“So we’re all gods”. Ja had been transformed by his experience as Wind, a new sense of who he was had made itself felt, like a refreshing breeze.
“And none of us." For Zeus, a new sense of humility was just as liberating.
“And we’re animals, animals doing this evolutionary dance with the rest of life. And that’s okay.” Arnold’s mother had always been kind of a stickler about social standards and manners and cleanliness, something that his hippie ways had clashed with over the years. He found his own new sense of peace.
“We are one.” Yin.
“But we are individuals as well.” Yang.
“Yes, parts of a whole.” Ina.
“Interdependent, yet at some scale, a sub component, a unit.” Alonso seemed to be completing the thoughts of the others. Their natural bonding with the lichens had solidified their understanding of obligatory relationships.
“Wow.” Everyone understood.
“So what is the scale, what defines it? Body?” Juno’s work in sex therapy gave her a lot of insight into how flexible that boundary of body could be.
“Mind seems more likely. It’s a complex network, things can get hidden there, even lost sometimes.” Yanaha was so in tune with the earth and its ways that she most readily accepted the twilight of the gods she’d grown up with and her place among them.
“The individualism of the Modernists definitely contributed a lot to the Noosphere.” Haile had transformed into a wizened scholar in his old age. Long gone was the pimp of popular culture, replaced by one electronically enlightened. “Free thinking, secular individuality, science, reasoning, empiricism, skepticism, they’re all more important now during the information age than they’ve ever been before. So mind is pretty important.”
“But so are emotions!” Ja was rife with them. “They’re one of the biological tools that evolution has used to make us what we are! We’re imperfect, the organic intelligence that has made us is limited by the tools at hand. But the tools are great!”
“Yes!” Zeus got caught up in it. “We have instincts and passions, nature has imbued us with sound judgement, we know what’s reasonable and what is not! We can trust our senses!”
“We have imagination as well.” Baltha always felt a little out of place among the big thinkers of the group; she was a dreamer. They’d moved into her realm. “We’re attracted to pleasure, to justice and charity, we’re naturally altruistic.”
“We’re social beings.” Juno was socializing with Bast, absent-mindedly stroking her behind the ears as she spoke. “We’re attracted to each other and to nature. We want what’s in the public interest, not just for ourselves.”
“Naturally.” Tante was present and accounted for. She didn’t want to disturb anyone so mostly just sat quietly. She found she rather liked it, her own epic take away of self realization.
“But the real genius of human life is our part in evolution.” Having been around for a couple of hundred years and an avid student of human culture, Alonso had broader perspective than the others. “It’s even part of that scale issue, our individuality.” He also had that twin thing going on. “Our minds, our wills, our sensibilities, we have to dare to know, to have the courage for intellect!”
“Take the red pill and not the blue?” Ja was tuned in.
“Exactly!” Alonso almost shouted it.
“It’s another coming of age, the autonomy of adulthood. But we’re inhibited by the matrix!” Ja was also getting pretty turned on, considering dropping in.
“We’re inhibited by patriarchy!” Juno was getting pretty hot herself.
“We’re inhibited by religion!” Tante perked up and the ground rumbled. She perked back down.
“We’ve also gotten incredibly lazy about thinking for ourselves. We’ve become sheep.” Zeus was simmering down as well.
“The problem is, too many people are willing to be coerced into living lives of bullshit.” Alonso had watched it happen again and again over time.
“And too many are willing to coerce them into it.” Ja.
“But why?” Tante kept the whine out of her voice. She was learning to be careful with her outbursts.
“Money.” Ina mostly listened, her lifelong compliment to Alonso’s verbosity.
“Those 0’s and 1’s.” Haile mostly conversed with Mac.
“It’s more complicated than that, money isn’t the root problem, it’s much more primal.” Juno was an expert in the human psyche and always liked to add her piece to the puzzle.
“Individualism is a tricky concept”. Yin spoke up.
“No one has complete, individual freedom.” Yang agreed.“Every individual act affects all others.” It was such a basic concept to Ina, she almost didn’t say it.
“It is true; there really is no turning away from the reality of our place in the whole, no matter how rugged an individual one might be.” Alonso’s time as the vastness of Sea had been humbling, so dependent was Sea on all the rest.
“And there is no turning away from the fact that tyrants are putting the world at risk.” Zeus was feeling a bit more godly after accepting Alonso’s generous gift of showing his own humility and vulnerability.
“Yes, and while we all agree in freedom for the individual, we also know that underlying the individual is the whole, and that doing no harm to the whole is what’s paramount.” Ja hesitated. He’d never stated anything quite so boldly to a group so big to him before. “Or at least I think we agree.”
“Yes.” It wasn’t in perfect harmony, not audibly. It was agreed upon at a higher frequency than their mere human ears could hear.
“Suppression of ideas is always wrong. Properly debating them and rejecting them is fine, but we need to remain open to all possibilities. Agreed?”
Suddenly Arnold the lawyer was in the midst of things.
“Yeah, alternative perspectives. Disturbing possibilities. Even ideas that seem kind of contrary at first.” Tante was beginning to like the direction this was going. Healthy disturbance.
“Pluralism is valuable. Discussing what we think and why we think it is a way to gain better understanding of each other. Sharing ideas and traditions is progressive. Genocide and cultural assimilation, not so much.” Yanaha’s lifelong studies had made her a bit of an expert.
“But that’s not what we do.” Baltha knew all too well what humans do, or at least what the culture she found herself immersed in had done.
“No, what this culture does is market. The political leaders are sold online, just as the shirt that says Pink is sold in the mall to suggest wealth and nice underwear. It creates an illusion of what life is supposed to be or has to be and then sells it to the people. And now it’s in the network, it runs the network, it’s infiltrated the 0’s and 1’s the way the nano-bots have infiltrated me. And if the marketing strategy fails, it cheats. It rewrites program. The false 0's and 1's of the tyrants have gotten out of hand.” Haile’s tone was thoughtful, even as the words were somewhat dire.
The discussion was interrupted by the arrival of a Fedex truck. Arnold was beaming as he carried the overnight express letter into the room.
“We got a response from the Trumpet,” he bowed as he handed the package to Yanaha.
“Onward, to adventure!” Alonso said it so perfectly the rest were happy to just nod in solidarity.
The End is Near