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Thursday, June 22, 2006

My Teacher: a Nuclear Terrorist

Not really sure at what age I first met my teacher, but I know I was very familiar with him by the age of four. I recorded many of our journeys together in my artwork. Scenes of destruction featuring burning buildings, tanks and soldiers and more cryptic symbols such as skulls and cacti that were meant to convey poison or disease. When I painted my teacher's picture I painted him emerging from a great black void in a burning ring of fire. He could easily be mistaken for an image of the devil, Lucifer; I am sure my day-care center teacher assumed this was the case.
While I am not sure when I first met my teacher, I suspect my father may have been responsible, in part, for making it possible or necessary for us to meet. My father was a very strange man, as was my grandfather. In the time leading up to my conception my
father engaged in some odd occult practices which, according to my mother, were performed with the intent of assuring that their child (myself) would not be born with a human spirit. It was my father's intention that I would be an immigrant spirit from another world. My mother, it would seem, had second thoughts about this; but by the time I was conceived it was too late.
I have pre-natal memories from the time I was gestating in her womb that are filled with her anxieties and a guilt-drenched fear that fueled a hostility toward me that she struggled to overcome and abolish even while she secretly wished she would miscarry or abort.
I struggled for my survival then and was very nearly defeated. I emerged with a self destructive streak that made me a failure-to-thrive child. I remember being force-fed with a syringe down my throat in my infancy and how stubborn I was to learn to eat on my own.
Anyway, I believe my father helped to set the stage for my introduction to my teacher.
I spent a great deal of time traveling with my teacher in what might be described as out-of-body experiences. But my body was not inactive while I was gone.
As time passed I would hear strange stories about things I had done which I had never done. I finally came to understand that my body was hosting other spirits in my absences; lingering traits of these foreign spirits within me became evident as I grew older.
Being unable to remember events that other people say they had shared with me was terribly frightening. People whom I regarded as strangers often claimed to be my friends; I had no idea how to behave with them, no underlying memories of shared experiences to build upon; when they came to realize I did not remember them, that I had no clue who they might be, they were often hurt or offended and turned hostile out of pique.
I took to avoiding people as much as possible out of fear. I feared disappointing them if I could not remember them, and I feared the retaliation they might vent upon me if they discovered that I could not remember them or what special moments they believed that we had shared. Much later I learned to take these encounters in stride. I could meet someone who remembered a history with me I had not shared, and I could play at the role required while I struggled for clues that would help me to understand what they perceived our relationship to one another should be.
This alienation from people included my parents.
My father and I sat on a low stone wall one day, between two driveways, building a plastic model of the Mercury rocket ship, complete with gantry, support vehicles, etc, when I was four. I remember seeing how distressed and lonely he was. It was clear that he hoped we might form a bond with one another that we could bridge the distance of our relationship and evolve a close-knit loving relationship. But what was equally clear was his conviction that he was incapable of forming such a relationship with anyone, myself included.
I had already lived most of my life struggling with the pain of my loneliness and angry that I could feel no close ties to anyone, but until that day I had clung to the hope that by some miracle my father and I might be able to build the sort of close and comforting relationship we both yearned for.
But my father was so clearly as lost from me as I was lost from him that I finally despaired that day and gave up any hope that we could ever feel close to one another.
My mother had made efforts to build a relationship with me that were doomed by my over-whelming fear of her. I came to blame her for some of my father's problems, she clearly turned a cold shoulder to him at every potentially intimate moment. I could see how increasingly fearful my father was becoming to try to reach out to her in any way. Eventually I came to understand my father's role in creating and maintaining this distance between them.
Anyway, my father's determination to ensure I would be an alien soul from another world may have been misguided, but may also have set the stage for me to meet my teacher.
My teacher was the closest thing to a friend or family for me in some respects, since I spent so much time away from my world and family exploring events in other times and places.
In communicating to you what these early experiences with my teacher were like, I am hampered by having had no linguistic or conceptual frameworks with which to build these memories at the time that they were formed. I am sorry to have lost all my artwork from that time, as I recorded as much as I could through drawings and paintings.
The urgency of my teacher's mission with me was very clear, and haunts me to this day. Alas I have had no contact with my teacher since our last journey in 1965. The last time I saw my teacher appear was Thanksgiving Day.
I was 8 years old and feeling out-of-sorts, avoiding company up in my parents bedroom when a dot of fire appeared on the bedroom wall and quickly opened into the familiar ring of fire in which my teacher appeared and beckoned me to come with him.
But we never left this world.
This time the calamity we were to visit was to happen right there in my own life. That night ended with the cries of the dying and the terrible shrieks and wailing of those driven mad by the rain of bombs that blasted away two thirds of the neighboring city of Philadelphia in a nuclear exchange that transformed much of the world into a terrifying wasteland.
The shock waves leveled most of the city with damage evident only a quarter mile away. The fires that followed seemed to burn for weeks in some places and we worried they may reach our neighborhood.
People wandering out of the blasted area sought my father's services, for his chiropractic shingle on our house resembled a physician's shingle and they expected him to be full of knowledge to treat burns and broken limbs. His medical training was up to the task of most of the commonplace injuries he saw, but the radiation sickness was beyond his skills and resources to treat. He did what he could do.
The winds brought the fallout to us, so that our neighbors and my family (at that point I then had two infant sisters) were soon sickening and withering away from the radiation.
People were dying in droves and the stench was awful as the survivors burned the remains of the fallen.
We had some good stores of wine, for my father was a home vintner; however these were quickly depleted, as the flow of water through our pipes was ended with the bombs. We had some small reserves of food, for my mother practiced preserving the fruits and vegetables of our gardens. When what little we had was spent it seemed pointless to move on, refugees were fleeing in all directions seeking sustenance and shelter, and we would have to compete for our lives with brute force, taking what we needed by robbery and murder.
My father's small supply of bullets was barely adequate to maintain a threat against the marauders that had made regular assaults upon our home. So we stayed to starve and perish in the comfort of a familiar place, rather than join the human dogs that warred with each other beyond the walls of our house.
My sisters were the first of my family to perish, followed by my father and then my mother. I watched many neighbors' houses burn as frustrated looters quickly made it a policy to burn any place in which they could find no food or other provisions. I feared they would burn our house as well, wile we were still in it, because we would not let them in. But the marauders quickly moved on spreading out into the countryside and they left us in peace in my parents' final days.
As time passed the survivors remaining in our neighborhood gathered together. We discovered we were all children, none older than ten or perhaps twelve, nor any younger than four or five. The world was changing around us in ways we could appreciate but which were hard to understand. Nature grew wildly and we found an abundance of fruits and vegetables to sustain us. Some even took to hunting with rocks and sticks and what few firearms still had ammunition. We built new homes in the wild lands that our old neighborhood had become and pondered where had our old homes gone, for now, very little remained of the civilization into which we had been born.
We could barely discern the places where roads had passed or houses stood, for everywhere nature was reclaiming the land and abolishing all traces of the old world that had passed away on that dreadful Thanksgiving eve.
We built huts and fires and danced and sang and tried to avoid the looks of pain we saw in each other's eyes every day.
We survived.
While none among us grew sick or starved, nonetheless our numbers dwindled. Children would return from hunting and foraging with wild stories of having seen a familiar road or house. Everyone would rush to check it out only to be disappointed. But those who had these visions would one day never return, and as the visions eventually came to all of us, we followed these strange roads and disappeared into the wilderness never to return to the small community we had built for ourselves following the war.
My own visions took me down disjointed roads that grew increasingly familiar, until one day I found my house, which I had not seen in many months.
It was a wonder.
As I approached I noticed the houses of my neighbors appear around it, houses which I had seen burned to the ground. When at last I went in it was Thanksgiving night again, but this time no bombs fell.
My family and our guests were all about making merry as dinner was being laid out on the table, and I sat down to dinner and watched my aunt distractedly pepper her plate with the fish food that sat by the aquarium on our table.
I had no clue how to relate what had just passed for me, some three or four months journeying about a wasteland and a forest that no one present appeared to remember.
I was terribly angry with my teacher for I blamed him for the horrible events I had experienced. Now I have not seen him in over 40 years, and I regret that I lost touch with him. But, in retrospect I understand why it is we would eventually part regardless of the circumstances. It was my lack of strong verbal and conceptual skills in my infancy that made it possible for my teacher to circumvent 'reality' as it is known in the mundane world and draw me away to distant places and frightful experiences. As I 'matured' in this world I slowly fit myself into the communal weltanschauung that prohibits the sort of experiences that I had commonly had with my teacher. As my concepts of the world were developed through the maturation of my linguistic skills I was becoming less and less fit to take part in supernatural experiences. So it was inevitable that one day I might never see my teacher again.
But the circumstances of our last parting prejudiced me against him for many years to follow and I eventually put all those old memories aside and left them to themselves as I got on with the business of trying to learn how to live in this world where we now share my blog.
I have experienced several more nuclear wars since then, some in this world, others in different worlds or times; it now seems natural to return from a world blasted into ruin into a world where those terrible events have un-happened once again.
In some of these worlds I am present as a spirit guide to help the dead return to the lives they were living before ruin overcame them. In others I am once more one among many survivors who pick a thread of their old world out of the warped world they have inherited and follow it home to a world undestroyed by the bombs that had fallen again.
My teacher taught me the infinite nature of the world, but also showed me how time and again we will bring destruction upon ourselves. My teacher hoped that I would one day contribute to a change that would turn the course of events away from more destruction. And that is the compulsion under which I live, a terrible onus, for no one person can make such a change by themselves; and, while I see others operating toward this goal, I despair that I will ever be able to take my part in the change that must come, at any cost, to change the tide of the futures I have seen.
One future stands out from among many and concerns me more than any others. I will address that future in a future blog but possibly not tomorrow's.
As I check this blog for errors I think perhaps I owe you an explanation of the transformation that transpired following the nuclear war of 1965.
We create the worlds we live in through a sort of communal process wherein we maintain the world inherited from our parents and transform it along various lines of possibility or probability so that evolves its own unique characteristics different from the world our parents knew. This power to create the worlds we share is mediated through a covenant whereby no one should have power and influence greater than any other. The rules aren't iron-clad, there are many who can circumvent them in one manner or another, true mages, witches and psychics exist among us, but their powers remain limited. The nature of our consensus reality prohibits most miraculous events as well as events of a sorcerous nature.
When the world was blasted with bombs so many people died that there was an enormous interruption in the consensus reality responsible for maintaining the world we knew then. With so little human influence imposed upon it, nature was released from our subjugation and immediately began restoring the world as nature determines it should be. So with the majority of adult minds gone, along with all the rules they maintained for how everything should be, nature just followed its own course and restored the world to the best state it could achieve.
Our young groups of survivors were too inexperienced to know that this was 'impossible' within the world view of their parents, and they accepted the change for what it was, an entirely natural event.
Nature is forever ready to restore itself in a neglected space where our communal minds fail to focus on imposing human order upon the larger world around us.