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Friday, 19 June 2015

TWEAKING THE THRIFTY GENE

TWEAKING THE THRIFTY GENE
By: Annie Osborne

Hi dear friends and followers. Today I would like to share with you a sci-fi story about time travel and the possible consequences of doing so. Thank you for visiting my blog and enjoy the story 

“I’m sorry, Amaranth Q, your travel application is denied,” said the TTA’s customer-service robot. Following some pathway in its neurocybernetic map, the robot added, “You understand the Time Travel Authority’s decision is final?”


“Yes,” said Amaranth.

Her application had been necessarily vague, and they didn’t trust her to follow the rules once she got into the past. She didn’t blame them. They were right not to. But some things were more important than bureaucratic rules.

Leaving the Federal Office Building, she walked quickly through the crowded Mariana Trench City center, then down damp, twisted backstreets to the shadowy neighborhood known as Abyssal Alley. Here, months ago, anticipating TTA rejection, she’d found the time-travel black market, a moldy hallway, and the wizened dealer. Now, as he smiled at her, the diamonds in his long white teeth were the brightest objects in the room.

“You’re back,” he said.

“Obviously,” she said.

“Ah, well, they mostly only allow scientists. Do you have the money?”

She gave it to him.

The dealer counted, then gazed at her.

“Are you sure?” he asked.

He was unaccountably having some qualms about this aging woman, with her strings of beads and hand-woven shawls. She was certainly not one of the sex-travelers he was accustomed to dealing with. What was she up to?

“Of course I’m sure,” she said.

The dealer shrugged. “I can give you five hours,” he reminded her, “back in your former self.”

“It’s enough.”

“You’re not going to try to change anything.”

“Of course not,” Amaranth lied.

“Because you need one of the Class Six-A Titanium licenses for that,” said the dealer. “Otherwise, capital offense, laser lobotomy, and so on.”

“I know,” said Amaranth.

“Anyway I hear the alternatives function is becoming unstable. There’ve been rumors that the forward random-skip phenomenon is happening a lot lately, unpredictable perturbations, they say. I hear even the hot-shot cyberchrono researchers are having trouble getting Six-ATs.”

“Whatever,” said Amaranth. “I’m not changing anything, remember?”

“Yes, of course,” said the dealer. He grinned uneasily. The tooth jewelry twinkled.

“Not that it’s any of my business what my customers do,” he added.

“No,” said Amaranth, “it isn’t.”

On Research Station Titan 6 near Saturn, astrodemolitions supervisor Juliette Q, M.S. (nuclear engineering), Ph.D. (dual: mechanical engineering and astrophysics) was worried about her mother.

“I think she’s losing it,” she said to the technical systems manager. “She’s been talking a lot of obsessive nonsense lately, and now in the last few days I haven’t even been able to get in touch with her.”

“Well,” he said, “not much you can do from here.”

“I could take a leave,” said Juliette.

“No, you can’t. Your threat object is almost in range, and our window’s within a month and won’t last more than a few days. You’ve got to be here.”

“That monster is hardly ‘mine’,” Juliette said.

“Well you found it. But whoever it belongs to, we’d better blow the sucker off its trajectory, or senility will be the least of your mother’s worries. The way it’s going right now, even Earth’s trench cities won’t be safe this time.”

“There are other demolitionists on the project,” Juliette pointed out.

“Not with your particular combination of abilities for dealing with superTOs. It’s a tricky anomalous fat bastard, the biggest we’ve seen. Wake up, Jules. Remember what matters.”

Juliette sighed. “You’re right.”

She pulled off her lab coat.

“I’ll be back. Right now I’m late for my dietary treatments,” she said.

“How’s that progressing?” the techsys manager asked, eyeing her overabundant figure.

“Eighteen kilos to go,” she said, sighing again, “and then I have to keep it off.”

“We love you the way you are, you know.”

“Right,” said Juliette, walking to the door.

“How much trouble can your mom get into, at her age?” he asked.

Amaranth awoke in a city park 34 years in the past, pregnant, with a headache and dry heaves. Morning sickness, or the effect of the time jump, or a little bit of both, she thought. She marked the transit spot with her locator. The dealer lived up to his reputation: the genetics clinic was just around the corner.

Amaranth had always been the Earth-Mother, spiritual type who thought science was soulless. In just this one thing, though, she shouldn’t have rejected the tools of technology; she should have used them, for her sake and her daughter Juliette’s. Well, she was here to remedy that situation.

In the clinic, having taken care of the necessary paperwork and evaluated the general health of mother and child, technicians brought up the embryo’s genetic profile from their database. On the screen, the obesity gene sequences were highlighted in red. After that, it was easy.

“Good to have that taken care of, isn’t it? I wish we could engineer everything as quick as this,” said a technician, 3 hours later.

“Her father’s hefty,” said Amaranth.

“I was wondering,” said the technician. “Well, we see it with your generation. SlimGen didn’t have a good handle on the prenatal correction until maybe 15 years ago. Of course the bureaucrats slowed everything down, piling on the regulations, looking for trouble with correlated consequence occurrences, God know what, but the company finally worked out those issues.”

“They used to call it the thrifty gene,’ said Amaranth.

“I’ve heard that,” agreed the technician.

“People who had it were good at storing fat and surviving famines.”

“Well, we don’t need it nowadays, do we?” said the technician.

She patted Amaranth on the shoulder.

“Just rest for a while, then on your way, and your little girl will have the cutest figure. Have you got someone to take you home?”

“I live close,” said Amaranth, “I can walk.”

It was even true, in a way. Here on the Northeast Side of M-Trench City, at this stage of their lives, she and her husband had an apartment in a mid-income building just a few blocks from the clinic. She was briefly tempted to go peek at him alive, an exuberant big man who would die too young. But no. She would leave that part of the past alone. Better to just look forward now.

Waiting for the jump back, Amaranth lay happily in the grass and thought about her daughter. Due to be born in 8 months, a slim, willowy Juliette would be assured of having romance in her life and, in the fullness of time, a baby, and Amaranth would have a grandchild. Maybe several. A boy and a girl would be nice. The locator gave a warning squeak, and Amaranth sat up, ready to return.

“I don’t get it,” said the station chief. “With the demo window opening next week, we need all hands on deck. What’s happened to you?”

“No clue,” said Juliette.

The chief noticed that Juliette’s clothes hung loosely about her, as if they belonged to a much broader person.

“Are you all right?” the chief asked. “Eating okay? They tell me you’ve been worried about your mother.”

Juliette Q smiled.

“I’m eating lots, feel great! AND I’ve lost 12 kilos in the last 3 weeks. Hey, I’m planning to join the NEO marathon team. I figure I’ll be ready for the next cross-station half-marathon run.”

“But as of 10 days or so ago you’ve stopped doing your job,” the chief said. “Your manager is quite concerned, to say the least.”

“I’d love to keep working,” said Juliette. “I’d absolutely love to, boss, only you know like I don’t remember anything. Can’t even figure out the damn equipment – all those crazy interfaces! The gang is being sweet, showing me what buttons to push, but…”

Since her intellectual decline began, Juliette had been thoroughly examined by station physicians. Their assessment was that she was perfectly healthy. But it was clear that she no longer understood basic concepts in mechanics or physics, much less the complexities of quantum computing or astrodemolitions. As an afterthought, her IQ was tested. It was 88.

“It’s as if about 40% of her brain function has been turned off,” one of the docs had commented during an urgent meeting with the chief of station and senior managers.

“We still see the areas lighting up, but the activity doesn’t seem to go anywhere,” added another specialist.

“In fact, yeah, it all lights up but it’s somehow… dimmed,” said a neurophysiologist. “I was wondering, though,” she went on, “has JQ had any genotoxic exposures lately? Something not in her records?”

“Everything’s in the records,” the chief had replied. “Why?”

“I’m not sure,” the neurophysiologist had said. “No reason, I guess. Just wondering.”

When Juliette left his office, the station chief contacted the technical systems manager.

“It’s weird,” said the manager. “She’s looking so damn good, better than she ever has. Kind of hot, frankly.”

“Spare me your animal urges,” said the station chief. “Can we destroy this STO without her?”

“Maybe.”

“What are the odds?”

The manager considered. “Fifty-50,” he said finally, “being optimistic.”

“OK,” sighed the chief, and prepared an urgent transmission to Earth.

The mammoth asteroid hurtled through space.

In her room on Research Station Titan 6 Juliette Q applied a curling wand to her hair and wondered if the techsys manager, who had fabulous buns, might ask her out. She’d caught him looking at her legs this morning.

In Mariana Trench City, Amaranth Q began pricing cribs for her future grandchild.


Thank you very much again, dear friends, for visiting my blog. Please share your thoughts with us, if you will. have a great day.
ڰۣIn Loving Light from the Fairy Ladyڰۣ

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Consumed

Consumed

Hi dear friends and followers. Today I would like to share with you another fantasy story. Thank you for visiting my blog and enjoy the story. 

Arlia knelt down on a silk cushion in the middle of the room. She took a deep breath and centred herself. Gramps always told her to do this, sometimes he jabbed her in the sides with his walking stick if he thought she rushed meditation.

In front of her the Fire Tome lay open on “Level Eight Incantation”. Her Level Seven attempt had been impressive. The fireball in her hand nearly reached two inches in diameter.

Another deep breath to focus all her thoughts on the incantation and nothing else. Concentration is key. The mantra repeated in her brain, distracting yet encouraging.

She recited the words from the tome; an ancient, difficult language that provoked a response from the natural elements of the world. Her outstretched arms grew heavy with empowered blood. Her fingertips tingled. Then her palms grew hot.

Arlia opened her eyes slowly. Two large fireballs, about four inches in diameter, hovered just above her upturned palms.

Success. She was as good, if not better, than the low-life final year apprentices that thought they were so much better than everybody else.

The tome said to release the magic after no more than thirty seconds. Fireballs were made to be thrown, after all.

Arlia’s knees began to ache, even though the padding of the cushion protected them. How long had it been? Arlia shook her hands to dissipate the magic but the fireballs remained hovering just above her palms. Their presence mocked her. Yes, she was capable of great magic like Gramps but she could not remove it afterwards.

Panic set in and Arlia started to wave her arms frantically trying to dislodge the fire magic. Flames flickered and danced around her hands and caught the edge of the heavy curtain over the single window.

A high pitched scream drew in the attention of several final year apprentices and two full wizards. Arlia realised later it had been herself who screamed.

Someone pinned her down to the floor. Presumably to stop the spread of the inferno. Lots of spells were uttered and the roar of the curtain fire died down and the weight in Arlia’s arms seemed to lessen.

The pressure on her chest lifted and Arlia sat up. She forced her eyes open wide but the room was too dark to see anything in.

“Thanks, sorry.”

Arlia heard the accusatory tone of Izen, one of the oldest and most stern wizards. He did most of the teaching and took care of any disciplinary action that was required. Arlia had been on the wrong end of his beating stick many times before today. She cringed as she prepared herself for the first sting.

“What is this?” Something scraped against the wooden altar Arlia had set out earlier. “Level Eight. What are you, second year, third year?”

“Um, first year. Sir.”

Izen dropped or slammed the book. It rang out loudly against the stone cobbles on the floor. Arlia wondered how he had been able to read the title in the darkness. Wizard trick, no doubt. Perhaps, like their cats, all wizards could see in the dark.

“How does a first year manage to get a hold of something like this?”

Someone stammered from behind Arlia but she couldn’t tell his voice or what he actually said.

Something else rang out against the stone cobbles. It sang as it shattered. Porcelain maybe.

“Get up,” Izen barked.

Arlia felt hands under her, lifting her to her feet.

“Come with me.”

Arlia stood, lost in the darkness.

“Where are you?”

She felt a breeze against a face and a rough hand under her chin tilting her face upwards.

“She’s consumed. Fetch Milent.”

A pair of feet scuttled away.

“On second thought, we need Oden.”

Arlia shuddered. Hearing Gramps’ real name never boded well. She had heard the word consumed before but had no idea what it meant. Other than it was what she did to the biscuits.

“What’s happening?” asked Arlia. Nobody answered.

At long last the heavy oak door was disturbed indicating someone had either come in or just left. The only discernable action near Arlia in the last ten minutes other than a mouse scuttling in the eaves.

More hands touched Arlia’s face, tilting her head from side to side. Arlia smelt cinnamon, the flavour of Gramps’ favourite cake.

“What have you done, child?”

His voice was soft but lined with grief. Arlia felt relaxed and chided in quick succession.

“I’m sorry Gramps.”

“Her eyes are completely white. Send Milent away. There’s no saving her. In fact, you can all go now.”

More shuffling and the oak door clunked as it latched shut.

“What now, Oden?” Izen still remained in the room.

“What can I do? I can’t ignore the rules for my own granddaughter.”

“You would have her sent to the darkness?”

There was a long pause. Arlia held her breath as she realised her fate was being decided. She knew what the Darkness meant.

Under the academy in the dungeons, the passageways were completely dark. No students ever went down there. In the middle of the dungeon, protected by a large labyrinth squatted a creature so hideous that the school only sent blind people to tend to it. The creature’s power provided enough raw energy to feed the constant spells practised by the students.

“Please don’t send me down there,” Arlia begged. She only knew tears had filled her eyes when they overflowed and hot drips ran down her cheeks.

“Arlia, you leave me no choice. I cannot have a consumed student wandering the hallways. Who knows what other beings will be drawn to you now. I can’t put my school in danger.”

“You know, Oden,” said Izen, interrupting. “There is no proof that anyone who is consumed draws other beings into our plane. There’s certainly no evidence it has happened in the dungeons.”

“Have you been in the dungeons recently?”

“No.”

“Then how can you be certain? It is what is told and the books never lie.”

“Of course they don’t,” said Izen, resigned to lose the argument.

“The darkness it is,” said Gramps. The anger had evaporated from his voice leaving only sadness. He sounded ten years older in Arlia’s mind.

“There is just one more alternative.”

Arlia’s heart quickened.

“And what is that?”

“Turn her out. Dress her in rags.”

“You mean…?”

“Why not? The city beggars make a tidy sum these days. Some are perfectly healthy but prefer to spend their days on the dusty floor rather than being at the Mill.”

Gramps exhaled loudly and clicked his teeth. A habit he usually displayed when he and Arlia played chess. Their games went on for hours, mostly because Gramps took so long to make a move. Before each play he touched every single piece, a ritual of superstition, and then thought for a long time. Arlia invariably lost.

“I can’t make my granddaughter a beggar.”

“You would prefer she spent an eternity feeding and washing that thing we keep locked up down there. You know how many servants we lose, don’t you?”

“I suppose. But it would be so shameful to see her on the streets asking the city lowlifes for charity. She’s a Minxskin. She should be a Great like her parents.”

“And how did that turn out for them?”

Gramps never spoke about her parents. She had no idea what happened except they had gotten lost on an expedition in the New World when she was three.

“We’re still waiting.” Gramps sighed again. A soft thump indicated he had sat down in one of the chairs.

“Look at her, Oden. She’ll never be a Great. You know our kind can never forgive the Consumed. Even if, by some miracle, her eyes do heal, we can never accept her back.”

“You’re right, I know.”

“So, shall I find some rags?”

“Izen, please. Leave me, us, a moment.”

“Very well.”

Arlia waited in the darkness. Her very future lay at the discretion of Gramps. Gramps who had brought her up as best as he could whilst he tried to manage the school. Gramps who never forgave the breaking of rules. Once he had made her scrub every stone in the castle with a tiny rag because she had spilled very expensive ink all over his office and then proceeded to walk through it. She had been four and a half, at the most.

Arlia stretched out her hands in the direction Gramps voice came from moments ago. After a few difficult steps of thinking she was about to plummet to her death every time, her fingers brushed something material.

“Gramps?”

He made a loud wet sound that sounded distinctly like someone who sniffed in the midst of silent tears.

“Poor child, what have you done?”

“I was just practising. The older students are so full of themselves because their fireballs are bigger than mine. I just wanted to prove I was worthy of my name.”

“But child, you committed the ultimate sin. You fell under the spell of the Icarus demon. You let him into you and so into the school.”

“Nothing’s happened though,” said Arlia.

“Every student is now at high risk of falling under his spell. We have to get you out or into the dungeons before the school is destroyed.”

“So much for making you proud of me.”

“You never had to try and impress me. I could see in you what was in your mother that made her a Great. Compassion. Being able to understand others and the world around you is the key to unlocking the power of the elements. But you tried to do too much. You overreached yourself. There’s a reason we don’t allow apprentices their own tomes. Where did you get this one, by the way?”

Arlia considered her answer. The older students had been giving her an especially hard time out in the grounds. Arlia had only wanted a few herbs for her next lesson and the older kids would not let her out of the herb garden. They had kicked and pushed her down and rubbed her face in the dirt. All the while laughing and saying “you’re not so great, are you”. No doubt a dig at who her grandfather was.

She ran through the castle to her dorm and threw herself face down on the hard mattress. She lay there for nearly two hours, too ashamed to go to her lesson without any herbs and too afraid to go back to the herb garden in case the bullies were still there.

Eventually when she had tired of her musty pillow she swung her legs over the edge of the bed. Her toes brushed something hard. She looked down and saw one of the restricted books peeking out from under the bed. First year students were not allowed to read any tomes at all until they had covered all the basics of non-elemental magic. Namely potions, ointments and proper care of familiars.

“I found it.”

“Ah. A story so cliché I actually believe you. Perhaps you were feeling a little powerless at the time, hmm?”

Arlia nodded. Hot tears splashed her cheeks again.

“Temptation is the downfall of many a person older and wiser than yourself. I can’t condemn you to the darkness. Perhaps the city will be more forgiving to you than it was to me.”

“You were in the city?” Arlia her head up even though she could not see.

She heard Gramps’ smile in his voice. “I am older and wiser than you. If you practise people might not even know you are blind. The pigment will come back to your eyes eventually, even if your sight doesn’t.”

Arlia thought about the chess games with Gramps, and laughed. All this time she had been losing to a blind man.

Later, in the dead of night she set off towards the city in rags.

Bio:

L Harrison is a fantasy writer in a small part of England called the Black Country. She has been writing ever since she was big enough to hold a pen. She graduated from Bath Spa University with a degree in English Literature but her true passion lies in creating new stories.

Thank you very much again, dear friends, for visiting my blog. Please share your thoughts with us, if you will. have a great day.

ڰۣIn Loving Light from the Fairy Ladyڰۣ

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

A Light Bulb Called Tink

A Light Bulb Called Tink

Hi dear friends and followers. Today I thought that would good to share something with you that is on the light side with you. Thank you very much for visiting my blog and enjoy the story. Thank you.


by: Jade De-Terville


“This is more than just a bloody mid life crisis,” Karen said clutching a tattered red book, until her knuckles started going white. She savagely threw the book onto the chequered dining cloth, and ran her hands through her untamed hair.

“Oi, mind the biccies,” her best friend, Tina, said.

“I don’t know what to do anymore; he spends all his time in the garage doing, God knows what.”

“He’s making a rocket,” a small voice said behind her.

“What?” Karen turned to find her ten year old son, Robert, sipping a large glass of orange juice.

“Dad’s building a rocket to take him back home. Apparently, you get to stay young forever there,” he continued.

An irritating, screechy noise erupted from Tina’s throat; she was laughing, and Karen had heard enough.

“Robert, go to your room and stop listening to my conversations.”

“That’s so unfair! When the rocket is built I’m going with Dad,” Robert stamped his way out of the kitchen and up the stairs.

“Will you shut up Tina? It wasn’t that funny.”

Tina stopped immediately. Tears of frustration were on the verge of spilling from Karen’s eyes.

“I’m sorry, Karen. Come on. It’s not that bad. My Barry tried to get his penis tattooed like a snake when he went through his mid-life crisis, but the pillock couldn’t stand the pain and didn’t get it finished. I used to like doing it with the lights on but, God, I just can’t stand to see those scales and that one beady eye stare at me. It puts me right off.”

The tears began to fall down Karen’s cheeks. “I wish it were as simple as a tattooed penis.”


Tina got up and crouched by Karen’s side, placing her arm around her shoulders.

“Babes, what is it?”

“I think Peter is cheating on me,” Karen began. “This morning his phone rang. I saw the name Wendy flash on the screen. I saw it! But when I asked him about it he said it was Dave.”

“That doesn’t prove anything.”

“Of course it does, she’s even in that stupid book.”

Tina picked up the red book and began to flick through the pages.

“Karen, this is just a story. There’s no such place as Neverland.”

“It’s real enough to Peter and he wants to be there with her.”

“You can’t do this to yourself.” Tina said “Come on, where’s his phone? We’ll find out once and for all who this Wendy, is.”

Tina looked around the kitchen and spotted Peter’s jacket sitting on the counter. “My Barry always leaves his in his pocket.”


She picked up the jacket and waded through bits of paper until she found it. She pulled it out and held it up for Karen.

“Do you want to do it?” Tina asked.

“Yes, I think so,” Karen replied, reaching for the phone uncertainly.

She began flicking through the phone, “He’s called her three times today. I told you, he’s cheating on me.” The tears began streaming down her face once again.

“Come on, the old Karen wouldn’t sit here crying. She’d call up this cow and give her a piece of her mind.”

Karen stopped snivelling, “You’re right.” She dialled Wendy’s number. After three rings a man answered.

“Good afternoon, The Henry Residence.”

“Put Wendy on,” Karen said.

“Would madam care to tell me who is calling?”

“Karen Pan…Panciana.”

“Won’t be a moment.”

“What’s going on?” Tina asked.

Karen held a finger to her lips.

“Hello,” a dainty voice said on the line.

“Hi,” Karen replied, “Are you sleeping with my husband?”

“I’m sorry, Mrs Panciana,” Wendy said confused “I’m afraid I don’t know you, or your husband.”

“Mr and Mrs Peter Pan.”

“Oh.”

“Yes oh. So are you screwing him?” Karen was getting more and more confident.

“I think you should speak to your husband.”

“I can’t, he’s in the garage building a rocket so that he can fly back to Neverland.”

“Neverland?”

“Don’t try and change the subject. Admit that you’re sleeping with Peter.”

"I’m not sleeping with him; he’s just an old friend.”

“Then why has he phoned you three times today?”

“He needed someone to talk to; he’s going through a tough time.”

“A tough time?” Karen scoffed, “I don’t call playing with Lego and talking to a light bulb called Tink a tough time.”

“I think you should talk to your husband.”

“I don’t need your advice.”

“I don’t mean to be rude, but you’re calling me asking if your husband is cheating on you.”

Karen was lost for words and suddenly she felt like an insecure fool. “You’re right,” she said after a couple of seconds. “I’m sorry Mrs Henry.”

“Don’t apologise,” Tina cried but Karen ignored her.

“That’s quite alright,” Wendy said and then added hesitantly, “Try listening to Peter, his childhood was different from most and he’s just trying to reclaim a little of it.”

“You’ll be telling me Neverland is real next.” Karen said.

Wendy laughed politely and said, “I’m afraid I have guests to attend to. I must go, Mrs Pan.”

“Of course.”

When Karen hung up, Tina looked at her “What was that?”

“She’s not sleeping with him. Peter and I need to talk. I think you should go.”

“Fine, Barry wanted his corns sorted anyway.”

Karen gave a disheartened smile as she led Tina to the door.

Karen watched as Tina tottered across the road to her house, in her four inch leopard print heels. She took a deep breath and turned to head to the garage but was stunned to hear a large explosion that shook the house and left her ears ringing.
---------------------
“What was that?” Robert shouted, running down the stairs.

Karen didn’t answer; she ran into the utility room and saw black smoke seeping out from beneath the door to the garage. Karen opened the door and found half of the garage swarmed in flames; two legs were poking out from behind a car-sized, rocket.

“Peter,” Karen screeched, running to help him without giving a second thought to the flames searing the sides of her face. “Robert, call 999.”

Robert stood in the doorway eyes wide and glazed.

“Robert!” Karen screamed. She had Peter by the legs and was slowly pulling his unconscious body out of the garage.

Finally, Robert snapped to attention and ran to call for help.

When Karen got Peter into the utility room she collapsed with a mixture of fatigue and oxygen deprivation. The black smoke was slowly crawling through the house, engulfing everything with its suffocating presence.

Karen heaved choked breaths and looked around with bleary eyes.

An angel appeared at her head, wearing leopard print heels, her hair littered with rollers. Karen smiled and began to feel at peace until she felt a sharp whack of pain sear across her face. The angel had slapped her.

“Stay with me you silly cow,” Tina shrieked. Barry appeared by her side. “Get Peter out, I’ll sort Karen,” Tina wheezed.

Karen stayed conscious long enough to get out of the house, hear the applause of the waiting crowd and the wail of emergency sirens, before everything went black.

When Karen came to, she had a pounding headache and a drip in her arm.

“Mum, you’re awake,” Robert exclaimed.

Karen smiled through cracked lips, “And you’re alive. How’s Dad?”

“He’s alright; do you want to go see him?” Robert asked.

“Alright, go get that wheelchair.”

Robert quickly went to go get it and Karen dragged her body into the chair, sliding her bandaged feet into the footrest.

“Lead the way,” she said to Robert.

“I think it’s this one,” Robert said stopping in front of a set of curtains.

Karen gulped then eased her way forward and drew back the curtains. There he lay, bandaged from head to toe. His arms and legs held up by wires suspended from the ceiling. Karen wheeled herself to his side, laid her head on his chest and began to weep.

“Peter you idiot,” she wailed “Oh Peter, please don’t die.”

“I won’t,” said Peter’s voice.

She lifted her head and peered into the holes where the bandaged man’s eyes were. They were closed and the person had jet black eyelashes, Peter’s were russet brown.

She jumped as she felt a hand on her shoulder and turned, finding herself staring at a handsome face with deep brown eyes, pointed ears and slightly charred skin. The man was also sat in a wheelchair.

“Peter,” she exclaimed and opened her arms into his extended embrace. He kissed her gingerly on her cheek at first and then again and again until he was finally kissing her on the lips.

“Urgh,” Robert said behind him. “Will you stop that? You’re embarrassing me.”

Peter and Karen pulled away from each other smiling.

“I’ve been an idiot,” Peter said looking at Karen.

“Oh shush, it doesn’t matter now,” Karen replied.

“Yes it does,” he said taking her hands in his “I-I used baby powder instead of pixie dust to make the rocket fly. You see Tink and I had an argument and-”

“I don’t want to hear it. I thought after the fire you’d have changed, but you’re just as crazy now, as you were before.”

“The only thing I’m crazy about is you,” he said, before continuing in a softer voice, “I know the rocket is destroyed now, but I even made your chair extra cushiony because I know you get bad back when you sit down for too long.”

“Dad, are you going to build another rocket, for us to go to Neverland in?” Robert asked.

Before Peter could answer Karen snapped, “Neverland isn’t real.”

“But Dad says…”

“But Dad says nothing.”

“But Tinkerbell….”

“But Tinkerbell nothing. The only thing inside that box is a light bulb”, Karen said, reaching up and snatching the box from Peter’s lap.

“Careful,” Peter warned, but Karen paid no attention, she snapped the lid off the box and her eyes widened when a faint glow streamed onto her face.

Karen finally found her voice, “Where did you say Neverland is?” she asked.

Peter pointed to the window, “Second star to the right and straight on till morning.”

End

Bio: Jade De-Terville is a writer from Hampshire, ever since she learned to read she loved fiction. With a degree in Business Management and Creative Writing Jade is currently focusing on her day job, which has taken her across the world to New York. She writes in her spare time and hopes that readers love her work as much as she loves the writers that she has over the years.

Thank you very much again, dear friends, for visiting my blog. Please share your thoughts with us, if you will. have a great day.

ڰۣIn Loving Light from the Fairy Ladyڰۣ

Sunday, 14 June 2015

What is it that divides us ?

What is it that divides us ?

Hi, Dear Friends and Followers! Today I present another selection by Professor P. Krishna, on the subject of what keeps people apart. I saw that his last essay was well-received and I hope that you find this one equally as enlightening. I appreciate your comments very much.
by Prof. P. Krishna

Rector, Rajghat Education Centre, Krishnamurti Foundation India, Varanasi 221001, India

(Based on a talk delivered at the International Theosophical Centre at Naarden, The Netherlands, on 23rd July, 1992.)

One of the major concerns of Mrs. Annie Besant, as a theosophist, was the creation of a universal brotherhood of man. She tried all through her life to teach that all life is sacred, that all human beings are equal, that different religions are merely different approaches to the same truth, that all life and the entire environment around the earth constitute one whole of which man is an intrinsic part. The greatest threat to the creation of one-world and a universal brotherhood of man is his tendency to identify himself with those who appear to be similar to him. This has divided mankind into a large number of groups - religious groups, national groups, ethnic groups, linguistic groups, caste groups, professional groups, political and ideological groups and family groups - all of which from time to time become antagonistic to other groups when their self-interest needs to be protected. The desire of an individual to belong to a group is born out of a sense of security he feels in belonging to it. Yet, it is obvious, that this very division into groups has created the greatest insecurity for all human beings on this earth, through war, riots, infighting and competition.

In spite of all the ideals of unity, one world and universal brotherhood, it is clear that mankind is moving in the opposite direction. One has witnessed in recent years the splitting up of countries like USSR, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia with much associated violence and cruelty. In India too there are similar separatist tendencies in Kashmir, in Punjab, in Assam, and the Hindu-Muslim division is growing more acute day by day. We must therefore ask ourselves, why after thousands of years of so called culture and civilization, mankind is still so brutal, so badly divided ? What is it that divides us ?

If one examines that seriously, one finds that the division among people arises from a feeling that `we' are separate from `them', which in turn arises from the feeling of being different. But are we really different or do we only imagine that we are different ? I would like to examine that very scientifically, objectively and precisely, without taking sides or becoming emotional about either religion or culture.

Let us look at human beings who appear to be divided - we could take Hindus and Muslims or Arabs and Jews or any other set of people - and ask ourselves whether their differences are real or imaginary. By imaginary I mean something which is not factually existing but has been simply constructed by the mind in imagination. A human being has a body and a consciousness. So, are we really different in our bodies and are we very different in our consciousness ? If we go to a doctor or a biologist and ask him whether there are significant differences in the body, he will tell us that they are very superficial - the colour of the skin may be different, the colour of the hair may be different, but inside the skin the blood is the same, the heart, the liver, the lungs, everything is the same. You can exchange the blood of one person with that of another person from any nation, any religion, anywhere. Therefore, obviously, in our bodies we are really not different except in the outer shape and features.

Next, let us consider whether we are really different from each other in our consciousness or we merely differ in our ideas, which are things which we acquire from our particular culture, and therefore, feel we are different from each other when in reality we may not be. If you strip a human being of all his possessions, his house, his property, his knowledge and look at the content of his consciousness, is he really very different from another human being? Is the consciousness very different for the poor man and the rich man, for the Hindu, the Muslim or the Jew, for the American or the Indian ? I am referring to what we really are, not our collections, not what we have accumulated. If we look beyond the superficial we find that every human being has the same feelings - the sense of fear, the sense of insecurity, the sense of loneliness, the desire to succeed in life, to be somebody. Every human being has attachments and consequent suffering when that attachment is broken. Every human being has desires and is struggling to fulfill them or cope with them. In what way do we really differ ? One man may desire this, another man may desire that. One human being may worship in one way, the other human being may worship in a different way, but the need to worship, the psychological needs of the human being, the instincts, are all the same. So I question whether we are really different or we just imagine that we are different ? Is it not like one wave on the surface of the ocean telling another wave, "I am different from you" because it is a little different in height, in shape, in the speed with which it is moving ? If it were aware of the depth of that ocean, it would see that these differences are trivial, are not of any great significance. So it seems to me that because we have given tremendous importance to the superficial therefore, we feel and think we are very different from each other. If we were aware of the depths of our consciousness, of what we are as human beings, not just the superficial ideas and knowledge in the conscious mind, but the whole of our being, it would be exactly like the wave in an ocean. It is made up of water, it has seven miles depth of ocean, in common with all other waves, but it feels different just because on the surface it is a little different.

So it seems to me that whenever we see division, whenever we feel division in ourselves, we must examine whether that difference is not arising because one is looking at the whole thing in a very fragmentary, narrow, limited or superficial manner. The division between science and religion also arises because we give to these two quests rather narrow meanings. In actual fact science is man's quest for the discovery of the order which manifests itself in the external world of matter and energy and the religious quest is humanity's quest for the discovery of order in the inner world of our consciousness. There is really no division or antagonism between them. So is it everywhere else. Facts and reality do not divide, but illusions which our mind builds up around them divide. Division is created by our own mind because it does not see things factually, it has conjectures about it, it has opinions about it, it has a whole lot of prejudices, predilections associated with what it observes. What they do in society to overcome this is to create a new illusion in order to unite people. You find that if in India the internal situation is bad and people are fighting with each other and are divided, one way of uniting them is to talk about nationalism and to say that Pakistan is our greatest enemy and then out of that common hatred the people feel united; but among themselves they are divided on the basis of caste, on the basis of religion, on the basis of all kinds of superficial differences to which they have given tremendous importance. When you have all these divisions you need another illusion to bring you together and then we say that is unity, that is integration. It is only another illusion. Temporarily it may excite you into unity but that is not real unity.

If one were to look at life and have a deep understanding of life and of oneself, then there is no division because the facts don't divide. The fact that I go to a temple and you go to a synagogue or a church doesn't divide. It just says that this man goes to this building and the other goes elsewhere. This man kneels, that man stands. This man takes out his shoes, that man does it with shoes on. Does that divide ? It doesn't. So facts don't divide and if there is really no division, there is no need for integration. You want to integrate that which is divided. But we must first examine whether the division is a fact or that division itself is an illusion. If that division is out of illusion, when that illusion ends the division will end. Then there is no need for integration because there is no division. So it becomes a wrong question how to integrate the peoples of Russia. They are not divided. They think they are divided which is out of ignorance. That ignorance has to be dispelled so that we see the fact that we are not divided. It is a fallacy to think that we need to do propaganda to unite.

If you end all propaganda and all illusion, then there is no division. Therefore the most important thing, which the sages have pointed out but we need to realize it for ourselves, is to dispel ignorance and get out of a superficial view of each other and of life. At present, unfortunately, we are being educated into our prejudices. I am using the word "Education" not only in the sense of what we do in school, but also all the other influences in the bringing up of a child in society, which includes the influence of family, of television, etc. We get educated into our prejudices and these are perpetuated by the tremendous inertia in human society. Take the example of casteism in India. It started 5000 or more years back. The society was then divided into four different castes. We do not quite know why they did it, what was their intention at that time. What we know is what we see now. The government is trying to eliminate castes, it says all people have equal opportunity, it says professions are not to go along caste lines, that there will be no discrimination. That is the law, but still it goes on because in each family the child grows up seeing discrimination going on around him. The lower caste man is treated in a particular way, you don't sit and eat food with him etc. and he sees this discrimination going on. He sees that people don't marry outside their caste and that is what he picks up from the environment.

You may say anything in the classroom but what he is seeing in the society has a much greater influence on his mind, so he grows up with it and acquires that prejudice without being aware that it is a prejudice. To him that is a fact, that is a reality. I just took that as an example. You can see that it is the same in every society, in every place. That is why Americans continue to be Americans and Indians continue to be Indians and Christians continue to be Christians. We create the younger generation in our own image. There may be a little change in ideas here and there but by and large you will see that the younger generation is created in the image of the older generation which means we successfully transmit all our prejudices to our children ! We are not aware of it. We think we love them and we are doing good to them - but we need to examine that, we need to question that. That is what questioning means - not to accept anything that we have assumed till now unquestioningly. Our intention may be good but if education is based on ignorance it is false and we may really be damaging our children when we are educating them as we consider proper. In this world, if the Jews are going to leave behind children who are Jews, and the Arabs are going to produce children who are Arabs, and the Hindus leave behind Hindus, the old people all die but the young people grow up in the image of the old people, how will the world change ? The same divisions will continue because the prejudice continues from the older generation to the newer generation through a lack of awareness. One is not aware that it is prejudice.

So, if I see that, then I don't want to pass on my prejudices to my children, I don't want to create them in my own image. But this is difficult because we don't know what else to create them into. What shall we teach them if we don't teach them what we have learnt ? So that is a problem. Can we make them aware of this problem ? While we educate them, while we pass on to them our traditions, which we have learnt in our family and not discarded after our questioning, can we at the same time encourage them to question it ? Ask them not to conform but to inquire, to find out whether that is the right way, whether that is true, not accept it blindly. I don't see any other way in which mankind can change in a fundamental sense. It may change politically or economically and it has, but that is all so trivial. Instead of three countries you may become ten countries, but it will not end the divisions because the division arises from the mind when the mind is filled with ignorance. Until that ignorance is dispelled it lives with illusions and the illusions will divide. So fundamentally that is the source of division. It may manifest itself in a more cruel way somewhere and in a less cruel way somewhere else, but the division between countries arises out of this, the division between a man and his wife in the family also arises out of this.

At present we are not only passing on our prejudices but we are creating groups around a common prejudice. As a Hindu I may have a certain notion of God which I acquired during my childhood but that notion about God may be an illusion. Around that illusion we collect a whole lot of people who all believe in the same illusion. Similarly there is another group around another illusion. Then this group feels separate from that group. The whole division is based on illusion. Then we talk about tolerance. You must respect the other fellow for his illusion, his illusions are not inferior to your illusions and so on ! Tolerance means I don't love you, but I will put up with you, and we consider it a virtue because we are not willing to give up our illusions. We are not willing to live with facts and end division because we are attached to our illusions.

So can we refuse to belong to any group around any illusion ? You will ask me, whether as theosophists, we are not also a group ? What is the difference ? If we consider theosophy to be a number of answers, conclusions, to which we all agree to hold, then we do indeed create a new group, a new religion, and therefore a new division in mankind. But if we look upon Theosophy not as a body of answers or as instructions to be obeyed, but as an approach to life, an approach which says I want to find out was is true, I want to find out what is right, I want to look at things not fragmentarily, but holistically, then we are all students of life and that is not a group which divides. We do not have the answers, therefore there is nothing to propagate. One is only pointing out that that is the right way to approach life, to approach a problem or an issue like a student and such an approach is central to theosophy. Because how does one know the answers ? The Christians have their own answers, the Jews have their own answers, somebody else has his own answers and they all fight over the answers. Therefore let us not give importance to answers but to questions. It is not important to live with conclusions, it is important to live with inquiry, with a deep sense of mystery, with the humility which comes from knowing that we do not know. We must accept that we do not know and have the willingness to inquire.

Is it at all necessary to arrive at an answer ? Is it not enough to live with an inquiring mind right through life ? Does inquiry have to end in a conclusion or is it possible to love inquiry itself and therefore live with inquiry ? Why does one need a conclusion ? We must ask ourselves why we always want an answer. Is that also something that we have been conditioned into ? Then the enquiry becomes a process of fulfillment of the desire to get the answer. One may call it a noble desire but it is also a desire and it is seeking fulfillment in an answer. And how will you ever know that your have arrived ? When we feel that, it may just be that we are satisfied with a particular prejudice since we don't know whether it is really true. So often things have appeared to be true when they are not true. I am sure all of us, if we look back, will find that our ideas have changed, our opinions have changed, so how can we be sure they will not change again ? So why should I be attached to my particular opinions now and of what value is that opinion ?

This does not mean that we must not have opinions, one is not saying that. But opinions are not important things, only facts are important. Therefore let us keep looking for facts and doubting all opinions, holding them tentatively, knowing that they may be born of ignorance, knowing also that if we get attached to our opinions, our particular answers or conclusions, our beliefs, we create a new division in the world. Universal brotherhood of man is not an ideal, a motto, but a fact. Not that as theosophists, we believe in universal brotherhood of man. The other man is your brother. Indeed Krishnamurti went a step further. He said the other man is yourself. Not your brother, but yourself. Because, what is the difference ? To the extent one wave of the ocean is different from another wave of the ocean, to that extent we are different from each other. The Buddha expressed it with another analogy. He said one human being differs from another only as much as one candle differs from another candle and that difference is not more than the difference between what that candle is now and what it was earlier. Because, with time and experience my ideas keep changing, my conditioning is changing and the difference between me and you is also just a difference in conditioning and your conditioning is also changing.

So, if as an individual, knowing that I am a part of this whole mysterious phenomenon of life, knowing that I have come into this world not by choice, been bestowed with these faculties which the human mind possesses, the question arises: what is the right use of these faculties ? Are we making the right use of these faculties ? If we use these faculties to understand our relationship to the whole world to our fellow man, to understand who we are, what our life is, then life is an exploration for which we use these faculties. Take one of the faculties - take thought. What is the right use of thought ? I can use thought as a help in exploration. The entire intellectual exploration is all based on thought. It is limited because it functions within the field of the known. Reason has its limitations, thought has its limitation; but it also has a field within which it can explore. Someone gave the analogy that thought is like the pole of the pole-vaulter. In the game of pole vaulting a man uses the pole to push himself up in order to climb and go over the bar. Reason and thought are like that, like the pole. At the right moment you must be willing to leave the pole if you want to cross over to the other side. It won't take you all the way. But it is a faculty, a very important faculty, which will take you in your enquiry up to a point. You have to find out what that point is at which you must leave that pole. But we are not using thought in that way. We are not using it for exploration. We first choose from the answers that are offered, then align ourselves with one particular answer, group around it and then use thought like a lawyer, defending the particular view which we have chosen. Please see the truth of this. This is what is creating division in the world - the wrong use of thought.

We must ask ourselves whether that is the true function of thought. Is the purpose of the faculty to think, to reason, to imagine, to build walls around oneself ? Should I first say that I am a Hindu, I believe in these things, and then use thought to propagate what I believe in or should thought be used to inquire into what is true ? Which way are we going to use thought ? Are we going to posit what is true as the unknown and inquire into it or are we going to align ourselves with some view which, someone, great or small, says is true. If I join a particular group and do propaganda for what they maintain is the truth, then what I spread is illusion. What I spread is only the word because I have not got the truth, I have not inquired and found out if it is true. If you have simply assumed it then all your abilities and all your intelligence is being used like that of a lawyer. This is precisely what a lawyer does and he accepts money for it. The payment that we receive is the illusory security of that group -- illusory because such group formation has created the greatest insecurity in the world. The lawyer says I will argue only for my client, my client is right because he paid me the money ! He is not using the intelligence to find out who committed the crime, who was wrong. He only use his intelligence to argue that his client was correct. We do a similar thing when we invest our happiness in a particular group, around one particular belief, and that creates division.

So, it is our illusions, our ignorance that divides us. In actual fact there is no division and if we dispel our ignorance there is no need to integrate or to propagate universal brotherhood.


Thank you very much again, dear friends, for visiting my blog. Please share your thoughts with us, if you will. have a great day.

ڰۣIn Loving Light from the Fairy Ladyڰۣ

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