The Many Faces of God

The Many Faces of God

​ Marion loves to wear her lips in pink, glossed in a manner of delusional innocence. She walks to her daytime job at the newspaper office every morning and decorates the lies of the world with the whims of her boss. She’s been with men before, but most of them were never lovers. She eats popcorn every evening and gives her dinner the accompaniment of the finest of wines from Southern France. She gets the money from her father, who divorced her mother seven years ago. He loves her well and ensures that she eats her meals on time and has enough to buy her pink gloss. Marion is sad that life never seems to take an exciting turn as the months of her years fly by. Marion is beautiful, but Marion is sad. The cobbled streets of Paris give her no more solace than the wide roads that connect her city to the rest of Europe. While the job at the newspaper office does enough to help Marion hide her mind from herself for eight hours a day, she fills her soul with grimace and hatred for life every night when her cheeks touch her pillow. A Christmas came when the wine didn’t do enough and the broken heart of Marion befriended a rope that hung tightly from a ceiling fan. It was not a tragedy, it was a movement of fate and Marion was gone.

Felix loved his usual doses of LSD by the beach every twice or thrice a year. He believed that the mind needed to be reset every time it got too clouded with the mushy movements of the mundane world. But the last time around, Felix was imprinted. Felix had always believed that his awareness was separate from the objective world and he could dip his hands in the water without getting wet. But the LSD had brought him to believe that everybody shared the same ability. This induced a flame of spiritual jealousy deep inside the materialistic caverns of Felix’s soul. So he turned to DMT to find an explosive way out of the confoundedness that kept him separate from his ecstasy. The DMT worked. It gave him peace. At least it did the first time. The second time, Felix was imprinted again. And this time, he was drawn to strongly feel that the human body was an unfortunate bondage and this vacation to the Earth was an opportunity to free one’s soul from bondage. The wrists of Felix met the sparkling sharpness of an unbranded kitchen knife and left his body lying cold and still in his mother’s kitchen. Felix was beautiful and Felix was free. And now he was gone.
Dr. Kennelly was a victim of Asthma and she had dedicated her life to cancer research. Her everyday contact with tragedy had given her the courage to become an alcoholic. Her everyday interaction with death had given her the wisdom to become loose in speech and careless with her research. When age brought the perception of “fifty years old” into the awareness of Dr. Kennelly, she decided that her lifelong rejection of tobacco smoking was a hoax and she let her resistance slip into the delights of spending $200 a month on tobacco. Her Asthma met several instances of acute torment and left Dr. Kennelly struggling for breath in a twin bed in her lonely bedroom. Her daughter would visit her once a day and kneel beside her, reading poetry from Gibran and Rumi trying to give the old woman a sense of eternity. Dr. Kennelly was beautiful, but she didn’t know that. A morning came when breath had become a matter of perpetual endurance. She was a medical lady. It wasn’t much of an effort to find the pills that would bring her peace. Her daughter read her eulogy and seemed to be the only one that wept at her funeral. Dr. Kennelly’s research was taken up by some other team across the country who eventually made progress. But nobody will remember Dr. Kennelly. Nobody will remember the soul that was spilt because of its contact with the mortality of human dreams.
Bobby Dream was a delightful young poet whose verses dared to explore the darker nature of human existence. He left his heart to the safekeeping of his childhood sweetheart, Emily Karma, who ensured the softness of Bobby’s heart when his talent swam swiftly into the spotlight of concrete human society. Bobby Dream’s verses gave hope to his friends and reminded them that life was no struggle to make it to the throne, but instead a dance to make the grave itself a throne. Bobby’s friends implored him to take his literature to the world in a formal, published manner. Bobby resisted for several years but finally found the plasticity in his mind to reject his rebellious human heart. After nine bestsellers, Bobby decided to go on a romantic date with his hypocrisy. He looked back on his teenage rebellion and touched its innocence again. He admitted that he had failed his purpose. Ms. Karma was now married to a man who worked at the steel factory and she had three children. One winter morning, Bobby Dream saw her walking with her youngest who seemed to hop along as her mother smiled in the sunshine. The smile gave Mr. Dream a heavy remembrance of his carefree heart in the days of his youth. Today had become an endless struggle through sessions of book signings and new contracts with the publisher. All Bobby wanted was to lay in Emily’s lap again and listen to her whistling as the cold breezes of winter would reflect off the warmth of their communion. Mr. Dream would never find such a moment again. As he penned down his last poem, Mr. Dream polished the pistol that seemed so friendly today. Emily Karma shed tears on the mud that would make the grave of Bobby Dream. Bobby was beautiful and forever in love. He took away from himself as much as the world had done. Mr. Dream’s poems live on, but Bobby is gone.
They were all beautiful and now they’re gone. Does that mean that the lives that they lived were any less charming? We move and we move struggling through the resistances of our hearts hoping that eternity would kiss us before we meet our doom. Is it that eternity is a gift only for the few? Is it possible that our mortality is realer than we fear it to be? Is it alright to live our lives in an unforgivable vibration of boredom and hatred chasing dreams that were sold to us by people who were just like us? What are dreams? Why do we dream? Why do we aspire for higher states of human living? Let the sound of the sky’s violins create causeways in our hearts and remind us of our inherent beauty. There is a sense of needlessness that is natural to our hearts and if we dare to touch it again, we might meet the peace that we have craved for ever since we left the warmth of simplicity in our younger years. We are chasing the things that we believe will help us dance, but we never see that this is the only moment in which we can dance. I am a man of poetry, music, and other erotic things. I have touched beauty in the middle of the darkness, with the ability to rejoice even when nobody is watching. It has taught me that my mortality is my liberation; the very foundation of what we can deem beautiful in this immense, miraculous life. If all understandings fail, the only thing that we need to remember is that we are free. And our freedom can never be blemished by the streetlights of space-time that help us dance between what is real and what is not.

The Dreamtrix

The Dreamtrix

The Dreamtrix v300 was an absolute luxury. It was the fruition of humanity’s perpetual search for advanced technology, and being termed a “desire-designer” came alive in the hands of the Trixcorp Dream Project, a research project motivated to create a user-customized dream-generation machine, with 300 tons of aluminum-based alloys, 30 million terabytes of computer storage, and a ton-load of human intellect. It was a machine created for the men and women who lived in the creamiest layer of society’s wealth chain and of course, it was only them who could choose to afford it. It offered an intense and near-real experience by allowing users to dream whatever they desired.  Still in its early stages of research and development, it had a few glitches in its random-dream algorithm that, on occasions, could leave its users in irreparable torment—the kind you would find in the mind of a young man after an all-gone-wrong experience under the influence of an intense psychedelic substance.

“What’s it going to be today Mrs. Dawn?” asked the machine’s chief operating engineer to the short grinning 43-year-old questionably heavy woman standing before him.

“Well son, I’m feeling quite adventurous today. Jared Smorsgard please”, she said as she lay herself down on the warm white-sheeted bed surrounded by the ten-foot tall contraption. Lisa Dawn was the wife of a billionaire in the diet industry who was responsible for half the obesity in the Earth’s Western hemisphere. She arrived at Trixcorp Dreamlabs once every week and paid $300,000 to have an intense experience of one hour of dream sex with the celebrity of her choice. She loved it, and nobody could blame her. Her husband joined her on a few occasions and paid for his turn, although his tastes were quite strange often matching the same as those of his wife. A few of the engineers at the lab counted 19 times they could remember when Mr. Dawn himself came wildly in his pants following his happy time with Jared Smorsgard, the Swedish movie star who had now graced Hollywood for a decade with his unique smile and perfectly toned body.

The accuracy of the Dreamtrix v300 in producing a real-world experience was questioned by none of its users. The machine worked by sedating its user and manually creating a dream experience  drawing information from a complex algorithm that spidered the world’s largest information database, the Trixcorp Access v720. It was acquired 17 years ago from a very old company, about two centuries old, called Google, Inc. The database provided all the required data to create a virtual environment that matched the user’s requirements. The algorithm was responsible for transforming this data from raw information to a perfectly three-dimensional experience that was fed into the user’s brain to create his or her dream experience.

The hour was over, and Mrs. Dawn walked out with the widest of grins the engineers had ever seen her display. They were happy. Mrs. Dawn had mourned louder this time compared to any of the previous sessions she had in the v300. This means the machine was evolving and the engineers were making great progress with their research. Mrs. Dawn even left a $10,000 tip for the operating engineer—a considerable increase from the usual $7000.

Carlyle Blue, the 39-year-old motorsport celebrity recently divorced with his 19-year-old wife, walked in to the lab looking a bit under the weather. What the engineers at Trixcorp really enjoyed was seeing how they transformed frowning folk into smiling people who on some occasions even had tears in their eyes. “Good afternoon Mr. Blue. How can we help you?” the operating engineer asked as he stroked a large red-button at the lower-right portion of the v300 with white text that read, “Random Option”.

“Have you’ll made any progress with the Random Algorithm?” Carlyle asked. “I’m tired of doing 6-mile laps on Mars and fucking aliens on Pluto. I’m tired of choosing what I want. I’m unsure what I want.”

“Well, we can assure you that we’ve removed the vagueness element from the algorithm. Users are assured sensible experiences that are related to what we experience every day. You don’t have to worry about finding yourself as a Uranium atom in the middle of a nuclear reactor fighting the possibility of seeing yourself dismantled by a chain reaction”, the operations engineer was marketing the Random Algorithm with a grave look on his face. There were several former occasions when users who chose the Random Option Dream Experience (RODE) ended up dreaming of things that made no sense at all. For instance, one young woman dreamt of being a potato placed next to a huge watermelon on a dining table, and that was it! That was her entire dream. Another customer dreamt of being a battery in a cell phone and had the undesirable experience of constant tickling sensations passing through him, perhaps caused by the direct current. Dreams depend on what the human mind is currently aware of. In the v300, the Random Algorithm would feed random information from the database that the mind would become aware of. But, this information could be anything considering the size of the database. In order to make the algorithm sensible, Trixcorp would be required to filter out useful information allowing only information that could be sensibly perceived by the human mind. The people who chose RODE were unsure of their desires and were open to any new experiences. It was important to ensure that while the algorithm filtered out nonsensical information, it still left room for new and unique experiences that would thrill users.

“Do you think I should give it a shot?” asked Carlyle.

“There is one problem sir. While we’ve made great progress with RODE, we still cannot avoid the probability of an extreme nightmare. There is still the 50% probability of an extreme nightmare. And considering the extensive amount of information available in our database, that nightmare could be something so terrifying you might leave the lab a different man, with high chances of permanent psychological wounds. You will also be required to sign a document stating that you are responsible for your decision to use RODE and Trixcorp cannot be held liable in the case of extreme consequences. But, you already known all of this don’t you?” The grave appearance of the operating engineer deepened as his assistants walked up to join him to explain the algorithm in detail to their curious customer.

“Give me the document”, Carlyle signed the RODE agreement document and the engineers strapped him to the contraption. RODE required extensive strapping and Carlyle’s toes and fingers were each wired to a separate program that made sure the user’s body would not go into shock in case of an extreme nightmare.

“Also, during the process, we will be unable to shut down the system in case of the occurrence of an extreme nightmare as the powerful sedative you will be given will not wear off until an hour is complete and shutting the system will result in an awake mind but a body under paralysis. This will result in an extreme case of sleep paralysis and might even rocket your awareness into the darker and ignored portions of your sub-conscious mind creating some of the most unimaginably gruesome experiences that are possible in the realm of consciousness. The sub-conscious of every individual mind has the entire history of mankind encoded within itself and you might end up accessing portions of that history that will destroy the current idea of who you are and your sense of existence. You might wake up a very different man or you might wake up, psychologically dead.” The operations engineer explained all of this with a very philosophical tone to his voice and finally tapped Carlyle on his shoulder exclaiming, “But, well, it’s a 50% chance of a bad time. There’s a 50% chance you will have the most amazing time of your life.”

On completing input of all required parameters and closing the settings window on the operations panel, the chief operating engineer pushed the big red Random Option button as a variety of sounds filled the lab bringing great anticipation to the entire Trixcorp Operations team.

On examining the race car driver’s initial reactions, the engineers found him to be breathing right, smiling, and at ease with whatever dream he was having. The v300 system offered its engineers the facility to view and study a subject’s dream after it was over, however, not while the dreaming was in progress. After about 35 minutes of smooth virtual dream-cruising or as it seemed, Carlyle’s blood pressure jolted upwards and his fists seemed to stiffen a bit. Although this was no serious cause for alarm, the engineers had their equipment ready to counter any undesirable consequences. With about ten minutes left to complete his RODE experience, Carlyle began to viciously bite his tongue with a frown on his face that clearly depicted he was going through some sort of pain. A thin stream of blood began to run down the edge of Carlyle’s lips when one of the junior engineers raced to the operations panel and began fiddling with some of the controls.

“What are you doing?” the chief engineer asked, beginning to sound a bit nervous.

“I’ve been testing an algorithm that can override RODE and insert a pre-defined dream into the subject’s mind. I’m unsure what he’s going through but we might have a chance to change it,” the junior engineer was racing through chunks of code on his laptop as he hooked it to the operations panel.

“Fine, do whatever you have to”, the chief engineer replied.

With about five minutes remaining for the end of the RODE session, the junior engineer successfully executed his override algorithm much to the relief of his team members.

Carlyle began to breathe easier and his blood pressure dropped back to normal. The bleeding from his tongue reduced and his jaws relaxed to their normal posture.

“It’s working!” the junior engineer exclaimed. “I used my algorithm to override RODE and replace the dream manifested by the random algorithm with this dream.”

The other engineers looked at the large monitor of the operations panel to see the display of a fantastic view of the Appalachian Mountains with the sun rising in the background. It was a basic dream but was enough to create positivity in a subject’s mind.

The hour passed and Carlyle woke up with a look of horror in his face. He looked around at the engineers and seemed to be embarrassed about something. On unwiring him from the system, he burst out into a rage at the engineers yelling, “You mother fuckers! I’ve had enough of this shit.” He stormed out of Trixcorp Dreamlabs throwing a check of $300,000 behind him—the money he owed Trixcorp for his nightmare.

Following an hour, the chief engineer gathered the entire operations team to study Carlyle’s dream.

“Well, doesn’t look too terrible, does it?” he asked walking towards the coffee machine with a smirk on his face.

The other engineers had the dream on rewind for two hours and couldn’t find a moment to stop laughing.

Carlyle’s nightmare wasn’t the most horrific anyone could have, but it certainly wasn’t something the average dreamer would have even thought of before trying RODE.

It seemed that the Random Algorithm spidered the entire Trixcorp Access database and somehow managed to find only Carlyle Blue’s mother to give him a blow job for fifty-five minutes before the junior engineer overrode it.

“Well. I guess playing with random is like playing with the devil boys. We better get to work on this or we’re soon going to have some rich boy here with his lawyer suing us for injecting incest into his conscious mind”, the chief engineer was back addressing his team who were still roaring in laughter discussing the terrible luck of Carlyle Blue.

The Trixcorp Dream Project didn’t last too long. Soon a rich guru called Swami Mayananda from India got curious and arrived at the lab asking the engineers to use him as a guinea pig for the RODE experiments. He was the founder of the world’s first global yoga corporation, which was called Tat Tvam Asi, Inc.

“Sir, why would you even consider virtual reality? Aren’t you supposed to be beyond these experiences? What’s in it for you? What would you do with customized dreaming?” the chief engineer asked.

“I have spent my years in silence, meditation, and abstinence. I have known reality like a child knows fire the first time it touches it. I am tired of clarity. I am bored of bliss and ecstasy. I want to know the charm of illusion again. I want to play with it, to lose myself again. Self-realization is not eternal as they say it is. It is part of the process of forgetting and remembering. I remembered, and now I wish to forget again”, the guru explained. “I have no desires. And that is why I need RODE. I need RODE to give me desire.”

The process went smoothly but resulted in the guru putting a bullet in his mouth after shooting three other attendees at a yoga retreat two weeks later. No one would understand why, except the engineers.

RODE had a very different effect on the guru’s mind. The program revealed that all his years of meditation served more to push the entire content of his conscious mind into his sub-conscious mind. In other words, the result of his meditation was in opposition to its purpose. On examination, the engineers saw that RODE made the guru dream of the death a woman whose identity was unknown to the engineers. On probing further, they found out that the woman was the guru’s mother. This triggered his sub-conscious mind and resulted in an explosion of every thought the guru had pushed back into his sub-conscious. He dreamt of all kinds of sexual fantasies, violence, expressions of mental illness, murder, and betrayal. It seemed like the guru’s idea of love had resulted in an opposing energy of hatred in his sub-conscious. This energy manifested in the form of perhaps the worst nightmare that was ever created by Dreamtrix v300 in its history. The engineers were unaware that the sub-conscious could be triggered by an externally induced dream in the conscious mind.

Following the guru’s death, Trixcorp was sued and the entire Dreamtrix project came crashing down. The government got involved and passed regulations on the entire dream technology industry.

Trixcorp had an agreement with the government that it would not use Dreamtrix on live subjects again but begged the government not to confiscate the machinery so that research could continue. In one year, news passed around the world about the dissolution of Trixcorp Industries and the destruction of the Dreamtrix v300. But then, the engineers knew how it was sold to the highest bidder, actor Jared Smorsgard’s virtual lover Mrs. Lisa Dawn, on the black market. She had the RODE algorithm removed from the machine and had the last remaining engineers perfect the machine’s primary algorithm before sale; all she wanted were her virtual lovers.

Following the sale of the Dreamtrix v300 and the dissolution of Trixcorp, a reporter for a magazine called The Illusion stated, “Well, if you look at the entire Dreamtrix racket, it was always quite obvious it would never work out. Life and all that goes with it is simply an illusion. And, to create and customize dreams within that illusion is to create an illusion within an illusion. I mean, we’re part of this illusion. We are the illusion. And our desires make us feel like we are real, like we exist, like there is something to live for. We don’t exist. Our desires don’t exist. And everything we create based on our desires is a greater illusion than we ourselves are.”