"In reality there may be nothing to fear but fear,"
Thomas told himself.
Perhaps Thomas' fear of public speaking went back
to his youth, to his elders' disinterested rejection of young
Billy's remembered Experience, or his pastor's reluctance to test
the theory that all might come to repentance and none need roast
in hell. In any event, as Bill, Thomas had usually been afraid
to open his mouth lest someone laugh at his ideas.
Life had brought him to think that there was only
one reality, but as many different perspectives as perceivers.
Perceivers of separate realities could choose, it seemed, between
only two alternatives. A perceiver could attempt to impose his
perception of reality upon another. To Thomas' mind, might was
not right. Alternatively communication could lead to understanding
and understanding might be right.
"Reality" is one thing, a "Perspective
of Reality" is something quite different.
Misunderstanding seemed to generate many problems.
Thomas started to think of communication as a potential solution
of all humanity's problems. On the other hand the might-makes-right
philosophy, embodied in ever-evolving genocidal weaponry, might
dictate that humanity would not be around long enough to solve
any of its problems.
Now, driven by the concept that the fate of humanity
was more important than being ridiculed, Thomas overcame his fear,
climbed on a box in Hyde Park and began communicating his perspective
of reality in public.
"Jesus asked, 'If you don't love your neighbor,
who you have seen, how can you love God, Who you have not seen?'
Jesus said, 'You cannot serve two masters for you will love the
one and hate the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon.'
"Jesus' words were true. Because humanity serves
Mammon we hate our neighbors. Because we hate our neighbors we
have built ever more efficient killing machines. Rather than
building bigger and bigger nuclear weapons we need to learn to
love our neighbors. Unless humanity eliminates nuclear weapons,
nuclear weapons will eliminate humanity."
"Rubbish," yelled a heckler. "We
don't live in a world of black and white. We live in a world
with many shades of grey. There are vicious people in this world
who'd like to enslave us. We need to protect ourselves. What
would you do about Hitler?"
"Do we recognize Hitler as evil for some reason
beyond his lack of respect for human life? Nuclear weapons have
no respect for life. Are you pushing the premise that two wrongs
make a right? Satan is often referred to as the 'Prince of this
World.' Satan has no respect for life, and would prefer to see
human beings continue to act like beasts, for that is the condition
which creates Hell. Maybe the 'Prince of Peace' would prefer
to see the sheep guided by reason and forgiveness."
"Ya pie-in-the-sky Jesus freaks live in a fantasy
world. There ain't God or Devil. There ain't right or wrong.
Everything is relative," the heckler responded.
"I believe that the earth was created by a universal
First Cause," Thomas stated. "I call this First Cause
'God.' To me the world is something quite different from the earth.
Experience and reflection make me believe that the world has
been manifest on the earth not by any universal causes, but solely
through the ideas and actions of humanity.
"It is written in the 22nd verse at the 3rd chapter
of Genesis, 'Behold the man has become as one of us, knowing Good
"To me it seems that discerning what works, what's
good, useful, from what doesn't work, what's useless, evil, is
the root of human creativity. The square wheel is evil, it doesn't
work. Knock the corners off. That's better, it works more smoothly.
Knock the corners off of the corners. Better yet, it works better.
Once all the corners have been knocked off of all the corners,
the wheel is perfectly round, and a solid foundation for technology
-- from the ox cart to the space shuttle -- has been fashioned.
"But there is a danger. The knowledge of 'Good'
and 'Evil' may as easily be a curse as a blessing. Like wheels,
light bulbs, banks, insurance companies, Sten guns and Uzis, nuclear
weapons are all products of human imagination. You accuse me
of living in a world of fantasy, but aren't we all guilty of that
if we live in a world that is merely a construct of ideas?"
"'Construct of ideas,' he says," The heckler
scoffed. "Just a figment of my imagination that communism
wants to dominate the world, and Khrushchev said he'd bury us,
"I've never read anything by Marx, but I heard
Khrushchev said they'd bury you without firing a shot. Are you
suggesting that you're so terrified of Marx and Khrushchev that
you'd be willing to destroy millions of people in Moscow, most
of whom probably don't like communist economics any more than
you do? To me that sounds evil." Thomas was on a roll.
"Competing notions are divided by national boundaries,
which separate 'just us,' from 'justice' and one brand of ideological
claptrap from another. Yet any objective examination of the large
dirt ball we call Earth shows these old familiar lines are similar
to mass psychosis, neither integral or innate to the natural order
"On the road to heaven lines of division must
be the first illusion to drop by the wayside. On earth the demise
of the lines would not hurt the rain, which would continue to
fall, or the plants, which would continue to grow, or the creatures,
which would continue to procreate, but would stimulate communication,
understanding, and peace, which the old lines have inhibited."
"What about the territorial imperative? It's
human nature for a man to protect his home," another member
of the audience interjected.
"I would agree that in a sense men are as rats.
If a strange rat crosses the established lines of a rat tribe
the stranger is mobbed by members of the local establishment.
But I think it is a mistake to confuse 'animal nature' with 'human
nature.' Relative to men rats are somewhat more securely chained
by instinct. Some optimists believe that humans, with their ability
to distinguish 'Good' from 'Evil,' are blessed with an opportunity
to rise above base animal instincts and evolve a more God-like
nature. Rather than being guided by reason, human beings are
sometimes driven by instinct and act more like animals. Should
the old familiar lines continue to assert their ascendancy, ignorance,
fear and war will continue to flourish, and it is likely that
humanity, behaving like rats, will eventually exterminate itself.
"As I define them, Reality, Truth, and God share
common attributes in being absolute, as well as being objective
rather than subjective entities. One truth is that when you live
by the bomb you'll die by the bomb."
"I tol' ya there ain't no absolutes. There ain't
no God," the first heckler reiterated. "We live in
a real world, and in a real world ya got evil people."
"I thought I'd already demonstrated that the
world we are living in is really built from ideas. Since you
haven't proven me wrong on that point, you haven't proven that
there are evil people, instead of only evil ideas.
"Mud ball Earth is a large mass of dirt composed
of an apparently finite number of elements ... hydrogen, oxygen,
etc. Human beings are composed, and/or show traces, of each of
those finite elements. I call this Elemental Reality.
"Astronomers, sub-atomic theorists, and some
members of the scientific community need not be too alarmed.
Careful analysis reveals that the idea of Elemental Reality would
negate neither the Milky Way, Quarks, or even Chemical Reactions.
However, a hypothesis which focused on elements rather than customs
would bring reality down to earth. Dealing with what is, rather
than with what is conventionally accepted, would improve human
reasoning, thus enabling them to apprehend the truth of pressing
priorities which have eluded human understanding for at least
"Blue- and white-collar workers may have little
time or inclination to analyze the concept of Elemental Reality,
but with Elemental Reality as their guiding light their lives
would become much brighter.
"Living as they do in a world of imaginary reality,
judges, most lawyers and doctors, perhaps psychiatrists and psychologists
in particular, might perceive a threat in Elemental Reality, but
there is hope for them. In concentrating on the perfection of
honesty and objectivity, building faith in love and mercy, professionals
should be able to make the transition from their present value
system to one which is founded on the sanctity of life and truth.
"Hucksters, illusionists, theocrats and ideologues
will be crushed by Elemental Reality. They depend on rhetoric,
subjective theory and myths to create their profits. They are
likely to cry: 'God has been left out of the picture.' Fortunately,
facing Elemental Reality will force charlatans out of the limelight,
allowing the Creator to regain center stage and the ideologue
a less egocentric perspective of the Cosmos."
"You're talking that shit now, mate," the
heckler said. "Ya wouldn't in the Soviet Union though.
Ya oughta be thankin' yer silly God that ya've got nuclear weapons
protecting yer stinkin' duff."
"What is freedom beyond the individual's ability
to make a choice?" Thomas paused for an answer, heard none,
and continued. "Daniel made a choice, and was cast into
the lion's den. Daniel knew what he was doing. Sometimes freedom
may demand a bit of courage, but I don't see how an individual
or a nation can ever attain freedom by incinerating multi-millions
of other individuals."
"Well, you just try to say the kind of things
you're saying under communism," a woman said. Her accent
marked her as an American.
"All I can do is to pray for the courage to do
what I believe is right." Thomas admitted.