SIXTEEN HART, Acrylic on Canvas, 66¼"x66¼"          © Bryant Tillman 2005
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Science Fiction

A Manifesto for Empty Spaces

The Birds and the Bees

This is the word, and the word is about it all; everything and everything else, this is about the existentializing of truth and the knowledge that is unknown but exists well after the fact.

Here are the facts: Religion is dead and Science isn’t about living …no, it’s a tool of discovery and examination at best. Religion is dead and it should be, but in its spiritual appeal, it exceeds that of science. How is that? Science, at its best, can only provide the epiphany that true knowledge can bring, while religion bestows on the adept, a revelation that’s unfettered by secular physics, natural boundaries or, well, reality. People have the natural capacity to absorb excessive amounts of spiritual detritus; a form of greediness, "more is more".

Though the two regimes detests each other’s guts profoundly and with fair reason as one, dominant, would mean the extinction of the other, together they provide the sufficient ontological grasp of our perceivable universe; effectively framing and encompassing our reality to within the reach of our limits of perception.

Operatively, perception is reality, anyway, and as such must bear an equally operative designation that succinctly meld together the two predominate viewpoints (from the standpoint of this document), though the name brings a haunting irony and an existential apprehension to those who understand and accept the condition as undeniable.


We think, therefore we are. What we think we are, now that Religion has finally retreated to take its proper place among the spheres of theoretics and subjectivity, is a matter of, now, scientific speculation, and as such, committed to material record, effectively becomes. . . science fiction.


You see, we are only what we think we are and should we not be accurate in our assessment, then we are wrong. Just ask the church—whom might as easily say the same of science. To propagate a "wrong" as truth is to perpetrate a "fiction" upon our senses that skew our grip on reality. Mattering little that it comes from either Pope Benedict at the Vatican, or Orson Welles at the Mercury Theatre, the effect is identical. . .


Science Fiction.


Living in a state of science fiction, we become science fiction. Bluetooths sticking out of our ears, we carry telephones in our pockets that would hairlift Maxwell Smart. We grow genetically altered produce Roy Batty wouldn’t eat. Men who once walked on the moon require the help of their grandchildren to boot their laptops.


Science Fiction.


Wind turbines are popping up like dandelions, while the Cayman Islands sink into the sea from all those offshore accounts. Leaders of western democracies, adopting villainous ethics once reserved for villains, work through media surrogates to distort human values to facilitate ideo-pathologies not seen since the Soviets, nor referenced since Orwell.


Science Fiction.


The second reformation is forthcoming as the morally consistent Christian Left finally is showing indications of being fed up with the anti-humanist crap coming from the overly politicized Christian Right. There will one day come a tumultuous split that should send the neo-cons tumbling into the abyss, with any luck.

Unemployment in Detroit is at 25% and I still have my day job. If that’s not science fiction, what is? News media are going online; newspapers will no longer be printed on paper. Television is abandoning analog for digital; a number of the poor will be lost. We are approaching a cashless society; money will no longer grow on trees.


We live the lives of science fiction characters. The semblances permeate to the point of being unnoticeable. We would think we’d be brimming with cyberpunk hardware living "Mad Max" lives. Not so, not all of us, anyway. Don’t think hardware and trappings. . . think essence.

Blade Runner? Not this year, maybe in ten. Soylent Green? We’re working the problem now, but with reactionary interference as it is, the people scoopers could still roll down Woodward Ave. in as little as thirty years. However, if it will make you cowboys feel any better, we’ve been ass-deep into "1984" since World War I while, on the other hand, your flip-phone is as close to Star Fleet as you’re going to get.

No, I’m talking about the essence of what we are, in relation to what all this is. It isn’t just the "semblances"; it’s the substance underneath. . . the foundation of etiological percepts, the stuff of "REAL".

The Buddhists were close after all, it turns out. All is illusion, and if perception is reality, and reality is subjective, then our collective, or even individual assessment of that reality is fictitious. I mean it just isn’t happening, man.

Like bees in a hive, motorists on a highway, or birds in a migrating flock, we are unconsciously habituated to the dictates of the moment; to a subjective interpretation of who we are, what we’re doing and why. Culture is the culprit. It has encapsulated us in behavior, institution, work and activity. We live in boxes. We drive around in boxes. We work in boxes. We eat out of boxes. We were conceived in boxes. We die and are buried in boxes.

Other people do it in other ways. There is no "best". Superior and inferior are subjective, maybe arbitrary. . . . depends on what it infers. "Sweet" and "Sour" comes with value judgments that are culturally determined. "Up" and "down", isn’t up and down, if you’re upside-down. Your brain is trapped inside a skull that takes in what it can from only the five or six senses available. Your ocular vision can only "see" in a narrow bandwidth of the EM spectrum. . . the wrong bandwidth, if you ask the bird or the bee.


If it weren’t for mathematics, we would have only ourselves to say we even exist at all.


We have come to a crisis-point as a biological species. Long having been "self aware", we are developing schizophrenic maladies surrounding the ancient, traditional interpretation of the extrasomatic universe. This "interpretation", not at all accurate, meshes badly with the world and causes great discord among the more politically expressed. Wars have occurred where it shouldn’t.

The Neo-Spiritualists were quick to point the finger at the Wheel, and its corrupting influence on society. Neo-Spiritualism has long drawn a correlation between industrialism and class warfare, but they require the traditional template to anchor their belief systems, hold their demographic group together and foster social growth; ". . . Multiply and be Fruitful". This necessarily includes having two cars in every garage and a chicken in every pot.

Star Trek was their last shot at secular accommodation.

- 2009