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.
The gods of my childhood (to whom we sacrificed the mutilated bodies of infant children) are, blessedly, not even a memory.
Regarding what happens after death, yes, different immortals have different thoughts. My own might seem strange to you, for I hold that my soul shall be split into a million pieces, and race through the world in the bodies of living beings, and yet not my soul alone, but those others too, melded together and struggling. For do you not find in yourself warring parts? These are the many beings of which you were made. (But that is only my belief.)
To “Observer,” who (in response to my statement that Alexandros is 8,352 years old) writes: “To have that exact of an age…Wow. How did you two keep track? If I may, could you also say when & where you both were born, if you know that is?”
You are certainly observant! In truth, neither he nor I know our exact ages. But, after expending much effort, we made estimates, and then chose specific dates to represent those estimates. I am certain that we are not far wrong. As to where we were born: recall, please, that we were born long before writing came into being. Whenever and where ever writing first appears in history, there are already ancient aristocratic families. Civilization (of the cruel, archaic sort) began long before the civilized could write their thoughts. We were evolved, privileged and cultured. We were sophisticated in the ways of human life, no less so than anyone today. And yet, the places and countries where we lived are not known today, except by their ruins (which is to say, not known at all.) I was born on an island near modern Indonesia. I do not know which island. Early in my immortality, The Eldest found me, educated me, and taught me how to survive. She brought me to Alexandros, and together he and I kept ourselves alive through all the upheavals of that ancient world.
To “Bob,” who takes offense at certain things:
I say this: You may insult me to your heart’s content; that is, after all, the spirit of the current age. And it is right that it should be so. Elites have too long oppressed. We have no right to expect respect.
And you are correct to say that mortals are more creative than we; that you grow more; that you teach us more than we teach you. When I was young, it was believed right for husbands to beat their wives; for adulterers and fornicators to have their entrails torn out; for conquered women to be raped, their infants’ skulls dashed against the rocks, their men enslaved. It was right, sacred truly, to sacrifice children to the gods, their living screams an incense and a blessing. It was not we, the Immortals, who grew past these ways of life. It was you, the mortals who learned new ways of being, and we learned from you. So, yes, mock us all you want. Mock me especially, for I am known to be a stubborn 8000 year old bitch. And yet, being who I am, I may fight to protect you from yourself. Certainly, I may be wrong in what I do. But I must attempt to do what I think is right; if I do not do so, what kind of being am I?
And yet I say this to you about the Eldest: Those who bow down before her do not do so because they must, but because they feel inspired to do so. It is not to say, “I am inferior.” It is a welling up reverence for she who is all the history of humanity at once.
You shall soon see how Janice reacted to the Eldest. Perhaps you will not respect her reaction, but I believe you will see that it is genuine for her. Of course, there are those who do not feel anything in the presence of the Eldest, and merely walk right past her. There are also those who experience no transcendence when they hear Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 32; who feel that Shakespeare’s King Lear is on a level with Avatar; that the courage of a man who dies on the battlefield for his country elevates him not one whit above the man who spends his life on a couch playing games on his computer. Reverence and respect cannot be commanded. They cannot even be earned. They are free responses that some of us have to others. You are free not to have them.
And yet, there are few who nothing and no one with respect or reverence. Who would permit a guest to freely insult his wife? His mother? His father? His country? His religion? It is thus on this blog, I believe. The authors respect the Eldest. They wish her spoken of with respect here. I believe this is not unreasonable or unnatural. Would you not agree?