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What if?

By Carl S --

The Martian ChroniclesFrom Ray Bradbury’s 1946 sci-fi novel, “The Martian Chronicles,” comes the story of The Third Expedition, of 16 rocket crew members landing on the Red Planet, who find themselves in small town America, circa 1920’s. The story gets stranger, as the captain and two members disembark, walk through this environment, meet the people in their own houses, are reminded of their personal childhood experiences. All about them lays the familiar.

The skeptical captain ponders whether they have traveled back in time. Things become even stranger when one of them meets his grandparents, who have been dead for 30 years, at which point there is speculation as to whether they have entered some kind of heaven, some part of a “ …phenomenon that for the first time, would absolutely prove the existence of God, sir. But certainly a town like this would not occur without divine intervention.”

Later on, the entire town goes out to the spaceship, and as the remaining crew recognizes relatives, friends, and the band plays, they leave the ship. Everyone enjoys the rest of the day and, after a fine dinner, retires for the night. (Note: there is no way to describe this story effectively, “in one’s own words.” Bradbury is a master of words.)

That evening, Captain Black lies awake in this familiar home, his brother (new found), nearby. “He had the most ridiculous theory quite suddenly.. .But he thought,... just suppose now, that there were Martians living on Mars and they saw our ship coming and saw us inside our ship and hated us. Suppose now, just for the hell of it, they wanted to destroy us as invaders… and wanted to do it in a very clever way, so that we were taken off guard.”

“The answer was interesting. Telepathy, hypnosis, memory and imagination. Suppose all of these houses aren’t real at all, but only figments of my imagination, given substance by telepathy and hypnosis. But by playing on my desires and wants, these Martians have made this seem like my old home town, my old house, to lull me out of my suspicions.” He never made it out of the room alive, and the following morning, 16 crew members are buried.

Let’s turn this story on its side, so to speak. Ask how it would proceed if the intent of the aliens was not to kill, but to exploit.

In the 1960’s, I worked in record shops. (LPs, 45s). I learned how to read what people’s tastes are by having them describe their preferences, so that I could predict what they would buy. This has served me well in general, where I can pretty well predict what others will accept or reject, find pleasing or distasteful.

Consider the average individual, who is generally but not specifically acceptable in society, and those who are ignored not out of malice, but custom. Focus on that person’s individuality, desires, and tastes and you’ll find not just welcome attention, but the caring person, yourself, to be “special.” Though we as caring ones might not welcome that assessment, we still give the attention because we just care; unlike the exploiters, there is nothing in it for us but the pleasure of helping another. No tithes or investments, or asking for favors in return.

Isn’t this individualized caring the way many people get into religious and sexual relationships (and sometimes they are synonymous), that end disastrously for the individual?

Special attentiveness involves being understood, appreciated, special, chosen, and realizing that others recognize your life HAS meaning, purpose, and why, seen clearly by the attentive ones. Imagine being part of a grand design above and beyond your inner dreams and expectations. How fortunate for you. It isn’t a mere carrot dangling before you - it’s a whole banquet.

You can be crippled or destroyed by another using your own desires and wants.

Once taken in and committed, the chances are that more of one’s self will be invested and sacrificed. Rewards will be sugar cube-sporadic, praise profuse, guidance continual. The cage door is shut.

All religious representatives are masters of manipulation; very perceptive of the desires (good and bad), naivety, trust, talents and monies of each individual sheep in the flock, and abetted by their personal confessions which are used in a parasitic relationship to sustain the host.

Beware of anyone of any religion who shows a personal interest in your needs and desires, or attentiveness way, way out of the ordinary. Instead of assuming they care what’s in it for you, ask what’s in it for THEM. Others have not, and have ended up strapping bombs on themselves to serve their masters.

The elegant efficiency of the time-proven system of manipulation can be directly demonstrated in the passion shown by the used defending the users.

Whether one is born into the system, or unsuspectingly enters the spider’s parlor, the effect is the same. AND, if one should become a skeptic and/or distrustful of the environment, as Captain Black of the Third Expedition did, see how cold and indifferent the in-group members become; how you are ostracized, become anathema, diseased. For when you seriously question, you are extraneous at best, poisonous at worst. Meanwhile, you are seeking facts, truths, and trying to save your mental and moral life.

What the world really NEEDS are MORE individuals who will lie awake at night and ask, “What if this ISN’T true, isn’t real? Suppose that...”


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