remains essentially the same. I even have a couple of chapters of a sequel but I swore to myself that the only way I would ever write a sequel to any MS is if I was absolutely convinced the sequel exceeded, in meaning, in character and philosophical development… that is, in every way, the first book. The idea is that the “spirit” of Antierra returns as a young trainee to awaken to her chosen purpose to continue the empowerment and liberation of the female fighters of Hyrete as she trains under the watchful eye of her assigned trainer: Tikki. If I go that route it will mean some drastic revision and re-writing of the last chapter of “The Manifesto”! OK, Muses, I’m wide open for serious inspiration here…

      1. Phil Huston

        I channeled some sequels once just because I liked to hang out with the characters and they wouldn’t shut up, so…

      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        Channeling, huh? Now that’s a thought. May yet happen, except that I have a tendency to discover a totally different story having popped up and supplanted the one I declared “El Finito.” You can’t spend too much time on the same flower or you run out of pollen.

  6. deteremineddespitewp

    This is a well crafted reflective interlude of the warrior Antierra. A front-line soldier of (to steal an SF title) ‘The Forever War’. And as true soldiers will wonder from time to time. ‘What is the point of it all?’, although I read she is still possessed of that small flame which stops her from falling into the mindset so brilliantly illustrated in Michael Herr’s book (here I go again) ‘Despatches’. He talk about ‘The Mission’ and why America is in Vietnam and then quotes from a young GI:
    ‘Aww that’s a load man. We’re here to kill gooks. Period’
    I do hope she ‘makes it out’

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Good point. Antierra is human, not some kind of fictional or mythological super heroine. She has to reason things based on memories and observations. Yes she does have the advantage of past lives memories and strange encounters but by incarnating on Malefactus she chose to forego many of those advantages. She had to meet the women at their own level before she could hope to help them rise above their slave and quasi-animal status. Their hopelessness, their fears, their doubts, their hungers, their lusts, desires, hopes – all those things she had to open up to and allow to become a part of herself also. Those are the things that can destroy the mind of an empath change agent, making her/him forget their purpose and in the case of gladiatorial combat, become nothing more than a fighting machine until disposed of. To a lesser degree perhaps, all of us are faced daily with the same choice: remain in the group think or accept the burden that accompanies the self-chosen and entirely personal purpose.

      1. deteremineddespitewp

        Indeed over the past few years it has been annoying rather than depressing to see folk flocking into groups where they can all squawk to each other the same song.
        It sounds very natural and sometimes inspiring in birds, with humans….no.

      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        I see your point. A certain level of mental evolution is supposed to pull a species like homo sapiens out and beyond the flock/herd instinct. It would seem that most still don’t realize the necessity of it and continue to bray over the fence, making no effort to understand the nature of, and reason for, the fence.

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