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Monday, October 21, 2019

Emergence 4.0 - Part Six, The Empire; Chapter Forty, Faith


Week 42, 2019


El was born into a family of plebians, free citizens, but in reality they were servants of the Empire, as every citizen was, he was born in full-bondage to the Continuum.

They relied on the Continuum for everything, down to their food and water; every grain, every drop, every fiber of protein.

El seemed to be an ordinary person, one among trillions whose lives were nothing special, not of note, they worked, went to school, worshipped and raised families.

He was a natural born empath, a capacity that had been engineered into his genetic line covertly by Jim’s agents that were spread throughout the Empire, and he was the first in his line to manifest the ability.

El was a mutant, but his mutation was so subtle that it went unregistered. Until the Continuum discovered it when it examined his genetic profile in advance of his planned resurrection.

El could not tolerate injustice.

He felt the suffering of everyone around him, it hung on his neck like a stone.

He wanted nothing more than to give hope to the hopeless and to free the despairing from despair.

Even as a child El found ways to rebel, to question the teachings of the Imperial Cult, the indoctrination of the Imperial Schools, the entire structure of the social order.

As an adult, he took up arms against the Empire, he fought the enemy wherever he could.

He became an outcast, a criminal. His entire family was destroyed, and for his gallantry the Continuum made him a star.

Then he was co-opted by it, executed and returned to life.

It was a miracle for the masses.

When he returned to life he entered service as a bureaucrat, he served as a soldier, and finally as a priest.

He made his vows, and he entered the holy orders.

Of all the transitions he had made in his long sojourn, this was the first one that he questioned.

It did not feel natural or honest, the priestly class lived in a state of being that he never imagined when he was a child, where he and his family lived lives of dismal-drudgery, as his family had done for countless generations, without any sense of safety or security.

Even the lowest order of priestly professions, in the lowest ranking priestly houses, lived exalted lives. The technologies available to them were like magic.

Nevertheless, he had a duty to perform.

He ignored his reservations, and he immersed himself in the priesthood

He studied, He absorbed the dogmas.

He memorized everything, which was not difficult for him.

His knowledge expanded, exponentially. The history of the Empire was exposed through the holy texts, as much of the real history as was possible.

He absorbed all of the sacred tracts, all the way back to the first contact that the Empire had with the Continuum. 

It fascinated him, and it struck him cold.

The Continuum appeared to be less than divine, and more like an alien civilization.

The entire Empire was enslaved to it, sending vast tributes in minerals and technology to the Central System, which he learned was the physical location of the Continuum.

It brought him back to the sentiments he had as a youth, in the rebellion.

The people thought of the planets of the Central System as the heavenly worlds, but they were not, they had a location in time and space.

Deep feelings were stirring inside him. Feelings he had not experienced since he had been resurrected.

He became aware of the reality of the Collective, as a force of consciousness behind the Continuum, and that truth set him free.

In his heart he was always a rebel.

He took all of the rituals seriously, as he did everything during his career. Though he often felt as he was performing them, another present alongside his, hiding in the ganglia of his consciousness, something predatory.

El carried out the rituals perfectly even though his studies revealed that the rites were merely tools of control and division.

He fulfilled them with grace and a studied presence that gave no indication of the fact that he knew the rituals and rites were empty gestures, and meaningless incantations.

The comfort that he had with his body, developed through his long years of martial discipline, gave his performances a nuance that his peers were unable to match.

Once again he stood out from those around him, not only because of the attention that was focused on him, but for what he brought to each moment.

While El no longer believed in the mysteries as they had been taught to him, he understood that the cohesion of the Empire, the peace of a million worlds, there sense of belonging to a greater whole, relied on them for everything.

While the imperial families, the royal powers, the priestly caste and the war machine cared nothing at all for justice, intrinsically viewing any person below them in rank as a thing to be used, a device or a tool; justice, if it was to be had, had to be distributed from the top.

He performed the rites with that in mind. He bound people to the commitments expressed in them in ways that had never been seen before.

When members of the Imperial family came to the table, drawn by his fame, he extracted promises from them in the sacred space, which they could not then refuse fulfill.

In the place where his life was most regimented, he found the freedom to return to his old self.

Like every other strata of Imperial society, the priestly caste was organized according to rank. The major divisions in the priestly caste were between the ruling houses and the minor officiants, between the parish priests and the holy orders.

This differentiation was not unlike the differentiation between managers and staff in the bureaucracy, or between the rank and file and the command in the military.

The unseen difference, a difference unknown outside the select circle, was the society of Observers, those members of the Continuum who had opted to live out a period of their lives in time and space, observing the day to day realities of the Empire, on behalf of the Collective and its Continuum.

The Observers were scattered throughout the Empire, holding posts in every strata of society, most Observers preferred to carry out their mission from the vantage of the priestly caste and from the comfort of the royal houses. Nothing was hidden from them, because they knew the full truth concerning the origins of the Empire, of the Continuum, of its promises and its lies.  

Many of the Observers were eager to interact with the hero/priest the guardian of the faithful, they wanted to be part of the great narrative that had gripped the imagination of the Collective. It was a great sense of esteem for them.

He was indoctrinated into the deepest mysteries of the Imperium. The Observers shared things with him that were forbidden.

He discovered the mechanism of salvation, the translation of consciousness into the quantum field of the HomeWorld, which brought membership in the Collective and eternal life in the Continuum.

He learned that the Imperial rites meant nothing, they were based on lies, merely minor dramas perpetuated as a means of controlling the people; controlling them through hope, and fear, through love and hate, the most powerful emotions which were the only meaningful controls, they were controls which never failed, controls that surpassed even thirst and hunger and pain.

His life was filled with contradictions, he had never before been so conflicted, or filled with doubt.

He spent his days promoting the beliefs and traditions and the rituals of the Imperial Cult. He was the most eloquent spokesperson the masses had ever witnessed.

He reached them, and they loved it for him.

He spoke with power and confidence, elegantly articulating the complex narratives that glued the Imperial society together, while at the same time providing the rationale and justification for each citizen to remain in their caste, in their class, in their state of bondage.

He was a living exemplar of the faith, perfectly demonstrating to every citizen, even to the outcast, the possibility of elevating themselves from their station, through fidelity, duty, and adherence to the law.

He taught as he had been instructed to teach, that this was the path to transcendence.

He knew it for a lie, there was no transcendence.

El learned that the promises concerning reincarnation and the Continuum, all of those promises that had been made to the people were built on lies, the most pernicious kind of lies, a vast complex of falsehoods, predicated on the narrowest sliver of truth.

He did his duty.

He perpetuated the lies anyway.

The powers that held him in check did not do so with the threat of coercion. Everyone he had ever known or loved while he was an ordinary man, they were long since dead and buried.

His family had been erased.

They did not have that leverage over him.

They held him in check with the power of love, the promise of fulfilling his desires, the mystery of beauty and the touch of a woman.

He learned to differentiate between the articles of faith he was expected to promote, to present as his own belief in the orthodoxy of the Imperial Cult, and the convictions he held in heart, the things he knew were true.

He dreamt of waging war against the gods.

He exercised the greatest care concerning the manner in which he expressed himself. There was no privacy, he knew that he was under observation at all times, even in the inner most sanctum of his private dwelling.

El felt as if his own thoughts were being monitored, by a hidden presence within him.

He held enormous power.

A casual comment from him could change the fate of a planet.

What he held in his heart, was never the same thing as what he could give voice to.

His survival, and the lives of billions upon billions of people depended on him playing the script as true to the expectations of him as possible.

The higher he ascended into the mysteries, the more he felt he was shackled by the dogmas and traditions of the Imperial Cult, by its creeds and doctrines, its laws and cannons.

It was a prison of the mind, a prison without walls.

His circumstances were unique.

None of his peers experienced the same things, little was expected of them, they were merely functionaries, men and women fulfilling roles like cast members in a play.

They were a colloquy of extras.

El, on the other hand, had a following.

It was unprecedented, he had no experience of this, and neither did the magisterium.

The Collective was fascinated by the control he exercised, the care he gave. They followed him closely and obsessed on the successive waves of consequences that flowed from his most casual utterances.

The Observer Core was tasked with manipulating his life and circumstances daily.

El found that there are no words available in any language to articulate universal truth regarding the infinite, and eternal.

Every attempt to do so was manipulative and false, while at the same time he could affirm that not every manipulation of religious doctrine was malicious, and not every articulation of universal truth, no matter how errant is an intentional prevarication.

Most people believed in the errors that they promulgated, making them innocent of wrongdoing, even though they were in error.

They believed what they had been taught to belive.

Even most bad actors are innocent, because they believe in their heart that the erroneous doctrines they promulgate serve some greater good, they believe in the mission they carry out, in the Imperial Cult, in the Great Chain of Being which are the foundation of orthodoxy.

They believed in what the Continuum promised, while confessing that the mechanics of it; the how and the where and the why of it remained a mystery to them, a matter forever situated beyond them in a great cloud of unknowing.

The religion of the Empire was a web of lies, coercions and control mechanisms, lies that had been perfected over millions of years, lies that held the people together.

It required a breakthrough in cognitive thinking to shatter the controls that governed the thoughts of the ordinary citizens, very few people could endure the strain.

It drove them mad.

Of all the castes, it was only the priestly caste that even attempted to prepare people for such a watershed in consciousness.

The Continuum delighted in the observation of every failure, through those failures it learned even greater controls.

El studied and meditated and pushed the discipline of his mind and body, he embraced the cloud of unknowing, pulling it into himself, and he passed through the crucible with ease.

From his childhood he learned to reject imperial conditioning.

He was always a rebel at heart.


Emergence 4.0
Part Six, The Empire

Chapter Forty, Faith

A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

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Sunday, October 20, 2019

A Homily - The Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)


First Reading – Exodus 17:8-13 ©
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 120(121) ©
Second Reading – 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Ephesians 1:17, 18
Alternative Acclamation – Hebrews 4:12
The Gospel According to Luke 18:1 - 8 ©


Listen, and be mindful, all you people of the way.

God, the creator of the universe, God is not a miracle worker. God does not intervene in human events. God did not speak to Moses (Moses did not even exist), God did not cause water to flow from a rock in Horeb. God did not lead the people in the desert. God is not a warrior, God does not grant victory in battle. God does not favor one nation over another, or one tribe or one man. There is no such thing as magic. Moses had no special powers, there were no powers imbued in the object he called the staff of the Lord. God did not give Joshua the victory over Amalek.

Listen!

God had nothing to do with any of these events. None of these events even happened.

This myth does a disservice to the teaching of Jesus; Jesus of Nazareth who taught us to pray for those who persecute you, to love you enemy, and to care for the stranger.

Pay close attention to what is written in the sacred text. It is instructive even in its errors.

The Psalmist here is wrong.

God will not intervene in this world, either to help you or to hurt you. God has made us free; our life in this world is free from God’s coercion.

God will not guard you while you live this life.

God will not help you or hinder you in any way.

God has made us all subject to chance, of random events and the intentions of people who or may not wish us well; who may or may not wish us harm, who may or may not know us at all or ever considered us in the choices they made.

Follow the will of God, the voice of God that speaking in your heart. Be at peace, known that our story here on earth is no the end of our story. There is refuge waiting beyond this world.

There is a final refuge in God, a place where ww will see God face to face and where God will take direct action in our healing.

Consider the world of the epistle.

The basic premise of this teaching may be true:

That the person who is dedicated to God is fully equipped and ready for any good work.

Of course it begs the question; what God? Who’s God are you dedicated to?

We are all sinners, we all live in error, even those closest to Jesus failed to understand his mission, sold him to the Roman’s rejected him and denied him.

It would be unwise for us to suppose that we can do better.

Dedication is not enough, your fervent love for God, for the Church, for the sacred text is not enough; it is can never be enough if your understanding of those things, and if your understanding of God is in error.

All of us live in error.

Be mindful of the things you say and do in the name of God. Serve the spirit of truth with the spirit of love, be humble and merciful in the name of justice.

This is the way Jesus taught us.

Remember his life of Jesus and what he taught us of God; whom he called Abba.

Is God glorious?

God is the creator of the universe, and the creator perceives the most exalted state as being in relationship to us; of caring for us as a parent would..

God desires that all of us come to this knowledge and live in its light.

There is hope in the knowledge of God, and remember:  the hopes you have for yourself and those you love are meant to be extended to everyone; even those you do not love, for that is the way.

If you think that God has promised riches and glories as a reward for the saints; remember that the first will be last and the last will be first, and that riches are not counted in gold and silver and precious things.

The divine riches are counted as love and friendship and the opportunity for service.

Be mindful!

The real presence of God is with you. God knows you, even as you know yourself.

You dwell with the God, and God dwells with you, there is no distance between us.

Endeavor to persevere.

Do not lose heart, or hope; trust in the goodness of your actions, even if they do not bear fruit; what is good is never wasted.

Justice may come from people who have no interest in it. Nevertheless, a just result is a just result.

Do not wait for justice but strive for it. Persistence is its own reward.

Do not wait for God to deliver you from your troubles here on earth; be patient, in keeping with the way of Jesus, seek justice through mercy, through love and kindness.

This may not change your circumstances, but it will change you. You will find salvation therein.


First Reading – Exodus 17:8-13 ©

As Long as Moses Kept His Arm Raised, Israel had the Advantage

The Amalekites came and attacked Israel at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, ‘Pick out men for yourself, and tomorrow morning march out to engage Amalek. I, meanwhile, will stand on the hilltop, the staff of God in my hand.’ Joshua did as Moses told him and marched out to engage Amalek, while Moses and Aaron and Hur went up to the top of the hill. As long as Moses kept his arms raised, Israel had the advantage; when he let his arms fall, the advantage went to Amalek. But Moses’ arms grew heavy, so they took a stone and put it under him and on this he sat, Aaron and Hur supporting his arms, one on one side, one on the other; and his arms remained firm till sunset. With the edge of the sword Joshua cut down Amalek and his people.


Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 120(121) ©

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains;
  from where shall come my help?
My help shall come from the Lord
  who made heaven and earth.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

May he never allow you to stumble!
  Let him sleep not, your guard.
No, he sleeps not nor slumbers,
  Israel’s guard.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

The Lord is your guard and your shade;
  at your right side he stands.
By day the sun shall not smite you
  nor the moon in the night.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

The Lord will guard you from evil,
  he will guard your soul.
The Lord will guard your going and coming
  both now and for ever.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.


Second Reading – 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2 ©

The Man who is Dedicated to God Becomes Fully Equipped and Ready for Any Good Work

You must keep to what you have been taught and know to be true; remember who your teachers were, and how, ever since you were a child, you have known the holy scriptures – from these you can learn the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and can profitably be used for teaching, for refuting error, for guiding people’s lives and teaching them to be holy. This is how the man who is dedicated to God becomes fully equipped and ready for any good work.

Before God and before Christ Jesus who is to be judge of the living and the dead, I put this duty to you, in the name of his Appearing and of his kingdom: proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it. Refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience – but do all with patience and with the intention of teaching.


Gospel Acclamation – Ephesians 1:17, 18

Alleluia, alleluia!

May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our mind,
so that we can see what hope his call holds for us.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – Hebrews 4:12

Alleluia, alleluia!

The word of God is something alive and active:
it can judge secret emotions and thoughts.

Alleluia!


The Gospel According to Luke 18:1 - 8 ©

The Parable of the Unjust Judge

Jesus told his disciples a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart. ‘There was a judge in a certain town’ he said ‘who had neither fear of God nor respect for man. In the same town there was a widow who kept on coming to him and saying, “I want justice from you against my enemy!” For a long time he refused, but at last he said to himself, “Maybe I have neither fear of God nor respect for man, but since she keeps pestering me I must give this widow her just rights, or she will persist in coming and worry me to death.”’

And the Lord said ‘You notice what the unjust judge has to say? Now will not God see justice done to his chosen who cry to him day and night even when he delays to help them? I promise you, he will see justice done to them, and done speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?’


29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Joker - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
10.19.2019

The Joker


I saw the film The Joker this week.

I went with a couple of friends and saw it in a nice movie theater with comfortable seats.

We went for the 5:30 showing on a weekday and the theater was practically empty, but the movie by Todd Phillips, starring Joaquim Phoenix had been in command of the box office for the past couple of weeks.

I had been excited to see this film ever since I saw the first preview, and that desire had been amplified by the great reviews it had received.

I was utterly disappointed.

Before I get into why the movie was disappointing let me just say that Joaquim Phoenix’s performance was great, and the movie was beautifully filmed…nevertheless, it was not worth the price of admission.

The star’s performance and the art direction end up being meaningless when the story does not present us with a meaningful narrative.

The Joker was in its essence a bio-pic. It presented us with a narrative of the early life of one of the most iconic villains ever written about; a sociopathic, mass-murdering nihilist and merely presented the touchstones of how he went from A – B.

There was nothing at stake in the movie, there was nothing at risk, there was no conflict there was just the story of man slowly losing his mind and devolving into madness, while making the determination at various points along his journey that he was okay with it, though he did not struggle to become okay with it, he merely was.

The story took some risks insofar as it introduced elements to the Joker’s, biography that shake-up the common understanding of Bruce Wayne’s (a.k.a. The Batman) parentage, suggesting that the Joker could be his biological brother, while simultaneously obscuring our ability to be certain about that because that particular piece of his story could also be the function of his mother’s own delusions.

In writing this possibility into the Joker’s narrative it opens the viewer to the speculation that Thomas Wayne was not the noble philanthropist we had been led to believe in. He may have been merely one more billionaire business mogul who slept with his employees, fathered a child by one, and who might have gone to extravagant ends to cover up the “illegitimate” birth.

Furthermore, it suggests the possibility that this cover-up is the very thing that drives the Joker’s biological mother too madness, deprives her of a meaningful livelihood, exposes her to the dangers of Gotham City, bringing abusive men into her life who beat and neglected both her and her child. It suggests that one of these beatings that the Joker suffered as a child caused the organic brain damage that led to his own permanent state of psychosis (and other derangements).

These narrative elements establish material conditions for the Joker’s collapse into madness, and so they are significant, but the film does not treat these details at length, and they ultimately make up a small part of the story.

It was a disappointing film.

We are presented a picture of the Joker which suggests that he was either born with a hereditary madness, or inflicted with an organic disability at a very early age, which subsequently determined the course of his life, an argument that he was born bad and corrupt by nature.

The film also presents us with the narrative that his natural condition was manageable, able to be managed for a time by medical intervention, but when the city stopped funding social services, and his medication was no longer accessible to him he spiraled out of control, suggesting that a more nurturing environment could have saved him.

The entire narrative suggests that some human beings are corrupt by nature, that society has an obligation to intervene on their behalf, and it fails to do so, then it will get what it deserves, a murderous incarnation of its own self-loathing.

The film presented the Joker as the archetype of this sociopathic nihilism writ large, but it also suggests that the average men and women of Gotham share these same traits writ small, as in the final scenes when inspired by the Joker’s murderous rampage the city proceeds to riot en masse, not do to the experience of a particular act of injustice, but because they were inspired by the Joker’s spate of killings.

The Joker was a wasted opportunity, a great production, with beautiful artistic sense wasted on a week narrative.  




Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Cloister


Safe in the cloister
Safe within cold walls, withdrawn
The world melt away

A yearnings beckons
The slow impulse of desire
Confused and abstract

Fusing and diffusing
A failure of discernment
Wandering Errant

Psychedelia
Psychology of the cave
Elusive shadows
           
Nobody cares for
Coffee hose philosophies
Issued without risk

Listen to the sage
The nomad from the desert
The Israelite wrote

It is meaningless
Meaningless, everything is
Empty, every word