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Everything posted by RogerW

  1. Why I’d be a Muslim

    Islam is a religion of Justice, of conviction, and of positive action. If I were not an Objectivist, I would be a Muslim! If there was no law of Identity, there would be a God. One God, An all powerful God, an all knowing God. Those who would not accept him evade the nature of existence; they are not just wrong but evil. God cannot accept compromise with evil. As God’s agent on earth, I would accept no compromise, and would fight to end evil. Man cannot be reasoned into faith and so I would force evil to submit by rock and bysword. Islam is a religion that has but one root flaw; its starting premise is wrong, and all the conclusions that follow are defective. Existence is governed by the law of identity, a fact open to all men through reason. Identity precludes the existence of God. Like Islam, I believe evil stems from evading reality, and Like Islam, I accept no compromise, and I will fight against evil. But unlike Islam, I know man cannot be forced into reason. I cannot force submission, I can only offer persuasion. This battle over evil is a war of opposing realities, A battle where I must attack with my pen, but defend with my sword.
  2. Happy Birthday to RogerW

    Thanks for the birthday wishes Betsy, Brain, and PhilO. My day job has kept me from new writing (or even visiting the FORUM as much as I would like). I am working with an Editor to slowly clean book for final publishing.
  3. Start

    Styg50, I thought the prose was wonderfully clean, vivid and easy to read. The descriptions and dialog flowed without being contrived. Very well done. I see being on the boat fixing a busted motor. Here are my few Simon Cowell comments: 1. Names for the HE and SHE characters would have helped me connect better. 2. Some visual description of the characters early on would help me visualize them with the same vividness as the surroundings. 3. An early hint of the crux of the story would have helped know why I should continue reading. (aside form the great prose). Just one little sentence would do it. 4. Finally, what was the fundamental question or moral issue faced by the characters. The boat was broken, they worked hard and fixed it, end of story. Of couse, as Brian points out, that may push you towards a longer story. Thanks for shoeboxing this here, I hope you have more stories to post.
  4. Hello World

    Hello World
  5. Congratulations Paul and Michelle!
  6. Why I’d be a Muslim

    Brian, I'm not sure I got this one, but I laughed out loud just the same! 'The Muffin and the Muslim,' I can see whole series of illustrated children stories.
  7. Introduction

    Welcome Ryan.
  8. MP3 players!

    I spent years looking for the right mp3 player. Now I have an ipod Touch, and I love it. I use it for much more than MP3s. In addition to checking out THE FORUM, its great for pictures and you tube. I do not own much music, which kept m3 from buying an MP3 for a long time, but I have enjoyed a number of Podcasts... and its just cool. (My only complaint is that it came in a box with John Lennon on the cover.) Good Luck.
  9. Greetings!

    Welcome Peter. I have been here for about two months, and I have enjoyed it a lot. Do any particular discussion topics peek your interest? Roger
  10. Introduction

    My view of India may be somewhat rosy. I have experienced it through the eyes of other IIT graduates who wanted me to know the very best of what India had to offer. Still, I run a team of about 15 developers in Puna, and I find their bright hope for the future inspiring. They lack the cynicism common in the US. I recognize the accomplishment of being a student at IIT. I understand that admittance to IIT is only achieved by the very best of the best of the best. It is like MIT, only harder to gain admittance. The IIT grads I have met have accomplished great things. Sadly, too many Americans agree with your country men. While they are content to enjoy the benefits of industrialization, they still proclaim the virtues of worm-eaten hovels; particularly as it pertains to the environment.
  11. So begins the debut of a long overdue project. I hope you will enjoy it. The Aristotle Reaction By Roger Woehl Copyright 2008 Historical Note In 354 BC the prolific Greek philosopher, Aristotle, made his most profound discovery; a simple fact of reality that revealed the source of all knowledge, truth, science and most significantly, the very meaning and purpose of life. In the following two millennia some of Aristotle’s works survived, however, this most profound discovery remained lost to all but a few. Those few nurtured the discovery with hopes of unleashing its power for the benefit of mankind. Centuries of war and turmoil passed and the discovery remained a secret, kept repressed by the powerful forces that ruled western civilization. This is about to change… PART I Chapter 1. Fog was the only thing rolling over the Golden Gate Bridge; traffic was stopped. Wisps of cold white mist blew silently over the well formed lines of expensive automobiles that sat motionless. In a black SUV stuck near mid span, a young, well dressed man with blond hair and piercing blue eyes sat quietly waiting for the inevitable. He turned on the radio hoping for news to confirm that he had not arrived too early or too late to witness the event first hand. “…San Francisco is paralyzed as Trade Summit protesters have broken through the police barricades. Activists are spray-painting slogans on buildings and stopping traffic on all routes in and out of The City. A large group carrying a banner reading, ‘End Global Warming Now,’ has brought traffic to a standstill along the Embarcadero. On the Golden Gate Bridge traffic is stopped as… ” He flicked off the radio satisfied with his good timing and took a deep contemplative breath. He rolled down his window, felt the cold sea air, and listened. Far off in the foggy distance he heard the sounds of protest, and he knew the rioters were coming. Chapter 2. Tall, lean, and unshaven, Edward Bertrand marched forward instep with his fellow activists, closing the gap to the riot squad. Behind the wall of armed men lay their objective, the Golden Gate Bridge with its orange towers extending into the dark thickening fog. Nearby, cameras stood ready to capture the inevitable conflict in time for the nightly news. Edward ran point, leading ‘Students for a Green Tomorrow,’ the activist group he founded. They drove him, physically and spiritually, towards the riot squad hiding behind transparent shields. Euphoric, he imagined his professor’s pleasure in learning his star pupil was leading this heroic charge. Today Professor Milford, like the rest of the world, would witness their brave stand against corporate greed. Clad in green shirts, his troop surged forward, pushing him with their passion. His army, like himself, was ready to make sacrifices. Heather, to his right, was a film major with dreams of shaping the culture. Jim, on his left, studied law with the goal of ending corporate destruction of animal habitats. “Gas masks on,” shouted Edward like the drill they had practiced a dozen times. “Remember, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.” The events were unfolding just as he and Heather had sketched in story boards. Each special effect and news shot was planned to achieve the maximum exposure. Even the news cameras were positioned as he’d advised them. The next crowd pulse moved him to within a foot of the cop behind his transparent shield. Suddenly, Edward’s abstract conflict with corporate America was concretized in the face of the officer determined to stop him. The events that led him here flashed through his mind. He recalled how three weeks ago, Professor Milford, dean of the philosophy department, had invited him to a private meeting. A great man, he treated Edward like a peer rather than a mere student of philosophy. When their conversation turned to the upcoming Trade Summit, the professor asked for Edward’s advice. “Someone should stop it,” he said resolutely. The professor heartily agreed saying, “It is a shame that more intellectual leaders are not willing to stand against the greed of the corporate elite.” Lying in his dorm room that same night, Edward conceived of a brilliant idea now coming to fruition. His thoughts returned to his mission. Over his shoulder hung long ropes and mountain climbing gear while others of his troop carried implements that would ensure their message was emblazoned across every newspaper and TV station in the country. “Far enough,” he commanded, his voice muffled by his gas mask. He felt the crowd continue to advance and he pushed back to halt the progressing mass. “STOP!” he yelled again, but the pressure from behind continued to build until his face was pressed against the police shield. Others were making the same urgent plea to “Stop”, but the throbbing pressure continued to build. His euphoria was turning to panic as he was shoved harder against the shield. The gas mask hid his fearful expression from the officer who looked ever more determined. The relentless pressure made it difficult to breathe. He cinched his arms tight to support his comrades, but Heather’s arms were limp. Her pale masked face was pressed against a shield and her eyes were rolling slowly upwards. The officer before Edward saw the unconscious girl, turned to his partner and shouted, “She’s being crushed, let her through.” They moved their shields to create a small gap in the wall and as they did Heather’s limp body fell through the crack to the ground. Edward saw his opportunity and lunged forward. He wedged his body between the shields, prying them open to release the pent up pressure behind him. In the next moment he flowed through the gap with a torrent of people rushing past the blockade and streaming onto the bridge. Heather’s body vanished in the violent flow, but Jim remained at his side as they sprinted to their planned rendezvous mid span. The fog grew ever thicker, obscuring their victorious charge, and alas leaving Edward dismayed; the news cameras would miss his dash to glory. Chapter 3. Through an open car window, cool calming air flowed onto the blond haired man who sat mid span in quiet contemplation of his fate. None who saw him through the window of his expensive SUV, with his trimmed blond hair and tailored suit, would suspect his radical ideology. His extreme views ensured that no accredited university would accept him, had he bothered to apply. At age 24 he had never spent a single day in a conventional classroom, yet he had the finest education from private tutors; fully rounded in history, law, mathematics, physics, literature, science, engineering, and philosophy. From birth he’d been groomed to achieve great things, and he knew he would. Thinking of the traffic and the unseen protesters that caused it, he took another deep breath, and reminded himself, that the students were not the cause of the country’s declining standards, merely a symptom. They repeated the tired clichés they had heard since birth. Parents, media, peers, and teachers all expounded the same message of evil corporate greed and the need to sacrifice for the poor and environment. They accepted this moral code because they knew no other; and could not imagine the glorious life his alternative could offer. These thoughts washed over him, escalating his urgency to move forward with the program that would make his alternative view the mainstream. Just the night before, he had taken the first small step to instigate his plan. Although incomplete, this first move would start a reaction of world transformation. His actions were in defiance of the counsel that funded his program. “The people are not ready for the truth,” they told him a thousand times, but he was not convinced. “My plan will condition the population to accept the truth,” he whispered as a silent affirmation of his motives. For the briefest moment the image of a girl with stunning green eyes flashed into is mind, but he quickly turned from that heavy thought and focused on his mission. From his car, higher than most, he peered into the intermittent wisps of fog and searched for the source of distant shouts, but saw only the golden suspension cables extending upward into a looming white cloud. Then he spotted shapes approaching from the opposite side, a throng of people in green shirts running toward him. Although he has expected them, he was not prepared for the site of the protesters and he fumed at the sight. The approaching crowd grew as more emerged from the fog. They were not confined to the sidewalks, but weaved in and out among the cars which were stopped like a parking lot. Drivers and passengers got out and joined in support. Car stereos blasted and people cheered in what moments before had been a somber commute. He fought to retain his composure. “Our time will come,” he told himself again and again. When the group reached mid span, just a few yards from his car, they stopped abruptly and climbed over the orange fence separating the road from the walkway. Facing Alcatraz Island and the Bay, they removed a huge green piece of tent-like canvas. In a single well-orchestrated motion they unrolled the sheet, fastening ropes to the top, and weights to the bottom. Transfixed by the spectacle, its purpose was unclear, until a boy, tall lean and unshaven, lifted the canvas edge just as a gust of cold wind swept in from the ocean. In an instant it unfurled to reveal its purpose. Giant white letters, clear against the green sail, spelled out the words, ‘Human Need, Not Corporate Greed.’ Around him cars erupted in honks of approval as the banner fluttered over the side, suspended above by ropes tied to the massive orange suspension cables. The evident leader lifted his hands high above his head in triumph, just as wisps of thickening fog obscured his image. A small group shuffled from car to car, affixing bumper stickers that read, “I Support a Green Tomorrow.” Suddenly a girl with stringy brown hair was staring up at him and waving a sticker, “Would you like to show your support for our cause, and end destructive corporate influence?” she asked. Unable to maintain his well practiced composure, he uncharacteristically blurted his resentment. “Never, you should all be ashamed of yourselves.” “Don’t you care about our future?” asked the puzzled girl. He reflected on the unending succession of waking hours devoted to ensuring a proper future for mankind; days and nights of secluded work for one purpose that was the antithesis of this girl and her pointless cause. “Your cause restricts liberty, hampers productivity, and saps financial resources. I have seen the future this will bring, and you would not wish it on your children.” He stopped, suddenly, wanting to say more, but knowing it would be wasted, she simply lacked the context to understand. He looked at her blank stare and knew who to blame - the college professors who crippled her mind, denying her the tools to make sense of the world. The girl’s eyes widened and for a moment she stood stunned, staring up at his fine suit and tall Black SUV. Then she called out, “I found one, Edward. He talks like a greedy corporate pig. We should use his gas guzzler.” In the next instant, a dozen surrounding protesters converged on the car and rhythmically banged their fists chanting, “Human need not corporate greed.” Suddenly, Edward, the tall pale boy, was standing before his car. From a bag, he produced a bottle of clear liquid and poured the contents on the hood. He glared through the window as if daring the man to step out. The smell of kerosene filled the air. The man in the car had come to the bridge only to witness the predicted events and confirm his claims to the council, but this protestor was more than he could tolerate. They had desecrated the city, mocked America, and were now vandalizing his property. He sprang from his seat with fists clenched and rushed towards the vandal, shouting “What do you think you’re doing?” Edward answered in a well rehearsed proclamation, “We seize this car in the name of mother Earth from which it came. On her behalf we liberate these resources to ensure her message is heard. Your corporate destruction of our land and indigenous cultures must end.” The events that followed happened quickly. Edward produced an unlit match and the man sprang forward to stop him from lighting it. Startled, Edward dropped the match and cocked his fists. The man prepared to defend himself and property. The boy swung first, but the man pulled back and the punch just grazed his chin. He saw his opening but his punch was hampered by a girl clinging to his arm, and the man’s opportunity passed. The boy swung again, but this time it could not be dodged. The man’s body was held firm by hands from the crowd. The fist landed squarely on his face. His thoughts grew cloudy like the bay fog that enveloped him. He felt himself falling to the ground and his burning anger surpassed any fear of death. Then his thoughts turned to his unfinished project, and all that it meant to his life, his love, and his future. Suddenly the car was not important. ‘I must finish it’ he thought in desperation, but just then a sharp kick struck his forehead and he collapsed. Behind him were the sounds of breaking glass and the smell of kerosene. He tried to rise again but the crushing blow of a boot ended his progress. Through the fog and pain his thoughts returned to the project and then to its one unbearable price; her name silently crossed his lips, ‘Tori.’ He tried to rise; his project had to be finished for his sake and hers. Their happiness could not have been traded for a half measure - an incomplete effort with no hope of revealing the truth. A kick to his chest halted his motion. Peering through blurred eyes, he could make out the vision of a bright light growing ever more intense through white clouds, a vision not of approaching heaven, but of hell, as frolicking protesters danced and kicked in the orange glow of his burning car. A final blow to the head, and his consciousness drained away to the lamenting sound of the pale boy’s voice, “I don’t think the cameras will see the fire in all this fog.”
  12. The Aristotle Reaction Chronicles

    Part III of The Aristotle Reaction is posted on a new thread available for member’s only. If you are logged in, you can access it here: The Aristotle Reaction Chronicles (Part III). If you are not a member, and you have tracked this far in the story, you can either join, or send an email to, and I will make sure you are able to finish the story. Thanks Betsy for setting up the new forum that enables authors to post to THE FORUM without having the works permanently archived in the public domain. Roger
  13. Introduction

    Welcome Miheer, I have had the good fortune to visit Mumbai on several occasions. I have found India to be experiencing a renaissance. There is great energy and optimism for the future. It is this optimism in the people I have met that excites me. They have a genuine interest in ideas that is uncommon in America outside of forums like this. Real change happens when the values of the people change, this occurs long before changes to government bureaucracy. I see the seeds of great things in India. I’m looking forward to your perspective. Roger
  14. The Aristotle Reaction Chronicles

    Episode 24 will be delayed while I sort out the best way to proceed with posting the story. Thanks in large part to the great feedback I have received on the Forum, I now have some hopes that the story could be published for a wider audience. Given this goal, it would be best if the entire story was not publicly available in one place. I'll sort this out and resume posting an a day or two. Thanks again to all who have been tracking along to this point. Roger
  15. The Aristotle Reaction Chronicles

    The Aristotle Reaction Chronicles, Episode 21. Henry, you get extra credit for making the avatar connection. In this episode we will learn the exact meaning of S, M, and O in an equilateral triangle. This will prove pivotal to all that came before, and all that will follow. I hope you enjoy… Chapter 58. Elizabeth brought Tori to a classroom and gave her a seat in the front row. The room had seating for 20 or more. So far Tori had only seen Elizabeth, Allen and Todd, but their facilities clearly supported many more and she wondered if others would be joining them. The room, like the other interiors was reminiscent of a different era, beautifully maintained, yet old. The walls were paneled in dark wood and the desks were of a rich oak. The front was a slate chalk board of deep black. Permanently etched into the board was the equilateral triangle she'd seen repeatedly. The corners were labeled with the letters S, M, and O. "Does this look familiar," asked Elizabeth pointing to the triangle. "That looks like the emblem seen all over your building." "Do you know what it means?" "No," insisted Tori. "On a graph of three axis's S, M and O, this is the plain formed by the equation S + M + O = 1. If you took a perfect cube, and cut off one corner, this triangle would be formed at the cut." "Why is that significant?" asked Tori. "That plain forms a Philosophy Map, a tool allowing you to chart and navigate the landscape of philosophy as a sailor would plot the oceans. It is the key to discovering the meaning behind everything we have done. It is at the root of the library, and the foundation of the game. If you can read the map, you will unlock the secrets of life, man, and history." "Did Aristotle invent it?" asked Tori, now mesmerized with the idea of charting ideas, and a step closer to understanding the game. "No. The map was invented nearly 1400 years after his death. It proved critical for our organization, providing a way to educate the illiterate to the benefit of the identity axiom. It made Aristotle's great abstract discovery concrete and physical so that it could be communicated and comprehended. Its invention launched a great expansion of our numbers and influence, but it also ignited the fury of those whose ideas it displaced." "Who did it displace?" "You must understand how to read the map before you can begin to comprehend its incredible impact on history." Tori was utterly captivated, "How does it work?" she asked eager to soak in its meaning and discover its history. "The Philosophy Map is a means to visualize the relationships between philosophic ideas similar to the way a chemist uses the periodic table to graphically see the relationship between elements." "A chemist knows the complex behavior of all matter result from the interactions between three particles: protons, electrons, and neutrons. In philosophy, the complex behavior of man results from the interaction between the three axioms: consciousness, existence and identity." "Using the map, one can take any idea of philosophy and identify its axiomatic foundations, and see graphically how it relates to other ideas. The method works because the concepts of philosophy are hierarchical. Higher concepts are founded on more fundamental observations that can ultimately be traced back to the axioms." "So each axiom is a corner of the Map?" asked Tori. "No," answered Elizabeth. "The corners are known as 'primary' philosophies. The primaries can be combined to form blended hybrids, like the way primary colors are blended to make all other colors. The primaries are defined by how they incorporate the three axioms, Consciousness, Existence and Identity. "The first primary incorporates only the consciousness axiom. It is the philosophy that would follow if one held that only consciousness exists. In this view all reality is a product of consciousness, like the images of a dream. This is called the 'Subjective' primary because reality is subjective in the mind of the beholder." "The second primary incorporates both the consciousness and existence axioms. It is the philosophy that follows from recognizing the existence of an external reality, but not the identity axiom. This is called the 'Mystic' primary because it requires supposing a supernatural being or realm to control the nature of existence. "The third primary incorporates all three axioms of consciousness, existence and identity. This view holds that existence is independent of any consciousness or supernatural realm, and is governed by the law of identity. This is called the 'Objective' primary because it upholds a single objective reality that exists independent of any consciousness. Pointing to the etched map, she said, "By convention we orientate the Subjective (S) on the bottom left, Mystic (M) on the bottom right, and Objective (O) on the top. "Every idea or concept of philosophy can be plotted within the triangle because all knowledge is hierarchical and ultimately rests on one or more of these axioms. Lower level ideas are typically based directly on the primaries, but as complete high level philosophies are formed multiple primaries can be merged into blended views, as we shall see." "I'm confused," said Tori, "Last night you convinced me that all three axioms are contained in all knowledge. How can you have a philosophy that does not include all three?" "Good Question. The map does not chart true reality, only man's view of it. If a person fails to recognize all three axioms, they can form a view that omits one or two. For example, I am sure you have heard the philosophy, 'life is a dream'? This view omits existence and identity. It is an expression of the Subjective Primary." Elizabeth continued, "Let's look at a hypothetical view of how one's philosophy might evolve." "Say you start with the philosophy that 'life is just a dream.' Like in a dream, you are the creator of reality. Given this starting point, what could you conclude about how you should act?' "I guess you could do whatever you wanted," answered Tori; "whatever made you happy." "Right," said Elizabeth, and she drew a small circle in the 'S' corner on the lower left. "This circle describes that view. Not just your view of reality, but the other consistent consequences as well. It says that you are your own source of truth, and that ethically you can do whatever makes you happy, without regard for consequences." "If you held this view and were not insane or permanently drugged, you would immediately find problems. You would realize that things did not always conform to your desires. Wishing would not fill your empty stomach or shelter you from the cold. Inevitably you would be forced to accept an existence outside of your control." "At this point, you might evolve your philosophy. You might conclude that reality exists outside of you, but your mind has no way to comprehend it. You might decide, as some have, that your senses distort information about the world leaving you cut off from existence. Unable to know the true reality, you would be left with your own personal view, which could be no truer or better than anyone else's. This is still a subjective view, but it has shifted towards the Mystic primary." Elizabeth drew a circle between the S and M corners. "At this spot, you would hold a subjective ethic; doing whatever made you happy and no one could say your actions were right or wrong. Your own consciousness remains the creator of your personal truth." Elizabeth drew an arrow to the Mystic corner. "Continuing, let's say you realized there is an independent existence that you experience but cannot control. What question would you have to answer?" "I suppose you would need to understand what did control it," said Tori. "Yes, when man's earliest ancestors asked what controlled reality, they supposed that powerful beings controlled the world. This answered some questions but created many others: why did the gods create man; for what purpose? As man hypothesized answers they had the beginnings of a religion." Elizabeth pointed to the arrow. "This arrow shows the progression of your changing philosophy as you migrated from Subjective to Mystic. In the mystic corner religion defines existence. The details, rituals and practices vary considerably; however, common aspects are the consistent consequence. If the gods or God controls existence to suit its purpose then knowledge comes not from a systematic study of nature but rather from divining God's intentions. Faith is the source of truth, and knowledge." Elizabeth asked, "What would be the conclusion about how one could act if they started with the Mystic premise?" "Your actions should be in accordance with God's will and purpose," said Tori. "Correct," confirmed Elizabeth, "but how would a natural man know the intentions of a super-natural god?" "I guess he would rely on books, priests or just faith." "True, but what is the one conclusion common to all religions about determining the will of the gods?" "I don't know," said Tori. "The consistent conclusion of every religion is: 'God's will is not your will.'" Elizabeth circled the Mystic corner on the lower right. "The mystic corner is governed by the virtue of sacrifice. If an action consists of sacrificing your own interest, it is 'good,' regardless of the outcome, because it involves subjugating your own interests. Evil by this standard comes from putting your own interests first. This is the ethics of altruism that dominates the mystic corner." "Continuing with our hypothetical progression, if you held a fully mystical view, such as I have circled here, you would attribute every feature of nature to your God or gods. However, you would soon find that things behaved in consistent and predictable ways. If you explored these behaviors, your observations become the rudiments of science. For these discoveries you no longer need prayer and faith, only your knowledge. Over time, and with the benefit of observations from many others, you would find that nearly everything that you once thought to be a function of the gods is in fact governed by natural laws. You would have less and less need for a mystical explanation for the world." "That is true with man's increasing scientific discoveries," observed Tori. "That is right," said Elizabeth and she drew an arrow that moved from the Mystic corner, upward toward the Objective. "As you discovered that the world was predictable, and knowable through reason, you would begin to implicitly grasp the law of identity, and your view of existence would include more of the objective." "In time, you would find a scientific explanation for nearly everything, yet a few questions would linger for which physical science offered no satisfactory explanation. Can you guess these questions?" "Sure," said Tori, "I have heard them debated enough: Where did the universe come from? What happens when I die? What is the purpose of life? What is right and wrong?" "Precisely. Like many, you would hold a rational scientific view of most natural phenomena, yet preserve your mystic explanation for life's must fundamental questions." Elizabeth drew a circle on the board, two thirds of they way up between the Mystic corner on the lower right and the Objective corner at the top. "I guess that is my spot on the map," said Tori. "I am not very religious, but I assume the answer to those questions is found in religion." "You are like most in the western world," said Elizabeth. "Your philosophy is much closer to the Objective than the Mystic, but you still hold the idea of a God. This fact is clear when comparing America to the Middle East. We seek the pursuit of happiness; Islam seeks submission. The difference is more than religion; the West implicitly upholds the identity axiom while the Middle East rejects it. Identity is the essence of so called 'Western Civilization.'" "America is closer to the Objective Corner, but the population still has not discovered the law of identity, as you did last night. Not simply that it describes some phenomena of nature, but that it is the fundamental law that governs what it means to exist, i.e. existence is identity." "I am still not sure why you can't believe in both God and Identity?" "To hold the idea of a God, one must suspend the law of identity. The concept of God requires a loophole in the law, but identity permits no such loopholes. It does not allow the world to be created from nothing. It does not permit man to have a soul that exists apart from his physical body. It does not permit miracles and it does not permit any contradiction. Identity ensures that the world is consistent, rational, and knowable. "The question is not whether or not one believes in God, but weather or not one upholds the law of identity. To say you believe in God is to say identity does not apply in all cases. Once one has permitted this exception the entire point of one's philosophy must be to rationalize when and to what degree the exceptions are permitted. The Objective corner permits no such exceptions." Elizabeth circled the objective corner. "The leap to explicitly discover the identity axiom is the biggest. Aristotle's genius was to discover this alone. All others learned it from him. And in doing so enabled them to answer all the lingering questions and form a complete rational philosophy." What lingering questions." Asked Tori? "The question from your homework," stated Elizabeth. "You should be able to answer them all now. Are you ready to try?" "Yes," said Tori confidently. "Where did the universe come from?" Tori thought for a moment then responded, "From the law of identity, something cannot come from nothing. Nor can something become nothing. Therefore the universe was not created, and it will not end. The matter and energy of the universe have always existed, and always will. Its form will change, but it will not come into or go out of existence." "Well put," said Elizabeth, "tell me, what happens when you die?" "The law of identity says there is no existence of 'you' apart from your mind and body. When your body and mind cease to function, your consciousness and 'you' cease to exist. You can be neither happy nor sad because you will not exist to have those emotions." "Well done," congratulated Elizabeth. "Now for the final question; what is the purpose of life?" Tori paused; this question was not so clear. "I'm still sorting that out," She said finally. "I'll help," offered Elizabeth. "Man, like the rock, is governed by the law of identity. From the law you know that your life is a physical process, sustained by your physical action. Without action it will cease. Therefore, life is an end in itself; its purpose is to sustain itself. This is true for you and every other living thing." "Unlike the animals, man has no instinctive knowledge for survival. He must continue his life by action, but not any action will do. He must apply his reason to reality and identify those actions that will sustain him. In the words of Aristotle man is a 'rational animal,' his life depends on reason. Sustaining life is the purpose of a man's actions and therefore, his own life is the proper standard by which he judges good and bad. He must always act according to his best interest, taking into account the full rational consequences of his actions." Tori interrupted, "You are saying the objective view supports the same selfish ethics as the subjective." "No," said Elizabeth emphatically, "They are completely different. The Subjective holds their immediate happiness as the standard of value. They ask 'Will this action make me happy now?' If the answer is yes, they choose the action without regards for the consequence and whether it truly is in their long term best interest. Selfishness in this context is short-sighted and comes at the expense of one's self and others; it is not truly 'self-interested.' "By contrast, the objective holds life as the standard, and happiness is the result of a successful state of living. This perspective is self interested, but never short-sighted. The Objective view takes into account the rational long term consequence of one's actions across the full spectrum of one's life including all the things and people they value. If the action is contradictory to these values, then they do not choose it. To the Objective, selfishness is a virtue that takes great discipline to achieve in its full context." "I'll have to ponder how selfishness can be a virtue," said Tori, "It goes against everything I've been taught." "We have all been taught that selfishness is bad because we equate it with the shortsightedness of the Subjective." "I guess you're right," said Tori. "You see," said Elizabeth in conclusion, "We have explored the perimeter of the map and seen how the application of the core axiom results in man's view of reality, and correspondingly to his means of choosing his actions." Tori examined the map with Elizabeth's circles and arrows optimistic, but skeptically, searching for a flaw, a condition not accounted for by the map. Then she found it. "You claim that only the objective view is rational, but everyone claims to be 'rational.'" "True," said Elizabeth, "every position on the map considers its view as 'rational,' but this is a matter of definition. The differentiation is defining what reason is tied to." "In the Subjective view, reason is tied only to the abstractions of one's own consciousness. Concepts are manipulated independent of a connection to a physical reality in a process called rationalism. If a premise contradicts physical reality, the contradiction is upheld as evidence for the uncertain nature of reality." "The Mystic view uses reason to validate revelation. Revelation is accepted as immutable fact, whereas physical reality is not. If a contradiction is found between faith and reality, the reality is rejected and the contradiction is upheld as a miracle and evidence of God's power and mastery of the physical world." "In the Objective view, reason is tied to the facts of reality, and bound by the law of identity. If one finds a contradiction between his premises and physical reality, he must go back and check his premises, but under no circumstances can he hold a contradiction." Tori asked, "How do you know for sure the map includes all possible philosophies?" "The Map describes the complete spectrum of philosophy from 'everything is nothing' to 'everything is something' and all points in between. There is no philosophy that cannot be expressed on the map. Granted, some views are complex and require plotting different points across metaphysics, epistemology and ethics, but ultimately the map provides the framework to make the distinctions." "Don't you think it over-simplifies things?" Tori asked. "You seem to have explained all philosophies in just a couple of hours. If it is so simple, why are philosophy classes so complicated?" "If you approach philosophy from its fundamentals, like a science, then it is simple. However, if you approach it, as most do, by reading every philosopher, then it is mind numbingly complex, and yields little truth. The map simplifies things by allowing you to view how the ideas relate. It still takes great discipline to integrate them into one's life, but understanding them is not so hard. Just as piloting a ship is much simpler with navigation charts, so philosophy is much simpler when it can be visualized on a map." Elizabeth marked a point in the middle of the map. "Let's suppose this represents a person with a mixed view. They are influenced by ideas from each corner. We call these forces 'attractions' and 'repulsions.' They influence an individual's philosophy just as positive and negative forces might effect atomic particles. Consider how our person in the middle is affected." "The attraction of the subjective is freedom from responsibility and action. It is wishful thinking, a blind hope that everything will turn out as desired despite evidence to the contrary. Each time a person evades reality and wants results without the effort to think, they are pulled in the Subjective direction." "The mystic corner attracts with the comfort and freedom from choice. The Mystic provides freedom from critical thinking or making one's own judgments; they need merely obediently follow a prescribed course. If a man's life and fate are prescribed by the Gods then one need not consider the alternatives. It offers an easy set of answers to all questions - 'the will of God.' This desire for easy comforting answers is the attraction of the Mystic." "The attraction of the Objective is the desire for a world that is consistent, reliable and knowable. Those that want certainty, that want to discover how nature works and apply that to their life, are attracted to the Objective." "The unsuspecting person in the middle is pulled in all directions by their emotions, peers, family, desires, and requirements for life. Each corner exerts its attractions, but at the same time there is a repelling force. Each corner philosophy views the other two as not simply as wrong, but as evil. Consider the following: "The defining feature of the Subjective corner is a rejection of any absolutes, both in reality and in morality. It views both the Objective and Mystic as evil for being close-minded and dogmatic; The Objective for their absolute insistence on the law of identity, and the Mystic for their absolute insistence on the law of God. "The defining feature of the Mystic Corner is that truth comes not from this world, and the morality comes not for thy self. It views both the Objective and Subjective as evil for being self interested. It makes no distinction between the rational self interest of the Objective and the capricious self interest of the Subjective; both are evil for failing to sacrifice. "The defining attribute of the Objective is an absolute insistence that there is only one reality that is bound by identity and does not contradict itself. Morality follows from identifying reality through reason and acting accordingly. It views both the Subjective and Mystic as evil for evading reality and accepting contradictions." Tori looked at Elizabeth's map now covered in markings with the exception of one space. A thin bar ran along the left side from the Objective corner down to the Subjective. "What is the space on the left?" she asked, "How can you be part Objective and part Subjective at the same time?" "That region is occupied by those who recognize some part of the objective, but fail to integrate the ideas into action. They are men who compartmentalize wanting liberty but not the hard choices required to achieve it. They try to obtain their ideal by wishful thinking rather than diligent action. Inevitably they are drawn to politics seeking to legislate their ideal. They are like the secular game players who try politics without first supporting fundamental moral changes." "So these are like Libertarians." observed Tori. "Exactly," confirmed Elizabeth. "Why can't you stay in the middle and merge all three views as it suits your needs?" asked Tori. Elizabeth shook her head, "Most try this. They pick and choose whatever advice seems appropriate for the moment. They try to take the 'practical' position in the middle, viewing the corners as 'extremist.'" "Practitioners in this space are call pragmatist, and they are in a constant tug of war between the push and pull of the corners. The necessities of identity draw them towards the Objective while the comfort of the Mystic and evasions of the Subjective hold them down. They use the Subjective argument that nothing is certain to undermine the Objective, while neutralizing the Subjective by claiming that they need to remain practical. They accept the moral code of the Mystic, yet claim it is human nature to be selfish. They make no distinction between capricious and rational self interest." "Unfortunately the pragmatic center dominates America; tugged in all directions they have no solid principles to guide them. It disables the masses making them powerless to stop the slow take-over." "The take-over by what," asked Tori, "religion?" "No," said Elizabeth in a hushed voice, "something far worse." "What?" insisted Tori. "Think of your thesis Tori, you were closer to the truth then you know." "But that was just a theoretical hypothesis; I don't believe it could really happen in America." Said Tori, desperately wanting Elizabeth to confirm she was right. "When you fully understand the game, you learn that not only can it happen, but that it has already begun."
  16. This is supposed to be a joke, but I wish America could be so proud of its industrialization, almost. LOL!
  17. Agreed. A clean environment is the benefit of Capitalism's wealth. What a wonderful thing it is to have a life so prosperous that one's biggest concern is that the sky is not as blue as it could be, or that the grass is not as green as one would hope. The Environmentalist should give thanks, but they won't so I'll do it for them; Thanks Capitalism!
  18. The Aristotle Reaction Chronicles

    Tito, Yep, that is it. Oleksandr built the simulator after reading the book. Someday I hope to have a version you can play. It is very cool! The project originated from the thread below. brainstorming
  19. The Aristotle Reaction Chronicles

    The Aristotle Reaction Chronicles, Episode 24. Henry, I wish I had some good news, but it appears that professor Milford and his ilk have won the day. With no one willing or able to speak out for the Objective corner, the world will slowly sink into the mystic and subjective corners, and the light of western civilization will fade into the bleak eternal night of a new dark age. Chapter 64. Jake stepped out of his room and immediately sensed something was different. The normally busy halls were empty. Outside he saw only two armed soldiers quietly patrolling the dorms. The sounds of commotion emanated from the university square and drew him in that direction. He rounded the administration building and saw the largest campus rally he had ever seen, thousands of students gathered around a platform in the middle of the square. News cameras were stationed for the best vantage of the platform. Edward's banner, "Keep America Free - Support our Troops" was strategically placed for maximum exposure. Several impressive military vehicles with the initials B.A.T. were also positioned in line of the cameras. Alongside Students for A Green Tomorrow, other groups were present with signs supporting their causes. End Hate. End AR. Intolerance is Terrorism. AR is Terrorism. A group of parents stood with a sign reading, "Stop Terrorizing our Children!" Most students were merely spectators, listening to the speakers, and taking in the spectacle. They had seen the news reports and came to be a part of history. Speakers from many groups were energizing the crowd from the podium. As Jake approached, a woman in a tie-dyed shirt was speaking. "…And I am so proud of you for coming out to support the troops who are bravely defending us against the threat of terrorism at home. It takes real courage to look terrorism in the eye and say, 'We will not be intimidated! We will not back down! We will win the war on terror, and we are starting right here at home!'" Thunderous applause roared. An older man in a red beret got up to take the stand. "I am Jim Tuttle, representing the Workers United for Peace, free speech permit number 53. I am proud to represent the 53rd group to post our Readers Rights statement and obtain a free speech permit. Nothing is more important because each day millions of American workers are subject to the terrorism of Big business. They go to bed with the terrifying reality that they could lose their job. They live in constant fear that their families and futures rely on the discretion of a few fat-cat executives. Please join us in supporting a new resolution in congress that will further expand the definition of terrorism to include the outsourcing of US jobs overseas." Again, a thunderous round of applause exploded. A woman with very short blond hair stepped up to the microphone. "The Students for Gender Studies, free speech permit number 23,232, are here to draw your attention to the issue of Gender Terrorism. Around the world women face the quiet terrorism of gender discrimination. Be it the honor killings in the Middle East or the unequal pay in the corporate world, women everywhere face the terror of a male dominated world. We ask you all to join our fight against gender terrorism." This speech brought shouts of support from the women in the audience and a polite clap from confused males. Next a man with a long black pony tail stood before the crowd. "My name is Kawacatoose and I speak for the Association of Native Americans, permit number 5349. We of the Native American community are glad to see America finally bring attention to the issue of domestic terrorism. No group, race or culture has suffered more terrorism than the tribes of the American Indians. We support these efforts to end the kind of hate propagated by these AR Terrorists. Their game fosters discrimination and hatred for the American Indian. It is time to end the culture of intolerance that this game has rekindled in America." More applause ensued. Jake was startled when the next person to take the podium was Vinod. "My Name is Vinod Patel of Poona, India. I am very honored for the privilege to study in your country as I have long admired your freedom. Today is a very sad day for me. I am witness to the end of free speech in your country. What you have labeled as 'intellectual terrorism' is nothing more than free speech. To present your ideas, in any form, is free speech. To register with the government for permission to speak is not! The AR game is not Terrorism, it is free speech. People are not forced to play." A student from the back of the crowd with a laptop computer called out "Hey, what is your free speech permit number? I can't find you on the registry." Vinod did not acknowledge the man, but continued on with his point. "You have equated the concept of 'terrorism,' with political correctness, and you have made it a crime to express any idea with which another might disagree." There was a general murmuring in the crowd, as people looked around uncomfortably. On stage a cell phone rang, and Jake spotted Edward answering and then disappearing behind the podium. Vinod continued to address the anxious crowd. "I have played this AR game to the highest levels. I can attest that it does not undermine American values. It shows the tremendous life-improving consequences of true freedom and it shows the disastrous life condemning results of ending freedom, as you are doing here today." Behind Vinod there was a sudden commotion as two uniformed police officers and Edward appeared from behind. Vinod turned, as the officers said something that could not be heard, but Vinod's reply was clear. "No, I will not step down, not until I have finished speaking." The officers reacted swiftly, one pushed Vinod's head forward against the podium while the other twisted his arms behind his back. Over the microphone you heard the muffled voices of the officers, "You are under arrest for public speaking without a proper permit. You have not made a declaration of intent and ideological affiliation. You are violating the listener's rights of every member of this audience." Vinod realizing he could still speak into the microphone started to address the crowd, "Is this really what you want, an end to free speech in Ameri…" The microphone was suddenly cut off. The officers finished cuffing Vinod and carried him away through the stunned crowd. Students stood looking at each other, not sure what to do next. Jake pushed his way through the crowd and intercepted the police men carrying Vinod as he refused to walk or cooperate in any way. The look on his face startled Jake. It was his usual broad grin. "What can I do?" shouted Jake as he neared. "Don't worry about me, I'll be fine. These police have helped make my point much better than any speech." Vinod's last words trailed off as he was carried away through the murmuring crowd. Edward, seeing the confusion in the audience, jumped forward to the microphone, to fill the silence. "Don't be fooled ladies and gentlemen. That man had the same opportunity as everyone else to declare his ideology. Clearly he has something to hide. Let's hear a big round of applause for the brave men in blue who have just protected all of our listener's rights." There was a smattering of applause, but most onlookers were unsettled by the event. Jake was horrified at applause offered for the forcible restraint of free speech. He felt compelled to take action, to do something to voice his objection, but he was paralyzed with indecision. He knew that he should get to the microphone and add his voice to Vinod's, but his legs refused to move. The chance had finally come for him to make a persuasive argument at a time when it really mattered but his mind was blank, paralyzed by the thought that he too might be arrested. I should not sacrifice myself. He thought, trying to justify his lack of action. I must be rational, and look out for my own self interest, that was the lesson he'd taken to heart these past weeks. Seconds turned to minutes and Jake stood frozen while his self esteem melted. He had followed the moral code that Vinod had encouraged, yet had not followed himself. The result for Jake was self loathing rather than happiness. He'd been practical and preserved himself, yet he felt miserable. Slowly the crowd began to thin, but still Jake stood enveloped in self doubt. "I've been a fool," he thought, 'and everyone else has paid the price.' He remained free and unharmed, but his new ethic of self interest had brought only self loathing. His quest for answers was mired in confusion. In the back of his mind he heard Milford's voice, 'The point, young man, is to spare idealistic dreamers from wasting their time looking for definitive answers where there are none to be found.' Milford was right. Suddenly he felt the desire to be far away from the university and the madness of the rally. With no destination in mind, he started to walk. He needed to move, to be doing something, anything other than just standing there regretting his inactions. Vinod's words hours earlier kept running through his mind "Someday you may regret that when action was needed, you did nothing." That someday had already come. Chapter 65. Tori stepped into Marcus's large office. A small couch and sitting area caught her eye and drew it back to a large desk. Behind the desk was a massive stylized painting of the Greek god Apollo riding his golden chariot across a brilliant sky towing the blazing sun. The furnishings, like the chariot, were rounded, aerodynamic and flowing in the distinctive art deco style common to the building. She settled into the soft couch, to wait for the Director. In this quiet moment her thoughts turned to her family and the pain their lack of support caused her. She had not contacted them, and despite her feelings, she thought it cruel not to let them know she was safe. She vowed to call. She thought of Jake, and wanted to call and share her incredible discovery, but knew it was impossible. The secrets of the Stewards were a heavy burden and they would not allow her to confide in Jake or another soul outside the Order. She quietly steeled her emotions to this fate, knowing that her decision to stay would extract a heavy price in years ahead. She could not allow herself to have deeper feelings for Jake. It would be a mistake for her and unfair to him; they could have no future together. With a strange sense of déjà vu and growing impatience, she stood to explore the room. Wooden shelves lined the walls with old books and artifacts. One item in particular caught her eye, a two foot tall statue of a girl dancing. It was a frozen moment of joy and motion. The artist captured every subtle curve in white marble, giving life to a single instant of pure pleasure. She was startled, when a voice behind her said, "Do you like it?" "It is exquisite." "Yes, it is special," said Marcus in a tone that implied its great personal value. "It really belongs in the vault, but I like it here, close to me." Tori considered probing deeper, but chose a different question, "How did you become a Steward?" "They found me much like we found you," he said. "I was a biologist pushing the boundaries of human knowledge and applying it to improving lives. But the population was not ready. I was denounced as a criminal and my creation declared an abomination. It was then that the Stewards retrieved me. When I completed my training I realized that, despite all man's progress, he has not risen far enough from the dark ages to embrace my discoveries. I then set aside the physical sciences and took up the cause of moving mankind to the objective corner in the hopes that a future scientist could revive my work for the benefit of a culture that would embrace it." Tori was confused. She too had been renounced, and she too was ready to fight, but Marcus was retreating. She asked, "Why are you shutting down the game. There are thousands of players eager to learn more. You're making progress, why stop now?" Marcus's faced turned from kindly mentor to stern leader. "Tori, if we continue we will be discovered and shut down before we are prepared. Even if the game allows us to recruit the students, it would take years to teach the ideas needed to reverse the momentum of America's decaying culture. I know you have learned a lot and you feel empowered, but it is more complicated than you realize. We need to re-group. It is the game's very success that has caused this problem." "Is the game's only purpose to recruit players?" "Yes, the game allows us to find those sympathetic to our view. We have used similar methods for years. We undertake scholastic projects that allow us to find the very brightest. In the past we scanned thousands of essays looking for those with potential. We didn't reveal our true purpose until we were sure the student has the strength and independence to join us, we are looking for leaders not followers. The process takes years." "You did not spend years to recruit me," pressed Tori. Marcus paused, then said, "I made an exception with you; time did not permit the normal course. Was I wrong to select you?" "No, I am willing to join the fight," said Tori firmly, "but if you end the game, there will be nothing to join." "Tori, I understand your disappointment. We all had great expectations." "I can't understand why you won't stand and fight now. Who cares if your organization is discovered? What harm could it do? You have incredible resources here. Why keep them hidden?" "We only have these incredible resources because we have kept them hidden. Had they been found, they would have been burned or destroyed. Our secret ways have kept these ideas alive in the face of a hostile culture." "What good are the resources locked in your basement? Let your ideas out, let people see your documents and study the map. It would help so many people understand things better. I only wish I had seen it when I studied philosophy, it would have spared me a lot of grief." Marcus stood fully upright; Tori could see him struggle to retain his composure. "The map cannot be released to the public. Some would understand it, but others, like your professor Milford, would twist the meaning, water down the message, and use it to serve their ends, not ours." "But if Aristotle's ideas are so beneficial, why wouldn't everyone, including the professors, accept them, once they understand them? Why wouldn't everyone want to improve their lives? " "As a history major you should understand that those with a vested interest in the status quo don't want change. Some men have always sought a short cut to success by seeking the power to rule other men. Such a man wants others to obey his commands, not agree with his ideas. They want the power to control others; the power to be above the constraints of reality. Do you know the best way to gain power over others?" "Threaten them," replied Tori. "No, fear and force are the second choice even for the most ardent dictator. Think of the Map and history, the answer is there." Tori visualized the triangular map, seeing each corner and recalling the attributes that followed from the axioms. "Well, I guess it would be much simpler if men voluntarily agreed to follow you. Like what I was trying in my thesis. That would result from the Mystic corner." "Exactly!" he exclaimed while marveling at how quickly Tori merged the game lessons with the map concepts. Marcus continued, "There is a simple four part formula for tyranny that has been administered by every high priest, dictator and petty bureaucrat. First frighten men into believing the world is cruel, random, and uncertain. Second claim blind faith is the path to peace and truth; faith in God, or society, or government, it does not matter, so long as men reject their own reason and judgment. Next convince men that their highest moral virtue is sacrifice; sacrifice for heaven, or neighbors, or nature, or anything but their own gain. Finally institutionalize this sacrifice in the form of a government with the power to extract it from anyone unwilling to give it. "Men are easily ruled when they accept that the world is unknowable and they are helpless. First they sacrifice their judgment, then their happiness, and finally the lives of all who disagree. From Communist purging to Nazi death camps; from the Catholic Inquisitions to the Islamic Jihad, this same insidious poison, in its many forms has been the root cause. "Aristotle's philosophy is the antidote. It shows men a world governed by natural laws that is consistent and knowable. It shows that life is an end in itself and man should pursue his own happiness, guided by his own rational judgment. It shows that honesty, integrity, pride, and independence are the essential virtues of a successful life. Finally it shows that men wishing to live such a life need to enact a system of government with the sole purpose of protecting each man's right to his life and property. "Aristotle is a threat to those men who seek power over others. Freedom, reason, pride, independence, and the law of identity are all threats. To them, the dark ages are preferable to the enlightenment. They longingly seek the power of dictatorship, the power to rule others, and would drive their countries into ruin to have it. "We cannot reveal ourselves openly until we have the strength to ensure our ideas are taught as they were intended. In a way that will stand up to the countless attacks they will endure from the political and academic elite." "But this is America," implored Tori, "Surely, you are not going to be hunted down and killed just because you have an idea 'they' don't like." "It is true that death or physical persecution is not a great threat in America, but there are other ways to squelch an intellectual movement." "Like what?" She insisted. "You of all people should know. Look at how your thesis and reputation were attacked because you came too close to the truth." Dumbstruck, she opened her mouth to respond, but the words did not come. Marcus was right. The entire course of events was not an innocent misunderstanding, but a deliberate attack by her professors to discredit her and her thesis. She was livid and her skin crawled with a desire to lash out at the perpetrators. She clenched her fists and took a deep breath trying to hold her composure, but at last she erupted in the only way she could. "If that is the worst they have, let them bring it on. I would rather have them drag my name through the mud a thousand times than to let them get away with it. Let's show the map and fight them in the open." "I admire your courage, Tori. You were wronged, and it is proper that you should seek justice. But without a clear plan for success it would be futile. You are not alone in thinking that we should reveal ourselves and the map. It is an issue we have debated in every generation. In fact we once did reveal ourselves. It is an important lesson, which you should learn." "What happened?" asked Tori. "Alexander Alvertius created the map in the eleventh century. He decided it would finally tip the balance and allow us to break the grip of fear, superstition and faith that held the population fixed to the church. We were over two hundred strong, and began to openly teach our ideas to all who would listen. Our goal was to start 'the Aristotle reaction;' the effect that Aristotle's ideas would have on mankind if enough people were to embrace them. The ideas would reach a tipping point within the population and then spill onto the mainstream. The result would be an unprecedented standard of living as economic freedom spread and men created ever expanding technology to improve their lives." "Indeed our teaching had some impact on the youth, but we underestimated the time it would take to bring change, and we did not consider the response of the church." "The map was a direct threat to church authority and equally to the kings and feudal lords who claimed their thrones by divine right. They all had a vested interest in seeing that all knowledge of Aristotle, identity, and the map were wiped from the earth. Our movement that entirely dispensed with God was a far greater threat than any schism in church theology." "The churches response was swift and harsh. They infiltrated our simple schools and branded our teachers and students as heretics. Most were killed when they refused to recant their beliefs. Many were martyred, in horrible deaths inflicted by the church. Their suffering rivals any endured by the Church's Saints." "Alvertius himself endured horrendous torture as the inquisitors insisted he denounce the very thing he had created. When he would not recant and declare allegiance to God he was sentenced to burn, not in a raging fire of swift death but on a slow burning bed of hot coals. He lived three agonizing days, and just before he died, he shouted out a call for the Stewards to avenge his death. He swore that the map would be revealed to bring an end to the church." "The few Stewards that survived set out to preserve what remained of the library and keep it safe from the church. From that moment we began to rebuild, planning for the day when we would reveal ourselves again. Alexander's last words became a battle cry. 'The Aristotle reaction will not die with me. The map will prevail.'" Tori had been listening in silence but suddenly looked up. "I have heard of the Aristotle Reaction," she said, with a faint recollection. "That is not possible," confirmed Marcus calmly, "that saying is known only to the Stewards." "I am certain I heard it a few weeks ago as part of a campus rumor. Something like that was shouted by a man just before he fell to his death from the Golden Gate Bridge. I was told he said, 'The Aristotle reaction will not die with me. The Map will prevail. You are cursed, but your progeny may be spared from your evasion.'" Marcus was dumbfounded. The last part of this quote was exactly as Alvertius had stated. "Who told you this?" he asked sharply. "I heard it from a student who claimed he witnessed it. During the Trade Summit last June an extremist fanatic supposedly attacked the demonstrators, and they killed him in self defense. They figured the police would not believe them, so rather than report it; they decided to throw the body off the bridge. But just as they were heaving him over, he regained consciousness, and before he fell, he shouted those words. Nobody knew exactly what it meant, but those involved came to believe they were cursed." Tori watched Marcus suddenly take a deep breath and close his eyes tightly. After a moment they reopened, sad, misty, and familiar. Suddenly Tori connected the words 'Aristotle,' and the 'Map.' The complete picture emerged. "He was The Maker, wasn't he?" She asked. "Yes," said Marcus quietly, "he was my son." Tori was shocked but had to ask, "His final plea was a call to reveal the philosophy map, wasn't it?" "He and I had a heated argument on the subject just before he left a few days before the summit. He insisted it was the only way to make a sustained impact. He believed the game in conjunction with the map would be enough to start the reaction. I disagreed. He left the room and never returned. I could only assume our argument had caused him to leave me and the Stewards. I never imagined that he was murdered." Marcus put his hands in his pockets and stared at the floor, collecting his thoughts. Tori sensed the she was imposing on his private grief and she turned to leave. "Wait," said Marcus fighting to remain composed. "It is a risk we all take. He was fighting for a better world; it was something he was willing to die for." Marcus placed his hand firmly on Tori's shoulder, "Tori, I must apologize for putting you in this predicament. I had no idea it would come to this. I am going to ask of you something I have no right to. I must request that when you leave us, you do not mention a word of what you have seen or heard. Our lives and the future of our ideas depend on it." "You're sending me away?" ask Tori anxiously. "Yes," confirmed Marcus, "But I promise, when the time is right we will find you and start again." "But your son's dying request was that the map be released. How can you ignore that? He is the one most responsible for giving you a fighting chance to have an influence. You cannot simply let that chance slip now." "I have no choice, I have pledged to be a Steward of the Identity Axiom and it is my duty to protect our twenty-four centuries of accumulated knowledge, so it can be shared with future generations." "What about this generation - your son's generation? Your knowledge is not doing the world any good sitting in your basement. Your son gave his life fighting for a better world. If this game has taught me anything, it's that we must encourage the ideas we value. The game still gives you some influence, you cannot lose it." Marcus strained to maintain his poise against a mounting internal conflict. Tori was using his own son to argue for the very things he reviewed in his own mind a thousand times. Was he giving up too easily? Would they be better off letting their existence be known and fighting for their ideas in public. Thousands of years of tradition warned him to keep the map secret and to wait for a better time. His son, however, whose efforts gave them their last hope, said otherwise. "It's too late" said Marcus, now arguing more against himself than Tori. "We don't have the resources to release the map. It would take hundreds of trained teachers and an audience willing to learn. Now there are just six of us." "Why don't you just expose the Map in the game? Let the players learn it as a means to advance. Players eagerly soak up useful information. They have emptied the library of history and philosophy books in the hope of finding some clues. They pay for lessons from the best players. You may not have an audience willing to study philosophy, but legions of players, like me, are eager to learn how to advance in your game." "The game was not intended for training." said Marcus, "It is a recruiting tool. But even if we wanted to take that approach it is impossible. My son was the only person with the technical skills to make changes; no one else knows the code. " "But Todd and Elizabeth understand the game. They can do it!" "They can support the network and database, but they are not programmers." "Why don't you find new programmers to expose the map? Many others could do this." "Out of the question," said Marcus hastily. "But I know people who could help," pleaded Tori. "No, we have already broken every tradition by allowing you here, and it threatens our future." "Your tradition and history are a bigger liability than an asset. You are so focused on preserving your past that you are missing the future. You are too timid in your moves to have any success." Tori's words struck Marcus like a thunder clap; he had heard them before, his son had argued for this time and again. In that moment Marcus realized that his son, Alex, was not coming back, and Tori needed to know the full truth. Marcus searched for the words to tell her the most difficult thing he had ever had to say. Tori watched an internal struggle play out on Marcus's face. Suddenly she felt horribly embarrassed to be pressing so hard on a man who just learned of his son's death. She could imagine nothing worse. "I am sorry," she said, "I had no right. I guess I don't understand. I should leave." Marcus looked at her, like a father to a daughter. "Tori, I have something to tell you, something I should have said sooner, but I just could not be sure the time was right …" Marcus's words were abruptly interrupted by a knock at the door. Elizabeth burst into the room. "Come quick, there is breaking news that you must see now." Chapter 66. Tori and Marcus rushed down the hall following Elizabeth. She turned and entered a sophisticated media room were the small staff was fixated on a wall of TV monitors, each tuned to a different news program. The center screen flashed the headline, "A Blow to Intellectual Terrorists." Allen turned up the volume. In a surprise move, the President signed two new bills extending America's arsenal in the war on terror. The first bill protects Americans from the threat of intellectual terrorism by creating the Bureau of Free Speech charged with protecting listeners by issuing free speech permits to registered individuals and organizations who wish to exercise their first amendment rights. The second bill gives the Bureau of Anti-Terrorism new powers to fight intellectual terrorist. The law expands the definition of terrorism to include over thirty new acts and gives the bureau authority to investigate and seize the property of suspects without warrant. The bill will further expedite prosecution of terrorists by classifying them as 'illegal combatants' to be tried in a military tribunal. Before signing the bills into law, the President said, "Terrorism has made our world fearful and uncertain for our children, but the public has shown their willingness to sacrifice for our safety. Their faith in our government's ability to protect the common good will lead to a better, safer America, and these laws will assure we capture and prosecute all terrorists who seek to undermine our values." Senator Jim Taylor of Nebraska was quoted as saying, "The two bureaus, one of free speech and one of anti-terrorism, will work hand in hand to keep America safe. The first protects our right to not be deceived and the second prosecutes the violators. Together these new laws bring unprecedented security to our country." Democrats and Republicans in both houses applauded the bill as a non-partisan step to ensure a safer America. Around the country political and faith based organizations scrambled to register their ideologies with the new Bureau of Free Speech. However, not all support this new law. A newly formed advocacy group called 'Citizens for American Freedom' claimed the law is unconstitutional and vowed to fight it all the way to the Supreme Court. In response to this claim Bruce McPherson, Deputy Director of the B.A.T said "the advocacy group had every right to express their views so long as they are consistent with their registered ideology, and in compliance with the new disclosure laws." The director went on to say that, 'opposing the law was un-patriotic, and only benefited terrorists.' He questioned the motives of the groups behind Citizens for American Freedom and he promised to investigate any 'irregularities.'" In a show of support for the laws, a rally was held at the California University at the center of the intellectual terrorism crises. Many newly registered organizations exercised their free speech permits to declare support for the new laws and the Bureau of Anti-Terrorism." Tori was surprised to see the familiar university square on the screen with thousands of students gathered around a podium. "The rally ended abruptly when an independent and un-registered speaker attempted to violate the listener's rights of the crowd. He was quickly apprehended and admitted ties to a suspected intellectual terrorist organization." The screen showed the speaker being carried away, and Tori recognized him at once. At that moment, she made the connection between an Indian student rumored to have the highest scores on campus and Jake's friend, the one who said 'philosophy was more practical than computer programming.' The commentator continued speaking before a still image of the handcuffed speaker being forcibly carried away by the police. Marcus turned off the TV and looked up at his colleagues, "Free speech has ended. This changes everything." End of PART II
  20. The Aristotle Reaction Chronicles

    The Aristotle Reaction Chronicles, Episode 23. I am posting tonight after returning from seeing Yaron Brook speak at Berkeley on the subject of Islamic totalitarianism. One of his themes was how multiculturalism has weakened America’s ability to defend its values. The topic was a nice lead in to tonight’s episode. I hope you will enjoy. Chapter 62. Jake awoke to the sound of pounding on his door. He lay in his bed, content to ignore the door. He did not want to talk to anyone. The door pounded again and this time a voice with a familiar accent called out, "Jake I am wanting to talk to you urgently. You must wake and answer this door." The voice had a distinct Indian accent; one least expected but most welcomed. He opened the door. "Vinod," said Jake wearily, "What are you doing here?" "I am so happy to see you, Jake," announced Vinod as he stepped into the dorm room and looked at his friend. "What has happened to you, you look so very tired?" "I did not sleep well." said Jake dismissively, "What is so urgent?" "Soldiers are marching through the campus and students are cheering for them." "Yes," said Jake indifferently, "Students for a Green Tomorrow are holding a rally to support the troops." "They are doing more then supporting troops; they are waving signs and chanting "Stop Intellectual Terrorism" and 'Keep America Free, Support Readers Rights.'" "I know," said Jake without concern. "My roommate is their leader and they are all crazy." "But they are wrong and we must do something to show our disagreement," insisted Vinod. "I cannot argue with everyone with whom I disagree." "But this is intolerable," pleaded Vinod, "No one is voicing an objection. We must do it." "What do you want me to do, make a sign?" asked Jake sarcastically. "Great idea!" exclaimed Vinod, "We can make signs and show that some object to the new laws." "You can do it without me," said Jake flatly. "I don't really care what they do." "But you must care Jake, this is your country. We can't let armed troops walk through campus without a single voice of protest." "What good is protesting?" "Jake, haven't you learned anything from the game? As long as ideas are supported they can have influence, but when all are silent, the opposition has won by default. This is your chance to discourage the bad, and encourage the good. Do not ignore this." "The game has only taught me to look out for myself. You're the one who convinced me to adopt a moral code of self interest and that is what I am doing. Those troops, and their supporters can all be damned, I'm taking care of me." Vinod was shocked at his friend's new ambivalence. "Sitting in your room while your freedoms are trampled is not self-interest; it is foolish and short sighted." "I don't care," said Jake "But you must care. I have seen the effects in my own country. Our leaders wanted so much for equality of income, that they made it impossible for anyone to be a success. The government required permission to engage in any type of business. The best and brightest were squashed while mediocrity and graft were rewarded. Only when they stopped trying to regulate our lives and livelihoods did India begin to rise from poverty. We cannot allow America to be regulated into ruin. We must protect the freedom to choose our own actions and that starts with the freedom of speech." Jake was unmoved by the passionate plea. "I'm sorry Vinod; we can debate this another time. Right now I have to study while it is quiet." "So you are just going to sit back while your roommate encourages ideas you oppose?" "I am tired of debating Edward and his type, they don't listen." "Convincing Edward is not the point; we need to show those on the fence that Edward's is not the only view. Perhaps if we stand up, others will join us, and the tide of opinion will shift in our favor." "Maybe another day," said Jake without care. "I wish you would reconsider," said Vinod "but I don't have any more time to waste. Will you join me?" "No," said Jake listlessly "America will not remain the land of freedom and opportunity if not a single American will defend it. Someday, Jake, you will regret that you did nothing when you needed to act." Vinod turned and left the room. Jake closed the door and immediately had regret. A voice in his head started with a steady stream of dialog. You should have gone with Vinod. He tried to console himself with a monologue of re-assurance that he had done the right thing. I can't let myself be run by emotions, and 'should haves.' I need to be practical. I need to look out for me. I came to school to get a degree, not to fight every protester who comes along. I need to study. Jake picked up his text book on advanced database design. It took him an hour to read just two pages, and he did not recall a word. The dialog raged inside his head leaving no room for text. He was debating himself. On the one side a steady stream of 'should haves' and regrets, on the other rapid fire 'rationalization' for his actions. It was a stalemate; neither side would budge. At last Jake decided to eat, but hunger was only a convenient excuse to go out and see if Vinod was really protesting against the rally. In a momentary concession he admitted that he did care, and with that thought he grabbed his jacket and hurried out. Chapter 63. Tori waited for Elizabeth in the great hall, her uneasiness growing with the passing minutes. When Elizabeth finally emerged from the side door, she took a seat beside Tori and gave her hand a reassuring squeeze, an action which only added to Tori's apprehension. Moments later, three others entered the room and sat at the elegant table. Tori had met two upon arriving, Allen and Todd. The other she recognized as the limo driver, he was introduced as Kevin; he, like the others, appeared to be in his late fifties. Tori glanced up and down at the sleek empty chairs and she asked, "When do the others arrive?" Elizabeth responded, "there aren't any others, this is the entire council." Tori raised an eyebrow puzzling over such a huge room for so few. "Why so many chairs?" "At one time the council filled the room, now we are all that remain." "You five are the entire council?" questioned Tori skeptically. "We five are all that remain of the Stewards." "What happened to everyone?" asked Tori. "Some were killed, many passed after a lifetime of work," said Elizabeth taking deep breath. "A few have just disappeared leavening us to guess what may have happened." "But where are the new members?" asked Tori. Just then Marcus walked into the room and took his seat at the head of the table. Looking over at Tori he said, "I understand you have been busy while I was away. Elizabeth says you have made exceptional progress in understanding our game." Tori's face flushed pink, "It makes sense, and I would think most students would get it." Marcus nodded and smiled kindly. "I see you have met the rest of our staff." "Yes" replied Tori feeling more at ease in Marcus's presence. "I was just asking why there are so few new members." "That is regrettable." "But why have no new members joined?" persisted Tori. "That question is the root of our present predicament. To understand our plight you must know something of our history. If my colleagues will permit, I'll share it with you." The huge hall was quiet. Tori had soaked in Marcus's words connecting the dots with her knowledge of history and confirming that ideas shaped history, not wars. After a long pause, Marcus spoke again. "Tori, I brought you here with the intention of rebuilding. I hoped you would be the first of a new generation of thinkers and teachers able to return Aristotle and the identity axiom to the forefront of science, ethics and culture. You have been an outstanding pupil and it is of no fault of yours, but I am afraid I can no longer extend the offer." "As I told you when we met, we are an unpopular organization. The game has rallied our enemies. They are hunting for us and it is only a matter of time before we are discovered." "We hoped the game would give us years to quietly recruit the best and brightest players, but we no longer have the luxury of time. My decision to bring you here has had unexpected consequences. The forces looking for you and those who seek our destruction have merged. As long as you are here and the project is online, we are at risk." "But what about the game?" asked Tori? "It was a radical departure from our traditional ways of inspiring and influencing, and our gamble has failed. The experiment must end." Marcus's statement startled the table and only Elizabeth remained stoic. "I realize this is not the outcome we had hoped." Marcus continued, "Someday the game may be revived, but for now we must insure our own survival. We must protect the Aristotle scrolls and ensure our technology is secure from our enemies." "But sir," interjected Allen, "how can we survive into the next generation when there is no one to carry forward?" "We will worry about that later, now we need to follow our predecessors' lead and hide in times of peril. We must erase the evidence of our existence and wait to fight another day. We will seal our possessions into the vault, disconnect the Game, and vacate these premises. In time this controversy will blow over, and we can undertake the task of recruiting and training members as we have always done." "But you can't turn the Game off now," Tori interjected. "There are thousands of players, all struggling to uncover the game's secret, they know there is a solution, but, like me, they just don't know how to find it. If you shut down the game, you will leave them with nothing." Marcus was unmoved, "Tori, I invited you to this meeting to understand our history and the methods that have insured our progress and survival for generations. Now my council and I have private affairs. I would like for you to wait in my office. When I am done we can talk about what our closing means for you." Marcus motioned towards the door at the end of the room and Tori was dismissed.
  21. The Aristotle Reaction Chronicles

    The Aristotle Reaction Chronicles, Episode 22. Brian and Henry, as always, the input is much appreciated. Scott welcome, I'm glad you’re onboard and up to speed. Our story now returns to Jake, who was just stopped by the armed forces of the Bureau of Anti-Terrorism as part of a region wide curfew. Chapter 59. Jakes heart pounded furiously as he raised his hands and turned towards a blinding light. The silhouettes of two men emerged from the headlights of a jeep. For the second time in two days, he was subjected to a search and interrogation. When the soldiers were convinced of Jake's story, he was unceremoniously loaded into the back of an army Hummer, driven to his dorm and escorted to the front door. He was sent inside with a curt warning, "Next time you will be arrested for a curfew violation." Jake headed upstairs for the end of the worst two days in his life. Tori was gone, his career prospects were bleak, he'd nearly been arrested twice, and he was late for several class assignments. All he wanted was to sleep in his own bed. He opened the door to his room and stepped inside. His bad day was suddenly worse. Paint fumes filled the air and a banner across the back wall read, "Students for a Green Tomorrow, World Headquarters." Lying on the beds and pinned to the walls were freshly painted signs that read, "Keep America Free - Support our Troops." Edward and three members of his group stood crowded around a computer screen on a desk moved to the middle of the room. Edward looked up and said "Oh, I didn't think you were coming back tonight." Jake was livid. "Of course I'm coming back. This is my room. What the hell are you doing? "This is my room too," said Edward defensively. "I have a right to be here. Besides, we needed a place to prepare for tomorrow's rally and we could not leave the campus." "Rally? What are you protesting now?" "We are not protesting; we are showing our support for the troops that are protecting our city from terrorist attacks. I thought you might want to help, I know you are a big supporter of the military." "I thought you hated the military," said Jake. "I hate the military when it is being used by arrogant politicians to push America's imperialist agenda on the rest of the world. But I support them if they are used to stop the evil in our own country. Don't you?" "No, I don't support it. I have just been harassed by them just for trying to get home after dark." "We all have to make sacrifices during these troubled times. Our campus and country are under attack from within and we must defend it. We have spent billions training the best terrorist fighting troops in the world and it is about time we stop the terrorism in our homeland." "What terrorist? There are no terrorists. This whole thing is a politically motivated show to pacify an over-hyped population." "Haven't you heard the news?" asked Edward. "What news?" "The president is planning to sign an emergency bill that makes acts of psychological and intellectual terrorism subject to the same defensive measures used on physical terrorism. According to the new laws your precious AR game makers are violators unless they tell us who they are and get a free speech permit." Jake had listened to the news all day, and only heard brief mention of something under consideration. Edward was always much better informed. "That is crazy," insisted Jake. "The president won't sign such a law. How can they ban 'intellectual terrorism,' it does not mean anything." "The new law will not ban anything. It will just require all organizations to openly declare their ideological agenda's so that the public can freely decide for themselves if the group's propaganda is hateful or anti-American." "But that is a violation of free speech." "No, it's not! The groups can still say whatever they want, so long as they have declared their intentions to the government, and they receive their free speech permit. This law rightly protects listeners and readers from being hoodwinked by sneaky anti American groups with racial agendas like the AR game maker." "Yah," said a girl with stringy brown hair, "It is about time that we stopped the terrorist from using our own rights against us." "How can anyone possibly declare every new idea to the government before they can speak or publish it?" asked Jake. "It is really easy," said a tall dark skinned boy, "There is a web site, and you just post your statement right along with your personal and group identification number. You can print your Free Speech Permit ID number right from the site. It is all there online and you can just look up the true ideological intentions of anyone who is writing or speaking to a public audience. There is even a place where you can report any violators, and you can also pay your violation fines with a credit card right online, assuming it is only a minor infraction." "And what if you don't declare your ideological intentions?" asked Jake. Edward responded, "If you don't post, or if you make a misleading post, you obviously have something to hide. You could be reported as a suspected intellectual terrorist, and you can be fined or investigated." "I don't see how everyone in the country can possibly comply with this law." "Don't worry so much, Jake," consoled Edward. "I'm sure the Bureau of Anti-Terrorism will exercise discretion. They don't want to harass everyone; just the terrorists." The brown haired girl spoke up, "We have already complied to the law so we will be ready for the rally with our own free speech permit. We just submitted our declaration. Do you want to hear it?" Edward shot the girl a disapproving look. "I'm the leader and I'll read the manifesto, besides I did most of the work." We, the members of Students for a Green Tomorrow (Group ID# 000-01-033), in accordance with the listeners rights act - section b: paragraph 135, do hereby proudly and openly submit the following declaration of our noble ideals. Edward looked up, beaming with pride at his creation. Jake sneered, "That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, and that is saying a lot after four months of living with you." "I would not expect you to understand our higher ideals. At least we are not afraid to state who we are and what we believe in. I'm sure the terrorist that kidnapped your girl friend are too afraid to comply with the law." "Just because I don't know where Tori is, doesn't mean she has been abducted by terrorists," asserted Jake. "Oh, so you still don't know where she is?" probed Edward discreetly. "No I don't, but I am not about to call out the Marines." "I don't blame you, Jake. It's not like she is really worth it." "Would you shut up, Edward, and get all this crap out of here now! I'm going to bed." "Ah, what's the matter?" jeered Edward, "Are you mad because your girl friend hasn't called you yet?" "She is not my girlfriend, now get the hell out of here," demanded Jake. Edward took a perverse pleasure in seeing Jake so upset. "Are you sad because your girlfriend dumped you for a limo sugar daddy?" "Shut up, Edward!" yelled Jake feeling the jealous sting of imagining Tori in the arms of an ex-boyfriend. "I guess you were not radical enough for her," pressed Edward. "She wanted a real man, someone willing to fight for what he believed in. She was tired of nice 'debates' and she wanted real 'action.' Now, it looks like she is getting some 'action.'" "Get out!" roared Jake. "All of you get out now!" He grabbed freshly painted signs and threw them into the hallway. Edward grabbed his coat, "Come on guys; let's go to Paul's room. My roommate is having a bad day." He then turned to Jake and said "I guess reality hurts some times, doesn't it?" "Get out!" demanded Jake a final time. He slammed the door as the last of the lackeys left his room. Furious, he flopped onto his bed, but instantly felt something cold and sticky trickling down his back. He jumped up. He and his bed were covered in the earth green paint that oozed from an overturned can. Things could not get any worse. Chapter 60. Tori remained in the small elegant classroom with Elizabeth. They continued their discussion of the map, until at long last Elizabeth was convinced Tori knew enough to understand the Game. The explanation did not take long to complete. "That's it? That is all there is to the game?" asked Tori when Elizabeth finished explaining. "Yes," said Elizabeth. "It is a game of life; life does not require a P.H.D. in philosophy." "But why don't more people figure it out?" "Some have, but most are not consistent. Contradictions in one area undermine progress in another, so they remain stuck. Some will eventually figure it out or get help if they play long enough." Tori was flustered by the underlying simplicity, "But why not just tell the players?" Elizabeth shrugged, "Who would play? Would you? Would you have wanted to hear this is a game about philosophy? It is better to say nothing, and let the player's natural curiosity drive them to learn more." "I guess you are right," conceded Tori. "Besides, technically the game is not a game. The simulator just provides an environment and simulated population. Each player must decide what constitutes winning. Fortunately, most choose a prosperous happy population as their goal. We just need to help them figure out how to achieve it." "Can't you give them a clue?" Elizabeth explained, "It is like any puzzle, once you know the secret the mystery is gone. If someone tells you the secret; they have deprived you the pleasure of figuring it out for yourself. The lessons are less likely to take hold." "Besides, theoretically knowing the answers is not enough to win the game. The questions come so fast that the principles must be fully integrated into your personal philosophy. The responses have to be near automatic. You don't have time to work out the correct answer on the fly. It takes a lot of play to become integrated. Although the parts are simple, the interactions can be very complex. With enough play however, you become trained to see the underlying principles and respond. Otherwise the politics will distract you from seeing the essential connections." "Still," said Tori, "you could make it easier to figure out. If players saw the map, they could make the connections." Elizabeth started to respond but was interrupted by a knock at the classroom door. Todd entered and announced, "Marcus has returned. He is holding a meeting in the Great Hall in fifteen minutes. He has an announcement for everyone. Elizabeth, he would like to see you first." Chapter 61. Tori and Elizabeth hurried down a long hallway past stunning paintings and entered an enormous room with a large table and seating for fifty. The room, like the others, was richly and tactfully decorated with art deco style wooden inlays that adorned the wall, table and chairs. Large portraits of men and women hung on the walls and Tori assumed these were leaders or distinguished members of the Stewards past. At the far end of the room hung the triangular insignia, which now held new meaning for Tori. "What is this room?" she asked. "This is the Grand Hall where the Steward's Council meets. You can wait here until the others arrive, I must see Marcus." Elizabeth entered an office adjacent to the Grand Hall eager to tell of her phenomenal success with Tori. Marcus sat on a brown leather couch furiously scribbling notes on a pad of paper. He wore the same dark suit as when she last saw him. He looked tired. Without stopping, Marcus raised a hand indicating Elizabeth should wait while he finished his thoughts. He made a few final notes, underlining key lines of text. At last he turned his full attention to Elizabeth. "There has been a change of plans. The girl must leave at once." Elizabeth was stunned, "We can't send her back now; her training is not complete." Marcus shook his head. "She must go; she is jeopardizing our entire organization. Her presence is drawing scrutiny that we cannot afford. The reaction to our game is beyond anything we modeled. It is too risky for her to remain." Elizabeth, already fond of Tori, was not ready to see her leave. "We can't let her go now, she knows too much. It's too risky." Marcus shook his head. "She's only been here for a day, she has not learned enough to threaten our operations." "But she knows where we are located, that alone is a risk." "That won't matter after we have closed this facility and gone into hiding." Elizabeth stood in disbelief. Hiding would mean an end to the game; an end to the first actions in a generation with an impact. "How can you?" she pleaded, "It's too soon. What would your son say?" The mention of his son brought immediate strain to Marcus's face. The thought of his son was never far from his mind. "We must accept that he has left the Stewards, he could not live up to his oath and chose to leave. It pains me night and day, but I must accept it, and move forward." "But how can you give up so easily?" "Elizabeth, believe me, I have tried to locate him and bring him back. I have spent the last thirty-six hours looking for him, hoping to convince him to change his mind. I have visited the cabin, and any other place I could think of, but he does not want to be found. There is no trace, and without him, there is little hope for our future." "But, what about Tori?" "Bringing her here was a mistake. It has only made things worse. The threat from our enemies is growing, and we have no choice but to shut down." "But it is too soon!" insisted Elizabeth, "The game is working just as he predicted. We can't stop until we see if he was right." "Elizabeth," said Marcus sympathetically, "I know your dedication to the Reaction project, but continuing will expose the Stewards. I cannot risk our legacy on a dream that cannot succeed. We are stretched too thin and the only way to insure survival is for Tori to leave and the facility to close before we are discovered." "But I don't understand, what has changed since you left?" asked Elizabeth, her voice strained. "There are some facts that even you do not know, and I am sure that when you have heard them you will agree. I'll explain it to you and the entire staff shortly. But first, Tori must go. I have Kevin ready with a car to remove her without drawing further attention." "Tori can't leave," said Elizabeth suddenly. "She has seen the library and the map." "That is impossible," said Marcus, "She's only been here one day; not enough time to learn the map." "It's true," she replied resolutely. "Tori completed identity training in less than two hours, and the map took just over three." Marcus's strained face stared back. "No one has completed induction training in under two hours." Elizabeth continued, "It is exactly as he predicted, the game accelerates the learning curve. The hours of play provided a full range of concrete examples from which to understand both the axioms and the map. I only needed to help point out the connections. It was faster than even I hoped for." Marcus recalled the bold predictions of rapid learning and the naive insistence that the map be exposed in the game - an idea that only Elizabeth had endorsed. Marcus took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, collecting his thoughts. "If she has seen the Map and the scrolls then she cannot go." Elizabeth's relief was visible, she was proud of Tori as if she alone had been responsible for the results, and wished only that, Marcus's son, the true 'Maker' could see his success. But her relief was short lived as she could see the burden this complication placed on Marcus. "I will find another way to deflect the scrutiny," said Marcus, "But her staying does not change my plan. The game and this building must be shut down."
  22. Hello Everyone!

    Reality Checker, check out the viedo: .Personaly, I like Triangle Man
  23. Studying Engineering in College

    I have a degree in mechanical engineering. I received it from CSU Chico in the California State University system in 1992. At that time our school often competed in engineering events against more prestigious universities such as Berkeley, and Stanford; and we nearly always beat them (as I recall). Furthermore, Chico Grads had a great reputation for being good practical engineers right out of school. We could roll up our sleeves and get to work on day one, where as Berkeley grads were reported to be more theoretical, less hands on, and took longer to be useful. Chico's engineering programs were very focused on real world projects. Almost every semester we had a project were we had to design something, build it, and test how our predicted results matched the reality. (We had 3 semesters, as opposed to 4 quarters, which gave enough time for projects) Furthermore, our professors were focused on teaching, not personal research projects, so we received the benefit of their full attention. I do not know of any Engineering books that you can read to get this type of education, but I can recommend this; Spend your time doing real world, hands on projects. Always do the computations, to predict your results, (otherwise you’re not engineering) then go out and build it and test your findings. If your school has an active engineering club that dose competitions, join, and get involved in building something. Consider a summer job at something hands on. (if you’re a mechanical engineer, I recommend a machine shop, or someplace that does fabrication.) Finally consider doing a semester as an exchange student. Don’t look for the most prestigious schools with the most renowned professors; rather look for a school focused on reality; i.e. – practical, hands on, working knowledge. The one book I can recommend, you have probably already read: the fountainhead. Roark did not become a great Architect in the classroom. Learn engineering the way you would learn philosophy, not by rationalizing from the book down, but by induction from reality up. I wish you the very best of luck. Engineering is such a great profession, it pains me to know you are not experiencing it as it can and should be.
  24. Happy Birthday to PhilO

    Happy Birthday Phil.
  25. Hello Everyone!

    Hi Capitalist Man, I hope it is not too late to welcome you. Your screen names reminds of a song: Paraphrasing from 'They Might be Giants" Capitalist Man, Capitalist Man, Doing the things a Capitalist Can! Socialist man Socialist man Whats he like? it's not important Socialist Man. Capitalist Man hates Socialist Man, they have a fight Capitalist wins! Capitalist Man, Capitalist Man! Go Capitalist Man! Roger