The Book of Mani

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6 years 1 month
Submitted by SuperSayu on Sat, 02/06/2016 - 15:17

Oh boy. This is an old topic. "The Book of Mani" is the working title for a piece of writing I started when I was... probably a pre-teen. It still exists in that I have copies squirreled away, but it's nothing really out there for people to read anymore. It is a story about a bitter, vile world, and one person who it changed.

The setting for the Book of Mani is a world where mad scientists tortured the world systematically to create tool-enhanced psychics. The first few paragraphs of the book describe a bloodsoaked world full of madness where science run amok had created monsters, and a few people--I could never describe why they were doing it, I am not sure I ever knew--picked up any people who were smart and added a brain implant that tortured them for a year, and if they survived (odds were low) they became powerful psychics, but also enslaved by the software in the implant--they were not made to be servants, but they could not turn on their masters.

Again, this is something I wrote either as a pre-teen or in my early teenage years. Might have even been earlier. Awful, nasty stuff.

What makes it... not remotely tolerable, but what makes it continue to stick out in my memory is that it is filled with very, very peculiar philosophical rants:

Because we cannot accept the past, cannot accept the future, and we feel we cannot change the present, none [...] can understand exactly where our true boundaries lay. Exactly where the boundaries lay, surprisingly, can be defined. The boundaries lie at the very edges of time and space, always and never expanding, constantly shifting but never really moving at all. Even as the universe expands, drawing itself out thinner and thinner, the very matter that makes up you and I really moves all too slowly, when compared to meteors whizzing like small insects across space, or the nearly infinite barrier that, theoretically, is the edge of our universe itself.

Thus, in theory, our potential in the galaxy is increasing at an enormous rate. Our lives, however, are parabolic: for the great majority, life starts miserable, gets better, and then someday collapses again. Some people have many curves in their statistical lives, while some have none at all. [...] Power, of course, is never an easy bargain to deal with. As a sword, it is double edged, as an ally, it is traitorous, and as an enemy, deadly.

All of which is philosophical fluff, beautiful to a true practitioner of the art, mindless drudge to the rest of you filth. But the thoughts and ideas of any intelligent person are usually quite worth listening to, doubly so for a wise man, and incredibly so for those who are both.

Awful stuff in a lot of ways, but very peculiar things for a young man to be writing. Or how about this:

What is a memory?

A memory, per se, is only a contrivance of the mind to learn from the past and, therefore, promote survival. But in sentient beings, it takes upon a dimension of pleasure, or pain, or whatever emotion best suits its content. Memories that pass whatever criteria the mind sets for pleasure are given favor over memories of commonplace events. This does not override nature, however; memories of painful events are likewise favored, to prevent a body from unwittingly forgetting a lesson that was hard earned.

It is sometimes amazing to find what tidbits the mind bids the brain to keep. Indeed, it has happened to me that I have a distinct recollection of an event, but cannot in any way associate it with a larger theme. I have remembered tidbits offamily vacations, without the slightest clue of which, or whither, or even if it were true.

Again, not written by a fifteen or an eighteen year old, but very early. I have no idea how my brain was so well and badly organized. How about this:

A mountain. A mountain stands for ages, and the people say, it is only the mountain, it has always been. But the mountain crumbles more and more each day, and each day they say, it is the same mountain. And then, critical mass, limit break, the mountain explodes. Not as a volcano explodes, but like a building rigged with explosives, hollowly, collapsing in upon itself. The mountain the people knew is gone, and they say, there was once a mountain, which wasthe same mountain, until one day.

But the people do not see what the mountain is. And when it collapses, the whole earth rends, and the people are no more. They do not know that it is the purpose of the mountain to kill them; they do not know that it is their function to build a new mountain, to kill their children, who say, it is only the mountain, it has always been, it is the same mountain, and they say, there was once a mountain, until one day.

People will be slaves to fate if it frees them from uncertainty. Mankind will kill itself if that is what it is taught to do, rather than learn to control itself. That, self control, is not the function of the race, but of the individual, and the individual is of the race. Only some people survive, because only some people change. Some will simply return to theslaughter, because change is hard, and death is easy.

Be not a slave to fate. Death is the only fate. Only in seeking life can one begin to control ones own life. Yet, there isno life in bringing life, but only in stopping death, and death cannot be stopped by life, but only by death. So the fool brings death to end death, or brings life that comes to death.

The wise must find their own way.

This particular passage I have looked back on several times and never really understood why I was channeling such strange arcane word-smithing prowess. I could not explain where it came from or why I felt the need to write it as I did. I wrote it and I have never once felt that it ...failed to represent my worldview. It is a very odd passage. It would be odd if I wrote it now, it is odder that I wrote it back then.

But I'll leave you with this passage, close to the end of what I'd written:

"We do not fight, because we believe we are safe?"

"We do fight," returned the tall man, snapping the ends of his words with caged fury. "We do not unite because we can escape. Just like the Human race, we sit disspirited in a hundred different fortresses, making none a stronghold, because we have our home, our life, to do as we please, and we do NOT seek to sacrafice ourselves futilely. But take away these shadows, these fake walls we cluster within, and the assault will begin in earnest."

"Why," I asked, though I knew the answer, "do none dare to do the deed?"

"Would you," pointed out short one, "If you could never sleep again?"