As a child, my perception was such for me to believe that television was nothing short of a magical. Through its silvery window, one could remotely view distant times and places. All of it, but for the lone group of outliers, made a neat kind of sense to my young mind. This being the classic era of cartoons I was often left confused by the dichotomy between the unreality of the illustration and the reality of the characterizations. These worlds were not real, yet the voice, the presence of the actor portrayals they represented defiantly were. To my young mind, this could not be easily reconciled. The word animation, or make move, for me was synonymous with bringing to life.
One day to my surprise and delight I was told we were taking a trip to visit the local UHF television station. This adventure included a meet and greet with some of the characters featured on their cartoon line up. The thought that immediately filled my head was that if I could meet them in person, these characters surely would share their secrets with me. The processes through which art became real. But alas to my dismay as I was to learn these lumbering mascots could do little more than prance around much less speak. And as my brother in the end finally revealed they were after all Just men in suits. “Look he said you can see their eyes are air holes for them to breathe.” My excitement morphed from shock to horror to the realization that what I had thought was magic was just something I hadn’t the capacity to yet understand. I’ve grown to recognize these moments and appreciate them more as I’ve gotten older.
Far from our everyday worlds, there remain unknown places of the imagination. It is there where the possibilities of tragedy and triumph are exercised. Whether it is a tale of the hidden rebel base or the hopelessly lost explorer, the nature of storytelling is such as to reveal unintended truths or thinly veiled references to the human condition.
“This signal is being broadcast from a secret base hidden on the far side of the moon. The message it contains is the expression of our simple wish only to live in peace. But despite our professed love of peace, we will not shrink from violence in the defense of our homeworld. In the spirit of this plea, I would forewarn against brazen attempts to colonize the moon. Do not make landfall within the restricted zone. We will be forced then to take defensive action. “
It is estimated that close to 7 billion people had remotely viewed the descent of the colony explorer ship ‘Valiant’ onto the disputed territory. It had been only out of the necessity of natural resources that such a dangerous journey was attempted. It was the negotiating stance of the United Terran Alliance that once the ship’s presence there was a fait accompli it would go a long way to strengthen their claim.
Meanwhile It was plain to the Inhabitants of Luna that their warnings had gone unheeded. For their part the moon’s inhabitants had not sat idle. A secret plan known only to a few powerful individuals had for months been underway. Hidden deep underground in a hollowed out lava tube an automated factory had begun production of a terror weapon.
Sublime in conception but morally bankrupt, the program had sought to create an artificial life form for the purposes of enslaving it. Unknown to the cadre of scientists working on the project was that there had been problems right from start…
The unlikely scenario of angels on the head of a pin, and of their number, how many who could be found dancing there, was once a subject of serious intellectual debate. It’s safe to say that this is no longer a mainstream idea. Though no doubt that there are still adherents to this notion. It would seem, however, as the precepts of science become more ingrained in our culture something outlandish like the prospect of meeting your mirror image in the park for lunch has become increasingly plausible.
Though the Sumerian civilization was not discovered until the nineteenth-century; When their tablets were deciphered, linguists and historians were amazed at what was contained within. Evidence suggests that angels of the Old Testament may have been inspired by Sumerian stories of the seven sages. These sages or Abgal, the shape-shifting demigods were the earthly attendants to the God Enki. They were responsible for carrying out the divine commands while this god of wisdom constructed the Earth. This is not a stretch as these cultures certainly overlapped, and as the story goes, Abraham was born in the city of Ur.
The foundations upon which objective reality is defined are man-made constructs. Making sense out of reality, we take cues from the secrets of nature, as we understand them. Today, within the actions of the very small, to the very large, mysteries are unfolding before us. It is from these that the constructs of our mythologies are created and recreated.
The Indoctrination of a culture’s mythology is deeply embedded into the impressionable minds of its members during childhood. With time, these constructs evolve into the unassailable facts of adulthood. Even as contradictory evidence emerges, this cultural latency is resistant to change and it is slow to occur. To make matters worse, the rate at which information is being processed, and the pace of change to technology and the environment is so rapid it is often difficult for one to keep up.
The reason I bring all this up, you ask? The other day, I did something I generally avoid doing. It was hot out, and I found myself watching television during the day. If this wasn’t odd enough, when I turned the television on, the channel was set to an old black and white program from the nineteen sixties. It was one I was familiar with, so I continued watching. While watching the program, I began associating the imagery seen there on the screen, with the memories of my childhood. For a moment I was filled with a brief melancholic nostalgia. The intervening years had slipped so easily, and in that time much had gone missing. Not all of which were identifiable or even tangible.
I had determined that this stirring of emotion had been due to the realization that the world represented both within this imagery, and within memory, no longer existing. For most of what had been the basis for that world, long ago had fallen away into irretrievable decay.
After another moment, the emotions relented as I realized that, from a modern perspective, the foundations of that world had never truly existed. For the assumptions that that world was built upon were fabrications, illusion, mythologies of a bygone era. All that is left of that world are the place names, shells of buildings, and those now fossilized memories. By extension then, those illusions we are currently living under today, are almost certainly invisible to us.
As the old world fades into oblivion, the story will transform into a new one. Is it possible then to create a new sustainable mythology, one with the tools capable of explaining our true place in an evolving universe?