The Replica

 

        In the very beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and then made man. Together they tried to imagine the earthly world, but they could not. They envisioned the world differently, so they went their separate ways, each creating their own world.

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        In the beginning, to symbolize who he was, man decided to make a world that was square with a high wall enclosing its borders. This is what took place on the first day.

On the second day, man made replicas in his own image to inhabit the square world, giving the replicas dominion over the world to make of it what they would. For the task of making the rest of the square world, man gave the replicas a square mind with a language of words. Wishing the replicas luck, man went away to rest, observing and judging the replicas from afar. Thus the second day came to an end.

        On the third day, the replicas went to work dividing the square world with straight lines into smaller segments of squares, rectangles and triangles. And the third day came to an end.

        On the fourth day, the replicas found they needed numbers to identify the segments and also each other. So numbers were given to everyone and everything. With the concept of numbers came money, or numbers with a special value. Everything and everyone was given a monetary value. Work by the replicas was rewarded with money and money was needed to pay for things.

        The fifth day came, and the replicas continued making the world and making their money. To help them with physical labor, they built machines. The replicas were then ready for the work of the sixth day.

        The sixth day arrived, and with the use of their machines, the constructed cities of buildings all over the surface of their square world.

        On the seventh day, the replicas made computers to do their mental work and to keep control of everyone and everything. Also on this day, the replicas built 

special computer machines called robots. The robots were replicas of the replicas. And so the seventh day came to an end. The major work of making the world was complete.

Man saw what the replicas had made and was pleased, saying, “I couldn’t have done better myself.”

        So it was, and all that remained was for the replicas to maintain what they had made. There was no time for rest.

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        One day, a worker whose job was to program computers, quit work and left his job at the factory. The replica was bored and no longer liked what he was doing. Instead of programming computers, he realized he was being programmed by the computers and that he was turning into a robot. He wanted to escape, not only his job, but also his very existence in such a world.

        So, by walking away from his job and the factory he began to escape. The replica kept walking through the city and walked past his apartment cubicle. There was nothing there he wanted so he continued walking out of the city. He reached the edge of the city and came to the beginning of the next city. He walked on and on through city after city. The cities all seemed the same to him with their roads and machines, factories, buildings, apartment complexes, and replicas. Everywhere he looked he saw straight lines, rectangles, triangles, and squares. “There has to be an end to all this,” he thought, “and if there is, I shall find it.”

        After traveling for days, he came to a high wall which he thought had to be the end of the world. He stood and looked in wonder at the wall. He wondered what was on the other side and how he could break through or get over the wall. After thinking a long time, he decided he would build a stairway.

        So, making and moving blocks, he made a stairway to the top of the wall. At the top he rested, looking over the world from which he had come. He could see a very long way from his perspective. He felt sad to see the world of cities ruled by the square. He turned to see what lay beyond the wall. There was only nothingness. He hesitated, closed his eyes, and took a big leap into the void. And he fell and fell and fell, into a deep, deep, sleep.

        The replica had fallen into a dream world, a world that was just as real as his square-world. Yet he could not fully understand it with his square world mind. The only way he could comprehend his dream world was by simply experiencing it.

        When he opened his eyes, the replica saw a brightly lit disc above him. At first, its brightness hurt his eyes, and he felt afraid; he did not know what it was or where he was. But as his eyes adjusted to the light, he felt its warmth and knew that he was still alive. The replica turned his head and found that he was lying on his back upon a beach. He stood up. There was a great expanse of water stretching outward to a curved horizon line that divided the dark blue water from the light blue sky. He watched the gently rolling waves find their way upon the beach.

        The replica felt at peace in this world where he found himself and forgot the world from which he came.

        Turning inland, he saw a lush forest of living plants that was vibrant with colors and curved shapes he had never seen before. The replica wandered along the beach between the forest and the water. He was amazed by it all. After awhile, the replica came to a river which poured its waters into the ocean, and he decided to follow this river into the forest. The music of the river was a song of joy to his ears, and the patterns of light filtering through the trees were a joy to his eyes. Curved creatures began to appear here and there along the way, and he observed them in awe. This curved world was so different from the square world which he had escaped. Its new aliveness filled him with a growing spirit. The replica felt his old self fading away and a new self slowly taking shape within him.

        The river that the replica was following became smaller and smaller. Eventually, he came to its beginning, which was bubbling out of the ground in the middle of a large clearing. For the first time the replica felt thirsty, so he lay in the water and drank from the source. He became part of the river, and the water flowed over him and through him. When he emerged, the replica opened his eyes and saw that he was no longer a replica but a curved creature. He realized that his whole self had changed, and he was overwhelmed by many deep feelings. He felt a great love for life and a joy for living. Waves of thankfulness and serenity swept over him. Remembrance of his old world brought feelings of sadness and despair and he suddenly felt alone. For a long time, he sat under the tree listening to the water and feeling his feelings move through him.

        Slowly, he stood up and began walking down river, lost in contemplation and questioning, “Exactly where am I, and why do I seem to be the only one here? Where are the others? Should I go back and tell the replicas about this curved world? How would they receive me? If the replicas did come to this world, would they destroy it? Can I live alone in this world? Can I survive in the square world? Would I be changed back to my old self if I returned? Would my presence make any difference in the square world? The replicas are destroying themselves; can I just let it happen? Can I live here and forget the others? How can I show others love, joy, and hope? Can I even get back to the square world?”

        Before he knew it, he was on the beach watching the red circular sun’s reflection on the ocean’s deep blue water. As the sun slowly went beyond the water’s edge, the sky’s color changed from red to orange to yellow to green to blue to violet to darkness that was lit by millions of small star lights. Listening to the waves, he fell into a deep sleep.

        When he awoke, he found his new self standing on the wall by the stairway where he had started. Looking outward, he saw the square world with its cities of buildings reaching to the walled borders. Turning to the other side of the wall, he faced the nothingness. Within himself, he saw his curved dream world. He stood on the wall for a long time, waiting, wondering what to do.