Category Archives: Chimera

We the People: a Grim Fairytale

[a short story by  ~ burning woman~ ]

Once upon a time (well, that is the usual opening for a fairy tale, is it not?) there was an empire that covered an entire world. It was not a peaceful empire, in fact it was terribly dysfunctional. However, the kings and other rulers of the various kingdoms, duchies and quaint inventions called “nations” liked it that way.

There were endless wars which greatly benefited the elites and allowed the peasants and serfs or citizens to pretend at being “somebodies” by fighting and killing each other on a regular basis. For that world such behaviour was considered entirely normal. People who thought otherwise and who refused to fight and kill their neighbours were classed as traitors and in some periods, were executed, in others simply jailed. One thing for sure, at all times they were mocked and called cowards.

Such conditions are conducive to bringing forth cowardly and corrupt leadership and at times some group of people would overthrow such leaders and change the status of their land from, say, a kingdom or a colony to, say, a democracy. None of them actually understood what a democracy was since there had never been any to learn from, but they made it up as they went along and lo and behold, before they knew what had happened, their “democracy” had become a totalitarian regime quite identical to what their history books told them of the times before their revolution.

But, they cried, how can this be when it is “We the People” who decide how things should be run? So they talked, loud and vociferously about the role that “We the People” played in this drama and why things had turned on them. They blamed one-another for failing to vote, or for supporting the wrong party and those who were blamed, blamed right back. They blamed the politicians, well, of course! They blamed their elites, just as their forebears did. The problem was that now the elites operated with impunity within the democracy that “We the People” had presumably set up precisely to prevent such a thing from happening.

As things heated up, there even began talk of another revolution. It was a lot of angry talk and no one really knew how to bring about a revolution. It seemed that would require much organization and really, no one was up to jump starting such an irrevocable step. They needed the support of “We the People.”

In keeping with the propaganda relating to the previous revolution, it seemed logical that once again it would be “We the People” who would have to rise up, overthrow the entire corrupt system of religion, government and finance/business, and establish a new system. That made sense, so those with the loudest voices decided to bring “We the People” together.

And children, that is when those who wanted a revolution discovered that “We the People” was a complete chimera. There was no such thing as “We the People.” The idea that a majority core group held the real power of the democracy had always been pure propaganda by the two-party system of government so that the people would continue to believe that at the heart of it a legitimate, patriotic, educated, aware watchdog group of citizens kept tab on its government and had a tight leash on its politicians.

It was a terrible blow to the ego of those who would stop the corruption to discover that there had never been a “We the People” force in the land but exactly the opposite: a ragtag collection of people who distrusted one-another and often hated one-another for being of the wrong skin colour, or from the wrong ethnic background, economic level or religion. Instead of unity, they saw mass shootings and mass incarcerations of innocent individuals. They saw greed, hubris, abuse, violations of every known human rights and widespread destruction of the environment. They also saw that the masses, those who should have been “We the People,” identified with these destructive ways and participated in them, often with gusto while supporting and defending their blatantly corrupt leadership.

“Sadly children, they did not live happily ever after.”

“What happened to that world teacher?” asked a small boy.

“As to be expected, it destroyed itself and all the people on it died.”

“Oh!” echoed the children in horror.

“But it’s only a fairy tale, isn’t it?” Ventured an older girl in the back row.

“Well… no, it’s not really a fairy tale at all.”

Something about Today and the Future

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

Fact: Climate change (CC) is real and getting “realer” by the day.

Fact: Most national governments are subsidizing the fossil fuel industries like there is no tomorrow. (Because they know there isn’t one.)

Fact: A few people (relatively speaking) are concerned; a few love to use CC as a convenient topic of conversation and ranting; most remain content to see consumerism on the rise and honestly either don’t have a clue about climate change (i.e., what it means) or don’t give a flying f**k about it. I’m being observationally honest.

About CC: does it matter if it is a natural event or if it is anthropogenic (OK, man-made!)?

It does only in the sense that, if it is a natural event, nothing man does will make an iota of difference – it will run its course and how “deep” or how “high” it runs is outside of man’s control. So, there is no “option one” here.

If anthropogenic then man has a degree of control over it. He can change the focus of his technology (or ditch it altogether if changing it is too slow) and watch billions die horribly as their citified infrastructure no longer provides the means for health care, food, shelter, heat, water, sewer or and he can watch billions die from fossil fuel (FF) pollution and environmental collapse. 

Any attempts to re-focus global technology from FF to “renewable” or “clean” or “green” technology using the existing template dictated by predatory capitalism is, of course, hopeless. Capitalism is a totally predatory system. To use it, you have to present yourself to the bank with a predatory plan, or a sub-system that will feed the insatiable main god’s appetite for living prey. Anything that intends to curtail the god’s food supply will be mocked, delayed indefinitely, changed, or it will “fail” to meet certain “standards.” If it is economically viable however it will be allowed to proceed and the end result will be no better and likely worse than what it replaced. Do note: the problem isn’t the pollution but the accompanying mindset.

My opinion after a life time of involvement in environmental issues and social change, is that “man” as a species has simply overreached itself through greed and heartless corruption and it is reaping what it has been sowing for thousands of years. It needed only the higher numbers combined with an inhuman and inhumane science and machine-based technology heavily favouring oppression and destruction to bring itself to its own ignoble, fully deserved,  demise. 

If I really feel that way, and I most certainly do, then what words would I have for anyone who does care? Not much, except to say that the future isn’t annihilation, nor on a dead planet nor in some religiously concocted heaven, hell or nirvana. 

“You offer no alternative yet you speak as if there was a future for us?” would be a logical question.

Answer: there always was a future; there always will be a future. What we are living in now is the future we have made for ourselves. It was a short-sighted, dead-end future but it promised so much in terms of power over others; in terms of money and sex and other sources of self-gratification, we felt it was worth the throw of the dice. So we made our Faustian bargain with time; we were loaned stacks of “free” tokens to play with and we’ve played them all and the house won. Now? Now all we have to do is walk out of the casino – it’s about to go down in flames – and figure out how to create a new future – without the “free” tokens (which by the way are nothing more than insane debts of valueless currency owed to non-existent capital power structures fronted by psychopaths).

That’s what self empowerment means. It doesn’t mean smart inventors (and investors) figuring out how to keep your swimming pool filled when the water is running out. It doesn’t mean a hundred, or a thousand “Greta Thunberg” or “David Suzuki” or more political and elected advocates for some Green New Deal (or voting for them); or more never-binding international treaties on CC.

For me it has meant changing my lifestyle in specific and observable (demonstrable) ways. That’s “my” lifestyle, not anyone else’s. Self empowerment is not leading campaigns to change the world, or setting up alternate energy corporations within the existing religious/political/capitalistic agenda. It is all about changing me so I become the change I wish to see. Yeah, old and corny saying but quite valid nevertheless. 

If you still have a couple of minutes, here’s something from George Monbiot… a well-researched journalist with a few very meaningful comments on our times. 

Fossil Rebellion – monbiot.com


Fossil Rebellion

Posted: 12 Aug 2019 04:50 AM PDT

In the midst of climate breakdown, governments around the world are funding and protecting the fossil fuel industry

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 7th August 2019

The tragedy of our times is that the gathering collapse of our life support systems coincides with the age of public disservice. Just as we need to rise above self-interest and short termism, governments around the world now represent the meanest and dirtiest of special interests. In the United Kingdom, the US, Brazil, Australia and many other nations, pollutocrats rule.

The Earth’s systems are breaking down at astonishing speed. Wild fires roar across Siberia and Alaska, biting, in many places, deep into peat soils, releasing plumes of carbon dioxide and methane that cause more global heating. In July alone, Arctic wildfires are reckoned to have released as much carbon into the atmosphere as Austria does in a year: already the vicious twister of climate feedbacks has begun to turn. Torrents of meltwater pour from the Greenland ice cap, sweltering under a 15°C temperature anomaly. Daily ice losses on this scale are 50 years ahead of schedule: they were forecast by the climate models for 2070. A paper in Geophysical Research Letters reveals that the thawing of permafrost in the Canadian High Arctic now exceeds the depths of melting projected by scientists for 2090.

While record temperatures in Europe last month caused discomfort and disruption, in Southwest Asia they are already starting to reach the point at which the human body hits its thermal limits. Ever wider tracts of the world will come to rely on air-conditioning not only for basic comfort but also for human survival: another feedback spiral, as air-conditioning requires massive energy use. Those who cannot afford it will either move or die. Already, climate breakdown is driving more people from their homes than either poverty or conflict, while contributing to both these other factors.

A recent paper in Nature shows that we have little hope of preventing more than 1.5° of global heating unless we retire existing fossil fuel infrastructure. Even if no new gas or coal power plants, roads and airports are built, the carbon emissions from current installations are likely to push us past this threshold. Only by retiring some of this infrastructure before the end of its natural life could we secure a 50% chance of remaining within the temperature limit agreed in Paris in 2015. Yet, far from decommissioning this Earth-killing machine, almost everywhere governments and industry stoke its fires.

The oil and gas industry intends to spend $4.9 trillion over the next 10 years, exploring and developing new reserves, none of which we can afford to burn. According to the IMF, every year governments subsidise fossil fuels to the tune of $5 trillion: many times more than they spend on addressing our existential predicament. The US spends 10 times more on these mad subsidies than on its federal education budget. Last year, the world burnt more fossil fuels than ever before.

An analysis by Barry Saxifrage in Canada’s National Observer shows that half the fossil fuels ever used by humans have been burnt since 1990. While renewable and nuclear power supplies have also risen in this period, the gap between the production of fossil fuels and low carbon energy has not been narrowing, but steadily widening. What counts, in seeking to prevent runaway global heating, is not the good things we start to do, but the bad things we cease to do. Shutting down fossil infrastructure requires government intervention.

But in many nations, governments intervene not to protect humanity from the existential threat of fossil fuels, but to protect the fossil fuel industry from the existential threat of public protest. In the US, legislators in 18 states have put forward bills criminalising protests against pipelines, seeking to crush democratic dissent on behalf of the oil industry. In June, Donald Trump’s government proposed federal legislation that would jail people for up to 20 years for disrupting pipeline construction.

In several nations, led by the Philippines, Global Witness reports, governments have incited the murder of environmental protesters. The process begins with rhetoric, demonising civil protest as extremism and terrorism, then shifts to legislation, criminalising attempts to protect the living planet. Criminalisation then helps legitimise physical assaults and murder. The first stage has now begun in Britain, with the publication by a dark money-funded lobby group, Policy Exchange, of a report smearing Extinction Rebellion. Like all such publications, it was given a series of major platforms by the BBC, which preserved its customary absence of curiosity about who funded it.

Secretly-funded lobby groups – such as the TaxPayers’ Alliance, the Adam Smith Institute and the Institute of Economic Affairs – have supplied some of the key advisers to Boris Johnson’s government. He has also appointed Andrea Leadsom, an enthusiastic fracking advocate, to run the department responsible for climate policy, and Grant Schapps, who chaired the British infrastructure Group until last month – promoting the expansion of roads and airports – as Secretary of State for Transport. Last week the Guardian revealed documents suggesting that the firm run by Johnson’s funder and adviser Sir Lynton Crosby has produced unbranded Facebook ads on behalf of the coal industry.

What we see here looks like the denouement of the Pollution Paradox. Because the dirtiest industries attract the least public support, they have the greatest incentive to spend money on politics, to get the results they want and we don’t. They fund political parties, lobby groups and think tanks, fake grassroots organisations and dark ads on social media. As a result, politics comes to be dominated by the dirtiest industries.

We are told to fear the “extremists” who protest against ecocide and challenge dirty industry and the dirty governments it buys. But the extremists we should fear are those who hold office.

http://www.monbiot.com

Fossil Fuel Subsidies

How do you reblog comments? I don’t know, but I know how to use copy and paste, so here’s some interesting pasting.  You’ll see a link to Counter Punch at the end of the comment so you can follow up if interested.  With our local price of gas at $1.57.9 dollars a liter, the following begins to make sense.  Why be satisfied with tax payer guaranteed subsidies when you can gouge the same public at the gas pump as well?  Who ever heard of rats saying, “OK, that’s enough!” They will squeeze the lemon until the very pips squeak.

❝ The United States has spent more subsidizing fossil fuels in recent years than it has on defense spending, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF found that direct and indirect subsidies for coal, oil and gas in the U.S. reached $649 billion in 2015. Pentagon spending that same year … Continue reading Fossil fuel subsidies even greater than military industrial complex — Eideard

“The military is the linchpin, playing a pivotal role intensifying the climate crisis.

Consider the basic facts. The US military is:

+ The single largest institutional consumer of fossil fuel in the world;

+ The most powerful global force securing oil and protecting oil infrastructure;

+ The leading director — along with the big bankers and fossil fuel giants — of the elites’ plans for dealing with the coming crisis. The military and big corporations are not in climate denial — they are in control — and plan to keep it that way as the climate deteriorates.

+ The war machine’s enormous consumption and strategic capture of fossil fuels and their behind-the-scenes management of the crisis hints at its true role: sponsor of big oil and co-creator of the climate crisis.

The dominance of fossil fuels and the supremacy of the US empire rely not on victory in war or on market savvy or “value added” to the economy but on their political power. That power makes destructive and wasteful industries extremely profitable. The Oil Empire relies on massive public funding, carefully crafted exemptions to law and immunity from the economic, social and environmental damages they inflict.

The military can only maintain the fiction that it protects our security by concealing its role as destroyer of the very things we really need to survive: a healthy environment and a democratic society. ”

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/05/17/the-interlocking-crises-war-and-climate-chaos/

Detachment to Life

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

“I’ve always felt that what we are taught of detachment at home is an illusion.  I think the ancients know this too, but let us discover it on our own.  They equip us to go with a story that makes sense only until it is tested.  A truly detached ISSA*, seems to me, at this point at least, is an oxymoron.”  (Antierra monologue speaking of her teachings on detachment while on her home world of Altaria – Antierra Manifesto)

Once the basics of one Earthian incarnation have been experienced – surviving, satisfying desires, experimenting with physical senses, what’s left but death, or entering upon a quest for the greater meaning of Life as a self aware being? 

If one chooses “death” which to me means going on repeating experiences pointlessly, then that’s that.  If one chooses the quest, there has to be a sure way to enter into that which guarantees one will not fall back into such silly behaviour as being a sports fan, chasing the opposite gender for sexual gratification, “making” money, hating, fighting, killing then dying to find out it was all a chimera.

Seems to me the way to freedom is opened through detachment.  What keeps us enslaved to the wheel of the System is an array of attachments each one justifying and strengthening the other. It behooves us therefore to relinquish all our attachments to the things this world offers more as bait than as satisfaction (since none ever completely satisfy, and that should be a very broad hint). 

OK, so I want to learn the meaning of Life, not just the meaning (if there be any) of one little incarnation on this little world but the meaning of Life as expressed through an infinite and timeless cosmos: that meaning! Only a free being can ever hope to enter into such a quest.  Attachments are all those things, big and small, that translate as chains, shackles, stanchions, locks, doors, walls, perimeters, limits that take one to termination.  In this situation, death becomes the final attachment. 

Before one tackles the difficult concept of death, one should consider the pattern of lesser attachments that enslave us to our body and its world and how we are connected to the pattern.  As long as a single attachment remains unexplored and connected, death remains the final enigma. Yet unless one can know all about death, even if the words to describe this certainty do not exist, the quest for Life remains closed.  Death was invented to create the impression that there is no such thing as “Life” as an infinite concept; that “Life” had been conquered. All attachments are lies and death is the final and greatest lie of all when living under attachments.

How then does one person achieve a place of total detachment?  As said above, it isn’t easy.  To my heroine (granted she is under extreme stress in that part of the story) it seems impossible.  But nothing is impossible! Impossible is just another attachment!

Detachment, once decided upon, comes through self empowerment.  All my choices are mine and I take full responsibility for the results.  Sure, there will remain many little itches of attachments, like cold sniffles or skin blemishes, but my immune system is self empowerment and that is how I heal myself, as much and as many times as it takes.  I learn not to repeat stupid or pointless moves. I learn to be satisfied with an experience that I know will not improve the more I do it. 

Prayers will not be answered with greater alacrity or better overall results.  Hockey games won’t improve. TV won’t demonstrate a higher level of intelligence. Cigarettes or booze won’t taste better. Crossing borders won’t become easier or safer and sex… well I think we all know the answer to that one.

I learn not to waste my time on the treadmill or the merry-go-round and I learn to use that salvaged time to better my understanding.  If I have any problem on how to direct this new understanding, I cradle it within compassion thus guaranteeing a successful continuation to the quest I am on.

Yes Antierra, it is possible to become totally detached.  You have to learn to take the broader view of the concept.    

*ISSA: acronym for intelligent, sentient, self aware

 

Of Rules and Rulers

[Thoughts from   ~burning woman~  by Sha’Tara]

“Beam me up Scotty, there’s no intelligent life down here.”  (Attributed to captain Jim Kirk of Star Trek – a line presumably invented as a joke, never actually used in the series.)

There is a kind of madness that began by a seeping in, then turned into a flood pouring out of the entire echelon of non-productive bureaucratic hierarchical groupings in every mega-institution on planet Earth, be it church, government, military, banking or corporate.

These non-productive types of exponential inferior intelligence (the truth of this easily determined by their performance) keep themselves as controllers and in power, not by coming up with useful ideas but by browbeating the generally smarter but brain-lazy makers and doers.  The controllers know they are too stupid to rise above what they are and too lazy, incompetent and incapable to perform any sort of useful labour so they must control the work force (or the followers of some religion or the patriots or the investors or the fans) to keep them from discovering they are more intelligent and certainly more useful than their superiors.  If you cannot rise above the level of your own incompetence you must keep everybody else below yours — by whatever means.

Here’s a classic way they have always used to control others.  They invent rules and by using these rules they can implement endless changes to systems, not to improve the systems, anybody can see that is not happening, but to force everybody else to remain on a level below theirs.  There has probably never been a time when this was more obvious that the present moment.

Let me describe how the bureaucrats go about creating new rules.  Since they are incapable of coming up with anything new, their “new” will always be based on something old, re-packaged and re-marketed to seem original.  Another “trade” deal; a different kind of Monopoly money; a change in interest rates; how about a carbon tax? A green fee?

At the corporation where I worked I called their creations “the thirteen and a half inch ruler.”  Like everybody else they were operating under the standard twelve inch ruler.  But why be the same as everybody else when you can be longer?  So they put their mini brains together and came up with a real winner: a thirteen and a half inch ruler.  A ruler a whole inch and a half longer than anyone else’s.  Fantastic.  Now each time their employees go out to measure, they are automatically ahead of the competition by 1-1/2 inches.

Of course we (that would be those of us who do the actual measuring) immediately encountered a problem with the new rule:  Was it now a thirteen and a half inch ruler, so marked?  Or was it a twelve inch ruler with the inches stretched out one and one half inch over the length of the new ruler? 

We asked for clarifications.  As to be expected they had no answer except for the usual: we’ll get back to you on that, carry on.  The “carry on” part was not debatable.

The above should be hilarious.  But when one realizes how true that is, it sobers one very quickly.  Think: the thirteen and a half inch ruler brains are the rulers of this planet.  They are the mushroom cloud; we’re at ground zero.  That is why all of us numb-nuts believe ourselves indebted to the thirteen and a half inch ruler brains to the tune of $184,000,000,000,000 or broken down, $86,000 for every man, woman and child on this world.

At this point though I’d have to say that the 13-1/2″ ruler brains are actually the smart ones. A tiny minority of ignorant pea-brains holds an entire world in hock to themselves just by claiming their right to an incestuously exponential lion’s share of everything.  For this inanely and insanely illegitimate claim the rest of the regular (12″) ruler brains are willing to kill other people’s children, or watch their own starve to death while debating which 13-1/2″ ruler brain should be their next leader.  

“Beam me up Scotty, you dropped me on the wrong planet!”

 

After listening to Lakme, the Flower Duet

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

I like beautiful music and although I prefer music over song, either can be from any era, just as long as it is beautiful to my ears and it moves me. So I was listening to Lakme, part I, The Flower Duet (in this case performed by Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca – See YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf42IP__ipw)

…And I was thinking, again, about Earth and about “Man” as Earth’s current lord and master. I was thinking of a line by Carl Sagan in “Contact”: ‘You are capable of such beauty, and such horror.” (Quoting from memory but the gist is here)

Whenever I engage myself, mind-wise, on Earthian matters, I get confused as to how I should approach it. Is it “you” and me as the cosmic observer, or should I include myself in among the observed? How do I decide this? First, I must be sure it isn’t a matter of hubris; that if my observation runs into negative judgment, that if I remove myself it isn’t in any way because I think I’m superior to the rest of Earthianity, but because I no longer think, speak or act as most of “you” do. This process, this judgment, must be impeccable on my part.

I believe it is, therefore I am going to be the observer and use the “you” though certainly in the generic sense. I do not know “you” as individuals, therefore it will be according to your conscience whether you “fit in” or can truthfully remain outside the picture. For you, today, I will once again take up the role of the Trojan prophetess Cassandra and say things you will not find acceptable.

You are capable of great beauty… certainly, and the piece of music I mention above proves it even by itself. You don’t have to be able to write, play or sing such, you just have to be able to listen to it and have the capacity to let it enter you and fill you and for the three or four minutes it takes, let it displace all other thoughts, feelings and emotions. Simple, really.

The problem however is that too often it seems impossible to let go. The “immediate” presses upon the mind and demands full attention. That immediate could be anything from the most pleasurable to the greatest pain or loss. The mind-heart refuses to let go of its current obsession driven by anticipation or the immediacy of physical or mental pain.

Earth is not a place conducive to an overall sense of peace, comfort and wholesome satisfaction. Even in the most remote corners, surrounded by nothing but nature, unless one is blind, the reality of the turmoil taking place in the skies, the seas, the trees, the soil, impinges on one’s awareness: predators, everywhere. You see, your world’s natural motive force is based on predatorship or perhaps I should coin a word here: predatorism, because in fact that is the concept that rules Earth. Some are born to kill, many, many more are born to be killed, eaten or absorbed into the natural fabric, their lives cut down long before they can complete their natural cycle. Even your great mountains are worn away by waters and passing winds.

I realize that most of you do not engage your world this way. You do not sense this, though you may be vaguely aware of it, and you generally shrug it off, or use it as an excuse for indulging in what Sagan called, “great horror.” You call it the food chain, and that’s that, as if somehow that explains it away. As if that same nature you want to wax poetic about can also be the brutal barbaric entity that supports your convenient food chain. As if there is no unacceptable dichotomy here, no problem.

That’s the problem, you see, the fact that you don’t see a problem with how nature works. You don’t see a problem because you don’t realize the direct relationship with your own social failures: your wars, genocides, social injustices of every possible kind juxtaposed with those of the world you happen to be temporarily using as a base because… you have no choice: you can’t get away, and if you could, you would have no clue where to go. Some of you feel that your species is a failure, but how many see your world’s “procession” as an equally and connected abysmal failure?

I feel both, the horror that is the working natural system of this world, and the greater horror that is an intelligent, sentient, self aware (ISSA) species calling itself “mankind” that refuses to question the modus operandi of its natural world; refuses to question its own modus operandi; refuses the simple expedient of connecting the dots in order to realize why things are as they are and why no lasting (real) solution to man’s social problems has ever come forth. The only times some significant change has ever happened was through the exercise of violence. That true statement should make any rational being stop and take note: why must it require violence to make significant change within the social structure, and why is it that any and all such changes have failed and are in the process of failing right now?

To me that would be the “why?” question of all the “why?” questions. Why do you always fail? Look, even now, while shooting off on all kinds of tangents based on IT and AI, you are helplessly realizing that this technology is quite likely going to supplant you, perhaps destroy you as ISSA beings. Barely has the technology begun that already you know without a doubt that some way or another it is going to bite you in the ass, and that severely so.

You see? There is no win-win here, not under the current hegemony; the current “force” or “power” that operates this planet. You, people of earth, are not that force or that power, but its slave species. There, I’ve said it, and but for rare exceptions, that is not something you will find acceptable, therefore you will find it necessary to reject the thought outright. If you did not, guess what? You would be forced to look into this in depth and who knows where that would lead? To confront your real nemesis?

No. I can easily tell you where it would lead: back to organized religion. Without self empowerment; without the power to cancel out all input and replace it all with your own thoughts, your own self-made ISSA reasoning, the forces or powers I speak of, will seem to smile in your brain. They will prod you along, with fine words or goads, down the chute into a ready-made religion that will, of course, explain it all. You will then accept the “new” ideas this “new” religion programs into your mind and who knows? It could explain how the AI is a divine power, or it could just as easily make you believe that the time has come to launch a “revolution” against science and technology and you will go off to destroy all vestiges of science and technology, mindlessly following the dictates of a few madmen who will tell you they are “making the Earth great again.”

Either way, you see, you’re not your own person: you are an actor, a puppet, a robot because you are not in control of your own mind. So you will go along (or you will be of those who will violently oppose the barbarians) and indulge in much, much more horror and under your feet, in the seas, in the trees and in the air, predators will continue to kill and eat, and billions of lifeforms will die premature deaths in attempts to sate the hunger of an insatiable system – as Costello would say, “Same as you!”

Quote: “Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty- five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.” (Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt)

A Meditative Journey into the Cave of Fear

This story uses the prompt “Cave” and was written for the October “blog battle” at rachaelritchey.com,    https://blogbattlers.wordpress.com/2018/10/09/stories-cave/

Short Story by Sha’Tara

It began as a deliberate entry into a gaping opening in the side of a low mountain. I could hear water dripping from wet walls and feel the clinging cold dampness of the place. The question I had to face was whether to proceed into this cave. Of course I could not know the end of it without the experience of it, so I decided to enter.

There was a kind of track sloping down, made of natural crushed shale and slippery under my hiking shoes. After finding my balance, down I went, surrounded by a growing opaque darkness. I had no fire or flashlight, just my senses to guide me and my unquenchable curiosity to push me onward.

As I walked deeper into the cave, it became pitch black and I had to give up trying to use my eyes.  Without any light to define the surrounding darkness, there was nothing to see.  But wait, that’s when I “saw” a new kind of light, surreal, somewhat as depicted in Kirlian photographs.  I could see without seeing!  I could now step forward and down with greater confidence.  The water still dripped from the black walls and I could see it glistening on the ceiling.

There was a warm dankness about the place and I smelled an unpleasant odor. At this point the eerie lighting showed me a small tunnel branching off on the right. I walked to its entrance and saw a dry surface leading upward.  It had an easy walking surface, no loose rocks or shale, just flat grey rock.

Choice.  Should I take this inviting tunnel, or keep on the downward journey of the other one?  Something within me reasoned this drier tunnel would be a dead end, or take me back up and out the other side of the mountain.  I chose to continue down the original cave, ever deeper under the mountain.  That’s when I realized I had passed my first test.

I continued to question the purpose of this weird quest and who had carved these tunnels, and why?  Where was the King under the Mountain?  Where was the sound of hammers as Dwarves carved out the hard black rock to find their precious stones, their silver and gold?

“What will I find in the tunnel?” asks Luke Skywalker of Yoda.  “Fear” he replied.  “Your greatest fear.  Do not take your weapons down there, they will only contribute to your downfall.”  But the young, the rash, the foolish seldom listen to the voice of experience and wisdom.  He went fully armed into the tunnel to be  confronted by his arch-enemy, Darth Vader.  They fought.  Luke won and cut Vader’s head off.  When he looked into the terrible mask, his own face stared back at him.  Fear gives birth to anger, anger to hate and hate to death.  There is no escape. The undisciplined, un-empowered overconfident self is always our own worst enemy.

My fear of what lay ahead became palpable. I sensed a ‘Something’ not alive as we understand the concept and I knew it was lurking further down. It had eyes that could see the minutest details in the dark; that could see into the heart and find every weakness, every frailty, every shadow, every dark, hidden corner where residues of resentment, shame and guilt are stored.  That is what it wanted to feast upon.  It was starving for an orgy on human sin.

I knew then it would never let me leave this place, even if I turned and tried to run back up the way I’d come.  This was its world or perhaps better put, an underworld.  There were hidden passages I sensed as flow of air coming from the sides of the cave. It used these as shortcuts to waylay any creature that wandered this far.

If we intend to walk the darkness of the underworld we must not carry darkness within our mind-heart.  Only the pure of heart can pass unmolested to enter the sacred place of sacrifice.  Yes, that’s what had drawn me down this corridor of non-time.  I remembered what came at the end of this place: sacrifice and redemption.  I understood fully why the beast or beasts, for I now sensed many,  waylaid me.  If I passed, I would have a clear conscience and they would be defeated, left starving.  Thus I would be permitted to offer myself as a sacrifice upon the altar of fire at the end of this journey and in doing so I could call upon the great forces of spirit to grant my one wish. If I passed.

They knew.  And they came upon me to find my darkness; to feed on my fear, for fear is darkness.  I am so close to being devoured here.  I have no weapon with which to ward these starving demons.  I have no protection.  There is no place to turn, not even against a wall – they are all around me, salivating, snarling, growling.  “Give in to your fear… give in and hate me with all the passion that is within you.  Anticipate the pain you are going to endure when my poisoned fangs sink into your flesh, and scream your rage!”

This is when I found some of my power. “Peace!” I said to myself, I came to this place, to confront my fear and not to give in to it.  To test my resolve since that day long ago when I had made a decision and chosen my own name. Shalom Tara! I closed my eyes and slowly sank upon the rough floor.  Beings of light completed this vision then, approaching and taking my hands, helping me to stand and leading me through the rest of the way.

So did I pass my second test. The third has yet to come.