A few days ago I watched an episode on television of Star Trek TNG called A Fistful of Datas. The crew are given the rare opportunity of pursuing recreational activities. Worf, the security officer, is bored. He is a man of action. He is also of Klingon origin, a race of people who kill first and ask questions later. His son, Alexander, wants them to spend time in the holodeck. The holodeck is a place where one can act out different fantasies. Alexander has written a programme about the “ancient west,” that used to be known as the wild west.
Worf reluctantly accompanies his son to the holodeck where they load the programme on the computer. They find themselves in 19th century South Dakota. Worf is supposed to play the role of the local sheriff, Alexander is his deputy and their colleague Troi is a friend who is there to enjoy the ride. Worf’s purpose is to capture the local outlaw who has killed many people. Worf finds the outlaw in a bar, where else? Worf announces he’s there to arrest him. With a biff, the criminal is out for the count. Alexander is not impressed. He is bored. He tells his father it needs to be more fun. So they ask the computer to re-run the programme at a much higher difficulty level. Worf and Alexander walk into bar again and finds the outlaw. This time, the criminal resists and fights Worf. Even though Worf is able to knock him out, he finds the battle exhilarating. Worf says to Alexander “I can see the appeal of this programme.” Usually, no one gets hurt in a holodeck simulation unless there is a problem. Soon, there is a technical fault where Worf is injured and Alexander is captured. Worf and the others are stuck in the programme. To cut a long story short, they manage to get out of the programme.
Speaking of which, the other day I watched a documentary about Prince Harry, second son of the late Princess Diana and Prince Charles. There were all these experts, mostly journalists, who claim to know how Harry is going to live his life as second heir to the throne. Apparently, Princess Diana said she had produced the heir, Prince William, and the spare, Prince Harry. I guess with every role, you need an understudy, right?
Anyway, the programme discussed Prince Harry’s scuffles with journalists and other faux pas. He’s meant to be even wealthier, in terms of assets, than Prince William. What’s a young lad to do with all that cash? The experts said Prince Harry hasn’t got much of a role to play and he has to find one or he’ll get bored. Right now, Prince Harry is in the army. The experts believe the experience will give him discipline and keep him out of mischief, plus he’ll end up looking good in uniform. When he comes out as an officer, he might want to do some charity work, as is expected of royalty. But there’s only so much good work one can do before you explode and say “Sod this for a game of soldiers! I need more challenge!”
Prince Harry’s apparent dilemma and Alexander’s holodeck simulation remind me a lot of the human experience. We crave perfection. Some of us crave wealth so we won’t work so hard and we’ll have more time to do what we love. Yeah right! There’s only so much holiday, shopping, sunbathing, creative pursuits, charity you can do before you get bored and need more challenge. I believe work adds structure to one’s day, even though some of us complain about it. If we could have everything we want, would we really be happy?
Why am I having a human experience? Boredom, that’s why. In the beginning it was all perfect. Life in forms was to express formless ideas for eternity. There were no weather changes, everyone was filled with love and peaceful and happy exploring ideas. Then one day someone had an idea.
“Yes, my beloved.”
“Would you mind if we could make a distinction between one day and the next. One day of eternity seems to last forever.”
“I’ve made everything perfect,” God said. “What have you got in mind?”
“Well, you don’t mind, do you, if we tweak with creation?”
“Not at all. I’ve given you freewill. Knock yourself out!”
Man came up with the idea to dream up realities. Man dreamed up days and night. Next, there was the problem with point of reference. A typical conversation went as follows:
“Just now or right now?”
So man came up with another brilliant idea. Why not divide the nows into before, now and after? Even better, why not create memory so we have a past, present and a future? How about a yesterday, today and tomorrow? And a here, there and everywhere. Moments were defined as time: from seconds, minutes, hours, days to months and years, not forgetting the seasons.
In the meantime, there were a few Spirit beings who were perfectly happy and refused to follow the masses. They became known as the soothsayers. Soothsayer warned others of the “great sleep” where man would not be able to wake up if they didn’t stop dreaming. But humans didn’t understand. They went on dreaming.
Soon people started noticing strange bodily mutations. Some people had more skin than flesh. This was the beginning of old age. The soothsayers, who stayed the same, warned man about not taking time seriously but they wouldn’t listen. People started getting older and got sick. One day someone’s body just packed up. Man was afraid that if this great “curse” continued they will be wiped out for ever. They turned to the soothsayers for help. The soothsayers reminded them that man could call forth new species as they’d been given the power to do so. But they didn’t know or couldn’t remember how. They cried out for help.
God responded by creating two humans: Adam and Eve. Man couldn’t understand how two human could continue the race. The soothsayers were not much help either. Then someone who was into observing nature noticed that after animals had mated, they produced new offsprings after a full moon or so. Could humans do the same? Time to put this to the test. Adam and Eve were used as guinea pigs. At first Adam and Eve were reluctant. They found the idea of sex repugnant but they had a go and they loved it. Eve instantly fell pregnant. After a moon she gave birth to a beautiful son. They produced many more offsprings. Man’s future was assured. Humans could safely get sick, age and die knowing they will be replaced by new humans.
After a few generations of giving birth, women got bored. Giving birth was way too easy. You have sex, you get pregnant, you give birth. Where’s the fun in that? They dreamed up complicated ways of getting pregnant. They extended the pregnancy period. There was pain during childbirth. This was the origin of paediatrics and gynaecology.
Man was now deliriously happy. He experimented with emotions. He warred against himself and his neighbours. He lived in fear of his former friends, animals, whom he now hunted as food. He procreated, he worked hard, he lived life to the max. He got sick, he dreamed up new cures, got sick, dreamed up better cures, got sick again, grew old and he died. But life was always an adventure.
As for the soothsayers, they were bored because no one took them seriously. They were locked away in caves because humans thought they were mad. This period marked the birth of mental illness and psychiatry.
After generations of the same old, same old, a few humans got restless. There’s got to be more to life than working hard, going to war, and being happy one minute and depressed the next. They searched historical records for answers and discovered that their ancestors prayed to an unknown entity called God. A few people cried out “I am a spiritual being. Get me out of here!”
God heard their prayers and sent prophets to teach them about reality. These prophets reminded mankind that life is already perfect but man dreamed up realities because they were bored. It took man a long time to grasp this truth, which suited the prophets as they would have been bored otherwise. Soon one person remembered who he was. The one became the few and the few became the many. The ones who were awake could now experience life as it was meant to be lived without pain, sickness and suffering.
The rest of humanity were curious to know how a few people could be living the “life of Riley” while they were still struggling. They wanted to know their secret. Awakened humans shared their wisdom. Eventually everyone was awake. Life on earth was peaceful and perfect. There were no sickness, aging or death This lasted for a thousand years.
One day someone got restless. He was bored. He needed a challenge, something to get him out of this complacency of always being happy. The one became the few and the few became the many. They wanted more out of life. They cried out to God; “I am a spiritual being, get me out of here!” Some humans reminded them of what life was like when people lived in fear and anger. But they wouldn’t listen, they got angry. “Who are you to tell us how to live?” They were glad to be able to experience rage again. They were alive. Soon there was a critical mass of people who wished to lead adventurous lives. They broke away from the boring spiritual brigade.
Thus started another cycle of thousands of years of human challenges.
So there you have it. Humans want to have it all but when they have it all they need a challenge.
If you’ll excuse me I’m off to seek out new adventures.
Love and Light,
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