“Essential Features”

“Essential Features”

To put into perspective just what it is I do, allow me to share a quote. It comes from a man whom I greatly admire and feel a certain affinity with, Freeman Dyson, one of the preeminent scientific minds of the last century. In 2000, Mr. Dyson was the recipient of the very prestigious Templeton Prize, which is awarded to someone who has contributed to mankind’s never-ending spiritual quest to understand our place within the universe and our relationship with the Divine. During Mr. Dyson’s acceptance speech, he said the following: “Science and religion are two windows that people look through, trying to understand the big universe outside, trying to understand why we are here. The two windows give different views, but they look out at the same universe. Both views are one-sided, neither is complete. Both leave out essential features of the real world. And both are worthy of respect.”

The simplicity of the statement is, of course, a bit of a ruse on the part of Dyson. On one hand he is offering an acknowledgement of the necessity of this false dilemma, this consolidation of faith, that has hobbled and blinded mankind for thousands of years; on the other, he is implicitly submitting his endorsement of the intermingling, a synthesis if you will, of the two systems. An existential version of the Big Bang. The basic idea implied here is that to fully understand and have the ability to properly negotiate the universe in which we live, we must essentially create a new version of that universe, one which is built around values and practices that hold science and religion in equal tribute. The mind and spirit working in tandem.

Mr. Dyson’s statement is nothing new, of course. Some of the world’s greatest scientists, from Copernicus to Einstein, have professed their religious or spiritual faith, but have been unable or unwilling to invite God (or whatever deity they invoke) into the laboratory, so to speak. Doing so has only invited derision, skepticism and persecution. Surely Einstein would sympathize with Dyson’s statement, but in the end, the physicist’s empiricism would invariably triumph over the spiritualism of the Spinozist, the former being necessary for progress, the latter not so much. The former a matter of practical consideration, the latter a luxury.

But throughout the history of mankind, there have also been those, like myself, who have discovered and been exposed to things within that vast interstitial field of gray—a No Man’s Land of reality, if you like—that exists between the poles of reason and revelation. It is in this space where those “essential features” that Mr. Dyson refers to exist, features that have no analogue within quotidian reality and are therefore overlooked and unseen. Simply filtered out as so much superfluous detail.

And yet these things, these essential features, are all around us. Perhaps right this moment you are sitting next to one in a coffee shop. Perhaps not ten feet away there is one watching you and your significant other share a meal. Your neighbor who lives on the same floor in the building across from you, the one who sits in the dark and stares at the passersby ten stories below. He’s one. He’s an essential feature. And that wonderful person whom you just met online, the one with the successful career that requires a full commitment to the daylight hours and who can only arrive upon the eventide for a little tête-à-tête. Quite possibly . . .

So, how does one explain something that defies definition? How can I describe to you a color that you have never seen? How can I persuade you in words to believe in the unbelievable? I cannot. The things that I am speaking of here must be seen to be believed. And even then . . .

My imminent demise and the bellwether of recent events has compelled me to, in violation of the oath I took as a Warden of The Order, offer an account of our vocation as a means of contextualizing some of the events you will experience within the coming months. I submit this record with a clear conscience and with a clear understanding that my willful breach of The Order’s omertà is punishable by death. Nevertheless, the time for secrecy is at an end.

The Order has served mankind for hundreds of years, but through greed, corruption and mismanagement has degenerated into little more than a fraternity of self-righteous zealots whose interests do not extend much past their own desires for more power and influence. With the hearts and backs of most Wardens turned, there has been little beyond the efforts of those like myself, who stand true to The Order’s founding principles, to prevent a steady and continuous ingress of goetic horrors into the physical world. But we are weary and our numbers are dwindling.

I have and continue to remain true, in letter and spirit, to the founding principles of The Order and so have undertaken certain precautions that will provide those outside of The Order with a means of protecting themselves and fighting back. I have within me a medically implanted storage device, which contains an encrypted version of the Order’s Codex in its entirety, ready to transmit all of its data to a series of servers located across the city. The storage device contains a decryption key that remains protected under a bioelectromagnetic field powered by the two watts of electrical energy continuously produced by my beating heart.  In the event of my physical death, the field will collapse, the key will “unlock,” and the storage device will transmit its signal—a decrypted version of the Codex, which contains, among other things, the Enchiridion of Light—to every electronic device within a 100-mile radius.  True, this information will invariably come into the hands of the enemy, but you will pardon the cliché when I say that desperate times call for desperate measures.

Gentle reader, although there are no words for what you are about to experience, you must know that there are things among you that violate the laws of science and that seemingly require explanations derived from scripture, myth, folklore or superstition. There are things beside you that breach the fictions in which they have exclusively existed for millennia and that exist as very real, very tangible phenomena. Things above and below you that can walk upon the earth and traverse the depths of hell. Things that can rend flesh as easily as they can rend spirit. The Enchiridion of Light is essentially The Order’s combat manual, a guide that reveals the secrets of using the miracles of science and spirit, technology and theology, to both learn how to see and to fight those essential features that are all around you but that are hiding, waiting, watching.

Welcome to The Order.

Let us start at the beginning . . .

1152 words


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