Archive for sophie

Politics of the Soul

Posted in Conceptual Art, Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2012 by javedbabar

The figure emerging from the twisted light took shape. Sami said, “Sophie? Is that you? How did you know where to find me?”

“It wasn’t that hard,” she said. “The valley only goes one way – west, and smoke only goes one way – up.”

Sami was hiding in a cabin at the top of the Valley, near Kalash, fifty kilometres from Lucerne. The sudden attention since Guru Baba’s death had been hard for him to handle, and he had decided to hide.

The Valley’s residents had protected him from numerous officials, reporters and stalkers chasing him. It was amazing what some well-placed Firing Range and Blast Area signs could do. There was no longer a need for Sami to dress up in his gorilla suit and chase people through the bush, which also worked. Good job it wasn’t hunting season.

“Would you like some tea? Hang on, I’ll just put the kettle on.” He went into the strange metal cabin; she heard water pouring.

Sophie admired the dark, glinting solar panels affixed to the roof. Sami emerged and joined Sophie on a fallen log, and she asked, “What are you doing out here on your own? People are worried about you.”

“Guru Baba had a lifetime to get used to fame; it was gradual. When he kissed me that day and said, “It is you,” and died, my life changed immediately. I wasn’t ready for it. It seemed that I had no choice, but then I realized I did.”

“Is this your choice then, to stay here, far away from people?”

He reached out and held her hand. “Not all people. Sophie, I’m not sure what my choice is. I can either remain apart from the world, with all its temptations and evil ways, or I can engage with it, and do what little good I can.”

Cottonwoods around them rustled in a burst of wind. Their leaves caused light to dance.

“Who wouldn’t want to stay here?” said Sophie. “It’s so peaceful and beautiful. There’s no pollution, no noise, no crowds, no stress, no expense. Whenever I step out of the door in the village I’ve spent twenty bucks. In the city it’s fifty. Here you are self-sufficient in everything – energy, water, food, and peace is everywhere, not just when you put on your headphones or lock your room.”

They sat in silence, listening to the river gushing, and watched a white mule deer wander on the far shore.

Sami said, “Guru Baba’s last kiss held messages for me, but I may need years to understand them.”

He looked so perturbed; she held his other hand too.

Sami continued, “He told me many things while I was working as his assistant. I didn’t understand them all, but somehow his final kiss brought them together. He said that to build a good society you need good people and dynamic interaction. He said the heart is the body’s strongest generator of electro-magnetism, constantly changing the fields around us. He said that like attracts like, and if we build our ideal selves, we attract, reflect and refract universal matter in powerful ways. He said that psychic self-control is the highest art; to keep your head when all around you others are losing theirs; and he said the psychic realm is both a cosmic ocean and a personal drop.”

Sami’s attention returned to the twisted light running through the valley from Mt Alba, a white sentinel above the village, to Mt Negra, dark guard at its other end. He became quiet.

After a while Sophie said, “Well, there are two drops here. Shall we rejoin the sea together, and be good people building the good society he spoke of?”

Sami continued looking into the twisted light, and said, “Maybe you’re right. You usually are. Guru Baba said that karma is not driven by thoughts but by actions. Give me another week here alone, and then I’ll join you.”

Great Gathering

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2012 by javedbabar

Sami wondered what Guru Baba had meant by saying he was going to change “into somebody else.” He’d also said, “I have done so before.”

Maybe he’d changed his name when he became a holy man. It was common to break the bonds of your gross life when undertaking a more subtle one. Or was it his family name, in an attempt to elevate caste? Guru Baba had told Sami about his misguided youth, where despite coming from a wealthy family, he was always getting into trouble with the law. His family may have used their influence to wash his police records clean.

Guru Baba’s utterance had struck a chord with the public. Some people had come the night before and camped outside the Transparent Temple, and many more had come at dawn. There was a seated queue of four hundred people by 8 a.m., and doors wouldn’t open till twelve.

“Hello Sophie,” said Sami. “I didn’t know you were coming today. Why didn’t you tell me? I could have got you a pass.”

“Thanks, but I am happy waiting. It’s like a long meditation.”

He saw that Shama, Dimpy and Bobby were in the queue. Shama and Dimpy sat next to each other, chatting. Perhaps they had moved beyond their divorce. And Bobby was a strange fellow, otherworldly; well suited to the spiritual realm, and certainly not suited to this one.

Sophie asked, “How many people are you expecting today?”

“It’s always hard to say. My rule of thumb is ten times the number queuing at eight a.m., so maybe four thousand.”

“You can’t fit that many in the Temple, can you? It’s only got room for four hundred.”

“Up to six hundred,” said Sami. “We’ll keep the queue moving. We’ll ask people to perform their darshan, take refreshment, and leave. They are welcome to rejoin the queue if they want more time.”

Darshan was the act of seeing a holy person – in this case Guru Baba, rather than Siva or Krishna – and absorbing their power through your eyes. Participation in this sacred act brought good fortune, wellbeing and grace.

By midday the queue had grown to two thousand. People must have taken the day, or at least part of the day, off from work. He saw the Lucerne Valley Hotel’s part-android receptionist, TJ, the Seniors’ Centre manager, Mr Amin, veteran Dr Bungawalla, Bobby’s niece Naomi – had she skipped school? – and the founder of the Botanical Gardens, known only as The Gardener. They all waited patiently.

The first four hundred people were allowed in. While they waited for the ritual to commence, a large screen showed a film of Guru Baba’s life.

The small, black-bearded, saffron-robed sage, though retired, was still thought of as one of the world’s leading holy men. His origins had not been humble. He was the son of an Indian dynasty whose businesses made airplanes, cars, computers, smartphones, spirits and soft drinks, and lived in a one billion dollar home in Mumbai.

The young Guru Baba saw how obsessed his family had become with money; it affected their physical and mental health, relationships and manners. They had the burden of wealth. He left the family home and lived in the slums, yet found that the lot of poor people was no happier than that of rich people. Poor people had the reverse burden of poverty.

He realized that the essence of life was not what you had, but what you did; how you used your time on earth. He felt that gatherings of like-hearted people were energizing and humanizing. In this way, he had brought over thirty six million people together, which was good enough for a lifetime’s work.

He could leave now.

Foodback

Posted in Conceptual Art, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2012 by javedbabar

“I love Indian cooking,” said Sophie, “and you love 3D printing…”

“I wouldn’t say love,” said Sami, “maybe like.”

“Okay, I love Indian cooking and you like 3D printing.” She raised her eyebrows, as if saying, okay now? “Do you think that we can combine them in some way? I like my job at village hall, but a job is a job. You have to work the hours required, on the days required, for the salary offered. It seems never ending. It would be great to work for myself.” Sophie looked at him coyly. “To work for ourselves.”

They had hit it off at the opening night of Tao Te Ching at QARY, the old quarry that was now a multimedia venue. Sophie had invited him along. They had held hands, smooched, and then the rest. Now there was regular sex and shopping. Things had moved really quickly but he wasn’t complaining. Sophie was a great girl.

Sami cast his mind back. “I used food colours a few weeks back. It was a 2D job making edible images to paste onto cakes. I had to work hard to retain colour clarity, resist bleeding, and eliminate pathogens. Working with food is a sticky business. I’m not sure it’s the right thing to focus on.”

Sophie’s face dropped, but she rallied her enthusiasm. “My friend Siva makes raw food powders, he calls them flavour flours. He’s trying to patent the process before a big food company does, but he’s a poor hippy from Kalash dealing with Intellectual Property lawyers charging five hundred dollars an hour. I’m not sure he’ll get anywhere. They were really good though.”

“The lawyers?”

“No, the flours. Can we try printing with those? It’s the perfect way to use this technology. We’d be using homemade ingredients for local manufacture. That’s really cutting out the carbon – road miles, air miles, sea miles – do they call them miles at sea, or is it fathoms?”

“I think that’s a depth measurement.”

“Well, what do you think of my idea? Can you fathom it?”

She wasn’t sure if she’d made a good joke. It was silly. He may like it.

Sami said, “Sure, let’s give it a go. Come by after work hours.” He winked and she blushed. “Otherwise I will have to charge you printer time.”

Sophie came the next evening with a selection of flavour flours. They smelled pretty pungent. Sami put them into the 3D printers, loaded a North Indian recipe, and soon produced Mughlai Biryani cubes. They emerged from the build pan, steaming.

Sophie licked her lips and tried one, and said, “Really good, but they need a bit more salt, and some turmeric and cumin.”

Sami adjusted the parameters. He tweaked colour, texture and odour, and then focussed on nutrition. The Mughlai Biryani became better and better, a spicy superfood.

Sophie said, “Instead of feedback, we can call this process foodback.”

“If you’ve got five hundred dollars we can patent that.”

The experimentation continued. They used master chef recipes, then formulas for medical enhancement. Via social media they could share the printer blueprints, flour production process, and test recipes. Changing quantities for families of two, three, four or more members automatically adjusted the recipes and instructions.

Imagine everyone cooking whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, wherever they were. The technological revolution had gone full circle, back to the most basic human need.

That’s how the Foodback TM revolution began.

Voodoo Valley

Posted in Conceptual Art, Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2012 by javedbabar

Dynamic reflection was a term Sami first heard while making architectural models. It showed the way that little design changes caused related changes elsewhere. For example, a building’s cladding changing from wood to steel would affect its levels of heat and moisture, but also its visual reflectivity and life cycle sustainability. Every change had additional effects beyond the building, affecting the landscape in subtle ways.

“The first time I went to the old quarry, I had a vision,” said Sophie, visiting Sami at the Transfer Station’s 3D Unit. “It was filled with every kind of art. A host of creations poured from the place where Mother Earth was butchered. There was a need for healing.”

“Was that the inspiration for QARY?” asked Sami. Her QARY project, converting the old quarry to a multimedia venue, had been a huge success. Most seasons were sell-outs. He had invited Sophie to visit the lab to find out how she did it. Maybe some of her wisdom could be applied to Guru Baba’s charitable projects, for which he still volunteered.

Sophie said, “Do you know the Gaia Hypothesis? You don’t? It says that the earth is a self-regulating organism whose complex systems work together to maintain the conditions for life. They ensure the biosphere’s wellbeing, encouraging evolution of life forms, but acting against them when they threaten the earth’s habitability.”

“Gaia sounds like a tough mistress,” said Sami.

“So am I,” said Sophie, and then realized what she’d said. She appeared uncomfortable. “I hope that was helpful for you. I’ve got to get back to QARY to boss the crew around. We have a new show starting tomorrow.”

Sami was intrigued by Sophie’s words, particularly the notion of self-regulating systems. They were like human bodies, writ large. If that were the case they must feel both joy and pain, joy being harmonious growth and pain being destructive chaos.

Sami had an idea. He fed a map of Lucerne into the 3D printer. He fabricated a quick model which turned out pretty well. Why not model the whole valley in sections? As well as its physical aspects, he could symbolically include its spiritual aspects.

He categorized Mt Alba, the white peak above the village, and Mt Negra, the dark peak at the far end of the valley, as dynamic poles. He fed in cultural information. He didn’t know how to factor in a supreme god, but was able to include subservient spirits, responsible for various aspects of life. He scoured folk tales for forest elves, river sprites, cloud goblins, raindwarves, lightning giants, hillpixies, field witches, and cave ghosts. Their changing personalities would reflect many possibilities.

Was he tired, or was the model changing? It seemed to be shifting subtly. Trees walked, rivers changed course, clouds danced and darkened, rain stopped and started, lightning gathered and cracked, hills rolled around like bugs beneath skin, fields grew crops that were mystically reaped, and caves moaned and howled.

Were these effects extending beyond the model? Sami became scared. He deactivated the electromagnetic charges of Mt Alba and Mt Negra. Without these dual energies, providing light and shadow play, the spirits settled down.

There was now homeostasis, a stable state. Inertia. More fiddling with the earth would create imbalance and re-energize the spirits. There would then be the need for elaborate ceremonies and cure-all spells. The spirits would need soothing, and their price may be high.

Healing Hands

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Unknown with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2012 by javedbabar

Sophie was feeling unsettled. There were crises at work, family members demanding money, her landlord had given her one month’s notice, and she was about to hit forty and was still single. Left on the shelf. Many of her friends were single too, but at least they’d had a go, married, and failed. Some had wonderful children as awards for trying.

Why hadn’t she ever taken the plunge? There had been opportunities. Maybe she had been too fussy when younger.

“Will you marry me?” Adam had asked her, long ago, at Blackwater Lake. Her response was to run off. It’s right to not settle for second best, but what she’d then thought of as second best, was upon reflection first best, and those who had later won her heart turned out to be last worst.

She wandered across the park after work. The sky was glowing like there were two suns setting, golden and purple. TJ, the Lucerne Valley Hotel’s receptionist, said, “Welcome back.” She was a daily customer. She’d been there at lunchtime for a beer and burger, but now wanted something more and stronger.

The manager had found a clever way of getting around The Authority’s prohibition on cheap drinks. He promoted Happy Hour as a heritage event, harkening back to its nautical origins. There were wrestling, boxing, singing and drinking bouts, often all together. It was a barrel of laughs.

A buxom wench like Sophie was well appreciated aboard HMS Hotel Bar. Its sailors bought her endless rounds, and she was constantly engaged in jigs and reels. She danced with a small, dark guy with a great body. He didn’t talk much. He was either drunk or shy. He had a bright face which seemed to shine everywhere, and Sophie didn’t want to be without its glow. At the end of a reel, she grabbed his hand and pulled him outside. They smooched a little and then she asked him to walk her home.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “Is that a good idea?”

“What kind of man are you?” she said. “Not a gentleman at all. I should have made you walk the plank!”

“Okay, I’ll walk you home,” he said immediately. Nobody likes to be called a barbarian.

When they reached her home, Sophie opened the door and pulled him in. He made an unconvincing attempt to resist and then gave up. He was not much heavier than Sophie but with extra muscle instead of extra curves. He leaned back on the sofa.

Sophie played some ambient tunes and pulled him up to dance. Despite the music being unsuitable for nautical antics, she forced her guest to engage in further jigs and reels. He was a really good dancer and somehow made them work.

His moves were great, jumping, skipping and twirling around the lounge. Her body pulled along with his, her heart was in tune with his, their hands joined together, and now their lips…

“Ouch!” she said, breaking off and pulling away. “Your hands are so hot!” She looked at them. They seemed to be glowing.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “Maybe I should go now.”

“No, wait.” She didn’t know why she said it. There was something about him, about his hands. He looked at them in shock too. They were glowing faintly, golden purple.

He looked up at her and said, “I am from a family of healers going back to Pharaonic Egypt. I thought the gift had passed me by. My grandmother said that it would come to me when I met the one I must heal.”

Sophie’s head now reeled.

Aquatic Auras

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2012 by javedbabar

Why was he wearing full-on yellow storm gear? The sun was shining and the water rippled in light wind. It is a beautiful day, thought Sophie, it is unlikely that any tornadoes will hit Blackwater Lake today.

The man sat there, nodding. For a moment she froze. What if he was a real weirdo, a serial killer? She had seen a movie called “Banker of Souls”, where the killer wore storm gear to avoid blood splashing his pinstriped suit. She shook her head to dispel the image.

The yellow-coated figure turned towards her. Deep within the hood’s hollow was a crinkled face wearing pink lipstick and golden earrings. It was an old woman rather than a man. She said in a whisper, “How many fishes can you see?”

Sophie saw the woman was mending nets, huge ones of all colours, spread around her. The needle’s motion was causing her to nod. She probably wasn’t a serial killer.

“I can’t see any fish,” said Sophie. “The water’s too dark. Are there many in the lake?”

“Many in the lake! Many in the lake!” The woman was cackling. “Many in the lake! Yes, there are many in the lake. Take a closer look.”

Sophie walked around some blue and green nets to the water’s edge, and peered into the black water. Patches of froth floated on the surface. They must be fish bubbles, she thought. She shielded her eyes to cut the sky’s silver glare, and looked harder.

“Yes,” she said. “I can see a fish. I think it’s a carp. There’s another one too, and another. Three of them. It’s hard to see their colour through the water. Are they purple and silver?”

“Yes, they are.” The old woman kept mending and nodding, and said, “Keep looking.”

Sophie saw silver ripples running through dark water. Not on the surface, they were deep within, rolling and stretching as if with a life of their own. Moving silver within silver. Whole sections of the lake seemed to move, as if these ripples were borne by hidden currents.

The woman said, “Do you see them?”

“Yes, I do. Are there springs beneath the lake? Or flows of rivers passing through?”

“Neither of those. There are fishes within fishes within fishes. You can’t see them all, only their aquatic auras. That’s why I am fixing these nets up. They’re needed here.”

Sophie was bemused by this notion. “Can you catch aquatic auras?”

“Only if you know what you’re doing, and I do.” She continued mending and nodding, and said, “The food chain is always visible, who eats who. The little ones are contained in big ones, aquatic auras show that, and it’s the same for humans too. You can see it in people’s faces. Look at the millions gobbled up by cities every day. Their lives are bounded, frozen within arthritic auras, all grey. The only ones smiling are the big ones you don’t see.”

She looked towards the lake. “That whale in there is taking too much.” She got up and prepared to throw out her nets. “Time to haul him in.”

Lucky Numbers

Posted in Lucerne Village, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2012 by javedbabar

Maybe going to the Lucerne Valley Hotel’s bar at lunchtimes was a bad habit, but the food was well-priced and there were comfortable booths. The staff didn’t mind if you slipped off your shoes and sat in a booth cross-legged. That, along with the short walk through the park to get there, provided Sophie with a refreshing break in her day.

There were plenty of booths available, but a short, blue-eyed man with a shaven head scanned half the room, saw her – didn’t bother scanning the rest of the room – and walked towards her booth. “May I join you?” he asked.

Can you resist someone acting like that? She said, “Sure, nice to meet you. I’m Sophie.”

“Hi Sophie. I’m Michael.” His blue eyes were sharp, like dreamy icicles. “I have always been lucky with numbers. What about you?”

“I guess so, but I’m not sure what you mean exactly.”

Michael took a long look out of the window at Mt Alba, which gleamed like a white space pyramid. “I have a good birthdate. I was born on the seventh of July, 1977. If you write it as 7/7/77 and add the digits together, its sum is twenty eight; then add the two and eight to get ten, and the one and zero to make one, which is the supreme number containing all others, and from which all other numbers come.”

Sophie didn’t know what to say, and now it was her turn to look out of the window at Mt Alba.

Michael continued, “That was what gave me a good start in life. I was born to good parents in a happy home. My father was a doctor and my mother a dentist. They ensured I had everything I desired – a good school, great holidays, wonderful birthday parties, and amazing holidays.”

“You seem like a happy person,” said Sophie . “I am glad for you.”

“I was allocated an auspicious candidate number for my exams – 1122334455. The double digits reminded me to check and recheck my answers. That’s why I got A grades in everything.”

“Well done.” Sophie’s soup and sandwich arrived. She asked, “Are you having something?”

“Yes, thanks, I will.” He said to the waiter, “A double burger with the works please, and a chocolate milkshake,” and then continued. “My social security number is 0101010101, and that was very lucky too. It ensured that I always got good jobs, and then spaces between them to rest. I have never looked for a job in my life. They have always come to me when I have needed them.”

Sophie said, “What are you doing now?”

“We’ll come to that. I joined the army for five years. My service number ended in 9413, which means ‘nine die to one live’ in Chinese numerology. Knowing that ensured that I was that one to live every time. It was like an amulet deflecting enemy bullets.”

“Wow, did you…”

“My telephone number of 9876543210 means that every conversation, however frantic, always tones down, winds down and ends peacefully.”

Sophie wished that Michael would give her some peace in which to eat her lunch.

He said, “My lottery numbers were lucky. I won the jackpot.”

Her ears pricked up. He was a nerd, but a rich nerd.

“It’s a shame that your name is Sophie, which adds up to five. That has never been my lucky number.”

Lucky Courier

Posted in Lucerne Village, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2012 by javedbabar

“Damn!” said Sophie to herself and then thought, I hate it when that happens. She picked up the phone and dialled a number. “Hello, it’s Sophie here from Lucerne Village Hall. I seem to have missed a delivery. I was here all morning; how did that happen?”

“Hello Sophie. This is Daphne from the Customer Services Team. I am sorry about your delivery. We’ve had a few problems this morning. Shall I reschedule it for this afternoon?”

“That would be great. If I’m not in my office, the courier can leave it at the reception desk in the other building. That’s always manned.”

She had considered saying, wo-manned but that would sound stupid.

The courier came again two hours later. There was a single fingernail tap on her window, and then a happy face, brown, but more golden in hue than his uniform. She motioned for him to enter, and he bounded in with a small, heavy parcel. She hadn’t been expecting anything. Was it a present from someone? Sophie liked surprises.

“Good afternoon, Miss Walker. I am sorry about before. I am new to this area and didn’t know that other building was related to yours. How many of these buildings are village offices? Oh, all of them around the garden? This must be a nice place to work. How long have you worked here? You seem well settled in…”

So much talking, thought Sophie, does he get many deliveries done? Maybe it’s because he’s new and wants to build customer relationships. Mr Chatty. She should ask him something too. “Where were you before this? In a different territory?”

“I am originally from Salistan,” he said.

Uh-oh, thought Sophie. He thinks I’m asking where he’s from. Why do immigrants always assume that’s the question? “I mean your delivery territory.”

“Oh sorry. Before I was working in the New City, but now I am in Lucerne.”

“That must be a big change for you.”

“Oh yes, but I like it. I don’t care about having a big house or big car. I just want a simple life, where I can hold my head up without people pointing. I want to make my family proud.”

Sophie was about to ask if they were still in Salistan, but he continued.

“I almost became rich, you know. At the horse races I said as a joke to someone to bet on a thousand-to-one horse. The woman put a hundred dollars on it, but the bookie closed before I could put my bet on. That horse won! That woman won one hundred thousand dollars! I saw her dancing. I was going to go up and congratulate her but there were so many people crowding around her that I left it. I was happy for her.”

Sophie started saying, “Did you…” but he was off again.

“At the casino once, I did become rich. You know that gambling is forbidden by my religion, but those machines are irresistible. It is only one coin and you never know what may happen. Lady Luck may be on your side. I won the hundred thousand dollar jackpot! It was like the Gambling God gave me what he owed. The bells were ringing, lights were flashing, and coins flooded out. They told me later that was all for show. The real prize was a big cheque for the money. I was married then, and my wife couldn’t stop laughing and laughing. In the car on the way home, we talked about all the things we would do together, but then I saw the look on her face. It said that she didn’t want to do them with me.”

Sophie didn’t know what to say.

He continued, “That’s why I am here in Lucerne working as a courier. Would you please sign for your parcel? I have a good feeling about it, why don’t you see what it contains.”

Sophie’s eyes flashed like lights on a pinball machine. There was a card saying she had won everything she had ever dreamed of. She just had to call a special number, which she did later that day. Immediately her mortgage increased by a hundred thousand dollars, which was transferred to an account in Salistan.

The Prophet

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Mystical Experience, Unknown with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2012 by javedbabar

The Prophet was a well-structured text. Sophie had read it many times. There were twenty-six poetry essays on topics concerning the tribulations of human existence. It was early inspirational fiction that had lasted in a way that recent over-hyped junk just wouldn’t.

The topics could run sequentially, she thought, starting with love and ending with death. Or somehow concurrently, infused with the essence of the work, which could be described as enhanced awareness.

“It starts and ends with the sea,” said Danny, QARY’s chief technician. He had started as a regular crew member when the old quarry was converted into a multimedia venue, and had proved himself over the past two seasons. He was now Sophie’s right hand man.

“Yes, it does,” she said, “Would that work as a theme?”

“I think it would. At the beginning, Almustafa is waiting for his ship to come after twelve years in Orphalese. Then he stands before a sea of people and runs through the journey of life. Later he bids them farewell and sets sail for home, with a promise of return, like a tide.”

“I need to watch you,” said Sophie. “I think you are after my job.”

Danny smiled and reddened. He didn’t know how to deal with Sophie since she had spurned his advances. They had a comfortable working relationship, but an uncomfortable personal one.

They decided to retain the book’s structure, but split the essays into sections. The quarry’s chambers would each show one third of the work: nine, nine, and eight chapters respectively. Each chapter was self-contained and didn’t need to be seen in sequence. There was a benefit in seeing some sections together, such as love, marriage and children, and these would be kept in their original order.

The finished show was good, though not their best production. There weren’t enough of Kahlil Gibran’s’ mystical drawings to illustrate the performance, and the new ones they created lacked his magic. Digital media will take you so far but cannot replace nuanced genius.

They did the best they could. Sophie loved hearing the Prophet’s profound words. Her favourite parts were those about love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, and joy and sorrow.

“When love beckons you, follow him; Though his ways are hard and steep.”

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness; And let the winds of heaven dance between you.”

“Your children are not your children; They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.”

“All you have shall some day be given; Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors’.”

“Your blood and my blood is naught but the sap that feeds the tree of heaven.”

“Work is love made visible.”

“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.”

The words were beautiful, spiritual, meaningful, but something wasn’t right with the show. Sophie wondered what it was. The performance felt empty and a little contrived.

The QARY computer had been given the role of HAL in the 2001: A Space Odyssey show. The computer had enjoyed this role and not relinquished control. All images, words, sounds and actions were now part of a programme continuing forever. The crew and audience were part of the programme too.

Big machines had once hollowed the quarry and violated Mother Earth. Now one of their number, gazing into the past, attempted to make amends. QARY had transcended physical karma and manifested virtual karma. This empty space was now filled forever.

2001: A Space Odyssey

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Mystical Experience, Unknown with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2012 by javedbabar

QARY’s production of The Time Machine was voted a top ten show by Arcadia’s critics. They said it rang true, and the time travel sequences had exceeded even Sophie’s expectations. Danny and the technical team had done an amazing job.

It was incredible to think that just eighteen months ago this had been an abandoned quarry. Now there was a world famous multimedia show here. No visitor to Arcadia’s west coast would miss it.

Danny had wanted to produce 2001: A Space Odyssey rather than The Time Machine, but when outvoted, he had accepted gracefully, and given 100% to the new show. Maybe he was right in a sense, thought Sophie; not that 2001 was better than The Time Machine, but in saying that it would make a good show in its own right. They needed something spectacular to kick off the third season. They could look at it now. She mentioned this to the crew.

“Really! You want to do Two Thousand and One! That’s fantastic!” said Danny. “I can’t wait to get working on the light tunnel sequence. That will be awesome!”

One of the new girls said, “Sorry, I am not familiar with Two Thousand and One. What is it?”

“It is a confusing story,” said Sophie. “There are bits I don’t understand myself. Danny, could you please explain it in a user-friendly way?”

“Sure, the film was a collaboration between the director Stanley Kubrick and writer Arthur C. Clarke. They played around with the idea for years before settling on the final version. It consists of four parts, each driven by a black monolith that appears mysteriously.”

“What do you mean by monolith?” asked the new girl. “A big stone like at Stonehenge?”

“Kind of, but in the film it’s more like a flat panel. The first part is about the dawn of man. A monolith inspires an ape to use a bone as a tool and then as a weapon, which sets him apart from other animals. The second part is about Tycho-Magnetic Anomaly One, TMA-1, a monolith found buried on the moon. The third part is a voyage to Jupiter, following a radio signal sent by TMA-1, in a ship controlled by a powerful computer named HAL, who takes over the ship, kills most of the crew, but is eventually switched off. The fourth part is the best part, where the only surviving astronaut, Bowman, is pulled into a tunnel of coloured light. He sees himself as a dying man, and then as a child in a ball of light, gazing at the world.”

The new girl looked dazed. “You want us to cover all of that in a one hour show?”

It sounds crazy, thought Sophie, but manageable. They’d produced epic myths like Gilgamesh and Beowulf, and cosmic texts like Bhagavad Gita and Tao Te Ching. 2001 was no more difficult than those.

Danny had some ideas. “We can save cash by painting some old doors black; they will make great monoliths. I can rent a special lens to make blinking eye footage, which will save on film rights. The QARY computer can double as HAL; it’s just a matter of programming some audio files.”

The team produced a show true to the film. It had minimal dialogue and explanations. The imagery was ambiguous and open-ended. It was cryptic and enigmatic.

Blink. Flash. Blink. Flash. Blink. Flash. Blink. Flash. The light tunnel sequence was amazing. Blink. Flash. Blink. Flash. The audience was destabilized and then disorientated. Blink. Flash. Blink. Flash. Things got weirder and weirder. Blink. Flash. Blink. Flash. It felt like they were actually moving. Blink. Flash. Blink. Flash. People began to sway and fall. Many were sick and shrieking.

Danny tried in vain to control the QARY computer. Sophie pulled rank and threw the mains switch. Everything went dark, and then a dark shape appeared from the darkness. She hoped this was one of Danny’s special effects.