Aphelion Issue 242, Volume 23
August 2019
 
Editorial    
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Poetry
Features
Series
Archives
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Forum
Flash Writing Challenge
Forum
Dan's Promo Page
   

The Project

by George Schaade




The project began over 5000 years ago. At that time I thought it would only take a few hundred years to complete, but I gravely underestimated the intricacies of the work and my own enthusiasm for it. In the beginning it was to be a simple exercise in collecting data on an ancient era of human history, namely the Pre-Dymbrini Period. Because of the scarcity of artifacts, I mistakenly assumed that the project could be finished in short order. As I became more involved in the work, I realized that despite the lack of documentation the information would require a great deal of analysis and interpretation. Each translation raised new questions that have lead me to present theories about the people of the time. This will introduce you to the evidence I compiled and the conclusions I reached.

Studying a period of time that is almost 800,000 years in the past has presented many challenges but has also reaped great rewards. In researching the project I’ve had to learn several ancient languages, both written and oral. I collected thousands of two-dimensional images, audio files, and actual artifacts. Time, which is one of our greatest assets today, worked against me in trying to piece together these physical fragments of the past. Much of the evidence was destroyed by the primitives themselves and what remains carries the scars of 800,000 years of battling entropy.

Until now the Pre-Dymbrini Period has been quickly dismissed as an era of violence and destruction. No one can deny that the primitives of the era had their moments of explosive violence, but I discovered they could also be gentle and introspective. The limitations and requirements of their physical bodies dominated their existence, yet they did produce crude forms of art. There may have been some that even sought intellectual enlightenment. Some of my colleagues may say that I give the people of the Pre-Dymbrini Period too much credit. But within the project I will present evidence for my conclusion that these ancients show the beginning of the mental attributes we have today.

The documents I collected indicate that from sapience to the first visit by the extra-terrestrial Dymbrini may span as much as 100,000 years. One source speaks of a “Darwin” as being the first sapient but I may be misconstruing my translation. Nevertheless, self-aware humans populated the earth very quickly. Their large numbers are of course related to their fascination with procreation. The exact means of propagation can be seen in the reproduced images that remain from an analog magnetic tape artifact titled "Debbie Does Dallas".

With the emergence of self-awareness came the urge to come together in collectives called cities. This may sound counterproductive to us today but one must remember that primitives were still in corporeal form and continually needed assurance from others that their physical appearance made them worthy of the propagation ritual. This idea is supported by the numerous “Advertisement” documents.

The preponderance of evidence is, of course, dedicated to the violence of the period. Cities or other groups of humans would viciously attack others. The reasons for these attacks would vary. It might be to possess material goods needed for their bodies or to promote self-aggrandizement or to force others to participate in a mysterious ritual called religion. Pieces from an audio file describe the fierceness of these attacks. “...marching down the field...hitting, slashing, clawing their way through the defense...nothing could stop Lombardi’s juggernaut as it layed waste to everything in its path...” It’s easy to understand why the era has been ignored for so long.

If the evidence of malicious destruction and human atrocities had been all that I found, I probably would have dismissed the project very quickly. But early in my investigation I acquired from the Dymbrini an artifact that changed my entire perspective of the period. Though not an original document it is an exact reproduction. On one side of the page are several columns listing those primitives that had ceased to exist. These deaths, or obituaries as they were called, were what first intrigued me. How could they celebrate victory in war and also use words like “beloved”, “forever missed”, and “lovingly remembered” when speaking of their dead? Surely they anticipated death when they participated in war. The time period had always been characterized as irrational and this seemed to support that idea, until I looked on the other side of the document. Here was another listing but this was of births. Again there were loving, gentle, caring words like “proudly announce”, “happy”, and “beautiful”. I found it curious that both the beginning and end of a primitive life could cause such high exaltation. It was then that I realized there was much more to these early humans than I had first expected.

The thin construction of the artifact was symbolic of their short lives. On one side was life; on the other death. On one side was joy; on the other sorrow. It’s logical to assume that these emotions filled the short space between. The development of the emotions and feelings that we admire today occurred during this period and with these people, and was not a later evolutionary phenomenon. If my theory is true, how can we explain the irrational behavior of their violence? I don’t believe it’s a matter of explaining but simply accepting. The humans of the Pre-Dymbrini Period were irrational. That is their beauty; that is their art. Their irrational thoughts and actions set them apart from those that follow. All of this made me consider, can there be something gained by thinking irrationally? Is there some advantage to allowing the mind to reach beyond reason and fact? I believe there may very well be.

My conclusions are sure to create discussion among my colleagues, so I have made the entire project available for scrutiny. That area of my consciousness that contains the project is now open. Anyone may review all of the documents and address my theories. I welcome your comments and questions.


*****



There have been numerous remarks and inquiries about the project. All of them have been posted at the end of the main body of the work. Some of the deeper and more purposeful remarks are located here at the end of the summary.

Query from .00835 meV:


Is there a connection between physical bodies and irrational thinking? Do you imply that irrational thought was part of our evolution?


Reply to .00835 meV:


It is difficult for us today to comprehend all of the complexities of having a physical form. The needs of the primitive bodies were vast and often elusive. For example, they were compelled to consume creatures and plant life in order to produce energy to fuel their other needs such as procreation. The inefficiency of this is obvious but it doesn't necessarily mean their corporal bodies created irrational thoughts. At the same time I have no explanation for their consumption of a commodity called tobacco which severely damaged their bodies without providing any advantage.

I do believe that illogical thinking is part of the evolutionary process and I believe that it first developed during this Pre-Dymbrini Period. There is no doubt that emotions were exaggerated during this time and this often lead to emotional distress and inadequate use of reason. It's not difficult to believe that the high-pitched emotions of the individuals evolved into irrational thinking although unrealistic expectations and irresponsible conduct probably played a role also.


Query from 1.14923 meV:


Your audio files are all in the ultra low frequency band of the electromagnetic spectrum between 300 and 3000 Hz. Was this typical of the primitives?


Reply to 1.14923 meV:


Yes. Their main means of communication was by producing sounds using this band range. The sounds came from a hole near the top of their bodies. This is the same hole used to consume products that were converted to energy (see previous post). They had at least five senses that were closely connected to their physiological capacities: Producing sounds, consuming commodities, receiving data, procreation, and pain.


Query from .82467 meV:


I can't accept your hypothesis that the Pre-Dymbrini humans advanced the species by having irrational thoughts. They were nothing more than savage beasts. Your own evidence is filled with references to their violent nature. Violence is irrational, people are violent, people are irrational.


Reply to .82467 meV:


There is more to irrational thought than just violence. A Dymbrini report mentions that following first contact they were surprised to learn that the humans of the period had discovered exothermic nuclear processes but had not yet destroyed themselves. It was not from lack of trying. It would seem that a city called Napoleon used a fission device to destroy the neighboring city of Chernobyl. But here is my point: Although violence came from their irrational thinking they also used their discovery to create the nuclear family, atomic clocks, and the Ford fusion. We may not fully understand these discoveries but all are believed to be benign if not beneficial advances in the evolutionary process.


Query from .09803 meV:


Your project mentions the art of the humans. I don't understand what their art is?


Reply to .09803 meV:


Art is the human expression of creativity and imagination. Today the only art we have is the investigation and study of knowledge. At times some of our investigations can be quite creative so in that regard this project is art. Because of the demands of their corporal bodies the art of the primitives were responses to their physical needs. Most of their art was visual corresponding to wavelengths ranging from 380 to 750 nanometers or in terms of frequency 400 to 790 terahertz and limited to two and three dimensions. A Dymbrini report posted just after the first global purification described a two dimensional piece of art called "Morning, Lisa" which was created by Leo. The same report speaks of "Roll Over" by Beethovan also surviving The Great Purge. No matter what form their art took, it was produced from imagination and was appreciated for its beauty and emotional response which was needed for the propagation ritual. So by being irrational a primitive might use imagination to create a piece of art that then evoked an emotion that of course was irrational. A cycle was established which is why I call their irrationality their art.


Query from 1.69843 meV:


Why did the religion ritual play such a large role in the violence of the time?


Reply to 1.69843 meV:


Subsequent to the project my research has revealed more about this strange activity. The humans placed a great deal of importance on religion which sought to explain the existence of everything. There were several conflicting opinions on this subject. The followers of each opinion formed its own customs and rituals in order to better identify and distinguish themselves from other groups. Unlike our own time period that encourages diversity of thought, differences during the Pre-Dymbrini Period often resulted in conflict.

These religious groups were established by one or more gods which were invisible superior beings with super powers such as x-ray vision, levitation, and telekinesis. Many of the humans involved with these organizations believed that once their physical bodies failed their existence would continue on a higher plane. Trans-dimensional discorporealization was still hundreds of millennia away but they were still considering such things.


Query from .11118 meV:


Your data implies a hierarchy among the humans. Did such divisions actually exist in this time period? What determined those groupings?


Reply to .11118 meV:


It was known as the class system. All humans were assigned a class at birth and it became virtually impossible to change classes. Most humans were sorted into the Silent Majority Class. There was nothing particularly special about this class. They lead nominal lives consuming a product called chicken freud steak that increased their size but decreased their lifespan. The rest of humans were divided into three classes. The Beautiful Class constituted those humans who had physical characteristics that others deemed praiseworthy. This allowed the Beautiful to extort most of their needs from the Silent Majority. Their physical features were very advantageous in initiating the propagation ritual. The second class was the Rich Class which possessed most of the resources and territory that the other classes needed. The feudal power that came with control of these assets made it possible for the Rich to elicit homage, labor, military service, and propagation from the other classes. The highest class of humans was the Rich and Beautiful. As their name implies this group combined the persuasiveness of the Beautiful with the power of the Rich.


Query from 1.31752 meV:


One of your artifacts makes reference to a "sense of humor" but this is not included in your list of five senses that humans used. How do you account for this discrepancy?


Reply to 1.31752 meV:


It is understandable why you are confused by the phrase you cited. The "sense of humor" that humans possessed is not one of their primary senses. It is a secondary sense that can be categorized under their primary sense of sound production. As they produced sounds they occasionally created humor. The origin of humor can be traced to a human named Helen Curly Clown.

My studies have led me to believe that humor may be the key to understanding the irrational behavior of the human condition. I translated several excerpts that were labeled humorous. Most of these examples described actions that invoked cognitive deficiency, absurdity, or inadequate use of reason. I concluded that humor was irrational. Much of the humor produced pleasurable responses from other humans but occasionally the humor created anger which, as we already know, leads to violence. Therefore humor may in part be responsible for some of the violence of the time.


Query from .26874 meV:


Within the project there are several references to something called the dream. Could you explain what this is?


Reply to .26874 meV:


In our time information and communication takes place on a single frequency which makes our connotation explicit but during the corporal period many of the transcribed words carried two or more meanings. This is the case for the word 'Dream'. One definition implies an ideal state of being. Another meaning refers to a succession of images, thoughts, or emotions that occur during the person's time of rest. This second interpretation is the most intriguing. Due to the fragility of their bodies humans were required to rest their bodies frequently. While in this state their thoughts were caught by a dream catcher device called a television. Later they would spend great lengths of time viewing their thoughts and images.


Query from 1.02473 meV:


First let me thank you for your diligent research. Unfortunately I have trouble developing an appreciation for the Pre-Dymbrini people. Their actions, emotions, and objects do not resonate with me. I have trouble comprehending them. Is this due to the length of time, discorporealization, or apathy?


Reply to 1.02473 meV:


The memory loss that came with our discorporealization is the major contributor to the disconnect that we feel for these people. Though it has been over half a million years since we gave up our corporeal existence, we have not spent that much time studying our past. Apathy may be the reason many have chosen not to investigate the project but for those like yourself that would not be a factor.

Your inquiry has given me pause for thought. How can we ever understand the experience of being Pre-Dymbrini? Is it possible for us to return to a corporeal existence, i.e., recorporealize? Would recorporealization induce another memory loss like discorporealization did? I must give this more thought.


*****



Addendum


At the center of the project is an attempt to understand the irrationality of the Pre-Dymbrini humans. Much of what they said and did appear to be less useful or more illogical than alternatives. This irrationality is very difficult to analyze empirically because there are no standards for judging such behavior. It may be that true understanding of irrational activity can only come from having an actual body.

Following extended research and prolonged discussions with others I can conclude that recorporealization is possible. In accordance with our quest for knowledge I will therefore undergo recorporealization. Perhaps we can then establish whether there is a connection between irrationality and the human body. As it is still unknown if my transition will result in a loss of memory I will rely on others to observe and document my metamorphosis.


Afterword as recorded by 1.02473 meV


I can report that our colleague successfully recorporealized to a physical form. As expected there was a total memory loss. Unexpectedly 214,788 supporters of the project followed the author into recorporealization and many others are considering the conversion.

My observations show that the initial problems faced by these new entities include finding products that their bodies can convert to energy and finding ways to protect their fragile forms from external conditions. If they cannot obtain these states their bodies deteriorate and they cease to exist. Because maintaining existence is paramount to them, some of the subjects resort to violence. The reason for this violence is logical and does not contribute to an understanding of irrationality among the Pre-Dymbrini who were capable of overcoming these problems. Consequently a conundrum is created. Having a physical body results in moments of irrationality which can lead to violence but if the reason for the violence is rational then we cannot say that all violence is irrational. Therefore the Pre-Dymbrini people may very well have had deep, intrinsic skills that emerged in art, imagination, emotions, culture, and the reproduction ritual.

I will observe and report on the progress and interaction of these recorporealized individuals. The project continues.



THE END


2019 George Schaade

Bio: George Schaade is a former teacher that has been writing science fiction, fantasy, and humor most of his life. He loves exploring the quirks of human nature and pushing the boundaries of his own imagination. His stories often have an unexpected twist or a shocking ending.

Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum

Return to Aphelion's Index page.