Archive for religion

Don't You Come Round Here No More

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Unknown, World Myths with tags , , , , , , on August 1, 2012 by javedbabar

The man from the mountain felt much better the next morning. A patron of the Lucerne Valley Hotel had given him a voucher for a free steak dinner, and the barmaid had offered him free beer. He knew the receptionist would have given him a free room if possible, but would have got in big trouble. The village was that kind of place.

The man from the mountain slept in a small park near the centre of town. Its young lawns were dotted with clumps of cedar, and there was a fountain and pavilion, in the corner of which he found a blue tarp. He brushed its dust off and laid it back down, then he lay upon it, pulling the slack over himself. A cement bag made a good pillow.

Something wasn’t right when he woke up. Before he’d opened his eyes he felt threatened. He knew better than to make quick moves though. That increased the threat. He rolled his arm slowly across his body, pulling the tarp across with it.

A group of people were gathered around. He noticed their legs initially, then vague balloon-faces. He couldn’t say how many there were but guessed twenty.

A high pitched voice said, “Look, it’s the Abomination.” There was muttering around him, saying, “It comes in many guises,” and “We must guard ourselves against it.” They were repeating the words of the preacher outside the Transparent Temple yesterday.

The man from the mountain sat up on the tarp, seemingly floating on a small blue lake. Fallen white blossoms were scattered around him.

The high-pitched voice, which he saw came from a young girl, said “Why are you here?”

There was no need to answer this brainwashed child, but he felt she deserved an answer that was different from the ones she repeated unknowingly; she was putty in the hands of her parents, who were putty in the hands of the hate preacher.

Still seated, he turned around to face her, and said, “I don’t know how or why I awoke on the White Mountain. Somehow I was brought there, or came there, without my knowledge or consent.” Twice the girl almost interrupted, but she had been brought up with good manners so held back.

He continued, “I was alone there, cold and hungry, so came down to this village. Kind people fed me last night, and then I slept here.”

The child repeated, “Why are you here?”

“I don’t know, but I’ll be gone in a day or two, towards that dark mountain.” He pointed to Mt Negra.

The crowd stepped back and gasped. A man of a similar age to the man from the mountain jumped forward, his wild eyes rolling. “No, begone!” he shouted. “You belong to the dark mountain. Like the others before you, begone!”

The crowd stepped forward, circling him more tightly. He had to act, and flung himself just to the left of the girl. He broke through the crowd and ran into the forest beyond the park. They chased him, shouting, “Begone!” and threw coins and stones, but he outpaced and wrong-tracked them. The man from the mountain knew he couldn’t rest now. He climbed and crawled through the forest towards the dark mountain.

100%

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , on February 24, 2012 by javedbabar

BBC is a global brand, thought Ram, so this BBC10X must be a good product. His friend Amir always gave him good stuff. But printing was misaligned on one side of the box, which was itself a poor fit for the contents. He’d heard that private corporations were putting heavy pressure on BBC funding. They said that state-funded broadcasters had an unfair advantage and stifled healthy competition. Was cheaper packaging the BBC’s way of saving money?

Installation was straightforward – you just plugged it into your computer. The instructions recommended using your laptop rather than your smartphone, whose screen was too small. If you used the latter then expect reduced results. For a big brain you needed a big screen. A plasma TV or screen projector was even better.

The software self-loaded and started immediately. A dark graphic of a human brain began sparking red in various locations. These red sections lifted up and were brought together at the front of the brain. Their combined total area was much smaller than expected. A graphic appeared saying “1%”, and then, “Only 1% of your brain is used at any moment!”

Is that all, thought Ram?

The sparking expanded and came together again; its combined area once more smaller than expected. A graphic said, “10%”, and then, “Only 10% of your brain is ever used!”

That’s it, thought Ram?

Then the whole brain sparked like a coal that had become a firework. A graphic appeared saying, “100%”, and then, “With BBC10X you can access 100% of your brainpower!” There was a disclaimer saying, “BBC10X can only multiply your brainpower 10X. 100% target is conditional on user having 10% current usage. For 5% usage, maximum brainpower will be 50%.”

A gallery of “Successful Users,” showed portraits of Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Sir Isaac Newton, Buddha, Jesus Christ, and Lao Tzu. Then another disclaimer saying, “These geniuses all used advanced brain training methods of their time. BBC10X is the modern equivalent, but has only been available since 2010.”

Ram noticed that the “Successful Users” were scientific or spiritual geniuses; people whose notions had changed the world. Is that how they did it – by using 100% of their brainpower?

Three selection screens required completion. The first was a choice between “Religion” and “Science”. Ram thought about this for a while. Both were paths to knowledge of a sort – science to testable, provable knowledge, and religion to knowledge inherent in faith. Both sources were trustworthy if you believed what they had to offer was worthwhile. Ram was drawn towards mystical experience over rational experimentation. He chose “Religion”.

A quote appeared saying, “Credo ut Intelligam: I believe in order to understand.”

The second screen was a choice between “Introvert” and “Extravert”. This was a tough one, for Ram liked to spend much time alone, but also enjoyed laughing and joking at social gatherings. He was by nature a friendly fellow, but if he didn’t have quiet time alone, he felt his life was one of pointless activity, never alone with deep thoughts. He liked being both but had to choose, so clicked “Introvert”.

A quote appeared saying, “Solitude is essential to man.”

The third screen was a choice between “Reason” and “Passion”. This was probably about being a philosopher versus a poet. He’d never liked philosophy – endless navel-gazing – so he chose “Passion”.

A quote appeared saying “Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.”

It was time to begin the process. The exercises were simple initially – just matching words and numbers. They got faster and harder, and moved onto colours, shapes, and sounds, which became faster and harder, and began to include smells and tastes. Ram was immersed fully in the process. He didn’t stop to think how he was performing smell and taste tasks through the keyboard with his fingers. There followed purely mental tasks. Objects appeared and disappeared on screen; he was somehow receiving and sending thoughts. All of his senses were united. He was aware of a medical condition called Synaesthesia, where people “smelt” sounds, and “tasted” colours – but that was mixing pairs of senses, not all of them combined. Ram felt that he knew everything, all at once, without need to either ask or wonder. His brain had expanded to its full human potential – which included the instincts of many lower animals: our ancestors; and the intuition of higher beings: our descendents. Once you had reached this plane there was no returning to the realm of ordinary mortals.

However there was one final choice for him to make within his soul, now with full awareness. Having witnessed the unlimited possibility of the universe, did he wish to become its Supreme Enjoyer; an eternal hedonist in a world of light? Or having also acknowledged the ultimate pointlessness of existence, did he wish to declare himself a nihilist in a world of darkness, and become an Extinguished Soul?

There was really no rush though. He had eternity to choose.

Brain Box China, makers of BBC10X, were unhappy with their new product launch. It was their highest performance gadget ever, and they thought that it would sell really well. But not one customer had recommended it to their friends, or become a repeat buyer. Trying to pass themselves off as the real BBC clearly hadn’t worked. They’d better sell off their remaining units and develop something else.

Counting

Posted in Sacred Geometry, World Myths with tags , , on February 7, 2012 by javedbabar

The brothers were told to count the Dal. Rav counted Red Dal, Gav counted Green Dal, and Baz counted Black Dal. Each large jar had to be counted daily. They were never told why they had to do this, but if they didn’t, they would be beaten severely.

The Dal jars were of ancient glass with tiny cracks all around them, and golden lids encrusted with gems of appropriate colours. The rubies sparkled, the emeralds were majestic, and the agate mysterious, though their father reminded them constantly, “Don’t be jazzled by the jewels; be dazzled by the Dal.” The jars were arranged on a table, spread with a golden cloth, creating a shrine. Their mother decorated it daily with incense sticks and fresh flowers.

It took the boys from dawn to dusk to count the Dal. Rav was the quickest; his Red Dal was usually done by teatime, and then he coasted. He didn’t tell his father he’d finished because he would only be assigned additional tasks. Gav took longer to count the Green Dal; he usually finished bang on time, and went straight to Dal Dinner. Baz counted Black Dal slowly, and often hadn’t finished by dusk. Their father didn’t allow him to come to dinner till his Black Dal was counted. His mother quietly chopped some fruit to keep him going till then.

Tonight their father said, “It’s a fasting day tomorrow, so eat well tonight. Mother, make them extra Dal Dinner.” How he remained so cheerful was a mystery. Their lives were dull, endless toil. There were no days off, ever! Dawn to dusk was counting Dal.

“You better have done a good job this month,” said Gav to Rav. They all switched jars on fasting days, and checked each other’s calculations. “I didn’t eat for two days last month, trying to tally our totals. Why don’t you just count a bit slower? Take your time like I do, and get things right?”

“I do the best I can, my brother,” said Rav. “If I go any slower I’ll fall asleep, and I’ll end up like Baz – counting in the dark.”

Gav was quiet for a while, and then said, “How does Baz do it? I mean, all he does is count and sleep. At least we get a few hours off in the evenings. But he finishes so late that he never does. Do you think that’s what he’s doing – sort of sleeping on the job?”

The Fasting Days were bad enough, but the Feast of Pulsar was harder. This was when their father tipped all their jars out together at dawn, and they had to have them sorted and counted again by dusk – minus a small batch that was cooked that night for Mixed-Dal Dinner. It was the only day of the year they were allowed to mix Dals. Separating the mixed-up tiny grains represented a difficult task performed diligently, and the breakdown of order and joy at its reformation. Mixed-Dal Dinner was boiled extra-long for extra-mushiness, symbolizing the chaos out of which all things emerged. The boys called it “baby-food”. Their father heard them once and beat them severely. Their mother tended their wounds.

A sort of opposite of this was the Game of Doubling. You started off with a single Red Dal grain on the first square of a chess board. Then you put two green grains on the second square, four black grains on the third, eight red on the fourth, sixteen green on the fifth, thirty-two black on the sixth, and so on. There came a point, usually around the 21st square, when the amounts were too large to continue with, even on the open air, field-sized board they used. Each round grain represented the cycle of life, and the shape of coins, and ever-increasing prosperity. The brothers called it “The Game of Troubling”. Their father heard them once and beat them severely. Their bruises contained all three Dal colours. Their mother healed them quickly with turmeric.

The morning after this year’s Game of Doubling, their father said, “I must leave you for a week on an important errand that cannot be avoided. I trust that you will perform your Dal duties diligently in my absence. I have asked your mother to watch over you carefully. In my absence she is the head of the family.” He looked over to her and she nodded slowly. “My sons, don’t let me down.” He left immediately for the City.

Two days later, Baz said that he had something important to tell his brothers. The Black Dal had become wet.

“What!” shouted Gav. “You let it get wet! How could that happen? These jars have been used to store Dal for hundreds of years, since the ancestors’ first filled them. They’ve never, ever been wet!”

“Calm down,” said Rav. “It was an accident, our brother didn’t…”

“I am sorry, brothers,” said Baz. “It wasn’t an accident. I did it deliberately.”  His brothers were struck dumb. Gav moved forward threateningly; Rav held him back.

“What the hell for?” said Gav.

“You wonder why I take so long counting. It’s not that I’m lazy, or slower than you are. I think carefully about what I’m doing, and I have reached a conclusion.” He stopped and closed his eyes.

“Well, go on then. Tell us. We’re going to get a beating for this, so we may as well know the reason.”

“I think that we’ve counted enough Dal in our lifetimes. Yes it is important to honour our sustenance – to praise and cherish it. But to count it out daily is foolish and slavish. I added water, not to rot it, but to sprout it.” His brothers stared at him, amazed. “Sprouting changes the nutritional profile of the Dal. It becomes more easily digestible; its complex compounds break down into simpler forms; transformed to their essential components. This is what we should be celebrating brothers – the miracle of transformation. Not gloating over huge numbers, or performing pointless tasks. Brothers, will you join me in this revolution of…”

His words were cut short as he crumpled to the ground. Behind him appeared the face of their mother, filled with violence, and also with pain. “How could I have raised such a shameless son?” she said, “A spoilt grain rotting others, who dishonours Dal.” Her blade, so often smeared with juices of onions and apples; was today smeared with her own flesh and blood. She stood there for a moment, and then crumpled herself, crying, “What have I done?”