Archive for September, 2010
To guard the children.
Not to bite the children.
Not to tip over the trash.
To distinguish between friend and foe.
To come when called.
To guide the blind.
A dog can fail in a thousand ways
We ask nothing of our cats but that they should be beautiful. — Kate
SonataH writes “Both brothers were right, both believed that by performing a lesser evil, a greater evil would be stopped.” Thank you. Yet, when has one the true right to trust what one believes to be true? One is never certain. Yet, has one the true right to not act on what one believes to be true? Those who take any responsibility, be it small or be it great, must face these immortal issues. Those who take no responsibility are responsible for their inaction. There is no escaping this crucifixion. (more…)
We’re still attempting to verify if indeed that was the real Janice who posted a comment under that name. So far, we’ve had no response from Oxadrenals. — Stephen
I have no doubt that what we read in the newly posted installment 6 of Narrative 5: Janice Among the Immortals will provoke great controversy. As it should. (Note: Please use this blog post itself for comments. As the comments are now threaded, we can now choose which threads to participate in, and let us use this forum to burrow deeper rather than to attack one another.)
Janice quotes Alexandros as saying approximately the following things (I am editing slightly):
I was young when the ice sheets melted and the ocean rose to flood the world. I was young when the first great fields were tilled, and the foundations of Jericho laid. These I remember, and much more beside. So do others among us. We look back and see the human world becoming, and with memories so full we can also foresee. So it was in 1919 when as one world war ceased we saw a second war coming. As did many others, mortal as well as Immortal.
But we saw too what others did not: a flood of fire, a catastrophe so fearful only a god could create, and, yet made by the hands of mortal men. Yahanna too envisioned the nuclear gods, and she was amazed. And she gave us leave to delay that fire until passions cooled.
We could not stop the second world war from coming, but we could shape it. And so we did. We found two terrible men and brought them to power. Why? Because in blurred future sight, we saw that the great horrors of Stalin and Hitler would prevent a greater horror. And so it came about: though the nuclear gods did come to birth, the two powers that wielded these gods were chastened by the horror we had caused them to know, and found the wisdom not to unleash them.
Were we right to have touched history in this terrible way? Did we do good or evil? Was it an act of compassion to cause in clear sight the death of millions because we saw otherwise in blurred future vision the death of billions? Was this egoism or wisdom? Did we have a right to act? Or, did we have the right not to act, foreseeing as we did?
Janice’s comment after hearing this is as good a summary as any: “You create a Hitler knowing he’ll kill millions because you think that otherwise nuclear bombs will kill billions. That’s what you call stepping up. Or really awful. I’m not sure.”
Nor am I. This is hard to swallow.
There is much more of interest in this installment as well, including credit given by the Immortals to mortals, rather along the lines of some things our reader “Bob” has said. But it is, in my opinion, overshadowed by ths one great matter; a matter foreshadowed, clearly, in Soraya’s fable. – Stephen
I Soraya, ruler of the Blue&Blacks, co-originator, with Alexandros, of the Immortal Illuminati, address Jimmy,” who complains that I do not speak to him, and takes issue with my statement of fact that religions are like fashions:
He writes: “The three biggest religions in the world all derive similarly from one source. I’m talking about Orthodox Judaism, Christianity and Islam. … This alone disproves the statement that religions change so fast. These three have been around for thousands of years.”
Consider: The Hebrew religion of 1000 B.C. was of a type called by your scholars henotheistic (many Gods, one chief God). The Hebrew religion of 500 B.C. was monotheistic, but involved temple sacrifices to that single deity, and had taken in much of Greek Platonism. Only after those unsubtle rulers the Romans razed the second temple, what is called Judaism appeared, a religion based on books, not altars. The changes are greater than the consistencies. (more…)
In installment 5, we enter the underground world of the Illuminati. Just barely enter it. But enough to see how you get there.
“How,” not like in directions, but in process. Janice calls it “driving into the land of Faerie,” and she means what it feels like to her. Not at all like I imagined. I more or less figured you walk up to something like this and a hidden door opens.
In the next installment after this one, we meet Alexandros. But right toward the end of this one we do see someone we recognize living down below. — Flyss
(P.S. I’m getting worried that the “walnut” the weird radiologist saw on Janice’s CT-scan in installment 5 of Narrative 3 might be something bad.)
A priest of the Temple of the Clouds (whose great gong is shown above) saw in vision a path to save tens of millions of lives: He must kill Hideki Tojo, else Tojo attack America and start a terrible war.
Tojo had not yet been born.
The priest was Buddhist, a man devoted to compassion. He had vowed to serve all sentient beings. His visions were never wrong.
He vowed to kill Tojo.
On the same single night, the pregnant mother of Hideki saw in vision that a man would try to kill her infant son. She called upon a Buddhist priest to pray for her son. That man lived at the Temple of the Clouds. He was the brother of the first man.
That second priest saw in vision that if Tojo died, Japan would not attack America; that if Japan did not attack America, America would not defend the world from a greater evil; and that if America did not defend the world, hundreds of millions would die. His visions were never wrong.
He vowed to watch over the infant.
His brother came. He tried to save the child without harming his beloved brother, but he could not. He killed his brother, but Tojo lived.
At the end of “Tied-Up, Helpless, Loving” (the latest installment of Narrative 5), Janice plays bondage games with Blair again, and this time he surrenders to it. And you know what? I think it’s the best thing that ever happened to him.
But the first part of the installment is about a different level of bondage: We meet some members of the blue&black organization, and we find that if any one of them were to tell the world about the immortals they’d die instantly. (Or, at least, they think they would, which is still bondage.)
Also they call hangers-on “lice.” I agree that Menniss is a louse, but to call mortals who are hungry for immortality “lice” is disgusting.
I know, I know, this is all written by Oxadrenals, and shows his bias. But with details like this, it’s hard to see the Immortal Illuminati as the good-deed-doers they say they are. Soraya, are you willing to refute anything here? — Flyss
In the most recent installment, the Blue&Blacks,there’s a moment of innocence, and then the helicopters arrive. It’s terrible. — Flyss
To “Merlin,”who asks about the religious beliefs of the Immortals.
Religions are like fashions: they change so fast it’s impossible to keep up. (more…)
People say redwood forests are beautiful, but I don’t like them. True, the trees stand there perfectly straight reaching into the sky all cathedral-grand, and you can walk between them like you’re in a park, no shrubs to trip over.
But the reason there’s no shrubs to trip over is that redwood forests block the light with their canopy and poison the ground with their acid bark and basically kill off everything besides themselves. And they also kill each other a lot. Bigger trees choke out smaller trees, and so there’s fallen trunks lying here and there.
Here I was, a little live thing, scurrying around tickling their feet. “Sorry for living,” I said.
But somehow I don’t think Janice is actually going to get choked out by anyone. Those big guys have a surprise coming. — Flyss
After the dark and disturbing world of Narrative 4, it is a breath of life to return to Janice’s perspective in Narrative 5. Not that she is without problems. Quite the contrary. But she is a radiant being.
In this narrative, she describes a visit to the underground world of the Immortal Illuminati, and gives us the content of a speech delivered there by Alexandros.The purpose of the speech appears to be to justify the work of the Illuminati, but it raises many difficult issues. She then tells of a subsequent close personal encounter with the Eldest, and sets down in words much that is wordless. We learn a great deal through her perceptive eyes.
The opening quote comes from a poem by Sylvia Plath, and in a way it encompasses everything.
“Compared with me, a tree is immortal
and a flower-head not tall, but more startling
I want the one’s longevity and the other’s daring.”
At the beginning of the narrative, she has just left Saul and Menniss and is walking alone through redwood forest.– Kate
I have removed a comment by a reader in which he spoke disrespectfully of Eldest. I wish to explain why.
(1) The tone of the comment was rude and insulting. That would be inappropriate directed toward anyone.
(2) It is particularly so toward the Eldest, for several reasons.
(3) Someone of her age — possibly the oldest living human being — deserves to be treated respectfully simply for that age.
(4) She is exceedingly powerful, and therefore potentially dangerous. However, she does not treat mortal beings with contempt. Rather, she continually befriends them, extending love and affection to them.
(5) In person, she commands respect via her charisma and penetrating mind, as our own Flyss attests in the thread beginning here.
(6) Keep in mind that the Eldest is not herself interfering with the Immortality Project. Rather, she is giving that project protection from its enemies: the Immortal Illuminati. In general she does not attempt to control events; rather, she gently nudges aspects of circumstance in order (I believe) to bring out their true nature. This too, I believe, commands respect.
For all these reasons, as well as the esteem in which she is held by both Oxadrenals and Saul, we will not permit disrespectful comments about her on this site. — Stephen
The final section of Narrative 4 of the Immortality Project will be be posted shortly. Then we’ll have to move on almost immediately to Narrative 5, as the sequencing countdown continues to advance, and Oxadrenals feels it necessary to have all of the sixth narrative posted by the time the clock reaches 100%. — Stephen
Narrative 7 of the Hanger-On covers a lot of ground. Besides containing that great quote Kate talks about, it takes us to a dark beach where we glimpse Soraya’s blue&black paramilitaries, and then witness the intervention of the Eldest.
I happen to have visited several beaches at night when we were in Santa Cruz a few months back, and the scene reminds me of a couple of photos I took back then.
Here’s a Santa Cruz beach with fire circles like the one Saul and Menniss visit:
Here’s a closeup of one of the fire circles (no naked girls like in the story, sorry):
And here’s a cliff probably a lot like the one the blue&blacks came down:
I believe these are all metaphors for the way in which he (and the rest of us) are are trapped by mortality. As Lemon says in Installment 7 of the The Hanger-On:
You’re born in a collapsing room, and the ceiling starts coming down from the moment of your first breath. It never stops, and one day it will get low enough to squeeze the juice out of you.
Don’t we all face this?
How do you deal with it? — Kate
In installment 6 of The Hanger-On, aptly named “Trust,” Menniss has surgery in the back seat of a Lexus.
I went to a dealership and took this photo:
Nice car and all, but eeuuoo! Remind me not to do that, OK?– Flyss
P.S. As for how the chip got there, perhaps Richard Menniss had the same thing happen to him as what I watched agents of Soraya do to the man we referred to as “the Bounty Hunter.” It’s very similar to what I imagined, except the chip was put his belly rather than his foot.
The sequencing task ifs forging steadily ahead, and in order to keep on schedule, we must finish posting The Hanger-On (the fourth narrative of the Immortality Project) in the next few days. That is why installment 6, Trust, is so long.
But it’s a highly eventful, if disturbing, chunk of narrative; and, at its end, we see the extent of Soraya’s reach.– Stephen
Gruesome as this whole narrative is, it’s also very funny. From installment 5 of the Hanger-On, titled Under the Canopy:
(Menniss is telling Saul about his doctor friend Lemon, who is something of a doctor to the criminal underworld.)
“Here’s his real tour de force: he installs internal Kevlar shields to protect vital organs.”
“I marvel to hear of it,” Saul says. “This can actually be done? Does it work well?”
“It works, but its uncomfortable,” Menniss says. “I wore one over my spleen for awhile, but I’m a stomach sleeper, so I had to take it out.” — Flyss
P.S. If you’re wondering why I’m not showing pictures of the places in the stories, it’s because I can’t go there just now. Not allowed: strict instructions of Oxadrenals and Soraya. I’m cooling my heels here in Denver, getting frustrated and bored not doing anything. Probably go down the rabbit hole just for that reason alone.
Menniss says something early on in this narrative that I think captures the essence of the whole process: It doesn’t matter whether immortality is a good thing or not. The desire for it is ineradicable, greater than the thirst for water. It is the desire to live: the essence of all thirsts rolled into one. — Stephen
For new readers: The Hanger-On is Narrative 4 of the chronicles of the Immortality Project. These narratives detail the events leading up to the current conflict between the Hafeems behind the project (Oxadrenals foremost) and the Immortal Illuminati who wish to suppress it. Though the narratives currently detail events that occurred early in 2010, they will soon converge on the present.
I,Soraya, respond here to questions posed by readers of this site.
C writes: “Your organization controls much of what is fed to the majority of humans emotionally and mentally speaking, so naturally there’s not much free will for them to think for themselves.” To this I answer: perhaps it would be better if we had such power. Perhaps the world would be a better place. Or, perhaps, our wisdom would fail, and we would cause more harm than we would cause good. But we have not that power. There are many gods in the world, and we are but one. There is the greatest god, that which the Eldest worships and serves: Chance, by others called God in contradistinction (but as we humans understand not the will of the creator, if there be one, nor experience as loving that which may be love divine and incomprehensible, there is no true difference in the namings.) There is the power of human governments, and of the rich and connected who run them. There is the frightening power of this new god called science, that changes all things, and called up into being at Alamogordo a terrible demon whose fire no being can survive. Science too it is that reads the letters of DNA, and may rewrite them. There is the god of culture, that, despite all attempts by other gods to control it, spirals on its own life. (To Kate I say, I have fought for 80 centuries to advance the position of women, and yet it was not my doing but that of brave mortal women who, via their suffering and will, moved the god to grant it.) There is now the new god Google, which we fear close to our fear of the nuclear demon. And many more. Yes, we have far seeing eyes and a strong fist, but we do not control all things. For example, we do not even know exactly where Oxadrenals’ underground lab is located (though we expect to discover that soon.)
C also asks “do you get bored of living life?” How can I? Humanity as a whole is a great, grand, willful, creative, unpredictable god; when young, with Alexandros at my side, I swore myself in that god’s service. Boredom, as one of your day might say, “is so not the problem.” :-) (Please excuse my attempt at current youthful idiom, if I have failed to grasp it properly.)
Merlin asks: “Can someone actually be born that many years before and still alive today and be young?” I say, yes, and no. In body I am young, and the Eldest just as young, despite the millennia of passage. A body is not a rock that crumbles but a renewing being. It need not end. That it does end is due to some god’s will, be it what you call Evolution, or the hand of a creature we know not of. That god sometimes applies not that will, and then there is no aging. A living thing could, why not, live longer than a star? (Though the Great God chance would surely end the being in time — I have known a woman eleven hundred centuries old to die when a great fire came and he could not hide.) But in mind I am not young; I am aged with my eight thousand years of burdened life.
Observer writes: “I wonder, were the Eldest here, what she would make of everyone considering themselves to be insignificant trifles compared to her?” I would not presume to guess what she thinks, but she does not act as if anything or anyone is insignificant. To sit at her feel is to feel for a moment as if no one but yourself exists in all the world, or has ever existed. And though for her all mortal lives pass in a moment’s time, she gives out her love freely to mortal beings, involves them in her actions, befriends, protects, helps and hurts them, loves with compassion or with lust, as friend, mother, sister, lover or executioner according to the promptings of her own soul. That she has given Janice a great role in the drama you are reading is in keeping with what I have seen her do all my life. And I who am one of the greatest powers of the world she may hold no more worthy than an infant she might meet, even an infant sick from conception whose birth is shortly its death. So it is I that regard myself as nothing next to her, not that she thinks so, nor that she judges by longevity, but that in her presence I feel as nothing.– Soraya, ruler of the Blue&Blacks, co-originator, with Alexandros, of the Immortal Illuminati.
SonataH writes: (in response to my welcome to other types of immortals) “Not all wish to be welcomed.” To which I respond: Our welcome requires no response. You are welcome to your utter privacy, your indifference, even your private hostility. We understand and accept. It is only in the face of actual threats against us that we would withdraw the welcome, and show another side of ourselves.
– Soraya, ruler of the Blue&Blacks, co-originator, with Alexandros, of the Immortal Illuminati.
Among other things, the trialogue between Saul, Janice and Menniss is hilarious! At the same time, I was moved by Saul’s ability to recognize, and bring out, Menniss’ badly damaged underlying nobility.
The coincidences the title speaks of is clearly not that at all. The convergence upon Santa Cruz has been orchestrated by The Eldest.
It was she who caused Blair to abandon Saul in Santa Cruz and who later directed Saul to return to Santa Cruz. It was also she directed Oxadrenals to build his community of Hafeems there.* Isn’t it interesting how it is that though she worships chance, she also controls circumstances to a surprising extent.
And yet, perhaps it is all in the service of bringing matters to a point of maximum concentration, the low-entropic points at which chance plays the maximum role. — Stephen
*I know this last fact via personal communication from Oxadrenals (though it is hinted at in some of the dialogue between Janice and Oxadrenals/Zeke in Narrative 3.) The other points were explicitly noted in the published narratives.
Very humble, and that’s a good thing. But if she think’s she’s a vapor, being only 8000 years old, how substantified do you think she thinks youse guys are, one by one? – Ox
I am not worthy to be considered in the same breath as that Great One! I am but a child beside her; incompetent, foolish, thoughtless and without power, lacking foresight or understanding, a breath, a vapor a trivial being of no substance or significance.
My profound apologies to Yahanna for having allowed any such misunderstanding to take place, even for an instant. – Soraya, ruler of the Blue&Blacks, co-originator, with Alexandros, of the Immortal Illuminati.
I suspect that one source of the confusion is that The Eldest was described as being Asian in appearance, and Soraya as having a connection with Japan. But there is no direct relationship between the two.
Soraya is the head of the Blue&blacks, and claims to be perhaps 8000 years old. The Eldest is much, much older; it is said that she dates back to the dawn of speech. That would be 50 – 100 thousand years ago. Soraya works closely with Alexandros. The Eldest is a power unto herself. — Stephen
To gloss my post: “Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights.” Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Installment 3 of The Hanger-On is now posted. Many readers may find it hard to stomach. For me, though, the experience of reading it is a punch in the stomach. It is only too cruelly honest about what it feels like to be an aging man.
We can only assume that Menniss confessed all this to Oxadrenals, knowing that it would be written down. That bravery urges me to an admission: I have felt what he admits feeling as he walks through the Catalyst on the way to meet Francine. I am not proud of it. I do not want to advertise the fact. I do not want young women to know that I feel such things! And yet, while I do not act on them, I share the feelings Menniss so self-ruthlessly describes.
Then, later on in the installment, his heart opens, and all is changed. — Stephen
It was an odd sensation reading my own words in Soraya’s post. Is this flattery to persuade? Well, I’m flattered. I don’t know how persuaded. Partly. I no longer think of them as evil, anyway.
I mentioned earlier that they’ve invited Strattera and me to go visit their underground world.
I won’t be allowed to photograph much, though. Can I live with that? And Stephen’s afraid we’ll be held as hostages.
I don’t know. I’m thinking about it. Any opinions from readers? — Flyss
The “opening quotation” of Narrative 4: The Hanger-On, is supposedly a quote from The Cask of Amontillado, by Edgar Allen Poe. But a close look shows that it is not the actual quotation at all, but a bizarrely altered version. The attribution explains the change: Supposedly,this is the “King James Revision” of the story!
God seems to be the narrator, rather than Montressor (the man bricking in Fortunado in the original.) From my reading, this appears to be a depiction of God bricking us in with mortality and taking credit for giving us peace by killing us in the end. I read the “tiers” here as decades; we are supposed to imagine God blithely bricking us from the moment we are born. The victim (us, or Menniss) first notices what’s happening in his fifth decade, at which point he shakes his chains. God listens for a moment, and then goes on bricking. I supposed this means that we first notice we’re mortal in our 50′s. (That has certainly been the case for me.)
It’s a bizarre yet moving burlesque. We see here how beneath his humor Oxadrenals (for this has to be a product of that peculiar mind) is deeply serious.
But is he reliable? Can we trust him? Or would we in fact find greater security in the experienced, parental, aristocratic realpolitik of Soraya and the True Immortals?
I share the dilemma Kate speaks of.
Clearly Oxadrenals is trying to give us what we want. But is it what we need?
On the other hand, can we, in the modern world, allow an elite, no matter how wise, to choose for us and tell us what we can and cannot have? — Stephen
Though it is a woman speaking
Soraya’s voice is “patriarchal.*” The Elders
with their wisdom choose for us.
Like all elders, they conserve the past.
Patterns must not change, or if they must
the rate of change held back.
The settled course of mortal death must keep its sway for now,
and for tomorrow,
and only after the day after the day after tomorrow
may it begin to loose.
Elders always hold back change, and
perhaps they are wise to do so.
Or perhaps they are simply old and conservative.
Perhaps, like all elites, they are self-serving.
I do not know.
As a “progressive” I hold opposite ideas at once:
No patriarchy should command my life
Yet we should respect the wisdom of the aged.
It may be moot: Oxadrenals project may fail
But against all odds, I see it succeed
And tragedy — the unavoidable choice between two rights — arise.** — Kate
*Properly, “matriarchal,” I know, but if there was a time that a matriarchy ruled the world, it was before written history. That they would have been as oppressive as any patriarchy should go without saying! But I have no historical memory of matriarchal oppression, only patriarchal, and therefore I use the word above, even though as “Observer” points out, it’s not quite right.
Readers had proposed various middle ways between mortality for almost all (the status quo) and immortality for almost all (the most radical alternative.) We concur.
We do understand and recognize that “indefinite life extension” will in time come to all the world. But, as we have discussed with certain members of the SENS foundation, it shall most naturally arrive gradually and in stages: the prevention or cure of this illness or that, the slowing of deterioration in the brain, the skin, the heart; a continued development, in other words, of the progress medicine has already made. We support such work. Such gradual development is most ideal.
As a second, less preferable, but nonetheless graduated path, we the elders might pick and choose worthy individuals to become fully immortal. The responsibility and burden of such choice would weigh heavy upon us, but we would bear that weight for the benefit of all.
In turn, such careworn deliberate limitation of immortality is vastly preferable to that which the project under discussion seeks to offer: wholesale immortality to all who wish it. For this would bring the terrors I have already mentioned.
Many have noted that this “immortality project” is unlikely to succeed. However, though our own first reaction is to agree, experience tells us not to underestimate “Oxadrenals.” For all his flaws, he is greatly gifted too. And, moreover, The Eldest has taken it upon herself to become involved, and to protect him. We sense this as an indication “luck” or “destiny” may be on Oxadrenals side, for it is chance/destiny/luck that The Eldest worships, and she may surely see that which we do not.
It was also noted by readers that there are other kinds of immortals than ourselves, and many arduous spiritual paths to immortality. This we too believe, and welcome as our brothers and sisters all immortalized through these paths. It is the mass effect we fear, not the elevation of the few and worthy. — Soraya, ruler of the Blue&Blacks, co-originator, with Alexandros, of the Immortal Illuminati.
The first installments of Narrative 4 of the Immortality Project chronicles are now posted. The title of the entire narrative is “The Hanger-On,” and the subject is Richard Menniss, Bounty Hunter. (Interesting that he’s characterized as a hanger-on rather than as a “bounty hunter,” though he is in fact both.)
We’re seeing things from Richard Menniss’ point of view. He’s frighteningly good at what he does. Not only does he physically invade people’s homes as easily as a razor blade slicing into butter, he’s just as good at invading people psyches. But he does have a conscience, and he’s troubled.
It’s a very ugly episode, but, really, the ugliness we see is in the world he invades, not in his soul. — Flyss
P.S. I’m not ignoring Soraya’s magisterial post. I’m digesting it.
To begin, I must congratulate the authors of this “blog” on their investigations. They (and I must credit the sadly deceased Glenn especially) have discovered much that we had thought not discoverable. And yet, they have not flagrantly broached their discoveries, but have chastely and judiciously hidden that which would create for ourselves risk and threaten harm. This shows wisdom and prudence. Only of late have they strayed from this path, having set in motion a process that may reveal certain facts we do not wish revealed. Yet they did this for a reason we can profoundly understand: They wish immortality, and fear that we shall act to withhold it from them.
Alas, we feel that we cannot allay this fear, for it is true that we wish to prevent humanity at large from speedily becoming immortal. Slowly, yes, in gradual advancement of span of life, with time to learn and modify the habits of mortal life to fit the contours of the infinite. But not in one great leap, pray God. Months ago, the young Flyss herself foresaw the disaster, using these vivid words:
If people don’t die, earth’s population goes through the roof. If you live forever, even a one-child policy like China has leads to crazy overpopulation. So what are we going to do, talk the whole world into not having kids? Never going to happen. Will we just run out of resources so that everyone starves? Not going to happen either. The super rich and the super connected are going to get immortality first. And then they’re going to take control and make sure they and their family and their friends have whatever they need.
The brilliantly analytical mind of Stephen further explored the issue utilizing the new mathematical science known as “game theory,” and arrived at conclusions that we, with our long if unformalized experience of such matters, fully endorse. His thoughts are too richly detailed for me to quote, and I suggest following the linked thread of his analysis both forward and backwards from the point of access just provided. I would summarize what he says in brief as the risk of pre-emption by the more powerful newly immortal on behalf of themselves against the world.
Preemptive war is not, as some would think, a new invention. In my childhood, during the age you identify with the metal bronze, those rulers of cities who did not strike their neighbors early were struck by them an destroyed. Thus began the terrible, endless cycle of wars. The current text War in Human Civilization by Azar Gat (brought to my attention by Stephen) brilliantly exposits these patterns.
However, Stephen makes one error in his analysis: He supposes that we ourselves are at war with humanity, to preserve our own privilege. This I would deny. We have lived long enough to no longer value ourselves for our own sake, but have abstracted that sense of self-valuation onto the entire human world. We wish only good for the world; all that we do aims for that end; and though we are certainly capable of error, we have great wealth in experience. We think with all the profundity we are capable of before we act, and when we do intervene, we do so steeped in care and planning.
This is in contrast to the heartful, impulsive, well-intentioned but terribly, terribly unwise actions of the “incandescent” Oxadrenals. He is a man of great vitality and humor, but not, alas, one who has the temperament for making great decisions wisely.
Thus, we do indeed wish to suppress his Immortality Project, not for our own good but for the good of all. We agree, however, with several of your readers, that this is unlikely. There are many obstacles. But science has overcome so many obstacles, and produced so many unlikely results, that we must take precautions. And so we have. We are confident that if this disastrous project reaches the brink of success, The Eldest will remove her staying hand and allow us to save humanity from the great horror of universally available immortality.
There is more to say, but I have stretched the medium already. We understand that if the current series of narratives is allowed to be posted without interference, the automatic publication of more damaging narratives will not occur (via an intricate mechanism designed by Stephen, whose capacities in this regard we entirely respect.) Therefore, we shall not interfere. We ask only to see the entire text of each narrative before it is posted, so we can take protective actions if needed.
Thank you all, again, for permitting me this post. I shall answer questions if they are raised respectfully and with serious intent. – Soraya, ruler of the Blue&Blacks, co-originator, with Alexandros, of the Immortal Illuminati.
Flyss, I think all of us (other than Stephen) overreacted about Oxadrenals. He’s navigating difficult waters, both in the world and, more importantly, within himself. That piquant personality of his is the way he keeps himself sane and relatively loving amidst the isolation and multiple losses of a non-mortal life. If it leads him to some peculiar actions, in retrospect they are forgivable. His manipulations and misrepresentations too seem to be relatively benign and justified.
Strattera too is correct: there is a great deal of manipulation going on here. However, I shall defer from judging the Eldest whatsoever, as I am sure Saul himself would want it that way. In any case, I would say that she operates on a plane of primordial intuition that is beyond my own ability to judge.
As for the Immortal Illuminati, I would say they are more within the realm of mortal understanding. They have explicitly given themselves responsibility for guiding and protecting the world. Having taken on this responsible, they are susceptible to judgment for how they carry it through. I can certainly see why they and Oxadrenals don’t see eye to eye: the Illuminati are all about considered judgment, while Ox is all heart.
Certainly, they seem far more adult than he is. But they are also potentially far more sinister. But you may all judge for yourself, as Soraya herself is the author of the post to follow this one. — Kate
No, I’m not literally under attack yet. But defending myself is hard, and so I procrastinated. You have representatives of the Immortal Illuminati in your living rooms, brewing tea and whispering sweet somethings into your still-attached ears. Hard to hold one’s own against that from underground.
All I can say about Menniss is … the next section is written from behind his eyeballs. See what you think of him (and of me for hiring him) after that.
Personally, after interviewing him to write that part, I don’t think as well of myself as I did before. I knew Menniss was a tough guy, but I didn’t really focus on the details. I guess I’m the sort of nice guy who uses mean guys to get things done, and Yes, I am Responsible for Blair’s ear, and for some other things you’ll find out about soon. — Ox
P.S. But as for what I did as Zeke in Ely and as Alexi in Moscow, oh, come on, don’t let the Illuminati sew you into a straight-laced jacket. Humor that hath no bite is just silliness. I aim to be a True Card, not a Jack who’s all Spades. And the folkses themselves thought it was funny.
P.P.S. As for who’s more right, me or the Immortal Illuminati, my answer is: I don’t know. I never said I knew. They’re the one who know what’s right, not me. I just do the best I can. Paving the road to hell, perhaps, but the antidote was never bad intentions.
The last part of Narrative 3 of the Immortality Project Chronicles has been posted. It’s a wild ride! From fear, to friendship, to philosophy, to a cliffhanger ending that crashes right up against the cliff left hanging in the first narrative.
Narrative 4, I’ve heard, is told from the perspective of Richard Menniss. (I’ll miss Janice, but I know we’ll get back to her.) It’s supposed to start appearing in a day or two. — Flyss
P.S. I’m starting to think I overreacted about Ox. Not sure what got into me.
I don’t agree that Janice is in an entirely destructive mood. She feels tempted that way, certainly, but she’s fighting it bravely.
The night before, she felt erased by Blair’s insensitive recitation of three centuries full of romances, but she successfully resisted harming herself as she might have done in the past. (Her description of going to sleep in that state is poignant.) And the next morning, though she takes a foolish risk, I don’t think in her mind it amounts to suicide. Rather, she sees it as bravely marching forth to face her demons. Janice is on a healing path, even if it looks likely to be a long one. — Kate
I wonder if anyone else shares my guess about the identity of the woman who met Blair in the bar in Installment 8. Here’s the description:
“She was very feminine and tiny. Asian, I think. But utterly sure of herself.”
She essentially dares Blair to abandon Saul, in a maneuver calculated to cause Saul immense anguish; and if my guess is right, it is a maneuver acted out with gusto by someone Saul trusts and reveres.
And then, 75 years later, that same person commands Saul to return to the scene of where he was so badly hurt, and to “cease penance and live!” (as described in the early part of The Hafeem Saul.) Possibly this is all some kind of cruel kindness intended to help him grow and develop, but it is breathtakingly manipulative.
Much as I am enjoying my conversations with Soraya’s representative, there is no question that these people, too, are masters of the art manipulating people for their (supposed) own good. If Oxadrenals is a brazen manipulator, he is in good company. - Strattera
RE: installment 9 of the Mortal Janice.
Janice has fallen into a throughly self-destructive mood. She contacts Saul by email, pretends to be Blair, and goes on her own to meet him. Only when she sees him in person does she seem to recognize the danger she’s in.
I’d gotten used to Blair’s eyes. So innocent and open. But Saul’s eyes weren’t innocent. If he decided I would die, I would die.
“Let me talk to you before you kill me,” she says.
One more installment to go. — Flyss
I’m starting to feel a bit sorry for Oxadrenals — we all seem to be ganging up. But while we wait for him to defend himself, installment 8 of The Mortal Janice has been posted, titled A Rock Fallen from the Sky.
Considering everything, how much do you want to bet it’s this rock?
That would certainly put a lot of things together!
It looks like Blair is going to get in touch with Saul. I wonder how that will go. We know from the very end of Narrative 3 (The Hafeem Saul) that Saul has been yearning for this. But people aren’t always grateful when someone finally acts nice after being a jerk for a century (literally). — Flyss
PS — I just started reading the newly posted installment 9 of The Mortal Janice,titled “Becoming No One at All.“ It seems that Janice is going on her own to see Saul! — Flyss
One point to consider is that all the damning information we have about Oxadrenals comes from Oxadrenals. However, this does not necessarily excuse him — it may be a form of deliberate confession intended to neutralize our judgment and/or expunge his guilt. Still, I agree with Stephen that we need to hear his side.
I wonder why he hasn’t responded yet to our requests for an explanation. I understand that he’s under stress, but as I understand it he isn’t literally under attack. — Kate
I agree there are some concerning aspects of Oxadrenals behavior, especially regarding the use of a man like Richard Menniss, but I think it is only right to wait until he has a chance to respond. Currently, he is embattled below ground, while the group he warned us against whispers in our ears. He had predicted that the Immortal Illuminati would hold it against us that we’d befriended him, but it seems their approach is more subtle: they are trying to turn us against, or perhaps even use us against him. I hold that we should not let them. — Stephen
It’s not exactly that I doubt his trustworthiness. I’ve been trying to put my finger on what I’m actually feeling. It’s tricky. But it goes something like this:
Oxadrenals says that the problem with the Immortal Illuminati is not they’re evil. In fact, they mean to do good for the world. But the problem with them (according to Ox) is that they think they know what’s good for the world. So if the Illuminati shut down the Immortality Project, it will be to “protect us from ourselves.” They’re willing to make decisions — even big decisions — for other people. And that’s what Ox doesn’t like about them. He thinks it’s dangerous to be so sure about what’s right. What if they consciously have good intentions but unconsciously do things for their own benefit? After all, that’s rather typical.
But … doesn’t Ox himself take on a lot of responsibility on behalf of other people? Think about it: He has his guys kidnap people for their own benefit. Also, he’s sicced the Bounty Hunter (the real one — Richard Menniss) on people. Supposedly, he was going to have me and Strattera observe Menniss to stop him from going overboard. Actually, that turned out to be just a way of keeping us away from the Immortality Project, but Ox obviously got the idea from something that had already happened: nine months earlier, Menniss had already gone overboard (cutting off Blair’s ear.) Clearly, Menniss is slightly deranged, and, given that, was it exactly responsible of Oxadrenals to get him going?
And some of Ox’s “jokes” (like, recently, what “Zeke” did with Janice in installment 7 of The Mortal Janice) are kind of deranged themselves.
So, what if the reason Oxadrenals’ vilifies the Immortal Illuminati is that he isn’t the world’s most responsible person and they keep stepping in as the “adults” on the scene? Naturally, he’d resent them. But his opinion wouldn’t really be trustworthy, either. — Flyss
P.S. I want to credit some of our readers, especially “C” and “Observer”, for noticing some of these issues a while ago.
I agree with Flyss that Oxadrenals is Howard/Alexi/Zeke. I suspect further that, in fact, he is the the mysterious Baehl as well. But I don’t find anything in the material we’ve read to make me doubt his essential trustworthiness. I think, Flyss, that your Illuminati “handler” may be influencing you without you noticing it.
They want us to doubt Oxadrenals. And the timing is suspicious: a moment when our friend can’t defend himself. –Stephen
Continued from my last post.
I’d mentioned how Zeke’s behavior, while amusing, also had a dark, violent edge. But Zeke is obviously meant to be the same person as Howard of Narrative 2 –The Hafeem Saul. And in that narrative, Howard admits to being identical to Alexi, the man who came close to mugging Saul in Moscow in installment 3 of that narrative.
In other words, Howard/Alexi/Zeke have a distinctly weird and frightening side. But think about his:
Description of Oxadrenals: “He wore a theatrical handlebar mustache and a goatee…” (from our sighting of him.)
And, of course, there are other connections, obvious to those who have been reading the narrative.
If Howard = Alexi = Zeke also equals Oxadrenals, and we know that Alexi and Zeke have a real dark side, then maybe our friend Ox isn’t quite so cuddly and innocent as we’ve all been thinking. And, if so, than what if his “arch-enemies” the Immortal Illuminati aren’t so dark as he’s led us to believe?
It’s worth thinking about, anyway. — Flyss
(For new readers: All of the narratives cited here are accessible, and arranged chronologically, here.)