Journey Through Metaphor and Perception - Grin with cat attached
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Journey Through Metaphor and Perception Jan. 30th, 1999 09:32 pm
A story of my search so far, told from another angle.

In the world of perception things are less as they seem and more as one comes to perceive them to be. Thus while a quick glance gives sufficient information to orient oneself, seeing in detail requires some consideration.

In the world of perception things are less as they seem and more as one comes to perceive them to be. Thus while a quick glance gives sufficient information to orient oneself, seeing in detail requires some consideration.

For as long as I can remember I had lived in the city-state of Christendom. Custom demands at this point that I automatically say what a happy childhood life I had had. But this is a true tale, albeit seen from a very unusual angle, and lately I have come to mistrust custom.

In fact I was always contented in my childhood, and frequently happy. Until around the age of twelve I was happy living the default life that custom provided, but then I started to realise that the things I saw would change slightly as I looked at them. As my education taught me to question, I started to question. And I accepted the answers, feeling that this course would lead me somewhere. Eventually I was confirmed into the fellowship of the city, and would frequently partake in the ceremony to reinforce this membership.

But I was growing - in stature, and in my strengths of observation and of thought. I began to see, in glimpses over the city walls, to observe discrepancies in the structure of the city. Nevertheless, being a good citizen, I patched these discrepancies with metaphor, not noticing how the edges of my repairs would cause yet greater cracks. And indeed my mind was occupied elsewhere; the natural world, our stewardship, was being damaged, by others, elsewhere. I started to take more of an interest in this; my considerations are such that I would wander ever further without noting where I was, or stopping to patch the city's inconsistencies.

Then one day, as I entering into adulthood, I chanced to look around. I was shocked at the tears in the city's fabric; how had those who watched over us allowed this to happen? I looked around further, and saw the faces of my fellow men as they walked beneath the Wall of Laws. Most of them passed it in total disinterest, barely raising a glance to it! And I realised that my own wanderings must have taken me past it without noticing many a time. I walked up to it, looked closely at it in its immense age, wondering how it was (admittedly barely) holding together in this era. I looked around at those who passed, and was startled to realise how many of those that still notices the Laws did so in some form of fear.

Further, more complex questions grew in my mind, but somehow there was no-one that would answer these questions.

I returned to my wanderings, ever further afield, sometimes even without the city, into the barren waste beyond. Each time, I would look out into that waste, and wonder. There, I was alone with my thoughts, but each time I would - eventually - return within the city. But I could not longer face the ceremonies; from birth truth had been ingrained into me; and I could not longer in good faith - ha! - say

"I believe in one God ... and one Church"

But somehow, without the stilling influence of these ceremonies, my thoughts ran ever faster, ever deeper. I would remain outside the city for long periods; when I missed the annual ceremony twice in sequence, there was not a hand to bring me back in. What was this? What had happened to this caring, supportive "community"?

Eventually I left the city, and wandered with my turbulent thoughts. From the agnostic regions near the city I wandered, randomly into the lonely plains of atheism. Yet I was realising that this was not the barren, cursed land that I had been told; there was life here, albeit elusive, hard to see with my city-trained eyes.

Eventually I met a guide who told me of the cities beyond, and furnished me with a map. I ranged between them, looking from without, but never daring to enter: I had been of these dangerous communities while still within my own city; twenty years of distrust held me back. But even these outside glances of the cities were changing, sharpening my perception.

Then I came to a city whose name - "Pantheism" - meant nothing to me. Yet this was a vast, open place, into which I could see clearly. It bore true promise. Yet, it seemed, I was afraid of this unknown, old habits obviously dying hard.

Before I entered, I returned to look upon my old city once more. I was shocked to see it from without, with my new unclouded vision. As I watched, a team of the city's maintainers rush out, furtively, and frantically worked at the base of the city's walls. Once they returned within, I went to look at where they had been working. The city's foundations were sinking, collapsing under the force of myriad paradoxes. This repair might hold for some time, but the city was materially unsound!

I looked around, shaper-eyed than ever. The city was patched with myriad such makeshift repairs, and the ground around it marked with scores, hundreds of trails. Many of them seemed to mill about, then return within, but I saw that some - and mine must be among them, walked out into the lonely plain. And few returned.

Astounded by this new vision, and with the sight of Pantheism firmly in my mind's eye, I returned to this new city. I found it to be a bright and fine place, almost dazzling after the grey sight of whence I came. I saw upon a wall that some of the citizens had posted their credo; I read it, and was filled with happiness. This place, indeed, was truly to my fit.

~ End the First Chapter ~

To follow; Chapter Two, in which I discover the true size of this new land, and seek my place within it.