The ***** must coax, trick, tear you away from your fears, loves and hates. No one can accomplish this for oneself, and all must desperately resist until the operation is complete.
What is a god but e who always sees the best move, and plays it?
Two brothers fell madly in love with freedom and would not rest until they had explored its furthest reaches. They swore to a game for the rest of their lives: each would manipulate the other in ever more subtle and invisible ways, forcing his brother to delve even deeper into the darkest sources of his actions and desires, extending his knowledge and self to the infinity beyond which his opponent might not reach. The sport had no end, but soon the two brothers had become gods among men, and the world’s only defense to join their play.
George was a thoughtful man, and for years had devoted himself to the little known art of neologism. This activity of his did not pay — truly creative work rarely does; it was a hobby. He would spend weeks’ evenings on a single word, carefully crafting its syllables to echo the very things he was conjuring. Some words spanned impossible sets of incongruous objects all lassoed into one generous term; others designated almost nothing or just about everything. Some words were beautiful and hung in gilded frames around his house; most, however, had likely never been uttered by anyone besides the man himself.
Yet one day, probably out of sheer luck, George invented an important word. As usual, he carefully spelled it out and posted his minutely crafted definition on the internet where everyone could, but so few would, see it. This time, however, the new word took on a life of its own. Somehow, George had come up with something truly useful. Soon, his new creation was to appear here and there, quoted by curious parties, early adopters, linguists and daring students of philosophy.
Many before him had made similar attempts, and their terminologies were strewn, half-discarded across the English language, but unlike theirs, George’s creation got it just right: whatever it was George had defined, his word had come alive, irreversibly printing itself upon its users by creating in their minds the very thing to which it referred. And this thing, George thought, has now begun to think.
The first man Ninmah fashioned with clay from the abzu waters could not bend his outstretched hands. So Enki decreed his fate as a servant to the king. Then Ninmah fashioned one with weak eyes, a man with broken feet, a woman who could not give birth, and one with neither penis nor vagina. Enki allotted their fates, too: the musical arts, silversmith, a weaver in the queen’s household. The sixth creature Enki named ‘enuch’.
Then Enki desired to fashion a creature of his own devising. This was Umul: so weak and shapeless, es hand could not even put bread to es mouth. Ninmah could give it no fate, and Enki threw the clay to the ground. But Ninmah hid it between her legs.
Umul had no speech; e could not work with es hands, and could not lie with men or women. So they cast Umul out of the city. Enki said to Ninmah: “I will cut Umul in two that e might no longer be alone.” But Umul had no eyes and could not find es other half.
The people complained to the king: “We cannot draw water to drink because the monster Umul lies by the cistern and our hearts are filled with fear.” So the king sent out a harlot to find Umul. When Shamhat beholds e she utters an incantation and hardens his body. She spreads out her robe and lies with him. Six days and seven nights she lies with Umul, and at dawn she pierces seven holes in his head.
An eager peasant journeyed from a distant land to hear the Buddha speak, but when e arrived 10,000 Bodhisattvas were already sitting at the Master’s feet, so e crouched down behind the last of the disciples, almost out of earshot. When the Buddha said “There is no self” the peasant heard “Know thyself!” and immediately left for the forest where e meditated 10 years long on every subtle movement within es soul.
When e returned, 100,000 Bodhisattvas had assembled around the Enlightened One and e could hear even less. So as the Buddha expounded on the causes of suffering, the peasant understood one ought to study the nature of causes, and returning to the forest, for 10 more years e examined the minutest transformations of es soul.
The third time e sought the Buddha, 1,000,000 Bodhisattvas surrounded the Teacher of Dharma, and so the peasant made out but two words: “loving kindness”, yet left in despair not knowing to which of es 100 different loves and 1000 forms of kindness the Buddha referred.
Many years later a travelling monk brought back news of a distant land where everyone from the youngest babe to the most hardened criminal had become perfectly happy saints because a simple peasant upon returning from a long trip had spoken a single word to one of the guards at the border.
The prophet sat under a tree in the park with a dog’s collar strapped around es neck, watching people stroll by as they walked their pets. If someone was curious enough to question e, the prophet would reply:
When aliens land on earth, they will be the kindest of beings. Infinitely smarter than any creature on our planet, they nevertheless at times will take a liking to some of us humans — though the objects of their attentions will have not the ghost of a fighting chance. The aliens will be gigantic. Not one, but many ancient species long ago intertwined into symbiotic conglomorates of unimaginable intellectual and sensory abilities. So many brains, limbs, skins, eyes and tubes working together. When an alien settles upon someone it fancies, it will deploy an innumerable array of seductions, adjusting every detail of its interactions to appeal to that person’s feelings, emotions, smell, touch, vision or intellect. Each alien will carefully provide just enough information to steer the human’s thoughts, say exactly the right thing to swell es desire, preemt new decisions long before they rise to consciousness. No human being will avoid falling madly and irreversibly in love with es alien suitor, desiring and willing nothing else than to make it — and hence eself — happy. And so, these few humans will gladly leave their peers behind, and run off to the stars after their superior lovers.