Friday, September 6, 2019

Scripture from the Future: Who Represents Humanity?

[The year is 2240 and a dark new religion has arisen, drawing inspiration from the writings of a legendary twenty-first century occult philosopher and cult leader, Jurgen Schulze. Only fragments of his literary output remain and these form that religion’s scriptures, known to worshippers as The Cosmic Horrors. What follows is the third chapter of that sacred work.]
A voice thundered from the starry heavens, which the world as one heard: “Humans of the earth, four chances I give you to choose your representative. One of you must stand for the rest, embodying what you all have been, are, and will always be. Should none of those proxies prove true, I shall send a cleansing fire to incinerate your kind for your failure to know yourselves.”

The nations deliberated and voted, and their first choice to represent them was the president of a leading democracy, an educated, wealthy, young politician, handsome and popular.

“Voice from the stars,” said the president, fearless in his tailored business suit, “I have come to stand for all men, women, and children. In me they have their champion, for my record proves I can lead my people to a bright and shining future. Forward, ever forward we must go as one, for we were favoured by God to rule this earth.”

Once more the voice from above boomed across the entire planet, ranging from the largest metropolis to the most isolated hut: “You have chosen a cheery mask worn by a child playing dress-up; a smooth persona to throw the wolf off your scent; a voice like candy, sweet and poisonous, signifying nothing; a smug predator gulling you with platitudes and empty promises; an idol you cling to for fear of seeing what you really are. Choose again!”

For the second time the nations drew together, tearing out their hair and racking their brains, for their first choice had been soundly rejected. After weeks of contemplation they called upon a great saint to stand for them, a kindly old woman whose hands were gnarled from years of feeding the poor and healing the sick.

Dressed in a modest frock, the saint addressed the alien terror: “Though I’m unworthy, I offer my services, meager as they are, to help however I can, even if it’s to clean your floors or toilet, O great and terrible voice from the stars, if only you’ll spare my species. Take me if you must, burn me to ashes, but leave the rest be.”

“Now you’ve established what you fervently wish you were,” answered the voice, “a selfless wretch who tends to the injured after your rampages and debauches, a wisp of a creature who couldn’t even lift your swords or rifles and who would sooner starve to death than dominate the planet as you’ve done. Choose again!”

The nations pondered for months and nominated their most honoured wise man, a scientist who was widely read in philosophy, history, and religion.

“Show yourself,” said the wise man to the voice from the heavens, “so that we can rationally discuss this conflict. Lay forth your arguments against us so that we can learn from them and change our ways if change we must.”

“A lonely owl you’ve picked,” answered the voice, “an observer, hiding behind his books; a copyist, spinning tales of the world as it passes by and is rationally directed by no one. Wise apes you may be, and your reason gives you power, but no argument drives you to rise above the animals and be masters of your fate. Choose again and for the last time.”

A year passed before the nations decided to elect a drunken, stinking, homeless man, maddened from loneliness and abuse, and accustomed to telling rambling tall tales to hapless bystanders.

The vagrant hiccupped, tripped, dropped his cheap bottle of wine, and said, “I ain’t no hero, that’s for sure. But if it’s alright with the pretty folks, I’ll wager I could silence that there angry voice in the sky with this story of mine. I was a ship’s captain once in my young’un years. Sailed the seas, I did, catching fish. One day, I tell you, a mighty storm brewed, and in the wind and the rain the cargo holds broke open and I lost a week’s haul of fish. Back into the sea they went, though now as dead as doornails. I lashed myself to the wheel to stay aboard as the ship rocked this way and that in the tempest. The storm passed, my ship was a wreck, and a school of flying fish passed by, jumping in and out of the sea. One landed right on the deck and smacked its head, I reckon, ‘cause it skipped around awhile and bounced off the mast some before I caught the sucker and threw it back in the deep. How does that grab you, big ol’ voice from nowhere?”

The alien terror answered, “Homeless and alienated you’ve been and will always be, cast out, alive and awake in the wilderness; crazed and vain and wretched you are for knowing too much and for dreaming up more goals than you could possibly achieve; sad and pitiful, immersed in your fictions and your robotic refuges, knowing the earth will one day swallow them and their godlike denizens. With this fourth choice you’ve finally found the heart of you.”

The voice from beyond was heard no more, and the vagrant was celebrated and awarded with riches for saving humankind.

One month only it took for the homeless saviour to squander his prize and find himself back on the street, alone, forgotten, and raving.

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