Viruses and Humanity — An Old Story

17th-century German “plague panel” depicting the triumph of death. Panels of this kind were placed on the walls of houses to warn against the plague. A plague epidemy raged in Augsburg, Bavaria between 1607 and 1636.

Amid funny television sitcoms, exciting football games, and eating out at your favorite Thai food restaurant, it’s easy to forget about plagues. But they’ve always been part of human existence. Millions of us have died with these periodic outbreaks. Fortunately for us, we (well, most of us) now understand that these are not curses sent by angry gods but rather a natural invasion of one or another micro-organism seeking its own place in the sun. Er, in us.

A side note here: A virus is technically NOT an organism like bacteria but rather a microscopic parasite much smaller than bacteria which can’t reproduce outside of a host body.

Viruses teeter on the boundaries of what is considered life. On one hand, they contain the key elements that make up all living organisms: the nucleic acids, DNA or RNA (any given virus can only have one or the other). On the other hand, viruses lack the capacity to independently read and act upon the information contained within these nucleic acids.[1]

A virus is a submicroscopic infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of an organism. Viruses can infect all types of life forms, from animals and plants to microorganisms, including bacteria and archaea. [Since their discovery in] 1898, more than 6,000 virus species have been described in detail, of the millions of types of viruses in the environment. Viruses are found in almost every ecosystem on Earth and are the most numerous type of biological entity.[2]

So keeping in mind that these infinitesimally small entities can’t move, reproduce, or live except inside another organism, we can look back and marvel at the enormous impact these entities have wrought on the human race. Research has found that an astonishing thirty percent of all protein adaptations for humans have been driven by viruses.[3],[4]  As noted in the 2007 scientific article by Christian W. McMillan, “Epidemic Disease and Their Effect on History,”

There is perhaps no longer-lasting historical relationship than that between humans and disease, especially epidemic disease. The relationship predates agriculture, the formation of cities, and, if current research on the emergence of diseases like tuberculosis is correct, human migration out of Africa. From the earliest times to the present, epidemics have affected human history in myriad ways: demographically, culturally, politically, financially, and biologically. Humans have never known a time in history when epidemics did not loom large.[5]

Studies of prehistory suggest that bottlenecks in human evolution may have been the result of epidemics where most of a population died off leaving only a few survivors to repopulate that area or continent. Aside from restarting populations, these virulent invaders also affect the genome by selecting survivors with particular DNA profiles which then become the prevailing type. Epigenetic effects also become part of the remaining population, an inheritance by mechanisms other than through the DNA sequence of genes. … It works through chemical tags added to chromosomes that function to switch genes on or off.

The discovery of a 5,000-year-old house in China filled with skeletons is evidence of a deadly epidemic. (Image credit: Photo courtesy Chinese Archaeology)

The earliest evidence of a widespread plague is found in China where the 5,000 year old remains of prehistoric villagers had been stuffed inside a house that was subsequently burned to the ground.

No age group was spared, as the skeletons of juveniles, young adults and middle-age people were found inside the house. The archaeological site is now called “Hamin Mangha” and is one of the best-preserved prehistoric sites in northeastern China. Archaeological and anthropological study indicates that the epidemic happened quickly enough that there was no time for proper burials, and the site was not inhabited again.

Before the discovery of Hamin Mangha, another prehistoric mass burial that dates to roughly the same time period was found at a site called Miaozigou, in northeastern China. Together, these discoveries suggest that an epidemic ravaged the entire region.[6]

There’s no question that epidemics have changed not only the physical make-up of humanity but also the course of history. Among the earliest records of such events are Sanskrit notations from 1200 BC documenting a type of flu that spread through Babylon, Central Asia, Mesopotamia and Southern Asia. Since these were the first areas of the world to create written records, it follows these would be the places where such chronicles would exist. But without doubt, plagues didn’t select only advanced societies to infect.

The first well documented outbreak of epidemic disease may be the Plague of Athens, an illness which Thucydides described as starting in the head with illness that included fever, redness and inflammation in the eyes, sore throat that led to bleeding, sneezing, coughing, vomiting, and ulcers on the body. The opinions of scholars on the cause range from hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola to epidemic typhus fever.

The Plague of Athens was an epidemic that devastated the city-state of Athens in ancient Greece during the second year of the Peloponnesian War (430 BC) when an Athenian victory still seemed within reach. The plague killed an estimated 75,000 to 100,000 people and is believed to have entered Athens through Piraeus, the city’s port and sole source of food and supplies. Much of the eastern Mediterranean also saw an outbreak of the disease, albeit with less impact.

The plague had serious effects on Athens’ society, resulting in a lack of adherence to laws and religious belief. In response laws became stricter, resulting in the punishment of non-citizens claiming to be Athenian. In addition, Pericles, the leader of Athens, died from the plague. The plague returned twice more, in 429 BC and in the winter of 427/426 BC. Some 30 pathogens have been suggested as having caused the plague.[7]

The Roman Empire suffered its first massive epidemic in the so-called Antonine Plague circa 165-180 AD. Soldiers returning to Rome from campaigning along with empire’s boundaries developed what scientists now believe was smallpox. The result in Rome’s crowded streets was the death of up to five million people. The long-lasting outbreak ended the long peaceful “Pax Romana” for the empire, with barbarian invasions weakening the government and undermining the old religious belief systems with their multiple gods, opening the door to the growth of Christianity.

The remains found where a bonfire incinerated many of the victims of the Cyprian Plague epidemic in the city of Thebes in Egypt. (Image credit: N.Cijan/Associazione Culturale per lo Studio dell’Egitto e del Sudan ONLUS)

About 100 years later, a new virus hit the Roman Empire that wiped out over one million people.  “Named after St. Cyprian, a bishop of Carthage (a city in Tunisia) who described the epidemic as signaling the end of the world, the Plague of Cyprian is estimated to have killed 5,000 people a day in Rome alone. In 2014, archaeologists in Luxor found what appears to be a mass burial site of plague victims. Their bodies were covered with a thick layer of lime (historically used as a disinfectant). Archaeologists found three kilns used to manufacture lime and the remains of plague victims burned in a giant bonfire.”[8] Thought by scholars to be another outbreak of smallpox, the disease is believed to have transferred from animal hosts to humanity and may have included measles.  The outbreak continued for nearly twenty years and contributed greatly to the fall of the empire.

In 541-542, up to 100 million died across Europe and West Asia in the epidemic known first as the Plague of Justinian (emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire at Istanbul),[9] wiping out up to 50% of the European population. The disease, later known as the Black Death (Bubonic plague) hopped over to the British Isles 100 years later and reappeared in 746-747 in the Byzantine Empire, West Asia, and Africa to ill an unknown number of victims. Meanwhile, an outbreak of smallpox in Japan killed about half the population.

A bubo on the upper thigh of a person infected with bubonic plague. Wikipedia

The Black Death is perhaps the most famous of pandemics, believed carried by fleas and also spread by human to human contact. Credited with depopulating Europe during the Middle Ages, the outbreak lasted from 1331-1353 and wiped out up to 200 million people, up to 60% of the population.

The Black Death, also known as the Pestilence and the Plague, was the most fatal pandemic recorded in human history… the bacterium Yersinia pestis is believed to have been the cause. Y. pestis infection most commonly results in bubonic plague… it most likely originated in Central Asia or East Asia, from where it travelled along the Silk Road, reaching Crimea by 1347. From there, it was most likely carried by fleas living on the black rats that travelled on Genoese merchant ships, spreading throughout the Mediterranean Basin and reaching Africa, Western Asia, and the rest of Europe via Constantinople, Sicily, and the Italian Peninsula.[10]

A recurrence of Black Death in the mid-1500s wiped out over 20,000 Londoners and another estimated 20,000 thirty years later. Various plague outbreaks around the globe continued to occur, but the biggest death toll in Britain of over 100,000 people happened in the mid-1600s. Subsequent ripples of this infection have made way through various populations since that time, and the virus remains active even in the United States.

One of greatest advantages Europeans had in its conquest of the New World were the diseases that came with them. Smallpox, measles, and yellow fever wiped out upwards of twenty million natives who had never been exposed and had no immunity. For a full list of epidemics and their impact, see

Today, we have the advantage of knowing such disease outbreaks are not signals of the end of the world wrought by supernatural powers, but rather by invisible creatures that breed in our cells. We shouldn’t be at all surprised that yet another such eruption has occurred, given the role such entities have played throughout human history. Due to modern science, we stand at a far greater advantage than any of our forefathers in fighting such devastating illnesses. But as we’re witnessing, science is only as effective as the public and our leaders will allow.

And as far as science goes, no one yet knows exactly how COVID-19 kills people, or how long asymptomatic carriers continue to spread the virus, or whether those who’ve survived infection are vulnerable to re-infection. The horizon for a vaccine remains distant despite our advanced technology, and no one can predict whether a vaccine will be more or less as effective as the flu vaccine at its average of 50%.

Even when (if) we manage to craft an effective vaccine and discover treatments that address the viral infection with relatively useful interventions, we still must face the fact that the flip side of our advanced scientific status in the modern world is a far greater rate of intercontinental disease transmission and expansion of human population into areas previously left to nature, to name only two.

There will be new viruses.



  1. With new viruses occurring approximately ONE EACH YEAR, the majority are viruses originating from an animal host. Of the many factors responsible, CHANGES TO LOCAL ECOSYSTEMS that perturb the balance between pathogen and principal host species is one of the major drivers, together with increasing urbanization of mankind and changes in human behavior. Many emerging viruses have RNA genomes and as such are capable of rapid mutation and selection of new variants in the face of environmental changes in host numbers and available target species. [Emphasis mine]
  2. Scientists studying ice cores from melting glaciers have discovered previously unknown viruses that are tens of millions of years old. “The experiment revealed 33 groups of virus genuses (also known as genera) in the ice cores. Of these, 28 were previously unknown to science, the researchers said. “The microbes differed significantly across the two ice cores,” the researchers wrote in the study, ‘presumably representing the very different climate conditions at the time of deposition.’” See
  3. We still have plenty of existing, known viruses waiting at our doorstep for a fresh host population. See
  4. Graphics of viruses.










[9] It doesn’t take much imagination to understand how this plague led to the end of the classical world.  “The reign of Justinian was a turning-point in Late Antiquity. It is the period when paganism finally lost its long struggle to survive, and when the schism in Christianity between the Monophysite east and the Chalcedonian west became insurmountable. From a military viewpoint, it marked the last time that the Roman Empire could go on the offensive with hope of success. Africa and Italy were recovered, and a foothold was established in Spain. When Justinian died, the frontiers were still intact although the Balkans had been devastated by a series of raids and the Italian economy was in ruins. His extensive building program has left us the most celebrated example of Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture that still survives: Hagia Sophia in modern Istanbul.” See


The Great Killing Time

The killing won’t stop anytime soon. A subclass of white men can’t find the means to adapt to a world where they are not dominant. They don’t know how to see themselves except as warriors striking down those they perceive as enemies.

The enemies are not just people of color. The “enemies” are thick in the world around these sad failures of evolution. Social change driven by modern science and technology has left them with no fields to plow or wilderness to conquer, no tribal fires. Those were skills living deep in their DNA. Vacant of all but amorphous anger, they sit on their couches, helpless against their sense of violation in a time that requires reasoning and acceptance of Other.

Christian Picciolini, a white nationalist who has stepped away from that way of thinking, remarks on the mind-set: “Typically what I found is, people hate other people because they hate something very specifically about themselves, or are very angry about a situation within their own environment, and that is then projected onto other people.”[1]

Whatever the symbols of Other, they will hate. Their hate will fester. Their testosterone drives them to act. What act will satisfy the hate, the need to eradicate the threat?


But it’s not just a failure to evolve that drives the urge to kill. As a society, we’ve failed to address the impact of rapid technological and social change. Our schools should be teaching logic, debate and rhetoric, critical tools for rational humankind. Reasoning skills are required if we are to control our emotions and peaceably resolve conflict.

Logic: sensible rational thought and argument rather than ideas that are influenced by emotion or whim; the branch of philosophy that deals with the theory of deductive and inductive arguments and aims to distinguish good from bad reasoning.

Rhetoric: the ability to use language effectively, especially to persuade or influence people.

Debate:  to talk about something at length and in detail, especially as part of a formal exchange of opinion

Shamefully, today public policy discussed even in the U.S. Senate, the highest arena of government, disintegrates into personal attack. The public square, now virtual instead of physical, suffers the same: personal attack instead of reasoned debate.

Shout down anyone who doesn’t agree with you. Call them names. Unleash rage against the Other.

The more we engage in personal attacks, the less progress we achieve in achieving public policy that works for us all. This time will go down in history as the Great Killing. Whether it’s the unevolving who will die or those who reason is yet to be seen.

Can we look forward to a change in educational programs? Can we retrofit people by demanding they go through some kind of training? Can we require our elected officials to focus on the goal instead of wading into partisan squabbling?

The killing will continue.



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Conscious Evolution

Conscious evolution. We know enough. We know why. We know how.

Back when we wore skins and only knew our own tribe, we needed clues to identify the ‘Other.’ They would kill us, take our women and homes and food. We noted their skin color, how they dressed, what insignia they carried. We didn’t need to greet them or get to know them. We killed them before they had a chance to kill us.

Our fear and hatred of Other has followed us. It’s embedded in our DNA. Our survival depended on it.

Today, our survival no longer depends on fearing and hating Other. Now our survival depends on recognizing shared humanity. The majority of people understand this. But there’s that tiny minority, emboldened now by Trump, who just don’t get it.

We need to investigate what some white men fear that pushes them to march in the street with torches. Why they resort to violence. Why they feel oppressed.

They fear losing their concept of themselves as the best, most important, top-of-the-food chain guy. Their very identity is threatened.

Their fear derives from

  • Ignorance, a failure of our public schools in educating about history and anthropology. Supremacists assume that because whites have been predominant in the development of machines and other hallmarks of modern civilization, whites are therefore superior. This view fails to acknowledge the advanced machinery of ancient cultures like China, India, and the Middle East—non-white civilizations. This view also fails to reflect the harm machines have brought to all life forms on the planet—pollution, disease, and arguably a pace of living that destroy human peace and health.
  • Rapid change in requirements for earning a living. It’s no longer enough to hunt, fish, manage livestock, plow fields, and stack rock fences, occupations that served men well for thousands of years.
  • Loss of primacy in male-female relationships. That’s not to say alt-right men don’t seek out submissive women who will stroke their egos. Many do, and sadly there are plenty of women who accept, even enjoy, this kind of relationship. But in the workplace, on the streets, and elsewhere in our culture, women have gained a more equal position. They can vote, earn a living, and walk away from men who refuse to relinquish outdated ideas. They can abort rape impregnation, an age-old tool of male domination.
  • Loss of control over formerly subordinate groups. Such as slaves (African). Such as field workers (Hispanic). Such as ethnic groups (Jew). Now their kids go to school together. At least, until pressure from the alt-right succeeds in shifting sufficient tax dollars to private and ‘religious’ schools to allow low and middle income racists to send their kids to the same segregated right-wing private schools that the more affluent racists have been sending their kids to since integration.
  • Loss of power to control the terms by which our society operates. Through the courts, America’s promise of liberty and justice for all has gradually gained greater implementation. This has fueled the swelling alt-right push to place sympathetic right-wingers on the SCOTUS as well as lower courts across the country. They want courts that will give men the primacy they once enjoyed over women. They want courts to reinforce alt-right beliefs about marriage, sexuality, race, and all the other arenas where white male dominant beliefs have been challenged.
  • For many modern men, their ability to consider themselves men has been compromised by loss of sexual function or diminished genitalia as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals. This is only going to get worse as exposures increase. If such exposure doesn’t affect them personally, it may affect their sons. If they have any. Researchers confirm that sperm count continues to drop at a rapid pace. They also remark on the increase of boys born with compromised genitalia, now up to one in 350 male births. ‘Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are substances present in the environment that can interfere with normal hormonal balance and thus exert potentially adverse health effects on the human organism. Male reproductive system development and function may be susceptible to the effects of such environmental toxicants.’ Endocrine disruptors include multiple chemicals routinely appearing in pesticides, herbicides, plastics, and many other products as well as in chemicals that have now been outlawed such as PCBs, DDT, and atrazine, to name a few. Effects of exposure to these chemicals can carry through to subsequent generations.  (Also this article.)
  • Fear of Other derives from conscious and subconscious effects. A man may have a normal penis size and function fine sexually yet still feel insecure about his sexuality. He may experience urges that he can’t explain, which repulse him and defy his religious beliefs, such as same-sex attraction. In many cases, a man’s ability to feel secure in his sexuality depends on his ability to see himself in a dominant role both at home and in society. Yet many jobs require men to work under the supervision of a woman or a gay man or a racial or ethnic minority, all of which some men consider subordinates.
  • Desire for clear lines of authority. Hierarchy serves men well by defining exact ranks of dominance. Men can accept not being at the top of a hierarchy if at the same time they see that others rank below them. With hierarchy come prescribed methods of moving up through the ranks as well as methods for working within the system. Complaints flow up the chain of command. Men know who they’re working for and what to do if problems arise. In our modern world, traditional chains of command have been interrupted. Even in the military, men today may find themselves working alongside or even in lower rank than a woman or a transgender person. This flies in the face of many men’s instinctive expectation that those within the hierarchy are their peers, their own kind. Admiration and support for Trump derives in part from his authoritarian stance, his willingness to invoke violence, and other aspects of his personality which hearken back to old white hierarchical traditions. Hierarchy as a mind-set also dictates that people believe what their parents believed, and before that their grandparents.
  • Authority for racist views are encoded in the Old Testament, at least as alt-right adherents believe. “Genesis 9:18–29 has been popularly understood to mean that Ham was cursed, and this understanding has often been used to justify oppression of African people, the descendants of Ham. In this view Ham offended his father, Noah, and because of this his descendants are also cursed, and Ham is presented as the father of African people. The text does give the impression that Ham was cursed, but a more careful reading of the passage reveals that this is not so.” (quote source)

Efforts to stamp out alt-right beliefs only succeed in escalating the problem. We must re-think our approach to this threatening yet benighted portion of the population and consider them as injured children who must be nurtured through a re-training process. Many are under-employed, and must be taught how to perform jobs that fit into the modern workplace. Many are suffering severe emotional and psychological problems and need the best therapy our professionals can provide. Many also suffer illness including obesity, sexual dysfunction, and other medical conditions that impinge on their ability to feel whole. Many may suffer the effects of poor nutrition either from ignorance about proper diet or insufficient income.

For all these ills, men of the alt-right seek someone to blame other than the person they see in the mirror.

  • It can’t possibly be that they themselves have fallen into poor health through lack of exercise or poor nutrition. Rather, the reason they feel bad is that ‘commies’ and Jews have taken over their country.
  • It can’t possibly be that their workplace exposure to hazardous endocrine-disrupting chemicals has caused their impotence. Rather, it’s ball-busting women in general.
  • It can’t possibly be that their lack of curiosity or inability to learn has caused them to slip to the bottom in job skills or educational achievement. Rather, it’s the government sending their jobs overseas. It’s immigrants taking up jobs they might have had.

The alt-right is a manifestation of a pervasive illness affecting a certain portion of our population. They are the unevolved among us. We need to immediately start to design interventions that will effectively address their fears and failings. We need to tighten the standards of education to significantly limit homeschooling and improve curriculum for political science and history. We need to implement laws that punish those advocating violence against others and require attendance in appropriate therapy, job training, and/or health and nutrition treatment, just as in earlier years we have required certain groups to attend ‘sensitivity’ training.

These challenged humans suffer from delusions that they alone see the truth. Without an effective strategy to encourage their conscious evolution, there will be more blood in the streets.

Light Being Human


A vast plain stretched before me, fields of grasses amber in the dawn. The grasses bent with heavy heads, golden ripe, nodding in the gentle winds of daybreak. The man rose up out of the grasses. He rose up out of the grasses and looked at me. His eyes were tawny.

We stood at the gates of the city side by side. His hand held mine as we looked over the fields of grasses, bright yellow in the full light of midday. His hands held mine and melted into mine and we were one. We stood, looking out, one.

His thoughts hummed with familiar energy. I had always known him. His thoughts carried knowledge as old as my own, fit perfectly into the brain that lay within his skull, his skull of golden hair.

I knew his appetites, whether he had the sweetness of honey on his tongue, whether his belly was full with the meat of the field. He lay between my legs and filled my belly with the honey of his mouth and the meat of the field. His appetites were my appetites. We hungered together and satisfied each other. He was waiting for me even now, his eyes looking for me in the lands of the Earth.
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CHROMA Excerpt

chroma-coverMuch of what I write is history. My blog posts are usually about current events or my publications about local history. This is different.

My new novel, Chroma, is history of an entirely different sort. Theoretical history firmly rooted in factual evidence of human evolution. It’s available in ebook format at half price now until November 15 release date.

They were aware of nothing. Not movement, even though they existed within a stream of photons traveling at the speed of light. Not thought, even though they contained among them all the knowledge that could be known.

They were One, Chroma.

A world of physical existence unfolded before them as they encountered a blue planet and its cycles of life, forms already ancient in their traditions of birth, life, and death. The Aspects of Chroma begin to question. How would it be to know embodiment? Could they learn the pleasure of food, of rest and procreation?

Among them, B4 Indigo—more precisely 493.883 Hertz in her spectral array between 420 and 450 nanometers of visible light—flourished into her own identity. Immediately resonating with her harmonic companion F369.994 Yellow and his fellow octaves of F sharp, B4 pursued a fateful agenda. What could be known? What could be changed?

Chroma: Light Being Human submerges readers in the intimate process of becoming human.


Several entities manipulate dials and adjust various screens and mechanisms. The green glow of instrumentation reflects on their thin metallic arms and black sensory lens. Outside, visible through a wide expanse of glass that spreads above the console, the curve of the ship’s upper hull shines faintly silver as we pass a nearby sun, a reflection that repeats in luminous arcs along the huge outer ring as it revolves around the ship. Our vessel emits its own light, a faint glow of pink and yellow, pastel blue and green. The pale kaleidoscope of color changes as the ring rotates. A faint jingling sound emanates from the ring.

The crystal from which we flow stands in the midst of the upper deck, mounted at the heart of an elegant curving focular. The metal device reaches up to a clear dome in the ceiling, the portal through which our photons flow. At the heart of the focular, the tall crystal pulses with light. Each facet sparks with color, throwing my existence—the existence of us all—into the cabin.

You can’t imagine seeing all this at once. Without any understanding. I can’t imagine it either, not any more. It’s been too long. What’s left for me now, for any of us in Light, is the faint dying away of sound from a bell long after it’s been struck.

What lingers more clearly is the question ‘why’? I’ve come up with countless answers, but my cigarette has gone out. Its ashes and butt have already been incorporated into the cabin’s refuse bin. What can I say? I always want to smoke. It calms me.


We were so innocent then. None of us knew how long we’d been traveling or even that we were. I speak for us all because back then, we were One.

We’d been speeding through the soup of space-time. It could be said that we didn’t move at all, that we were in all places at once, and that would have been closer to the actual physics of the situation. We understood so little.

As if we understand now. Get that straight. I can look back now and say, oh, yeah, this and that. But we blew into this excruciating process without knowing anything. You’d think after all this time we’d have the answers. Everyone thinks we know everything. I’m telling this story because you need to understand—we don’t know.

At the time, we didn’t have human reference. Consider yourself lucky that I can use these terms. Otherwise, I’d have to present a symphony with flashing lights and you wouldn’t get it.

Please allow me to introduce us, the Aspects of Chroma. I’m of the electromagnetic range known as Indigo, and my frequency is of the musical tone B at the fourth octave of human perception, 493.883 Hertz. Call me B4. From me up the diatonic scale and across the visible spectrum are C Violet, D Red, E Orange, F Yellow, G Green, and A Blue, each like me with countless shades and sub-tones just as there are infinite fractions between the number one and the number two. These are my kinsmen and companions. Part of me, at least in the beginning.

Beginning? Again, that’s an amorphous concept. What we’ve learned so far is that our piercing column of white light, this stream of photons, originates somewhere past Sirius. The big star’s gravity bends our trajectory and slings us on a new path like a stone from a slingshot.

In the moment of our awakening, we existed as a refraction off the face of a doubly terminated clear quartz crystal, SiO4 tetrahedra. We broke into brilliant shapes of every color: red lines and blue spheres, violet spirals and yellow-orange loops, green and turquoise, russet and tan, swirling and sparkling, our voice a mighty chorus throbbing with the vibration of our existence.

This is the armchair quarterback version. Like I said, we didn’t know any of this. We just were. Ambulatory entities moved around us in a physical existence unlike ours. They could travel from place to place as discrete beings. Do things. Move things. I envied them.

Looking back, I’m amazed at how easy it was to take the next step. I can’t tell you when. We’re talking infinities of time, at least in human terms. And that’s how I’m trying to keep this, in human terms.

At a random moment, I the fourth octave of Indigo separated my wave of sound and light from the others. I clung to one of these ambulatory forms as it passed near the crystal. I had been part of the full sound of Chroma, a band of its electromagnetic spectra. Suddenly I wasn’t.

I admit it was a thrilling moment. That first taste of discrete existence riveted my attention. This physiognomy went places, did things. I went with it. Interacted. I became able to think and speak of things not previously known, concepts not known to us in One.

That was how it started.


I rode the Phiz, these gray physiognomies with their gleaming black eyes and dexterous fingers, around our contained metal vessel. On its shoulders, I dove deep into the belly of the ship where sleek engines chewed through harvested dark matter and thrust us ever onward. I swept along corridors to technical rooms where Phiz performed maintenance on each other and the ship’s devices. With the Phiz, I found that my suggestions resulted in certain responses so that when I wanted to see beyond a particular door, whichever Phiz I rode opened it. When I wanted to alter the direction of the ship so that it turned more toward the nearby nebulae or a particular galaxy, the Phiz manipulated the controls accordingly.

What pleasure I found in these interactions! The heady exercise of power, autonomy, control, adventure! The gratification of cause and effect, initiation and conclusion, hunger and satiety—I couldn’t get enough. How could one ever forget such things, once tasted?

My fellow Aspects twirled and tumbled in a constantly changing wash of rainbow hues and choirs of sound. Calculations of mathematics, rhymes of words and phrases, patterns of triangles, squares, octagons, words merging into other words that grew from combinations of letters, new meanings and ideas forming from old meanings and old ideas, scenes of color shifting constantly into different color—all of it poured out in a continuing stream, all of it made audible by the rush of sound, each tone carrying its own frequency and pitch, each color merging upward or downward into the next hue, each pitch sliding upward or downward through infinite frequencies.

Indigo posed our fateful question to the thought stream pulsing within our One: Could we have form as do the Phiz?

Immediately the texture of light in the room changed. Shades of color diminished until only the primary hue of each band remained. The wild disarray of sound subsided as sub-tones, flats and sharps and semi-notes aligned with their dominant pitches. One next to each other, each of the Aspects formed their primary hue of colored light in a single prismatic emission from the crystal face.

“What would you have us do, B Indigo?” asked D293.665 Red, surging in a beam of crimson. “Will it be pleasurable?”

“What will form accomplish?” A440 Blue said, his cobalt column intense. “I admit to some interest in your idea, but I have no data that support this proposal.”

“No data,” said the sphere of E329.628 Orange.

F369.994 Yellow rippled over the room, casting everything in golden brilliance. “A challenging proposal, my dear B4,” he said. “I’ve seen you coming this. I’ve felt your excitement. Why would you change us?”

Even separated from them as I had become in my questioning, I could not overcome the pull of our vibrational unity. But among them all, none had greater fundamental frequency with me than the energy of F369.994 and his fellow octaves of F sharp. For a moment, I couldn’t control my visceral response, an emission of sound that rang out beside his pitch in perfect intervals of fourths and fifths.

Such joy! Tremors of luxurious warmth swept along my wavelength. I wanted him always with me.

“Don’t spoil this, Yellow.” I wrested away, shivering in the rush of our harmonic joining. “Think of what I ask.”

His tone settled on one note. “Do you know what you ask?”

“Surely we have other purpose than endless play,” I said, resisting the urge to acknowledge his doubt. “What do we know of our beginning? Where are we going? What is our purpose? Is this all there is?”

None of them replied. Only the faintest choir of sound emanated from us.

“What of this adjacent plane, these physical constructs that force us from One into many, that contain us and attend us?” I said, swirling toward the crystal and the Phiz then laying my purple ribbon of light along the glass that separated our enclosed space from the streaming vista ahead. I couldn’t express, then or now, the swelling up I felt, the urgency pushing me. “What are the natures of the bodies we pass, these suns and novas, the congregates?”

The room remained abnormally silent with faint spikes of color flickering on the lustrous high ceiling.  I couldn’t blame them for their reaction. Part of me remained in sync with them, stunned at my rebellion.

“These are challenging observations, B4,” Blue intoned.

Green flourished in chartreuse, emerald, lime, as octaves of G echoed. “We could instruct the Phiz to such a task. I sense creative possibilities.”

“Yes, exactly,” I said, my Indigo family growing more intense. “How can we wait one more moment to explore?”

“Dearest B4, we have everything here,” Violet C murmured. “Existence in its purest form. We are One. Why would we want to disturb this with unknowns?”

“But we are no longer One…” I said.

“Theoretical questions, Violet,” F Yellow said. “Questioning within unity is not the same as chasing ideas on your own. What B4 proposes takes us outside anything we’ve known.”

“The risks of unknowns, statistically speaking…the odds are quite staggering that we would have any success in finding an equivalent amount of pleasure, if I respond to Red’s posed question,” Orange said. She calculated, sending up waves of mathematical images to the upper deck walls. “Drawing from Phiz data stores—they have no specific description of pleasure or any other subjective experience, but they do record a significant number of potentially damaging interactions between our containment here and various elements of the external environment. If we extrapolated that we, like the vessel around us, would also encounter a variety of similar interactions, we could assume that pleasure would not be the only feature of such a ‘physical’ experience.”

“A blind leap, it seems to me,” Blue said. “Why would we risk it? I believe Indigo’s ideas stem from disengagement from our union. We should be reminded—it’s been a long time since we acknowledged the primal energy of our source. A joining can’t be far off. Until the time when our One is reenergized, we should focus on discussion, perhaps expanding our theoretical analyses. We can generate ideas and experiences among us that are new and challenging—Orange alone has infinite sequences of formulae—without shifting the fundamental nature of our experience. We are, after all, physical in the sense that we exist in light and sound beyond the energy stream radiated at the grating. The possibilities…”

“And what of my offerings—spontaneous, organic…” Green said.

“Take my D,” Red said. “Tones seducing to the sharp, to the flat …”

The column of light swirled brighter. Choirs of sound pulsed the air and rose to the walls, to the high ceiling, until the shades of color painted the room in song. I saw their hesitation. I slipped away, allowing my bandwidth to drift into shadows. I don’t know what I expected. The old songs resonated through the conversation.

Whether my fellows agreed or not, whether Indigo might later suffer regret, I could not stop myself. I see now that my destiny would find outlet no matter what. Ironically, I understand it now in terms of the physical world. My fate advanced like a sudden rivulet of rainwater caught behind a clump of leaves and silt which pile up in a widening dam until, finding fresh course to its inevitable downhill destiny, the flood rushes around and through the obstacle.


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