They shared a smile then settled down as comfortably as was possible. Both of them feeling stronger for the other’s friendship, they were ready for another story. The Giraffe spoke as follows:
In the beginning there was only The Infinite. There were no limits. All was time; all was space, directions, dimensions: The Infinite expanded in an uninterrupted flow. Then, one day – for lack of a better term, since there was no such thing as a single unit of time – a portion of The Infinite thought itself into existence. One little dot of unmoving tangible mass known as Atom, or the first.
Of course, Atom was still connected to The Infinite in ways neither could understand and so his little tangent acted like an anchor, disrupting the flow and sending ripples throughout The Infinite. Such a curiosity was this lone Atom that other portions thought they should try existing too. Soon, many tangents shot off like tributaries of a great ocean.
Now, there’s no way of saying whether this was a good thing or a bad thing – especially since the concepts of “good” and “bad” hadn’t been invented yet. Some of the children of Atom argued that The Infinite was devolving into a lower state of being. Others argued that this was The Infinite’s way of expanding beyond infinity – in a way that seems perhaps contradictory – that The Finite was a new frontier and therefore represented the next step beyond limitless being. However, for all that they argued amongst each other, it was in their private thoughts that the fiercest debate raged. Each individual struggled to make sense of their new reality. Some of the atoms wanted to go back to the infinite, either due to fear of the unknown or longing for their past or simply to escape their whirling thoughts and countless questions. You see, there wasn’t anything to do but think, since the material world only consisted of loose threads and empty space.
One of the atoms thought he had it figured out better than the others and so, whatever this was, he thought he should be in charge of it. Since there was so much confusion, and since it’s always easier to follow someone else than to figure things out for yourself, a few atoms offered their help. He even convinced them that they would benefit from his rule and could share in his power. This made their devotion unwavering. Of course, he really had nothing to offer them that they didn’t already have. They had already been part of infinite being and, even this new world offered virtually limitless potential, since it had yet to be built. Still, they had been conned in the very first pyramid scheme, and set out to perpetuate the lie. Together, they devised a plan to build something out of that space and to provide all the answers to all those silly questions. They would use the confusion to create order out of chaos.
The Builders of Space set up shop on the corner of a fractal and made their first shape: a simple cube. The other atoms saw this strange thing and asked what it was.
“Why, it’s a home,” The Builders replied, “a place to spend your time. We’ll let you stay in it, but just for a little while.”
The atoms had never seen a cube before and figured it was as good a place to stay as any. The Builders then made more and more shapes and offered them to the atoms. Soon, there were so many shapes on that one fractal, and so many anchors of The Infinite living there, that the flow began to drag. Like slowed traffic along the side of an accident, everyone thought this city of shapes was something to look at, and wanted to be a part of it. There was such an explosion in demand for shapes and the building of homes that The Big Sprawl occurred. The flow became so hindered after this that it chugged along like an ancient steam engine. The atoms stopped asking themselves so many questions and decided that this must be the thing to do in this reality, since that’s what everyone else was doing.
Now that The Builders had a monopoly on Space and could sell anything they built, they began construction on the next phase of the plan, a giant wheel for all their other shapes to turn on. The atoms noticed their city of shapes moving along this wheel and realized that it always returned to the same place it started. The Builders explained that each turn of this wheel was a unit of time, and when each atom’s turn was up, they had to leave the land of shapes.
This terrified the atoms, who finally thought they had things all figured out. If they had to leave the land of shapes, where would they go? They begged and pleaded with The Builders for more time in their homes. The Builders said, “We’re sorry, we cannot help you. If you want to stay on the wheel longer, you’ll have to speak to The Lenders of Time. We just built them a bank down the street and you can find them there.” So the atoms lined up at the door to the bank and made all sorts of deals with The Lenders just to get more time on the wheel.
This plan worked well, and still does to this day. Like carnival operators, the Lenders sell time on a giant Ferris wheel that goes nowhere and keeps everyone too distracted to ask how they got on it. In order to keep it interesting, from time to time the Builders have to upgrade the Lender’s carnival. Over the course of history, they’ve developed all sorts of distractions. From Coliseum games to sex toys, from wars and politics to movies and TV. And that’s where we come in.
It’s all a big show and we’re here as the stage hands and actors. Each and every one of us in these pens was designed with one thought in mind: ratings. It’s what they made us for. Without us, the show becomes dull and people start leaving the theater, they start asking the big questions again.
That’s what they fear the most, that we might start questioning this order they’ve created. But that’s where our power comes in. Once we realize that we choose to be here, that we can write our own destiny and that we still possess all the knowledge and power of The Infinite within each of us, their scam will be exposed for the illusion it is. We are infinite beings; we do not need to beg for more time. We are the elements that make up the universe; we do not need to submit for the privilege of their shelter. Once we realize that, their power structure disappears.
And we begin to live.
Sun of the Night by Peter Birkhäuser
12 hours ago