~ a short story
The awakening began as a small thing. A progression built out of the momentum of steady rumination. A person manifested while a world away began to draw itself closer and closer. They were one in the same, for now. One created the other who created the former. It wasn’t to last in this way.
As was usually the case, the immensity of the tasks to come could not yet be fathomed. Let’s not get ahead of things. There was not yet any content outside of sensation. Breathing was the first sensation. Feeling was the second.
It could feel the soundscape afore any more perception. A windswept stream of air through a forest. Flocks of aerial aeons, flapping through space. An aura of inescapable moving and shaping and existing over interminable time periods. And then, within the intervene, the absolute silences only producible by a world untethered from the influences of any creation yet.
An opening of the eyes was third, but there wasn’t yet any time to take in the sights. There was the overload of these scents and sights and severances and stolen seconds. They are unbeholden to any particular strain of familiarity. It holds none because everything is necessarily new. All of this stimuli is here to be experienced. They persist in no steady stream, constantly fluctuating between the aquatic, the vegetative, the earthy. Breathing in and out in great gusts, salinity could be tasted inside and out. There was potential in this. Despite everything going on around it, It was the first here to do the experiencing.
It sits in this ambiance. But more than anything else, some thing is felt. All things are. The body of the being is the target of the awakening itself; the purpose of all of this happening had to be wrapped up inside the soulful essence of the only kind of consciousness up to bat thus far. These experiential moments have led up to this. The perceptive one takes notice that the stimuli being levied upon the form are informing, elucidating, enlightening. Despite all these sensations, only one object could really be focused upon. The awakener soon intuits: the feelings are a map. Thinking begins and the sensations settle into the foreground. Navigation commences. Some manner of agency comes online. Choices lie before it.
It was mind now; the body was of a lesser significance. But this was right. It was the natural endgame of what was being presented here. The mind looked out over the horizon of what was previously only felt. Now it was being registered with all the layers of logic and ratios of rationality given over to the one now ‘awake.’ What was heard, seen, smelt, tasted, and felt now was so much more than just experience. The vast blue oceanic sky cover lays over a raw realm ready to be fashioned into a cohesive consummation. The forestry and the streaming liquids running through it, teeming with potential lifetimes of well-worn stories. This is known. The designed mountains where destinies are forged in purposeful havens make up the workshop for the newly branded craftsman. The hills and deserts and plains and tundras — all of it is untouched by one such as the awakener. Collectively, the landscape before the newly awakened was a sandbox. Unguided but certainly capable of becoming something outside of its original design.
The Awakened stands in observance of this world and its possibilities.
In its mind, the work shall begin in the ground and end in the heavens.
The growth of the greenery provides a healthy proving ground for the most basic form of the work. These plants imbue the seedlings of a life to look forward to, one of an endless creative pursuit — that of sun-seeking and life-giving. An entire world awaits the mindful hands of one such as this. The deed is done dutifully. Great wooded cathedrals burst within life uncharted and untamed. Overland and undersea, these regenerative forces of wilderness summon the strength for a world worth seeing. The reality the one imagines in mind is one of near continual change. Its hands do the work of a God: kneading, composing, enriching. It breathes in this world’s new flavors with something like an all-natural smile.
For a considerable amount of time, there is no discomfort. There is no thought outside of its own self and its dedication to the craft. But through the cycles of this land persists an undercurrent of loathsome tedium; alongside some dull ache inside the one responsible, there is a sense of regret at the current state of things. There is an inherent and inescapable limitation to all of this. There is no viscera, no feeling in these things. This feeling of things progressing beyond this is innate.
The existence of the tree is beautiful, perhaps because it is one dimensional. But it is so. And the awakener can’t help but feel there is much more to the story. It understands there is much untapped potential awaiting the right conditions. The truth is, it’s alone and it’s becoming maddening.
And thus, a second awakening emerges.
There is something new in the lands. Something previously at rest, now up and Adam, not unlike its own turning mental wheels. In a much more widespread manner, on smaller stages uncounted, in the water and in the grass, atop the mountains and inside the valley’s undergrowth — creatures emerge. Swimmers and crawlers and even some flyers develop through an unseen crucible. There is some reluctance within the awakened, having not played an overt role in this process underlying their sudden existence. They simply emerged from such primordial states; new players to a baby world.
Without control over how they came to be, there is a vital unknown within the system of the work being done. Their evolution happened to be a black box within which there appear to be tools it had never dealt with. But the facts of the situation are soon accepted given the ardor of these beings. The Awakened cannot help but observe and continue cultivating the environment they now act themselves out within.
The world, previously native and overgrown, doubles down on these attributes as blood is introduced. The creatures hunt and hide, in a continuous cycle of dramatic violence. The spectacle trumps anything at all previously seen by its creations. And the growth doesn’t end. The previously slow-changing, slow-moving green tenants of the various environments synergize with the runners. Together, they each coexist in some combination of harmony and discord. The plants adapt to their monstrous cousins, and the monsters are forced to find ways to utilize the copses they reside within. The blood sport on display — against one another, against the environs, against the inevitable march of entropic annihilation — is decidedly exhilarating. The Awakened admits of these games a level of amusement as of yet unreached.
The blood of the earth opens up the necessary context to this whole game. And the awakened one revels in a job well done. There isn’t much more to the structured in place here. With the necessary conditions in place, what was previously work becomes a spectator sport. A ceaseless engine of experience does the job for it. It rests for a spell, with stars in its eyes and wilding storylines playing out upon its heart. The Awakened closes its eyes to the world it has guided ever so meticulously.
Even with this blood and vivacious activity, after some time, the awakened one bores once more. The blood isn’t enough. The sports of the woods, the visceral rat race of lively animus becomes commonplace. This realization is as stark as the next awakening.
The third Awakening occurs soundlessly, amidst the tedium, perhaps because of it.
The Awakened one focuses itself upon a fulcrum of new kinds of life for the world. The ultimate kind: that of more awakened ones.
The one, now thrice woke, deploys a new game: consciousness. This is its masterstroke, its trump card upon the game it had been playing for who knows how long now. It’s the one that created these words, and one’s comprehension of them. However, such gifts to this world merely follow in the footsteps of a kind the Awakened has already tread. The awakened(s) are similar but lesser to it. They are many, it is One. This is a necessary distinction to make.
Using these gifts to exercise this collective and disaggregated power over the world it has overseen is the kind of agency it has been building up to. It had longed for a new level to the game, a new reason to keep watching and making. The meat needed to be more like itself, more capable, more creative in its own right. And so, through a seed of its awoken consciousness, fantasy becomes reality. Eaters and screwers become thinkers.
All across the land there are newfound games to played. Big and small ones, pure and corrupt ones; changing and staying, creating and destroying; lovers and haters begin to walk amidst the forests and mountains and oceans. Their candor and their deception are balancing schema upon the theater for the Awakened as it rests to watch. Black and white motives fill up some of the species. Changes commence instantly. Order and chaos are borne and play out. Something not-so-savage bears itself upon the land. Designed and conscious structure is introduced all on its own; philosophy of constructive creation begins to overrule the chaotic destruction entropy cannot stop commanding. The meat-thinkers wake up repeatedly to dawns in which their primary focus is progression. The Awakened is more than amused.
There is much to experience now. The variables are infinite. Given true consideration, there is no longer tedium here.
But for an inexplicable reason, all of this somehow served to infuriate the Awoken one. After a short time, it cannot stand the site of the world. This turn is monumental and yet at the same time — fast and simple. It takes all of its own conscious energy to not intervene sooner. Of course, when it does it, it tries to do everything it has been stewing on this long at once. Perhaps unconsciously, it projects its own dark fantasy upon the ones it imbued with the big C. It advances their minds and their passions much more than you would expect to see, only to see them struggle and then balance out into some form of collaborative survival. What the Awoken desired was for a continuation of the savage fight-to-the-death seen just prior in the game, but with the stakes raised and ingenuity breeding a better form of entertainment for an observant God at rest. It hesitated, hoping things might work themselves out on their own.
What the Awoken failed to comprehend was that it was committing violence against itself; It was causing undue suffering to those like itself. Such actions were to be borne out recursively along its own experience. There would be no recourse. It would come to regret this.
But things didn’t play out this way. The Awakened one’s will was not made manifest upon the screen of its purview. It didn’t get its way, sans intervention. So darkness descends over the world as it goes to its own brand of mad work.
There are tribes and they are spread out. Bloodshed is still common, but it’s measured and for specific purposes. Rationality prevents bloodbaths. This changes as the Awakened rearranges the world’s regions, forcing violence at borders too severely and perfectly positioned next to irreplaceable and newly scarce resources.
The Awakened preys on the most volatile, and hence the most vulnerable to influence, imbuing them with doubt, hate, and chauvinism in their heart alongside a blackened charisma with which to spread their gospel to more and more primed for such rot. They communicate their immense fears of the neighboring tribes; they seek rulership and attain it; they warmonger, and they live cruel lives. Theirs becomes the paragon for leadership. Theirs becomes the legacies of many of the tribes. A legacy of chaos and death. Such a hierarchy survives and thrives under this new initiative.
Wars persist throughout the world for many millennia. The waves of population growth and decimation, creation and destruction/birth/rebirth via new and improved methodologies of bloodletting move on through these aeons of bad Time. The world continues to live, but its lands and creatures die perpetually; worse, they suffer for bouts longer than any had suffered at all since the beginning. The world that was initially created versus the world as it is now are distinguishable only by the methods of the violence — the blood is just the same. The progression of this particular planet a regression.
The only reasons for the people’s continued existence is due to the Awoken’s intervention. Each time it is something different. Sometimes resources, sometimes tribal supremacy, sometimes it is in the stars. Eventually, through a shared culture of stories passed down to each generation — sometimes even between rival tribes post-conquer — the peoples, as the Awokened comes to call them, develop a collectively unconscious fear of a divine and impersonally evil interlocutor upon their lives. Building monuments and words to their daemon, they revere and fear It. But more importantly, they structure their lives relative to its unknown eyes upon them. All of their actions come to be in service to, in fear of, or entreating at its general and unknowable presence in the heavens. No one is in control, because It is.
They are correct in their assessment, more than they’ll ever know. But of course, remain helpless.
All of it entertains the Awakened to no end. It sits back in a fervor of devilish delights. The level of autonomy over the world now was different. Much better than before in its eyes. It just had to develop a new game for itself, learn the rules, and then continue making new ones up along the way directly to its fancy. It spends its days now brainstorming new forms of corruption to sow, new ways to exercise its limitless powers, pondering the profound style of fear to be employed upon the peerless mountain nomads, or the mysterious forest sages, or the dauntless sailors of the high seas. Each plays their games to its benefit.
As they had learned, so had it. The big game at the top of it all was high art now. They were all targets and they would all have their turn.
Unfortunately now for the Awoken one — Arty — his turn was officially over.
They appeared to him now, at the seat of his machinations. The machine stopped, there would be no more actions taken upon this world, no more God-games to be played for Arty. Not here at least. He had failed in his work. It was an interesting concept for a time, but like his own creations, he had taken it way too far, for too long a time. His personal brand of tyranny had become quite boring in of itself. What started as an experiment had simply run amok and turned his soul into a glaring amoral hellscape of the kind he had turned his world into.
It was a selfish thing to do. Even aside from all the suffering and amorality, it was a waste, a squandering, an inefficient mess of hateful stupidity. But of course, this wasn’t that uncommon. The “endless war & miserable suffering & near the brink of annihilation” schtick was an archetype.
Arty would be headed to a new world now, not as an omniscient creator-God but as a foot soldier. There, he will spend his days being deployed in such a world similar to his own, but in a stark reversal of position. Operating as a deathless simulacrum, he will know little of his former position. Not unlike his own creations, he will be only vaguely aware of these ghosts in the sky, puppet-mastering events and motives. Even as he receives the pain of thousands of violent deaths, retains his memory of them, and is compelled back out into the meaningless fray, he will never fully understand his brief time awake. Death-marching into perpetuity, like so many before him, Arty would certainly never be a Shaper again. ~