5 of 6 | Chapter 14

 

“We felt that informality would aid us in our discussions, so please, call me Yeshe, and His Holiness, Julius,” said the Dalai Lama.

“Thank you, please, call me Sean.”

“May I offer you a glass of chhang, our Tibetan barley beer?”

“That would be most welcome, thank you.”

“How are you feeling?” the Dalai Lama asked, as he poured out the fermented beverage.

“I feel better than ever.” Steersman paused and considered for a moment, then continued, “the spiritual power when I entered was almost tangible. The proximity in which people live here with the essence of life is remarkable, and … I like it,” he said simply.

“I'm glad you find it pleasant. Unfortunately, I rarely have the opportunity to come here,” confessed the Dalai Lama.

“In desperate times, people are far more likely to return to their roots,” interjected the Pope quietly.

“Yes, what happened recently was a terrible sin against life,” the Dalai Lama began to explain in his warm baritone.

“I have also often pondered on how people are capable of living, behaving and treating each other so badly, and moreover, how people are capable of wantonly destroying their own surroundings just for a little fleeting success.”

“Fortunately, many support good, which we may take as a sign that not everything is lost.”

“I know,” said Steersman quietly.

“Tell us a little about yourself,” said the Dalai Lama smiling. “What worldview do you proscribe to? What you believe in? What is it, Sean, that drives you on?”

His voice held no hint of interrogation, ulterior motives or judgment. He asked openly and without guile, as if merely curious and wanting to learn.

“That is a rather long story … certainly difficult to condense.”

“Take your time, Sean. We are not impatient men.”

“All right, I will do my best to explain. Basically, I am drawn to and intrigued by the diversity that we can find on our planet: the cultures, traditions, human creation, these all generate a richness and vibrancy that can not be artificially manufactured. These are the products of our existence. Because of this, I feel like it's worth fighting for our future,” Steersman stopped, then taking a deep breath. “Strange as it may sound, especially coming from me, I believe that technological development has not elevated humankind. Rather, it has lowered us to the level of the greediest, most selfish, and most insensitive beasts. It has transformed those values that have enabled diversity to come into being and has kept it growing for thousands of years, and yet now it humiliates us and degrades our very civilization. The problem lies in the fact that our technology has been diverted in the wrong direction. We have not used it as we should to make life better for ourselves and our environment. We have used it to possess and to create personal gain in order to stand above others. Meanwhile, few have paid attention to, or really even cared about what we've been doing around us. It's not only about polluting our own home, but rather, this attitude has developed into a behavioral pattern that's being followed by subsequent generations. It has triggered an avalanche that we are unable to escape from. The result of this is that any further development of culture and traditions will end. They will fade away sooner or later, as will our planet!” Steersman stopped, the tension around his mouth betraying the anger he felt.

“I was sure that your inner strength is nourished by human feelings,” said the Dalai Lama.

“You are angry,” the Pope added.

“Sometimes I feel anger,” acknowledged Steersman.

“Many do not see that the essence of life and happiness can occur in one single thing,” the Dalai Lama began. “We could all easily understand it if, now and again, we returned to our ancient roots, to a time when everything was made by hand, when food was not taken from supermarket shelves, but people grew it for themselves. If they would try it just once; try the feeling of raising a tomato plant, in a simple wooden box hammered together from wooden boards with our own hands, plant a small seedling into rich loam and then, a few months later, sense the fresh smell of earth, pick fresh vegetables and experience the magic of their sour aromatic taste.”

“This experience is freely available to anyone. The best things in life require little,” said Steersman.

“If you have a place to call home, someone to love, the means to relieve thirst and hunger and always have something to think about, to contemplate as it were, then we have already covered the majority of human needs. This would be a good start as it is how life should be looked at,” explained the Dalai Lama, and the three of them drank at the same time from their respective wooden cups.

“Do you have family?” the Pope asked suddenly.

“No,” replied Steersman. “All my time has been devoted to managing the organization.”

“You do, however, feel that you may want a family later?”

“Maybe.”

“What do you think of young people?”

Steersman smiled involuntarily. He hadn't thought too much about them and was therefore a little vague in his answer.

“There's obviously a great need for them, but I sometimes feel that their upbringing is misguided.”

The two looked at him intently, a hint of agreement on their faces.

“What do you mean?” said the Pope, sitting forward a little.

“Something has really gone wrong in the family mind. People have begun to confuse or intertwine the orders of priority and the hierarchy that, in reality, have existed explicitly or implicitly for thousands of years.”

“Interesting,” interjected the Pope, “go on.”

Steersman continued to detail his hypothesis. “They're not the same thing, and abstract concepts are involved, which means that the correct interpretation is the responsibility of the adult members of the family. In a family, the most important or central value, the priority, is the child and the needs and safety of the child. Nothing may take precedent. Hierarchy, on the other hand, is different. Within a hierarchy the child is at the bottom for obvious reasons. It would be both silly and counterproductive for a child to direct an adult. The two concepts should coexist in parallel, but not cross one another.”

“Interesting indeed,” said the Dalai Lama.

Steersman continued. “This confusion is what makes it possible for world leaders to see themselves as the most important individuals, because they are at the top of the organizational hierarchy. This is wrong. Although it's them who tell others what to do, it doesn't make them the most important element in a society.”

A meditative silence descended.

Steersman deliberately broke the silence and tried to lead the conversation in a new direction. He had no real desire to go into a subject in which he had no practical experience. “Would you mind giving me your thoughts on our activities at ASEC. How do they appear to you from the outside?”

The Dalai Lama pressed his fingertips together and looked at Steersman shrewdly.

“The path you have chosen leaves no room for stopping or turning back. If you display weakness at any point you will be set aside forever. This means that you must go through to the very end and fulfill your destiny. Only if your will remains stronger than that of your enemies will you find success.”

“You have chosen a dangerous mission, but your actions demonstrate that you're righteous. We support you and stand with you on this road, but never forget this: great empires have never crumbled from the outside in. Just as with your body, you must pay particular attention the health of your organization,” said the Pope.

 

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CHAPTER 1 | EXCOLOPOLIS
CHAPTER 2 | MACHINES
CHAPTER 3 | A NEW TECHNOLOGY
CHAPTER 4 | ATTACK
CHAPTER 5 | THE SOURCE
CHAPTER 6 | THE SCIENCE CENTER
CHAPTER 7 | UNIVERSITY CITY
CHAPTER 8 | GLIDECRAFT
CHAPTER 9 | SECTOR TWO
CHAPTER 10 | THEY KNOW WE ARE HERE
CHAPTER 11 | GRAVITOR
CHAPTER 12 | INSTALLATION
CHAPTER 13 | ENERGY WAR
CHAPTER 15 | INITIATION
CHAPTER 16 | PREPARATION
CHAPTER 17 | DEFENSE CORPS
CHAPTER 18 | TRUTH
CHAPTER 19 | BEYOND EARTH