Ahuizote: A Startlingly Clear Look at Eternal Life, Post Seven

   Xocoyotzin did not know all the things others knew in the Academy of Man. He knew the seven languages his father taught him, the math and hard science, to be a scholar. He did not know the way to maneuver among men. He was a naif, destined for great things quite because he did not know how to compromise.

   "Naivete it in itself is curable," the great teacher of his early youth told him. "Naivete and self-righteousness combined are dangerous. Add to these the curse of an unteachable spirit and failure is certain."

   Xocoyotzin thought his teacher was looking inside the boy's soul at this moment to tell him about himself. He was not.

   The great teacher, Cacama, did not tell Xocoyotzin about his soul. Cacama told Xocoyotzin about his future. Cacama told him so Xocoyotzin could decide.

   "I learned the languages of the world and the machines from my father," Xocoyotzin told Cacama. "Does this mean I am teachable?"

   "This means only that you can be trained," Cacama answered. "Do you know what the machines do? Do you know how the men of the world feel?"

   "I don't know," he answered, his coal black hair pushed back from his face, flowing down to chocalate-brown bare shoulders. He took instruction according to the custom of the Academy, early just after rising, late in the afternoon after his exercise and just before sleeping. He was growing to young manhood, his features losing their softness, his eyes narrowing from wonder to the slits they would become when he learned how to doubt effectively.

   "I don't know," Cacama told him, "is always a good answer, except when someone asks if we love them, or another asks if we can lead them, or yet another wants to know if we can heal his wounds."

   "What should I answer, then, at those times," the man-boy asked, "if I still don't know."

   "Then," Cacama said, "you have to know."

   "How can I know?" the boy-man asked.

   "From this day, in everything," the teacher answered, "name your feelings. Treat them as friends. Be ready to meet new ones and to disassociate with the old ones when they can no longer match your pace."

   If he had learned to name his feelings, Xocoyotzin might never have lost his way. As it was, his great beauty, his lithe, athlete's body, his dark brown eyes, made other persons aware of him when he entered a room. His quick intelligence protected Xocoyotzin from deep thought. He was a preferred man before he was a man in fact.

   Xocoyotzin had the misfortune to be born into an age that had forgotten the core value of aristocracry; the rule of effective leaders. The divine right of kings did not grow up out of nothingness. Men of personal force and power seized power in dark moments. The dire circumstance of aristocracy was not how its practitioners came to power but how they held that power.

   In fact, Xocoyotzin was born into a post-aristocratic age, a time of superficial religion and deep superstition. Men and women who led in his day had to appeal to a shallow religious vein in the general population. Emotional appeals to a longing for racial solidarity did not coalesce around any kind of theism; religion became the whim of the moment, more the guardian of local prejudice than a transforming agent. When the church/mosque/synagogue (in the 20th and 21st centuries) allowed themselves to be coopted by the precinct, it was only a matter of time before the repetitive capitualation of distinction made god the vassal of the state.

   So it was natural that when men made god the equal of the king, the king would soon take the place of god. For a king to rule in this day, faith would need to be abandoned for proof.

   Proof would take the form of observation and experimentation. Increasingly sensitive instruments of observation would be developed to sense occurrences repeated on an ever diminishing scale of size, tabulated on smaller machines with more and more capacity, to be translated into formulational numerology, the language of acceptable verifiability.

   In short, something would be judged true only if it could be reliable, predictable and measured. Faith died, smothered under a mound of data.

   In the ancient religions, god showed godself to man in the easily discernible things of nature, for that is what man could see. The stars, the forests, the oceans, the rivers, too vast for transportation, too complex for explanation, evoked in man a sense of awe he drew down for art and called, "God."

   In the ancient religions, god was a force to be reckoned with but not a reliable ally in times of crisis. This was dangerous when every night was a time of critical fear. Would the sun return again? Would men just die in the dark?

   Man did not build his early altars to placate god. He built his altars to entice god and he built them in places where something happened to him he could not explain but wished to duplicate. Early religious men were the first scientists. They observed, experimented, longed to find a place of reliable safety. Men built altars and called them "God."

   Altars became idols, portable gods able to repeat their prior great acts at the altar from place to place. Idols needed temples when men learned to farm, for man would then not move from place to place. The first idols were not formed to embody the gods but to make them portable. Men made their idols and called them "God."

   The temples were built when men decided to stay where they would stay. The temples were usually kept away from, or compartmentalized in, the palaces, where early government began to grow up. The early temples were not built to worship the gods but to trap them, to keep them clear of the place where men decided about men's affairs. Men built their temples and called them "god."

   Altars, idols and temples proved to be too little. Forces beyond the understanding of men emerged to confound them. No sacrifices overcame the night. God began to become personal. Prophets in exile spoke of God who would write the law on men's hearts, not on tablets of stone. Prophets left their caves, shaking with epileptic siezures, wherein they heard angels give them new books of poetic prose. Prophets rose up in the east to argue for the sweet bliss of unconsciousness.

   Men looked at their prophets and called them "God."

   The prophets proved to be the greatest of religious forms; portable, able to think, feel and change. They commemorated the acts of god, as did the altars but did not trap god as the idols and temples did. If they did not strike awe in the hearts of men, they did not delude men with the thought that god would be petrified in some abstract form.

   One even came with the claim he was not getting men ready to go to another place, or to lose their self-consciousness. He would show them what God intended for man from the beginning, from Lillith's Cave to the New Jerusalem. Men would retain their most persistently fallible abilities; to feel and think. He was the one prophet not of the latter day.

   Xotocoytzin would hear of the ancient prophet of the portable god in a day when men had turned from this god for the last time. Or, so men thought.

  

  

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