Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Both Sides Now: 1

For the next four days I'll be blogging "Both Sides Now, a Time-Loop"; one section per day.
Its four sections are:

          Dusk:             Vision of the Throne                                      
          Midnight:        The Kings of Fire and Ice                               
          Dawn:            God Bless the Grass                                      
          Noon:            The People of Earth and Sky                        

     Vision of the Throne

            He dreamed of the Kingdom, the land of masters and slaves. He dreamed in circular time, from Kingdom to Hell to Republic to Heaven and back to Kingdom; a wheel turning in place, causation linked into a loop. He dreamed of a Time-Loop, finite but endless, and within it the Kingdom, the cosmos doomed to become a chaos.
            The Kingdom is proud but decadent. It starts as the Kingdom of Heaven, a legacy of the Republic, but it ends as the Kingdom of Hell. It falls because it depends upon collective impunity. The Kingdom is truth forgotten and error denied. It’s all about the fall of pride.
            In the Kingdom, spending is free but speech is restrained. Its people fear the government, a mob runs the marketplace, and your private thoughts are everybody’s business. Its subjects say, “name it and claim it”; but they also say “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down.” In the Kingdom, honor trumps fact, force overpowers reason, and loyalty is key. Whom you know matters more than what you know. The Kingdom has more jails than schools, more lawyers than engineers, and more guns than butter. Its favorite sports are football and boxing.
            In the Kingdom, everybody labors, but nothing works, nothing gets done and nothing is possible. The Kingdom has bad fences; this makes for bad neighbors. Ask them no questions and they will tell you no lies. The wicked Kingdom leads from Heaven to Hell; for power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

                        *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
            It was Sunday noon all day, that day. There was nothing whatsoever to do; nothing but sweet fat lazy time to waste; and so it had been all day, and the day before, and the day before that, for years and years. Time flows that way in a Time-Loop. It had been Sunday noon for a long, long time.
            Oh sweet freedom, present yet fleeting! Within grasp, yet slipping away! Eternally yours, already departed! Fulfillment and frustration, both at once!
            Well, what did you expect? That’s how they do things in the Kingdom of Heaven. 

            Jonathan Stone was strolling along, looking at his feet, lost in his thoughts, when he noticed a crack in the foundation of Heaven.
            It was just a hairline fracture, a few inches long. It was jagged, irregular, gnarly, fractal, and chaotic; everything that the Kingdom of Heaven is not; so it caught Jonathan Stone’s eye.
            He stopped and stared at it, having nothing else to do. Eventually he figured that this can’t be right, and maybe somebody ought to do something about it.
            As he watched, the crack in Heaven’s foundation grew. Now the fissure was a finger thick and a yard long. Air rushed through it with a whistling noise. “Somebody had better do something about this!” he said, and he took flight.

            He flew upwards to meet his supervisor; the Archangel de Sade. Jonathan Stone was a mere Angel, and de Sade was an Archangel, because in the proud Kingdom of Heaven, each soul is ranked as high as his own opinion of himself.
            Jonathan Stone approached the holy Archangel, shoving aside several other Angels on the way, and he delivered his report. The Archangel de Sade replied, “That’s not my department. For a maintenance petition, go inform my supervisor.”

            Thus the blessed Archangel passed the buck.  Jonathan Stone flew upwards to meet de Sade’s supervisor: the Principality Beria. While in flight he looked back and down. Now the crack in Heaven’s foundation was a hand wide and a dozen yards long. Air was wailing through it.
            He reported this to the Principality Beria, who sent him on to the Power Goebbels, who sent him on to the Fortress Torquemada, who sent him on to the Dominions. But neither the Little Duke, nor the Leader of the Overmen, nor the Comrade of Steel, nor even the Great Helmsman had the authority to mend the crack in Heaven’s foundation.
            It was still growing. Now it was a yard wide, and a mile long, and air was roaring through. Visible through the crack were stars, galaxies, darkness and vacuum.
            Finally the Heavenly Bureaucracy ordered him to inscribe his report upon the great and sacred Scroll of Petition, now in the hands of the Theocrat Himself, seated upon the holy Throne.

            Flights of cherubim ushered Jonathan Stone into the Throne room. There He was, the Theocrat; the One who believed Himself to be Master of Heaven, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the rightful Ruler of the Universe.
            The Lord sat upon the holy Throne; His left hand held the sacred Scroll. Vast was the Master, and mighty, in His opinion of Himself. His head overtopped the clouds.
            Swarms of seraphim hovered around Him, singing;
                        “The Porcelain Throne! O hole-y seat!
                        O honest chair approached in haste!
                        For public health, relief, retreat;
                        All other thrones, compared, are waste!”

            Jonathan Stone saw that the mighty Throne was indeed made of pure white porcelain. He flew to the Scroll, and wrote his report, and saw upon it many other reports requesting upkeep for the deteriorating Kingdom.
            The Scroll also bore the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, the Four Noble Truths, the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Upon the great Scroll was inscribed the Tanakh, the Talmud, the New Testament, the Koran, the Analects, the Tao Teh Ching, the Diamond Sutra, the Bhagavad-Gita, and many other scriptures.

            The supreme Lord moaned and strained. There came the sound of trumpets, of thunder, of downpours, and of splashes. Anon His labors ceased, and He sighed.
            The King of Kings leaned forward. He reached back, holding the Scroll, and He wiped.
            The Theocrat stood and turned to face the Throne. He pressed the lever upon its side.
            A mighty torrent roared.

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