|The actions and interactions of ASC and its members constitute the 'wavefront' of cybernetics as we move into the 21st Century.|
|AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR CYBERNETICS|
ASC contributions to the promotion and evolution of cybernetics...
Evil and Ethics: The Story
Ely Dorsey, Larry Richards, Kathleen Forsythe
July and August, 1999 and June, 2001
Context for the Story
Between March 27 and April 1, the ASC held a syntegration on the question: "What does Cybernetics have to contribute to the 21st century?" One of the questions pursued had to do with the potential for the deconstruction of racism based on the initial starting statement: "Cybernetics provides a language theater for non-violent, non-oppressive engagement with world racism."
Over a period of four months after the conference, this question was pursued on the Internet in the form of a discussion on Evil and Ethics.
In an interesting way, the on-line discussion eventually changed into an experiment in writing a collective story...an activity which shifted the interactions into the poiesis of imagination and, through shifting from an "artificial" conversation to an exercise in writing together a new story...generated a new collective space. This space lacked the compelling compositional quality of stories told as a dynamic temporal experience but was within the domain of written story, created to be read by the individual in an atemporal manner through which each reader constructs a domain of shared understanding through the structure of literate story.
Contributions to the story came from a few individuals over a three week period. The story remains alive and active and members are invited to continue...
Invitation to write
Ely Dorsey July 15, 1999
...Let's tell a story and use it as an experiment into the society that you wish for.
Any person may add to this story and take it anywhere they wish. There is only one rule: any dialogue of the inhabitants of the island kingdoms, to be explained below, cannot contain the negation of any proposition, thought, statement or concept. In other words, the inhabitants, which I'll call the MYST people have no concept of '~P' for any notion 'P.'
Readers of this message and future human beings! Your instructions are simple: add to the story. Remember the rule: the MYST People have no sense of negation of anything. You can use art, Web stuff, anything you wish. Try to bring in all our conversation so far.
Ely Dorsey July 15, 1999
It was the year 2004 and NASA scientists were jumping all over themselves because their satellite SNEAK-A-PEEK had just brought back some pictures of four islands the total size of Pennsylvania sitting in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. These islands had never been seen before. There was no written record no oral reference anywhere about these islands. The islands were sickle shaped and opened in a convex way towards each other. The sizes were distinct but similar.
Immediately an expedition was launched with NASA and our Defense Department to find out what was going on. Eight scientists: two virologists, one anthropologist, one geographer, one linguist, one medical doctor, one mathematician, one botanist were dispensed. Also included were a company of Navy Seals and some invisible people from the National Security Agency. The scientists were called Viro One, Viro Two, Antro, Geog, Ling, Medi, Matho and Botan. The Seals were called Water-Wets and the spies were called Friends. They all traveled by boat and then by helicopter.
The satellite pictures had indicated that there were many people living on the islands and that there were cities and other communities. The NASA geographers at AMES saw in their records that everytime they had taken pictures of the earth at the location of the islands that clouds had seemed to cover that part of the ocean, hence no notice had ever been
given of this as an anomaly. The cloud covers were distinct every time.
The expedition came with all the usual gadgets and gizmos of modern technowizardy including super cameras and recorders and rifles and guns and spy devices and beads. Viro One and Two were eager to get genetic samplings of the natives and everybody else had desires to see the phenomena through their eyes.
They arrived on the first island on a very sunny day, but noticed that the weather was very pleasant and non humid. Gentle breezes seemed to touch everything the expedition experienced. They flew the helicopter to a flat plateau near what they thought was a village town. Landing the craft with the usual noise and racket that such things do, they noticed that the sand settled very quickly and that no birds or animals seemed to react to the
visit. Stepping forward with armed vigilance the Water-Wets and the Friends looked to see four persons, two men and two women coming towards them in an unhurried way.
The first MYST stood in front of the expedition and made a motion towards
at the guns,
"Esoprup rieht si tahw??"
The Friends responded,
" Me friend!! "
The second MYST tried anew,
" Slamina uoy era??"
Lingu came up and spoke,
"Ah!! Ummh!! Ah!! MaMa!! Ummh!!"
Lingu was educated at Harvard and was very sophisticated.
The third MYST now tried,
"Ach Wooh Ach Whey Yap"
As he did this he held up one finger and then another and then two fingers.
Then Matho jumped to the front of the expedition and very excitedly said,
" One plus one equals two!"
Matho then proceeded to scratch on the ground the numerals and the equation for the MYST to see. The MYST looked very puzzled at this. Then one of them, a woman, came forward and took her finger and drew a slanted line followed by a circle followed by a slanted line followed by a five pointed star followed by a circle. She looked at Matho and said,
"Ach Wooh Ach Whey Yap. Wooh Yap, Yap Whey Wooh"
Matho again repeated his explanation, very slowly this time, with finger and symbol. The MYST did the same.
Frustrated Matho looked at the circle and pointed to the circle said,"Circle."
The MYST said,
"Yap Whey Wooh."
Matho then turned to his comrades and said,
" I thought these were sophisticated people because they were communicating in mathematics, but since they don't understand the simplest of equations it is clear that we are dealing with a primitive people. This must all be some sort of primitive painting symbolism to them."
The MYST people were puzzled at Matho's impatience. They had never seen impatience and were curious at this new experience. A woman MYST came over to Matho and put her hand on his shoulder, and peering into his eyes sang,
" Whey Wooh Yap
Wooh Yap Zyng
Yap Wooh Ach
Ulwhey Roosip Yap"
Her voice was penetrating and deep, and reached into Matho's stomach. Matho fainted. And the MYST smiled with great joy. Then the Water-Wets shot th e MYST people dead.
Kathleen Forsythe July 21,1999
Zola heard the sound of the machines arriving. They all did and had decided to accept that this was necessary to encounter these other beings, it was time for the contact to begin.
As she and the others walked toward the group who came from the machine, she reached out in the formal way that one greets those beyond one's intimate circle reached out and felt the shapes of these others as strange, hard, sharp. She was used to a flowing greeting in return. The hard edges felt peculiar. She could feel openings in two of the party who seemed to acknowledge her greetings - she could see smiles in their eyes-she would open the space used for formal conversations.
" Esoprup rieht si tahw??"
The ones with the sharp edges spoke "me friend". She explored the sound pattern seeking coherences that she knew. The feeling flows made her stomach tighten in a knot. "Understanding takes time" she thought, speaking again holding the formal flowing invitation open, and breathing deeply to dispel the discomfort.
" Esoprup rieht si tahw??"
The second one spoke,
" Slamina uoy era??"
Zola let the unfamiliar questioning flows waft over her, trusting that with patience all would come clear.
"Ah!! Ummh!! Ah!! MaMa!! Ummh!!"
The sounds interrupted her opening space. She wished she could keep pace with the shifts that her body was experiencing.
The third one now held up his hand in a gesture that involved making a distinction of a single digit and then another digit and then both the digits, saying,
" Ach Wooh Ach Whey Yap"
And yet another jumped to the front saying excitedly.
" One plus one equals two!"
and scratching on the ground a line, a cross, a line, two lines on their side and two lines upright. Zola liked the bubbling flowing feeling of this one who scratched on the ground. He was opening a space for her to meet him, responding to her invitation. These marks he was making were the marks of a very young child beginning the counting process. Surely such a large one must have progressed past this level...maybe if she showed the fundamental marks of understanding. All adults recognize these.
She made the marks of the advanced equations used to decode the star transmissions. Her finger lightly separated the sand to make a slanted linear distinction, a circular flow, a second linear distinction the star and the circular flow and using the sound structures that he had made she showed how the pattern had both coherences and distinctions.
" Ach Wooh Ach Whey Yap. Wooh Yap, Yap Whey Wooh"
The man still made the elementary arithmetic markings, very slowly this time. Zola was beginning to realize that these ones were operating in very few domains. It was as if they were blind or deaf. Her heart opened more fully with the compassion she felt for their limitations.
She showed him the advanced equation again. She felt she had made some progress. He pointed to the circular flow and made a sound " Circle." His feeling had jagged edges.
" Yap Whey Wooh." hoping he would follow the flow inside and outside the bounded
space where duality and unity flowed infinitely...the symbol for emergence.
What he did startled her. She waited for the opening of shared understanding. The blast of sound directed at his friends and the rapid movement away from her even the most mischievous of her students sometimes played with the spaces this way. Perhaps this was his play? Her body recoiled at the intensity. The flows hurt her and she could feel the hurt of her colleagues. They instantly concurred with her insight.
She went to the man and looked deeply in his eyes, singing
"Whey Wooh Yap
Wooh Yap Zyng
Yap Wooh Ach
Ulwhey Roosip Yap"
Her voice was penetrating and deep. She opened the space of her being to meet the space of his being to coordinate the flowing dynamics and compose in the singing a space where maybe they could open a window or build an archway between their two ways of being so he could see her in the domains in which she was seeing him.
She felt the space in him open to the song and she felt the dynamics of his being flowing to take the shape of the knowing that lay between them in the spaces of the song...she felt him begin to slump and she slowly held him as he slid to the ground deep in the space where he could hear and feel her...the joy in the others was palpable. She began to bend to sit by his side and teach him the heart language when she felt a terrible pain, a dissolution that rippled not only in her but through her 3 companions compounding her pain, arresting her for a moment as she felt herself and the others dissolve into the light.
The shock wave rippled through the ones who watched, waiting, invisible to the newcomers who ran forward with their strange machines to touch the bodies of Zola and her companions.
Ely Dorsey July 22, 1999
Matho was screaming in his head. The beauty and peace that just moments ago he had experienced was being ripped from him by a wispy ghostly figure with no mouth and arms that burned at the touch of the gentle breezes that had cushioned Matho when he first embarked from the helicopter. Opening his eyes and lurching forth from the ground as if looking for the nipple that had just fed him, he stood wild eyed and as if an infinite time had been defogged in his throat, he screamed:
"Yap Whey Wooh! Yap Whey Wooh!"
The Water-Wets cocked their rifles and were prepared to shoot again when Viro One stepped forward with her arm commandingly raised and said:
"Relax. Take Matho and the four natives back to the ship. We have much to learn. Take a contingent of Water-Wets into the interior and see if we can find a live native that we can study. Don't worry these are primitive people and they won't stand a chance against your weapons."
Then Lingu spoke up and asked if there were international laws being broken. The party looked at him and then looked away again.
" Hurry now. Get the bodies on board. Matho seems agitated. Medicate him for transport."
Larry Richards July 22,1999
I remember it like it was yesterday. I had never experienced fear like that before, although I have also seldom felt the sense of well-being that I felt that day. How could this be? I had been working at the National Security Agency for a number of years and was growing weary of it. I guess it was a good job, and some of the decoding work I had done was quite interesting. But, it seemed everything I did was being turned into a way to fight wars better, or at least to get the upper hand on other countries, or the terrorists they harbored, or our own citizens in some cases. So, I had decided to leave the agency, when, just before I was to submit my resignation, the opportunity to go on this expedition came up. I could not resist. What was this place, with its peculiar cloud formations? It was the chance for an adventure, and I needed that.
I do not know what came over Dumpster. He had always seemed a calm fellow, not given to impulsive response. Yet, on this day, he had drawn his gun and fired, and four of the MYST lay dead. I guess he was afraid, although there had been no sign of threat that I could discern. Zola had merely sang a song, and Matho had fainted. Perhaps it was what Dumpster did not know that frightened him. Perhaps a life of living with the unknown and always expecting that around the corner would come someone or something that could hurt him led to his reaction. Dumpster would tell me later, "You know, Bonko, I wish I could regret what I did that day, but then we would not be where we are now, would we?"
When Zola spoke that day, a hush came over the land. Of course, it was only later that I was to come to know her as Zola. I could not see where her voice was coming from, but it was unmistakable--it was hers. What was frightening was that her body was still there, on the floor of the helicopter. I remember hearing her voice as a foreign language, not unlike the sounds that she, Anui, Baraku, and Lucia had made a brief while before. Yet, what I heard I heard as English; it was as clear to me as any voice I have ever heard. I don't remember what she said. I only remember the hush, and the softness of her voice, and the sense of well-being that it brought. I am sure that all the MYST people could hear it, even on the other island. I did not understand. How could I be so frightened yet feel so at ease?
When Zola finished talking, I could not speak. I had the words, but I could not speak them. Neither could any of my expedition comrades. We could not speak nor write. Even our simplest hand gestures and eye movements and facial expressions were unintelligible to us. There was just silence, and the sound of waves, and the breeze. As I was only later to learn, this was the beginning.
Ely Dorsey July 22,1999
Zola felt the Great Silence and seeing herself folded into herself, she reached for Anui, Baraku, and Lucia. Together, they emerged. Coordinating each other with the consent of the other, and emerging once more into the coordinated whole that always was and always will be. They looked at their bodies laying there on the floor of the helicopter and they looked at the sharp edges surrounding these beings from the Mind-Body and they began to sing. The gentle breezes wrapped the helicopter and its crew with affirmation. Viro Two looked gleefully at the bodies and was thinking of the experiments to be performed back at
the ship. Matho and the others were silent. Zola then spoke to all of the MYST people.
The Order without Order
In the beginning when everything was and always will be,
Being was of the Order without Order of the System without System
All elements of existence were of Being.
Mutations, variations, otherness, categories were without Form.
Distinction was without Form as Form was without System.
All elements of the Mind-Body were shells of experience created
by Being. Trees, stones, animals, snakes, insects, men, fruits:-all
were of Being.
In Being, but with Mind-Body to pursue experience.
All existence began where it ended
and could begin and end at any point and every point.
Bounds and circles and spheres and references were at all points
as all points were without Form and Place.
Being was, wherever and whenever it was.
Mistakes had Place as Place was without Place and Form. Existence was Being and Being was existence.
Mind-Body came from Being. It was existence. A growth in any direction. A part of Being.
All of Being was to experience Mind-Body. Reason was without place.
It was just done.
System was without place.
Mind-Body also was
but with a distinction.
It sought a beginning
a reference point.
It was without system, it was
But it had a point of
Experience in Being was absent of sensation or knowledge.
It just was, as was everything that ever was and will be.
BEING. MIND-BODY. BEING.
Being was All, and All was Being.
A Beginning without Beginning
PIG was. At no point but at every point. PIG was.
During the Mind-Body period, Being was as was Mind-Body.
Experience was as always was and as Variation was Variation without
Variation. And all was Being. One variation was as one
and there was determinacy of variation without variation
because all was variation.
System had Place and
Form without Form or
There came a variation as in the process without process
and this variation sought Difference: IT was itself. IT was
And Being was IT. Being was all, including Difference.
This difference sought Category to establish Difference.
With Category, difference could exist.
Being was all and Category was Being.
And the category this difference sought was Control.
With Control, Difference would always be.
And this variation was Named so that it would be different.
And it was named PIG.
And PIG set control so that PIG could exist.
Since PIG was of Being
and Being was all
PIG could control all by PART.
For in every part, PIG was.
And in every part was Being.
Since all that was
was all of Being
As WHOLE is PART
And PART is WHOLE.
So PIG sought Process
fore process was the means of control.
During the Experience Being and Mind-Body were the same.
Movement and transformation were in every place and in all places.
Change changed as all that is and all that will be in place without form.
PIG created the process that that of Being in Mind-Body was in Mind-Body
to remain in Mind-Body until death.
PIG created Death
and named it as the end of Mind-Body.
PIG then made sense, time, space, matter and energy.
PIG then made Reality.
But this was a shadow of Being. Being was all and all was Being.
PIG then set Mind-Body in mold. PIG created Thought.
And in Thought, PIG set the Reference that all things were of
And that Being was of Mind-Body
And that Thing was real
And Other-Being existed
And the Mind-Body reference was real.
And PIG created guilt, penance and fear.
And PIG created joy, happiness, glee, humor and love.
And to the Mind-Body PIG created PIG.
And PIG was named God and Satan.
That part of Being which was all Being experienced Mind-Body.
Being was as was always was and will ever be.
PIG created definition and category and control and process
so that PIG could be all that Part of Being which was all
as all was not of reference which was Being
but of Being as always was
and would always be.
But PIG was and would always be.
And PIG was difference and category and control and process.
And PIG was Being.
And Being was PIG
as was difference
and Difference of Difference
as was all
and all of all.
All was Being.
Difference of Difference was.
Difference of Difference was different from PIG.
But Being was all.
And PIG was Being.
And Difference of Difference was Being.
And Being was all.
And Difference of Difference created itself
and named itself DOG.
And to the Mind-Body DOG was named Will.
And Difference existed.
And Difference of Difference existed.
And PIG was.
And DOG was.
And Difference and Difference of Difference existed.
And Being was Mind-Body.
And Mind-Body was Being.
And All was All
as Part was Whole
and Whole was Part
as always was
and always will be.
And Difference and Difference of Difference was named LIFE.
Mind-Body as Being was any stage at any time
category without substance
but all substance with all category.
The Experience began at every period at every age.
Being was as all
beginning at every beginning
and ending without knowledge.
There were gasses and solids and liquids and movements along them.
Direction, order, cycle and nature were in place without place and form.
And PIG was.
And there was direction and order and cycle and nature.
The gases and solids and liquids and movements along them formed into process.
The process created and showed space and suns then planets then more
gasses and liquids and liquids and movements along them
Again the process created and showed trees and mountains and animals
All these things showed forth in order and category and cycle and nature.
And DOG was as always is Being.
And Being was PIG.
And order and category and cycle and nature were challenged.
In the Experience with PIG as master
there existed a species of Mind-Body named as Annui.
Annui had category, label, place and order as all of Mind-Body
There existed Life.
And all things of Life functioned in cycle
living and dying
changing and forming.
All question or wonderment about cycle was answerable
Mountains felt well or were furious when churned into rocks.
Lakes saw evil with good with waste.
Trees rejoiced and despaired at fire.
Animals fought and welcomed slaughter.
All questions that were
Annui loved and hated Annui.
Annui loved and hated Annui.
Movement to the right, to the left, to the center was movement within
All was in order.
All was foreseen.
Kathleen Forsythe July 24,1999
The people knew death...it was a sacred act like birth, something one prepared for and accepted. Even the animals they killed for food were prepared for death through the hunters' intent. Dying was a conscious act like conscious living, part of the beautifully unfolding web.
They felt the abrupt tearing of the songline as Zola, Baraku, Anui, Livia, fell to the ground. They watched silently, standing in the shadows of the trees, imperceptible to the figures clustered around the bodies. They heard the cry of the one called Matho "Yap Whey Wooh! Yap Whey Wooh!"
They felt the anguish of his heart, so newly opened to theirs and they bathed him in caresses even as the ones with the sticks that brought death raised them and they felt his heart close to them.
They all knew that something had been changed utterly. It was too soon to understand, but they had experienced something new, something that felt disturbing, painful, bewildering. Whatever these new ones were emotioning felt like a hot and gritty wind, flaying the skin.
And where the new ones walked, hurrying past towards the machines, carrying the four bodies. A dark feeling followed, eating through the colour of the world, dissolving the exquisite beauty in emptiness, a new emptiness that was distinct from the hollow of a bowl. What was this creeping shadow, punctuated only by momentary flashes as the new one named Bonko's heart talk punctuates the dark emptiness with a recognizable pattern? Why could he not see them as he walked close by the trees in which they stood still and silent, aware? Were they invisible to him?
They heard the soft beginnings of the song break the silence in their hearts. It was Zola, Baraku, Anui, Livia folded in a consensual song that rose as one voice heard in their hearts as if Zola were speaking to them in the deep heart talk as she had done with Matho, to help him to understand and move in the systemic flows, to help them understand.
Zola's song filled the spaces weaving a web of harmony to mend the feeling, the rift in the fabric of living...the song arrested the dark thing that seemed to be creeping between them, eating through the river of emotions that wove them together with their world.
It was not the words of her song that eased their hearts but the spaces that flowed like a liquid sculpture between them, caressing the frayed endings of their sensuality, easing their autonomy, opening the way with its creativity, composing anew the spaces in which they lived so comfortably, each one unique yet also one within the flowing dynamic living, delighting in the unfolding and enfolding of distinctions, making worlds together.
They would begin the dancing tonight. Yes, the dancing would help to ease the hollow feeling in their hearts. Maybe it would ease the new feeling, the one that seemed to temporarily blind them from each other's heart talk It was as if the heart squeezed tight and you closed within a cold dark space where there was this new emptiness.
Larry Richards July 25,1999
What happened next remains unclear. I was frozen, immobile, unable to enact anything that I was thinking. Yet, those bodily functions that were so-called automatic, those that happened without my forethought, were unconstrained by this spell. My legs would move me, my arms and hands would stop me from falling, I could see and hear everything that was going on. However, as soon as I wanted something, these functions would cease to do what I wanted. I could not direct them. As soon as I stopped thinking about what I wanted, these functions would work perfectly well. Perhaps most disconcerting was that anything I wanted to communicate to anyone, in any way, was thwarted. Try as I might, I simply could not find a way to let anyone know what I was thinking or feeling.
The next thing I remember was a sense of transport. I was awake and aware, I think, but the experience was not one I had had before, except in a dream. I had a sense of floating, without any control over what was happening to me--quite disorienting, to say the least. Then, I could see faces, and hear sounds, similar to the sounds that Zola and the others had made. The way these people looked at me, I could tell that they sensed my fright, even
though I had no way that I could let them know that myself. A few years earlier I had attended a half-day seminar on non-verbal communication, where I learned to look at cues like jaw muscle tension, and shoulder elevation, to tell me if someone was being completely truthful or not. I assumed the MYST were doing something similar. In any case, they would back away, make some more sounds, see me relax a little, and then come forward again. It became clear to me that they had no intent to harm me. It was those sounds that they were making, soothing yet unpredictable--quite seductive. It was
like poetry, often migrating into song. That must have been what Matho had experienced, and why he was so upset when Dumpster reacted the way he did.
After awhile (I don't have any idea how long--time was completely irrelevant at this point), I must have let my guard down a little and began looking around. I assume the MYST's curiosity with my presence was waning, as they were now going about their business, leaving me alone. Occasionally, they would look at me and make some sounds, then go on with other matters. As I watched, however, I began to notice that virtually everyone who was in eyeshot of me looked at me at various intervals and made some sounds.
Furthermore, I noticed that they did the same with each other. There was no one who was not being acknowledged by virtually everyone else present.
I must have been resigning myself to my predicament; I began walking around and observing. I wasn't going any place particular. I was just moving effortlessly wherever my legs took me. I noticed myself smile a few times. Without thinking, I made some kind of sound, and the MYST nearest me looked at me, then gave a little smile. As I felt my fear leave me, and began to relax, my legs took me into some brush where I relieved myself. I later learned that the MYST did not do this; they just walked out into the ocean. But then, there was much that I was yet to learn. The sounds haunted me, and their mannerisms--what were these all about? I had said that this was the beginning. It was also the end--the end of time. From what was to follow, I could never return.
Ely Dorsey July 27,1999
Zola turned to Lucia, opening herself to herself and asked to sing inside the song they were all singing. Lucia immersed herself in gentle current s of all of the people of the MYST and embraced Zola and remembered the Annui. [pronounced ann-you-I]. She sang:
In the Beginning as is always was and always will be.
In the Beginning of every place without Place and Form.
In the Beginning of every Beginning
of every place
of every form
of thought with any meaning
and without meaning of any thought
There came Thought.
PIG made Thought so that Annui could make Understanding.
Understanding made Thought so that Annui could make Explanation.
With Thought and Understanding and Explanation
PIG was explained to Annui.
And PIG was explained and PIG was Difference.
And Difference was explained.
And Hate was born.
And Hate was hidden.
And Hate was named Wisdom.
And the Mind-Body sought Completeness.
And the Mind-Body became wise.
And Annui made war among Annui.
And war was named Peace.
As is always was and always will be
With Thought and Understanding and Explanation and Wisdom.
Larry Richards August 1,1999
I did not know how long I was there, that is, until I returned to the world of THE clock and gauged my absence by the passing of time that my friends had experienced. Sometimes when I reflect on that time, it seems like it was only 15-20 minutes, other times 15-20 years. Time was unimportant in the way that I had come to use it. The MYST did not sleep in regular patterns; there were periods of dark and light, but I did not experience these periods as regular. The strange cloud formations seemed to have something to do with this, governing when it was dark and when light. There would be as many MYST sleeping during the dark times as there were those rummaging around, doing what they were doing, although they did prefer to find dark places to go to sleep when it was light. I had often thought about this. Why was it that most humans sleep at night, rather than in the day? Why are businesses open only during certain hours, which usually include the daylight hours? Do those who work night shifts really have difficulty in adjusting their sleep patterns? Is continuous sleep, once a day, every day, biologically necessary? Well, the MYST seemed to "think" not.
As I roamed around the village, and eventually the islands, I saw and experienced things that I still cannot fully describe. There were things that I can only explain as technological in some sense; that is, they were not natural in the way I had come to recognize natural phenomena. Yet, whatever the technology might have been, I could not understand itfor example, those cloud formations and Zola's voice in English, after she was shot.
And those sounds that the people made--I was sure that they were communicating with each other. Yet, the more comfortable I became in interacting with them through these sounds, the less I could make any sense out of them. Based on my observations, these sounds had to be helping to coordinate their actions, but how? As I began to feel more and more secure with these interactions, I suddenly became quite uneasy. It was as though the comfort level was just not natural, and I needed a little insecurity. If I didn't understand them, why was I feeling so comfortable? Shouldn't that be producing insecurity? Was I thinking about it too much, rather than just enjoying my good fortune?
Then one day (it wasn't one day, of course, but how was I to distinguish this event?--one time? one moment?), I entered into a prolonged interaction with one of the MYST, who responded to"Lucia", and I began to understand.....there was nothing to understand! The value of the interaction was in the interaction. The MYST made these sounds as acknowledgements of each other, responding to sounds with other sounds. These sounds were mixed with other bodily cues, that occasionally coincided in such a way that it would appear to me in observing them that they were "in synch"--coordinated. And it wasn't as though they were unaware of the patterns of sound and movement, as a saw repetitions of certain patterns. It was that they enjoyed the sounds, and the recurring patterns, and the spontaneity of their coordinated actions. So, I began to listen for the patterns, and experiment with rhythms and sounds and body movements. And, I became comfortable once again, now uneasy only with my persistent curiosity: What kind of society could the MYST possibly have with such a "complex" form of interaction? Did his way of interacting have anything to do with the complex technologies that I presumed they had? What was life like here? What was life? Ohhhh....the questions, the questions.
Kathleen Forsythe July 24,1999
Standing quietly, watching the encounter, the Myst knew that the new ones were blind to them if they were still. We must appear as leaves in the trees, ripples on the water they thought together. It had been difficult to hold the stillness when the pain of Zola's wound shattered the heart bond, to be joined with Anui's, Baraku's and Lucia's abrupt and empty space, the holes in the songweb were so palpable that many of the watchers began to move involuntarily to cover the wounds felt in their own hearts. It was only the supreme discipline of stillness that kept them, still and watching, invisible in this moment of horror.
They stood through the song that soared from the spirits of their fellows, wafting through the breeze reaching the hearts of those of the new ones open enough to be touched by the living emotions. Zola sang the history of what would lead to this, to this severance from the systemic flows, sang so everyone would remember the patterns that undo and those that weave and compose the new. And, in a strange way, the singing of the deep history of the Myst, a song that welled up at the passing of each one from this embodied form to join the great mystery, served as a reminder to live in the conscious space in which form is given birth, only in birthing the new from this awareness could the webs of emotions remain untangled and the living remain free, untrapped in the knots tied by the frayed ends of difference.
As the new ones lifted the bodies and began to run towards the machine, one of them so caught up in the singing, lagged behind. Seeing he was unnoticed, this one ducked behind a tree and stood still while the machine lifted in the sky carrying the bodies of the four Myst away from their world.
He stood still but around him emotional waves flowed in currents and eddies and turbulent wave patterns, rippling around the standing Myst who watched as the emotions lapped against them like waves on a pond. This one was only still in the parts that could be seen with eyes. There was a curious absence of stillness in the part that could be felt with hearts and he seemed deaf to the songlines that wove around him welling up from the land itself, carving the spaces in which form could be born and born anew, moment by moment.
The Myst had learned to harmonize with this singing melody of the living earth in their own living and, when standing in stillness, had learned to bring all the systems of their being into coherence with the living systems of the great mother biosphere so that that specific distinctions faded in the face of the welling harmonic Pattern of coherence and distinction.
They knew when he first detected them, when he realized there were others present and noticed that the forms in the leaves that reminded him of people were in fact people standing so still that they had melted into the background, unseen by anyone focused on seeing differences. Then they moved out of coherence so he could see their own distinctions. They avoided speaking to him directly. They had seen what the direct speech had accomplished with his fellows. Alone, this one would have to come to coherence on his own. They already felt the softening of his sharp edges and the motions flowing round about him were generating fewer interference patterns, the waves were ripples on the flowing rivers that bound them together. The turbulence was settling and in its place a fresh pattern was generating. As the Myst began to move about, preparing to return to their home where a feast in honour of Zola and the others was already in preparation, they included the new one in their dance of awareness, smiling inwardly at the childlike disposition for wonder that greeted them. Yes, there was much for them to learn from him about his world and, it seemed, much he must learn from them before they could begin the conversation that the Old Ones had decreed must take place.
Kathleen Forsythe (from a dream reported by Pille Bunnell) Aug. 11, 1999
Pam was standing in the kitchen watching the milk in the microwave heat up, watching in that absent way that the inability to sleep brings and it's 4 AM and you have an early morning assignment.
"What are you doing up? Can't sleep again?" Trish, her roommate, asked sympathetically, on her way to the bathroom. "Are you up to listening to this incredible dream I had?"
"Sure, it beats counting sheep." Pam actually welcomed Trish's company. The night time was the worst. Every time she closed her eyes she could hear the singing of that strange MYST woman. Since that awful day it came every time she relaxed her guard...And, worse, she could tell no one and the images the singing brought to her awakened mind were too awful, the implications too fantastic to be countenanced. She could not get any of the events of that day out of her mind, especially what happened when the helicopter took off carrying the bodies and the singing had begun.
Her work as a virologist was top secret. Trish, her roommate knew never to ask. Her integrity and their closeness was one of the few comforts Pam had. She couldn't tell her colleagues at the agency. What would they think? She was known as a really serious straight scientist this kind of thing was not the subject of conversation.
Trish came into the kitchen. "Pam, you are never going to believe this dream, it was SO vivid".
Pam liked Trish's exuberance and enthusiasm. It complimented her own serious and no-nonsense nature. Even at 4AM it was a welcome relief from insomnia. "OK, Let's curl up on the couch." Pam carried her milk into the living room while Trish stretched out and began.
"I am sitting on a plane with many others, in the top forward section, this must be business class. An announcement informs us that there is some sort of difficulty with the plane, it is not dangerous now but it would become unsafe if not fixed right away. We must land for repairs, any connecting flights will be arranged by the airlines. Fortunately there is a good place to land right on our flight path, indeed we do not even need to go back to earth, our friends the aliens have an advanced technology station right here and they will help us out. This all seems normal to everyone, including me, even though I have no memory of such alien friends.
It turns out to be another world inhabited by aliens with entirely different technologies. Passengers are allowed to disembark and ushered to a hotel, from where they will be able to make their calls alerting whomever of the delay. I am slow to disembark as I am staring out the window, I am very curious. Eventually I take the ramp down from the front entrance of the plane and follow the others to the hotel. But I do not stay there, like everyone else, I go out in the streets to look around. No one restrains me.
I wander the streets, much like a European town. I look at the vegetation, the trees, and plants. Though they are not exactly like any species I know, they are so similar - definitely recognizable as if members of particular families. Kind of generic plans. How could the plants on this world have arrived at such similar forms? And for that matter, how is it that these aliens look so much like us? I encounter some young ones, playing in a window, in their game spilling out to the sidewalk through an open doorway. I laugh, and play with them as they tumble out by my feet, as I would play with a strange human child. They naturally play with me. In a minute the game comes to a pause, and I speak to them. They understand me and answer! I am most impressed that even the children speak
English! I ask the eldest how this can be, and she answers as if it were most natural, everyone talks like this, and she names two specific languages (I have forgotten what they were called, though she told me). Then an adult comes out of the house and gathers up the children, she is upset that they were talking to me, but not because she is afraid of me.
She acts as if she had transgressed. I walk on.
A new scene. I am in a meeting room, a church hall sort of place, with many of the natives. I tell a group of them I have realized that they maintain a facade for us humans, that they are in fact different. One of them temporarily disrupts the illusion, and I see that they are indeed different beings - vaguely cat-like but shaped very oddly, more like the nymph of a ladybug but with much more clearly defined body sections and appendages. Red-orange and brown, furry, with tufts of different lengths along the body sections, and serving a radiant frill for the head section. Quite lovely. They are satisfied that I do not react in horror or withdrawal, I just accept them as they are, a beautiful intelligent being.
I do so as I do with all earthly living beings - there is no strangeness in this. Uniqueness, beauty! But this was an illicit glimpse. I promise not to tell on them, they should not have let me see. But they liked me, and I knew anyway. We part as friends, for I have to go back to my plane now.
But something has gone very wrong, and I do not know what it is. The other passengers are not aware of this, they simply wait for the repair. But I know something major has happened, but I cannot see what it is because the broadcast illusion disrupts my seeing of the place and the natives. This is important! All us humans are in danger! I must disrupt the broadcast! I think it is emanating from a particular room, a kind of restaurant lobby with very high ceilings, at the top floor of the hotel. I go there. I realize that the illusion will disguise the broadcast unit, so I have to find it through the illusion. It will appear as something improbable; I think the illusion is not a materialization but a shift in interpretation of various elements in the medium. I begin to handle all manner of unlikely objects that one would normally not touch. Finally I find "it", a hanging rope that acts like a bell cord - and as I swing it I turn off the broadcast.
As I do so I realize that this is not the source, but only a local relay. However, it works locally. The room converts from a plush hotel lobby to a very plain box, only the items that a visitor would normally engage with are solid, real. And most of the seeming hotel staff turn out to be only a virtual projection, appended to simple cardboard-like dolls, no wonder they did not react to my antics. A few are real, and they are concerned with the crisis, not me.
It does not matter that this is a local control. Disrupting the vision locally, knowing it is an illusion, allows me to see for myself the whole nature of the illusion so I can choose to accept or reject it at will now. I see how the locals do so, they choose to see either/both worlds as they wish, knowing that one is the "tourist illusion". (This includes a translation program between they language and English - we do not need to know each other's languages).
So what is this crisis? I look out the window and see, outside there is a raging flood pouring through the city; now quite different in architecture. As I climb up to the window the remaining natives panic, and try to stop me. I don't know why they want to detain me! I must get out! The window is flexible transparent strips, I squeeze between them and jump into the flooding river to escape, and in that moment realize that why this flood issuch a crisis. These cat people are terrified of water, they cannot deal with it! But I can swim, I am comfortable in the water which is not at all cold. I begin to rescue "kittens", that is their young who have been carried away, taking them to safety. Adults, parents or not, they will sort that out later, receive the children. I become a "local hero", but cannot stop to talk. I carry on ...
As the dream ends I realize my gift to these people is to teach them about water. I can find the cause of the flood, I can show them how to deal with it... this is in my knowing, not theirs. What an odd fate that has placed me here! It is my understanding of constitutive ontologies that enables me to see both worlds as simultaneously valid; I have a deeper sense of how it is this works than even they do. And it is my understanding of languaging that enables me to establish a connection outside the technological glamour. And how critical to this my love of the biosphere, for without that I could not "see" these alien beings as natural beings, and love them as beautiful, coherent, ethical... I do not treat them as "aliens" as they are indigenous to my cosmos. My beloved biosphere has simply expanded!"
"So ?" Trish asked, refreshed and excited with her detailed telling of such a phenomenal dream. I have so many questions about the dream. It was so real."
"How did we reach this world? Was it through a wormhole in space? Was the dream set in a future time where such technology was accepted? Was the world really a satellite of earth somehow in such low orbit? The dream made this stop seem natural, no one remarked on it. In retrospect of the logic of the dream I think that we were influenced by an alien broadcast from a visiting ship, and thus enticed to enter a realm where they could use their technology to transport us to their world. I think they wanted to see what kind of beings we were - with no ill intent. They had prepared well for us the "hotel". I think they did not at all guess that I would establish actual contact with them, and even less that I would offer them substantive understanding that would solve their unexpected crisis. And explains too why I felt the crisis was one that put the humans in danger - because given the crisis the "orange-furs" could not take care of us, let alone send us back!"
"Pam, are you awake?" Trish looked at Pam closely and gasped.
Pam was sitting alert and very much awake, her face ashen, stricken with such conflict.
"This is too close for comfort. How could they reach me through you?" she gasped. "This is top secret. O God! I haven't been talking in my sleep have I? "
Ely Dorsey June 12, 2001
In the Beginning of all Beginning
With Form and Place in System and Category
With Dog and Pig
And War and Love
And Life and Death
In Being with Being
Came Being from Being
And this was called Lie
Lie was Difference
And Difference of Difference without Being
Being was all
And all was being
Anui loved and hated Anui
Anui hated and love Anui
All was being
Being was all
[Notes from the conscious before we go on. Questions to myself. We are struggling with an idea about the evolution of the idea of God. Suppose God is not the God of God and Satan, suppose God is something else? Wouldn't that free us somehow? How could we protect against the camouflage of Evil with this new direction?
... ... ... ... ... ... ...
So you move pass Dog and Pig to a cosmic emotional sense of Self. The aim is the integration of the whole. Everything is everything.
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
What are we doing? Is it possible that in our quest for relief of our pain of separation that we are posing a new thought-religion that damages or hurts the individual? Is the individual entity to be protected? Are we overreaching in our quest for peace? How do we find out? Invite others to the quest. See what happens.]
It was early in spring
The flowers were edging to rebirth
The birds were looking towards heaven
And the insects were stretching into their place in Life.
The Sun with the Moon
Danced across the imagination
And men greeted each other in their toil and forgiveness
Lucia was born. A pretty, dark haired brown skinned deep-eyed mystery. Her mother had pulled her forth alone in the damp cellar with the dog licking the afterbirth. The snake caressed the infant while the mother took her last breath. Lucia cried our from death, yet the snake only warmed her. The dog brought her chewed coconut and with the help of the snake, fed Lucia with milk droppings. The snake spoke to the dog:
This child is from some other place. If the men find her, we will be put to death and they will take care of her as if she was from this place. If that happens then what we have known will change and more misery will come forth.
How can you say this? Men have always treated me well. You, they have feared. But me, I am their pet. They will not harm me. And she is a child. All children come from the same place. This is known by all of us. Why do make such predictions? Surely, you are only afraid and that is why you say such things.
It is only how men are that I fear.
Why fear men? They are what they are and what they will always be. How can that be changed?
She can. She can change men. Her mother conceived her without a man. She is a special child. A child with a purpose. We must see that. We too have a special purpose. We can speak to each other. What other two besides us can speak to each other? We alone speak, and when we speak, we speak to each other.
I see. Yes. We speak and think. We are different from all others. We are aware. We have more than histories. We have reason and thought. Yes, I see. Men will surely kill us, since they kill anything outside their understanding. And the child. Can she speak?
We will teach her. We will teach her all that is known and all that will be known.
[Thoughts to myself: when I make you something other than human, I make you something other than me, and I make myself something other than you, and I make myself other than human, and if you do not object, then we are both makers, and if I do not object, then I make you something other than human, and I make you something other than... . ]
Will she be God?
God? What is God? Can one ask about God?
It is appropriate to ask if she will be God. This is one of the things known.
Yes, it is a known thing. So God it is.
And God is, as is known and will always be known. God is.
As in any question?
As in any question.
What will we teach her?
What is unknown.
Will we give her wisdom?
If it is known.
That is wise, very wise.
[We use unknown, to mean becoming, as in emerging.]
1. What is Justice?
Snake first curled about her between her ankles, touching in a slow movement of eight. The child was delicate and needed tenderness before Justice was taught. Lucia with her name known to her from whispers of the choir of holders from the caves of MYST, smelled the musk of the dog and licked its tongue finding the milk. Snake held her up so that they would know each other. Moving over her belly and in harmony with the caress of the dog, Snake sang to Lucia:
When is a question a question?
What is loneliness?
What is emptiness?
Lucia trembled. Her brand new body tingled with awareness. She sensed a pulling from outside herself. Then Snake bit her. Bit her hard! Lucia cried in pain. And Snake sang again:
What is Justice?
What is Fairness?
What is Insight?
Lucia screamed for relief. Dog sucked the venom from the wound. And asked:
What is deception?
Why does pain cloud the mind?
Then Snake licked the wound and Dog whispered gentle touches of relief. And Lucia slept.
Was I gentle?
All teaching is gentle even the teaching of lies.
What will happen when the men come?
They will learn Lie and order.
And she will teach them?
What is known passes through us. Everything has changed.
Where is the Beginning?
The End has also changed.
She sleeps so deeply. A gentle sleep. My venom is healing her.
It has changed me. This was meant to be as always was and always will be. My Soul! I have a soul. You have given me a soul!
I see things have changed. Now there are Givers.
And that is where the Lie will live?
2. What is truth?
Lucia awoke to see Dog and Snake arguing over songs and other maters that enabled the world. She was hungry and missing the warmth of their caress so she cried to them to heed her needs. Snake enraptured her and Dog laughed at her pretense. Slowly, they spoke to her of their debate. It seems Dog was concerned about the true path for men and Snake dismissed the need for either truth or a path. Snake put forth the lullaby that sang within all children:
I am, therefore I am.
Dog blistered his nose in mock opposition and sang the lament of all children:
There is one truth and only one truth and that is the truth.
Snake and Dog then both laughed and Lucia sucked the milk droplets from the coconut and peered deeply into her belly seeing the colors and waves turbuling on and about themselves and wondered if Truth was a jester. Seeing her wonderment, Snake caressed her more deeply and asked her to see into the soul of Dog for what she could see. Gasping from delight that she could join them in their frolic, she gurgled a smile and kissed the soul of Dog that had just arrived to be noticed. Dog laughed again and Snake stood back arching up to see if the spirit that had captured her would harm her. Then they laughed fore Truth admitted to the role of jester.
3. What is Beauty?
Lucia was now able to walk and feed from the coconuts and vegetables that Snake and Dog brought her. She knew how to use her hands to hold Dog and Snake in joy and mirth. Dog helped her sleep with whispers. Now it was time for another lesson. Slowly, with the help of Snake, they placed Lucia on the back of Dog. Snake coiled around the full of Dog with a space for Lucia to feel them both as in a saddle. Then Dog began to walk with deep arched movements and slow breaths. Snake in rhythm, slid the tongue over Lucia as Dog moved. Slowly they moved. Dog, Snake, Lucia. One movement of distinct parts moving without rhythm or purpose but with the whole of Being. Dog, Snake, Lucia. This was the first poem all poems. Movement, touch, smell. Movement, touch, smell. The first poem of all poems to come.
4. What society do we want?
Dog spoke to Lucia:
Men know little of women or each other. Whenever they come into each other's space, they anguish in confusion. Misery always follows and fear governs all actions. Action is in solitude. Men see only their loneliness. Women are called holders and men have fear of them as with all things without understanding. Loneliness is unknown to women. They know it is there but they have other waves of protection among each other. Women are without men. They live in the caves of the MYST. When women see each other, there is a communion. A singing of songs. An affirmation of spirit. The spirit is a trickster fooling the women into living in the caves. Men are a curiosity: those that come from outside the caves of the MYST. Life proceeds without birth. Lucia when you were born, everything changed.
Lucia, if you were to live outside of this place, how would we be?
We mean, suppose we met others like you, how would we be to one another?
Lucia was curious at this question and asked:
Why are men and women apart from each other? Why do men live in loneliness and women in caves?
There was once such a question. It made the Beginning from the End. Men and women appeared and were named Anui.
Were you made or were you always here?
I arrived when you were born.
I have only known myself until you were born.
Lucia now sat erect and looking into the soul of Dog once more and seeing the same colors and waves of turbuling as was inside her, she gasped and whispered:
We are the Beginning without Beginning. Men and women will know each other. They will know communion and loneliness, harmony and madness. They will struggle among each other because of the Lie. Truth is a jester and will hide the Lie. However, if men and women see among each other so that the other can be the other, then the Lie will be seen and misery will end.
The men are coming.
5. How will we know what we know?
Lucia, how will misery end?
Will we be enlightened?
Will we know the truth?
Or will attempts at knowing truth end in confusion?
What will be known?
Will what we know be needed to end misery?
Or is misery needed to end truth?
What will we know that is known and unknown?
Then Snake wrapped around Lucia and Dog sang of the first poem for all men and women to hear. Lucia wept, as she knew that her parents were leaving her and that she would face the men alone.
This was known as all things are known as always was and always will be.
Oh, I'm tired. All this walking to come to a cellar. A damp one at that. What is this? A grog. A grog with sound. And that what is that? It is brown and small. Is it a grog?
Oh, I'm tired. All this walking to come to a cellar. A damp one at that. What is this? A grog? A grog with sound. And that what is that? It is brown and small. Is it a grog?
Oh, I'm tired. All this walking to come to a cellar. A damp one at that. What is this? A grog? A grog with sound. And that what is that? It is brown and small. Is it a grog?
Dog went to each of them to offer itself for petting. The men responded in kind. Each with their own touch, their own caress. As each touched Dog, they stood back seeing Dog and then seeing Lucia. They were not able to see each other since men could only see within themselves. Then by accident the First Man bumped into the Second Man and not being able to see each other they were struck with fear. Dog then came between them and they reached for Dog and touched Dog together and saw each other for the first time. They peered and swayed and were dizzy with discovery. The Third Man was still wandering about making comments about what could only be seen inside of him. Dog then gently took his hand and led him to the two men that could see each other and rubbing against all of them induced them to touch him together. Then all three men could see each other and speak to each other for the first time.
Well, this is a fine grog. Yes, it is. A fine grog. Notice how it moves its tail and licks our hand. What will we name it? Well, it's a grog that licks and makes sounds. Yes, it licks but the sounds are harsh. The grogs that fly have different sounds. Let's call it Rark,' for its sound. Yes, let us agree on this. We will call it Rark.' And the small grog, what is that? Once with a holder I went to caves on the MYST and saw a grog like that. Hmmm, is it a grog for a holder. Yes, a grog for a holder. The caves are at the end of the world. Once with a holder I went there. You said that before. Did I? Well, I am saying it differently now. Once with a holder I went to the caves on the MYST. There were holders there. Many of them and they stood around me and they made sounds like the grogs that fly. Then one of them spoke inside me and told me that I was from Anui of the tribe of men. She named me Baraku and told me that all men were named Baraku. What is men? I only heard of this at this moment. I know of holders because they have spoken inside me at the caves. They have told me all holders have two names: Zola and Lucia. Is the grog a holder? How can we tell? Let us take it with us and see. Let us go the caves of the MYST and speak to the holders there and ask them. Yes, we can speak now. Yes, we can speak now. We are going together? Have we been together before? Well, if all men are Baraku and you are so named then you must be men. And I? And I? Is this known? So, we have Baraku and the rest of us and a grog. Two grogs. One that licks and makes sounds and another that is small and stares. Yes, we have more than before. What were we before we knew we had more than before? We have been given a gift. Yes, a gift. We are now protected by our gift. Let us thank our gift. Yes, and Giver of the gift. Yes, the Giver of the gift. Yes, the Giver of the gift.
And they looked at Dog and were afraid.
Surely, this grog is without the Giver. Yes, the grog is a beast. Let us kill the grog. Yes, kill the grog, Rark. Surely, with such a sound , the grog is without the Giver. Kill the grog! Kill the grog!
And Justice Rolled Forth
And they killed Dog.
And Snake at the end of the Beginning heard the lament of Dog in the songs of the people of the caves of the MYST.
And Snake wept.
And Justice poured forth.
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