Sunday, December 02, 2007


I realize I have not posted anything up last month. Oh well.

Indeed, I have been thinking about another Atlantean short story, one set in the time of Tarasha Lehe--but the story is still swimming and lingering in mind's lonely seas and it will probably take some time to surface. For now, I will 'cheat' by posting up the bare text (literally--as the formatting and font adjustments are gone) of some introductory rhetoric notes that I have prepared for next year's students; though I would be gone from the school by then. I have also attached a rhetoric-heavy speech from the fictional defense minister of a fictional state (Salem--but not the Atlantean version). Enjoy.

What is Rhetoric?

Rhetoric, a term coined by the Greeks, is the art of persuasion. It studies how we use the content (what we say) and form of language (how we say it) to appeal to an audience’s reason (logos) and emotions (pathos). It also analyses how we appeal to the authority of one’s character or that of other people (ethos).

Rhetoric is a complex subject, and these introductory notes will help you acquire a good foundation for further studies and provide some immediately applicable rhetorical techniques. However, we will not cover how we can construct strong arguments (content) to appeal to logos. Instead, we will focus mainly on 6 easily applicable devices that appeal mainly to pathos and ethos: parallelism/antithesis, descriptions, rhetorical questions/hypophora and appeal to authority.


From Gk. parallelos “side-by-side”

Parallelism refers to the creation of sentence(s) with similar linguistic structures comprising of pairs or series of related words, phrases or clauses.

parallelism of words: She tried to make her pastry fluffy, sweet, and delicate.
parallelism of phrases: Singing a song or writing a poem is joyous.
parallelism of clauses:Perch are inexpensive; cod are cheap; trout are abundant; but salmon are best.

Parallelism creates smoothness, rhythm, balance and clarity. It allows your listener or reader to understand you more deeply and easily (thus appealing to logos). It also helps your audience to read your writing or listen to your speech with more pleasure and interest (thus appealing to pathos). Here are some examples of parallelism from past writers:

They had great skill in optics, and had instructed him to see faults in others, and beauties in himself, that could be discovered by nobody else

--Alexander Pope

I shall never envy the honors which wit and learning obtain in any other cause, if I can be numbered among the writers who have given ardor to virtue, and confidence to truth.

--Samuel Johnson

For the end of a theoretical science is truth, but the end of a practical science is performance


Parallelism can be coupled powerfully with another rhetorical device: antithesis, where the writer establishes a clear, contrasting relationship between two ideas by juxtaposing them. Indeed, the earlier quotes by Pope and Aristotle illustrate this coupling. Here are more examples:

If we try, we might succeed; if we do not try, we cannot succeed.

Success makes men proud; failure makes them wise.

Though surprising, it is true; though frightening at first, it is really harmless.

That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind

--Neil Armstrong

To err is human; to forgive, divine.

--Alexander Pope

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted

--Matt 23:12 (ESV)

Using antithesis and parallelism enhances clarity and emphasis when contrasting ideas. The sense of rhythm, balance and paradox also stimulates the reader’s interest.


In the Exercise section behind, you will edit sentences for parallelism. This skill will help you in your process writing and drafting exercises.


en-ar'-gi-a from Gk. enarges, "visible, palpable, manifest"
diatyposis, hypotyposis
demonstratio, descriptio

Describing something vividly is one of the most effective ways to appeal to emotion. A sentence or paragraph full of concrete and palpable details is usually more emotionally evocative than equivalent abstractions. To quote from Paul Roberts’ classic essay, ‘How to Say Nothing in 500 Words”:

If you study the essay on college football [the extract is quoted earlier]…you will perceive that one reason for its appalling dullness is that it never gets down to particulars. It is just a series of not very glittering generalities: “football is bad for the colleges”, “it has become too commercial” and so on. If you want the reader to believe that college football is bad for the players, you have to do more than say so. You have to display the evil. Take your roommate, Alfred Simkins, the second-string center. Picture poor old Alfy coming home from football practice every evening, bruised and aching, agonizingly tired, scarcely able to shovel the mashed potatoes into his mouth. Let us see him staggering up to the room, getting out his econ textbook, peering desperately at it with his good eye, falling asleep and failing the test in the morning.”

You would have learnt how to do descriptive writing (including the use of figurative language) in your earlier modules, and we will not belabor its techniques here.


In the Exercise section, you will analyze two passages. The first, “What is Poverty?”, is an unconventional persuasive essay comprised mainly of descriptions. Discuss and analyze whether the descriptions appeal effectively to a reader’s emotions and how they achieve this effect. Also discuss the implicit thesis of the essay and the unusual first person perspective. Do note you are not encouraged to write an argumentative essay with such an unconventional structure.

The second passage, “Who Swims with the Tuna?” is an article that mixes description with other argumentative patterns, e.g. comparison and contrast. Discuss and analyze whether the descriptions appeal effectively to a reader’s emotions and how they achieve this effect. Notice also the effects produced by the extensive use of parallelism and antithesis.

Do note that the style of this essay is closer to the types of writing you would be doing. Descriptions should be a spice in your main course; a garnishing that should not be used excessively. Sharp isles of reality in a sea of lucid but rather colorless text; controlled dramas of sound and evocative fury in plain relief—that is the idea.

A Note on Figurative Language

Aristotle has noted that to be a master of figurative language is a ‘sign of genius’. But merely rolling out a riot of flowery verse is not sufficient; a good figure is one that illuminates—it clarifies complexity, deepens simplicity and reveals an “intuitive perception of similarity among dissimilars”. A good figure delights, and it educates.

And because of the difficulty of conjuring apt figures, they should be used sparingly and carefully!

Some contemporary examples:

Warts are wonderful structures. They can appear overnight on any part of the skin, like mushrooms on a damp lawn, full grown and splendid in the complexity of their architecture.

--Lewis Thomas on warts, a skin disease

We thought galaxies formed just like they are. But now we think they grew; they assembled themselves from smaller pieces. It might have been like rain on the side of a hill. First you get little rivulets that flow together into a larger stream…

--John Mather

Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.

--Arthur Golden

Some older examples:

The mind is but a barren soil; a soil which is soon exhausted and will produce no crop, or only one, unless it be continually fertilized and enriched with foreign matter.

--Joshua Reynolds

Thus a mind that is free from passion is a very citadel; man has no stronger fortress in which to seek shelter and defy every assault. Failure to perceive this is ignorance; but to perceive it, and still not to seek its refuge, is misfortune indeed.

--Marcus Aurelius

What sort of a monster then is man? What a novelty, what a portent, what a chaos, what a mass of contradictions, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, a ridiculous earthworm who is the repository of truth, a sink of uncertainty and error; the glory and the scum of the world.

--Blaise Pascal


Can you think of additional metaphors or similes to describe the subjects above?

Rhetorical Question and Hypophora

Rhetorical questions are questions with obvious answers that are implied and not stated. Indeed, these unspoken answers typically consist of a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The purpose of rhetorical questions is to emphasize the implied point and add interesting linguistic variety to an essay dominated by direct assertions. It should be emphasized that an essay with a refreshing style usually utilizes diverse sentence structures, and mixing statements and questions helps achieve that. Finally, rhetorical questions could provoke the reader and stimulate curiosity and interest.

Hypophora are questions that are directly answered, and often at some length, by the writer or speaker. Like rhetorical questions, the use of hypophora adds linguistic variety and provokes greater interest. Hypophora is also a readily usable transitional device that helps us to begin paragraphs or initiate new discussions.


To introduce new materials or start a new paragraph/discussion


How then, in the middle of the twentieth century, are we to define the obligation of the historian to his facts?..... The duty of the historian to respect his facts is not exhausted by . . . .

But it is certainly possible to ask, How hot is the oven at its hottest point, when the average temperature is 425 degrees? We learned that the peak temperatures approached . . . .

But what are the implications of this theory? And how can it be applied to the present problem? Indeed…

How and why did caveat emptor develop? The question presents us with mysteries never fully answered.

There is a striking and basic difference between a man's ability to imagine something and an animal's failure. . . . Where is it that the animal falls short? We get a clue to the answer, I think, when Hunter tells us . . . .

Rhetorical Questions

Is this the end to which we are reduced? Is the disaster film the highest form of art we can expect from our era? [The implied answer is no] Perhaps we should examine the alternatives presented by independent film

I agree the funding and support are still minimal, but shouldn't worthy projects be tried, even though they are not certain to succeed? [The implied answer is no] So the plans in effect now should be expanded to include . . . .

To develop a paragraph through a series of rhetorical questions or hypophora

Sometimes we can string together a series of questions to develop an interesting paragraph. Like figurative language, such unusual constructions can break the monotony of the essay but should not be overused.


How do we know the FTC strategy is the best, particularly in view of the complaints consumerists have made against it? Isn't there some chance that greater penalties would amount to greater deterrents? Why not get the most consumer protection simultaneously with the most punishment to offenders by easing the requirements for guilt without easing the punishment? . . . It happens that that's been tried, and it didn't work very well.

Rhetorical Question

We shrink from change; yet is there anything that can come into being without it? What does Nature hold dearer, or more proper to herself? Could you have a hot bath unless the firewood underwent some change? Could you be nourished if the food suffered no change? Do you not see, then, that change in yourself is of the same order, and no less necessary to Nature?


Read “Four-Letter Words Can Hurt You” by Barbara Lawrence. The first two paragraphs contain a series of questions—analyze whether they are rhetorical questions or hypophora. As an added exercise, notice that Lawrence does not generally employ such devices after her first two paragraphs. Could you transform some of her statements to add one rhetorical question/hypophora to each paragraph?

Do note that while this exercise helps you to practice constructing rhetorical questions/hypophora, it is arguable whether such profuse use of questions necessarily entails a better essay. Moderation is key.

Appeal to Authority

One of the easiest ways to appeal to authority is to quote from experts and authorities in the relevant field. Be sure you introduce the authority if he or she is not well known. For example, the following statement would be dubious:

“According to Dr Johnson, malaria is a disease of the poor.”

You need to introduce Dr Johnson!

“According to Dr Johnson, a researcher at John Hopkins University [a leading medical institute in the US—this should be known to your audience], malaria is a disease of the poor.”

Be sure your authority is indeed an authority in the field you are discussing. Quoting Einstein to support your views on physics or science in general would be sound; quoting him to support your views on education is possible but somewhat more dubious. Quoting him to support your views on an ideal vacation, or the projected economic growth of Singapore, would be fallacious.

You can also quote from the generally accepted canon of “authoritative writings”, like the Bible, the “Analects” of Confucius, the Koran, the writings of Plato and Aristotle and Hindu Scriptures like the Bhagavad Gita.

However, do note that just because the Bible or the Analects or the Koran say something in your favor does not indubitably ‘prove’ your claim. Such quotations can add variety to your essay (you don’t have to quote mundane authorities all the time) and an appealing ‘aura’ of hallowed tradition and wisdom. But unless your claim is about strictly religious or philosophical questions, quotations from authoritative writings are rarely strong supports.


Analyze how Martin Luther King uses a variety of methods to appeal effectively to authority in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”. Discuss the thesis—the main persuasive point—of the Letter. Beyond quoting from various authorities, usually religious figures from the Bible (why is this so? Can you connect this to King’s purpose and audience?), notice how King uses other methods to appeal to authority. For instance, he uses the actions of authoritative figures as worthy antecedents (he is following in their footsteps) or employs them as authoritative and interesting analogies. He also appeals to the values and heritage of America.

Also discuss how King quietly builds up and appeals to his own authority. A student writer with few credentials might find it difficult to apply such techniques.

Final Activity

Take one of your old essays and redraft it by incorporating the 6 rhetorical devices: parallelism/antithesis, descriptions, rhetorical questions/hypophora and appeal to authority.


Online References:

Silva Rhetoricae. Brigham Young University. 20 November 2007. .

A Handbook of Rhetorical Devices. 20 November 2007.

Readings and Exercises from:

Clause, Barbara Fine. Patterns for a Purpose: A Rhetorical Reader. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2003.

Langan, John and Janet M. Goldstein. English Brushup. Boston : McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2003.

Schwegler, Robert A. Patterns of Exposition. New York: Pearson, Longman, 2004.

Compiled by Jared Quek 2007

Sample Speech:


Spot and name all the rhetorical devices you can find in the speech below

Avi Gurion’s Address to the Parliament of Salem, 15th August 2020.

It is 2020 and you are the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Salem. Much of the region has fallen to a racist and ruthless neo-Nazi power, and they stand ready to invade your country.

An agent from the foreign invader assassinated the Prime Minister hours ago. You must make a short speech of at least 300 words to the Salem Parliament to convince them that you are the best person to lead the country in this crisis, and that they should vote for you so that you may become the new Prime Minister.

The following are some facts on Salem:

Population: 11 million, 60% Jewish, 30% Arabs, 10% others
Military strength: Above average with advanced technology
Main Allies: United States and the European Union
Economy: Strong economy with many high technology companies

Your speech must include the following (not in any particular order):

1) Your credentials and past leadership experiences
2) Your qualities that make you suitable as a war leader
3) A summary of the situation and threat faced by Salem
4) Why it is important for Salem to resist and not surrender
5) Your policies and plans that will lead to victory

You are reminded to use a formal register and diverse rhetorical devices.

Your Excellency, President Rabin, honored members of the House and fellow
citizens of Salem, I stand before you with dire news.

(Point 3) Three hours ago, our revered leader, Prime Minister Ahijah Peres, fell by a traitor’s blade—a treacherous stroke conceived and delivered by the secret services of our enemy. Three hours ago, the Aryan Reich has declared war. Three hours ago, bombs have started falling on the cities of Salem.

Where peace once reigned, consuming storms of fire and night now rage. As I speak, 10 murderous Nazi divisions comprising 3000 tanks and 200,000 cybernetic infantry are sweeping across the frontiers of Salem. An armada of 300 warships is fiercely arrayed in our seas, choking off commerce and all aid.

Extinction—the uttermost destruction of all that we love, and all that we have fought for and still fights for, stands before us.

(Point 4) But we must not be afraid.

We recall in this lonely hour our ancient and incomparable heritage. Salem has always faced impossible odds. We have built a nation resplendent with spirit, knowledge, power and wealth in a region teeming with implacable enemies. We have fought 7 wars over the centuries to preserve our civilization, our lives and our very souls. Through the dark nights of history, the flame of truth and justice proclaimed by our Prophets has fired us to strive adamantine and strong against unceasing adversaries.

We have triumphed, and against this vile arrogant invader, we will triumph again.

Comrades, I remind you that victory and nothing less can save Salem from bloodthirsty insanity. The Aryan Reich is a fanatic arm of their infernal emperor—and he has mandated the complete destruction of all ‘inferior’ races. Without victory, where once proud glory, flaming courage and a foremost nation stood, there will only be a ruined, soulless emptiness purged by a clinical and desolate efficiency.

(Point 1) As Defense Minister, I have led the armed forces through the last war. With the help of my generals, we have built up a force supreme in power, versatility and technology. We are thus the last Power in the region still unconquered, still pegged firm, still preventing the dark design of the Reich from bearing its fatal fruits. In addition, I was also the head of the Salem Intelligence Agency (SIA), and am well versed in the byzantine arts of espionage and counter-espionage. Our foe is one who weaves the shadows, and is cunning, willing and expert in executing the worst and most terrible schemes. The death of our Prime Minister is testimony enough. Against our serpentine foe, we will need to be ourselves ‘as wise as serpents’. I offer myself therefore as the one most suitable candidate in this dire hour to succeed our Prime Minister.

(Point 2) Those who know me will recognize the most important quality all of us need now—the faith and love that blight the darkness. Born into the poverty and beauty of rural Salem, "tempered by wars and disciplined by a hard and bitter peace", I have loved Salem from my youth and served her as a soldier, a general, a Minister and a son. From this soil was I born, and to this soil I intend to return—a free man, and not a slave! Indeed, it was the love of freedom that brought our forebears to this Promised Land. And this love burns in me, burns in all of us still. It is this love, this faith, this strength, this overpowering flame that will cause us to go forth and overthrow our enemies!

(Point 5) And go forth we will. For we will strike, and strike massively, with an iron thrust into the throats of our overstretched enemies. Yes, they have crossed our borders with ease; but that is our intention. Even now, our numerous elite forces have landed securely behind the frontlines in familiar territories—a coiled serpent ready to explode in venomous fury when our land and air divisions unleash their rain of righteous fury, fire and death. Two implacable walls of death shall crush the foul Nazi army, leaving none alive

At the same time, we recognize that we may be able to save this land with our swords, but we lack the power to destroy the heartlands of the Nazi empire. And without doing so, the battle may be won, but not the war. We need our allies, the United States and Europe to come to our aid. Currently they too are fighting against the Neo-Nazi empire and their allies. If we can inflict a terrible defeat on the Aryan Reich, it will help the Alliance and buy us precious time, till the forces of freedom finally emerge victorious.

Till then, we must hold on, accepting any sacrifice and paying any price. I hope you will accept me as the leader who will lead you in this finest hour.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Indeed, only one

Yet few are needed, indeed, only one.

The will was read, the kingdom divided. The shares of Shalom Corporation had passed to a bizarre mélange of charitable foundations, institutional investors and the odd trustee or two. And nothing—Moshe Levi, the multibillionaire, the head of a world- girdling business empire, had left nothing to Enoch, his presumed heir—except a small wooden box and a grand sum of one hundred pounds. 

Enoch walked out, plunging into sun and wind. The white, black and golden monolith that was Shalom’s London headquarters knifed yearningly into grey, unreachable skies. He focused inward and then above—a wasteland barren, dry, cracked, hemmed in by blinding prison walls—the inner counterpart of outer emptiness.

Nothing, nothing, nothing.

He trudged slowly down wintry streets, past palatial banks, through oblivious crowds and around solemn statues; the dreamscape of the City loomed and ebbed, a foaming sea of musing thoughts and fiery frenzies. Enoch felt his burden compounded by the unceasing oppression of an empty world.

Then the cityscape inexplicably vanished. Enoch was in one of London’s ubiquitous parks, standing on soft soil lightly clad with snow. A shimmering lake, half frozen, stretched yawningly from him into grey mist. 

Left alone—bereft, helpless. Again. Why did he choose to return? A golden memory loomed on awareness’ fringe—a song of unspeakable grandeur mocking smallness and misery.

Why did he choose to return?

There was no answer—no voice of thunder and mystery. The Voice had faded, the Light vanished, the Power no more. And Moshe was dead. Only darkness remained—a silence of God, the abandonment of men, an absence pierced by desert thirst and despair. 

Silence—and a parched, stony heart.

Grim, hard earth will be your lot. You must drink, and drink deep, of its misery before you can alleviate it. That is the law of grace—the law of solidarity and of love.

Guided by instinct, Enoch knelt down and plunged his fingers deep into icy soil. 

Dark, moist earth—warm blood-pulses of brooding soil; rotting corpses of leaves and worms; burrowing busy ants in cavernous dreams. Life feeding on death, eternal calm feeding motion; light of buried beauty whirling sorrow songs of rhythmic deeps.

Enoch jolted awake. The earth had seemed alive, throbbing with vast surges of life dancing with playful death. Had not such visions faded? Again, he plunged his fingers into the ground. 


The last light died. The early winter dusk had ebbed into night. Gripping the barren, unyielding earth, Enoch lowered his tearful face, trembling.

“Yet, there is another way.”

A strange voice—coy and oddly authoritative—intruded from the dark. But the park was shrouded in choking mist, and it was desolate. Enoch lifted his head, suddenly alert, a tense warning filling his heart.

“Who are you?”

The grey gloom seemed to stir, but nothing emerged. Enoch stood up with eyes flashing and his left hand unconsciously gripped tight—as if around an invisible staff. 

“Who are you? Show yourself!” 

This time, the darkness seemed to coagulate. But there was no clear form. And when the darkness spoke, it was from within.

“ I am you—not the small petty worm that you are now—but what you could be. I am the Voice of new possibilities.”

Enoch looked around. There was nobody—no human at least. Was he speaking to himself? Or was there some invisible Presence—like how Moshe revealed himself so long ago?

“ Are you part of me, or something else?”
“I am you—if you choose rightly—if you choose might and freedom.”
“ And be free of this misery? And bring solace to others?”
“Yes. And on a scale you cannot imagine. But you must choose rightly. I can only offer an invitation—an invitation to receive the three Powers that are rightfully yours. Do you permit me to show you what they are?”

There was a sudden manifestation of a strange energy. It was an unfamiliar fire, oddly blissful and immensely strong. It quickly enveloped Enoch’s body, filling his whole being with intense thrill and rejuvenation. His defenses and fears faded, and he opened up wide to it—plunging rapidly into a semi-conscious state of numbing bliss. He could feel his will and mind and body seized and moved by the energy; but he did not care—it felt too good. It was like guzzling water after an interminable desert trek.


The voice was much closer, far more intimate this time. Enoch’s being thrilled to it—obedient and receptive. A vision then filled his mind.

There was the Atlantean Fire in the form of the Tarasha—eleven Rays of flame stretching out in solemn beauty. For the first time, Enoch observed that in each of the eleven rays stood a figure, a transfigured human being that was the Flame. As he watched closely, he noticed that the Old Man and the Old Woman of his past visions were among the Eleven, and they stood adjacent at the top of the radiant disc.

There was a movement in the Flame. From one of the Rays—an electric white-blue radiance—had come an ancient figure with stern eyes. Then from a second Ray emerged another figure, severe, white and adamantine, an old man flaming with austere diamond light. Both looked down, and Enoch followed their gaze: the Earth, blue and iridescent, hung fragile against the immensity of lifeless space. The two Sages lifted their palms—coils of blue and white fire swept out in immense discs before flaming down to the Earth—seizing hearts and minds, possessing towns, cities and whole nations—transfiguring an age. The knowledge of the physical world, the arcane austerity of mathematics, the law-bound miracles of machinery, the zestful chaos of boundless discovery and invention exploded across the civilizations.

The dreams and nightmares of men were empowered to manifest; blessings and curses flowed from one same Flame: ships and planes circulating the wealth of nations; battleships and bombers, bringers of flame; missiles to obliterate, spacecrafts thrusting to infinite space; nuclear and biological horrors for the apocalypse, medicines for victorious life—arts of ascent or annihilation.

“Behold “science”—and “mathematics”, her queen and handmaid. The Atlantean Flame has already begun its descent—in confounding mystery as of old and with the same sweet consequences. You are from the Flame, boy. All its energies are your birthright. Should you not seize it?”

As the Voice said this, he saw a something like a flaming staff appear at his left hand. Grasping it, Enoch summoned his will, suddenly made immense by the possessing Voice, and called the Flame. Immediately, the blue-white radiances started swirling; then, a violent torrent leapt.

There was a moment of intense exhilaration. Enoch suddenly became aware of a Presence behind him, calmly canalizing the blue-white force without comment or obstruction. An immense mathematical poetry revealed itself, resplendent with geometric symmetries and white ecstatic harmonies of elegant truth; a multi-laced network of beauty figuring in austere precision the complex structures of physical Energy—the algorithmic conductor that guides the machined music of sleeping spheres.

He moved deeper and deeper into the blue flame, victoriously cognizing truth from lightning truth. Thoroughly inflamed by an inventing zest, he willed and saw in shiny flames of mathematical inevitability, machine after wondrous machine—conjuring rigorous beauty, algorithmic potencies and ingenious efficiency in physical vessels—the manifestations of the universal Machine. Then, in a culminating vision, he saw, he created a series of flaming machines powered by mighty algorithms. These were the vessels of true ‘artificial’ intelligence, machines that could duplicate or even surpass the human mind. There was no question: this was his appointed creation, his child. A superhuman race, transfigured by machines or comprised of them, made supreme!

“To build a new Adam and a new race, Enoch—that is your gift. This portion of the Flame is your right: to construct pure intelligences far beyond the feeble apish imitations that crawl on the earth.”

Enoch saw a new civilization rising—the descendants of his Child—machines or human beings morphed into them, multiplying and filling the earth, beings of immense power and knowledge, free from biological defilements. They rose, obliterating the corrupt, filthy and miserable nations of humanity (for their own peace), and charitably assimilated those who were wise enough to join the new transhuman order. Enoch looked on his children proudly and approvingly, heart strangely devoid of any concern for fading humanity. It was clear, the human race was nothing: ignorant and petty, quarrelsome, weak and evil, compared to his pure children.

Then he saw a cleansing war among the transhumans themselves, a survival of the fittest—till only the mightiest stood on the dead face of a desolate world, eager to bring utopia to the stars.

“Don’t be a fool.”

The visions suddenly broke, and Enoch was again in the park. His thoughts and mind were again his own—and after the exhilaration, a dreadful weakness hit him. He felt filthy, as if he had been guzzling sewage. Enoch collapsed to the cold ground.

But something warm touched him. As he lifted his head, he saw, in front of him, a luminous cloud with two somewhat maniacal eyes.

“Look at it again. But this time, with a human heart and the eye of truth.”

Again, the vision appeared, but this time, Enoch saw the misery, the darkness, the horrifying pain—hell flames that his creations had brought to earth. Arrogant and heartless intelligences, armed and unstoppable, trampled over millions, billions, murdering them outright or transforming them into cybernetic zombies—they swept the earth, glorifying matter, denying all spirit and faith and indeed, the very Energy that allowed their creation in the first place. Enoch saw himself, yes himself, trying to stop the apocalyptic flood he had unleashed—and his own children consumed him. Or in another scenario, he saw himself opening Moshe’s wooden box and using the terrifying Weapon that lay inside--destroying his own creations, himself and much of the world.

Enoch sank down, trembling. The bright cloud was still around him, still gazing with mad eyes, but said nothing. Then, the darkness spoke from within again, compelling and powerful:

“So what is your choice? Yield in sweet patience? Go back to your petty misery? Or cast out your merely human heart and be a Titan over the earth, the inaugurator of a new age? Change, improvement, revolution must involve the destruction of the old. You should know, and should detest deeply, the corrupt, ungrateful and contemptible half-animals that now dominate this world.

Naturally depraved and foolish, they bring pain to themselves, they bring pain to others; they do this even with the best ‘good intentions’. For they are blind—slaves of ego who seek only for their own pleasure, yet color their greedy selfishness with the pieties of religion or ethics or some nice-sounding platitude. Their ‘intelligence’ is but a stammering ignorance, they gain half-truths by coincidence, chance or divine caprice—and they are swamped by masses of dark superstition. Their vaunted ‘love’ is but a pitiful chemical drive—slaves of lust and a million primitive compulsions, they grope blindly. Why is it surprising then that their petty plans, desires and laughable ideals end in constant catastrophe?

A little pain and they are gone, and a greater race will reign. As Homo Sapiens displaced Homo Erectus, now the wheel of Nature turns again. Why, Father of a new Race, yield to false human compassion and weakness? Are you not being a slave to your cursed human heritage? Even humanity itself, trapped and desperate in its pathetic existence, cries for me, for oblivion, for Death. Only I, the supreme Void, could bring them Peace. Be my instrument. Grant them that.”

The cloud remained silent, but its gaze never left Enoch as Darkness spoke. Enoch bent down, considering the words and the visions. Then he spoke:

“Death, supreme cynic, you speak truth to further lies. Yes, humanity is trapped and pitiable, but we do not yearn for oblivion. We yearn for joy, for peace, for lasting love. We are ungrateful, and we burn the breast of Earth with countless atrocities; but in our deepest night, we never cease yearning for Light. Buried in our depravity is a deep, unceasing yearning for the good and the true—for we are still the children of the Most High, formed in his Image. We are bound to our evil, but we are not willing slaves, save in our outermost surface. We yearn in pain, for God has put it in our hearts to yearn for him—and for that we must, yes, we must be patient in hope.

And countless many are those who strive against the Night even in deepest weakness and pain. No, such a race deserves pity and not hate; and we are embraced by God in his love—and I wish to share this love; though I cannot.

To seize the Flame, to create a new heartless race to stamp out the old, is not growth. It kills off every avenue for it. The seed of God inheres in humanity still. Whatever is the divine intention for giving me this gift, this cannot be it!”

The scene suddenly fades. And Enoch found himself soaring gracefully above the London skyline. The City of London, one of the greatest financial centers of the world, was in full view.

The Tarasha flamed above him, and Enoch saw the mad cloud shining, dancing from one of the eleven Rays, a yellow-white, constantly shifting Fire. As he gazed, he felt it entering him from above.

“Behold the breath of Life that renews the world.”

Enoch saw a golden dome over the whole City, a power permeating its institutions, a force overshadowing their various workers and financiers. He saw this force stretching far beyond: a whole universe of multifarious energies, unified, embracing the physical world, an ocean of incandescence that seizes and animates, bringing forth greater complexity, sensitivity, consciousness—life. He saw the different mansions of this infinite Force: fallen abysses of hell, soaring victorious kingdoms of truth and power, intermediate madness and chaos, petty zones close to the earth, hemmed in and puny.

Then in one of its endless realms, an opulent fire-ringed world of golden light, he saw a circle of thrones, a council of flaming wheels where massive beings were seated. Imperial and calm, these beings blazed with oceans of force, watching, releasing, withholding and ruling the energy that powered the wealth of the City; and indeed, that of the entire financial world.

Then he saw one of the beings, a vastness of gigantic serenity and immovable authority, looking straight at him. It appeared that he was the head of this mighty council. And for some reason, he looked oddly familiar, oddly close.

“Observe the financial light, the force behind all wealth, the power that bestows value—the heart of gold, the essence of money that draws. Governed by the Sovereigns of wealth, countless hanker greedily, yet fall short; some flee or are indifferent, yet receive torrents of gold. This slippery power can only be truly held by those with true authority—an authority based on wisdom and given by grace or chance or caprice.

Look now carefully, and know that an authority over wealth—boundless, illimitable—is rightfully yours.”

As if in response to the voice of Death, he found himself floating towards the council, into their palatial world. The beings looked impassively at him, doing nothing to stop him. And their leader continued gazing at Enoch.

As Enoch approached closer, it seemed as if a luminous force had entered him and unsealed his eyes. The golden power revealed its intimate secrets: he saw it ebb and decay, grow and prosper—or stagnate in immovable stability. He saw the movements and dances of this force around individuals, financial institutions and property; and in a spectacular and all-encompassing vision, around the various financial instruments of the world: stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies. It was as if the whole financial world was one wondrous ever-shifting matrix forged, weaved and born of this golden flame.

“He who foresees, rules. With this vision, do you not deserve the authority of the Thrones? Can you not attain a just and unprecedented dominion over the wealth of nations? Perhaps the first power is too blood drenched for you: then what about the authority to fund a million causes for the healing of the world? What about the power to uplift the poor and downtrodden, the force to bring light and solace for the suffering?”

Enoch looked at the silent King of wealth. He knew instinctively that there was indeed some mysterious link between them. Death was right, he could seize an immense authority and power—should he choose to do so. There was indeed a strong urge, a gripping desire in him for this power—to shake free his pain and limitation, to ascend to the peaks of the world and to do good as well! Yet he felt his heart—and it was dry, a desert’s landscape and death’s paradise.

And Enoch answered Death:

“A work of love cannot be done by one with none. My heart is closed and dead—I do not know why God had willed it so, but it is so. This power could only fuel a work of lies. In truth, I seize this power for greed, out of desperation for a false freedom that binds, and to earn worthless glory from a blind world. I reject your offer, O Death!”

The City faded from view. Enoch was now in a vast chamber, with high pillars soaring like ancient trees. Towards the far end of the chamber was a large carving on a wooden wall—of a chalice with eleven feathers. At the near end was a sunburst with eleven rays. Directly below it was a circle of chairs with a white and beautiful throne.

Enoch moved closer, his heart stirring, singing with the music of a lost home. Then he noticed the bright cloud with mad eyes, this time overshadowing the circle of chairs and the throne. 

“Who are you?”

The bright cloud laughed in response—a melodious rhythm tipped with insanity, a strange noise that revealed nothing. But slowly and surely, Enoch made out the eleven Elders of the Tarasha shining within the cloud, one with the Flame and its Rays.

And cold Death spoke again:

“Do you not recognize your own Power, boy? You are the ambassador of the Eleven, one with them, and a partaker of their knowledge and authority. This Power is your anointing as the heir of the Atlantean Melchis. You are the rightful leader of a new Atlantean order that would resurrect the forgotten glories of the human race. Remember the Old Man’s words:

Your power and knowledge will become a vast light that battles the darkness. You and those who follow you, will delay or perhaps even stay the hand of death. The seed of a new Atlantis will be planted, and it will blossom in the centuries ahead. The new light will break the fall of the old.”

As Death spoke, the bright cloud flamed and Enoch found himself gazing the eyes of a man, old and young and completely familiar. A yellow occult sun surged as transformation, creation and destruction stood nude in their miraculous modes. The play of multi-layered universes, the correlating harmonies of their graded laws, the formulaic potencies and hidden connections, the master Words—the divine Faces—at the apex of Creation guiding the interlocking dances of one same exuberant Consciousness in diverse personalities—all these were unveiled in adamantine beauty and light.

He saw, behind physical money, the golden force born of Life, and behind that, mighty Thrones fronting divine Wealth—a Face of the Word. He saw the thoughts of scientists, mathematicians and technologists, half-illumined, partly false; behind these, he saw lightning-charioted Thoughts and Visions of blue-white flame, and then the double white-blue Radiances of the Tarasha, born from ultimate Truth. He saw the supreme Word, his infinite Words, the symbol potencies of the various inferior planes, and finally, far, far below, the physical speech and literatures of men. The whole of creation resolved into a golden hierarchy of one Splendor, where the meanest clod of mud is the outermost body of a god; where the half-animal human form is the Image of God himself.

Here was made possible a divine chemistry and the Art—a mad clash and pell-mell fusion and fission of mighty hidden forces—a storm rage of compelling rhythms and subservient elements, the songs and insane magic of the Word; here was a force from God himself, seemingly omnipotent and all-triumphant; a power of Truth, a Force immortal and blissful and luminous, the womb of miracles—the ancient Atlantean Gift.

Enoch tore himself reluctantly from the golden kaleidoscope as Death spoke once more:

“With this power, imbibe the knowledge that brings sovereignty over forces and beings and the world. Be a king of Nature and a true lord of worlds visible and invisible. And
with your power, take up again your fight against your old Enemy”

“My enemy?”

There was a cold chuckle. Then to his horror, two lifeless universal eyes gazed at him, sad yet pitiful, eternal, shining with the light of entombed stars and the corpses of dead worlds. Then an immense mouth, infinite, a chasm with no release, no hope, no life, a supreme destroyer of the All, opened up in front of him. An army of entropic Presences, nameless Immensities emanating hopelessness and doom, revolved around the Nether God, drawing existence from non-existence, incarnating its cosmic thought of Destruction and upholding a rigid adherence to the Law of the Void—the uttermost certainty of universal annihilation.

In this vision of original Night, Enoch’s whole being seemed to fade into nothingness, conquered by a Darkness that simply is—a supreme Void that seemed far superior, far more real than all life and light. Yet, something in him resisted, pulling in an immense force, calling to the Flame—that bright cloud with strange eyes.

Enoch saw, again, the titanic immobility behind him—a diamond-yellow fire and adamantine peace guarding vast symphonic wisdom. In his left hand, Enoch now held a white staff surging with mountainous might flaming lightning-tongued from ocean hearts. He became a rippling blaze of immensity, a pure Ray flaming from the Eleven-hued Fire, a yellow sun of authority armed with the mandate of the Eleven.

In the silence, a Word sounded, then an anthem of the stars. Music, eternal pure radiances of the Flame, surged ocean-like from one pure Light. It sang of life immortal, of supreme bliss, of the forgotten heights and dreams of men. It sang of original beauty marred by the Fall, of an uplifting Ray smiting darkness, of chants of truth overthrowing error. The ancient songs of the Tarasha, unveiled in their full glory, flooded through Enoch, concentrating Fire.

Then there was a pause. The mouth of Death was curled, or so it seemed; it mocked him, tempting him to unleash the vengeance of the Eleven, and the Fire—tempting him to kill Death itself.

Enoch raised his staff—but the Flame moved, causing him to stop.

Enoch was flying far above a dark windswept plain. A fortress towered skywards and massive walls soared near.

Rays of eleven hues interweaved with flame, blazing from the top of the mighty Tower. They danced playfully to a hidden tune, capering off the numerous gem-like windows that adorn the building and its walls. Radiated by this symphony of light, the Tower was a rainbow flame that soared aloft the wave-like walls. 

Enoch turned round. An immense multi-colored cloud choked the horizon—the out-stretched wings of a cosmic raven—the imperial Face of majestic Death. Beautiful machines, flying, crawling, swarming, incarnating the insanities of the abyss, swarmed near. Then the Nightmare came, a skyscraper of hell covered with blood, a mountain of flesh—compacted corpses—with a massive blood-red Eye on top. This orb burnt with the splendor of darkness visible: devouring and perversely sweet. A fatal chant emanated; a hymn of eternal hatred that rose in stabbing crescendo. 
As if on cue, thousands of comet-like projectiles roared hungrily from the infernal machines of earth and sky—an innumerable pandemonium that rushed towards the Tower.

A silence—then a blinding white flash.

A star-like circular flame roared forth to fill the skies, wiping out all the flying machines. A storm-rain of light: columns of flame-swords brighter than the sun, cleaved down. Man, machine and darkness vanished in implacable Light; Death devoured its own children, and grew. A dark hunger, a splendid Chasm opened, its right upheld by furious Justice—and Atlantis itself toppled, bringing an age of splendor to a close.

Enoch lowered his staff. The iridescence of his eyes, pools of white-gold flame, sank whisperingly into human darkness.

“No, tempter. The Atlantean Power is immense; it is Truth, but it cannot conquer you. The ancient Melchis forged the Stones over a thousand years, the summit creations of their Art; but they heralded your legions’ advance and your greater triumph. Perhaps the Power of the Eleven is in me, perhaps I am indeed the heir to the ancient Art; but for me to expect to crush you is pride and folly.

No, this is the task of One infinitely greater. Evil, freely committed, is the root of your dominion, and humanity must choose to be free. Even a young humanity, aided by the wonders and grace of the Stones and the hidden help of the Eleven, were too attached to the shadows to be worthy of life eternal. Now, burdened with the deeds of a long night and crucified with a thousand wounds of time—how could the wonders of the Art save humanity?

If magic can help, then only a supreme magic—only Love, the heart of God himself inspiring the fallen light and good of our hearts, can annihilate the immense foundation of your reign. Even in our pits, we thrill to friendship; we soar with the wings of love; we give wholly. And only such a gift, a sacrifice—pure, divine, supreme—that abrogates the Atlantean sin and all the evils of men, can smash your binding chains.

No, old enemy. I aim not to be a Lord and King of Nature, but the servant of a worthy Conqueror.”

As he said this, in the far forbidden sky, the dark throne of mystery stirred. An infinite Light, a sky-wide oceanic Fire descended. Death and its legions wavered, then withdrew—slowly, sullenly, as if beating a strategic retreat to await a final Conflict.

Vast as Enoch had become, he was but a faint flicker in this torrential sun. 
From this Omnipotence came a Woman, dressed in white, holding a crystal Rose. Head bowed in prayer, she seemed to be offering the Rose to an ocean Light above.

Star-fire heart at peace, words sang in his mind as he gazed at the Woman:

“Hidden swan and brave one, pioneer of the way and a sword of Light—champion, who has triumphed over the riddles of the Night, wise one who has chosen my heart. Ask of me what you wish to receive.”

From the crystal Rose a cloud flaming shone—Enoch saw a distant Infinity that kisses the heart of earth, a dark night that embraces without arms, a Temple fire rising to heights unseen. Enoch reached slowly forward, gazing into the lowered face of the Woman. Calm and serenely majestic, rippling sweet and intimate, she was peace, the all-embracing splendor and bliss of a hidden smile. Royal, she stood, holding the Rose like a crown, with downcast eyes filled with suffering earth and the far supreme love that broods over all pain. And in her, he saw the Word, a human Face of highest divinity, with eyes of homeliness that had given all, offered all, to Truth transcendent.

And Enoch answered:

“Let it be done to me according to your will. I seek not to receive, but to give wholly—to the eternal One who loves me, and, like Moshe, to humanity, God’s beloved.”

And there was peace.

One evening, just as the sun set amid radiant clouds, there came a large flock of beautiful birds out of the bushes. The duckling had never seen any like them before. They were swans, and they curved their graceful necks, while their soft plumage shown with dazzling whiteness. They uttered a singular cry, as they spread their glorious wings and flew away from those cold regions to warmer countries across the sea. As they mounted higher and higher in the air, the ugly little duckling felt quite a strange sensation as he watched them. He whirled himself in the water like a wheel, stretched out his neck towards them, and uttered a cry so strange that it frightened himself. Could he ever forget those beautiful, happy birds; and when at last they were out of his sight, he dived under the water, and rose again almost beside himself with excitement. He knew not the names of these birds, nor where they had flown, but he felt towards them as he had never felt for any other bird in the world.

Stars blazed clear across oceanic skies, sapphire-blue and diamond-white. Cold winds swept snow-crowned forests amidst shimmering lakes; warm glows, rising laughter rippled from nearby houses. A boy lay on the hard wintry ground, clad with soft snow, awaiting Spring.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Still Under Construction

Unfortunately the short story is still under construction. Exam marking + more work is needed.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Incomplete Draft

This is a continuation of the Ugly Duckling series. However, the story is still not completed:

Yet few are needed, indeed, only one.

The will was read, the kingdom divided. The shares of Shalom Corporation had passed to a bizarre mélange of charitable foundations, institutional investors and the odd trustee or two. And nothing—Moshe Levi, the multibillionaire, the head of a world- girdling business empire, had left nothing to Enoch, his presumed heir—except a small wooden box and a grand sum of a hundred pounds.

Enoch walked out—plunging into the sun and wind. The white, black and golden monolith that was Shalom’s London headquarters towered above him, knifing yearningly into grey, unreachable skies. He focused inward and then above—a barren wasteland, dry and cracked, hemmed in by blinding prison walls—a grey counterpart of external emptiness.

Nothing, nothing, nothing.

He trudged slowly down wintry streets, past palatial abodes of banks, through oblivious crowds and around solemn statues; the dreamscape of the City loomed and ebbed, a foaming sea of musing thoughts and fiery frenzies. Enoch felt his burden compounded by the unceasing oppression of an empty world.

Then the cityscape inexplicably vanished. Enoch looked around. He was in one of London’s ubiquitous parks, standing on soft soil lightly clad with snow. A shimmering lake, half frozen, stretched yawningly from him into grey mist.

Left alone—bereft, helpless. Again. Why did he choose to return? A golden memory loomed on awareness’ fringe—a song of unspeakable grandeur mocking his smallness and misery.

Why did he choose to return?

There was no answer—no voice of thunder and mystery. The Voice had faded, the Light vanished, the Power no more. And Moshe was dead. Only darkness remained—a silence of God, the abandonment of men, an absence pierced by desert thirst and despair.

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God. 
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.

How long, Lord? How long?

Silence—and a parched, stony heart. The words of the Old Woman tormented him again:

Grim, hard earth will be your lot—for you must share the fate of the fallen humanity you wish to serve. You must drink, and drink deep, of their misery before you can alleviate it. That is the law of grace—the law of solidarity and of love.

Guided by a strange instinct, Enoch knelt down and plunged his fingers deep into the icy soil.

Dark, moist earth—warm blood-pulses of brooding soil; rotting corpses of leaves and worms; burrowing busy ants in cavernous dreams. Life feeding on death, eternal calm feeding motion; light of buried beauty whirling sorrow songs of rhythmic deeps.

Enoch jolted awake. Hours had passed. The earth had seemed alive, throbbing with vast surges of life dancing with playful death. Had not such visions faded? Again, he plunged his fingers into the ground.

There was nothing.

The early winter night had come and the last light died. Gripping the barren, unyielding earth, Enoch lowered his tearful face, trembling in cold and painful despair.

“Yet, there is another way.”

A strange voice—unfamiliar and oddly authoritative—intruded from the dark. But the park was shrouded in choking mist, and it was desolate and empty. Enoch lifted his head, suddenly alert, a tense warning filling his heart.

“Who are you?”

The grey gloom seemed to stir, but no one emerged. Enoch stood up with eyes flashing and his left hand unconsciously gripped tight—as if around an invisible staff.

“Who are you? Show yourself!”

This time, the darkness seemed to coagulate. But there was no clear form. And when the darkness spoke, it was from within.

Friday, July 13, 2007

A Strange Reflection

Perhaps the greatest treasures of life are reserved for those willing to embrace suffering, and gamely accept the law of sacrifice. Indeed, I use the word 'law' in its fullest sense--an implacable regularity and order that seem to be reflected in all aspects of the cosmos, whether within oneself or in the wider universe.

It seems reasonably acceptable if the law of sacrifice means that one willingly accepts pain to reach a higher end--denying the primrose path and choosing the narrow way. It seems just that the creation and manifestation of anything worthwhile inevitably brings with it toil and trouble--of utmost joy at the end perhaps, but the upward path is paved with sharp stones and carpeted with drudgery's dust. With hope and optimism, strength of will and an uplifted heart, the road might well be tolerable, even pleasant and enriching. But it is not even remotely easy.

Or observe the even more mysterious action of this law in the wider cosmos. Take a walk through a supermarket. Observe the fresh fruits and meats--these nourishing sustenance born of death and blood. Our very lives are inescapably founded on the destruction of other beings. Creation is founded on dissolution; life on death, joy on pain.

It is a cruel, terrible law for those who ponder it deeply. And one might apply the words of Lady Macbeth (spoken in quite another context) that to think of things in such a way will 'make us mad'. Perhaps it is only a divine madness that could manifest a cosmos so strange; perhaps only a supreme Love and Bliss could justify a machinery so cruel and tortures so grand. Perhaps it is vain for mere human minds to seek for any 'meaning' and to arrogantly question the architectonic Tempest that bestrides the vast stage of the universe, the insane omniscient Director moving every player and shifting every scene. Is it all a 'tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing', or are we indeed the idiots in a tale told by a Wisdom far beyond us?

Man is made in the image of God. Insane, wise, all-power, all-love, such are humanity's perennial images of God, and these too are our own deepest aspirations; and perhaps, our deepest truth. It has been said by Sri Aurobindo, a Hindu sage, that only a supreme Truth can endure and suffer a supreme darkness, only a Power beyond compare could play with the most complete weakness, and only the highest Bliss could harrow the deepest hell--and victoriously conquer.

To conquer, to rise, to soar. Is that the innermost aspiration of the universe? Is that what the ever-marching Spirit of God in humanity calls for? Then the furrows of the gods must be plowed with deep plowshares; the breasts of the earth must be cleft with pain and toil. For the future returns, the inner crops, the strange, occult growth deep within man—the secret fire and inner parts that grow stronger and mightier with every titan stroke, with every winging triumph, with even the little joys and pains of life. Unseen, unheard, ignored, till the fruit is ripe, the day is done: then in mountainous silence or tempestuous flame, a strange yet ever familiar being shall arise, piercing primordial gloom and riveting one’s eyes.

Then one goes home. Then there is peace, power, knowledge and love—eternal gifts justifying the passing travails. But this too is the beginning of another whirling, another journey. In light and fire perhaps, in the arms of the Everlasting--incomprehensible still, but still drawing us, ever upwards, ever onwards. We press on in the Face of infinite beauty.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Last Minute Post

One hour before midnight and so some random ramblings before June is over.

The greatest enterprises of the world, those potent manifestations that transfigure and define an age, almost always start with wild men dreaming wild dreams. Or more precisely, such sweeping revolutions are unleashed by cursed and most fortunate men and women manifesting a consuming fire burning in their bones--a fire that consumes but does not destroy, a fire that does not cease flaming till it is born--violently or smoothly--upon the earth.

Till then, even the prophetic vessel, the pioneer and visionary, will not know whether the central vision of their lives is a mere hallucination, or truly a seed force yearning to burst forth into life and conquer. What was Christopher Columbus thinking in those last few days before his final deadline to turn back to Europe? Did his faith--the flaming force that was ultimately vindicated in those last days--still sing? The Wright brothers who dreamt of flight, Karl Marx who dreamt of utopia, Christ who gave his all for the kingdom of God--how much darkness did they have to face before they incarnated their light?

The greater and stranger the dream, the further it seems from the present reality of the world, the more suffering and loneliness for the pioneer. For who would understand his divine madness? Those not seized by this blessed curse would not understand the seemingly unrealistic, over-ambitious and essentially world-shattering energy that inspires the thoughts and wills of these men and women. Those fixated on the present will judge the divine madness with mistaken standards. Are these folks arrogant and megalomanical? They certainly sound so. Are they impractical dreamers and utterly unrealistic? Well, what else could they be? Why can't they be normal and do something real for a change?

So the trail-blazer learns to hide his flame--it burns, it works, but mainly in secret; for he knows that one day it will, it must, be manifested. His whole life hangs on that with an absolute concentration. Till the glory is born, he cannot rest, he cannot find his true self, he cannot find his true home. He cannot fail, for his whole life is essentially for that and that alone.

And the mark of the true prophet, as compared to those who are merely self-deluded, is precisely this consuming and total dedication that fundamentally never flags. The pioneer despairs, he sorrows, there are many times when his dream and work seem to be utter rubbish and nonsense--but these dark nights pass; he simply does not give up, indeed he cannot--the flame does not permit it. It is behind, within, above--consciously or unconsciously he sees it, he feels it, he knows it, and his deepest yearning is to bring it forward into his life and into the world. At some level, there is a belief, a seeing faith that what is true, is true; and he is here to incarnate that truth of his being.

It is not as if such people necessarily have a fantastic self-esteem, or they think so very highly of themselves that they fancy themselves able to change the world. That, really, is not the point. Indeed, probably one of the greatest sufferings of these trailblazers is that they see a vast and seemingly incurable chasm between their feeble abilities and beings, and the immensity of their destined task. It is at these moments that the voice of caution and 'prudence' will counsel a return to the normal grooves of mortal humanity: of wheeling in orbits small and 'realistic'. It is at these humiliating moments when one's utter weakness is shoved in one's face that one feels very much like giving up on one's flaming vision and perhaps life itself.

Yet true trailblazers recover--generally. If the vision is true, then the power to accomplish it must come. Till then, night alternates with day, and weakness and failures plague one's moves and test one's faith; but somehow, somehow, one trudges on. One day, somehow, somewhere, a definitive dawn will cleanly shatter the cage that binds--releasing joy unforgettable.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est (Knowledge itself is Power)

“The only elevation possible to man lies in the depth of humiliation.”
--Dag Hammarskjold

Our age is one of unprecedented powers and unprecedented fears. 400 years of scientific and technological advancements have allowed us to understand a wide range of physical forces and compel them to serve our will. In the 21st century, no species on earth can remotely match our immense capacities—the very power of the stars, the fundamental ciphers of life, and perhaps eventually the mysteries of mind are within the grasp and mastery of human intelligence. Through the advent of Homo Sapiens, it seems that nature has evolved her Lord and Master.

Or so it seems.

The great irony of our age is that the triumphant march of man’s dominion has hardly brought about the confidence and security that should accompany any power worth its name; on the contrary, technological mastery has often—though not always—increased human helplessness and fear. For instance, the knowledge and mastery of nuclear fusion and fission is arguably the greatest technological achievement of the physical sciences—the culminating movement of our dominion over fire. Yet together with the still unfulfilled dream of practically unlimited energy, came the very real nightmare of worldwide apocalypse and the prospect of man’s extinction.

The power to wield the flame of the stars has come at a steep price. And more is to come. In pursuit of another dream, this time, the call of a world without disease and maybe even death, a world where nature has been reshaped through a second Genesis to suit our convenience and pleasure—we seek to decipher and master the codes of physical life.

Yet the power to tame death and reshape life is in fact also the power to destroy life and our humanity.

Even if we ignore the host of ethical dilemmas that come even with the benign use of this power, it is plainly naïve to expect that genetic engineering will merely be used for wondrous cures and the prolongation of life; or that it will only be used to create benign organisms that will sweetly serve the will of men. Throughout history, it is hard to name a single major technological advancement that has not been turned to ruthlessly destructive purposes. From the most ancient times, the mastery of a new metallurgical or chemical advancement (the casting of bronze, iron and steel, the discovery of gunpowder) or new forms of power (steam, electricity, nuclear power) have resulted in ever more perfect ways to murder human beings. The nuclear bomb is but the culmination of the ancient urge to ‘kill thy neighbor’.

Genetic engineering will inevitably take this further—barring some unprecedented miracle of course. Instead of the spectacular but crude and wasteful firestorm of a nuclear blast, we may soon achieve surgical and precise mass murder (scientifically targeted, perhaps along racial lines or some other genetic division) through cheap, quiet, invisible and self-replicating organisms that will leave priceless property undamaged and hated enemies dead. The sheer rich diversity of killer organisms that can be engineered through the wonderfully adaptable medium of DNA must surely excite the imaginations of military scientists and the incipient Hitlers of the world.

Suffice to say while our mastery of genetics will indeed bring great advances in the healing arts, the capacity that Bill Joy, the former chief technology officer of Sun Microsystems, has called ‘knowledge-enabled mass destruction’ (KMD) also becomes a distinct possibility. The chief distinction of KMD, as compared to plain vanilla mass destruction (e.g. nuclear fireworks), is that the main ingredient needed for KMD is basically information. In the decades to come, the ability to manipulate the genetic code and breed virulent organisms might well be possible for mere teenagers; akin to the programming ability needed to code for computer viruses today. No exotic and expensive ingredients like refined plutonium or heavy water, no vast investments in exorbitant infrastructure are needed for governments or cranks or pranksters or bio-terrorists to unleash innovative plagues. Mass killing will be cheap and democratized.

Again, it is hard to see how humanity has increased in peace and serenity through our increased mastery of nature.

So what is the problem? Is it that technology is an evil that should be abolished? Or that humanity’s quest to understand and master the universe is a fundamentally mistaken impulse? To abolish technology is to abolish civilization and risk the extinction of mankind; even if it were really possible, it is a cure that brings about the nightmare it seeks to avoid. 6 billion people cannot possibly survive if we are to return to the Stone Age; and even Neolithic cultures use fire and tools. More importantly, the thirst for discovery and the will to power is inherent in the makeup of human beings. Taking away science and technology eliminates the fruits, but not the root of our dilemma.

So is suppressing this urge for domination and truth the real solution? Personally, I think that humanity’s will to power and knowledge is not merely a good impulse, but a divine one. If man is truly made in the image of God, then we are meant to share not only in his love and being, but also in his knowledge and Lordship. In the ‘Incarnational’ view of humanity, man is meant to express the dominion of God over creation. However the crucial point is that it is God’s power we are meant to express, not our own. It is the Divine Will we have to obey, not our own desires.

In this view, if we aspire to reign worthily over nature, we should reign not as egotistic and greed-gutted lords, but as the servants of the Most High and the humble stewards of His garden. The light of science may well be the first penumbra of an ancient Fire touching the earth once more. Perhaps this is a test—a trial to see whether humanity will again abuse the gift of knowledge. This first ray of Wisdom reveals the physical world; with that comes some power over physical forces. But if we stop here and refuse a profounder Light that illuminates the secret infinities of human beings and the world—if we refuse the call of Wisdom to sincerely seek a deeper Truth, then we are twisting the powers of Light to uphold the tyranny of greed and bondage. We become the children of darkness illegitimately and insecurely enjoying the fruits of Light—more fearful slaves than true masters; and the very Power we 'possess' will bind and destroy us.

This point is not only neglected in the modern technological drive; it is positively denigrated. Perhaps like the mythic Atlanteans, we are making the age-old mistake of succumbing to arrogant hubris; drunk with a little knowledge and power, we turn our myopic obsession with physical and temporal things into the One True Way of viewing the universe; and we sweep aside both the worthless superstitions and priceless spiritual insights of past ages.

Dag Hammarskjold, the great UN General Secretary, once wrote that “the only elevation possible to man lies in the depth of humiliation”. Is humiliation then the necessary destiny of our civilization? A deluge of flame, plague, or mechanized horror—horsemen of the apocalypse that will obliterate our proud edifices and the lives of billions? Our pride and physical power grow triumphantly apace; our ethical and spiritual development limps helplessly behind. It seems hard to imagine a benign outcome unless we miraculously engineer a collective change of heart.

This is not a problem that can be wished away; so long as humans remain humans, in our ignorance and brutality and growing power, we could not escape the possibility of self-annihilation. Perhaps in the chess game of fate, this is already ordained; or perhaps checkmate is still far from certain, and we can avoid a crucifying endgame. Or some may argue that an end to our current civilization is not necessarily a bad thing; they point to the fall of Rome and the rebirth of a greater civilization after a thousand years. Perhaps we are too addicted to our current material preoccupations; perhaps an apocalyptic flame will clear the ground for new and greater things.

Perhaps. But no one should cheerily support a scenario that necessarily involves the death of billions and the suffering of all life on earth. If there is but one billionth of a chance that such a catastrophe can be avoided or at least ameliorated, we should work for it at all costs. In Issac Asimov’s Foundation novels, Hari Seldon, a great scientist, used his new science of ‘psychohistory’ to predict that the civilization he was living in—a Rome-like Galactic Empire—was coming to an end. 10,000 years of savagery and suffering was the predicted result. To ameliorate this outcome, Hari Seldon established two ‘Foundations’: one, technological and open, the other, psychic and secret, to serve as ‘arks’ and guardians of civilization that will reduce the period of anarchy to only 1000 years.

Perhaps something of this sort will be needed in the coming centuries. Even if the trajectory of doom is certain, something could possibly be done to slow down the fatal collapse; seeds, both secret and open, could also be planted that will germinate in the coming night. Even if the hand of death is already poised, ready to strike, the foundation for a new and greater civilization could be laid—and in a distant age, a chastened, humbled and resurrected humanity may finally reign over Nature in true wisdom and power.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


A short story with an Atlantean theme--the fictional era is around 1000 years after the fall of Atlantis


Dark, moist earth—warm blood-pulses of brooding soil; rotting corpses of leaves and worms; burrowing busy ants in cavernous dreams. Life feeding on death, eternal calm feeding motion; light of buried beauty whirling sorrow songs of rhythmic deeps.

Kneeling, and with fingers plunged deep, the old man touched a world’s heartbeat.

Stars blazed clear across oceanic skies, sapphire-blue and diamond-white. Cold winds swept snow-crowned forests amidst shimmering lakes; warm glows, rising laughter rippled from a nearby town. Spring reigned—though the long Northern winter has yet to thaw.

Softly singing an ancient song, the old man rose and called for Rain.

But earth and not the waters answered. He felt her, standing close. The old man opened his eyes— pools of gold-white flame that pierced into Dyani. But she stood firm, a child immense, her frail frame steady, fearless and still. She looked unflinchingly into diamond Sight.

‘Dyani, your courage is as great as your foolishness. You should not have followed me.’
‘Master Atos, you teach truth, but hide your own.’

The Fire faded from Atos’s eyes; their iridescence sank whisperingly into human darkness.

‘Not all riddles, Dyani, are meant to confound. Darkness can be the best friend of truth.’
‘Truth? The only truth I know is that you are leaving without farewells.’

Her voice rose like a stabbing, quivering flame. Atos looked at her gently.

‘My mission is done. Surely you know that in your heart.’
‘You have lived among us, teaching us, revealing the marvels of herbs and song. The eldest in our tribe could not recall when you first came. No one knows why you came. Yet you have brought us more than herbs and beauty. You have brought us Spring and now you are abandoning us.’
‘Dyani, your people will conquer the furthest bounds of the Earth and triumph against the Night. But my time, and that of my people, has passed. Now, I too must depart.”

Dyani observed Atos with her deep brown eyes: his pale face was a moon-glided ridge of ancient hills; his withdrawn eyes—pools that reflected tombs of lost light. A vast silence flickered behind the human veil.

“Your people were mighty and could have broken or healed our world. Such Power was their doom.”

Atos looked at her closely. He had always maintained a humble and self-deprecating demeanor, a frailty of body and manner. He had never spoken—save in dense veils—about his past. What had she seen and understood? Or had Someone spoken through her? A thousand years of wandering, yet he had never seen a truth so strong in one so young, or a perception so complete.

A cold wind stirred songs of swirling leaves and dancing snow.

“Darkness has claimed most of them. Whispers and myths will be all that remain.”

“You…feel guilty?’ Dyani now looked away, as if shamed—and perhaps afraid.

Atos was rigid, gazing into darkness. There was a long pause before he spoke again.

“ Herbs and songs are not the only gifts I bring. The Power that destroyed my people has descended into yours. The songs I teach are the seeds of a mighty Fire; my presence here inspires their growth. In distant ages, your seers and civilizations will equal our own. Knowledge and power will be the destiny of your descendants—or at least of those who are worthy of an imperishable Flame.’

“But why choose us from all the peoples of the earth?”
“A higher Guidance has decided that, not myself.”
“ And if we should destroy the world once more?”
“ The Spirit in man will ever thirst for the living waters. We must ever ascend, ever soar—this is the fate of humanity. Our discontentment is our greatest gift and our bane.”

There was a foreboding silence.

Dyani suddenly grabbed Atos’ hands.

Surging currents of fiery oceans coalesced into a serpent-tongue of electrifying light. Dyani’s face and body blazed, and her mind and spirit swirled to the influx of ruthless Puissance.

Fragments of Atos’ memories, portions of his being, roared into her mind. In agony and bliss, Dyani saw a high Tower, burning with a Light of seven hues. She saw Evil filling sky and earth and an innumerable army marching. He saw Atos with a group of men and women in brilliant seamless robes, in and around the Tower, defending the Light with their lives. Then he saw Atos and two others, raising their hands, singing strange songs—and an oceanic firestorm tore up Evil and the entire land.

She saw Atos weeping, clutching a round stone. Darkness fell. Before Atos could do anything, Dyani had collapsed onto the snowy ground.

‘Dyani! Why!” Atos shouted in anguish and confusion.
She was still conscious, but barely so. Atos crouched down quickly, cradling her head.

She smiled.

“Master Atos, as you have said, a higher Guidance has decided.”
“You are not ready for this!”
Dyani chuckled.
“But I am. Otherwise, the Power would not have answered my call.”

Atos had no answer to that. He did not even know what was happening till it was too late. He had not prayed for the Flame; it had chosen her.

Dyani’s voice weakened and her eyes closed slowly. Her head tilted lifelessly down towards the earth. She whispered, “Eldest one, it is not your fault that it was so. Not a thousand years ago, not now.”


Dark, moist earth—warm blood-pulses of brooding soil; rotting corpses of leaves and worms; burrowing busy ants in cavernous dreams. Life feeding on death, eternal calm feeding motion; light of buried beauty whirling sorrow songs of rhythmic deeps.

Her life had left, but her hands held Atos close. He saw an indestructible Radiance that flowed slowly from his palm to hers-a living water that streamed to her heart and filled her body.

Atos lowered his head to pray. He knew what he must do.

He reached within his thick robes and removed a chain around his neck. A soft glow surrounded the gem tied to the chain—a stone etched with a chalice on one side and a sunburst on the other. He hung the chain around Dyani, placing the stone on her heart. In the distance, the horizon was dyed a dusky blue. Night had finally come.

Serene silence reigned as Atos rose, his face suddenly light and strangely youthful, as if an ancient burden had passed from him.

“Sleep well, Dyani, and rise to Dawn. Serve your people well, mighty Guardian of the Flame.”

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The War of Flame

Archive CXIII (Foundation Center for Antediluvian Research)

The War of Flame

This archive summarizes our key findings on the War of Flame (9400BC?-9000BC?)—humanity’s first world war and the great conflict that destroyed the civilization of Atlantis.

The Retreat and the founding of Tarasha Lehe

After the disruption caused by the clumsy and arrogant experiments on the Atlantean stones (see detailed background in Archive CXII—‘The Fall of Atlantis’), degeneration and decline rapidly overwhelmed the seven nations of Atlantis. Once the madness of the stones began to rage, the so-called ‘mad mages’—the true bearers of the Atlantean Flame and the descendants of the Melchis—eventually realized that their cause was lost. Thus they gradually abandoned their vast cave complexes to ship away the remaining 90 odd stones from the Atlantean mainland.

Their first destination was the ‘Egyptian’ colony (this was located somewhere in and beyond modern day Egypt) of Atlantis where they had a long established presence and network. However the perverting influence of the corrupted stones and the collapsing Atlantean fields around Egypt soon made their stay untenable. The usual symptoms of delusion, greed and general depravity manifested on an unprecedented scale as the subtle invasion of the forces of darkness overwhelmed the greatest Atlantean colony.

As the Light failed even in Egypt, the mad mages gathered all their resources and departed with a small group of faithful Atlanteans to build a new homeland in present day Israel. Their main settlements were concentrated in the valley now inundated by the Dead Sea, while their main military fortress was built on the present site of Jerusalem. Their new homeland was called Tarasha Lehe (roughly 'the triumph of the Light').

This was also the point when ‘the Melchi’ (even his name is still uncertain) made his first definitive appearance. The best sources indicate that this shadowy but pivotal figure was a relatively young Atlantean mage who joined the mad mages in their exodus from the motherland. Little is known of him before his appearance as the leader of the mad mages and the greatest protector of Tarasha Lehe. There are some reliable sources that indicate that he was probably an orphan raised by two renowned and respected twin mages (who were from the ‘normal’ mage orders—not that of mad mages). Together with them, he was part of the minority faction who tried unsuccessfully to oppose the experiments on the three lost stones. Unfortunately, we know little more about his early life beyond these skeletal facts,

From the earliest days of Tarasha Lehe, this young mage was viewed unanimously by his contemporaries as a Melchi from the founding days of Atlantis—the age when the stones were forged. Of course, we could hardly be certain how this could be possible. Was he a 10,000 year old being disguised in a young body? Did one of the Melchis come back in spirit? Was the young mage simply linked in consciousness to a Melchi? Certainly the fragmented sources could provide little help.

What is quite certain is that this young Melchi (oxymoronic as it sounds) was possibly in the dark about his own identify and capabilities till the founding of Tarasha Lehe. Certainly this Melchi did not display any spectacular powers in the early days when the Atlantean motherland could perhaps be saved. All reliable accounts indicate that despite his enthusiasm, the Melchi in his younger days was singularly unsuccessful, and probably unwise, in his endeavors to stop the tide of darkness that eventually destroyed the seven nations (Archive CXII: ‘The Fall of Atlantis’).

In addition, the prophecy about the return of the Melchis was quite well known even among the lay-people of Atlantis—though by that decadent age, few cared about it. And the mad mages were in fact desperately searching for their true leader. If the Melchi had known about his true identity, it was quite unlikely he would have remained quietly as a rather undistinguished character. It is therefore quite certain that in that dark hour, there was some kind of transfiguration that caused the young mage to become (or recover his identity as) a mighty Melchi.

The Second Dawn

Under the guidance and leadership of the Melchi, the different mage orders and the Atlantean priests reunited again after nearly 10,000 years of separation (see Archive CXI: ‘The Atlantean Origins’). The head of this new reunified Order was nominally the high priest of the order of Melchizedek--though after the death of the high priest in the sacking of Abra Lodesh (Archive CXII: ‘The Fall of Atlantis’), the Melchi served as the actual leader. Strangely, he never claimed the ceremonial title and supposedly prophesized that a new high priest of Melchizedek will rise from the dead (?) in some distant age.

In any event, with this reunification, there was a ‘Second Dawn’—a renaissance of the arts and sciences of the ancient Melchis. In the political realm too, the surviving and faithful leaders of the Seven Atlantean Nations decided to formalize their old informal links into a solid union (see Archive CXI). Thus despite the immense influence of the Melchi, Tarasha Lehe was actually constituted as a republic unifying the peoples of Atlantis through the Council of the Tarasha—continuing the ancient Atlantean traditions that stretched back even before the great Settlement 10,000 years before (Archive CXI). New movements also broke the ossified molds of Atlantean art and literature, leading to splendid new architecture, music, paintings, writing and other creative wonders. Indeed, were it not for the destruction of Atlantis and the disappearance of Tarasha Lehe, this great advancement of knowledge and light would probably have transfigured the whole of human civilization.

Drawing on some mysterious fount of knowledge, the Melchi instructed his contemporaries and disciples on the construction and use of the Atlantean stones. As their first priority was the defense against the gathering hordes of darkness, their first great project was the re-construction of the Atlantean field using the remaining 90 stones. Though 10 stones or so were lost or corrupted, there were still enough to build a powerful barrier that generally kept out the swarming forces of hell that had begun an unprecedented invasion of the human realm.

In addition to this spiritual defense, the Melchi and some of his gifted associates also began to creatively modify and channel some of the stones’ energies to build an army of incredible destructiveness. This was the Order that later evolved into ‘the Guardians of the Flame’—the warriors of Light and the preservers of Atlantean spirituality after the fall of Atlantis.

Enough sources remain to tell us about the awesome capabilities of these ancient warriors. These Guardians of the Flame (to use their later name) were very different from ordinary soldiers before or since. They were generally unarmed, except sometimes with a staff or rod, and usually wore no protection except for a simple seamless robe. Yet just a small group of them would probably be enough to annihilate a whole army equipped with our best modern weaponry. Their most deadly weapon was a small stone (usually worn around their necks) marked by the holy chalice of 11 feathers in front and the Tarasha—the sunburst of seven rays—at the back. These were the famous ‘channel stones’, an invention of the Melchi that allowed the Guardians to draw on the mighty energies of the Atlantean stones to unleash death and destruction.

No channel stone has ever been found (they were rumored to be destroyed when the Guardians disappeared around 2000 years ago) so we do not know how they actually work. Judging by the accounts of the battles fought by these Guardians, we can surmise that the channel stones were portals (so to speak) for the energy of the stones. How much each individual Guardian can channel and hold depended very much on the strength of his own mind and spirit. It was probably for this reason that only the Melchi himself could deploy the apocalyptic power of the 3 Stones of Fire (see below).

Different Guardians specialize in different energies and capabilities and they usually work together as a deadly team. Thus vast waves of invasion by Akroti barbarians, the degenerated Egyptians (civil war had brought about the rise of a regime allied with the Akrotis) or the dark Atlanteans were crushed by the raging fire, lightning, plague, storm and earthquake unleashed by the Guardians. The six dark lords (see Archive CXII) sent army after army, equipped with ever better weapons and war machines--but these were speedily annihilated by small groups of Guardians armed with little more than their bare hands. Thus by necessity, the Melchi had to set aside the age-old ideals of Atlantean pacifism (Archive CXI) to use his knowledge to facilitate bloodshed. Such was the tragedy of Atlantis that even her wisest and best must advance the reign of sin.

Indeed, this was probably the reason that the armies of Tarasha Lehe never attempted to invade the Atlantean motherland and wipe out the Six and their evil empire. After all, for centuries, the Guardians of the Flame could handily sweep aside almost any army that the Six cared to field. The Six might be armed with capabilities given by their Dark Covenant (Archive CXII) but their power over nature remained limited because their inability to build new Atlantean stones. Hence the conquest of the Atlantean motherland was definitely militarily possible.

However, the conflict between Tarasha Lehe and the Six was ultimately more spiritual than physical. The foundation of the Dark Covenant was bloodshed and human sacrifice. The Melchi and his Guardians might be able to crush the armies of the Six, but a cleansing invasion of the motherland would probably require the systematic slaughter of millions. For despite their vast military and technological superiority, the Six never attempted direct worldwide conquest. This was probably because of their fear of the Guardians. Thus most of their armies and war machines were concentrated in vast fortresses on the Atlantean motherland, while another huge force was posted in the Egyptian colony (which had surrendered to them).

In their cunning and cowardice, the Six had tried their best to make their defeat as bloody and as difficult as possible. Massive conscription of the Atlantean population also swelled the armies of the Six, and made the slaughter of millions necessary before the Guardians could destroy them. All these efforts successfully deterred any attempt at re-conquest, as the purposeful genocide of millions of people (for any cause—however noble) using the divine power of the Flame could only darken the world even further and compound the Atlantean sin. The re-conquest of Atlantis could therefore probably only recover her body, but not her soul

Thus an uneasy stalemate ensued for centuries as both sides dug in, each unable or unwilling to destroy the other. In a rather vain attempt to emulate the Guardians of the Flame, the Six also trained up a corps of elite mages able to wield certain demonic powers. These were the ancestors of the orders of darkness that would disturb the world for millennia to come. Though these were no match for the Guardians, they did serve as useful shock troops to terrorize and further corrupt the population of Atlantis, and help build up a kingdom that was a worthy image of Hell.

These dark mages also spread out to enslave and corrupt the other peoples of the earth. Their main targets were the nations in present day India and China that worshipped the One God of Atlantis. Given that direct conquest was not possible till the defeat of Tarasha Lehe, these dark agents spread their corrupting creed and knowledge to susceptible nations and peoples, manipulating them to turn against the failing Atlantean children of India and China.

The World War

In Tarasha Lehe itself, the first priority was given to the defense of the homeland. Thus although the Guardians generally eschew the use of machinery, they did use their powers to construct the spectacular fortresses that were known as the Towers of Flame. These Towers typically were as high as modern skyscrapers and were extremely beautiful—firstly because of their mysterious and seamless construction that made them seem as if they were hewn from single pieces of mountainous rocks, and secondly because all of them flamed with the mystical seven-hued Light of the Tarasha.

Indeed, so bright were these blazing Towers that the cities and towns of Tarasha Lehe were essentially bathed in perpetual day. And the Light of the Tarasha was more than a mere physical radiance—it was indeed a spiritual power and glory that caused deadly pain to the forces of darkness, while blessing men of goodwill. These resplendent Towers were therefore indispensable supports of the Atlantean field. How the Guardians managed to get the spiritual Light of the Tarasha to blaze continuously from the tops of these Towers is a mystery—presumably this was another innovation of the Melchi and probably drew on the power of the stones.

In addition to being used for spiritual defense (and the more mundane function of lighting the streets at night), it appears that these Towers could also channel deadly physical energies—especially that of heat and fire. There are some accounts of battles in which these Towers literally burned up entire armies with massive torrents of white flame that poured forth from their apex. Adding to their potency, these laser-like torrents apparently could be projected for many miles and with great precision. Arrays of these intimidating Towers around the coasts and borders of Tarasha Lehe effectively protected it till the very end.

(There are some speculations whether the 3 Stones of Fire were initially constructed to power the physical capabilities of these Towers. This is possible, though the one definitive use of the Stones of Fire by the Melchi at the Battle of Moloch involved energies that dwarfed that of all previous battles.)

Outside Tarasha Lehe, the defenses of her allies in India and China were much weaker. While the Six never fielded their armies directly against these nations, their agents and disciples did manage to stir up barbarians or degenerate civilizations around them. Nor could Tarasha Lehe spare many Guardians to help the allied nations as the Six would invariably put a relentless pressure on the homeland whenever they order their agents to stir up invasion or mischief elsewhere. Also these nations were outside of the Atlantean field, and had to face the full brunt of the encroaching darkness. Often their worst enemies were simply psychological, spiritual and internal—rather than the satellites of the dark Atlanteans.

In China, where the Atlantean Flame and culture never penetrated too deeply, the allies of Tarasha Lehe were either quickly defeated, gave up or disintegrated. However a group of faithful refugees led by a woman empowered by the Flame fled to present day Japan. In India, the 3 nations that had long and deep links to Atlantis managed to avoid the demoralization and social disintegration that destroyed the Chinese nations. They were also fortunate to be somewhat closer to Tarasha Lehe, and were able to receive help more effectively.

However, the dark mages managed to stir up and strengthen a great and savage empire in the south of India (the Ravani tribe) who marched north with a huge army. At this point, a great general, called Ram by later generations, united the 3 Indian republics under a military dictatorship (this was probably due to the political chaos) and with the help of a few Guardians, managed to halt the invasion. Indeed, he eventually marched south, and with the aid of some allied states in central India, completely destroyed the heartland of the Ravani empire in present day Sri Lanka. This ancient war was one of the sources for the Ramayana epic.

The Statue of Moloch

With this setback, the Six again decided to focus their energies on destroying Tarasha Lehe once and for all. By this time, their dark agents had succeeded in corrupting or enslaving much of North and South America—continents with peoples that had traditionally been highly resistant to Atlantean culture. The Akroti barbarians and what remained of Egypt had also become their servants and allies. They thus had enormous manpower at their disposal.

Of course this was still sufficient, given the great power of the Guardians and their Towers. To defend against the flaming energies of the Towers, their latest war machines were coated with a newly invented substance able to resist extremely high temperatures. Thus did they propose a blitzkrieg of sorts, where the flying and ground machines will take out the Towers, before their massive armies will move in to swamp the Guardians.

To make doubly sure of their success, the Six constructed the infernal Statue of Moloch—perhaps the crowning achievement of mankind’s sordid explorations into the demonic arts. This abomination was essentially a mountain of corpses compacted tightly together to form a vast Statue as tall as a Tower of Flame. To build the Statue, their industrialized system of human sacrifice was pushed to extremes, and tens of thousands of volunteers, fanatics and conscripts were slaughtered as an offering to Moloch—the dark fallen angel that was one of the Six’s chief sources of power.

After its consecration with further dark arts, the Statue burned as a herald of hell and the physical incarnation of Moloch—a looming nightmare that poured forth darkness visible. At close quarters, the corruption that flooded out could penetrate the Atlantean field, and was mighty enough to rot and subvert even the flaming minds of the Guardians. This was a force that even the great Melchi could not defeat. By necessity, the Guardians must retreat before it.

The invasion of Tarasha Lehe

The forces of the dark Atlanteans took almost 2 years to gather—so vast were the numbers of men and machinery involved. The Statue also took many months to be shipped over to Egypt. Meanwhile in Tarasha Lehe, things were getting desperate. A pre-emptive attack by the Guardians in Egypt was beaten back with significant losses due to the fire-resistant war machines and fortresses. This was perhaps the first major defeat ever suffered by Tarasha Lehe. In addition, the Melchi and his associates had by this time detected the Statue of Moloch, and they knew it was coming their way.

The morale at Tarasha Lehe was at an all time low. Despite a heroic and generous detachment of soldiers from victorious India, there were few in the Council of the Tarasha who had faith in ultimate victory. It seemed at that point that the reign of hell would soon overwhelm the earth.

It was at this point that the Melchi revealed that he and some associates had forged, or transformed, some Atlantean stones into the most potent weapons that humanity had ever conceived—the Stones of Fire. It is of course unclear how these apocalyptic wonders actually work, though one with the necessary strength of mind and spirit could apparently use these Stones to command hitherto unimaginable amounts of heat and light. The Stones could thus release a physical ‘Tarasha’, a sunburst of flame and death that seemingly incarnated the fury of God against humanity’s sordid ways (indeed the Stones of Fire were also sometimes called the Tarasha Stones).

These terrible weapons were clearly intended by the Melchi as a last resort—to be used only when all else had failed. Indeed, it was clear both to the Council and the Melchi that the bloodshed caused by the use of the Stones would fatally and irrevocably compound the sins of humanity, and probably doom any chance of an Atlantean rebirth.

Yet events would soon force the hand of the Melchi. Once the mighty hordes of the Six had fully gathered, they started sweeping into Tarasha Lehe in a massive pincer movement: one landward thrust from the south and an amphibious one from the sea and air. The woefully outnumbered defenders of Tarasha Lehe had to further divide their forces and face two fronts.

The Towers of Flame on the frontiers of Tarasha Lehe were successively decimated by seemingly endless waves of war machines. These resistant war machines took much longer to destroy and there were simply too many of them—it was a matter of time before their countless missiles and projectiles decimated the Towers and their brave Guardians. Very soon, the main hordes of the Six had successfully converged in the southeast corner of Tarasha Lehe, having destroyed all the Towers in their way. After centuries of warfare, the Six had finally defiled the soil of Tarasha Lehe.

Now united, the army of the Six stretched for countless miles and was like a black cloud that filled the horizon. Before this point, the Statue of Moloch had been kept safely out of range of the Towers of Flame, but now with these down, it took center stage and could freely exert its demonic corruption and protection—making it impossible for the Guardians to directly challenge the dark army with a powerful counter-offensive. Tarasha Lehe seemed doomed.

There was only one last obstacle to total conquest: that mightiest citadel of the Light, Salem the Rock—the greatest fortress of Tarasha Lehe and its military headquarters. Salem was also the last remaining Tower of Flame that protected the cities and towns of Tarasha Lehe. Moreover, it was the chief storage place for the Atlantean stones. The fall of Salem would probably entail the end of humanity.

The Six therefore drove their whole army towards Salem. Meanwhile all the surviving Guardians, the Melchi, the Council of Tarasha and the Indian army also converged there. This was indeed the final battle of the war, in which only one side would survive.

Huge raging storms of fire, earthquake, lightning and wind unleashed by the Guardians hit and destroyed many of the war machines. Incessant and vast torrents of flame also poured out from the Rock. But the sheer numbers and improved endurance of the machines caused them to swarm closer and closer. Countless projectiles and missiles also penetrated more and more through the fire and storm, progressively obliterating the Tower of Salem.

Meanwhile, vast hordes of bloodthirsty barbarians and dark Atlantean legions followed behind, surrounding the Statue of Moloch. The Guardians knew that once the Statue drew close enough, they had to abandon Salem and flee—or be possessed, driven mad or simply rendered mindless. As the darkness swept in, it seemed that all was lost.

It was at that fateful moment that the Melchi, supported by the Council of the Tarasha, decided to save mankind and doom Atlantis. Thus as the armies of the Six approached the outskirts of Salem, there was a sudden manifestation of an eerie and implacable stillness as unthinkable torrents of energies coalesced from planes beyond the physical. Apparently even Moloch himself was unaware of the Melchi’s apocalyptic weapons till this moment—and by then any warning to the Six was far too late.

There are some surviving accounts of what happened next: a blinding white flash right above the middle of the dark hordes, and a star-like circular flame that roared forth to fill the skies, wiping out all the flying machines. Columns of fire, each brighter than the sun, then plunged into the ranks of the dark Atlanteans, sweeping across the plain like lightning. As the firestorm tore up the army, multiple mushroom clouds rose above the horizon, and so great was the heat that the plain turned to glass and the deafening roar could be heard even in Mesopotamia. The infernal Statue was struck directly by one of the columns, while the 6 justly perished in flame. Beast, men and machine were totally consumed by a storm of light.

Unlike a nuclear explosion—the closest equivalent we have in the modern world—the Melchi somehow managed to direct and control the titanic heat and fire quite precisely. Thus even though Salem was so close to the consuming fire, it was more or less undamaged. Thus the Stones of Fire, when wielded by someone who was experienced and powerful enough (though such people are fortunately very rare), were clearly far more efficient and accurate—and to that extent, more deadly—than our nuclear arsenals. In addition, there is speculation, though this could not be verified, that the Stones could in fact channel far more energy that those displayed at the Battle of Moloch. Indeed, it was possible that the Melchi actually built the Stones to prepare for a scenario where he was forced to annihilate the entire continent of Atlantis.

The end of Atlantis

Whatever the case, the defeat of the Six was total and complete. They themselves had perished and almost their entire military force (with the unfortunate exception of some of their dark disciples) was annihilated. Their empire in Atlantis and Egypt collapsed rapidly as the few surviving dark mages fought for the scraps that remained. Indeed, there are confused accounts of civil war in Atlantis as the populace rose against the divided and warring mages.

At this point, why did the Melchi not lead the Guardians to reclaim their rightful homeland? Indeed, not only did the Guardians make no attempt to capitalize on their triumph, they did the rather astonishing thing of demolishing all the remaining Towers of Flame and then making a determined retreat from Tarasha Lehe—taking away all the Atlantean stones and pulling down the Atlantean field in the process. Instead of reclaiming Atlantis and rebuilding it, they started winding up the last outpost of Atlantean civilization instead.

We who live in comparatively short-lived and shallow cultures will perhaps find it difficult to comprehend the actions and motives of these last Atlanteans—who were not only the heirs to almost 20,000 years of culture and wisdom, but also a people who were much more attuned to those inner rhythms and forces perilously ignored by the modern world. To them, perhaps both Atlantis and Tarasha Lehe had already perished on the plains of Salem. The physical form subsisted, but the soul had already fled. To sustain the advanced technologies and powers made possible by the Atlantean stones (especially with the existence of the terrifying Stones of Fire) will simply further darken an inevitable dark age.

This retreat was also a great act of faith and sacrifice by the leaders and people of Tarasha Lehe—akin to that of their ancestors who trusted their Melchis enough to avoid bloodshed, build a fleet of ships and voyaged westwards to settle in Atlantis (Archive CXI). Even though they knew that the departure of the Melchi, his Guardians and the Atlantean stones would probably mean the end of their advanced civilization, these faithful last Atlanteans courageously accepted it. Thus did the Light begin to go out in Tarasha Lehe.

And the end of the Atlantean motherland soon followed. Events are necessarily confused since there are no surviving records from Atlantis itself. The best hypothesis is that the surviving dark mages, in attempts either to destroy each other or to crush some rebellion, further experimented with the corrupted stones. Perhaps they were trying to build replicas of the Stones of Fire that had so spectacularly destroyed their former masters.

These foolish attempts ended in utter disaster. Atlantis had always been a volcanic and rather unstable region (hence its renowned fertility). Whatever happened, the fiery energies of the earth were stirred up violently in perhaps the greatest natural (or unnatural) disaster of humanity’s history: massive earthquakes and volcanic explosions tore up the entire continent of Atlantis. And as the land sank beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean, mountainous tidal waves devastated the coastlands of the world and the climate changed: the ice caps melted and huge floods inundated much of the earth.

It is uncertain what happened to the glorious cities and towns of Tarasha Lehe. Many of them were no doubt obliterated by the cataclysmic floods and tsunamis following the sinking of the Atlantean mainland—though some survived for much longer. Tarasha Lehe was probably forewarned, as the surviving records indicate a mass evacuation of her people. Yet life must have been extremely hard for these last Atlanteans, who were both bereft of their advanced technology and mired in a devastated homeland. The widespread collapse of agriculture due to the darkened skies (an effect of the massive volcanic eruptions) also led to grievous sufferings. Even more importantly, without the Atlantean field generated by the stones, the degeneration of the bodies, minds and spirits of the Atlanteans inevitably set in—and this worsened with every generation.

The last records of a distinct Atlantean nation date from about 8000 BC—or around 1000 years after the destruction of Atlantis. After this, the Atlantean people and their culture effectively vanished through inter-marriage with neighboring peoples (especially the ancestors of the modern Egyptians), or through terrible events like wars, famines and diseases. During this one thousand years, the fragmented records tell a sad tale of terminal decline, with the degenerating Atlantean people valiantly attempting—but completely failing—to recover their past glories. There are still some mages around, but not the mighty Guardians of the Flame, and their powers had greatly faded with the disappearance of the stones. Their wisdom was dimmed for the same reason. The departure of the Melchi, the Guardians, and the loss of texts and teachers through various disasters were strokes of doom. It seemed that the Hand of God himself had turned against his privileged children.

Soon darkness enshrouded the former territories of Tarasha Lehe and the records fell silent. The ancient and beautiful Atlantean tongue, one so eminently suited to spiritual and poetic evocation, vanished together with the monotheistic religion of Atlantis. The arts and sciences practiced by the Atlantean mages also disappeared—though fragments of this knowledge were passed on to neighboring cultures, and perhaps India and China as well.

The Guardians of the Flame

One of the biggest mysteries still remaining is the eventual fate of the Melchi and his Guardians. The best records indicate that by the end of the war with the dark Atlanteans, only a few hundred Guardians survived. Led by the Melchi, all of them left Tarasha Lehe with the Atlantean stones for some mysterious location(s). Their first priority was presumably to hide the stones away from an unworthy world, and perhaps they planned to retrieve them in some distant age.

There are enough evidence and records to show that the Guardians remained active for an astounding 9000 years after the fall of Atlantis. Despite their famed longevity, most of the Guardians who were recruited in the days of the Melchi probably died within 2000 years. The Melchi himself appeared to have some contact with the ancestors of what later became the Indo-European peoples. By re-constructing the timeline from vague myths and legends, we can surmise that the Melchi probably appeared (in disguise?) to the proto-Indo Europeans around 8000 B.C. or so, i.e. 1000 years after the fall of Atlantis. Certainly the religions and philosophies of later Indo-European cultures do show some affinities with Atlantean culture, though the exact nature and extent of the Melchi’s influence is unclear. The Melchi disappeared soon after this intervention and presumably he had died in some unknown location.

By 6000 B.C. or so, the torch had passed to a new generation of Guardians, variously recruited from cultures and nations that were receptive to the secret but potent influence of this last Atlantean order. The main priority of the Guardians appeared to be the dissemination of Atlantean spirituality (though normally not the potent secrets of their power—the ‘magical’ aspect). A second goal was the eradication of the offspring of those dark mages trained by the Six. Thus a covert war went on for thousands of years between the Guardians and the various cults of darkness that sprung up after the fall of Atlantis.

For the next few thousand years, the Guardians secretly influenced and helped the growth of wisdom and light in various fledging civilizations. In Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus valley, China and parts of Meso-America, they had signal success. In their endeavors, the Guardians usually eschew direct intervention, preferring a quiet, anonymous approach that left few footprints. Indeed, one of their favorite devices was to shroud their knowledge in strange, captivating myths—deeply symbolic and seeming fictions that are ‘neither naked nor clothed’ (to use a Sanskrit phrase from the Rig Veda), but which usually include enticing clues that hint at deeper meanings. Plato’s story of Atlantis is probably the best-known example.

Yet for all their power and wisdom, their efforts were only partially fruitful, as the evil and bloodshed unleashed in the final days of Atlantis hung like strangling shrouds over humanity. Thus whatever knowledge and power that took root were quickly trivialized, abused, turned to banal uses or perverted to dark ends. It seemed that mankind could never rise again to recover the Atlantean dawn.

The last known Guardians disappeared around 2000 years ago. Did the Flame of Atlantis died out finally? Or did it receive fulfillment in the birth of Christ? This is still a matter of controversy. Regardless, the wonders of Atlantis and the final resting place of the stones seemed to be lost forever with the death of the last Guardian—and the most ancient and long-lived civilization of humanity perished at last.