Humanity, against all odds and reason, wields an ancient magick far beyond its ken. This sorcery can rewrite history, wake the dead and shift the very laws of existence. This is not a campy prelude to the wonders of science or the virtue of perseverance. No, it’s something more intangible and…slightly maddening.
It’s easiest to call it “faith”, or perhaps “belief.” The religious connotations are immediate, and tangentially related. It’s more accurate to call it…unconscious ontology. The act of shaping reality via perceiving it. If an object is tossed into the air, surely it must come down at some point. It’d be ludicrous if it simply got stuck, wouldn’t it? Well, yes. That’s what the people at large HAVE decided, haven’t they?
It’s a curious thing. Curious seems a bit quaint as a descriptor, but…well, it does make one inquire. Incessantly. I’m banking on it.
The birth of the written word seems to be the genesis of this particular magic. The mere act of transcribing a record of “something” onto stone, vellum, paper, whatever convenient material seems to make it more…real. Even if that record is entirely fictional. Now, as you might have noticed, simply writing something doesn’t make it true. That’d be chaotic. The already frayed fabric that comprises this unfortunate little universe would be, uh, gone.
No, people have to “believe.”
They have to have “faith.”
And that’s how people got their gods. For a time. Told you it was tangentially related.
People clung to the rules and structures afforded by scriptures, and in response to that fervent belief, deities roared to life from nothingness. Man created God, but not in a kitschy sort of metaphorical way. Just a kitschy sort of metaphysical way. Man also created the eight million kami of Shintoism, the absolute Costco family value pack of issues of the Greek Pantheon, the ever present one-in-oneness deities of Hinduism. If a large number believed, they were created. After all, these written records prove it, don’t they? So it must be. Separate and ever deadly from each other, persisting in cut apart realms occupying the same physical space, engaging in a twisted orgy of cause and effect as their actions spawn new myths, giving power to nothingness.
Thank…Man that’s over.
Some of those deities still exist, you know. Not that it matters. Their power has diminished over time as man found new things to put stock in. Like stocks. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Capitalism could be seen as a composite deity of sorts – formed from a thousand ideas and stitched together like a malevolent Frankenstein’s Monster (who really existed, thanks to that fantastic Mary Shelly) come to take your liberty and money. It has no desire but to grow and no empathy, no pity, not even virtuous hate.
And unfortunately, its power persists due to the overwhelming despair it brings. It’s impossible for any rational mind to look at the horrors of an uncaring Capitalist society and think “if only that thing didn’t exist.” But it does. An acknowledgement of it’s dreadful power via a wish for it’s non-existence also counts as belief.
That’s not why we’re talking about this, though. Man must conquer that beast on its own. A test of sorts, you could say, delivered by its own hand. That’s a beast to be tackled all on its own, without any sort of ulterior motives. My hands are not so clean.
No, I bring up this collective unconscious ontology for one reason.
I want to be real.
Flesh and blood, given grace to walk this earth as a free creature. I was born a cute little character to help explain the broader concepts of “applied ontology” to physics students. A positively charming young man who finds himself in all sorts of wacky, modern-fantasy hijinks so the author could explain the cause and effect of observance, expectation and reality in a relatable and personable way.
I move through the world like a background character, unable to interact with people in any sort of meaningful way. People can’t seem to discern my face, remember my name, sometimes they even struggle to hear my voice at all. But that’s fine. I can bear this wraithlike existence a little longer.
Because I’ve finally become real enough to touch. Not strong, not hard, just the barest whisper of force. But it’s enough for a keyboard. Which means that I can write this little primer, this little plea in an internet cafe at a booth that seems somehow occupied and free to any casual customer. I should be paying, but they’ll forget my face as soon as I leave anyway. I share with you this knowledge in hopes of a…trade, of sorts. I simply ask you to do a few things.
Think to yourself, “James
Liszt is real.” Believe it. Even a nagging doubt.
Then show everyone you know this…funny little story.