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RIPE STORIES AND FRAGMENTS

THE TECHNICIAN 

He played and watched himself. There were others. He watched and stared and then would utter something, a piece of information, part of which he would write down. Then he would stare and stare, now his eyes a burning pair of lamps into the white screen to find a scrap of something. He needed it. He knew they needed it. It thrilled him to think they needed it because every need he felt, erased one more humiliation he had suffered at their hands. And that went all the way back to childhood.

And he would think on an idle blank day, "ah, my knowledge creates pressure in them! And they move!" And he felt good about it. He felt that odd curiosity of power every free man was permitted. It is a power but I should not take it all for myself. No, it is a power that should be shared by all! And so he had set up, in his own mind, the rationalization's for everything he did subsequently.

They had laid down the codes and he could access them. Most did not know how to unwrap the innocuous seal from the codes and get to the dense-pack of just about everything. "A grain of sand...." he hummed to himself.

"Little nodes all grown everywhere now the beginning to the end, now....." It had made him a bit nuts and he realized it but then nuttiness was a badge of honor, something that distinguished him from the run of absolute normalcy that had swept the world, where every tooth was white and in place, every pore on the face cleaned, every shirt from a hip store, every beard trimmed, every bag new with little plastic wheels, every conversation consisting of at least one expletive, one where every hand carried a phone, where every woman took her vote seriously, where people laughed at the same sorry jokes.

Life had turned, for him, into a superior joke since he was constantly being rewarded with good things. "I have good things, my peers do not, it worked exactly as I thought it would! God is great and just!" It gave him the outward appearance of humbleness. He always credited others. "Don't think I did anything great....I simply played well with what was here....."

In truth what arose in him amounted to a feeling of being equal to the invisible God. Or, at least of partaking of the invisible God and making it visible in himself, as himself, acting largely in the world.

He was not a mad scientist but a mild technician. He had asked an idle question to himself one day at his desk. "If I convince one person of this godlikeness that is good. That will prevent a kind of bad reputation I might get. If I convince dozens of people my life will change because I will have followers and have to accommodate them. If I convince thousands of people I will start enacting all the good I know that is in himself And if I convince a critical mass of people then I am a God! My deepest intuition would provide itself out and it was simply a matter of unlocking or liberating that which I already knew!"

Thus he had passed through some ersatz modern initiation and rode on the bus knowing that his world would be different now.

The technician was especially keen on the awareness that technical objects were never expressions of an individual but a collaborative effort. "Ah, but if I am the strongest, the brightest of the collaboration that gives me a chance to have power over the collaboration. Why not? Isn't that the natural way of all flesh?"

He could not believe the luck he had when the world climbed onto the new contraption and started to build things on it. "I know how it is built, I know the hidden walls and trap doors, I know the building is forever, therefore I am fully privileged on it and will cut off a piece for a staging area...."

He didn't chuckle like a madmen thinking these thoughts but, rather, wrote a few notes and slipped them into a binder he kept for such things. He had, now, an inch of neat notes so that the folder could hardly close. His plans had become so intimately wound up in his mind and will that he had quit date stamping each note because he knew, in the end, they would all come together in a moment of time and be greater than any separate note he may have taken.

The pride a man takes for good planning is well-documented.

If nothing else happened he would always be proud of his process of documentation; his superb planning skills that were, as he described it to himself, "the grace of God."

He not only could build, he could organize and before long had built something they wanted and they came and made him riches. Riches beyond his wildest dreams.

"So I will take my riches and do some good and prove that I am a good God and not a bad, oppressive one."

After awhile it became an oppression. "They must think me a good God and not a bad one. They must believe I am a good God and not one on the dark side of things. They must, they must, they must!"

And surprisingly it was so. "Oh, he is so good to us, he is such a charmer, he must be, at least, the offspring of gods. And even though we know them to be imaginative creatures they are real if we are to become more than barbarians or animals."

So, he had his way for a time and thrown up from the crowd in this way he became, undoubtedly, quite nervous. "You must learn to hide your nervousness from the crowd." An advisor, a female, kept trying to remind him.

Now it was time for his first miracle, for if a human being is a God he must demonstrate some fantastic power that the people don't have. He thought a long time about this.

He decided he would wait until the Conference of Gods took place in a great city along the west coast.

There at the Conference, all the tricks would be played. One could learn a thing or two from a credible god. He could spot what he called "the lifers," that had been around from the beginning and claimed they were there even before the beginning.

The Gods, of course, were a curious sort. They were defined by the absence of anything or anyone who would challenge their grandiose title. They simply rushed in to fill a void and finding it an excellent place, lodged there without a thought. It was a kind and soft spot and people jostled around in it because there could be a big payoff. That was the lure at any rate.

A God could extract revenge; that was a great advantage. A god could act with impunity, yes he could see that. A heartless impunity! It flashed through him but he calmed himself with soft words.

"No, there is silliness in the human animal and we don't want it to romp away when he sees its next meal."

The one excellent thing about being a God was that one didn't obey anything but the dictates of ones own whims. A god could easily discriminate through 99 percent of what mere humans had to plow through and dismiss it with a slight jerk of the neck.

There were wild flourishes expected by a God, a kind of performance was demanded and in reality he had been a rather boring character, flourishing only in his mastery of the New.

* * * * * * * *

Even a god has nightmares. They occurred when it dawned on him that he could never prove he was a god, so that he would always be challenged. And challenged, it was very likely he'd be dethroned as a fraud and be worse off than he was before.

He redoubled his efforts on every front and advanced through the graphics and numbers at his beck and call.

* * * * * * * *

A god would both embrace the god that had been replaced and embrace the idea that god was no longer possible. A good god covered all bases because without that capacity what is a god? "He knows nothing! He is merely an opinion!" So, they would often yell at him in the street as he passed, nonplussed but with certainty. It brought him pressure but then he believed he had been born for this sort of pressure and it felt right to him, it felt like a destiny of some sort and he embraced it.

They were not skeptical at the Conference of Gods but rather collegial, exchanging any number of god-tricks used to get the people past a certain threshold.

* * * * * * * *

"God is a genre, don't you know?" He is that slice, that fragment that we believe in and gives us the ability to block everything else out. That is the trick of it." So he was telling a guy in the group who didn't have the same sanguine feelings about it. After all, things men made were very limited and broke down and never were able to hold to the credibility that they promised at the very beginning.

But then, he reasoned, when gods are challenged they have the power to ignore and simply do what they intended to do and that was that. There was no conversation necessary.

* * * * * * * *

What galled them the most was that even after they had killed millions of them off, the people remained staunchly skeptical. What, haven't they felt the fear yet? That was always in the frontal lobe somewhere.

What they feared the most that like all gods before them they would be forgotten. That the future would simply take what it wanted from them and kick them to the side and bury them and their grandiose ideas of themselves. There was a kind of justice to it without question.

The new gods rarely wanted justice. They always felt they had been the ones injustly treated, so everything was gravy after that. A certain type of modern wrath would build in them and then everything was justified, everything would be made good. A brain that had studied science was especially acute at that reasoning; science or engineering although the engineers were so inept that no one took them seriously, even when they claimed they were gods. It was a lame and shrill claim. "Ah, we all could claim that. Prove the claim. Work the claim. There it all is; in that nexus."

"If all are gods then who are gods?" So the phonies were driven out fairly quickly and what was left were sincere gods who agonized over their sincerity but who believed, deep down, that they were entitled to be the gods that were lacking in the lives of many people. Not all but a critical mass of people who had given up the whole silly question of gods because death was so real to them. How could gods exist when death was so permanent a fixture in the minds of people? It, that is, one was not an automaton and was afraid of questions. In other words a free person would look into the sky, see the opaque nature of the ground, experience death in some way as a time-moving event and say, "your gods are all in your brain." That would not explain anything away. It was not a positive modality, an absolute or anything of that nature. But many lived and died with such a mind set. We can imagine that even in the most profound religious periods of time there were people with that mind set; those who simply faked it as the times required and who said to themselves, "it's all in their heads and yet they act as though it is more than that."

Yet if it was not in their heads then what would be in their heads?

Gods were infamous and bodacious liars. That is why they were exchanged so easily from one epoch to another. After all, it is our representation of gods that is the thing. A god can be anything but when we depict and define the god, that is something. And gods and poets had long left the scene so it seemed a quaint, ineffective question. A famed theologian was scorned and laughed at in a crowd of the privileged few and that wrote the tale of the time as well as anything else. "You hate God because you hate the possibilities you have smothered!" The theologian lashed out in bitterness but also because he feared for his life.

There is nothing so desperate as a believing man who is in fear for his life.

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