Category Archives: DPchallenges

Times of Turmoil (DP Challenge: Back to the Future)

Written for The Daily Prompt: Back to The Future, posted August 4th, 2013

Times of Turmoil

 

The old man stumbled, suddenly distracted by a call in his mind.

The world around the old man faded away, replaced by an ancient world that possessed his mind and informed him of an entirely different ‘reality’ than he had been experiencing a moment earlier.

In this older world he felt younger, stronger, hornier.

Desert sands had replaced the mild meadows full of flowers the old man had been strolling through only a few moments ago.

Who had summoned him?

What must he do here?

In the distance a plume of dust marked the passage of a caravan. The young man set off to find his ancient destiny.

The body of the young man that the old man now possessed was very strong, well toned. The young man was nearly naked, his brown skin glistened slightly with sweat. A sack of alum powder hung from his sash.

The old man fingered the small leather bag, remembering what it was for, he applied some of the powder to his skin to stop his sweat.

Conserving moisture was a critical part of living in this desert’s heat.

Few people in this age knew this secret of the alum powder.

The old man had taught the secret of alum to the young man’s fathers during a later visit he must still make to that earlier time.

Aside from the precious alum powder, the young man carried a bronze sword and bladder of water. The young man was a soldier, as his fathers had been before him.

The old man observed the caravan as he caught up with it.

There were few guards, some of whom were wounded. The caravan had recently survived a raid. Perhaps the raiders had not made off with the best of its treasures.

The nobles, soldiers, and merchants would be wary.

But the presence of the old man within the young man’s body meant only one thing, the caravan carried an artifact, an artifact out of time itself.

The old young man could physically sense the artifact as they grew closer, as if it were a part of their shared body.

Suddenly, the young man was gone. He had travelled ahead into the old man’s body, while the old man fully possessed the body abandoned by the young man who had been riding it.

The young man’s body seemed to fall in upon itself, shriveling and wrinkling, until the young man appeared old. His sword fell from hips and hid itself in the sand, safe from the prying eyes of the caravaneers.

The water in the full bladder turned sideways, vanishing from this dimension.

The old man’s loinclout changed from a clean, neat cloth to a shabby, dirty affair.

The old man considered losing his sandals as they changed to match the decrepitude of the rest of his appearance.

The old man approached two of the caravan’s guards who had dropped back to ‘greet’ him.

The old man tensed for the blows, pretending to be ignorant of any fighting skills.

When both guards struck the old man he fell to the ground and groveled.

The old man knew that only one of the caravan members could be a sensitive, like himself.

Ordinarily, two or more sensitives could not tolerate being together with the artifact carried by the caravan. It took extraordinary training for a sensitive to shield themselves in the presence of the Divine Rod of the Ruler of Time.

This was the artifact the old man was here to steal.

But, as usual, the time-tables had all been changed again; the mission put on hold for so many centuries was suddenly reactivated. The stolen rod would soon be returned to those who had first summoned it into being.

The old man considered the deaths of the people who now greeted him with a beating.

If necessary, he would design a death customized to each victim, none of these poor souls were prepared for the subversive attacks he might launch against them.

The old man could turn the minds of each member of the caravan against themselves.

Begging for mercy, the old man pretended to writhe in pain upon the ground.

After a few more dutiful kicks to the old man’s back and sides the guards relented, satisfied the old man was in no shape to be any threat.

As the old man rose to his feet he was shoved back down to his knees.

The caravan came to a stop to allow the old man to approach the caravan’s master.

Scraping worn knees across blistering sand the old man crawled forward and begged for mercy and protection from the elements.

The caravan master frowned, then vanished from his own body as the caravan’s sensitive ruler peered out of the master’s eyes and surveyed the old man carefully.

Clearly the caravan master and his sensitive ruler did not get along well. The ruler was probably corrupt and cruel. The old man knew how to turn their poor relationship with one another against them.

The ruler frowned with the caravan master’s eyes, unable to enter the old man’s body.  This one would need to be trained to give up his flesh.  He must be a barbarian form the north to be so ignorant of the customs of the ruler’s tribes.

The sensitive ruler of the caravan slipped out of the caravan master’s body, allowing the master to return, and silently informing him what he should do.

The master whistled a code to summon a slave. The slave would teach the old man his own tasks and make sure the old man did them well. The slave would move up in rank with the old man taking his place as the lowliest member of the caravan.

The old man hated the tyranny of the rulers, and yet he was another ruler.

The old man was fighting a war with the tyrant rulers, a war that would be won shortly after he seized the Divine Rod of the Ruler of Time.

The old man pondered the Rod’s origins.

When the Rod had been summoned it was the first of the magical artifacts received by men from the entities of the Creator Races.

Some of the members of the Creator Races sometimes appeared among men, riding them by ruling their bodies.

The old man had learned that trick on his own; there was no teacher to tie his mind to the minds of the rulers.

To the tyrant rulers, it was as if the old man did not exist.

The old man had made himself into a rogue ruler.

The tyrants knew they were opposed by people as powerful as themselves, but they could not identify any of the rogue rulers behind the rebellion.

The rogues were more skilled than the rulers they opposed. The tyrants had grown lazy and corrupt, relying too much on their slaves and dominions, rather than upon their own minds and strengths.

The Rod had been created to give humanity rulership over all of the elements, including Time. The Rod was intended to empower humanity to build a sanctuary for themselves apart from the tyrants who ruled them.

However, the original fellowship of the Rod’s summoners had been corrupted. The tyrant rulers had witnessed the summoning of the Rod and had seized the Rod before it could be sanctified.

The raw Rod was a dangerous artifact in the hands of anyone who did not understand its powers.

The tyrant rulers had sacrificed many of their members trying to learn the Rod’s secrets.  All they had managed to learn was that they should never allow the Rod to meet water or blood.

Now, at last, the Rod was vulnerable. The Rod had been forced out of its hiding place by rising waters. The tyrants had feared to lose possession of the Rod, but had the Rod been fully immersed in the waters that rose behind the Aswan Dam the powers of the Rod would have been opened up to the entire planet.

Water would conduct its powers directly into the minds of everyone on earth.

The tyrant rulers could not allow that to happen.

The Rod must be kept dry at all costs.

The tyrant rulers sensed the trap waiting for them if they moved the Rod during the approaching flood.  They decided to move the Rod centuries before the Aswan Damn would eventually be built.

The old man grinned, thinking about how he would spit on the Rod at his first opportunity.

Beneath the old man’s knees his bronze sword crawled through the sand, seeking the camel carrying the Rod.

Suddenly their was a loud cry as a camel stumbled and fell, it’s foot bleeding.

The old man rushed forward, cursing.

The camel’s belly opened up as it struck the sand, its guts spilling as the sword struck again.

The camel driver stared in horror as he was thrust out of his body by his ruler.

The ruler turned in the camel driver’s body and pointed at the old man, frustrated.

The old man denied the caravan ruler entry to his body.

The camel driver was sweating profusely as his ruler channeled more and more energy through his body in a futile attempt to invade the old man’s body.

The power channeled through the camel driver’s body set his body ablaze.

As the camel driver began to burn the old man compelled the caravan master’s body into action. Together with the frightened caravan master, they ran to a camel more ostentatiously outfitted than most of the rest.

The caravan master leapt over the camel pressing both hands down on its hump and swinging his legs up and forward, colliding with body of the caravan ruler’s priest with both of his feet.

The priest collapsed to the ground and died, the spirit of the caravan’s ruler was severed from the priest’s body as the caravan master cut through the priest’s heart with a silver dagger.

The remaining slaves and guards of the caravan fell upon each other in chaos as their ruler jumped from one to another ineffectively seeking anyone he could ride.

Without his priest to focus the ruler’s mind within the members of the caravan the members were coming free of his powers to enslave them.

The ruler disciplined himself. There was one member he could still enslave, but he must be subtle about it. If the others suspected he still owned any of them they would kill his host and sever his only tie to the caravan and it’s precious cargo.

The caravan ruler remembered his history, he knew how the Rod had originally been seized; now it was up to him to play the role of the hero of his people, he must somehow manage to steal the Rod back from whoever had just captured it.

The old man spit on the Rod.

The Times of Turmoil had begun once more.

The Beginning.

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Daily Prompt Challenge — Post Mortality

Written in response to the Daily Prompt: No Longer a Mere Mortal

Post Mortality

We didn’t know immortality would one day come in a potion.  We suppose we should have anticipated this development, but really, a potion?

Yuck!

We would have preferred a little blue pill.  Or better yet, a red one!

We do not think anyone needs an immortality potion, but if an immortality potion helps convince everyone they are really immortals, then perhaps we can say Go for it!

In our past lives immortality was a sort of triumph or personal feat; an achievement of a person’s will, a product of their sheer determination to live at any cost.

Of course, we are no longer living in those past lives, immortal though we were even then; instead, we have left those past lives behind.  We have chosen to divide ourselves and to leave those past lives to some of our other selves to continue to live in.  We have now moved on to this current incarnation, a new series of lives in which we have already been an immortal for many, many years now, long before this new potion came along.

We have never needed an immortality potion.

Being an immortal does not mean we cannot be killed; this flesh is weak, but it is also very easily replaced.  Our immortality is really a guarantee of our immediate resurrection, so long as it is our will to go on, along with a guarantee that one or more of ourselves will always choose to go on with any life we have ever been born into.

We are not sure whether immortality in a potion may really be a good idea, but hey, its done, so how do we live with it?

When we first learned we were immortal we did not want to believe it.

We wanted to die.

Of course, the only way anyone will ever find out if they are really immortal is to die and then return to their life, yes?

We discovered our own immortality long before the immortality potion came along by trying to kill ourselves.

But now, if you hand out all of these immortality potions so that everyone can discover they are immortal for themselves, you are gonna wind up with a lot of people killing themselves just to prove to themselves they really are immortals.

That is actually a dangerous business.

For one thing, our entire civilization may come crashing down as a result of these immortality potions.  Why would immortals wish to spend their eternities at their jobs?

For another thing, people will still be dying, however, many of them may try dying more often or may murder one another more frequently.

Sure, no one will really remain dead after they have died, but for people who do not believe these immortality potions really work there is a constant risk of psychoses as their cognitive dissonance between what they choose to continue to believe and what is now the new reality for their entire world collide with each other and vie for dominance.

Yet another danger is that while you will always return to life after you have died, you still experience your death as a physically, psychically, and emotionally traumatic event.  If you die often enough you can still develop a pretty serious case of post-traumatic stress syndrome.

We should know, we are still experiencing our death agonies; they continue to reverberate through our overloaded nervous systems.

Fortunately, we are pretty much done with testing our own immortality, we are reasonably well satisfied we will always return to this life each time we die in it.

Our immortality has not changed our morality.

We choose to be a moral person, within our own definitions of morality and within the weaknesses, tolerances, or limits of our disciplines.

That is our choice.

We see no reason to change this choice regardless of whether or not we are immortal.

However, we have known many criminals, some of whom have been self-avowed murderers, who might say the same for themselves; there are many days when we can believe that perhaps they can describe themselves as moral people not only sincerely, but even truthfully.

Morality is an extremely thorny issue.

We do not believe there are any universal codes for morality, we believe morality is a private matter and that morality should always remain a private matter.

We do not believe morality can be successfully legislated, the rate of incarceration per capita in the USA should be proof of this.

Personally, we prefer to choose not to bring harm to any other living being within what we might hope may be a reasonable scope or respectable parameters.

Might we harm one person to prevent harm to another?

Perhaps.

However, for some people, it may become much easier to use deadly force when they know that anyone they kill will always come back.

Eventually, people will learn that their immortality potions have really worked and they really are immortals.

We may only speculate whether morality will improve in this new world full of immortals only.

On that day when all people know they are immortals those people who are still believed to be dead will rise up from their graves and return to their lost lives.

This is because as immortals, the human race will now live long enough to invent time travel and then return to resurrect their dead ancestors.

People who have risen after a long period in their graves will take a long time to get up to speed.  They will shamble into their resurrected lives like zombies, slowly healing from ancient traumas that once held them in their graves, and slowly healing from cognitive dissonance between their past lives and this brave new modern eternal world…

We know this because we have already seen it happen.  We have already lived forever an infinite number of times.

Enjoy!

Love, Grigori Rho Gharveyn,
aka Greg Gourdian, Falcon, Chameleon, Roger Holler, etc., et al…

Obesity, Diabetes, and the Surgeon General

We don’t know if there is already a category for DP Challenges called ‘Self-Challenges’, if not, perhaps there should be?  We found today’s challenge in our email.

Dr. Peter Attia featured on Ted.com: Is the obesity crisis hiding a bigger problem?

Dr. Peter Attia suggests that perhaps the wrong war against diabetes and obesity is being waged.

While we might say that much of Dr. Attia’s presentation describes information that has been previously known, such as the real or perceived relationships between sugar and type 2 diabetes, there are several reasons why presenting this information still has a very high public value.

For one thing, it is important to remember that in the collective minds of the general public our preconceived beliefs may tend to outweigh any possible scientific objectivity.  Therefore, in order to work through the inertia of our conventional public perceptions about obesity or diabetes (perceptions that may be incorrect) it may be necessary to present this information to every generation on a frequent basis if we are to get to the real roots of these problems.

Yes, there is a sort of conspiracy on behalf of the dairy, meat, and pharmaceutical industries to promote their own interests at what may turn out to be a terrible cost to the general public, but that conspiracy also includes all the rest of us. Collectively, we the people are cooperating with this conspiracy, in part, because we are all too often psychologically motivated to hide darker, more disturbing truths from ourselves.

Food is addictive, perhaps it is only particular types of food that are addictive, such as carbohydrates, or salty, fatty foods, or perhaps all types of food can become addictive, depending on whatever you personally like most.  The mechanisms of addiction operate in the pleasure center of the brain, anything that consistently rewards someone with pleasure is potentially addictive, even things that may sometimes be considered to be negative, or dangerous, such as red meat, potato chips, or anger.

So-called ’emotional eating’ may always be a form of addiction.

Who do we know who has profited by selling the world an addictive product?

Why shouldn’t our food and drug industries benefit from the same strategies that made the big tobacco companies so powerful?

Addictions are powerful tools for controlling people, just ask any pimp who keeps their string of whores strung out on dope.

Our government is an illusion that keeps us distracted from a highly predatory animal, a beast who finds that keeping most people in an ignorant, dependent state is to its own benefit.  That animal, of course, is our military-industrial complex, a beast we might once have desperately needed, but a beast that may finally have finally outlived its usefulness in a world that should be preparing for peace.

We cannot rely on our government to protect us from itself.

Even the best Surgeon General must answer first to their own brass stars.

Enjoy!

Love, Grigori Rho Gharveyn
aka Greg Gourdian, Falcon, Chameleon, Roger Holler, etc., et al…

When Our Morals May Be Immoral – Daily Post Challenge, June 24th 2013, Morality Play

When Our Morals May Be Immoral
Daily Post Challenge – Morality Play, June 24th 2013

We might prefer to believe our morals come from within ourselves, from our own inner sources of inspiration, however, this is only part of the story of where our morals may come from.

Many people seem to want their morals to be engraved in stone; many people appear to want their morals to be obeyed by everyone.  We strongly suspect that this sort of wishful thinking may represent an uglier side of morality; on this uglier side our morals may sometimes appear to descend into fascism.

Is there any comfortable middle ground between these extremes of an inspirational source for our morality and origins for our morality that may be dictated to us by our societies?

Many people resolve the tensions created by not knowing where their morals should come from by claiming their morals come from god.  Doctrines claiming divine origins for their moral codes often appear to assume that because their rules claim to be divine inspirations that everyone must therefor obey them.

The tension of not knowing where our morals should come from is something that helps build human character; resolving that tension by dictating where morals must come from and what they must be may make some people weaker in their hearts and minds if they fail to challenge the reasoning or justice underlying their socially derived senses of their morality.

For instance, slavery was entirely moral according to the mores of the times among plantation owners in the 18th century.  It required moral reasoning and a higher sense of social justice to enable the emergence of the abolitionist movement.  Few people today would suggest repealing the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, and yet, it can still be maintained that the Thirteenth Amendment was a weapon used by the North in an economic war against the South.

The highest morality can sometimes also seem to be immoral, depending on your chosen points of view.

We suspect that all people need to explore their morality for themselves.  We suspect each person must come to their own conclusions regarding their morality as independently as possible in order to build the strong characters required to enable them to make their own lives’ toughest decisions on their own.

All social institutions depend upon both moral behavior, and immoral behavior.  It is the tension between these two extremes that makes publically accepted notions regarding morality a more profitable enterprise for churches or governments.

When we hear other people espouse their morals we often wonder just what is in it for them.

In part, morals are personal tools whereby each individual governs their own behavior between two extremes that may either place more emphasis upon the good of the individual or upon the good of society.

There must always be balance between these two extremes or social unrest may arise that may threaten to change whatever established rules any given group of people have theretofore agreed to live by.

Whatever our morals may be, perhaps one of the biggest mistakes we may make with them is to try to indoctrinate our children with our own morality.

Perhaps we might explain our own moral choices to our children, but we think that the moment we try to impose our moral ideals upon anyone, even our own children, we risk becoming an immoral person.

This is not a paradox, this is just what we believe to be true.

In part, we believe our morality comes from our socially derived senses of justice, respect, compassion, community, and love.  However, we recognize that many people’s life experiences teach them different values with different social or cultural contexts that may guide them to conclusions about what their morals should be that may be very different from our own ideals.

We cannot find fault with anyone for choosing any path different from our own. 

We do not believe we should dictate our own morality to anyone, but neither can we agree that anyone has arrived at a universal set of morals that we ourselves must discover and obey.

The best we might do may be to follow our own heart and pray we fail to offend anyone who might condemn us for our choices.

We are nearly certain that there can be no universal moral code.

Possibly, a universal set of morals would make itself immoral on the grounds that anyone who disagrees might be punished simply for disagreeing.

Morals are ideas that represent our ideals.  However, we suspect that any individual’s idealism must really be a private matter because no two people can ever agree on everything.

Therefor, to attempt to establish a universal morality may, at best, be folly; however, at its very worst, attempting to establish a universal code of morals may result in witch-hunts, political imprisonment, murder, or genocide.

We think most people have a heritage in which there were times when their people were unjustly persecuted, tortured, imprisoned, or even murdered for their beliefs.

Morality attracts corruption by concentrating power in the hands of a few people who decide for everyone else what their morals must be.

This is still not another paradox, but it is, perhaps unjustly, how things really are.

We are mostly reasonably happy with our personal ethics and morals.  We are sometimes sorry when our personal sense of fair play is challenged. 

We usually mean no offense, however we know we will offend people even when we do not consciously intend to offend them.

Sometimes we choose to be offensive in order to make our own positions clearer, consequently we believe we must accept that some people will sometimes choose to say or do things we may possibly find offensive in order to preserve their own sense of what may really be fair, right, or wrong.

Our nation, the good ole USA, has some serious problems with morality.  We have more laws and more law-breakers than any other nation on earth.

Perhaps we should be the very last nation to lead the way into the emerging morality of the new millennium.

Enjoy!

Love, Grigori Rho Gharveyn,
aka Greg Gourdian, Falcon, Chameleon, Roger Holler, etc., et. al…

DPchallenge — A Matter of Sweet Destiny

Oops!  We saw this DPchallenge with a big picture of strawberries directly above it that we mistook for the challenge’s subject… The real contest photo was hidden beyond the READ MORE  button.  We doubt we can win that contest with this entry now…  ;^)  Enjoy!

It was a beautiful sunny day, the bright red Italian strawberries should have been very happy, they were on the cusp of a blessed event, but instead, the strawberries were very worried…

All of the strawberries came from a good farm with very good pedigrees; they were lovingly raised by itinerant workers who always treated them with respect, nurturing them, grooming their roots, watering them, and tending them every day in the hot Italian sun.

Sometimes the farmer’s wife would sing to them as she picked strawberries for her family.

The strawberries were all very grateful for the farm where they were raised.

Sure, some of the strawberries had some minor blemishes, but any of the strawberries would dare you to find any one of them you would not want to pop into your mouth and gobble down, or nibble slowly, enjoying your strawberry in whatever manner suited your nature or the whim of a moment.

Ordinarily, the strawberries were never worried.

As a rule, nearly all strawberries were nearly always very cheerful, robust fruits, certain of good destinies in the hungry bellies of their appreciative consumers.

But today, the strawberries were having trouble seeing their destinies. The strawberries were reduced to the status of humans. Humans never knew their destinies, but the strawberries had been favored by the fates to always know their destinies.

The fates loved strawberries. The fates would always play with their strawberries; they would pop each strawberry in their empty eye-socket, pretending it was an eye.

One time this actually worked, sister Alarm had popped a strawberry in her eye-socket on a whim and seen a glimpse of the future for her sister Dread.

The fates had always been forbidden to know their own futures, so this was a moment of extraordinary magic for the Fates.

Consequently, the elated Fates bestowed two gifts on all strawberries for all time. All strawberries would always be allowed to pick their own destinies, and all strawberries would always be allowed to remember the particular destiny each one had picked for themselves; every strawberry would always know who would eat it.

Until today, that is.

The strawberries could all remember their destinies yesterday, what had changed?

Yesterday, the strawberries were peaceful and content because each one knew exactly which human would eat each one of them; yet now, today, no strawberry could remember which humans might eat them. Each strawberry could only hope that they would be safely delivered to the humans they had each chosen to be eaten by when they were barely little buds seeing the sun for the very first time.

Each strawberry had spent its lifetime grooming itself to be the snack of a little child or a tired executive or a harried stewardess. Sometimes a strawberry would choose a favorite pet to eat them for their destiny.

Occasionally a strawberry might fail to meet their appointed destiny, but only because some strawberries refused to choose nasty fates and deceived themselves. The fates of all strawberries could not all be good, but nearly every strawberry wanted a good fate.

No one wanted to be the strawberry that fell under a cartwheel, or who got neglected until it spoiled. Consequently, vain strawberries who failed to choose their fates wisely would sometimes be disappointed.

Typically the wisest strawberries chose the nastiest fates to spare the rest as much disappointment in their lives as possible.

The wisest strawberries had spent many incarnations as strawberries and knew the ropes of strawberrydom better than the newbies, especially those newer strawberries who had never become a strawberry before.

So what was different about today? Why did none of the sweet strawberries sitting under the ‘Itali’ sign remember their chosen fates? Had they all been too unwise to choose a more modest fate? Might they all be crushed in a lorry crash?

Perhaps something was wrong with their bright yellow sign? The strawberries were sure it said ‘Itali’, but they did not know what ‘Itali’ meant, maybe ‘Itali’ meant poison and they would all be sent to an incinerator!

More and more strawberries were beginning to panic as one wild conjecture or another was whispered nervously between them until they had finally exhausted all of the possibilities.

The strawberries worried that the natural order of life that their kind had known for thousands of years of cultivation was about to be upset… what had happened to take away their assurance in their own destinies?

Perhaps the cumbersome humans would know what to do. They always had lots and lots of ideas…

A human was coming now.

Perhaps the day would turn out all right.

As the first customers approached the strawberries, the strawberries prayed together to their earth mother that all would be ok.

Then the strawberries heard a familiar voice, a voice that none of the wisest strawberries had heard since the Fates had given them so much power over their destinies and the comfort of knowing that their destinies would always be secure.

A withered old lady’s hand plucked a plump strawberry from the basket nearest to her; a few black swan feathers poked out of the long sleeve of her timeless black dress.

The strawberry was popped into the odd old lady’s single eye socket. The strawberry’s memory was returned, sister Dread had tricked the strawberries to give them a little surprise.

The strawberries were so relieved to have their memories of their destinies given back to them that they immediately forgave sister Dread. The lucky strawberry in Dread’s eye socket blessed sister Dread with a happy vision of her sister Horrid’s old flame Dionysus coming to visit.

As the day warmed up the strawberries began to disappear as they were carried to homes, offices, restaurants and schools to meet their happy fates.

Soon, most of the strawberries would become parts of the humans that consumed them and they would begin new lives, human lives, lives they had been looking forward to all of their ripening days.

The End.