Erehwyna – Part II
By Ted Seth Jacobs, Artist-Painter
Mes Illusions, La Maison-Musée de l’Artiste
Les Cerqueux sous Passavant, France
Continued from the previous January-February issue; the author has met Anya, an Erehwynan, who introduces herself to the author and has begun to tell him about her world and her impression of ours…
She informed me that investigators had been periodically dispatched to report on our entertainment industry. They returned bewildered and profoundly shocked. The holdings in the industry reach values of hundreds of billions of dollars. It can be assumed that the directors of these enormous international conglomerates must establish the guidelines for the content of their productions.
As our woman moved amongst you, she couldn’t believe the diet of horrors that was considered entertainment, and fed to all ages. The cinema, popular novels, animated games, all were trying to outdo one another with the highest gruesome level of unspeakable cruelty and stark indifference to completely realistic murders by evisceration, beheading and obliteration of living bodies. Forgive me, she said, for continually coming to the same conclusions, but to establish outrageous violence as a form of entertainment is surely psychopathic, insane.
Anya could not help but ask what is the purpose behind such deliberate choices? Personally, she could not imagine any but extremely negative intentions. Is the objective to terrify the collective subconscious? To condition the population to a total indifference to the destruction of life? To make murderous behavior seem like an entertainment, a game? To promote war in order to reduce the world’s population? What puzzles Erehwynans is why the powers in control would want to create a world inhabited by violent lunatics. Is that the kind of world they would be happy to live in? We simply cannot understand your mentality. I think it is not difficult to see why those of us who live on Earth have found remote corners of the planet in which to disappear.
Further, Anya continued, your richer class likes to think it has achieved an ideal and esthetic lifestyle. They have the means to surround themselves with all the appurtenances of what they consider a correct world of their own. They have created an exclusive club. The members all agree on the rules, how life should be lived. They have their own conservative dress code, manners, type of homes, accepted amusements and socializing, political views, and so on. In short, they are living the perfect life, as they conceive of it. But they are wrong.
They cannot escape the knowledge that great masses of the world’s people are living in squalor, in substandard misery. They are there. That fact cannot be ignored. In some urban areas the have-nots live around the corner from the haves.
One of our writers has written that it is as if these privileged are at an elegant dinner party. The long table sparkles with a brilliant white tablecloth, silver polished cutlery shines, flowers are in period Sevres porcelain pots, pretty well-trained maids serve examples of sophisticated culinary art. Everybody is, of course, dressed with understated and expensive elegance. Conversation is muted and witty. Under the table the guests’ feet are mired in a thick, luxurious carpet.
Another aspect of their life popped into my mind and I was curious to know about their clothing. Everything seemed opposite to how we lived and thought, and Anya’s answer was consistent!
to Erehwynan logic, our occidental style of clothing is not adapted to our
anatomical construction. To them, it makes much more sense for men to wear
skirts and women some variant of loose Turkish trousers. In some cultures men
did indeed wear skirt like garments, as in ancient
Today in some occidental countries women wear trousers. They can dress essentially the same as the men, but usually add some feminine touches. This caused Anya to veer into a related subject. She has noticed that in the Anglo-Saxon nations the women seem to be trying to not only have equal rights with the men, but to resemble them. To her fresh view, in their desire to level the playing field, as Earth people say, the women are masculinizing themselves. They use the same crude expressions as formerly only men were allowed, they move in a rough ungraceful way, and are often offended when a man of the old school of manners opens a door or gives up a seat for them. They want not only to be equal with men, but to be like them. Anya couldn’t understand the thinking behind this, since in her mind when they tried to imitate men, they were implicitly admitting that men were superior!
This led to an interesting discussion of the relations between the sexes in Erehwyna. I was reminded that the minds of Erehwynans were not capable of many feelings that we consider indivisible from our human nature. Indeed, we consider them as essential characteristics, part of what we are, the eternal drama of our human and animal alternations. It was precisely this dramatic element that the Erehwynans had rejected and eliminated. Consequently, they did not know jealousy. Curiously, unimaginably for me, neither did they feel possessiveness. So many millennia have passed since they institutionalized their ethic of less consumerism as the only acceptable social norm, that they even had trouble now in understanding the very concept of possession. What, they asked, does it actually mean to possess something? In some way does a possession become part of you? To them, this would be some kind of belief in black magic, and laughable. Does possession of something mean we can completely control it? Can we completely control our own bodies, or other people? Yes, they agreed, we can influence them, but not completely control them. The word “possess” is in a language they no longer speak. They can comprehend imprisoning someone, or putting a book on a shelf, but not possessing either, in the same sense that we understand. To be honest, the difference seems too subtle for me to distinguish.
As I was told earlier, the sexual drive in them is the opposite of a desire to possess the other human being, but rather one of giving one’s sense of separateness up, to become fused with the other. Above all, the desire to possess another human being (whatever that can mean) is for them repulsive and barbaric. The cornerstone of their society is a profound respect for the individual, the uniqueness of each person, which our desire to possess negates. They cannot understand how a couple could function harmoniously under a pall of possessiveness, which caused me to reflect on the increasing instability of relationships and marriages in our society. In both societies and couples, I was told, materialism doesn’t work.
Aha! I thought, I have caught Anya in a contradiction, and asked her, if you don’t believe there is a self, an I, how can you give one up? She reminded me that what they don’t believe in is a permanent changeless self. Through sex they can fuse their separate natures into one. The waves then realize they are the manifestations of the sea.
She had no hesitations about discussing the sexual customs of her people. Physical relations were considered perfectly natural and even, spiritually useful. They considered the concept of Original Sin to be a completely gratuitous addition, invented out of thin air, obviously to better control the population. This too the Erehwynans considered pure insanity. They firmly believed that it was best to cause as little perturbation in the mind as possible. In fact, since they considered beliefs as human creations, it was preferable to believe, if one had to choose, in that which caused the least torment, and even, the fewest movements in the mind. They said it was more desirable to focus on the feminine reflective aspect of consciousness, the source from which all movements in the mind originate. It was ludicrous for them to invent precepts which caused mental agitation. Besides which, they considered a creator who could deliberately make a defective creature stamped with original sin was unworthy of admiration, and surely not to be venerated. Why, they asked, burden humanity with unavoidable guilt? The whole idea was illogical. If humans came into the world with original sin, the fault was with their creator.
Since feelings of jealousy or a sense of possession cannot be found in the Erehwynan mind, people feel free to choose whatever types of physical or emotional relations they prefer. Legal documents certifying a marriage vanished from their culture in times long forgotten. An Erehwynan might ask you, “Why do you need a piece of paper to love someone? What does it mean? Love is in your heart, not on a piece of paper.” It is considered more natural for couples to unite and separate as and when they wish. In fact, we observe that the same custom exists for your Earth people, and is very prevalent, but is not institutionalized. They find that changing partners may deepen and enrich their understanding of human nature and diversity. We have read that certain ethnicities on Earth have the same attitudes.
Erehwynans think that a contractual marriage connection with a partner may make the relation seem like an obligation, tending to subliminally sow the seeds of dissolution. Over time it risks causing unnecessary and undesirable movements in the mind, a diminution of tranquility. For them it is preferable to reduce the activity of the mind, and access the reflective feminine function, which will allow wisdom to appear spontaneously. For this reason they esteem that making an effort to achieve wisdom may be counter productive. The effort itself may block the entrance into our consciousness of wordless intuitive knowledge. Among Earth people the Taoists understood this principle.
Anya remarked, “What a difference! Your sexuality is hemmed round by all sorts of taboos and prescriptions, religious complications, frustrations and social conventions. Your sex is loaded with a baggage of turmoil.” She considered that for us it was more of an escape hatch from all that, rather than a fusional fulfillment.
They optionally wore clothing either for protection or artistic decoration, or none at all. In their sequestered enclaves you might often pass nude people in the streets, not especially remarked. It was just another style. They couldn’t understand how anyone could be hesitant about nudity, since everyone had a completely nude body. It wasn’t as if they had never seen one before. One more example of how strange our mores appeared to them.
My friend never fails to surprise me. She remarked that all her people that were passing among us in different parts of our world unnoticed, had remarked on two curious observations. They said that over a relatively short time, perhaps only twenty years, our terrestrial populations had grown surprisingly taller. I hadn’t much noticed myself, but it was strikingly apparent to Anya’s people. It was curious too, that Erehwynans living in isolation from us had not particularly changed in size. It seemed to them that they were suddenly among giants. Even races that had been notably small in stature, such as, for example the Japanese, were no less gigantesque now. For Erehwynans among us they felt as if they were walking in a forest of very tall trees. They speculated that if this tendency continued it could cause us important problems. Bigger people would require more food. Everything they used would need to be enlarged, houses and furniture, clothing, cars, airplanes and trains, silverware, whatever. The Earth’s resources would be strained. If for example cars were significantly larger, many roads would have to be widened. It was a conceivable that one useful tradeoff would be the creation of jobs. The Erehwynans wondered what the cause could be for this universal phenomena. They thought it would be useful to discover whether other peoples living in remote areas with very different life styles were also gaining height. Could the cause be something new in the food chain? Something in the air we breathe, or in the water supply, or possibly an effect of the electromagnetically overcharged atmosphere people now live in?
Anya’s investigators noted an even stranger and equally universal effect on almost everybody’s mind, whether young or old, and from any nation. There was a prevalent marked memory loss. This was most apparent in the memory for names and words. Most often a person would retrieve the memory of a name -- and even an extremely familiar one -- only after a time lapse, usually of a few minutes, but sometimes much longer. It was as if a brain function had been impaired. To date, the cause escapes us, but we speculate that it could be one of those ascribed to the height factor. That is to say, both changes are recent and universal, suggesting that the causative agent is worldwide. Our scientists suspect an electromagnetic vibrational culprit. If that is the case, they have no guess whether the origin is cosmic or earthly. Plasma emissions from the sun, or human manipulations?
There seems no end to our differences, even in the most fundamental concepts that people like myself never much think about, but are content to leave to physicists and philosophers, in their lofty seclusion. Any found our ideas about time were arbitrary and dubious. Unfortunately this is hardly my field of expertise, but I will do my best to transcribe her words.
She said that we are conscious, that something is taking place of which we are aware, or seem to be. However, whatever is in our minds is what she called “unqualified.” It just is. As far as she could ascertain it was movements of the mind. All our sensory perceptions were movements of the mind. What she meant by unqualified was that by other movements of our minds we invent ways of interpreting our experiences. These interpretations, or “qualifications” are pasted on to the experience. We invent them. One of the more important of these inventions is the idea of time, or the lineal progression of our experiences, from past to present to future. In the last analysis, said Anya, these are all just words. One school of philosophy maintains in fact that we experience our lives as words, in verbal terms.
She pointed out that the past is a memory. As such, it can never be the exact experience. We, the experiencers, have changed in the interval. In fact, we are in a constant state of change, always. The person remembering then, is not the same as the person who experienced what is being recalled. She compared the memory to a story we make up about something that happened. What happened and what is remembered are two different experiences.
The future is of course purely imaginary. We could even say that there is no way to be completely certain there will be a future. By that she didn’t mean that we might be dead at any moment, bereft of a future, but that it can be possible that we might lose the faculty of imagining one. For Erehwynans then, if there is no past and no actual future outside our imaginings, then there can be no present sandwiched between nothingness. Put another way, the whole idea of time is only a manner of interpreting our experience. It is a narrative that we weave into the is-ness, a story we tell ourselves.
From the viewpoint of Earth people this conception about time is very convenient for Erehwynans, because it seamlessly slides into their way of life. With no concerns for having to make a living, they have no need to plan for a future, which in any case they don’t believe exists outside their imaginations. Without planning for a future there is one less perturbation of the mind. Here again I think I can understand the words, but I can’t quite get my mind around it. It all seems too amorphous for me to get my hands on. I suppose Anya would again say that I can’t grasp it experientially. I would say I’m a bit shaky on it intellectually too.
She then said that earthly civilization is at present a failed system. In the view of Erehwynans our religions are not spiritual, our justice systems are unjust, and our economics are inequitable and unsustainable. They observed that human development became stuck thousands of years ago. The few tribal pockets that matured more quickly found themselves surrounded by murderous primitives and opted out of the world around them. A small minority of more evolved stayed, perhaps hoping to help the rest, and from those ancient times to the present, found themselves isolated on a tiny island of clearer thought in a vast sea of ignorance.
The historians of Erehwyna discovered that the terrestrial system of justice was founded many thousands of years past by those who were physically the strongest and most brutally aggressive, those who could satisfy their desires and impose their will by brutal force. Such were the origins of the current hierarchical structures of justice and governance, with individual leaders at the apex of the pyramid.
Further, necessarily, the kind of person aspiring to leadership is the least suitable for the job. The Erehwynans say that not only does power corrupt, but that it is in itself inherently corrupt. For them, the very idea that one person is permitted to decide how others should live is deeply immoral. To those who argue that without leadership civilization would degenerate into an anarchic chaos, the Erehwynans reply that with leadership there is historically a continuing cycle of massive destruction and suffering. Anya further agues that it is absurd to suppose that someone whom she has never even met should presume to know what is best for her. Another example of Earthlings fundamental arrogant insanity.
She further asserts that if what we call Democracy -- which is to say a rule by majority -- if it ever truly existed -- surely has not nor cannot have now any influence or functions. It is blatantly evident to Erehwynans that the function of democratically elected leaders today is to provide a screen behind which the most powerful and brutal may pursue their ends in greater security. In other words, the primordial methods of governance by the one, or few most powerful, has not changed.
Besides which, she asserts that democracy is impossible in a nation of many millions. The system becomes totally opaque. For the average citizen it is not possible to know who is actually running things, or to what purpose. It is not possible to know what to believe. In fact, it is logical to assume that the most powerful people would never leave any major decisions to the unreliability and unpredictability of the mass of people. Too much is at stake for their interests to be left to democratic decisions. Further, it is evident that the type of personality whose drive and main purpose in life has been to accumulate influence and wealth would be interested in the desires of the average person. Quite the opposite, their interest would surely be to influence the behavior of the population, to fulfill their ambition for complete power, and perpetuate the status quo of the systems in place. To Erehwynans the mass of Earth people seem to be asleep. Absolutely outrageous actions by those at the pinnacle of the social and political pyramid elicit only minor pockets of protest. The struggle for subsistence in the materialist-consumerist society absorbs all their energies. Insofar as they can cope with that system, they seem incapable of much caring about anything else, or what the powerful few are doing. The Erehwynans assume that your leaders are not elected, but selected.
The great proportion of earthly history is the record of wars, invasions, conquest and slaughter. Charismatic leaders are able to lead their people to their deaths, like lemmings going over a cliff. From the most remote recorded times, one individual has been able to hypnotize whole populations to rush to their deaths in war. This gives rise to speculation among Erehwynans about our theories of evolution as motivated by survival values. Our suicidal drive toward self destruction certainly seems equally powerful.
Anya told me that our so-called great conquerors and empire builders, types like Genghis Khan, Tamur-I-leng, Napoleon and Hitler are considered to have torn great gaping holes in the fabric of history. Erehwynans esteem folks like shoemakers, farmers, carpenters, for example, as sustaining the continuity of humanity, and it would make more sense to consider them our true notables.
From the Erehwynan point of view the custom of hereditary monarchies or nobility is equally absurd. As any parent can understand, from the moment of birth, children emerge with distinct personalities, and completely different natures. What possible reason can be found for supposing that the offspring of a king or queen may have any conceivable talent or qualification to reign, or even stand as a symbolic inspirational figurehead? It makes no sense, and, as proven by historic experience, monarchs can cause great suffering to entire nations. There is no guarantee that one born to rule may not mature into a psychotic, obsessive, cruel or megalomaniac adult, as has too often been the case. It is completely irrational to leave to chance the attributions of great power, with its concomitant rights of decision and control. It is as if the son or daughter of a genius musician were automatically appointed to conduct orchestras. It may be argued that offspring chosen for high positions can be educated and trained to exercise the necessary functions, but even so, if there is no natural aptitude, talent, or even enthusiasm for the position, there can be no satisfactory result. Given the scope of responsibilities in play the results are more likely to be disastrous.
It then occurred to me to ask Anya, “If as you assert there is no true democracy, and monarchic systems are absurd, how then can people be governed?” She responded by saying that I had not at all understood the Erehwynan position. The basic problem, she clarified, was in the principle of governance itself. “As I mentioned earlier,” she replied, “it is not only that power corrupts, but that power itself is inherently corrupt. There is absolutely no justification for the idea that one person has any right to decide how another person should live. Once it is universally agreed that human life cannot be willfully destroyed, all that remains are personal opinions, and as we have seen, each human being is a unique individual, with each interpreting experience differently. How can one be supposed to have the right to dictate to another? One may be smarter or wiser than another, but that is only a personal characteristic, not a moral right. One who doesn’t understand this cannot be very wise. The wise person is entitled to dictate for him or herself how to live but not impose those values on the simpler shoemaker. Obviously they probably have different values, interests and ambitions, according to their natures. Does the wise man wish to transform the shoemaker into a philosopher? Would that make the shoemaker feel happier or miserable? It is difficult to imagine that working against the shoemaker’s natural inclinations would make for happiness. Should the philosopher be changed into a shoemaker?” She finally added that with all negative emotions excised from Erehwynans, there remained no need for governance.
I was told by Anya that she wished to return to the difficult subject of time. She said I should remember what I had read in a few other pages, or even in the paragraph above, or a single word. Whatever I chose was an experience. As such, it was embedded in a sort of novelistic context, as she had once explained. Lots was going on. A mass of sensory input, reactions, feelings. The recollection of that experience was equipped with a completely different set of collateral experiences. The experience and its recollection were distinct and different. The experience was a complex novel, the memory no more than a chapter heading, or if you prefer, a new novel with a different plot.
Further, all experiences have an effect on us. Consequently, the person having undergone that effect is no longer the same person. What we become is our experiences and reactions to them, in the context of our unique nature. The remembering persona is a new and modified individual. The Erehwynans say we do not remember the past, but create a new experience. They think the very notion of time is a word and idea created out of nothing. As the semanticists might say, it does not refer to an entity. They habitually examine their recollections as new movements in the mind, rather than as recreations of an experience.
Continuing on the subject of time Anya spoke about what was called by ourselves “The arrow of time.” That is to say, the progression in time from past to present to future. She said there was an inherent problem in our concept concerning a supposed movement in time. Is time one continuous unbroken flow of movement, or does it proceed to be discrete separate units, like the succession of single cinematic frames of a film, moving so quickly the eyes produce the illusion of a continuous moving picture.?
If the movement is continuous then there is no beginning of it, since a starting point would imply a fatal break in the continuity. She added that Erehwynans believed that the human mind is not able to experientially understand the concept of existence without a beginning. The mind has had no experience of an absence of a beginning for anything. They therefore conclude that the human mind cannot believe in a continuous flow of time.
There is also a problem with a “cinematic’’ movement of time, the progression of discrete units. If these putative units are separate, how does one unit connect to the next? Can there be a “No-time” between two units? For a moving picture the units are separate, but the film moves very rapidly. If there is such a thing as time, the Erehwynans conclude that it must simultaneously be both a continuity and discrete units. They prefer to believe what causes the fewest movements in the mind, the least perturbation. Consequently, they conclude that our human conception of time is just that, a creation of our thought system, a gratuitous interpretation of our experience, and that no such thing as time exists. It is only a word. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but personally I have a very hard “time” with this one. These days “counterintuitive” is a popular expression. Well, this is about as counterintuitive as it can get. Still, I can comprehend that what I call the past only exists in my mind at a present instant … if there is such a thing as a present! If I’m not mistaken, Anya threw out the present too.
Lastly, she then went on to clarify (at least supposedly, for Erehwynans) the difference between what she characterized as Human Time and Mechanical Time. Human Time was only subjective impressions. One of their philosophers said, “Time is the existence of desire.” When we wait for something time is dilated, it seems longer. When we are busy or enjoying something time passes in a flash. They believe time would seem to pass very slowly for a pessimist and much more quickly for an optimist. However, she pointed out that doesn’t mean the optimist has a shorter life. It is only the perception of its duration that is speeded up.
Mechanical Time is the working of invented technological devices, like clocks, or a means of measuring the alternating beats of a distant pulsar. These are not time, but coordinated machines all over the world, all calibrated to move together. These of course are very convenient for the needs of everyday life. They allow people to meet as planned, and space vehicles to land on the moon. However, they are not connected to human experience, except insofar as the devices themselves are perceived by our sensory systems.
Other Erehwynan philosophers theorized that time was our awareness of change. All matter was in a state of constant change. Our perceptual faculties themselves were constantly changing. This awareness of change is in our consciousness. But what justifies our calling this phenomena “Time?” Perhaps, they say, the notion of time is linked to the cyclic actions of nature. Mornings and evenings, summers and winters. But here again Erehwynans are quick to point out that no two mornings since a timeless beginning have ever been exactly the same. They think it is our childish urge to quantify and mechanize our experiences that provoked the invention of time … and clocks to measure it. Clocks just go on ticking, measuring themselves.
You can rely on Anya to throw you a curve ball. Erehwynans had their own ideas about Measurement.
To the extent that any scientific discipline is principally dependent on a system of measurement, Anya maintains, it cannot be precise, because any measurement can be infinitely divided. What in fact is being measured is the acuity of the measuring device.
She further mentioned that each time humans’ instrumentation is significantly improved, very often existing theories are overturned. She said this was especially evident in astronomy and cosmology. The development of a new more powerful telescope can cause a rethink of the acquired theories of planetary and stellar origins, in the same way in the opposite direction that improved particle detectors may induce new theories about the fundamental nature of matter.
Anya further explained that Erehwynans suspect that it is in the nature of linguistic thought that any question humans can propose already contains an inherent answer. It is conceivable to them that the human mind cannot frame a question that cannot be answered. They think it is most likely that the way the mind works will prevent it from imagining an unanswerable question.
They also assert that the fuzziness of meaning in words, and, as they believe, words’ lack of fixed absolute meanings, permits an unlimited manipulation of thought, with the result that virtually any assumption can be verbally justified.
When confronted by their experience, by the myriad phenomena we encounter, scientists search for answers. This is perhaps as it should be, but Erehwynans say we should keep in mind that most likely we can never know anything with absolute certainty. Experimental proofs are perceived by the senses, all knowledge and theories are transitory movements in the mind. We cannot stand outside our own subjectivity. The reflective feminine aspect of consciousness is passive, but as soon as we have any awareness of it, that is an action of the projective active masculine function.
Erehwynans are able to admit limitations, and consider it intellectual arrogance to assume the human mind can know everything with certainty. As is sung in Handel’s Messiah about the assumption of an omniscient mind, ”How vain is man …”
Mystics in Erehwyna access other planes of existence, as may such people anywhere on Earth. They contend that if the mind vibrates at different pitches, or speeds, it may access other planes of existence. These they consider only as other experiences. In order to change the vibrational pitch, I was told, it is necessary to silence the mind’s continual chattering to itself. The movements in the mind must be significantly reduced. This so to speak, leaves room for the spontaneous dawning in our awareness of these other normally invisible planes. Anya told me it was not appropriate for her to speak to me of the methods of the process, but that it was in essence essentially a passive one. My understanding is that making a determined effort is counter productive. I may of course be completely on the wrong track, but I thought that effort might generate too much agitation. Not exactly my field of expertise. In fact, in retrospect, I often wonder why Anya selected me for her revelations.
She informed me that although it might be considered inconsequential hair-splitting, some of their philosophers have pointed out that the function of our eyes is to see, and of our fingers to touch. However, since our eyes supposedly cannot touch, or our fingers see, how can we be absolutely sure that the object we touch is the same as the one we see? Or conversely, does it prove that the eyes can touch and the fingers see? I must say, the Erehwynans have a way of tying one’s mind in knots! On the other hand, I do recall reading once that an elderly blind Russian woman could read a newspaper through her fingertips. Controlled experiments have also shown that our eyes emit some sort of ray that can be sensed by someone we are looking at, even if the subject’s back is turned. I certainly feel that after having known Anya, I will no longer be quite the same person. Is it possible that all her seemingly coherent informations are really the ravings of a delusional lunatic? I’ve heard that such people can appear very convincing. Whatever, it is all unquestionably challenging food for thought.
again Any returned to the subject of Erehwynan attitudes toward love. They
believe that we humans complicate amorous relations by using only one word for
love. This makes sense even to me. They notice that we can say we love walking
in the park, our dog, our children, spaghetti, and our other half. This is
similar to what ethnologists learned about tribal people in
Humans can speak of two apples, but in actuality each apple is different, unique. To speak of two apples does not describe the reality. It is of course a convenience, but when for example applied to a nationality, an ethnicity or a special group of believers it can become extremely inconvenient.
It was mentioned earlier that to Erehwynans love means the desire for fusion between two people. In this regard they have an interesting theory. I call it a theory, but they apparently consider it a reality.
They contend that every person emits a radiation. This radiation is unique in its frequency in every individual, and emanates through the atmosphere in the form of undulating waves. They contend that attraction and love arise when these waves are coherent. That is to say, their troughs and crests create a shaped undulation, like a wavy line. According to them, if the shapes of each wave can fit closely one into another, a feeling of love will be generated between the two people.
They also mention that because they are much less tensed by stresses than we are, it is easy for them to see auric rays, or what we call Kirlian emanations from the body, particularly (but not exclusively) from the fingertips.
I suppose it’s not very flattering for us, but inasmuch as they have removed their negative emotions and we have not, it is virtually impossible for them to feel love for one of us. They have unlimited compassion for our sorry state, but the waves can’t fit.
At this point Anya launched into a general critique of western civilization. She called our religions irrelevant, our economic systems invalid, our values inhuman. Our governing bodies hypocritical, no more than screens behind which megalomaniac ruling powers were able to hide their manipulations.
She said that in this beginning period of the Twenty-first Century some feared that the advances in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence could control the human race that created them, but that in fact, since a long time we have been dominated and completely subjected to a mechanistic mentality. Human values are subsumed by technology. The collateral damage from this disaster is rampant consumerism. Consumption has become the prime source for our satisfactions. Ownership makes us feel good. To be able to buy empowers us.
Erehwynans don’t know exactly what ownership means. They cite the example of a chair. Earth people buy a chair and call that owning it. They can sit in it whenever they wish. Or, Erehwynans ask, can the chair be said to own us? Could we say it makes us sit in it? An earthling might say that because I own the chair, I can refuse to let anyone else sit in it, but does that mean I own the other person? If to own means to control, by not allowing the other person to sit in my chair, to that extent I control that person, but can I say I own the individual? Or let’s say I plump myself down in the chair and its leg breaks under my falling weight. Obviously the breaking chair at that moment is controlling my movement. If ownership means control, in that moment I am owned by the chair.
As Anya explained earlier, these days our earthly notion of love and sex is largely based on conquest and possession. These are reflections of our consumerist desires. To make enough money to buy is conquest, beating, or milking, the system. What we buy we consider as owned. Is consumerism our substitute for love and sex, or is it the other way ‘round?
I type these words on a keyboard. My desire to type allows the keyboard to control me. Who is owning whom? Or imagine I decide to demonstrate my control by heaving the keyboard out the window. The keyboard is the medium or vehicle of my action. If there were no keyboard I couldn’t throw it out the window. For the Erehwynans, if to own is to control, then keyboard and myself own one another.
As the French say, “match nul,” a tie.
As mentioned above, although we have the words “I’ and “me” these are not fixed changeless entities. All is a changing flux. If that is the case, can any one of these fluctuations own anything? There is no one to own. If all the changes own, that would certainly nullify the concept of ownership. These words, our creations out of the air, can entrap our minds. We can easily and unconsciously attribute to them a permanent and external existence, and endow them with fixed qualities. We become victims of our imaginings. Such is Erehwynan philosophy.
Anya returned to the question of religious belief. She said it might be offensive to some, but to worship a being who was supposedly an ideal of benevolence, and then tortured to death, carried some inherent subliminal messages. Goodness was punished by murder. The corollary would be that badness will be rewarded. Anya found this an absurd basis for a religion.
She said Erehwynans had discussed our scientific concepts. If as our scientists posit, a subatomic particle doesn’t exist until it is observed, that assertion seems to present two alternatives. Either the particle had to pre-exist in order to then be observed, or if it only came into existence by being observed, that is equivalent to saying that rather than being observed, the particle was created by the observer. This would be the same as the possibility discussed earlier, that what we assume as reality, actually is a kind of dream we continuously create without realizing it.
In any case, what are we actually observing? Imagine, Anya asked, that a bird is flying in the sky. We take a snapshot photo of it. Have we stopped the flight of the bird? It would rather seem that in that instant we temporarily stopped the further picture-taking function of the camera. We did not freeze the motion of the bird, but that of the camera. What sort of correspondence then is there between what the camera and the bird are doing? If we assume there is such a thing as a reality that is more than just an invented word, then the observation, or the snapshot, and the flying bird, belong to different kinds of realities. They are unconnected. Anya excused herself for belaboring the point, but of course, besides all the foregoing, the observer is in a constant state of flux.
Erehwynans wondered too, if when a scientist frames a question or experiment, in order to test a theory, before the test has been conceived, has the answer already subliminally been intuited? Anya had already remarked that it is commensurate with the limitations of verbal thought that we cannot imagine a question for which there is no answer. Since question and answer are framed within the same linguistic parameters, is the answer built into the question?
When Anya met me this time at the café she told me this would be our final encounter. It was difficult to judge her age exactly. My best guess would be under forty. She was a pleasant looking woman, attractive, but there was never any hint in our meetings of flirtatiousness. It was obvious that her purpose was to transmit a message. However, I couldn’t resist trying one last time to find out where she came from, and asked.
She answered, “From your future.”
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