Saturday, December 29, 2012


Geronimo.  Isn't that what we all used to say as kids when we were jumping off the high dive?

Maybe it'll work the same for the "fiscal cliff".

It's beginning to appear that the "conspiracy theory" I wrote about earlier wasn't so far fetched after all.  With time running out and no sign of compromise, it appears that President Obama is willing to see us all over the fiscal cliff in pursuit of his irrational need to "tax the rich".

Does anyone else see his idea of "compromise" as more than a little odd?  He flies back from vacation in Hawaii to attempt a last minute deal, does nothing more than restate his beginning position of tax increases for those making over $250,000, with possible spending cuts "to be determined later" and tells the leaders of the Senate that if they can't come to a compromise within a couple of days, he demands an up or down vote on his proposal.  Yeah, he's really working hard to meet the Republicans "more than halfway".

I say we jump.  Let's be realistic, the Senate Democrats aren't about to put any proposal on the table that will be at any risk at all of being palatable to Senate Republicans, much less the House of Representatives.  This is all nothing more than political theater.  Theater, I might add, with a tiresomely predictable plot and outcome.

The tax increases will come.  The Republicans, who are doing what they were elected to do (oppose Obama's tax/spend agenda), will get the blame with plenty of media coverage of just how badly Obama wanted to get a deal done and how heartless they were to allow a "middle class tax increase".  Obama will then, via executive order, rescind the cuts to social programs (not the defense cuts), and propose both an extension of unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed (for those keeping score, it's already exceeding 99 weeks) as well as the "Obama Tax Cuts for the Middle Class".

It's gonna happen.  And the low information voters, the one's who showed up to "vote for stuff" will all applaud the President's actions and bow to the altar of Obama, singing his praises to all who will listen.


It's their world now, folks.  All we can do is try to salvage what we can in order to rebuild out of the ashes of the coming Progressive Utopia.


[Publisher's note:  Last week, I opined that the only thing worse than the tragedy in Newtown, CT was the rush by politicians to use the crisis to further their political agendas and hone their own personal axes.  I may have been a little premature.  It came across the news wires today that the first legal action concerning the Newtown massacre have been filed.  The parents of a 6yr old survivor of the attack have filed a lawsuit against the State of Connecticut, alleging their child has suffered by being exposed to the sounds of the attack through the school's PA system.  They are seeking $100,000,000.00 in damages!

It's bad enough that politicians attempt to use the attack to further their own ends, but for a family to prostitute their child's trauma for monetary gain?  Words fail me.]

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas

There will be none of the "Happy Holidays" PC here.  The holidays are Christmas and Hanukkah. (I don't want to hear anything about "Kwanzaa").

Yes, yes, I know;  Christians supposedly appropriated the already-existing celebration of the equinox.  Fine.  I suppose we can stipulate to that.  After all, scholars have debated for decades the accuracy of the date.  I'm certainly not qualified to offer an opinion either way.  The point is, SO WHAT?

We aren't celebrating the equinox (when was the last time anyone sent you a "Happy Equinox" card?).  We are celebrating one of two religious traditions.  The most widespread in the U.S. is, of course, Christmas.  Whether you observe the holiday for it's religious significance, or not, the "reason for the season" is the birth of Jesus Christ.

The tradition of giving gifts is a direct reflection of the story of the three kings (the three wise men) who traveled to see the Christ-child bearing valuable gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  When we exchange gifts, whether we know it or not, it's in remembrance of gifts of the magi.

I've never understood the hostility of the atheistic, secular left to the traditional celebration of Christmas.  What harm is it to them if there's a Menorah, or a Nativity Scene, or a Christmas tree in the town square?  What do these groups gain out of lodging lawsuits against towns for their Christmas displays?  What harm is done them if there is a production of a Christmas play at the local school or (heaven forbid) church?  If an individual parent has objections to the content of the Christmas play, they are free to keep their child at home.

If they don't agree with the religious significance of the holiday, fine.  They are under no obligation to say "Merry Christmas" to anyone.  It would be nice, though, if they could somehow muster up the common courtesy to reply to someone else's Christmas wishes with a simple "Thank you".  What they do not have the right to do is to force others in their town or city to not celebrate the holiday as they wish, because they feel somehow "offended" at being "left out".

They will trot out the canard that the setting up of a Christmas display on "public property" somehow violates "The Separation of Church and State".  Problem is, it doesn't.  There is no such clause in either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the United States of America.  The First Amendment reads, in part: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...". [Emphasis added]  In short, there is no basis in law for allowing one group of people to prohibit others from celebrating Christmas (or any other religious holiday) in any way, even on town, city, municipal, or even state and federal property!

The colonists separated from the rule of England partly  because of the demand of the King that they all celebrate the State's religion ONLY, and only in the manner prescribed.  They wished to be allowed the freedom to worship God as they saw Him and in the manner they deemed appropriate.  With that history behind them, they went out of their way to provide for that freedom when they set up the governing documents of the new country.  What they did not intend, was that some future religious observance could be derailed and prohibited over the manufactured outrage and complaints of a handful of malcontents, or in some cases, only one.

There is a very large gap between the town allowing a Christmas display with the baby Jesus and the wise men, or a cross or menorah or any religious symbol relating to the holiday, and the State's Establishment of an Official Religion and imposing it on the people.  No one is going to descend on an atheist or agnostic household and frog march them into the church of their choice to observe Christmas services.

Americans have the Constitutional right to our celebration of Christmas.  Progressives, atheists, and others  who demand that such displays be removed and prohibited from the public spaces have absolutely no right to demand that we conduct our lives to accomodate their personal prejudices.

I would like to take this  moment to wish all of my rational readers and their families the merriest of Christmas's, a Happy Hanukkah, and the most joyous and prosperous New Year!

To the secularists and progressives who seem to be determined to ruin our traditional holiday celebrations and erase any mention of religion (except, perhaps, Islam.  Can't forget them, can we?) from the public lives of Americans I can only say.............................................................................


Saturday, December 15, 2012



6 adults. 

20 children.


For no other reason than some punk got up with a hair across his ass hating the world, and decided to "get even". 

Yesterday morning a 20 year old boy (I'm not naming him, he deserves no amount of fame; not even the fame of infamy) got up and shot his mother in the head, killing her.  He then stole her car and traveled to the elementary school where she worked as a substitute kindergarten teacher.  He bypassed the security system put in place by the new principal a few years ago and made his way to the office.  Once there, he used the guns he had stolen from his mother to begin killing the adult administrators.  He then killed a janitor who was running the halls warning people what was happening.

Then, he went to the kindergarten classroom and began the truly horrific part of his march of death by killing the teacher and the children.  One by one, he killed 20 children.  5 & 6 year old kids!

Once they were all dead, he then turned the gun on  himself and committed suicide, escaping justice and denying the community the chance to get answers to the question they'll be asking for a generation:  WHY?  His cowardice knows no bounds.  He was even carrying his brother's ID, leading to his initially being named as the shooter.

We'll never know why he decided to do what he did.  We'll never know why he tried to set up his brother to take the blame.  We will never know, WHY?

We will be subjected to around the clock news coverage for the next few days, with various talking heads and "mental health professionals" giving their opinions on what & why.  They will profess expertise on the matter of "emotional disconnect" and various psychosis and diagnosis of this syndrome or that condition.  They'll talk about his "home environment" and how that may have contributed to his actions.  They'll wonder whether he suddenly developed this condition, or whether it was the result of a long slow build-up of escalating behaviors of rage and violence and that no one happened to be able to connect the dots. 

All of this is a waste of airtime.  We can't ever know, but, being human; being thinking, reasoning beings, we all have the need to settle what happened and why, at least in our own minds.  I'm no different, although my answer likely is:

He was evil.

Don't give me the excuse, or give him the cover, of "Oh, he isn't to blame.  He had a tough childhood.  He was suffering from a mental illness.  We need to have compassion and understanding, not condemnation."


He wasn't "suffering".  His victims suffered.  Their parents suffered, and will suffer for the rest of their lives.  Their friends suffered, and will for years.  All of the children who went to that school on that day have suffered the shock of a terrorist attack and the knowledge that some of their school mates are dead and that their world is no longer the safe, wonderful, magical place they believed.  The police and other first responders who had to confront the scene initially and those who will need to spend days with the contorted corpses of murdered children have suffered and will continue to suffer.

He didn't suddenly "snap" and strike out with whatever was at hand at a single person or immediate group.  His actions show that he moved with conscious intent, perhaps even some element of planning and anticipation.  His actions were the result of several conscious decisions:

First, he made the decision to hurt his mother.  As the first step in the fulfillment of his desire, he decided to murder his mother.  Whatever his reasons to want to hurt the woman who gave birth to him, it was his decision.  No one forced it on him.  Second, he made the decision to steal guns from his mother in order to fulfill his desire to kill. Third, he decided to steal his mother's car and make the drive to the school where she worked in order to hurt her more by killing the people she worked with and to eliminate the children she loved.  Fourth, he devised a plan to evade the security in place and gain entry into the school.  Fifth, he decided where to begin and who would be his first targets, the first to die.  Sixth, he made the conscious decision to go to the kindergarten classroom, the children his mother taught, to commit his atrocity.  He didn't harm or even threaten any of the older students or their teachers, unless they happened to cross his path and get in his way.  Seventh, he consciously, and with full intent, killed those children.  One by one.  Finally, he decided to avoid the consequences of his actions by committing suicide.  All of these were conscious decisions he made, not orders he was following.  His were the decisions, his is the responsibility.

There is only one thing worse than the events of yesterday morning and it's aftermath.  It's the entirely predictable attempt by those with a political agenda to use this tragedy to their advantage.  The gun control extremists and other "community activists" will begin demanding stricter laws and greater restrictions on the 2nd Amendment.  They will point to this as an example of the "gun culture" of America that is running amok. 

The actions of the shooter were evil.  The attempts of politicians and others to capitalize on the event for their own purposes is obscene.  No amount of increased gun regulation would have prevented this tragedy.  If it wasn't a gun, it would have been something else.  On this same day, in China, a man entered an elementary school and slashed dozens with a knife.  A couple years ago, Norway was the scene of a similarly horrific mass shooting, and they have some of the strictest gun regulations in the world.  Restricting access to legal ownership of firearms isn't the answer.  Criminals aren't interested in whether they are breaking the law in obtaining a gun.  But gun control activists aren't as interested in saving the innocent and protecting society as they are in controlling society and limiting the individual's right to self defense and individual freedom in the name of security.

Evil will always find a way.  No amount of legislation will prevent attacks of the type we've seen in the last few years from occurring.  It's a cultural sickness resulting from the gradual breakdown of civil society.

All we can do, what we must do, is recognize the face of evil and deal with it.  We can no longer blind ourselves to potential consequences in the name of "tolerance" and a false compassion.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


This has been a banner week for conspiracies and their proponents.

There's the ongoing issue of Benghazi, Libya:  The President's whereabouts are largely unaccounted for during the 7-hr assault.  Theories include he just wasn't interested, couldn't be bothered and left all the decisions to underlings;  his staff intentionally left him out of the loop (on his instructions) in order to give the President "plausible deniability" in the event of any controversy;  it was a secret scheme intended to help his re-election effort by having an embassy compound stormed and our Ambassador kidnapped, he would then stage a "rescue" and be an American hero; and that our Ambassador was operating in a dual role as a CIA operative directing secret arms shipments and was the victim of a double cross, which of course would have to have no links back to the White House. [Publisher's note/Update 1/13/2013:  The Washington Examiner, quoting retired Four-Star Admiral James Lyons, writes: "the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi... was the result of a bungled abduction attempt.... the first stage of an international prisoner exchange... that would have ensured the release of Omar Abdel Rahman, the 'Blind Sheik'..."  The plot thickens....]This all also ties in with the controversy over the possible nomination of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to the position of Secretary of State, after her statements to several Sunday morning news programs claiming the attacks were the results of outrage over a movie trailer on youtube..

There're the actions of Speaker John Boehner in the House of Representatives:  There's been an apparent "purge" of conservative, Tea Party-supported Republicans from the more important committee assignments.  Theory is that this is retaliation by the Republican leadership for not following directives and bucking the "party line" by voting against caving to Democrat demands.  A companion theory is that Boehner is taking these actions as a warning to the caucus of what will happen to members if they vote to block any deal he makes with Obama on the "Fiscal Cliff".

The "Fiscal Cliff" is yet another conspiracy hotpoint.  One theory here is that Obama and the Democrats not-so-secretly want us to go over the cliff.  The reasoning goes that going over the cliff would give them much of what they want, at little political cost.  They get the largest tax increase in American history (blamed on the Republicans) and they get huge cuts in Defense, always a favorite of Liberals;  the spending cuts on the domestic side are largely inconsequential, as Social Security and Medicare are exempted from any cuts.  Then, after the tax increases have gone into effect and the public has started to complain in earnest, Obama can propose "Tax Cuts for the Middle Class" and pretend to be the Great Defender of the Middle Class, portraying the Republicans as only out for the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class should they try to block his proposals.  Included in all of this is the theory of an extra-constitutional power grab by the President in Obama's proposal that authority over raising the debt ceiling be given over to him, in direct violation of the Constitutional requirement that Congress hold sole authority to authorize any borrowing and national indebtedness.

A new one concerns the U.N. and their international development plan, Agenda21.  The theory here  for decades has been that Agenda21 is a global plot to infringe on national sovereignty and impose on the U.S. the socialistic desires of member nations in the U.N., unfriendly to the national interests of the United States.  The theory goes on to state that Agenda21 has already been instituted almost universally in your local, county and state Development Planning Boards.  Details of which, read a certain way, gives U.N. oversight authority over such things as zoning and approved land use, "conservation districts" where no development or construction is ever to be allowed, and "sustainable" housing and infrastructure.  Supporters pooh-pooh such talk as ridiculous hysteria, while others see this as yet another step in the construction and imposition of a future "New World Order" and a global government which allows for no private property or individual rights; the ultimate in wealth redistribution.

Glenn Beck has written a new book, appropriately titled Agenda 21 that is causing quite a stir.  The book is the literary version of the type of "made for TV" movie promoted as "based on actual events".  He says that what he has done is taken the details of Agenda21 from the U.N. website itself and expounded on the individual points and taken them to their ultimate conclusion, if implemented as written.  It's a fictionalized account; until you get to the end and get to the Epilogue.  In the Epilogue he has listed references and links to the actual Agenda21 documentation on the website.  This is where this particular "conspiracy theory" gets interesting.  His book came out less than a week ago.  Mysteriously, links to the U.N. Agenda21 documentation are no longer active.  You will find a "404" error message saying that the information has been taken down or isn't available.  Even if you go to the U.N.'s own website and search for Agenda21 you will still get search results that show hundreds of pages of results.  Problem is, if you click on a link to a pdf posted or hosted by the UN, it's suddenly missing.  A slightly more diligent search of the web in general will still turn up the majority of the documentation.  The full text of Agenda21 (which was offered for sale directly, on the UN website), however, is nowhere to be found.  I wonder if Glenn has already obtained a hard copy of the U.N. document.  Given his diligence (some would call it paranoia), I would imagine he has several copies in his safe.

Conspiracy theory or investigative journalism?  Crackpots?  Or clear-eyed visions of potential danger to the country?  Look into these, investigate and decide for yourself.  Just remember the conspiracy theorists' creed:  "Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean someone ISN'T watching you."

Saturday, December 1, 2012


If you were to ask the "average American" if they wanted freedom, you'd likely get a near unanimous, "Of course!"  If you asked if they were willing to accept the responsibilities that come along with freedom, you'd likely be met with a blank stare of incomprehension.

I submit that the "average American" is not competent to handle freedom and that, further, they don't wish to.

Freedom has come to mean (or has been corrupted to mean) something other than its original intent.  Originally seen as a Right of Man, as concrete and matter of fact as the rising of the sun, to pursue his own life and self-interest in whatever manner deemed fit, free from governmental interference; it has now  come to be interpreted as freedom from want, freedom from the hard work and responsibility of having to provide for themselves.

 A majority of the voting public has apparently decided to subscribe to the Utopian future promised by the Progressives in our government.  A future where everything will be made equally available to everyone on demand.  A future where all needs will be met by a beneficent government body without the necessity of creating a good or providing a service.  All they need do is agree to give the political class sovereignty over their lives; magically, all of their problems will disappear.

Ask the residents of Staten Island how that's working out for them.

Ask the residents of Oakland and San Bernadino, California how relying on government has worked for them.  Their city governments have decided to cut essential services, such as fire and police, in the face of budgetary problems.  The city attorney told residents of San Bernadino to "...go home, lock their doors, and load their guns."    Because, due to the elimination of as many as 80 officers, they could not guarantee adequate police presence or response.

In an earlier time, such an idea as taking responsibility for your own safety and security at home would have been met with "Duh".  Now, it's causing a storm of controversy from liberal Progressives who say it undermines public faith in government's ability to provide safety and security.  I think that they are equally outraged by the idea of citizens' keeping loaded guns in their homes.

As long as you continue to put your faith in government and government agencies, you will continue to be disappointed and in danger when events require action be taken to either provide or preserve your security.

Freedom demands that you accept total responsibility for conducting your life in such a way as to minimize exposure to  risks, or at least that you be capable of responding to those risky situations that come up.  No man is an island, as the saying goes.  No man needs to be.  But all men should be capable of self-reliance.  If you aren't capable of providing for your needs yourself, you will be bound in obligation to those on whom you rely to provide what you can not.  Whether it's electricity, emergency food rations, water or shelter, you will be quite literally at the mercy of others.

Freedom isn't for the faint of heart.  Being self reliant and responsible simply isn't fashionable.  In fact, if you happen to be one of the few who are able to adapt to whatever life throws at you and can thrive where others suffer, you will be denounced as a greedy and uncaring bastard.  A heartless person with no compassion for the suffering of others.

Freedom isn't for pussies.  But that's what the government wants us to be.  Free men don't need government.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Part Seventeen

Here on this mountain, I and my sons and my chosen friends shall build our new land and our fort.  And it will become as the heart of the earth, lost and hidden at first, but beating, beating louder each day.  And word of it will reach every corner of the earth.  And the roads of the world will become as veins which will carry the best of the world's blood to my threshold.  And all my brothers, and the Councils of my brothers, will hear of it, but they will be impotent against me.  And the day will come when I shall break all the chains of the earth, and raze the Cities of the enslaved, and my home will become the capital of a world where each man will be free to exist for his own sake.

For the coming of that day shall I fight, I and my sons and my chosen friends.  For the freedom of Man.  For his rights.  For his life.  For his honor.

And here, over the portals of my fort, I shall cut in the stone the word which is to be my beacon and my banner.  The word which will not die, should we all perish in battle.  The word which can never die on this earth, for it is the heart of it and the meaning and the glory.

The sacred word:  EGO


This concludes our introduction to the writer/philosopher Ayn Rand.  After this, I will return to my usual schedule of posting on weekends.

Ayn Rand was a proponent of objectivist philosophy, of rationality and reasoned thought, as well as a fierce advocate of individual rights and responsibilities.  For those who may have had their interest piqued by these postings, I commend the novels The Fountainhead and, of course, Atlas Shrugged.

This Ayn Rand novella was a view of the inevitable result of the doctrine of altruism and extreme egalitarianism.  Some may argue that such an extreme society could never exist outside of a science fiction novel.  To those people I would point to the examples of Communist Russia, Mao's China, Castro's Cuba, & North Korea.  There is never any end to the demands made by those who either believe they have the inherent right to do so because of the purity of their intentions; or have the desire to control others.  The average life span of a democracy throughout human history has been around 200-250 years.  They have always followed the cycle of struggle, freedom, prosperity, complacency, corruption, and finally oppression and eventual slavery of the productive to the parasites, where it stays until some future generation is born with the spark of freedom and the courage to take up the struggle once again.  As the founders warned, eternal vigilance is the price of freedom and liberty.  Should we lose that vigilance, we will lose all.

This novella was transcribed here in the United States of America due to the kindness of the copyright holder, who has allowed the copyright to lapse in this country, in order to facilitate it's distribution.  The copyright laws are still enforced in other countries around the world.  Please do not download or store these posts on a computer outside the U.S.

Part Sixteen

It was when I read the first of the books I found in my house that I saw the word "I".  And when I understood this word, the book fell from my hands, and I wept, I who had never known tears.  I wept in deliverance and in pity for all mankind.

I understood the blessed thing which I had called my curse.  I understood why the best in me had been my sins and my transgressions; and why I had never felt guilt in my sins.  I understood that centuries of chains and lashes will not kill the spirit of man nor the sense of truth within him.

I read many books for many days.  Then I called the Golden One, and I told her what I had read and what I had learned.  She looked at me and the first words she spoke were, "I love you."

Then I said, "My dearest one, it is not proper for men to be without names.  There was a time when each man had a name of his own to distinguish him from all other men.  So let us choose our names.  I have read of a man who lived many thousands of years ago, and of all the names in these books, his is the one I wish to bear.  He took the light of the gods and he brought it to men, and he taught men to be gods.  And he suffered for his deed as all bearers of light must suffer.  His name was Prometheus."

"It shall be your name," said the Golden One.

"And I have read of a goddess," I said, "who was the mother of the earth and of all the gods.  Her name was Gaea.  Let this be your name, my Golden One, for you are to be the mother of a new kind of gods."

"It shall be my name," said the Golden One.

Now I look ahead.  My future is clear before me.  The Saint of the pyre had seen the future when he chose me as his heir, as the heir of all the saints and all the martyrs who came before him and who died for the same cause, for the same word, no matter what name they gave to their cause and their truth.

I shall live here, in my own house.  I shall take my food from the earth by the toil of my own hands.  I shall learn many secrets from my books.  Through the years ahead, I shall rebuild the achievements of the past, and open the way to carry them further, the achievements which are open to me, but closed forever to my brothers, for their minds are shackled to the weakest and dullest ones among them.

I have learned that my power of the sky was known to men long ago; they called it Electricity.  It was the power that moved their greatest inventions.  It lit this house with light which came from those globes of glass on the walls.  I have found the engine which produced this light. I shall learn how to repair it and how to make it work again.  I shall learn how to use the wires which carry this power.  Then I shall build a barrier of wires around my home, and across the paths which lead to my home; a barrier light as a cobweb, more impassable than a wall of granite; a barrier my brothers will never be able to cross.  For they have nothing to fight me with, save the brute force of their numbers.  I have my mind.

Then here, on this mountaintop, with the world below me and nothing above me but the sun, I shall live my own truth.  Gaea is pregnant with my child.  Our son will be raised as a man.  He will be taught to say "I" and to bear the pride of it.  He will be taught to walk straight and on his own feet.  He will be taught reverence for his own spirit.

When I shall have read all the books and learned my new way, when my home will be ready and my earth tilled, I shall steal one day, for the last time, into the cursed City of my birth.  I shall call to me my friend who has no name save International 4-8818, and all those like him, Fraternity 2-5503, who cries without reason, and Solidarity 9-6347 who calls for help in the night, and a few others.  I shall call to me all the men and the women whose spirit has not been killed within them and who suffer under the yoke of their brothers.  They will follow me and I shall lead them to my fortress.  And here, in this uncharted wilderness, I and they, my chosen friends, my fellow-builders, shall write the first chapter in the new history of man.

These are the things before me.  And as I stand here at the door of glory, I look behind me for the last time.  I look upon the history of men, which I have learned from the books, and I wonder.  It was a long story, and the spirit which moved it was the spirit of man's freedom.  But what is freedom?  Freedom from what?  There is nothing to take a man's freedom away from him, save other men.  To be free, a man must be free of his brothers.  That is freedom.  That and nothing else.

At first, man was enslaved by the gods.  But he broke their chains.  Then he was enslaved by the kings.  But he broke their chains.  He was enslaved by his birth, by his kin, by his race.  But he broke their chains.  He declared to all his brothers that a man has rights which neither god nor king nor other men can take away from him, no matter what their number, for his is the right of man, and there is no right on earth above this right.  And he stood on the threshold of the freedom for which the blood of the centuries behind him had been spilled.

But then he gave up all he had won, and fell lower than his savage beginning.  What brought it to pass?  What disaster took their reason away from men?  What whip lashed them to their knees in shame and submission?  The worship of the word "WE".

When men accepted that worship, the structure of centuries collapsed about them, the structure whose every beam had come from the thought of some one man, each in his day down the ages, from the depth of some one spirit, such spirit as existed but for its own sake.  Those men who survived those eager to obey, eager to live for one another, since they had nothing else to vindicate them--those men who could neither carry on, nor preserve what they had received.  Thus did all thought, all science, all wisdom perish on earth.  Thus did men--men with nothing to offer save their greater numbers--lose the steel towers, the flying ships, the power wire; all the things they had not created and could never keep.  Perhaps, later, some men had been born  with the mind and the courage to recover these things which were lost; perhaps these men came before the Councils of Scholars.  They were answered as I have been answered--and for the same reasons.

But I still wonder how it was possible, in those graceless years of transition, long ago, that men did not see whither they were going, and went on, in blindness and cowardice, to their fate.  I wonder, for it is hard for me to conceive how men who knew the word "I" could give it up and not know what they lost.  But such has been the story, for I have lived in the city of the damned, and I know what horror men permitted to be brought upon them.

Perhaps, in those days, there were a few among men, a few of clear sight and clean soul, who refused to surrender that word.  What agony must have been theirs before that which they saw and could not stop!  Perhaps they cried out in protest and in warning.  But men paid no heed to their warning.  And they, these few, fought a hopeless battle, and they perished with their banners smeared by their own blood.  And they chose to perish, for they knew.  To them, I send my salute across the centuries, and my pity.

Theirs is the banner in my hand.  And I wish I had the power to tell them that the despair of their hearts was not to be final, and their night was not without hope.  For the battle they lost can never be lost.  For that which they died to save can never perish.  Through all the darkness, through all the shame of which men are capable, the spirit of man will remain alive on this earth.  It may sleep, but it will awaken.  It may wear chains, but it will break through.  And man will go on.  Man, not men.

Part Fifteen

I am.  I think.  I will.

My hands....My spirit....My sky....My forest....This earth of mine....What must I say besides?  These are the words.   This is the answer.

I stand here on the summit of the mountain.  I lift my head and I spread my arms.  This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest.  I wished to know the meaning of things.  I am the meaning.  I wished to find a warrant for being.  I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being.  I am the warrant and the sanction.

It is my eyes which see, and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth.  It is my ears which hear, and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world.  It is my mind which thinks, and the judgement of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth.  It is my will which chooses, and the choice of my will is the only edict I must respect.

Many words have been granted me, and some are wise, and some are false, but only three are holy: "I will it!"

Whatever road I take, the guiding star is within me; the guiding star and the lodestone which point the way.  They point in but one direction.  They point to me.

I know not if this earth on which I stand is the core of the universe or if it is but a speck of dust lost in eternity.  I know not and I care not.  For I know what happiness is possible to me on earth.  And my happiness needs no higher aim to vindicate it.  My happiness is not the means to any end.  It is its own goal.  It is its own purpose.

Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish.  I am not a tool for their use.  I am not a servant of their needs.  I am not a bandage for their wounds.  I am not a sacrifice on their altars.

I am a man.  This miracle of me is mine to own and to keep, and mine to guard, and mine to use, and mine to kneel before!  I do not surrender my treasures, nor do I share them.  The fortune of my spirit is not to be blown into coins of brass and flung to the winds as alms for the poor of the spirit.  I guard my treasures:  My thought, my will, my freedom.  And the greatest of these is freedom.

I owe nothing to my brothers, nor do I gather debts from them.  I ask none to live for me, nor do I live for any others.  I covet no man's soul, nor is my soul theirs to covet.

I am neither foe nor friend to my brothers, but such as each of them shall deserve of me.  And to earn my love, my brothers must do more than to have been born.  I do not grant my love without reason, nor to any chance passer-by who may wish to claim it.  I honor men with my love.  But honor is a thing to be earned.

I shall choose friends among men, but neither slaves nor masters.  And I shall choose only such as please me, and them I shall love and respect, but neither command nor obey.  And we shall join our hands when we wish, or walk alone when we so desire.  For in the temple of his spirit, each man is alone.  Let each man keep his temple untouched and undefiled.  Then let him join hands with others if he wishes, but only beyond his holy threshold.  For the word "WE" must never be spoken, save by one's choice and as a second thought.  This word must never be placed first within man's soul, else it becomes a monster, the root of all the evils on earth, the root of man's torture by men, and of an unspeakable lie.

The word "WE" is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it, and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the grey of it.  It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which the fools steal the wisdom of the sages.

What is my joy if all hands, even the unclean, can reach into it?  What is my wisdom, if even the fools can dictate to me?  What is my freedom, if all creatures, even the botched and the impotent, are my masters?  What is my life, if I am but to bow, and agree and to obey?

But I am done with this creed of corruption.  I am done with the monster of "WE," the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame.

And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride.

This god, this one word: "I".

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Part Fourteen

We are sitting at a table and we are writing this upon paper made thousands of years ago.  The light is dim, and we cannot see the golden One, only one lock of gold on the pillow of an ancient bed.  This is our home.

We came upon it today, at sunrise.  For many days we had been crossing a chain of mountains.  The forest rose among cliffs, and whenever we walked out upon a barren stretch of rock we saw great peaks before us in the west, and to the north of us, and to the south, as far as our eyes could see.  The peaks were red and brown, with the green streaks of forests as veins upon them, with blue mists as veils over their heads.  We had never heard of these mountains, nor seen them marked on any map.  The Uncharted Forest has protected them from the Cities and from the men of the Cities.

We climbed paths where the wild goat dared not follow.  Stones rolled from under our feet, and we heard them striking the rocks below, farther and farther down, and the mountains rang with each stroke, and long after the strokes had died.  But we went on, for we knew that no men would ever follow our track nor reach us here.

Then today, at sunrise, we saw a white flame among the trees, high on a sheer peak before us.  We thought that it was a fire and stopped.  But the flame was unmoving, yet blinding as liquid metal.  So we climbed toward it through the rocks.  And there, before us, on a broad summit, with the mountains rising behind it, stood a house such as we had never seen, and the white fire came from the sun on the glass of its windows.

The house had two stories and a strange roof flat as a floor.  There was more window than wall upon its walls, and the windows went on straight around the corners, though how this kept the house standing we could not guess.  The walls were hard and smooth, of that stone unlike stone which we had seen in our tunnel.

We both knew it without words:  this house was left from the Unmentionable Times.  The trees had protected it from time and weather, and from men who have less pity than time and weather.  We turned to the Golden One and we asked, "Are you afraid?"

But they shook their head.  So we walked to the door, and we threw it open, and we stepped together into the house of the Unmentionable Times.

We shall need the days and the years ahead, to look, to learn, and to understand the things of this house.  Today, we could only look and try to believe the sight of our eyes.  We pulled the heavy curtains from the windows and we saw that the rooms were small, and we thought that not more than twelve men could have lived here.  We thought it strange that men had been permitted to build a house for only twelve.

Never had we seen rooms so full of light.  The sunrays danced upon colors, colors, more colors than we thought possible, we who had seen no houses save the white ones, the brown ones and the grey.  There were great pieces of glass on the walls, but it was not glass, for when we looked upon it we saw our own bodies and all the things behind us, as on the face of a lake.  There were strange things which we had never seen and the use of which we do not know.  And there globes of glass everywhere, in each room, the globes with the metal cobwebs inside, such as we had seen in our tunnel.

We found the sleeping hall and we stood in awe upon its threshold.   For it was a small room and there were only two beds in it.  We found no other beds in the house, and then we knew that only two had lived here, and this passes understanding.  What kind of world did they have, the men of the Unmentionable Times?

We found garments, and the Golden One gasped at the sight of them.  For they were not white tunics, nor white togas; they were of all colors, no two of them alike.  Some crumbled to dust as we touched them.  But others were of heavier cloth, and they felt soft and new in our fingers.

We found a room with walls made of shelves, which held rows of manuscripts, from the floor to the ceiling.  Never had we seen such a number of them, nor of such strange shape.  They were not soft and rolled, they had hard shells of cloth and leather; and the letters on their pages were so small and so even that we wondered at the men who had such handwriting.  We glanced through the pages, and we saw that they were written in our language, but we found many words which we could not understand.  Tomorrow, we shall begin to read these scripts.

When we had seen all the rooms of the house, we looked at the Golden One and we both knew the thought in our minds.  "We shall never leave this house," we said, "nor let it be taken from us.  This is our home and the end of our journey.  This is your house, Golden One, and ours, and it belongs to no other men whatever as far as the earth may stretch.  We shall not share it with others, as we share not our joy with them, nor our love, nor our hunger.  So be it to the end of our days."

"Your will be done," they said.

Then we went out to gather wood for the great hearth of our home.  We brought water from the stream which runs among the trees under our windows.  We killed a mountain goat, and we brought its flesh to be cooked in a strange copper pot we found in a place of wonders, which must have been the cooking room of the house.

We did this work alone, for no words of ours could take the Golden One away from the big glass which is not glass.  They stood before it and they looked and looked upon their own body.

When the sun sank beyond the mountains, the Golden One fell asleep on the floor, amidst jewels, and bottles of crystal, and flowers of  silk.  We lifted the Golden One in our arms and we carried them to a bed, their head head falling softly upon our shoulder.  Then we lit a candle, and we brought paper from the room of the manuscripts, and we sat by the window, for we knew that we could not sleep tonight.

And now we look upon the earth and sky.  This spread of naked rock and peaks and moonlight is like a world ready to be born, a world  that waits.  It seems to us it asks a sign from us, a spark, a first commandment.  We cannot know what word we are to give, nor what great deed this earth expects to witness.  We know it waits.  It seems to say it has great gifts to lay before us, but it wishes a greater gift for us.  We are to speak.  We are to give its goal, its highest meaning to all this glowing space of rock and sky.

We look ahead,and we beg our heart for guidance in answering this call no voice has spoken, yet we have heard.  We see the dust of centuries, the dust which hid the great secrets and perhaps great evils.  And yet it stirs no fear within our heart, but only silent reverence and pity.  May knowledge come to us!

What is the secret our heart has understood and yet will not reveal to us, although it seems to bear as if it were endeavoring to tell it? 

Part Thirteen

We have not written for many days.  We did not wish to speak.  For we needed no words to remember that which has happened to us.

It was on our second day in the forest that we heard steps behind us.  We hid in the bushes, and we waited.  The steps came closer.  And then we saw the fold of a white tunic among the trees, and a gleam of gold.  We leapt forward, we ran to them, and we stood looking upon the Golden One.

They saw us, and their hands closed into fists, and the fists pulled their arms down, as if they wished their arms to hold them, while their body swayed.  And they could not speak.

We dared not come too close to them.  We asked, and our voice trembled, "How did you come to be here, Golden One?"

But they whispered only, "We have found you...."

"How did you come to be in the forest?" we asked.

They raised their head, and there was a great pride in their voice; they answered, "We have followed you."  Then we could not speak, and they said, "We heard that you had gone to the Uncharted Forest, for the whole City is speaking of it.  So on the night of the day when we heard it, we ran away from the Home of the Peasants.  We found the marks of your feet across the plain where no men walk.  So we followed them, and we went into the forest, and we followed the path where the branches were broken by your body."

Their white tunic was torn, and the branches had cut the skin of their arms, but they spoke as if they had never taken notice of it, nor of weariness, nor of fear.  "We have followed you," they said, "and we shall follow you wherever you go.  If danger threatens you, we shall face it also.  If it be death, we shall die with you.  You are damned, and we wish to share your damnation."

They looked upon us, and their voice was low, but there was bitterness and triumph in their voice, "Your eyes are as a flame, but our brothers have neither hope nor fire.  Your mouth is cut of granite, but our brothers are soft and humble.  Your head is high, but our brothers cringe.  You walk, but our brothers crawl.  We wish to be damned with you, rather than blessed with all our brothers.  Do as you please with us, but do not send us away from you."

Then they knelt, and bowed their golden head before us.

We had never thought of that which we did.  We bent to raise the Golden One to their feet, but when we touched them, it was as if madness had stricken us.  We seized their body and we pressed our lips to theirs.  The Golden One breathed once, and their breath was a moan, and then their arms closed around us.  

We stood together for a long time.  And we were frightened that we had lived for twenty-one years and had never known what joy is possible to men.  Then we said, "Our dearest one.  Fear nothing of the forest.  There is no danger in solitude.  We have no need of our brothers.  Let us forget their good and our evil, let us forget all things save that we are together and that there is joy as a bond between us.  Give us your hand.  Look ahead.  It is our own world, Golden One, a strange, unknown world, but our own."

Then we walked on into the forest, their hand in ours.  And that night we knew that to hold the body of women in our arms is neither ugly nor shameful, but the one ecstasy granted to the race of men.

We have walked for many days.  The forest has no end, and we seek no end.  But each day added to the chain of days between us and the City is like an added blessing.

We have made a bow and many arrows.  We can kill more birds than we need for our food; we find water and fruit in the forest.  At night, we choose a clearing, and we build a ring of fires around it.  We sleep in the midst of that ring, and the beasts dare not attack us.  We can see their eyes, green and yellow as coals, watching us from the tree branches beyond.  The fires smoulder as a crown of jewels around us, and smoke stands still in the air, in the columns made blue by the moonlight.  We sleep together in the midst of the ring, and the arms of the Golden One around us, their head upon our breast.

Some day, we shall stop and build a house, when we shall have gone far enough.  But we do not have to hasten.  The days before us are without end, like the forest.

We cannot understand this new life which we have found, yet it seems so clear and so simple.  When questions come to puzzle us, we walk faster, then turn and forget all things as we watch the Golden One following.  The shadows of leaves fall upon their arms, and they spread the branches apart, but their shoulders are in the sun.  The skin of their arms is like a blue mist, but their shoulders are white and glowing, as if the light fell not from above, but rose from under their skin.  We watch the leaf which has fallen upon their shoulder, and it lies at the curve of their neck, and a drop of dew glistens upon it like a jewel.  They approach us, and they stop, laughing, knowing what we think, and they wait obediently, without questions, till it pleases us to turn and go on.

We go on and we bless the earth under out feet.  But questions come to us again, as we walk in silence.  If that which we have found is the corruption of solitude, then what can men wish for save corruption?  If this is the great evil of being alone, then what is good and what is evil?  Everything which comes from the many is good.  Everything which comes from the one  is evil.  This we have been taught with our first breath.  We have broken the law, but we have never doubted it.  Yet now, as we walk through the forest, we are learning to doubt.

There is no life for men, save in useful toil for the good of all their brothers.  But we lived not, when we toiled for our brothers, we were only weary.  There is no joy for men, save the joy shared with all their brothers.  But the only things which taught us joy were the power we created in our wires, and the Golden One.  And both these joys belong to us alone, they come from us alone, they bear no relation to all our brothers, and they do not concern our brothers in any way.  Thus do we wonder.

There is some error, one frightful error, in the thinking of men.  What is that error?  We do not know, but the knowledge struggles within us, struggles to be born.  Today, the Golden One stopped suddenly and said, "We love you."

But they frowned and shook their head and looked at us helplessly.  "No," they whispered, "that is not what we wished to say."

They were silent, then they spoke slowly, and their words were halting, like the words of a child learning to speak for the first time, "We are one....alone....and only....and we love you who are one....alone....and only."

We looked into each other's eyes and we knew that the breath of a miracle had touched us, and fled, and left us groping vainly.

And we felt torn, torn for some word we could not find.

Part Twelve

It has been a day of wonder, this, our first day in the forest.  We awoke when a ray of sunlight fell across our face.  We wanted to leap to our feet, as we have had to leap every morning of our life, but we remembered suddenly that no bell had rung and that there was no bell to ring anywhere.  We lay on our back, we threw our arms out, and we looked up at the sky.  The leaves had edges of silver that trembled and rippled like a river of green and fire flowing high above us.

We did not wish to move.  We thought suddenly that we could lie thus as long as we wished, and we laughed aloud at the thought.  We could also rise, or run, or leap, or fall down again.  We were thinking that these were thoughts without sense, but before we knew it our body had risen in one leap.  Our arms stretched out of their own will, and our body whirled and whirled, till it raised a wind to rustle the leaves of the bushes.  Then our hands seized a branch and swung us high into a tree, with no aim save the wonder of learning the strength of our body.  The branch snapped under us and we fell upon the moss that was soft as a cushion.  Then our body, losing all sense, rolled over and over on the moss, dry leaves in our tunic, in our hair, in our face.  And we heard suddenly that we were laughing, laughing aloud, laughing as if there were no power left in us save laughter.

Then we took our glass box, and we went on into the forest.  We went on, cutting through the branches, and it was as if we were swimming through a sea of leaves, with the bushes as waves rising and falling and rising around us, and flinging their green sprays high to the treetops.  The trees parted before us, calling us forward.  The forest seemed to welcome us.  We went on, without thought, without care, with nothing to feel save the song of our body.

We stopped when we felt hunger.  We saw birds in the tree branches, and flying from under our footsteps.  We picked a stone and we sent it as an arrow at a bird.  It fell before us.  We made a fire, we cooked the bird, and we ate it, and no meal had ever tasted better to us.  And we thought suddenly that there was a great satisfaction to be found in the food which we need and obtain by our own hand.  And we wished to be hungry again and soon, that we might know again this strange new pride in eating.

Then we walked on.  And we came to a stream which lay as a streak of glass among the trees.  It lay so still that we saw no water but only a cut in the earth, in which the trees grew down, upturned, and the sky lay at the bottom.  We knelt by the stream and we bent down to drink.  And then we stopped.  For, upon the blue of the sky below us, we saw our own face for the first time.

We sat still and we held out breath.  For our face and our body were beautiful.  Our face was not like the faces of our brothers, for we felt not pity when looking upon it.  Our body was not like the bodies of our brothers, for our limbs were straight and thin and hard and strong.  And we thought that we could trust this being who looked upon us from the stream, and that we had nothing to fear with this being.

We walked on till the sun had set.  When the shadows gathered among the trees, we stopped in a hollow between the roots, where we shall sleep tonight.  And suddenly, for the first time this day, re remembered that we are the Damned.  We remembered it, and we laughed.

We are writing this on the paper we had hidden in our tunic together with the written pages we had brought for the World Council of Scholars, but never given to them.  We have much to speak of to ourselves, and we hope we shall find the words for it in the days to come.  Now, we cannot speak, for we cannot understand.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Part Eleven

It is dark here in the forest.  The leaves rustle over our head, black against the last gold of the sky.  The moss is soft and warm.  We shall sleep on this moss for many nights, till the beasts of the forest come to tear our body.  We have no bed now, save the moss, and no future, save the beasts.

We are old now, yet we were young this morning, when we carried our glass box through the streets of the City to the Home of the Scholars.  No men stopped us, for there were none about from the Palace of Corrective Detention, and the others knew nothing.  No men stopped us at the gate.  We walked through empty passages and into the great hall where the World Council of Scholars sat in solemn meeting.

We saw nothing as we entered, save the sky in the great windows, blue and glowing.  Then we saw the Scholars who sat around a long table; they were as shapeless clouds huddled at the rise of the great sky.  There were men whose famous names we knew, and others from distant lands whose names we had not heard.  We saw a great painting on the wall over their heads, of the twenty illustrious men who had invented the candle.

All the heads of the Council turned to us as we entered.  These great and wise of the earth did not know what to think of us, and they looked upon us with wonder and curiosity, as if we were a miracle.  It is true that our tunic was torn and stained with brown stains which had been blood.  We raised our right arm and we said, "Our greeting to you, our honored brothers of the World Council of Scholars!"

Then Collective 0-0009, the oldest and wisest of the Council, spoke and asked, "Who are you, our brother?  For you do not look like a Scholar."

"Our name is Equality 7-2521," we answered, "and we are a Street Sweeper of this City."

Then it was as if a great wind had stricken the hall, for all the Scholars spoke at once, and they were angry and frightened.  "A Street Sweeper!  A Street Sweeper walking in upon the World Council of Scholars!  It is not to be believed!  It is against all the rules and all the laws!"

But we knew how to stop them.  "Our brothers!"  we said.  "We matter not, nor our transgression.  It is only our brother men who matter.  Give no thought to us, for we are nothing, but listen to our words, for we bring you a gift such as has never been brought to men.  Listen to us, for we hold the future of mankind in our hands."  

Then they listened.

We placed our glass box upon the table before them.  We spoke of it, and of our long quest, and of our tunnel, and of our escape from the Palace of Corrective Detention.  Not a hand moved in that hall, as we spoke, nor an eye.  Then we put the wires to the box, and they all bent forward and sat still, watching.  And we stood still, our eyes upon the wire.  And slowly, slowly as a flush of blood, a red flame trembled in the wire.  Then the wire glowed.

But terror struck the men of the Council.  They leapt to their feet, they ran from the table, and they stood pressed against the wall, huddled together, seeking the warmth of one another's bodies to give them courage.

We looked upon them and we laughed and said, "Fear nothing, our brothers.  There is a great power in these wires, but this power is tamed.  It is yours.  We give it to you."

Still they would not move.

"We give you the power of the sky!" we cried.  "We give you the key to the earth!  Take it, and let us be one of you, the humblest among you.  Let us all work together, and harness this power, and make it ease the toil of men.  Let us throw away our candles and our torches.  Let us flood our cities with light.  Let us bring a new light to men!"

But they looked upon us, and suddenly we were afraid.  For their eyes were still, and small, and evil.

"Our brothers!" we cried.  "Have you nothing to say to us?"

Then Collective 0-0009 moved forward.  They moved to the table and the others followed.  "Yes," spoke Collective 0-0009, "we have much to say to you."  The sound of their voices brought silence to the hall and to the beat of our heart.  "Yes," said Collective 0-0009, "we have much to say to a wretch who have broken all the laws and who boast of their infamy!  How dared you think that your mind held greater wisdom than the minds of your brothers?  And if the Councils had decreed that you should be a Street Sweeper, how dared you think that you could be of greater use to men than in sweeping the streets?"

"How dared you, gutter cleaner," spoke Fraternity 9-3452, "to hold yourself as one alone and with the thoughts of the one and not of the many?"

"You shall be burned at the stake," said Democracy 4-6998.

"No, they shall be lashed," said Unanimity 7-3304, "till there is nothing left under the lashes."

"No," said Collective 0-0009, "we cannot decide upon this, our brothers.  No such crime has ever been committed, and it is not for us to judge.  Nor for any small Council.  We shall deliver this creature to the World Council itself and let their will be done."

We looked upon them and we pleaded, "Our brothers!  You are right.  Let the will of the Council be done upon our body.  We do not care.  But the light?  What will you do with the light?"

Collective 0-0009 looked upon us, and they smiled.  "So you think that you have found a new power," said Collective 0-0009.  "Do all your brothers think that?"

"No," we answered.

"What is not thought by all men cannot be true,"  said Collective 0-0009.

"You have worked on this alone?" asked International 1-5537.

"Many men in the Homes of the Scholars have had strange new ideas in the past,"  said Solidarity 8-1164, "but when the majority of their brother Scholars voted against them, they abandoned their ideas, as all men must."

"This box is useless," said Alliance 6-7349.

"Should it be what they claim of it," said Harmony 9-2642, "then it would bring ruin to the Department of Candles.  The Candle is a great boon to mankind, as approved by all men.  Therefore it cannot be destroyed by the whim of one."

"This would wreck the Plans of the World Council," said Unanimity 2-9913, "and without the Plans of the World Council the sun cannot rise.  It took fifty years to secure the approval of all the Councils for the Candle, and to decide upon the number needed, and to re-fit the Plans so as to make candles instead of torches.  This touched upon thousands and thousands of men working in scores of States.  We cannot alter the Plans again so soon."

"And if this should lighten the toil of men," said Similarity 5-0306, "then it is a great evil, for men have no cause to exist save in toiling for other men."

Then Collective 0-0009 rose and pointed at our box.  "This thing," they said, "must be destroyed."  And all the others cried as one: "It must be destroyed!"

Then we leapt to the table.  We seized our box, we shoved them aside, and we ran to the windowWe turned and we looked at them for the last time, and a rage, such as it is not fit for humans to know, choked our voice in our throat.  "You fools!" we cried.  "You fools!  You thrice-damned fools!"

We swung our fist through the window pane, and we leapt out in a ringing rain of glass. 

We fell, but we never let the box fall from our hands.  Then we ran.  We ran blindly, and men and houses streaked past us in a torrent without shape.  And the road seemed not to be flat before us, but as if it were leaping up to meet us, and we waited for the earth to rise and strike us in the face.  But we ran.  We knew not where we were going.  We knew only that we must run, run to the end of the world, to the end of our days.

Then we knew suddenly that we were lying on a soft earth and that we had stopped.  Trees taller than we had ever seen before stood over us in great silence.  Then we knew.  We were in the Uncharted Forest.  We had not thought of coming here, but our legs had carried our wisdom, and our legs and brought us to the Uncharted Forest against our will.

Our glass box lay beside us.  We crawled to it, we fell upon it, our face in our arms, and we lay still.  We lay thus for a long time.  Then we rose, we took our box and walked on into the forest.

It mattered not where we went.  We knew that men could not follow us, for they never enter the Uncharted Forest.  We had nothing to fear from them.  The forest disposes of its own victims.  This gave us no fear either.  Only we wished to be away, away from the City and from the air that touches upon the air of the City.  So we walked on, our box in our arms, our heart empty.

We are doomed.  Whatever days are left to us, we shall spend them alone.  And we have heard of the corruption to be found in solitude.  We have torn ourselves from the truth which is our brother men, and there is no road back for us, and no redemption.  We know these things, but we do not care.  We care for nothing on earth.  We are tired.

Only the glass box in our arms is like a living heart that gives us strength.  We have lied to ourselves.  We have not built this box for the good of our brothers.  We built it for its own sake.  It is above all our brothers to us, and its truth above their truth.  Why wonder about this?  We have not many days to live.  We are walking to the fangs awaiting us somewhere among the great, silent trees.  There is not a thing behind us to regret.

Then a blow of paid struck us, our first and our only.  We thought of the Golden One.  We thought of the Golden One whom we shall never see again.  Then the pain passed.  It is best.  We are one of the Damned.  It is best if the Golden One forget our name and the body which bore that name.

Part Ten

We have not written for thirty days.  For thirty days we have not been here, in our tunnel.  We had been caught.  It happened on that night when we wrote last.  We forgot, that night, to watch the sand in the glass which tells us when three hours have passed and it is time to return to the City Theatre.   When we remembered it, the sand had run out.

We hastened to the Theatre.  The big tent stood grey and silent against the sky.  The streets of the City lay before us, dark and empty.  If we went back to hide in our tunnel, we would be found and our light found with us.  So we walked to the Home of the Street Sweepers.

When the Council of the Home questioned us, we looked upon the faces of the Council, but there was no curiosity in those faces, and no anger, and no mercy.  So when the oldest of them asked us, "Where have you been?" we thought of our glass box and of our light, and we forgot all else.

And we answered, "We will not tell you."

The oldest did not question us further.  They turned to the two youngest, and said, and their voice was bored, "Take our brother Equality 7-2521 to the Palace of Corrective Detention.  Lash them until they tell."

So we were taken to the Stone Room under the Palace of Corrective Detention.  This room has no windows and it is empty save for an iron post.  Two men stood by the post, naked but for leather aprons and leather hoods over their faces.  Those who had brought us departed, leaving us to the two Judges who stood in a corner of the room.  The Judges were small, thin men, grey and bent.  They gave the signal to the two strong hooded ones.

They tore the clothes from our body, they threw us down upon our knees and they tied our hands to the iron post.  The first blow of the lash felt as if our spine had been cut in two.  The second blow stopped the first, and for a second we felt nothing, then the pain struck us in our throat and fire ran in our lungs without air.  But we did not cry out.

The lash whistled like a singing wind.  We tried to count the blows, but we lost count.  We knew that the blows were falling upon our back.  Only we felt nothing upon our back any longer.  A flaming grill kept dancing before our eyes, and we thought of nothing save that grill, a grill, a grill of red squares, and then we knew that we were looking at the squares of the iron grill in the door, and there were also the squares of stone on the walls, and the squares which the lash was cutting upon our back, crossing and re-crossing itself in our flesh.

Then we saw a fist before us.  It knocked our chin up, and we saw the red froth of our mouth on the withered fingers, and the Judge asked, "Where have you been?"

But we jerked our head away, hid our face upon our tied hands, and bit our lips.  The lash whistled again.  We wondered who was sprinkling burning coal dust upon the floor, for we saw drops of red twinkling on the stones around us.

Then we knew nothing, save two voices snarling steadily, one after the other, even though we knew they were speaking many minutes apart: "Where have you been where have you been where have you been where have you been where have you been......?"

And our lips moved, but the sound trickled back into our throat, and the sound was only "The light....The light....The light...."

Then we knew nothing.

We opened our eyes, lying on our stomach on the brick floor of a cell.  We looked upon two hands lying far before us on the bricks, and we moved them, and we knew that they were our hands.  But we could not move our body.  Then we smiled, for we thought of the light and that we had not betrayed it.

We lay in our cell for many days.  The door opened twice each day, once for the men who brought us bread and water, and once for the Judges.  Many Judges of the City.  They stood before us in their white togas, and they asked, "Are you ready to speak?"

But we shook our head, lying before them on the floor.  And they departed.  We counted each day and each night as it passed.  Then tonight, we knew that we must escape.  For tomorrow the World Council of Scholars is to meet in our City.

It was easy to escape from the Palace of Corrective Detention.  The locks are old on the doors and there are no guards about.  There is no reason to have guards, for men have never defied the Councils so far as to escape from whatever place they were ordered to be.  Our body is healthy and strength returns to it speedily.  We lunged against the door and it gave way.  We stole through the dark passages, and through the dark streets, and down into our tunnel.

We lit the candle and we saw that our place had not been found and nothing had been touched.  And our glass box stood before us on the cold oven, as we had left it.  What matter they now, the scars upon our back!

Tomorrow, in the full light of day, we shall take our box, and leave our tunnel open, and walk through the streets to the Home of the Scholars.  We shall put before them the greatest gift ever offered to men.  We shall tell them the truth.  We shall hand to them, as our confession, these pages we have written.  We shall join our hands to theirs, and we shall work together, with the power of the sky, for the glory of mankind.  Our blessing upon you, our brothers!  Tomorrow, you will take us back into your fold and we shall be an outcast no longer.  Tomorrow we shall be one of you again.  


Part Nine

We made it.  We created it.  We brought it forth from the night of the ages.  We alone.  Our hands.  Our mind.  Ours alone and only.

We know not what we are saying.  Our head is reeling.  We look upon the light which we have made.  We shall be forgiven for anything we say tonight....

Tonight, after more days and trials than we can count, we finished building a strange thing, from the remains of the Unmentionable Times, a box of glass, devised to give forth the power of the sky of greater strength than we had ever achieved before.  And when we put our wires to this box, when we closed the current--the wire glowed!  It came to life, it turned red, and a circle of light lay on the stone before us.

We stood, and we held our head in our hands.  We could not conceive of that which we had created.  We had touched no flint, made no fire.  Yet here was light, light that came from nowhere, light from the heart of metal.  We blew out the candle.  Darkness swallowed us.  There was nothing left around us, nothing save night and a thin thread of flame in it, as a crack in the wall of a prison.  We stretched our hands to the wire, and we saw our fingers in the red glow.  We could not see our body nor feel it, and in that moment nothing existed save our two hands over a wire glowing in a black abyss.

Then we thought of the meaning of that which lay before us.  We can light our tunnel, and the City, and all the Cities of the world with nothing save metal and wires.  We can give our brothers a new light, cleaner and brighter than any they have ever know.  The power of the sky can be made to do men's bidding.  There are no limits to its secrets and its might, and it can be made to grant us anything if we but choose to ask.

Then we knew what we must do.  Our discovery is too great for us to waste out time in sweeping the streets.  We must not keep our secret to ourselves, nor buried under the ground.  We must bring it into the sight of all men.  We need all our time, we need the work rooms of the Home of the Scholars, we want the help of our brother Scholars and their wisdom joined to ours.  There is so much work ahead for all of us, for all the Scholars of the world.

In a month, the World Council of Scholars is to meet in our City.  It is a great Council, to which the wisest of all lands are elected, and it meets once a year in the different Cities of the earth.  We shall go to this Council and we shall lay before them, as out gift, this glass box with the power of the sky.  We shall confess everything to them.  They will see, understand and forgive.  For our gift is greater than our transgression.  They will explain it to the Council of Vocations, and we shall be assigned to the Home of the Scholars.  This has never been done been done before, but neither has a gift such as ours ever been offered to men.

We must wait.  We must guard our tunnel as we had never guarded it before.  For should any men save the Scholars learn of our secret, they would not understand it, nor would they believe us.  They would see nothing, save our crime of working alone, and they would destroy us and our light.  We care not about our body, but our light is....Yes, we do care.  For the first time do we care about our body.  For this wire is as a part of our body, as a vein torn from us, glowing with our blood.  Are we proud of this thread of metal, or of our hands which made it, or is there a line to divide these two?

We stretch out our arms.  For the first time do we know how strong our arms are.  And a strange thought comes to us:  we wonder, for the first time in our life, what we look like.  Men never see their own faces and never ask their brothers about it, for it is evil to have concern for their own faces or bodies.  But tonight, for a reason we cannot fathom, we wish it were possible to us to know the likeness of our own person.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Part Eight

Many days passed before we could speak to the Golden One again.  But then came the day when the sky turned white, as if the sun had burst and spread its flame in the air, and the fields law still without breath, and the dust of the road was white in the glow.  So the women of the field were weary, and they tarried over their work, and they were far from the road when we came.  But the Golden One stood alone at the hedge, waiting.  We stopped and we saw that their eyes, so hard and scornful to the world, were looking at us as if they would obey any word we might speak.  And we said: "We have given you a name in our thoughts, Liberty 5-3000."

"What is our name?" they asked.

"The Golden One."

"Nor do we call you Equality 7-2521 when we think of you."

"What name have you given us?"  They looked straight into our eyes and they held their head high and they answered:  "The Unconquered."

For a long time we could not speak.  Then we said, "Such thoughts as these are forbidden, Golden One."

"But you think such thoughts as these and you wish us to think them."

We looked into their eyes and we could not lie.  "Yes," we whispered, and they smiled, and then we said, "Our dearest one, do not obey us."

They  stepped back, and their eyes were wide and still.  "Speak these words again," the whispered.

"Which words?" we asked.  But they did not answer, and we knew it.  "Our dearest one," we whispered.  Never have men said this to women.

The head of the Golden One bowed slowly, and they stood still before us, their arms at their sides, the palms of their hands turned to us, as their body were delivered in submission to our eyes.  And we could not speak.  

Then they raised their head, and they spoke simply and gently, as if they wished us to forget some anxiety of their own.  "The day is hot," they said, "and you have worked for many hours and you must be weary."

"No," we answered.

"It is cooler in the fields," they said, "and there is water to drink.  Are you thirsty?"

"Yes," we answered, "but we cannot cross the hedge."

"We shall bring the water to you," they said.  Then they knelt by the moat, they gathered water in their two hands, they rose and they held the water out to our lips.

We do not know if we  drank that water.  We only knew suddenly that their hands were empty, but we were still holding our lips to their hands, and that they knew it, but did not move.  We raised our head and stepped back.  For we did not understand what had made us do this, and we were afraid to understand it.

And the Golden One stepped back and stood looking upon their hands in wonder.  Then the Golden One moved away, even though no others were coming, and they moved, stepping back, as if they could not turn from us, their arms bent before them, as if they could not lower their hands.

Part Seven

We, Equality 7-2521, have discovered a new power of nature.  And we have discovered it alone, and we alone are to know it.

It is said.  Now let us be lashed for it, if we must.  The Council of Scholars has said that we all know the things which exist and therefore the things which are not known by all do not exist.  But we think that the Council of Scholars is blind.  The secrets of this earth are not for all men to see, but only for those who will seek them.  We know, for we have found a secret unknown to all our brothers.

We know not what this power is nor whence it comes.  But we know its nature, we have watched it and worked with it.  We saw it first two years ago.  One night, we were cutting open the body of a dead frog when we saw its leg jerking.  It was dead, yet it moved.  Some power unknown to men was making it move.  We could not understand it.  Then, after many tests, we found the answer.  The frog had been hanging on a wire of copper; and it had been the metal of our knife which had sent the strange power to the copper through the brine of the frog's body.  We put a piece of copper and a piece of zinc into a jar of brine, we touched a wire to them, and there, under fingers, was a miracle which had never occurred before, a new miracle and a new power.

This discovery haunted us.  We followed it in preference to all our studies.  We worked with it, we tested it in more ways than we can describe, and each step was as another miracle unveiling before us.  We came to know that we had found the greatest poser on the earth.  For it defies all the laws known to men.  It makes the needle move and turn on the compass which we stole from the Home of the Scholars; but we had been taught, when still a child, that the loadstone points to the north and that this is a low which nothing can change; yet our new power defies all laws.  We found that it causes lightning, and never have men known what causes lightning.  In thunderstorms, we raised a tall rod of iron by the side of our hole, and we watched it from below.  We have seen the lightning strike it again and again.  And now we know that metal draws the power of the sky, and that metal can be made to give it forth.

We have built strange things with this discovery of ours.  We used for it the copper wires which we found here under the ground.  We have walked the length of our tunnel, with a candle lighting the way.  We could go no farther than half a mile, for earth and rock had fallen at both ends.  But we gathered all the things we found and we brought them to our work place.  We found strange boxes with bars of metal inside, with many cords and strands and coils of metal.  We found wires that led to strange little globes of glass on the walls; they contained threads of metal thinner than a spider's web.

These things help us in our work.  We do not understand them, but we think that the men of the Unmentionable Times had known our power of the sky, and these things had some relation to it.  We do not know, but we shall learn.  We cannot stop now, even through it frightens us that we are alone in our knowledge.  

No single one can possess greater wisdom that the many Scholars who are elected by all men for their wisdom.  Yet we can.  We do.  We have fought against saying it, but now it is said.  We do not care.  We forget all men, all laws and all things save our metals and our wires.  So much is still to be learned!  So long a road lies before us, and what care we if we must travel it alone!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Part Six

We do not wish to look upon the Uncharted Forest.  We do not wish to think of it.  But ever do our eyes return to that black patch upon the sky Men never enter the Uncharted Forest, for there is no power to explore it and no path to lead among its ancient trees which stand as guards of fearful secrets.  It is whispered that once or twice in a hundred years, one among the men of the City escape alone and run to the Uncharted Forest, without call or reason.  These men do not return.  They perish from hunger and from the claws of the wild beasts which roam the Forest.  But our Councils say that this is only a legend.  We have heard that there are many Uncharted Forests over the land, among the Cities.  And it is whispered that they have grown over the ruins of many cities of the Unmentionable Times.  The trees have swallowed the ruins, and the bones under the ruins, and all the things which perished.  And as we look upon the Uncharted Forest far in the night, we think of the secrets of the Unmentionable Times.  And we wonder how it came to pass that these secrets were lost to the world.

We have heard the legends of the great fighting, in which many men fought on one side and only a few on the other.  These few were the Evil Ones and they were conquered.  Then great fires raged over the land.  And in these fires the Evil Ones and all the things made by the Evil Ones and all the things made by the Evil Ones were burned.  And the fire which is called the Dawn of the Great Rebirth, was the Script Fire where all the scripts of the Evil Ones were burned, and with them all the words of the Evil Ones.  Great mountains of flame stood in the squares of the Cities for three months.  Then came the Great Rebirth.

The words of the Evil Ones....The words of the Unmentionable Times....What are the words which we have lost?  May the Council have mercy upon us!  We had no wish to write such a question, and we knew not what we were doing till we had written it.  We shall not ask this question and we shall not think it.  We shall not call death upon our head.

And yet....And yet....There is some word, one single which is not in the language of men, but  which had been.  And  this is the Unspeakable Word, which no men may speak nor hear.  But sometimes, and it is rare, sometimes, somewhere, one among men find that word.  They find it upon scraps of old manuscripts or cut into the fragments of ancient stones.  But when they speak it they are put to death.  There is no crime punished by death in this world, save this one crime of speaking the Unspeakable Word.

We have seen one of such men burned alive in the square of the City.  And it was a sight which has stayed with us through the years, and it haunts us, and follows us, and it gives us no rest.  We were a child then, ten years old.  And we stood in the great square with all the children and all the men of the City, sent to behold the burning.  They brought the Transgressor out into the square and they led them to the pyre.  They had torn out the tongue of the Transgressor, so that they could speak no longer.  The Transgressor were young and tall.  They had hair of gold and eyes blue as morning.  They walked to the pyre, and their step did not falter.  And of all the faces on that square, of all the faces which shrieked and screamed and spat curses upon them, theirs was the calmest and the happiest face.

As the chains were wound over their body at the stake, and a flame set to the pyre, the Transgressor looked upon the City.  There was a thin thread of blood running from the corner of their mouth, but their lips were smiling.  And a monstrous thought came to us then, which has never left us.  We had heard of Saints.  There are the Saints of Labor, and the Saints of the Councils, and the Saints of the Great Rebirth.  But we had never seen a Saint nor what the likeness of a Saint should be.  And we thought then, standing in the square, that the likeness of a Saint was the face we saw before us in the flames, the face of the Transgressor of the Unspeakable Word.

As the flames rose, a thing happened which no eyes saw but ours, else we would not be living today.  Perhaps it had only seemed to us.  But it seemed to us that the eyes of the Transgressor had chosen us from the crowd and were looking straight upon us.  There was no pain in their eyes and no knowledge of the agony of their body.  There was only joy in them, and pride, a pride holier than is fit for human pride to be.  And it seemed as if these eyes were trying to tell us something through the flames, to send into our eyes some word without sound.  And it seemed as if these eyes were begging us to gather that word and not to let it go from us and from the earth.  But the flames rose and we could not guess the word....

What--even if we have to burn for it like the Saint of the Pyre--what is the Unspeakable Word?

Part Five

We had broken so many laws, and today we have broken one more.  Today, we spoke to the Golden One.  The other women were far off in the field, when we stopped at the hedge by the side of the road.  The Golden One were kneeling alone at the moat which runs through the field.  And the drops of water falling from their hands, as they raised the water to their lips, were like sparks of fire in the sun.  The Golden One saw us, and they did not move, kneeling there, looking at us, and circles of light played upon their white tunic, from the sun on the water of the moat, and one sparkling drop fell from a finger of their hand held as frozen in the air. 

Then the Golden One rose and walked to the hedge, as if they had heard a command in our eyes.  The two other Street Sweepers of our brigade were a hundred paces away down the road.  And we thought that International 4-8818 would not betray us, and Union 5-3992 would not understand.  So we looked straight upon the Golden One, and we saw the shadows of their lashes on their white cheeks and the sparks of sun on their lips.  And we said, "You are beautiful, Liberty 5-3000."

Their face did not move and they did not avert their eyes.  Only their eyes grew wider, and there was triumph in their eyes, and it was not triumph over us, but over things we could not guess.  Then they asked, "What is your name?"

"Equality 7-2521," we answered.

"You are not one of our brothers, Equality 7-2521, for we do not wish you to be."

We cannot say what they meant, for there are no words for their meaning, but we know it without words and we knew it then.  "No," we answered, "nor are you one of our sisters."

"If you see us among scores of women, will you look upon us?"

"We shall look upon you, Liberty 5-3000, if we see you among all the women of the earth."

Then they asked, "Are Street Sweepers sent to different parts of the City or do they always work in the same places?"

"They always work in the same places," we answered, "and no one will take this road away from us."

"Your eyes," they said, "are not like the eyes of any among men."

And suddenly, without cause for the thought which came to us, we felt cold; cold to our stomach.  "How old are you?" we asked.

They understood our thought, for they lowered their eyes for the first time.  "Seventeen," they whispered.

And we sighed, as if a burden had been taken from us, for we had been thinking without reason of the Palace of Mating.  And we thought that we would not let the Golden One be sent to the Palace.  How to prevent it, how to bar the will of the Councils, we knew not, but we knew suddenly that we would.  Only we do not know why such thought came to us, for these ugly matters bear no relation to us and the Golden One.  What relation can they bear?

Still, without reason, as we stood there by the hedge, we felt out lips drawn tight with hatred, a sudden hatred for all our brother men.  And the Golden One saw it and smiled slowly, and there was in their smile the first sadness we had seen in them.  We think that in the wisdom of women the Golden One had understood more than we can understand.

Then three of the sisters in the field appeared, coming toward the road, so the Golden One walked away from us.  They took the bag of seeds, and they threw the seeds into the furrows of earth as they walked away.  But the seeds flew wildly, for the hand of the Golden One was trembling.

Yet, as we walked back to the Home of the Street Sweepers, we felt that we wanted to sing, without reason.  So we were reprimanded tonight, in the dining hall, for without knowing it we had begun to sing aloud some tune we had never heard.  But it is not proper to sing without reason, save at the Social Meetings.

"We are singing because we are happy," we answered the one of the Home council who reprimanded us.

"Indeed you are happy," they answered.  "How else can men be when they live for their brothers?"

And now, sitting here in our tunnel, we wonder about these words.  It is forbidden, not to be happy.  For, as it has been explained to us, men are free and the earth belongs to them; and all things on earth belong to all men; and the will of all men together is good for all; and so all men must be happy.  Yet, as we stand at night in the great hall, removing our garments for sleep, we look upon our brothers and we wonder.

The eyes of our brothers are dull, and never do they look one another in the eyes.  The shoulders of our brothers are hunched, and their muscles are drawn, as if their bodies were shrinking and wished to shrink out of sight.  And a word steals into our mind, as we look upon our brothers, and that word is fear.

There is fear handing in the air of the sleeping halls, and in the air of the streets.  Fear walks through the City, fear without name, without shape.  All men feel it and none dare to speak.  We feel it also, when we are in the Home of the Street Sweepers.  But here, in our tunnel, we feel it no longer.  The air is pure under the ground.  There is no odor of men.  And these three hours five us strength for our hours above the ground.

Our body is betraying us, for the Council of the Home looks with suspicion upon us.  It is not good to feel too much joy nor to be glad that our body lives.  For we matter not and it must not matter to us whether we live or die, which is to be as our brothers will it.  But we, Equality 7-2521, are glad to be living.  If this is to be a vice, then we wish no virtue.

Yet our brothers are not like us.  All is not well with our brothers.  There are Fraternity 2-5503, a quiet boy with wise, kind eyes, who cry suddenly, without reason, in the midst of day or night, and their body shakes with sobs they cannot explain.   There are Solidarity 9-6347, who are a bright youth, without fear in the day; but they scream in their sleep, and they scream: "Help us! Help us! Help us!" into the night, in a voice which chills our bones, but the Doctors cannot cure Solidarity 9-6347.

And as we all undress at night, in the dim light of the candles, our brothers are silent, for they dare not speak the thought of their minds.  For all must agree with all, and they cannot know if their thoughts are the thoughts of all, and so they fear to speak.  And they are gland when the candles are blown for the night.  But we, Equality 7-2521, look through the window upon the sky, and there is peace in the sky, and cleanliness, and dignity.  And beyond the City there lies the plain, and beyond the plain, black upon the black sky, there lies the Uncharted Forest.