1: THREE PLANETS
TOO LITTLE LIGHT
On the only planet that was hospitable to higher conscious life forms orbiting the red dwarf—called Proxima in human parlance—in the trinary star system, Alpha Centauri, a single intelligent species had evolved.
Only frontally, and very marginally, these extraterrestrials shared with humans a physical symmetry confined to mirror image torso, neck, mouth, nose, forward facing eyes and side facing ears. The outward resemblance ended in these general terms because the inhabitants of this planet—they call it Sna, and their sun, Soileh, and they call themselves Snatraps—have evolved distinctive features that enhance their war-making ferocity and capabilities.
Their spiritual or metaphysical maturation has been thwarted by the dim light their sun cast upon them, even one hundred thousand times brighter than the full moon in a clear night on Earth, still less than a quarter of the uplifting light spilling upon Her in the afternoon on sunny days.
The Snatraps’ totally white, semitransparent skin compensated partially for the gloom, but they were deprived of the spirit mending qualities of Sol-like starlight.
Their vision range was shifted lower by human standards and began in the infrared wave-lengths and ended in the green of the visual bandwidth of humans. Without false-color, frequency range enhancing instruments, blue was as invisible to Snatraps as ultraviolet is to us. The dimness of their world was hardly supplemented by the binary star system, Alpha Centauri A and B, about which their small, cool sun orbited as the average distance to the pivot point of the pair's mutual rotation was so great that the two larger stars appeared only as bright as the planets Venus and Jupiter shine in clear nights of closest approach on Earth.
One compensating factor was the weak gravity of Sna. The Snatraps had an adaptive skeletal structure that allowed them to compress all their vertebrae and shrink to one fifth of their normal, non-defensive posture that was tall and thin and endowed with a dancer's agility. The metamorphosis was not as extreme as a praying mantis becoming a rolled up lady bug, but approximate.
The proximity of their planet to its star would have made surface life—except of the most primitive kind—impossible under the intense radiation, made even deadlier by the star's flare mechanism that would have fatally blasted Proxima’s solar wind upon it in the absence of a strongly shielding magnetic field. Larger than Earth, but less dense, Sna's planetary composition and structure produced that magnetic cocoon by virtue of the molten iron core that was spinning much faster than its surface mantel. Under normal circumstances, this too would have been prohibitive to the emergence of life if the mantel above the core had not been electrically conductive such that the influx of radiation energy at the poles—similar to mechanism producing the auroras of Earth—created a cushioning plasma zone between crust and core that absorbed what otherwise would have been catastrophic volcanic and seismic activity.
As a red dwarf, Soileh would be a ridiculously long life star. In this characteristic, the dynamics of stars were counter intuitive; large stars with abundant supplies of fusionable material could be expected to endure much longer than small stars that contained little fuel in comparison. In general, however, the opposite longevity expectations occurred. Large stars died young, and the larger its mass was, the quicker its death occurred, but small stars shown on seemingly forever.
Sna was a marginally habitable planet hospitable to intelligent life. An ocean straddled one hemisphere, which, because Sna was tidally locked to Soileh, was called Light-side, and the other, Dark-side, in their language. But the essential problem confronting the Snatraps was that they had grown bored with their hard life that was filled with violence they could not escape. But this was most likely the salient characteristic of any species, purportedly intelligent or not, whose access to scarce resources encouraged aggression to secure them, and the ratio was inversely proportionate, the less stuff, the greater the violence to get it from and hold it against others who needed it equally desperately.
Humans may have an almost comparable and decidedly similar love of violence as Snatraps, but they have not evolved specifically aggressive appendages to unleash it, yet. The Snatraps have four eyes in two sets, with each pair set back to back on spring like stalks that protrude from cardinal points, front and back of the head, and could be extended for better vision or contracted for aggressive stance; four arms, again in two pairs, extending from a double—over and under—socket shoulder. The lower socket could swivel so that its set of hands would be facing the same direction as the upper, or facing in the opposite direction; a kangaroo type tail that acted as third leg when expended to make a tripod with the two duty legs. Thus a Snatrap’s backside could have its own set of hands, as indeed it had its own set of eyes. These adaptations insured that Snatraps were only slightly less deadly in fighting ability from behind as from the front.
Snatraps esteemed violence as their highest virtue; yet because they were all filled with it, and had no concept of mercy, compassion, or sympathy, they avoided resorting to it almost completely between themselves. However, on the occasions in which the pacific fabric of their society rent apart, mayhem followed—hundred year wars and more—that showed no sign of abating under any circumstances short of the last living Snatrap dying from his or her fatal wounds except for the Provision.
The Provision mandated that after every ten year—in their reckoning—stage of continuous warfare, violence would be completely banned for one year. However, before the Provision could be invoked, many Snatraps must have been killed, but not necessarily the weakest as the strongest were attacked by packs of the less strong, and large swaths of the planetary infrastructure destroyed.
Compared to Humans, the Snatraps were less hypocritical; when making war, they did not claim to be fighting for peace and security, they were simply expressing fully the frustration that grew out of difficult conditions of living on Sna and orbiting Soileh.
Although Snatraps were committed to violence, they were also rational and reasoning, Thus they had established the Provision so that a measure of peace came to them for a year in every eleven, but the half year leading up to the cessation of hostilities was particularly deadly and destructive as all sides crambled to occupy the best positions for the resumption of hostilities.
The period of truce was dominated by athletic contests in which all able bodied Snatraps were obliged to participate, but ‘sporting’ events did not bind Snatraps in camaraderie for even members of the same ‘team’ would kill their other teammates if not killed by them once the games ended, and friends became foes, and the hostilities began again. During periods of truce, however, these ‘games’ allowed their aggressive and competitive natures expression without immoderately damaging the surroundings.
The Snatrap counterpart to the human female was as aggressive as the male sex type, and the male and female differed but slightly in physical form because their reproductive system used dual-sex gestation. The female's ova developed into half gestated embryos that she gave to the males of her choice for the injection of their genetic material to complete the genesis. The males held these fertilized embryos in womb like pouches on their shoulders between neck and arm sockets. Each male, much like the seahorses of earth, gestated the embryos until they were ready to exist on their own. The newborn were not helpless as humans are even though the greatest part of the offspring's development occurred after ‘birth’ from the males' birth canals from whence they emerged like little caricatures of their maturity. Immediate training in martial, mechanical, and scientific arts followed ‘weaning,’ there was nothing like a childhood period for their offspring. Everyone regardless of age was obliged to work for victory or revenge as the case might be or have been at this time or that.
Sex between the Snatraps thus had no connection to reproduction and was engaged as a prelude to battle, or training for it. The sexual acts, if they could be called sex in human terms, were not initiated and driven by anything resembling passion, but rather from the need to expel a substance that both genders produced resembling human bile. Pleasure was considered a silly philosophy with the exception of the thrill of combat and deadly mayhem.
They had codified very basic rules of warfare: prisoners were either killed, or made chattel and worked to death; no quarter was given in battle, and the victor was the last Snatrap standing. They had no mechanisms outside those provided by the Provision for temporary truce or armistice, or conditional or unconditional surrender, or prisoner exchange, or ‘humanitarian’ rules of war. Snatraps had two possibilities, being either among the quick or the dead. If they had learned about the civilized wars humans fought in which certain kinds of weapons were prohibited and humane treatment of prisoners mandated, and protection of noncombatants and places of aesthetic value encouraged, the Snatraps would have exploded in what passed for laughter among them. If the point of war was to kill your enemy and take his possessions, then why restrict the use of any weapon with the possible exception of the most horrendous that could destroy everyone and everything, the victor and the victim together. They honored no heroes nor despised traitors, a Snatrap was either triumphant or vanquished. Why would an enemy prisoner be repatriated? Only to fight again. Killing an enemy at the first opportunity only made sense. And noncombatants? What were they? Generally expected of ‘males’ regardless of species, and among the Snatraps, the ‘female’ was as fearsome, if not more so than the ‘male,’ these straight rules of war were accepted unquestioned. And children were simply smaller warriors.
Poetry, music, art, and all those ‘finer’ qualities and occupations presumably honored by such species as humans did not exist among them.
Their violent nature was directed between different groups but also within the same family. However, as they refined weapons over their evolutionary development, they were forced to set aside, as an amendment of the Provision, reproduction centers, and areas where fighting and violence were banned, in order not to annihilate themselves. To say that Snatraps whether in a family or a tribe or the species in total were bloodthirsty by human standards was but a prelude to the blood lust they intended to cultivate.
Snatrap science had progressed sufficiently to map their trinary star system's planets, but neither the astronomers nor the general population were interested in observing the wider universe as their immediate vicinity of space held all their desires. Their celestial mechanics mathematicians calculated that a navigable conjunction would occur in sixty three of their years with a planet they called Blue in the solar system of Alpha Centauri A; the last such favorable conjunction had occurred over four hundred thousand years ago.
Time, however, at least in the human sense, was immaterial to Snatraps. Their star was several billion years older than Sol and would survive as many trillion of years into the future as the Earth's solar engine would last for only billions. Owing to the antiquity of their star and planet, Snatraps had achieved a homo sapiens level of development long before the great apes had diverged from a common hominid line of evolution on Earth. Planetary conditions, however, prevented them from ever achieving a higher state even though they had enjoyed a much longer period to develop into much better beings; they were simply stuck, not by their volition or fault, at a human-like level.
They had lacked the instruments to study the conditions on Blue closely, and had only minimal knowledge from reports of a primitive nature made in the past to guide their strategy. However, their rational approach to the hard facts of life on their planet, the only planet although not the only celestial body orbiting Soileh, caused them to agree to a Sna-wide truce so that they could focus their energies as a species to ready an invasion of Blue. There was some dissent to the ‘invade first, ask questions later’ approach, but the argument that the Snatrap species could not afford to stake its security, probably even its existence, on the possible pacifistic character of the indigenous life forms on Blue, the existence of which had been confirmed by analysis of atmospheric gases, was overwhelmingly favored by the Warlords’ Council. Some maintained that the Blues were even more ferocious than Snatraps, but that theory was quickly tabled. In fact, the Snatraps knew that life existed on Blue by the constituents of its atmosphere, but not whether it was a least partially intelligent, they were simply assuming the worst.
Plus, the Snatraps had limited choices. Technology made their violent nature more destructive—catastrophic, in fact. If they continued directing their bloody urges against one another they were doomed, every Snatrap could understand that. Adding to their urgency to conquer more favorable living space, the next possible launch window for the colonization of Blue with their current technology, compounded by the limits on their natural resources, was 400,000 years in the future, and no one expected that they could survive their innate violence as they were constituted and likely would continue to be for that much longer, certainly not with the ever increasing destructiveness of technology. There were no other spherical celestial bodies, not even a moon, in their own system to expand their lebenstraum, as Earth's Nazis had called it, or easier place, as the Snatraps thought of it, to enhance their chances for survival. A huge asteroid belt that was the probable remains of two massive rocky planets that had collided and pulverized each other and the regular assortment of comets posed extra dangers without offering any succor.
Encapsulated, the Snatraps' common belief was ‘invade or perish.’
Snatraps did not speak although they had a mouth style opening that was used exclusively for their equivalent of eating and drinking. They communicated via Wi-Fi type interpersonal radio signals generated by internal organs designed by nature for the purpose of emitting frequencies much higher than the speech of Cetaceans on Earth where propagation was through a liquid medium. Waves packets were transmitted directly from the brain and had a sphere-metric audible range considerably longer than a comparable human voice.
Eagerness was the Snatraps equivalent of joy in humans. And they were eager, having endured six plus decades of peace—actually truce, their readiness for a bloody fight was breaking through the imposed patience necessitated by planetary positioning to take advantage of the optimal launch window for the blast off of the invasion fleet toward Blue.
ABUNDANCE OF LIGHT
The Snatraps called their target Blue because they had been able to observe the planet only through their instruments, to their natural vision it was invisible. When it transited its sun and the glare of its star blotted out the planet's colour reflections, they could analyse its atmospheric constituents.
Their appellation, however, fitted its star, Alpha Centauri A, that emitted blue light, the full spectrum of which Snatraps could but envy as there vision registered only its lower energy emissions. Even Earthlings, were they not so self-involved, would desire Alpha Centauri A’s superior illumination for although it was only 10% larger than Sol, still it was half again as bright.
When Snatraps finally saw that primary hue of their target planet's flora was orange-red, they conjectured that the equivalents of trees and general vegetation reflected the lower energy visible light frequencies, but adsorbed yellow through violet and beyond. Even that feature was another cause for invasion fixation as the primary hues of Sna’s chemosynthetic plant-type life were uniformly dull.
They were nonplussed; having assumed—once direct observation was possible—that a planet apparently so benevolent in climate and environment could show so little exploitation of its natural resources. The forests were still standing. Ice caps covered both poles and receded and advanced with a regularity indicating a stable weather and climate regime. Rivers and lakes and oceans were distributed between forested mountains and oasis studded deserts and fertile plains so that the variety of nature was evident to every observer everywhere.
But the Snatraps’ observations were initial, their instruments of significant, but insufficient quality for highly detailed distinctions. Their imaginations were limited, believing—no, not even questioning, the premise that all intelligent life forms capable of defining and defending themselves would be more or less like imperfect versions of themselves, and therefore fair game for annihilation by first strike.
* * *
However, on Blue, which was only the Snatraps’ designation, those creatures who used language among the denizens called their home world, Harmony, and with good reason. Harmony was the same word or expression in every indigenous language, but it was not only a sobriquet, it was also a signification describing the way all creatures lived together.
Every nuance of embodied consciousness was represented by at least one species. Dons of dogs—canine equivalents, as every planet had epithets for its inhabitants—small bear-like animals, twice at least as smart as terrestrial dogs, bi- or quadrupedal, and able to communicate at a simple verbal level were just an example of the work of the planet. The origin of its biological life, and the environmental conditions it encountered and blossomed in response to favored the evolution of consciousness. Each stage looked after the lower levels in its sphere of influence, but without interfering with them, or in the fundamental instincts of any species. Harmonians, in all their powers of consciousness, had seen, each in its own way, that the character of every creature was an amalgam of nature and nurture. The inborn nature of a being gave it individual proclivities, but its nurture determine how those natural leanings would be expressed in both the inner and wilder world. Like a musical instrument, from the same entity wrongly tuned chaos issued, but tuned to the beatitudes of universal scales, love, serenity, empathy, compassion, appreciation of beauty, self-awareness and fellowship ensued. They had no need for human-like philosophers as every creature consistent with its abilities knew that the purpose and goal of life was to seek the final and essential pleasure of awe
The protein equivalent of Harmonian plants was fortified and varied due to the intense and high energy natural light that bathed the surface sphere. Moderately tilted at twelve degrees to the perpendicular axis of the orbit plane created seasons of mild extremes. The rotational velocity contributed a day of reasonable division between light and dark, and duration.
No creature needed to consume flesh to sustain itself and flourish. The ripening of the various equivalents of fruits, nuts, legumes, grains, etc., was such that only fresh produce was consumed and that as the gift of the plants rather than as loot snatched from them after having been blasted with insecticides and fertilizers as on both Sna and Earth.
If Harmony and Sna were to be compared, the comparison must end immediately with the question of light, without which nothing creative grows.
With Earth, a comparison could be made even if the cloudiest day on Harmony was brighter than the brightest day on Earth.
In addition, a few Earthlings but all Harmonians honoured light. Not the light given off by stars that sight used to expose and explore and manipulate the material world, but the light of wisdom that sought to illuminate the inner being and bring it to the fore with the same fullness as the outer being.
Humans had dodged enlightenment by spinning elaborately complicated philosophies and religions around it. Harmonians had a much simpler and more effective definition that held all creation in its individual expressions were valued as being part of the One.
There was an odd planet indeed orbiting Alpha Centauri B, binary partner with Alpha Centauri A, and third member of the trinary system with Proxima. Of the several intelligent species that had arisen there, the dominant type would have resembled a modern day human if the Neanderthal line had prevailed genetically. But the inhabitants were not the peculiarity, the planet was; their name for it, Zut, meant ‘jolt’ in their language and was derived from their oldest myth.
Like Humans and Snatraps, but unlike the Harmonians, the Zutans, or the children of Zut, had a negative creation myth. Their God, as with Jehovah and Others on Earth but also on Sna, was displeased with His children. In order to turn them onto the path of righteousness, He had slapped the planet and flipped it on end and destroyed all life and the possibility of life in the wider range of the impact. The punishment, according to the myth, was so severe that it caused the united land mass to break into three pieces suddenly, such was the force of the impact. One of these pieces or continents was assigned by their Deity, and as they were sun worshippers, their star, celebrated as Zu, to the Evil Side. Zu allowed the righteous survivors to live on the two remaining continents. As a stone-age type civilization period was in process when the sudden jolt occurred, the Zutans did not realize that the earthquake, or more correctly Zutquake tremors and all the strange and deadly effects of hell that they experienced and continued to experience for generations signalled the collision of their planet with a black hole, and not a slap from God. As record making had not begun yet, verbal myths passed the event down to the modern period as an act signifying their vengeful Lord's displeasure with them. Undeniably, strange forces were loose in the land of Evil Side as any being approaching too close to its boundary would be sucked within into an unknown condition from which no one had ever returned. Even so, as stable black holes range in size from one solar mass minimum to massive attractors weighing billions of solar masses, the Zutans, fortunately, or at least better than the worst outcome, were having their planet consumed slowly by the smallest possible but still self-sustaining black hole manifestation possible. Still, and again fortunately, the rate was so slow that several intelligent creatures had evolved over the time.
The most unique of these, not because of their appearance, which was in itself strange, as they had small frames but very large heads, kept as much distance as possible between themselves and all other sentient species. In their isolation they developed a reputation—different for each class of observers, but for all in general the same—that they were far superior to the other inhabitants and would tolerate little, and that only of the utmost importance, communication with them.
No one knew what this reticent group called itself, but in all other languages used on Zut, their name was shared; they were universally called ‘Aloofs,’ vaguely similar to Earth’s rich 1%.
Over the centuries, the rare recordings of exchanges between the ‘Aloofs’ and all others revealed their salient feature. Evolution as a perfecting process was confined in them to the cranium that continued to enlarge accommodating an ever increasingly larger and more intelligent brain within; their bodies, however, appeared to be devolving, becoming smaller and weaker. This trend continued until the ‘Aloofs’ were last seen with a transportation mechanism that bypassed the normal functions of torso and limbs and cradled their enormous craniums. The next sighting of beings inhabiting the land of the ‘Aloofs’ was not of their top heavy forms but rather of conscious robots agile of foot, capable on wing, and waterproof. Contrary to expectation or stereotype, the cybernetic beings were much more communicative than their ‘Aloof’ creators had been. In fact they were willing, almost anxious to be of use and share their rapidly developing technology and scientific research. They, the Bots for short, explained the anomaly of the planet to anyone interested, but few were anxious to learn anything disrupting to their world view even as the most intelligent members of the species finally accepted that a black hole had rammed Zut, not God at all. They were deeply disappointed, depressed, despondent in fact. Of course, those who didn't know beforehand had to learn what a black hole was. Whether they were relieved or aggrieved by the Bots’ information that the vortex consuming mass was probably the smallest possible mass that could self-sustain, even so it would have swallowed so much of the planet that its orbit would become unstable and it would spiral into its star, Zu, to them, Alpha Centauri B, to us. The first noticeable orbital anomalies would become measurable in the next one hundred and fifty of their years. All the contemplative Zutans with the exception of the ‘Aloofs’ and Bots thought the time frame was so far out, there was no need to worry about it.
Much in the same manner as humans had put off dealing with the shambles they were making of their status as an allowable life-form on Earth.
DAWNING OF A NEW LIGHT
Zannis had come out of his body as a unified but immaterial consciousness. His most salient feature in the conscious realm was the union of his identity with Pallas. They were one being of two parts, and the seam of their union was more indissoluble than their essences, just as the weld of metal is stronger than the parts joined. He had fully entered with Pallas’s guidance the next level beyond spacetime, called timespace in which the fourth dimension, the volume of time, displayed its spatial qualities. The conscious realm was a membrane of infinitesimal exterior construct, its quanta, but infinite interior, its qualia. He had moved within the membrane before, with Athena on Delos in a parallel, but past fluctuation to his current time travel in consciousness, and at a different epoch, as now he had arisen from his material form that had existed in physicality, shedding it to grow as a snake sheds its skin. All his co-relatives, however, still referenced the old, more restricted reality, and he was still mired in thinking with language.
Zannis had limited experience in the spatial dimensions of time, and he was not completely at ease in being severed from a physical prototype. Although his human consciousness had developed to its maximum scope, he was not co-equal with Pallas, rather he was the recipient of her surplus.
If he recalled his previous life as an ordinary person, he had been a scientist researching the anomalies in human history.
* * *
Back then, there, in his research during Earth’s early twenty-first century reality, nominally Pallas was Zannis' assistant, but she had been in fact his guide, and eventually she became his lover also. From the beginning of their association, Pallas had inconspicuously lead him and the other members of his research team to the insights and processes that allowed Zannis to travel in consciousness back in time to an anomalous event in the late period before the common era, or BCE, to witness the destruction of Delos, a sacred and remarkable island in the middle of the Aegean Sea at the very heart of the Cyclades.
Not in physical form, obviously. The body was gravity's anchor and it no longer had any use in temporal dimensions. Rather Zannis had travelled in and by expanded and augmented consciousness, and he had ‘seen’ and ‘altered’ the past. Not by adding or removing or changing anything in or of it, but by seeking an act of mercy from the deities of the time.
In return for granting his request to spare the lives of a young couple from the impending destruction of the island home, the Deities, called The Olympians, tested his worthiness to seek Their favour. They had forced him to relive the consequences of his life's thoughts and actions until he understood the meaning of intent. They had pushed and pulled his conscious body, energizing his worthy qualities, ripping out the useless, and turning him into the balanced being of consciousness whose most basic form was an ellipsoid—like a perfect egg, all of its cardinal dimensions different, yet all related to the overwhelming perfection of its shape and function. They had made Zannis like Themselves, much smaller, but in their image—a thirteenth Olympian.
As his supplication had sought the succour of others and not his own, it had been granted and a young couple survived the destruction of their society and lived on to propagate a line of descendants who were genetically programmed to enjoy, and equally to employ truthful characters. They were known as Aleitheϊsts, and their witness had derailed the establishment of a theocracy in the United States in the first decade of the Twenty-first Century. The putsch had been the brain elimination of the 43rd President and four of his senior cabinet members who feared foremost, but not only, being criminally charged with unleashing a war on Iraq based on falsified intelligence. They dreaded the possibility that the 44th President, a man of color, might also be sufficiently honorable to bear the political fallout of holding the nation’s leaders, at least the previous ones, to the same standards that bore on the common people. And although these five zealots had escaped punishment in their homeland, they could not travel to foreign nations for fear of being arrested for crimes against humanity.
That Zannis had arrived in The Olympians midst, albeit brought there by Athena, manifested to Them, but who were to Themselves twelve members of the degree of Shepherds, that Their epoch on Earth had ended.
When a human was able to travel time in consciousness, it was also time, but of a different kind, for humanity to strike off on its own without Their tutelage.
The Shepherds' substance was not material, it was Consciousness, a multi-dimensional but virtual field of everything and everywhere and when ever. But the human was material and represented a very narrow line of few things and even fewer locations, and yet human cleverness had found a way of dispatching mind into other places and times through the dimension of Consciousness while leaving the body behind in stasis. From the Shepherds' perspective, humans, if still thousands of years shy of accomplishing the travel through time, not in material, but by mind, were on the path to develop that ability, then it was Their notice to move on to other worlds and problem species.
The Teachers did not agree, and One or More of Them would manifest physically and visit Earth soon after the Shepherds departed. The Teachers wanted to lead humankind to a better way of living while the Shepherds had sought to show humans the path they were following by parody and exaggeration of their foibles reflected and enacted at a level people considered divine. Still, sometimes it seemed that the Guides were more like boarder collies’ nipping at their heels as at sheep’s hoofs as if they, the bleating people, were being herded.
Zannis had seen this level of awareness that was significantly higher than human and knew that it was composed of a myriad of beings who had obtained exceptional states of Consciousness. The means enlightenment required was the realisation of their place and function in the One. Essence by essence, being by being, each level awakened through knowledge still unavailable to the level below and patently obvious to the one above.
Zannis' learning curve in fully understanding the rush of information that he had accepted, or had been forced to learn as a new Shepherd with Pallas’s help was steep, countermanding all of the culturally ingrained prejudices of his time.
All paths cross through all points!
Any life path could be followed, but it was possible to stop and choose and with intent follow the Way.
This choice was how and where and why beings are born. However, an entity’s birth was neither random nor free. All living things, consciously aware of their purpose or not, were the little engines in the employ of Existence that conserved entropy as consciousness. There was so much to learn at every level of physical and ethereal state, but only fools like humans, who were on a slippery approach to the next higher power, thought of themselves as representing the pinnacle of creation and the children of God.
And while he had been travelling, still Zannis was always aware of the physical body that hosted his consciousness when he was in residence, and he still identified himself with it. Thus becoming a purely conscious being, even co-joined to Pallas, was a recent experience for him with which he was still a stranger. Before surrendering his individual ego to join the Shepherds' level he had learned that everyone was his friend because each person taught him about the diversity and commonality of the human species, but more importantly still, it was a relationship that reached and included all living things on Earth and elsewhere. Each entity, whether biological or enigmatic in nature, was faced with the same task, that of beginning with the shot of consciousness its existential state corresponded to in type at birth, and growing that individual gift—yet one given to every creature—throughout its lifetime so that at its end, whether physical death, or spiritual fulfilment, its consciousness in finality would be greater than initially.
At the human level, between the birth and death of the physical, biological body, each consciousness could grow naturally until it was freed rather than broken by death, and exited the physical arena to enter the conscious realm. As a species humans had only to add intelligence to their extreme cleverness to arise to a higher level en masse, but that event was wishful thinking as overpopulation and environmental degradation confirmed continuous human stupidity.
Being of at least two parts, the conscious realm contains pools of awareness. One contributes the sparks incorporated in material bodies that inhabit physical worlds, and one infuses the uncertainty element in ethereal, or spiritual aggregations. The first is the pool from which the process of reincarnation imbibes a flame of being for each new creature. Each person as well as all living assemblages have the same problem and must suffer the same hardship: to elevate the level of conscious of its current existence to a higher level. So the problem for the cat is to be a good cat becoming ever more feline, to fulfil its potential within the limitations of the life it owns. To advance as a human, awareness of the reason for existence was necessary. With humility humanity could see clearly that it existed as a step in a far greater and much larger process, one that it served, rather than was serviced by. All life, both physical and ethereal, was a factory, turning matter and energy through entropy into consciousness. All life works for the Universe, whatever its purpose may be, certainly one that no lessor life form could ever know.
Humans strangely at least were akin to bacteria, some types fixed nitrogen in plants and thus returned a more fertile ground than that in which they began, while others destroyed anything they touched.
For Zannis and Pallas to act on the Centaurians as they had on Earthlings, the Snatraps and Zutans, living on two of the three inhabited planets, they would have to invent the idea of beings that could shepherd them as the Greeks had invented the Olympians. The denizens of the third, Harmony, had already, and by their own initiatives, evolved beyond the beneficial influence the Shepherds could give.