Tag Archives: Philosophy

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #55

(I’m really falling behind in following up on posting the “Manifesto” and sorry about that, I know it makes it difficult to follow the story through these gaps. I’ll try to get back on track, but no promise as long as work keeps interfering with my life… dang it all!)

The process:  Access, study, feel, understand, delete.  Yeah, I should have been a Cydroid.  For it is one of our truisms that we, human and Avatari alike, cannot delete our past; cannot disown it.  We can but dis-empower or empower it according to our present need and understanding.

And in my sleep I dream of the constant we call “evil” but it is a sweet dream, not a nightmare.

[end blog post #54]
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[begin blog post #55]

From chronicler Michele Dellman, T’Sing Tarleyn historian for the Supremacy.

Galactic date-year 67,854, classic date-year [?] (Not available at this time to this reporter due to the amount of chaos resulting from the attacks upon, and subsequent destruction of the fortified city of Hyrete)

The following was put together from antique memcorder cards found in the medical facility that served the Hyrete arena where the female gladiators, or fighters as they were called, were kept in a massive arrangement of cages behind stone walls twenty or more meters high and several meters thick, protected by an actual moat and a most sophisticated array of alarm systems. 

The following set was not written by the historical figure called An’Tierra but by someone with access to a computer linked to an off-world ship that transcribed her thoughts, probably while she was under sedation and receiving secret and illegal medical treatment in an old auto-medic mentioned by her but subsequently never found.  An educated guess here is that the transcriber was one of the Echinoza Cydroids purportedly from another mythical world called Koron.

These are but copies of long-lost originals. Note that she refers to herself as “Al’Tara” – name of a pseudo-historical figure on Old Earth that appears under other names in annals of the Supremacy pre-and post-dating the Melkiar wars.  The name “Al’Tara” was, it is said, her name as an Altarian, that is, as a human being [or one of the mythical Avatari?] from the ‘lost’ or “hidden” world of Altaria. 

‘I’ve seen many things in my travels as Al’Tara.  Wonders and horrors.  I’ve easily accepted the wonders, yes, and marvelled.  I’ve also accepted the natural horrors; movements in the chaos side of space/time giving rise to massive destruction of entire worlds.  I’ve faced the possible extinction of entire galaxies and all the riches and life they hold.  I’ve participated in many rescue attempts, some successful, most not.  I rejoiced at our successes and accepted our failures.   

During my many passages upon Old Earth, or Túat Har, I observed natural predators, from viruses to large mammals and even plants.  And not long ago I was a participant in the Melkiar wars.  I even encountered some of their robotic life forms.  Probed them to discover they had been uniquely programmed to kill, but without malice or intent to hurt.  Predators kill to perpetuate their species.  The Melkiars only destroyed that which they were designed to consider inimical concepts to their nature.

But never, never have I been able to accept, let alone comprehend, evil.  Evil is not that which destroys or even kills.  Evil, as I have observed it, is that which causes pain and hurt to others with intent based in sentient malevolence.  Evil is that which is done with malice aforethought.  It is planned to produce pain in another so that the perpetrator will feel a surge of sadistic pleasure by inflicting the pain. It’s ultimate purpose is to destroy the will of its victims, to crush them until nothing remains. That is how I describe evil.

The perpetrator of evil, the true sadist, needs to actually perform the pain-inducing act upon another, always helpless, victim; never on someone who has a chance of fighting back.  The true sadist never takes a chance on getting hurt.  If his victim manages to inflict pain on him, this reduces his level of pleasure and correspondingly increases his level of anger and hate towards the victim. 

Malefactus – I must explain why I call it that.  A malefactor is an evil doer; a law breaker.  But here you find a specific law-breaker, speaking of course of that one and only law written in, and for, the entire cosmos, or wherever life may be found, the law that says we must all care; all protect the innocent and the weak in order to strengthen them.  We must “love” the other in our power not as ourselves, but more, much more, than ourselves – beyond anything we would do for ourselves! We must develop and practice compassion to the highest level possible within our understanding.

On Malefactus, the perpetrator; the law breaker; the malefactor; is male.  The male factor of T’Sing Tarleyn, the “World of Man” is an utterly evil mindset.  The male ISSA beings here cannot apparently help themselves, true, but they also do not wish to do so.  They enjoy being what they are; doing what they do.  Their social mores are predicated upon the total oppression of the female.  Their economy such as it is, being but a caricature of a true economy is totally dependent on active misogyny.  Their judicial system ensconces it, preventing anyone from avoiding it.  As for their religious system, I have not, as yet, discovered if they have one and if they do, how it relates to that particular rampant evil that rules T’Sing Tarleyn.

Regarding the men, I cannot have a real conversation with any of them so it is dangerous to draw any solid conclusion about their state of mind.  They are pseudo-human, therefore they have to be consciously aware of the law at some level. They are not mindless predators but perpetrators of evil behaviour.   Much in the way the people of Old Earth were also aware of it.  Yet they live as if it did not exist for them.  But I wonder, aren’t there some throw-back types among them that actually “fall in love” with a female?  Some who would want to protect her, hide her, find her a safe haven somewhere, even if it cost him his life?  Is there no physical love except among the women? 

I have seen no open demonstration of homosexuality and that seems strange on such a world.  But then should it be, if males simply cannot love at all?  If all they can do is “fuck” and all they know is that it is done with females and then only in the form of “hate rape” resulting in violence done to her? 

There is another aspect of evil I still fail to understand.  I believe that humans are all equipped to “see” beauty with some variations, but within a general unifying whole.  We are also equally equipped to see ugliness, also with variations but with a general similarity.  Outside of this awareness are what I refer to as the exceptions.  Those who have the concepts turned around in their minds and hearts.  Some, because they are sick but some because they are simply put, evil.  On some worlds, these “exceptions” do not prove the rule, they are the rule.

Evil loves to mar and destroy beauty.  From defacement of buildings with graffiti to smashing windows, polluting and destroying the natural environment, mistreating animals, including in this all hunting and fishing done for sport, beating and raping women, oppressing children, oppressing and enslaving those who are helpless and without protection.  Take it in any order, it all comes down to the same thing.  Destruction of that which exhibits beauty gives evil types psychopathic pleasure.  What kind of force drives ISSA beings to find pleasure in marring that which is beautiful? 

Evil: I have no other answer.  None of the answers I’ve heard, read about or considered, answer the question in a more understandable fashion.

So, how do I understand Malefactus, a world where the only pleasure experienced seems to be in causing the maximum of pain to helpless victims?  Since I’ve been here in these cages, the training compound, and the bloody arena, I’ve met – yes, and befriended – hundreds of young girls who did not survive their first time in the arena and women who succumbed to their opponents.  I’ve seen them viciously beaten, raped, tortured.  I’ve heard them scream for mercy and watched them being killed without qualm on the part of the male perpetrators. 

I’ve seen them dismembered for their body parts and have helped pick up the mangled bloody corpses and torsos.  I’ve taken them in my arms, their blood covering my body as I carried them and placed them as gently as I could upon the putrefaction-covered auto-driven flat decked ‘haulers’ and which in my heart I reverently call hearses, thus giving a moment of human acknowledgment to the dead martyrs whose bodies are taken away I know not exactly where though I suspect it is to the outer desert sands for vultures to feed upon.

In the worlds of true humans and even in the worlds of pseudo-humans such as Old Earth I have seen much beauty.  But never have I seen anything to compare to the combination of natural beauty and intelligence seen, first in a child and second, in a young human female.  It surpasses all.  Somehow that is the particular beauty that the evil of misogyny lurking in the pseudo-human heart targets before all else. 

I will not close my eyes to this terrible legacy life has somehow, either naturally or by some horrible mistake, bestowed upon all of us.  I will continue to look into this concept of evil for an answer.  What is the motivation behind this force?  Is it lust?  Hate?  Fear? Does evil begin with one and end with the other, and if so, in what direction does it flow?  Do you begin with a heart full of vices and by indulging some, or all, end up evil?  Are we what we do, or what we become as we act in accordance with what we discover ourselves to be?  This may seem like a chicken and egg conundrum, but that has already been solved.  In timeless reality, the “chicken” can indeed lay the egg from which it is hatched.  There is no beginning and no ending, only questions and answers that we use as “artificial” points of reference (called beginnings and endings) by which we define infinity.

I’m a philosopher by experience but also because I am a natural-born Altarian.  We are doers, of course, but not exactly fools who rush in where angels fear to tread.  Before we act we seek to know.  Of course it is not always possible to know, since knowledge emanates from a blend of experience and information.  So we act on what we’ve studied and already know from experience and attempt to move forward.  Thus we are more than what we do; we do not necessarily act according to what we are – that is, what we have become.  We do not allow nature or programming to box us in so easily.  As the doctor pointed out, we have a devious mind developed for one purpose: to thread its way unerringly through the labyrinth of life. That labyrinth takes us, of necessity, through the darkest paths of hell — through the experience of evil.

[end blog post #55

Compassion and Empathy versus Chaos and Violence

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

One day, never mind the season, in a fit of pure madness you say to yourself, I want to become an empathetic being. Do you consider the consequences of such a desire should you proceed upon that path? No, because in the very beginning you naively assume that being empathetic is just plunging deeper into that wonderful feeling people call love.

So there you have it: you are going to become a more loving person and naturally, you will feel great about yourself and naturally everybody you know will come to love you more and more the deeper you struggle up that golden path… or is it down that rabbit hole.

Young people who want to choose a path of “goodness” are very naive. I can attest to that. This world isn’t programmed to accommodate goodness although much is alluded to it and those who by some miracle of whatever, walk that path come hell or high water are often considered heroes if they are considered at all. Usually though, they are considered fools, dreamers and conspiracy theorists. I can add, they are also considered pains in the royal social ass and untrustworthy, i.e., they have a tendency to get off the social bandwagon at the most inconvenient places, often where the scapegoated targets of the bandwagon riders happen to be hiding and surviving, to give help and support instead of sticks and stones.

Becoming empathetic is a great inconvenience which leads one to self-sacrifice (oh, shudder!) and sometimes to persecution and martyrdom – things that give great feelings of courage while reading dramatic fiction but are rather dreadful to experience in real life. What the naive youth does not know is that becoming empathetic means living a compassionate life, not a loving life. It’s not only a very lonely path that demands untold forms of constant bits of self-sacrifice but detachment from serious personal relationships as well. I think we can agree that youth does not lend itself well to taking such measures. There are expectations, both natural/physical and social that mitigate against walking the em-path!

Is this short essay another of my reminders that compassion/empathy is not at all the same as loving? Unequivocally, yes. These are not the same thing though recently I have made allowances (how grand of me to do so!) for love to ride along with compassion/empathy if in the last wagon on the train, basically along with all other baggage that would have been better left on the platform before boarding.

Compassion (which is necessary to understand the pain caused by the empathetic life in a violent world) is doing with feelings coming as a consequence of one’s acts. Love is feeling with doing coming as a consequence of one’s feelings. It doesn’t take a genius, or a degree in philosophy to recognize which one will give lasting, meaningful results.

If one’s actions determine the direction one’s life is taking, that can be guaged long-term. I call that purpose. If one’s feelings determine the direction one’s life is taking, there is no possibility of ever knowing where one will end up. I call that chaos.

What made me choose to develop an empathetic way of life through living compassion is, I do not like chaos. To paraphrase myself from a recent comment, living compassion in a violent world is like carving a homestead in the wilderness.

Nature ‘lovers’ who rely on their feelings to interact with nature will not see ‘nature’ as chaos. Raised on a real homestead in a real wilderness of northern Canada in the 1950’s has given me a real sense of chaos versus the kind of order our type of life requires to survive. We are not wild animals integrated with nature – we never have been and never will be. We require some sort of order out of chaos to survive and live normal lives.

Compassion which gives life to empathy, is order within gross man-made chaos. Compassion is the ultimate enemy of violence. The spirit of violence which I call ‘evil’ cannot share space with the spirit of compassion. Anyone who seeks to become, or thinks of herself as compassionate can easily know if that is a belief, or if it is true: if she harbours any residual desire within her mind for an outcome achieved through violence, compassion has not nested there yet.

The Novel – The Antierra Manifesto

I’ve decided to spend more of my time working on my novels and short stories, perhaps with a view to publishing eventually. I’ve held back long enough and who knows but some people may actually like to read these oft-mentioned “novels” never seen on the blog.  So from here on, until it is completely blogged, I will post two sections of “The Antierra Manifesto” per week right here, beginning today.  I’ll begin by posting an average of 4-5 pages in each post.

Since it is a novel, I break one of the blog rules and post as a copyright.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t copy and paste into your own computers to read at leisure, or to collect and read as one complete novel. In fact I would encourage you to do that as it will make more sense that way.

Fair warning: this is extreme adult content, with blatant sexuality and much violence, in fact the novel is about violence.  However, none of that is intended to titillate or to provide gratuitous pleasure.  The nature of the material will render point quite self-explanatory as you follow through.

The novel itself is the framework upon which hangs a philosophy I have pursued and studied over many years to do with explaining and exposing a particular type of unexplainable violence we are subject to on this world, are exposed to and often, are the perpetrators of same.  Someone had to look deeper and further than others have done, even with their “technical” research and their attendant degrees.  In this novel, I am daring to do that.

What hubris, you might say.  Perhaps, but hubris can have other uses than to gain power or enrich oneself therewith.  It can be turned into moral courage, daring to be called a fool and a charlatan.  Ideas are dangerous things which the system fears above all else and expressing strong ideas not vetted by the system or society in general can result in vociferous criticism.

I will close this introduction with an oft-repeated comment from one of my bosses at Coca Cola when asked how he felt about less than favourable media mentions regarding the company’s methods, involvements or products.  “All publicity is good publicity.”  I am not sure I agree with that but it’s one way of looking at it.  So, this is publicity.

Coming next: our feature presentation:

T’Sing Tarleyn

(The Antierra Manifesto)

© 2007-02-12    By Sha’Tara

Introduction

“I’m fascinated by concepts of other realities, other ways of doing things.  Nothing is fixed, nothing sacred, nothing metaphysically determined — it’s all contingent on process and evolution.  That’s perfect.  It means we might be able to understand, if we can just relax and shed our preconceptions.”(from Moving Mars – Greg Bear)

Note: I have chosen to capitalize the words “Earth,” “Galaxy” and “Universe” simply to indicate that from my perspective these are not just objects but very much living beings as you and me think of ourselves.  When you learn the truth of this you will find it much easier to relate to the greater concepts of nature or creation.  Your understanding and empathy will be greatly enhanced thereby.

My name, as you will discover herein is Al’Tara.  It is I, rather than my other-self or alter-ego An’Tierra (var. Antierra) who is addressing you now.  Although the story is mostly told in the first person by Antierra, it is I who caused the following to be recorded.  This was done not just to satisfy the needs of those who, of necessity, must keep records of Galactic history for posterity but in order to express to you, people of Earth, how much I have desired to help you see yourselves as part of our greater Galactic and Universal human movement among the stars.  It was, and remains, my hope these stories can help you take the jump, evolve, beyond your rather narrow-minded solitary human grouping that believes it is locked down upon a small planet ‘somewhere’ without any location corresponding to the rest of us.  A pseudo-human grouping which for the most part still thinks of itself as alone of its kind in the cosmos. (Exceptions from among your species, noted.)

Let me reiterate that over the millennia that I chose to interact with you as one of you, you gave me much even by how much you took from me.  You taught me to ‘love’ because you forced me to grind out the meaning of love from the manifold perversions of it I discovered on your world.  When I would ask you to define love as you understood it to mean, what did you give me?  If you went so far as to describe love as compassionate interaction with empathy, how often did your actions match your words?  I must tell you now that I spent many long and dark Earth nights crying over you and your world, for I could, even then, foresee what would happen as you short-sightedly and perversely continued to pursue your predatory mindset, exploiting every aspect of your world for short-lived profit or pleasure.  I remain convinced that even then you knew better but were not willing, as a species, as an intelligent and sentient collective, to take the low road of humility and self-sacrifice that would have freed you from the subsequent nightmares you brought upon yourselves.

The following story relates back to a time when I was among you and basically masqueraded as one of you so as to come to know you and attempt to understand what you are all about.  That time in your reckoning spans many of my lives on Earth – from millennia BCE to your 21st century CE or AD as some prefer to say.  I use the simpler indicator C-21.  The following story itself takes place some three hundred years into the future from that time.  I mention this here to help you get a start on the chronology of the following events.

It is difficult (for me) to engage this tale knowing how unreceptive you are to what you do not think you can ever understand and equally unresponsive to thoughts of alternate realities you do not believe are possible.  Knowing also that some will see this as just more workings of a dark mind experimenting with evil energies; as fictitious drama couched in a classical horror theme.  Everyone who reads the following will have a different reason for doing so, and likely a different reaction to it.  That is, of course, how it should be and it will not change how I feel about you in this ‘now’ time, my time, a time beyond the events in the following story.  Although I speak of my past, for you this remains one of your possible, if most likely, future.

However this is received, it must be told, if only to ease my longing to share something deep, terrible and in some latent way very beautiful, with you.  If you do read the following, keep in mind these things: these are events from my past, a past that remains concealed in your future.  The future I express need not be yours exactly as it is expressed, though from my viewpoint I know the outcome of these tales will greatly affect your world, regardless of which path your collective race chooses to take into its own future.  The future I express here is from another world, certainly, but one whose ways directly impact your own this very day – the day that finds you reading this material.

If you find what you read here unpleasant have the courage to look at your own history with the eyes of awareness and ponder your own experiences in that history.

Try to remember these very basic points:

— Your current history as seen mainly from the viewpoint of your media headlines, or what you call “infotainment”  and more recently, “fake news.”

— Your religious power groupings and frequent inquisitions to force individuals into specific group beliefs thus violating their inalienable freedom of choice.

— Your countless wars of conquest, exploitation and oppression which have been a permanent part of your history, continue to be so and will increase in scope in the foreseeable future (beyond C-21 and to the end of C-24).

— Your pogroms, purges and death camps against those who disagreed with you or were “unlucky” enough to be of a different Earthian race from yours.

— Your refugee camps created by power-mongering and systematic global injustice.

— Your male-dominated top-down religious, financial and political (social) systems that account all the powerless, of human and nature, as “resources” – meaning exploitable in some way or other.

Above all, remember if you can how many innocents died of preventable causes on your world of Earth while you did nothing to prevent it, either because you did not care or because you thought there was nothing you could do to change things.

A challenge by which you may determine how close you are to becoming truly human: remember how many times, and in how many ways, you personally and consciously opposed the above methods, risked your life to attempt making change or at the very least maintained a clear and present awareness in your heart of those made to suffer so the System and those who support it could extract profits, pleasures and power from this global oppression.

This is not a guilt trip.  All of us must walk that path of “remembrance” and deal with the memories thus awakened.  For it is a truism that all spiritual awakening is triggered from remembering the past, all of it, as far back as you have lives on or in these worlds.  Remembering is what frees you from the patterns of your past and allows you to continue on your path of spiritual and mental evolution, a path you chose aeons ago as did I, as did all of us or we would not be able to communicate at all.

Remember that as you read Antierra’s story which is one of my many personal histories in this Galaxy and sometimes beyond.  While you read it, think of it as your story, a vision that takes you into a future you have caused to be by how you express your life today.

What are myths, fantasies, futuristic science fiction, tales of heroes, of avatars, sorceresses and wizards but the bringing to the fore of that which “we do not speak of” in our lives?  Are we not all the heroes and villains of our own tales?  I offer the following to you as a challenge to the dawning of your greater human intellect, an intellect that as you will discover in your near future, knows no bounds, recognizes no imposed boundaries and can apply itself equally to the doing of evil or of good.

Together we are what is becoming ‘humanity’ and however we accept this truism, we are the ones who were custom designed from before time to travel time’s pathways and continue on beyond time, to replace the great gods we once worshipped as external to ourselves.  As we spread our “final frontier spacer wings” beyond the galaxy that gave us birth we become ISSA[1] beings.

We are now Source for that which calls itself New Life.  For lack of a better term, we are the creators of this time.  This is not something to take lightly, nor should it frighten us.  It is the inevitable effect of our mental and spiritual evolution.  We, collectively and individually, made ourselves into this.  There is no turning back for the ‘old farm’ (euphemism for what I will call Old Earth or “Túat Har” in my Altarian tongue) has been subdivided and become a city.  In the far-flung future just at the edge of my vision the city has become a space-faring seedship.  There is no more ploughing for ‘farm boy’ and no more fashion shows for ‘city girl.’  We outgrow our mindless toil and irresponsible foolishness.  We move on.  The Final Frontier beckons.  As far as those of us who have travelled into the far future, to the edge of the “13th Floor” we can only say it appears as if it always and ever beckons.

[1] ISSA: Acronym for Intelligent, Sentient, Self Aware

[end blog post #1]

The Gyre Sniffer

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

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.

This and That, Why Not?

As you may  have noticed, er, hm, I’m writing a story that seems to be turning into what is called a novel.  Why a novel?  No idea except that it’s not a novel idea.

Anyway, be that as it may and all the rest of the massacree, once in a while it’s good to just stop.  Catch your breath, stop chasing after those characters who can run circles around you and disappear in the blink of an eye and you can’t find them again.  So, I got ’em where I want ’em and I’m putting on the brakes and taking a break.

That being said, I found some questions in “THE” note book that I want to share, maybe get some feedback.

“Is an unenforceable law still a law?”

“If it is enforceable but no one wants to enforce it, is it still a law?”

“Is an idea that is in words only a valid concept?  or  Does it gain validity only when it is proven that it can be applied and that it works?”

“The future is not an extrapolation of the past, it’s doing things differently.”  Does that mean that when we don’t do things differently we are not moving into the future but living in the past?  I think that question is loaded and demanding scrutiny.

And a quote that most can probably identify with:

I look at my past life as at a field lit up by the sun when it breaks through the clouds, and I note with metaphysical astonishment how my most deliberate acts, my clearest ideas, and my most logical intentions were after all no more than congenital drunkenness, inherent madness, and huge ignorance. I didn’t even act anything out. I was the role that got acted. – Fernando Pessoa

And that’s all folks!

 

The Mob Wars

The Mob Wars
[short story from   ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

What do you think, when you look upon a mob?  Or worse, you encounter one?  That had been the lesson of the day and the cadets in the class, all five of them, 3 girls and 2 boys, could barely restrain their yawns.  They really wanted to laugh at the instructor but there were rules at the Academy, and laughing at an instructor was bad business.  Punishments varied but they weren’t something you wanted to think about.

“A mob is dangerous.” droned on the talking head instructor, a short dark-skinned female who spoke the lingua franca as if she’d learned it from a computer.  Hardly surprising since she had learned it that way.  She wasn’t from the Clayborne worlds but from another galaxy altogether.  Still, she was human and you could relate to her as long as you remained totally mechanical, never betraying any emotion towards her, or her course material.  “A mob has no leader, that’s what makes it dangerous,” she carried on.  “If you see a mob coming towards you, purposefully march in another direction and as soon as you can, find a safe place to hide until it passes by.  Any grouping of ten or more individuals walking together and sharing information, or making loud statements constitute a mob by legal definition.  It is your sworn duty to the Imperium to report any observed mob activity, noting its coordinates and direction.  Anyone who observes a mob formation and does not report it is de-facto part of a conspiracy and liable to a charge of sedition.  The penalty, as you know, is ten years in the mines, the location of the punishment to be determined by the courts but always outside your home worlds.”  

We may be cadets but we weren’t born last night, or even the year before.  The Claybornes, a grouping of three planets orbiting their sun practically equidistantly, thus making each world almost a mirror image of the others climate-wise, were a relatively recent addition to an expanding Imperium.  “Space, the final frontier” boldly claimed a cartoon character from a series of funny little anecdotes that had been transcribed upon holos and would sometimes be available for viewing.  The quaint language and costumes and the posturing would bring out waves of rollicking laughter wherever they happen to be projected.  Final frontier indeed: the abysmal ignorance and hubris of our ancestors makes us wonder that we ever got off the ground of our original world at all. Too quirky.

I was writing about that line, the final frontier.  Even now with everything we’ve discovered and learned, most of it at great cost and unnecessary loss, we still cling to our ancient xenophobia and bigotry.  Once we “know” a thing, we believe that we’ve found the truth, or at the very least, some truth, something we can hang on and build upon.  Our awareness, our ideas, we believe, can be stacked up one upon another, like the modules we fabricate then build living units or space ships with.  It’s as if we choose to forget that no matter how long these modules fit together they must eventually disintegrate, starting with the oldest ones, but we don’t notice the rot and rust, and we keep on building on top.  There comes a point of attrition and entropy and whatever is, soon is no longer.  Simply put, the base collapses.  We accept that but we never see to apply the obvious lesson in it to our interaction with what can only be called the nature of things.

Which brings me back to my story about the mob.  Whatever the Cirillian teacher says about mobs, she really knows nothing at all about them.  But we Clayborners do know about mobs.  Our own societies were basically evolved from a mob mentality.  You see, the Claybornes were chosen by the Imperium as a dumping ground for all sorts of individuals who could not be coerced into the herd mentality, or group-think that serves the Imperium’s aims so well.  We are recent descendants of “deplorables” and “undesirables”  Our grand parents were those who could not be cured.  Many were anarchists.  Some were judged with criminal mentality because they openly defied and called down the Imperium.  And oh yes, we had more than a sprinkling of lower class criminals, the murderers, rapists, bank robbers, psychopaths.  As a fourth generation myself, I say good for them.  It’s here, on our own Clayborne world which we call Armistice, that you can really see the evil that is the Imperium. 

I discovered subsequently that the Imperium had hoped we would not only “break” open these worlds and extract every ounce of resources that could fuel their space economy and finance their Earth-based economy, bolstering ever-expanding wars of conquest, but that once the worlds were bled dry, that we would destroy ourselves, with a little destabilizing help from Imperial guards. Considering the make-up of our local civilization, it seemed inevitable that we would destroy each other when times got tough, a time when the resources ran dry and the Imperium ceased supporting us with the necessities of civilization that could not be manufactured locally.

Even early on in the colonization of the Clayborne worlds, that is exactly what happened.  Unwisely, to say the least, the Imperium representatives gave the game away too soon, when dreams of independence rode high in the minds and hearts of the colonizers.  Conflict ensued.  But at first it wasn’t against the Imperium.  That seemed too big a slice to tackle.  In anger and frustration, various groups, and towns led by gang lords, armed themselves by whatever means, mostly clubs, compound bows and arrows, long handled barbed spears and long knives or machetes, as well as agricultural implements which had reluctantly been allocated to them, and began to attack each other for control of the worlds.

That wasn’t according to plan since by now little or no effort was being made to mine the planets.  Everybody was too busy strengthening their defences and protecting their fields and other food supplies while attempting to lay waste to “the enemy’s” fields and food supplies, transports and storehouses and stealing resources and useful labour and women.

We could almost hear the screams of anger from stock market and “trading houses” all the way though space from an incensed earth, home base of the Imperium, as resources from the Claybornes’ came to a quasi-standstill.  Fortunes in speculation were being lost by the month, the week, even by the hour.  Action was demanded of Arch Imperator, Junes Kohlmadir.  She did what her kind do best: responded by massive force of arms against the wayward planets.

The Imperium intervened  with iron fist and jack boots.  Martial law and a general ban on every sort of weaponry was declared.  Walls around fortified towns were dismantled, sometimes with explosives, more often with slave labour from those arrested for disturbing Imperium-mandated peace; those that is who hadn’t been publicly executed in the first reactionary wave of the new military dictatorship.  They executed thousands of individuals, including women and young children – as an example.  As any thinking person would know and expect, more violence ensued, now directly aimed at the Imperium troopers and subsequent governors sent to negotiate and re-establish a working peace.  Adding insult to injury, the Imperium representatives decreed that any existing facility that could produce a space-faring vessel was to be utterly destroyed, not simply mothballed.  The Imperium set up its own space station to repair and upgrade its own ships.  All merchant ships had to have (and pay for) a complement of Imperium troopers on board, and an Imperium representative to accompany the captain at all times whenever it landed on one of our worlds.

This is the tipping point, where the Imperium, instead of subduing us, only succeeded in uniting the entire planet against the Imperium.

These people, my people, learned through bitter and bloody experience to hate the Imperium with passionate fury and vowed never to let the predators get their resources as cheaply as they had in the past.  We vowed to fight the Imperium to the last man, woman and child on our world.  There would be no free interference in our affairs.  Autonomy or death, was our slogan and war cry.  In the morning the call to arms and resistance would show up, painted on walls, fences, and even on the side of Imperial armoured personel carriers and tanks.  So the people began to organize; to create larger and larger political groups and legally challenge the Imperium’s manipulations.  We lived in wave after wave of bloody crackdowns and brutal repression but any talk of surrendering resulted in another body hanging from a pole, or tree, for the troopers to cut down and dispose of.  We would no longer be the Imperium’s “hewers of wood and drawers of water” forever, or until our worlds became unable to sustain life due to heavy extraction of natural resources and unchecked man-made pollution and we were abandoned to perish in the depths of space, with no hope of ever seeing rescue transportation off our dying rock.

Whenever the Imperium landed a detachment of Guard troopers, mobs formed and there was the inevitable bloodbath.  It is said that half of the population of Armistice died in the anti-Imperium “mob wars” that had already lasted two generations when, at sixteen, I found myself fighting for freedom.

So, ask me, do we know what to do if we encounter a mob?  Sure, if it’s from our side, join in.  If it’s from the enemy side, slink away and report its movements to our side, then form our own defensive counter-mob and attack.  To hesitate is to loose.  Now we are solidly united with our own spilled blood against the Imperium.  There would be no quarter from our side, for we are the legitimate people of this world.  

“Let me repeat:  a mob is a leaderless group of ten or more people bent on destruction and murder.  Report any mob to the nearest Guard post.”  Yes ma’am, thank you ma’am and why don’t you pack up your stupid course materials and return home by the first shuttle, with no due respect, ma’am?  Take some Star Trek holos back with you and base your next history course on them.  Maybe your students won’t turn into zombies on the first day. 

Meanwhile, what’s the real mob? There can be but one answer to that: it’s the Imperium.  The real Mob is always the largest, most powerful predatory group, for a mob takes what it wants because it has the power to do so.  Smaller groups, or “mobs” serve but to justify the real Mob’s oppression, or to do some of its dirtiest “wet” work.  Think “terrorists” as the vanguard of the Mob.  Oh yes, I have read quite a bit of the home world’s history to understand why here, on Armistice, we do what we do, and why we call our world by that meaningless term.  A mob, leaderless?  Never, no such thing.  The “leader” may not be a human being, it may be injustice, hunger, oppression, enslavement, but oh yes, a mob always has a leader.  In fact such a leader is the most powerful and motivational if it isn’t human, but an irresistible force, when choice is no longer choice.  Where, or when, anger and hate fill the collective vat of despair and feet begin to walk; hands grab sticks, stones, anything defensive or offensive, and charge down the street.

There came the inevitable bloody clash between Armisticians and troopers.  I was wounded in it and captured.  I was then seventeen earth years of age.  I am now an old but still strong woman from the hard labour I have performed my entire captive life.  I survived the mandatory torture and gang rapes, solitary confinement, sub-standard food fare and damp, cold, filthy accomodations.  Today, from my life imprisonment cell on Rebus, one of several Imperium prison planets, I write this for the “counselors” to read and ponder: “Down with the Imperium!  I still hope to see its final downfall.  How dare you call yourselves “civilized” and us “savages” and “terrorists.”   You are nothing but cowards who starve and kill women and children so your elites can wine and dine, get richer and brag.  Your lives are as hollow as the insides of our tiger reed.  I could almost pity you but will never: I vowed eternal hate and enmity between us and so it shall be.

Signed:  Selinia Armstrong of the free world of Armistice

Another Gift of the Magi (part 3)

Near the end of that year her body finally gave out and she remained bedridden.  Ariana spent as much time as she could spare comforting her and listening to some of her experiences in the world of high class prostitution.  Sometimes they could be heard bursting out in laughter, followed by Sylvia’s terrible coughing fits.  Surprisingly, and perhaps not so surprisingly, during that year some of Sylvia’s clients who had helplessly fallen in love with her, traced her to the hospice and she was permitted to receive them.  There were strange tearful reunions and many a new anonymous donation appeared in the “Hope Fund”.

The week before Christmas was the hardest.  Sylvia labored for breath and could not eat.  Fed intravenously, she was slipping fast.  Christmas Eve came and she couldn’t hold any longer.  Ariana came in and saw that the battle was over.  She reached down and held the frail, wasted body of her sister and said: 

“Remember our vow – no matter what the circumstances, we would always spend Christmas day together?  You have to hold on tonight.  You have to celebrate the birth of our Lord with me tomorrow.  You can’t break your vow.  You can’t!”

Sylvia understood.  She held on and passed away in the evening of December 25.  Ariana looked out the window into the city night.  Snow had fallen all day and everything was covered in white.  Street lights reflected their pale luster upon store fronts decorated with various aspects of the kind of commercial Christmas the world has come to accept as normal.  For a brief moment the city, attired in a virgin’s white hid her ugliness.  Ariana thought it fitting that it would make an effort and put on a white mantle for the passage of her sister’s soul.  Above the city, between high-rise escarpments, Ariana saw a couple of stars twinkling in the cold night.  Only then did she allow the floodgates of sorrow from her heart to open and she cried silently, for a long time.

A year went by.  Things returned to their normal madness in the hospice.  Sister Celeste drove herself even more now, but learned to ease up on the younger postulant nuns and things ran smoothly.  On Christmas Eve she found herself alone in her small office in the old house that served as rooming house for nuns and postulants, and office for the hospice next door.  She had done her final rounds to ensure that all was under control there under the night shift. 

The old house felt terribly empty as those not serving in the hospice had gone home to their families to celebrate Midnight Mass and Christmas day.  She pulled out her rosary, thought of Mother Teresa doing the same thing and smiled to herself as she looked out her office window into the night sky filled with grey clouds that presaged more snow on Christmas day.  

The beads of the rosary slipped silently through her fingers from years of practice.  She thought of Sylvia and tried to imagine the kind of life she was now having.  Pangs of sorrow, regret and emptiness hit her.  Had her foolish dream, however well it had turned out, been the cause of her sister’s death?  She shook her head as she prayed through the rosary.  “I cannot entertain such thoughts.  It is wrong. Sylvia and I were as one and she made a choice that I would have made had our positions been reversed.  She chose her life of sacrifice, not just for me, but for the people here, for the city, for the world.  We both did, and found what we wanted most.”

The front door buzzer brought her out of her meditation.  She checked the monitor.  Two men, unshaven, poorly dressed and obviously hungry and cold, stood at the door.  Compassion moved her heart as she looked at them and in violation of an unbreakable rule she had made, against all common sense, got up and went to open the door.  She invited the men inside and as she turned to lead them out a side door to to the hospice cafeteria, they grabbed her, threw her to the floor and raped her at knife point.  Then the one with the knife plunged it in her heart several times.

As Ariana lay dying, her blood-soaked hands holding her punctured chest, she whispered, “I forgive you…!”  Her final thought from this side of the veil was, “As promised, I’ll be with you for Christmas, sister.”

It is not given to us to see beyond this point.  Death guards his territory with terrible jealousy.  His reasoning, often tragic to us, remains impenetrable.  We cannot investigate further; we can but speculate on the fate of those who “cross the bar” and never return.  Some will think, heaven, and some will think, there is no more to the story.  That is how it should be but regardless of our belief choices, it is given to us to have the mental means to contemplate the lives of people such as these two sisters; their motivation and the results from such sacrificial offerings to us and our world. 

The story is fictitious, certainly, but how many real lives provide the flesh and blood background for stories such as this one?  My question, as always, is: can we take ourselves beyond just admiration and perhaps temporary sadness?  Is there some food here for us? Something to move us to better ourselves and take new steps, however hesitant, towards becoming compassionate beings? Surely, anyone who has read the story to the end must realize such are not given to us simply to entertain, or bring out a few temporary tears, as beneficial as such may be to our eyes strained by the harsh glare of consumerism. 

 I do not easily give Christmas wishes for to the degree that I understand the concept I strive to live without hypocrisy.  However, I will do this: on behalf of Sylvia and Ariana, cast out any darkness from your hearts during this time and do give yourselves, one and all, a merry Christmas!