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The Beginning Is The Key

        History is the foundation upon which all is built.

        Earnest beginning require honesty, and it should be noted that this month's history writings have not been produced by Claudia Spaulding, as was the norm in months past. Ms. Spaulding is taking a leave of absence from her duties to the Organization, and we're not entirely sure when or if she will return to them. As many of you have noticed, there has been a touch of drama within the VFTU Organization as of late, and that combined with the constant pressures from the Men In Suits have led some to believe our mission is futile. Obviously this has taken a large emotional toll on us all, and Claudia has always been slightly emotionally fragile as it is. Couple that with emotional irregularities from Grandfather Spaulding, (completely explainable – he's an elderly man with the weight of the world on his shoulders) and it's no wonder Claudia has been acting out lately. She's still very young.

        So recently, I asked Grandfather Spaulding a question I've had on the tip of my tongue for quite a while now, but was reluctant to ask. I always figure it's not my place to rock the boat. I do my job, I believe in what we do, and I don't try to rise above my station. Nevertheless, when Grandfather Spaulding approached me about taking over the historical writings for this month, the question just slipped out.

        “Me? Why?”

        Understand, although it's convoluted, that I wasn't really asking 'Why me?'. Nor, 'Why has Claudia done these things?'. No. What I meant by that single word following “me” was, 'why are we giving them so much access to us? Why can't we just produce the podcast, let people hear the Voices, and be happy with those that we attract on an emotional/spiritual level? Why do they need to see how the sausage is made?'

        Regal, in his simplicity, Grandfather Spaulding, in that kind, gruff, voice that he has, said simply:

        “Don't you understand? It's because they deserve it.”

        Elementary. And just like that, I was put in my place.

        Resigned, I sat, and I tried to write. I did. I tried to write about where we came from. I tried to write about the things that led up to me finding a type of passion within myself that I had never had before.

        I couldn't.

        Now, I know the history, but so much of it has already been said. Honestly, here's everything you haven't heard yet:

          -Grants were gained from several independent financial backers.

          -Ever so slowly but surely we put together the technology that let us hear the Voices with almost the same clarity as Grandfather Spaulding, using him as a human conduit.

          -Vigorously pushing the bounds of science, over time we figured out how to transfer those audio files into something we could put out to the world. (The audio and artifacts from the Other-Earth are something we call “informationally caustic.” Before we developed our proprietary software/hardware setup any attempt to put those files into an mp3 style format resulted in the loss of the file itself, and occasionally even the computer on which the conversion was attempted.)

        Everybody knows who to bring their problems to in this Organization. And so once again I came to Grandfather. And I expressed my troubles to him. And again, with such simplicity, he replied:

        “Really, just tell the truth. That's all you have to do.”

        Yes, the truth. Easier said than done. But the man, our patriarch, has never steered me wrong before. And I began to ponder the question. What is the truth of our organization at this point? What is the living history that we are making our way through these days? And I think, after much thought on the matter, that I have found it.

        Beyond the edge of hard scientific knowledge, there lies a theory of why we haven't found concrete proof of alien life in our universe. All conspiracy theories aside, the hard data shows that while the conditions that make life on Earth possible are incredibly rare, they are far, FAR, from unique. In the universe at large, the number of planets that could support life easily number in the tens of millions. So where are they?

        Optimism aside, (for the universe is not an inherently happy place,) space, all space, metaphorically, is a dark forest. As anyone who's ever traveled through a dark forest will remember, a dark forest is a dangerous place. Visibility is almost nothing, and the fact that almost no sound is heard is as terrifying as a confrontation with a great beast would be. Every planet that developed intelligent, space-faring, life, is walking through that dark forest, holding a spear that represents our technical ability to defend ourselves. If we were to meet somebody else in that dark forest and see the spear they carry, would we trust them? Would we hide? Would we attempt to kill them, take their spear, and be better prepared for the next somebody we come across?

        Danger. Simply put, the universe is a dangerous place, and we don't know if the life we meet there will help or hurt us. It could be that there are great alien civilizations in the universe that choose to destroy any and all others that they can find to maintain their dominance. It's easy to believe, unfortunately, because it parallels so easily with our own tribal instincts that we can't seem to shake. Complete destruction of the “other” in order to guarantee your own safety.

        You may already see where I'm going with this. It may very well be that the inter-dimensional and emotional universe that we are attempting to bridge is much like the dark forest of the physical universe. And it may very well be that we have attracted some dangerous animals in that dark forest. We have given name to one form of these – the Men In Suits, but I fear they are not the only creature we have to fear as we traverse the dark.

        Honesty. I was told to tell the truth. I was told that honesty is my only job when writing this. To be completely honest is to expose a lot of the vulnerable pieces of yourself, and if you've been following the ins and outs of our Organization recently, (or living them like I have), you can probably understand why vulnerability is frightening currently. We feel very fragile, to me at least. It feels like we're walking the knife edge of a cliff and the drop on either side is deadly if we can't stay the course.

        Even so, I was told to be honest.

        Lately, I've begun to think that there are creatures that live in an emotional space instead of, or in addition to, a physical one. Much like predictions of aliens that might live within electricity or gravity itself, this would be a form of life so completely alien to us that we wouldn't even recognize it's existence.

        Peaceful, existence, that it. We wouldn't recognize it, as long as it was peaceful. Unless it began to work against us, against the intrusion, somehow.

        So, I think that it's very possible we may have awoken something in the dark forest as our organization has explored and pushed boundaries. I think that we are currently battling this creature with whatever emotional spears we have been able to construct. I think that's the reason that Claudia has done the things she's done, why Grandfather Spaulding's mental state causes him such daily pain, and why suddenly, so suddenly, we've all begun to fall to infighting. I think that's why it seems the Men In Suits are turning the tide of battle against us.

        Only honesty.

        Sadly that's the most honest thing I can write about the Organization now. And if this distresses you, I beg you, return to the beginning. Always look at the beginning. Sometimes that's all that matters. Sometimes the rest of it is meaningless, and we must look to the beginning.

-----edward hoffman-----

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