When I began work on my latest novel in progress,I felt sure of my direction and purpose but like any good work, it has challenged my ideas and shaken the foundations of some of my most ardent beliefs. What are we? Why are we? How are we? And does it matter?
I call myself an anarchist for a myriad of reasons. Authority has never lived up to the means of its proponents. State authority has not stopped crime, war, or suffering. In fact, one can effectively argue that state authority is a champion of all these things. The state has changed the definitions of words like war. Government's promise of protection has never produced anything more than control and control stifles both political and individual freedom. We all want freedom and my goto answer for acquiring it is always individual autonomy.
But does this autonomy even exist?
Reza Aslan is a charlatan. He is giddy with delight that both his broad rationalization of a need for religion and his redefinition of religion have inked the waters as he darts around on the sidelines of the latest uproar over "bigotry" in the discussion of radical Islam. He calls religion a language used to communicate one's faith. He then steps back and groups religion with other belief systems like socialism and nationalism to show how any belief system is susceptible perversion. All of this to defend his misrepresentation of the views of Sam Harris, Bill Maher and thousands of others who see the inherent blood lust in Semitic scripture and then point at current events as real world examples. Any spectator with an open mind should easily see through Reza's defense mechanism here.
Scene: 60, 000 years in the future. No need for speculation regarding physical evolution of the human race. We know it will have adjusted—good or bad—to environmental pressures but our concern is historical, not biological. Over 60,000 years we've traveled down this rabbit hole of multicultural meat grinding. Thousands of pandemics and environmental crises. Millions of technological advancements. Hundreds of wars—some so bloody, they might defy description, others so bloodless and comic, they might resemble our modern day professional sports. Most of the old religions die, new ones pop up. 60, 000 years of human activity shaped by space and time. As is our proclivity, we grow a database of contemporary information—threatened many times by the sway of human politics and cultural pressures—into history. Even with our best efforts, information is always lost or so grossly manipulated, only scant data of certain events may actually survive.
An archeological dig in what might have been North America. All the imaginary scientific apparatus populate some rugged mountain side or maybe the violent, ethereal fabric of some arctic blizzard. An artifact is removed from a deep cave and returned to a lab. After some examination and discussion, the artifact is physically dated, the appropriate digital protocols introduced and the data contained in the artifact is extracted. The researchers are shocked to discover a secret history of an ancient war between the superpowers of the day. The tale of Inglorious Basterds changes everything humanity knows about WWII. The name of the war for a start. At this time, the 20th and 21st centuries are a mystery for several irrelevant reasons. The era does appear on timelines. So do the consequences of this mystery moment, intermittently tracked along the jagged drip of known history. Yet the details have remained murky. Until now. Until the discovery of Inglorious Basterds. The Jew Bear and Donny killed The Fuhrer in Shoshanna’s cinema. Aldo required Nazi scalps from his soldiers, a practice traced through wars in the 19th and 18th century, might have been a religious dictate. The Basterds, in a tale like nothing ever heard in this future, saved the world from villainy. There is nothing to dispute it. There are no true contemporary artifacts with opposing views. This feels like history.
Chrysalis, a growing collection of very short fiction.
Unless noted, all pics credited to Skitz O'Fuel.