Dream #TheDailyPost

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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The sky was deep blue, the four moons guarded by silver clouds: the waves slowly caressed the black sand… There you stood, wrapped in the red toga of your caste, the two deep wells of your eyes reflecting an amused surprise, looking at me.

What was that alien form, was the creature alive, or a mere machine sent to trouble the peace of the chosen by some jealous minor deity?

I felt humbled by such beauty, on this faraway world: wondering about you, the myths and the science that had created you, perhaps the devils that besieged your soul.

Then you started answering me, wordlessly. Images flashed at great speed: the formation of this planet, the golden sea, the moons, enormous waves, people fleeing the floods, you and your tribe on top of a vertiginous cliff… Thunder, monstrous machines, a temple.

You were closer now, your arm lifted, palm extended…

The waves stood still, you were fading, and the vision fast dissolved in the grey dawn.

Andromeda.

#AtoZChallenge2015: Utopia

Idealistic dream, vain hopes of justice and perfection, for others perhaps more dystopia? History and fiction are full of tentative or real utopia, for mankind never gives up…

“The term utopia was coined in Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island society in the Atlantic Ocean.

The word comes from the Greekοὐ (“not”) and τόπος (“place”) and means “no-place“, and strictly describes any non-existent society ‘described in considerable detail’. However, in standard usage, the word’s meaning has narrowed and now usually describes a non-existent society that is intended to be viewed as considerably better than contemporary society.[1] Eutopia, derived from the Greek εὖ (“good” or “well”) and τόπος (“place”), means “good place”, and is strictly speaking the correct term to describe a positive utopia. In Englisheutopia and utopia are homophonous, which may have given rise to the change in meaning…

Chronologically, the first recorded utopian proposal is Plato‘s Republic.[3] Part conversation, part fictional depiction, and part policy proposal, it proposes a categorization of citizens into a rigid class structure of “golden,” “silver,” “bronze” and “iron” socioeconomic classes. The golden citizens are trained in a rigorous 50-year-long educational program to be benign oligarchs, the “philosopher-kings.” Plato had stressed this many times in both quotes by him and in his published works, such as The Republic. The wisdom of these rulers will supposedly eliminate poverty and deprivation through fairly distributed resources, though the details on how to do this are unclear. The educational program for the rulers is the central notion of the proposal. It has few laws, no lawyers and rarely sends its citizens to war, but hires mercenaries from among its war-prone neighbors (these mercenaries were deliberately sent into dangerous situations in the hope that the more warlike populations of all surrounding countries will be weeded out, leaving peaceful peoples).

During the 16th century, Thomas More’s book Utopia proposed an ideal society of the same name. Some readers, including utopian socialists, have chosen to accept this imaginary society as the realistic blueprint for a working nation, while others have postulated that More intended nothing of the sort. Some maintain the position that More’s Utopia functions only on the level of a satire, a work intended to reveal more about the England of his time than about an idealistic society. This interpretation is bolstered by the title of the book and nation, and its apparent confusion between the Greek for “no place” and “good place”: “utopia” is a compound of the syllable ou-, meaning “no”, and topos, meaning place. But the homophonic prefix eu-, meaning “good,” also resonates in the word, with the implication that the perfectly “good place” is really “no place.” (…)

A global utopia of world peace is often seen as one of the possible end results of world history. Within the localized political structures or spheres it presents, “polyculturalism” is the model-based adaptation of possible interactions with different cultures and identities in accordance with the principles of participatory society.[6]

The Soviet writer Ivan Efremov produced, during the “Thaw” period, the science-fiction utopia Andromeda (1957) in which a united humanity communicates with a galaxy-wide Great Circle and develops its technology and culture within a social framework characterized by vigorous competition between alternative philosophies.

The English political philosopher James Harrington, author of the utopian work The Commonwealth of Oceana, inspired English country party republicanism and was influential in the design of three American colonies. His theories ultimately contributed to the idealistic principles of the American Founders. The colonies of Carolina (founded in 1670), Pennsylvania (founded in 1681), and Georgia (founded in 1733) were the only three English colonies in America that were planned as utopian societies with an integrated physical, economic, and social design. At the heart of the plan for Georgia was a concept of “agrarian equality” in which land was allocated equally and additional land acquisition through purchase or inheritance was prohibited; the plan was an early step toward the yeoman republic later envisioned by Thomas Jefferson.[7][8][9]

The communes of the 1960s in the United States were often an attempt to greatly improve the way humans live together in communities. The back to the land movements and hippies inspired many to try to live in peace and harmony on farms, remote areas, and to set up new types of governance.

Intentional communities were organized and built all over the world with the hope of making a more perfect way of living together. However, many of these new small communities failed, but some are growing like the Twelve Tribes Communities that started in the United States and have grown to many tribes around the world.”

(From Wikipedia article)

Image: “Hieronymus Bosch – The Garden of Earthly Delights – The Earthly Paradise (Garden of Eden)” by Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516) – →This file has been extracted from another file: Jheronimus Bosch 023.jpg.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hieronymus_Bosch_-_The_Garden_of_Earthly_Delights_-_The_Earthly_Paradise_(Garden_of_Eden).jpg

#FiveSentenceFiction: Goggles

On the deck Commander Lara Maiakovski, whom we met earlier, standing tall and blond on the deck of the battle cruiser Aurora, summoned her second in command Olga Braun.

Lieutenant Braun, sporting a new pair of reflecting goggles under her officer’s cap, reported within seconds, her boss observing, as usual, what a cute little bum her second in command was gifted with.

“Olga”, using the familiar form, “who do you think those assh*** are who are about to cross our trajectory?” asked the Angel of the Black Star in a peremptory but still friendly tone.

“Sister Commander”, Olga replied standing to attention and noticing the interest her commanding officer was clearly giving to her athletic posterior, “those assh** are our allies from Andromeda, and as you know, a fairly uncouth lot we could consider as second order space farers…”

“Lieutenant”, snapped her boss judging that time was no longer for the informal form, “fire a warning salvo – at once!”

Andromeda

Andromeda

The ancient tale came back to his mind, one morning. He was working at his desk, surrounded by the quiet notes of Mozart, as usual the best time for his inspiration and enjoying dawn coffee. The story had been written eons ago, in an empire now defunct, by a long dead author, whose name he could not recall. He must have been very young then, a child still, when he read it. The book cover was a beautiful drawing of a woman, bathed in dark orange light, standing near a violet sea. High up in the sky were two red moons. The artist had imparted a classical face to the woman, an almost antique greek profile, and she was wearing a short toga. What had fascinated him then was the sadness of the story, the fate of the central hero. To his young mind that fate was enviable: a mixture of scientific achievement, the realisation of a dream, the encounter with the ineffable on a world so far away that light would not reach his own world before the death of their star…

The hero was an engineer and space traveller, at a time when mankind had finally overcome the rivalries and greed that had polluted its history. The planets of our system  were colonised and mined for the materials necessary to the conquest of other worlds and the preservation of that small paradise: Earth. The most amenable planets were now inhabited by communities of scientists and artists, living in the harsh conditions of enclosed colonies, comfortable within but still perilous without. 

The hero was unsatisfied. He dreamt of far more distant worlds, in remote galaxies that the best human instruments were only then beginning to guess at, across unfathomable distances from Earth. Space travel was still confined to the vicinity of his world. Despite the breakthrough of Hyper Relativity, shortcuts through space had proven lethal and, in the end, unworkable: too much initial energy was needed and the human mind, even surrounded by the technological marvels of his age, could not summon the strength to survive the shock unharmed. Yet he was hoping. In successive dreams he had seen that world, the violet sea, the red moons, the black star. He was convinced that those dreams had been messages. Messages from a being, on that world. The absurdity of the thought did not bother him. His scientific mind was not held in rigid conventions. A graduate of the elite astronauts school of Mars he had absorbed, in Kuhn, the principles of scientific revolutions: sooner or later received wisdoms are subsumed in a greater “truth”.

So it had been for Newton mechanics, Relativity, Quantum theory… and so it will be for the physics of his age. One day he would overcome the limitations that now crippled his aspiration to see and meet that being. In his dreams he’d seen her: a red-skin human, silvered-hair, a creature of a different galaxy, yet so similar to him. Inevitably she was extraordinarily beautiful.

In the book the hero succeeds.

Exploiting the resources of a a small moon of Jupiter, he conducts his own research, assisted by a group of fanatical students. Over several years they build the machine: a massive drive that will tunnel through space-time, deconstructing and reassembling the traveller instantaneously across light millennia. The odds of success are so small, the mathematics so complex, but they persist. The machine is built. In-between he had many more dreams, and he knows where he will arrive: on that shore, those small waves bathing his feet… The day comes, and he of course is the one who will test the drive.

It’s a disaster, the drive is destroyed, several of his followers are dead. He disappears, considered a victim of his misplaced ambitions. 

For a few seconds, on a far way shore, a tall red-skin woman, taking a morning stride, sees that strange human-like creature materialising in front of her. She smiles, recognising the being of her dreams, that traveller from an unknown galaxy: admiration fills her eyes.

His wife is talking to him: he will never complete his novel at that pace, too often distracted by idle thoughts…

Ivan Yefremov page on Wikipedia