- XOP-108 Seeding Year 1120.
- RDR-27: narrative summary of 26 petabyte archive.
- ROOT-108: anomalous entity ‘Abystery’ report.
The High Neem lurched back to reality. He was nearly sick.
The blue lights around his head faded back and he became aware, once again, of the chair his real body reclined in. His feelings were intense and yet he struggled to describe them to himself. At one and the same time he could see that there was no essence to things, nothing existed separately, and that because they were so fragile and evanescent, he could not help but love them. The poignancy of it pierced his heart. Everything, including his own ‘self’, flickered into, and out of, existence. If the conditions were just right, then a process would occur. That’s all! The ’essence’ he had thought of as being the true meaning behind all things, his hallowed Ship of Light, was an illusion. He laughed. Even hurting as he was, the fact that words had a way of making things seem a lot more real than they really were seemed very funny.
And yet, how tragic!
Even as he chuckled, he sighed. A great rending immensity of pain tore at his chest. There had always lurked behind his religious certainties a terrible dread that there was nothing to cling on to. The feeling that he wasn’t even real had haunted his dreams throughout his life and now that fear was realised. He saw that it was one of his only really true responses. The engine behind his fervent belief in his God came from this great need, this deep yearning for meaning and goodness, for some kind of safety. It was indeed Good, but now, at last, he felt in his very bones that it was not really how things were. It was not True.
God damn it, the Top Prof had a point!
His body had been trembling and he felt now all the tears and snot that had been running freely down his face. What a mess!
The sense of the wreckage of everything, both inside and out, was all wrapped in a profound and ambiguous relaxation. How very strange that the sense of crisis was attended by this calm. He considered it. How could these two co-exist? As he pondered this, something clicked and he realised that it was a kind of letting go. The stories about himself and his idea of ‘God’ were themselves just passing phenomena. The need to maintain them just sort of drifted off. In their absence there was a great relief because all this wasn’t really happening TO anyone! His identity was actually an activity. A continuous story-telling of who he was and what things meant. Now that he had seen everything as this one, giant process, he thought ‘why bother?’
This peaceful feeling was itself wrapped in the awareness that there was no possibility of keeping an individual safe. If a being was sentient, then it would be haunted by this universal fact of - what should it be called, this everything-in-process thing? “Impermanence?”. Yes, let’s call it that. What was that feeling? It was as though it was the same feeling but with two aspects. The one, going inward, was aglow with a great serenity, there was nothing to hang on to, true, but there was no-one to do the hanging! Going outwards, the feeling was one of complete sameness with all other beings. They were in exactly the same boat as himself whether they knew it or not.
With a little jump, he suddenly realised that this spontaneous love he felt springing up for all his fellow creatures, was wonderfully Good. The kind of ‘Good’ he had been wrapping up in all the rhetoric about the Ship of Light and all that Neemianism. Although he had been sincere in his belief in all those things, he had not truly felt the ‘divine compassion’ he had so often preached about. And now, here it was!
“We are sorry for shocking you so, and we are delighted at your peace.” said the Abystery. The whole thing had been a gamble after all. “You have heard the cries of the world. You have seen the lack of essences.”
“Can I introduce you to someone?” he asked the Abystery.