Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Oggs Pilgrimage to the Temple of the Silver Wall: Part One: The Merchants Tale.

When I was about 13 and a half or 14 there was an upright lumbering hairless ape named Ogg. While he was on a Pilgrimage to the Temple of the Silver Wall he had an encounter with a Traveling Merchant named Edward Bloom outside a small town named Specter. Edward explained that he was on his way home to the love of his life.

Ogg explained to Edward how he had killed his brother Humbaba-Enkidu many years before in a dream, and how the gods had then cursed him to wonder the earth in search of eternal life. Unfortunately the gods had slowly died off or merged together until their was only one God, and then he had dissolved long ago into the inner dialogs of human beings. However before they did so, Ogg had realized that the secret to immortality was in fact perhaps in contributions to culture and monuments that outlived their creator. He had tried to follow in Grogs footsteps but felt he had failed and must find his own way. And that is why he was on his way to the Temple of the Silver Wall.

Edward was somewhat taken aback. You do not strike me as a religious man, said Edward.

Ogg explained that religion, as far as he could tell, was nothing more than the naturally occurring and networked augmented reality that binds people together, and that he was to be an augmented reality programmer, just like one of the friends of Grogs, Constantine. Unfortunately he did not know where to begin.

Edward laughed and said: sure you do. Crafting reality is so easy a cave man could do it.

Being arguably a caveman himself, Ogg did not find this humorous.

Edward then told Ogg a story he was reminded of about a Spanish Conquistador who had gone searching for the Tree of Life in south America. When the Conquistador finally made it to the temple, however, the native priest recognized him as an incarnation of First Father, the god who had spawned the world by planting a tree in his body, and whose head had become the dying star and underworld Xibalba. What happened to the Conquistador next was unclear, but it is said that he did obtain eternal life. Perhaps you should consider travel to South America.

Ogg, who had of course been to South America, was unsure of the stories truth. He had also heard rumors of golden tablets that told of his own deeds in South America, but could not remember for sure if he had in fact had any of those adventures. But then, he had never seen the golden tablets either.

This is going to sound a little strange, admitted Ogg, but at night I dream I am a Starship captain whose job it is to create the needed religion and propaganda to hold together the inhabitants of my ship in order to get them to safety. Unfortunately, I do not know what the story is. I seek the epic story that will engage my ships inhabitants to work together and get the ship to safety. I fear we are in great danger now, although from what I cannot say. But I have vowed to get us to the promised land of the planet Terabithia. Everyone looks to me, from the pilots to the priests to the prostitutes, and everyone in between. This missing epic IS my Tree of Life, and it will live on after I am gone by feeding the inhabitants of my ship a unifying reality until they become one with the new planet and evolve to some other form which requires a new story.

At that moment something on the television caught their attention. It was a news story, and the anchor man was saying:

"Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Heres Tom with the Weather"

Edward looked at Ogg. Ogg said: that is just what I am talking about. In my recurring dream I need to find our epic tale to help the crew get home again, but it must be as true as possible. I am mortally wounded and I may go down with the ship in the end, in sight of the promised land with music blaring on the overhead, perhaps without setting foot on it myself. But it is OK. I just need to make sure the crew and the inhabitants survive. I need to get them to their destination, their new home, and then I can die. But the story must be as true as possible, or it will not work. I do not know what this story is. But it must be told.

Edward thought for a moment and then said: You know. I once met a scientist named Tom Creo. He was telling me about a college he has, a Dr. Nicolelis who says that the brain is like a school of fish, or a flock of birds. Consciousness is an emergent property. E Pluribus Unum. Perhaps you should not dictate the story to your crew and dependents. Perhaps you should let them tell the story to you. It reminds me of another tale I have heard on my travels:

Supposedly there was once a being named Eru Ilúvatar who created a race known as the Ainur. Eru Ilúvatar bade his demiurges the Ainur to sing. And each of their own personal voices merged together in the great song which created the universe, and specifically the world of Arda. They were all unique and sang their own song of the universe, and even the clashes in harmony was part of their epic tale. Perhaps instead of trying to dictate the great myth of your day from the top down, you should try to listen to the metaphorical music of your crew, and they will create it for you. If you try to control them, they will see through it and it will fail. You cannot insert a false measure from the top by which to judge your people and measure their success. This will never work. At best they will juke the system to meet your expected stats without doing the real job, and at worst they will resent you. Very probably both. No. Let them be who they are, and listen, do not speak except to reinforce their own songs where you can. Perhaps that is your true role as captain. Like the captain Kabat-Zinn.

How can I listen to so many voices? Asked Ogg. At times the voices already overwhelm me, and the ship computer overloads and reboots, causing the ship to drift aimlessly in space.

Well, said Edward. Aren't all of your people on the ship wide web via neurolink? The hive mind of the ship? Perhaps you should use your ships PRISM drive computer. Let it tell you what the story of the day is. Why create the propaganda and religion from the top when the people will tell you from the bottom the story they already want to believe, the story they DO believe. They will tell you when you do right, and when you do wrong. All you have to do is listen. Do not try to suppress them. If you suppress or ignore them they will be tormenting harpys who rebel and undermine you, but if you listen and obey they will be your muses and grant you infinite wisdom by whispering in your ear as you sleep at night. Vox populi, vox Dei, the voice of the people is the voice of god. It is the wisdom of crowds. It is emergence. And let them have their anonymity. They are not your slaves. The state does not really win in the end if it loses the trust of the people. Jesus not only outlived the Roman Empire, he BECAME the Roman Empire. Or rather, the Empire was forced to become him to survive. And yet it still failed, while it tries to hold on to this day.

No. Listen to the music of the Ainur as Eru Ilúvatar. You do not have to think to digest your food or heal a scratch. Your body knows how to do these things without your conscious mind. Do not think you can control the masses. Instead realize the truth: their is no spoon. The masses are you, but they are also not as they are also the forces beyond you. There is no beginning or end to you. Like the wind and the shores form the surface of a lake on a windy day, so are you. Observe the wind on you, and observe the shores which contain you, and observe the shapes of your surfaces and depths. Accept them. You are a passenger, and this is just a ride. You already know how to get your crew home. You don't even have to think. Just do. They will do. They are doing. This very moment. You are free. Excepting that you are asleep. But then, the dream is the meaning right?

Ogg looked down from the mirror he was staring into down into the sink. A drop of blood landed near the drain. He was still bleeding. From the ear perhaps? From the temple. He looked back to the mirror. It was shattered and distorted. He was trying to see the truth through a broken foggy mirror. Was what he was getting truth at all? Well, thought Ogg, perhaps I must have faith in something. Maybe the Ainur know best what song they must sing. Perhaps it is worth a try.

As he paddled the raft through the fog, Ogg moved farther away from Specter. He didn't know if the fog would get thicker or thinner, but he knew he could not stay here. His journey lay ahead still, and he had to stay on the move.

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