CHAPTER 8 2050s
Part 1 "HT-MUSIC FOR THE MILLIONS" PREMIER
MARINA DEL REY, CALIFORNIA : 7:45 PM, Saturday, 2 MARCH 2052
"With me tonight, is Mr. John Wensler," said the announcer. The 3-D images of the announcer and John appeared on HTV Screens throughout the world. "We are broadcasting from HTI headquarters where the world's most sophisticated HT-Production System is located. John's wife, Mandy Wensler, composed, and will be the Focus for, tonight's performance entitled Connected Universe."
"John, it's a pleasure to be here and to talk with you tonight."
"The pleasure's mine and Mandy's," said John as the camera zoomed-in on him.
John's 3-D image was almost as realistic as seeing him in the flesh. The viewer could move through 45 degrees in any direction from the front of the screen and see different perspectives, just as one does in viewing a real object.
"Rather incredible, don't you think," said the announcer, "that one million two hundred thousand people have subscribed to tonight's performance?"
"Yes," said John. "It's been the constant urging from our subscribers that literally pushed us to develop the Joining Technology which we are using tonight."
"The subscribers should be in their HT units right now," said the announcer. "And as I understand it, they'll provide feedback to Mandy...they are an integral part in creating the program. The music and light program which they will experience will be created jointly by Mandy and the HT subscribers.
"Indeed," added John with a robustness that hid his age, "this piece has not yet been performed. Mandy has written and played the basic themes and created the basic images for The Connected Universe but she has never performed the piece with any HT-Joined audience. And only when joined with the subscribers, will the piece come alive.
"Tonight, I am proud to represent all those who worked so hard on developing the JOINING Synthesizer And I am even prouder that my wife Mandy will be the first to use this marvelous invention with you...the HT subscribers.
"You¾ from your HT units¾ will provide the biofeedback signals which Mandy will use to create tonight's premier performance of The Connected Universe. Mandy will be the Focus, the nucleus for the performance, but she can only act as the nucleus for something grander than herself. We, the HT-Joined Subscribers, are the grand element in this performance.
"In our HT-4 units, we'll view our screens and hear the music which we're jointly creating. And yet, each of us will have a unique experience...each of us will react in our own way, and these reactions are synthesized to create the performance. A joining of over one million people from all over the world to create an HT music-light adventure.
"The show will begin in ten minutes. I must go now to join you as part of the HTing audience." John's image disappeared and was replaced with a mellow combination of music and lights which preceded all the HT-Music programs.
: 7:30 to 8:05 PM
MANDY AND FLO PREPARE
Mandy entered the dressing room of the HT-Music unit 35 minutes before the concert. She prepared herself by doing her daily ritual to relax and cleanse her mind. She settled in her chair, picked up her violin and bow, and began playing the Lullaby. When she finished, she meditated for about 20 minutes.
Mandy knew that there were over one million participants from all over the world expected to join in tonight's performance. Mandy imagined all of them combining to become the heart of the Universe. The composition was designed to provide sounds, images and feelings of a vast dynamic living Universe connected to each human being.
Flo was so excited that the actual event was about to start that she could hardly contain herself. Calm down, Flo, she said to herself. You're about to experience this concert in the present moments of its blossoming. It will never smell so sweet again. The present moment is ..., Flo was at a loss for the appropriate word or phrase, ... is real. All other moments are memories of things past or things future. Memories are real too, she continued her thought, but not the same as a real time direct experience. I've 'visited' this performance many times, I've watched and heard Mandy create the music, I've witnessed all the repercussions of this event, but now is the time it 'really' occurs..
: 8:05 to 8:40 PM
THE CONNECTED UNIVERSE-An Overview
The performance lasted 35 minutes and consisted of one movement. The musical sounds and glorious lights touched very deeply. Mandy quickly felt the feedback from the audience. She was aware of details as well as whole new themes being perfectly integrated into the composition. Mandy was overjoyed that her initial arrangement was so wondrously developed and deepened. Mandy disappeared into that exquisite place where she created¾ really translated¾ music from the Universe itself.
A summary of the music and visuals, based on the recording from the HT- Production System, follows:
The Connected Universe begins with the slow sweet music of a single violin and a single flute quietly and harmoniously playing a simple theme. The violin to the left and the flute to the right. The screen is initially dark.
The two sources of music begin to move toward the center of the room. A second violin and second flute join in from the front and slightly behind. Additional violins and flutes enter the performance at an increasing rate from points on a shrinking sphere. (The hemispherical HT-4 Mod D units permit music to emanate from anywhere. This is accomplished by appropriately focusing sound waves from the 5,000 speakers in the walls of the unit.)
The instruments play the same theme, but the music rapidly becomes uncomfortably loud as the increasingly large number of violins and flutes approach the center of the room¾ between the HT chair and screen¾ simultaneously. Suddenly, a beautiful three dimensional image of Earth fills half the H-Screen and the music is transformed to an uncoordinated clamor.
The clamor involves many more instruments than can be identified, from sources located all over the Earth's surface. Each instrument is playing a separate tune. The sounds are uncomfortably uncoordinated.
Then from the seemingly infinite number of musical sources fine beams of light begin appearing. Each light beam is a different color, and each moves radially outward. The entire length of a beam is a source of music. As the expanding light and music continue outward, the light beams begin to vibrate. The beams look like vibrating strings, first vibrating slowly with little amplitude, and then more rapidly with increasing displacements until the beams diffuse and overlap. The music becomes orchestral with a sense of cohesion and connectivity.
New patterns begin to emerge. The colorful images and the orchestral music take on swirling themes which continue to expand outward from the Earth's surface. Individual light beams are visibly intertwined in complex patterns. The expansion of the colorful patterns to the edge of the H-Screen initiates an apparent shrinking of Earth as the swirling light beams extend to further and further distances.
The rate of expansion rapidly increases. A brilliant object comes into view, the Sun. The screen becomes filled with a beautiful yellow color and swirling spirals of light beams. The beams seem contained within the yellow sun. The Earth is no longer visible.
Suddenly, light beams flash outward. The Sun shrinks as the beams advance into the darkness of space. The music is now strongly marching, moving, exploring, probing, searching. Other stars come into view. Each light beam finds a star and rests for a moment. The stars are now smaller than the light beams. The shimmering beams dominate the screen and music.
Suddenly, new light beams emerge from each of the stars. Beams in all directions from all parts of the H-Screen. The screen and the music become chaotic. Too much to absorb. The colors merge to form complex patterns. Individual light beams are no longer identifiable.
The chaotic patterns compress inward. Darkness becomes the boundary for the chaos. There is a sense of the nothingness of space at the edge of the shrinking chaos.
And yet, from the nothingness, from the darkness, there is a stirring of sound. The musical chaos becomes quieter as the jumbled patterns continued to shrink. An increasingly evident musical theme develops from the nothingness. The theme of the violin and flute, played with many violin and flute sources scattered in the nothingness of space.
As the violin and flute musical theme grows stronger, the noise diminishes until the chaos is a speck in the middle of the screen. A speck of white light and an inconsequential source of discordance. The violin and flute theme encompass one's soul in the darkness.
Then other sources of noise can be heard from beyond the boundaries of the H-Screen. These chaotic sources of sound enter the H-Screen as specks of light. But as each chaotic speck enters, it begins a complex spiral path across the screen. Each speck's path forms a spiraling string of color and a new instrument that joins the violin and flute music with a growing harmony of power.
The music becomes orchestral again. The screen is now filled with a colorful three dimensional web formed from the innumerable strings generated by the chaotic specks of light.
As the music intensifies, the center of the web is transformed into a magnificent Michaelangelo-like statue of a man. He's standing motionless and naked in the middle of the H-Screen.
The violin and flute themes enter the H-Screen and circle the figure several times. The web outside the statue begins to vibrate and the figure seems to move. But there's no sense of independent life.
The man is simply a puppet attached to the web. But then, the violin and flute themes meet just over his head and become a flowing living continuum which enters the figure from the top of the head. The continuum brings the figure to life from the head down toward the feet. Hair grows on the body, life fills the eyes, the face, and the lungs.
As the man begins to breath, a new musical theme develops. The theme is alive with potential. When he inhales, some specks of light¾ still attached to the colorful web¾ enter his lungs, and when he exhales, specks of light flow from his mouth. The web ebbs and flows with his breathing.
The man stretches. He looks around. Then he takes the position of Rodin's Thinker. He becomes very still for a few moments.
Then, the web begins vibrating...faster and faster. The vibrations disturb the man and he looks up. He stares off to the distance for a moment. There are people moving toward him¾ men and women, boys and girls.
The colorful vibrating web connects them all. The man runs to meet the others. When he reaches them an electrifying energetic dance begins. A joyous musical theme causes the dancers to move and circle faster and faster. New dancers enter the performance from all directions and with all orientations. There is no sense of up or down any longer. Groups of two, three and four people dance around with abandon.
The dancers vibrate the web forming complex patterns. The patterns flow off the edge of the HT screen, but the music seems to carry the vibrations throughout the universe. The dancing and music fill the universe in one grand dance.
Slowly the music changes from reaching outward to the whole universe to focusing inward. The web patterns begin to converge on the center of the HT screen. There appears to be a cooperative agreement among the dancers to focus their vibrations. A small rotating sphere begins to form in the center of the HT screen. This sphere takes the appearance of Earth and slowly grows. The dancers begin circling the Earth.
As the Earth grows, the dancers become smaller. The dancing continues, but each group gradually reorients itself with feet toward the Earth and eyes looking outward toward the rest of the universe...eyes which say we'll not forget.
As the Earth becomes larger, the webbing becomes more tenuous. As the music reaches a crescendo, the dancers touch the Earth's surface. The music stops for a moment. The web disappears. The performance ends as the Earth continues to grow. The dancers become smaller and smaller until only the Earth fills the screen as the music of a single violin and a single flute play their theme while circling the Earth.
: 8:03 to 8:25 PM
John was thrilled that Mandy was performing on the Network. He entered the HT-unit thinking about how difficult it had been to connect so many people to the HT-Production System. But the task was done, and now he was anxious to experience The Connected Universe as one of a million people HT-Sharing.
John had helped Mandy practice her basic composition twice before by HT-Sharing with her. But when the concert began, the familiarity with Mandy's basic composition quickly became irrelevant. Certainly, the basic timing and notes of the violin, flute and other key instrumental sounds were the same. But the vastly increased broadness and depth of the music made the piece much more intense, provocative, original and beautiful. The visuals were similarly improved and deepened. Occasionally, there were brand new musical and visual themes generated by the combined biofeedback of all the participants.
John was immediately aware of the other participants through their effects on the music and images. The sense of connectivity became very strong. John experienced images of a million people reaching and touching each other with enormously long arms, hands and fingers.
And then, John felt touched by something which frightened him¾ something which he could not quite identify. The connectivity with a million people was rather impersonal, but this contact was very personal. The feeling was so sudden and so strong that he reflexively exclaimed, "Oh my God," and returned to a mental state. He thought, What in the hell was that...?
Even as he asked himself the question, he knew the answer. He felt touched by someone separate from himself. Someone interested in exploring him...exploring his life. The idea of someone probing him frightened John. He sensed that his fear had cut off any contact. John was angry at his automatic reaction and fear. Damn, he thought, I'm scared...that's why I'm thinking so much right now... What am I frightened of? The contact seems harmless enough. John took a deep breath and began focusing on the music and the associated color show. There was light and colorful strands forming an intricately connected web. And for a moment, there was nothing else. But then, he knew he was not alone.
This time he closed his eyes, remained focused on the music, and quietly observed the feelings of having someone else in his mind. The feeling was relatively painless, except when he felt that he no longer had any privacy or secrets...at least from whoever was probing his mind.
It's not really a probe for specific information, felt/thought John as he became more familiar with the feeling, it's more like a memory transfer...I'm both sending and receiving... to and from whom... to and from where... John listened to the music and became immersed in its hypnotic sea of motion and depth.
WASHINGTON D.C., HTI HEADQUARTERS: 7:55 to 8:30 PM,
David's entered the HT unit reserved for him at HTI headquarters without any trepidation. He wasn't worried about anything except that he might not like the performance. David was not basically a music lover. He enjoyed songs, but it was the words that captured his attention. Mandy had always tried to interested him in classical music, but she was never successful. David liked poetry and stories. His obsession¾ almost¾ with words was probably related to his psinfo.
David settled into the HT chair. His outfit was comfortable enough, but he missed being near other people. He knew that Jamali was in the next unit over, but that was not the same as holding hands with her. When the performance started, David's attitude quickly changed. He was pleasantly surprised at the honest enjoyment he had in the music and light show. He knew about the biofeedback principle of this performance, but paid little attention to that fact. His perspective was that of watching and listening to a concert. The sounds and images on the screen seemed to go perfectly together. His feelings about the world, indeed the universe, being one eco-system were being played by Mandy in the most comprehensive non-verbal way he'd ever witnessed. Everything in her music and on his H-Screen seemed to be connected to everything else. He loved it. David could hardly believe the sounds and images which he witnessed¾ like nothing else he had ever imagined. Here he was in the middle of a city, in a high tech room, and he was feeling the unity which he generally felt only when in the middle of a mountain range, or during a clear night in the desert. He felt connected to mother earth¾ through music and images.
Then he became aware of something new entering his experience. What's this? thought David. Feels like...like dreams...lots of images...someone's watching my dreams. There's some sort of contact. The sense of contact was real. But David could not detect any meaning from the contact. There was the sense of enormous amounts of information being transferred¾ both ways! David felt that not only was he sending information, but he was also receiving data of some sort.
The data, however, was virtually incomprehensible to him. There was nothing he could hold on too. So he decided to ask questions and hoped for meaningful responses. Who are you? David asked internally, directing his question to whomever had contacted him. David waited for some sort of response, but received none he could understand. He just experienced turbulent streams of feelings and flashes of complex images which rapidly passed through his mind and made no sense. Where are you? ... No response...
Can you hear me? he thought. Can you understand?
Probably not, thought David.
After a while, the sense of dream-like data flowing through his mind became a background experience. David focused on the music and the light, becoming conscious for the first time that there were a million people sharing this concert experience.
As David was drawn into the performance, he experienced being connected with a million people. For a brief moment, he became united with them as a single entity.
The H-Screen showed men, women and children dancing with the joy and energy of a limitless future. David became conscious of their dancing and joy, and he felt/thought of Jamali. Jami...I love you.
: 8:05 to 8:35
When the performance started, Jamali was still fidgeting in her chair and thinking about how annoying it was to have to change in the dressing rooms attached to the HT units. Well, at least David's next door, she thought.
Jamali was preoccupied with her daughter Sharon. Recently, Sharon was in a fight with a girl friend because the friend was jealous of Sharon's psinfo ability. The incident upset Sharon, and caused a fight between Jamali and David. Psinfoing in children was considered to be a rare prodigy-type of phenomenon. Jamali refused to hide Sharon's ability, although David strongly urged that approach. Jamali was concerned that she had made a mistake in encouraging Sharon to openly use all her capabilities.
A loud clash of noise and a slowly rotating Earth visible on the H-Screen caught Jamali's attention. She paused to listen to the music develop from the noise, and to watch the H-Screen form colorful connecting lights. Beautiful...the world is all connected. I wish we could stop all the divisiveness. The battling that goes on is ferocious. But at least all the big wars are economic. I wonder if we'll ever really take care of the weakest and hungriest? That's what Kiela wants for China's peasants and for all of the sick and hungry in the world.
Jamali heard the discordance in the music, which fit her thoughts exactly. I can't believe that after all these years, John still doesn't trust me. Incredible... He sees some unspecified conspiracy in Kiela taking over the Chinese delegation at the UN. And me...well I'm some sort of co-conspirator.
The screen and music began to bring order out of the chaos and discordance. There's hope, huh, she thought with a smile. She began listening to the music and she began enjoying the performance.
When the man formed from inside the web of lights, Jamali lovingly thought of David, At least we have each other and Sharon.
David's presence flowed into Jamali. She felt his love for her and she began to cry. The dancing and joy on the screen were in her heart and she began to cry.
Incredible, she thought. Feels like David's here with me. She listened and watched for another moment, and she enjoyed the feeling of David being so close. He felt so close that she felt/thought, Stop crowding me you big oaf. And she laughed out loud.
Jami...is that really you? filled her head. She sensed the meaning, but she didn't understand.
Then she experienced a wave of information flow into her conscious mind. Information about David. She suddenly knew more about him than he had ever told her¾ more than he ever could have told her. Jamali was in touch with David's memory. She could remember his experiences the way she could remember her own past.
She first remembered when she called him a big oaf, but she remembered it from his perspective. His feelings were first hurt, and then he saw she was kidding, and then he laughed his hearty laugh.
How can I distinguish his memory from mine? she mused. I haven't the slightest idea, but I can... She began remembering when they first met. I didn't know he was so insecure about us...at the beginning... Very interesting. Men, at least David in his youth, really look at women differently... I'm glad I had a good figure.
Jamali then asked herself about other aspects of his life. She explored one of his early childhood traumas involving being accused of cheating¾ he was, of course, using his psinfo ability. Mandy and John were so supportive, she thought.
Then she felt/realized that the information channel was two-way. That's great, I hope David learns more about me. Here I am, explore me, and I'll explore you, she thought.
She innocently began probing David's job. Why's he so pre-occupied? What's going on at work? she had asked herself. And much to her surprise and chagrin, she "remembered" the Top Secret case that was currently taking most of his time and attention. She knew what he knew about the Capone escape plans! She experienced his fear about someone dying.
Jamali realized that she knew that Capone's associates were planning to try to spring him from the LEVEL 5 jail if Capone's Supreme Court appeal was denied. She also knew that SACC would be ready...
Oh no, she thought, John'll go into orbit if he finds out I have Top Secret info. I wish he could understand...
With that thought, Jamali felt John's presence, and a similar wave of memory information flow. Oh my God, John and I are in contact... John... Good...
There was a distinct moment when she knew she could have cut off the exchange of information. She consciously chose to leave the channel open. She was aware that John was looking at her life. She wanted him to look.
: 8:25-8:40 PM
DAVID'S EXPERIENCE NEAR THE END OF THE CONCERT
The music and dancing filled David with the feelings of love¾ love for Jamali and love for life in general. He bathed in the warmth and wonder of this feeling. He wanted to hold onto it forever. He wanted to hold on to Jamali forever.
Stop crowding me you big oaf, the words intruded into his mind. Then he sensed Jamali's delightful laughter.
David was startled by Jamali's apparent nearness. It took him a moment to realize that he had tuned-in to part of the seemingly incomprehensible stream of information gushing through his mind.
Jami...is that really you? ...no direct response. But David knew that he and Jamali had made contact. He also knew, for the first time, that the information was not flowing through his mind. Rather, the experiences of many people, including Jamali, were somehow waiting to be explored. The door feels open to a collective information bank...
How much info? he thought. ...no response, but he had a sense that there was too much to access without being specific and/or clever. Jami, he focused his inquiry, what's new and exciting? He didn't actually think the words, but his specific intention was to ask Jamali about any new significant events in her life.
He sensed Jamali's thoughts about Sharon. Wow...I'm in her memory...
Suddenly, there were bright lights randomly flying about on the 3-D H-Screen. Some of the dancers were spinning very rapidly, like tops first hitting a floor. Brilliant shooting stars seemed to be emanating in all directions from their bodies. The music also became very chaotic.
David lost contact with Jamali's mind. He became mesmerized by the chaos. The shooting stars seemed to flow from the dancer's skins leaving long tails behind. As David assimilated the spectacle, he appreciated that every light path terminated on another dancer.
The tails became longer and longer, until continuous paths of light connected pairs of dancers separated by large distances. The arcs of light began to spread and gradually transformed into a web of rainbows as the chaotic sounds were transformed to the music of the flute and violin.
Not so chaotic... he felt/thought. The lights connect everyone...by twos... How many people am I hooked-up with? ...not a million...no way... he thought, somewhat uneasily.
A million people... sharing biofeedback.. What's significant to them... as a group... What can you pick-up from a million people?
Then he again became immersed in the music and lights. David joined with many participants that evening. Some contacts he would consciously remember, most he would forget.
: 8:30-8:40 PM
JOHN'S EXPERIENCE NEAR THE END OF THE CONCERT
...the memories of my mind are available to others... John felt/thought. After a few moments, as John relaxed and felt more comfortable with the contact, his perception changed. It's not only my memory being read, he felt/thought, it's memory linking...
Then, after a few more moments, Oh my God, he thought/felt, It's Jamali!
At that instant, John sensed Jamali's recent memories¾ her thoughts and feelings when she first read David's memory. She's worried about knowing some Top Secret plans... She's concerned about what I would think...
She knows I can probe her memory, just like she can probe mine. At that point, John almost broke contact with Jamali. But the strong sense of openness which he sensed from her was a quiet dare for him to justify his mistrust.
John felt the flute and violin music urge him to explore Jamali's mind. Okay, he thought/felt, ...Kiela. What about you and Kiela...and China? A rush of information swept past John¾ too much for him to grasp. He had a sense of pleasant memories working with Kiela. And a few images of an exciting trip to China.
In China, huh...did you meet with Kiela? he suspiciously asked himself and Jamali's memory. ...yes. Oh I see... John remembered her visit to China shortly after she began work at the Chinese Embassy in Palestine. She met Kiela for the first time on that trip. She was very impressed with his knowledge of the country, his graciousness, and his strong desire to help his people enter the technological world. "We must be much more than simply a supply of cheap labor," Kiela had said to Jamali.
When was this trip? he asked. About a year before meeting David, was the answer he sensed.
Did Kiela have anything to do with you meeting David? he probed. Then John sensed how lucky Jamali felt about the coincidence. She felt very fortunate that she and David met and fell in love. It was clear that Kiela had nothing to do with their meeting...at least not as far as Jamali knew.
For a few moments, John experienced their courtship. When he saw them kissing and planning to sleep together, John became very uncomfortable and avoided those memories.
Everything's too good, he thought/felt. That's how she remembers the past...
What about giving secrets to Kiela? He asked more forcefully. What lies have you told me about him? With that accusatory question, the nature of the responses changed. He began receiving answers not only from Jamali, but John became painfully aware of answers to similar questions from his own life and memories.
John remembered things from Jamali's mind. ...she lied about Kiela. She knew he was masquerading as a lady. Kiela told her when he first arrived. Kiela told her this was an important secret not to be shared with anyone...ever. She lied to David... Her lies were not part of any grand spy ring...
As Jamali's memories were filling his head, he simultaneously flashed back to a period in his own life which he was not very proud of ...I lied about my involvement with HTing the future. John remembered his series of lies to Captain Eastman in January of 2000. But those were justified...I was furthering the truth about the future...
John also remembered back to when he took the prototype from ASTI and improved the design. He lied to the management when he indicated that he had no interest in separately marketing any advanced design concepts.
He knew that Jamali had an equally important rationale about protecting Kiela's confidence. Her reasons for lying were quite compelling to her. The truth would hurt Kiela's chances of bringing the factory to Palestine. That would hurt all Palestinians. John felt the force of that reason with the same conviction that Jamali had felt it 20 years ago.
John calmed down. He no longer saw Jamali as a threat to himself or David or the United States. By relaxing and simply witnessing the memories from Jamali, without judgment, he quietly reviewed significant events in her life. He learned to respect her talent and character.
As it became clearer and clearer that Jamali was basically what she had always claimed to be, namely a translator from Palestine and David's wife, he discovered that his suspicions were truly directed at Kiela.
John suddenly appreciated his own stupidness and stubbornness. A tear formed in the corner of his eye¾ a tear for all the pain he had caused Jamali and David.
As he wiped the tear from his cheek, John asked Jamali for her forgiveness.
She did not respond. Damn...why isn't she listening...
He realized that he was only roaming through her memory; he was not communicating with her. He could talk to her later. He would try to explain later.
John was feeling very frustrated. Not only at his own weaknesses and the pain they had caused, but also at not being able to understand Kiela and his intentions. Can he be trusted...is he an honorable man...? Kiela, are you listening to the concert? Can I probe your mind...boy, I would sure like to... John received no response.
The concert ended. The biofeedback stopped. John's consciousness did not return to the HT-unit for a while.
: 8:10-8:40 PM
FLO'S EXPERIENCE OF THE CONCERT
Flo finally experienced the concert. She never more appreciated the stark difference between the reality and sense of the moment compared to the sterileness of simply witnessing the future or past. Once Flo was released to the outer world she simply remained with Mandy. Flo, of course, knew about the sharing of memories from her explorations into the future.
Now she was experiencing the concert¾ live and in color. And she loved it. Flo appreciated the nuances of Mandy's violin work, and she marveled at the complexity and beauty of the accompanying music and lights.
Flo felt the intensity that Mandy experienced as Mandy connected all those on Earth with the vast Universe itself.
Then she felt the music mingle with her consciousness. This is it, Flo! Through the music, and through Mandy's biofeedback signals, Flo connected with the one million two hundred thousand HT participants. She felt a surge of emotion as she left Mandy's world of time and space.
For Flo, time essentially stopped. She leisurely explored the experiences of all the HTers, one at a time, and had conscious access to all their experiences.
Flo knew each HTer's life story¾ past and future. And she knew all their stories simultaneously. Flo was able to experience every persons' reactions to the events in their lives. Each person had a unique signature related to their genetic code. Flo could distinguish each person's experiences.
Flo knew that Mandy and Mandy's music propelled her to this special state where ...the personal experiences of people are simply out there...out in the Universe...everywhere and everytime in the Universe...wow! Flo was used to visiting events and individual experiences of those events, but, one event and one person at a time.
Flo missed the nearness of Mandy. She yearned for the warmth of sharing a simple moment with David or John. Flo's desires brought her out of the special place, or state of consciousness, she had visited. That place is spectacular...especially with a million lifestories available for explorin'...but I prefer to be with those I know best.
Flo focused lovingly on Mandy, John and David as the concert continued. She was delighted to be with them as they experienced The Connected Universe.
: After the Concert
When the performance ended, John climbed out of his HT-unit, dressed as quickly as he could and rushed to Mandy's unit. The crowd, mostly composed of cameramen and reporters, let him through. He was asked how he enjoyed the concert, and he replied that "Mandy made history...she, and her music, and the collection of participants truly connected us all."
The guard let John into the dressing room. When John entered the unit, Mandy's back was turned and she was talking to a female technician who had helped her before and after the performance. The technician looked up at John and Mandy turned around.
John went to her and gave her a big hug, "How marvelous you were. The performance was more magnificent than I could have ever imagined."
She gave him a warm hug back, and said, "It was incredible. I felt connected to a million people and through them to the whole Universe. What a feeling! I've never experienced anything like it before. Then I really went on automatic. I don't remember anything after the first five minutes or so."
"Mandy, it wasn't only the music," said John with a slower and more serious tone. "I had a strong telepathic¾ well almost telepathic¾ contact with Jamali. It was extraordinary. I was able to roam around her mind..."
"Yes, and I also felt that I could have made contact with other listeners... You didn't sense anything like that?"
"Not a thing," said Mandy. She wondered if he was feeling all right.
"Boy," John was now questioning the contact with Jamali, "it felt like I was sharing my thoughts and images with Jamali. Not exactly sharing thoughts at the same time, but we both had access to each other's memories."
Mandy gave him another hug and said, "Well, that's an unusual response to the music. But, I'm glad you enjoyed the performance. I'm sure your biofeedback was an important part of the concert."
"Damn it...don't patronize me," John said, "I'm serious, I think I made a psychic contact of some sort with Jamali...a contact which was very significant."
Mandy just stared at John. She was not going to let anyone, including John, divert her attention from the HT-Music concert.
"Okay...okay," said John. "Let's drop it for now. Anyway, the performance was spectacular. How important was the outside feedback from the rest of the participants..."
"It was the key to the performance...I never felt so deeply connected in my life. It was as if I became the connections," said Mandy.
Just then Mandy's assistant came in and said, "It's time to talk to SNNI and some of your public."
"Yes, I guess so," said Mandy. She never liked talking to the reporters, but she did like the contact with the public through the Satellite News Networks telecommunication system.
THE SNNI REPORT
SNNI Reporter: "Mrs. Wensler, congratulations on a marvelous performance. I enjoyed it very much."
Mandy: "Thank you."
SNNI Reporter: "What was it like receiving biofeedback from over one million people? What were your feelings during the performance."
Mandy: "My awareness of the huge audience began with the first note of the concert. The sense of multiple and widely varying responses to the music and lights moved me quite deeply. The complex biofeedback was a catalyst for me to express even more deeply the themes of The Connected Universe. I was fully conscious of this feedback for a relatively short while, maybe 5 minutes. After that, I simply merged with the biofeedback and the basic themes.
"The HT-Music Unit was marvelous...exhilarating...I felt like I was an instrument. I felt that I was being played by the music, by the audience, and by the Universe. It's difficult to express in words."
SNNI Reporter: "Others have had similar difficulty in expressing portions of their experience during the performance. There are persistent comments about communication with UFOs, or telepathic contact with other people in the concert, or talking to God. What do you make of these comments? "
Mandy: "I don't know what to make of reports like that. I didn't have any such experience."
SNNI Reporter: "Before we go to questions and comments from the public, let's hear from our own SNNI music critic Bob Halperson. Bob, take it away. "
Mandy and the SNNI reporter turned to look at the large screen located behind the cameras. The program now shifted to the SNNI studios where Bob Halperson had listened and participated in the performance using an in-studio HT unit.
Bob Halperson: "To all of you who were lucky enough to experience the revolutionary musical work of Mandy Wensler, you witnessed history being made. You...we were part of that historical event when over one million people listened, and through the miracle of HT satellite biofeedback techniques, participated in a unique concert. The Connected Universe represents a milestone in creative music¾ a milestone that will be difficult to surpass.
"To all of you who did not hear the concert, buy an HT-Video tape as soon as possible. There has never been a violin which connected a piece of music more beautifully than Mandy's did tonight. There has never been an orchestra which provided more depth, range, harmony and breadth of emotion than the music generated by tonight's performance. It was certainly not the electronics in the Unit which provided the music which touched my heart and soul. No, it was Mandy and maybe she was indeed helped by the rest of us who were privileged enough to participate in this concert.
"I was emotionally connected to so many of my friends and relatives from my past. I felt like I relived many warm and wonderful moments. I relived them with an intensity which was almost as strong as the original experience. What an accomplishment in the history of music.
"If you're getting the impression that I liked The Connected Universe, you are absolutely correct. I rate it as a perfect 10.
"Back to you."
SNNI Reporter: "Thank you Bob. As most of our viewers know, we always invite a group of 9 additional critics to listen to these key concerts and to tape their comments at the same time as Bob presents his report live. These other critiques will be available for your viewing in about 15 minutes. Simply request Concert Critics on your computerized selector.
"We'll now go to some live discussions with viewers of this program who also participated in tonight's concert.
"As most of you know, anyone who wants to ask Mandy a question, or express an opinion on her concert can simply request the SNNI Music Channel and the Comments option. You'll be asked how you rate The Connected Universe with a number from 1 to 10. Then, if you desire, you'll be put into the pool of viewers who will be randomly chosen to ask a question or express a comment on the air. There is no charge for this service. And we urge you to call with a rating even if you don't want to be on the show.
"Let's have a question now."
The H-TV screen changed to show a women of about 55 to 60 years old. She was sitting on a couch in her living room with her husband next to her. Her picture was being transmitted to the studio by the camera installed in every H-TV unit.
Viewer 1: I loved your piece. It was exhilarating. I felt connected to a conscious universe. It was the most remarkable feeling. The universe seemed to want to know everything there was to know about me. It wanted to relive my whole life...and I let it do just that.
"What technique did you use to elicit such a feeling?"
Mandy: There was nothing done in particular. I always want people to go as deeply into themselves as possible with my music. And you seem to have touched a feeling within yourself of a conscious universe. How marvelous for you.
SNNI Reporter: Let's go to the next viewer.
Viewer 2: Look Martha, that's us. (In the background someone is heard to say, "Harry, talk to the screen. You're on the program!")
Viewer 2: Mandy, I don't usually go to this kind of concert. I like my western music with words that I can understand and relate to. But Martha gave me this birthday present, and so I saw you at the local HT outlet store.
Well, let me tell ya, you were terrific. I want all your tapes¾ I hear you gave regular live concerts many years ago. My question to you is...where can I find H-Tapes of those concerts?
Mandy: (With a smile on her face) Yes, I have performed at concerts in front of live audiences before. But that was many years ago. Most of my concerts exist only in the old CD format. But there are two that were videotaped¾ not with H-Video, of course. I don't know exactly where you can find either of these? Maybe an antique shop... (In the background Martha is heard to say, "Tell her about Billy.")
Viewer 2: Mandy, there was another thing that was miraculous about your music. The lady before me talked about being in touch with the Universe, well. I...I...talked to Billy. Bill is our son...he died three months ago in a flycar accident. (Harry paused sadly.)
"Billy was really in touch with me. I felt him...I talked to him. He talked to me about some of the things we did together when he was growing-up.
SNNI Reporter: "Thank you. Let's go to another viewer.
Viewers 3 and 4 were also very positive about the performance. Viewer 3 felt in touch with another part of himself... "a part which was watching and feeling what the other part was doing during the concert."
Viewer 4 thought that she was contacted by someone or something from a UFO. She wanted to know if Mandy believed in UFOs. Mandy said that she had never seen one, but knows that they are still reported. Mandy also said that she was bothered by the fact that there was no hard evidence to support the existence of UFOs.
The SNNI Reporter transferred the call to the fifth viewer who was an older man. He had a strong negative impression of the concert.
Viewer 5: Mandy, I'm sorry to tell you that I was very disappointed. I was a fan of yours in my youth, and had looked forward to the concert for many weeks. What concert? Mandy. I heard no concert. I heard a bunch of noise accompanying your violin music. Maybe I missed seeing you playing...maybe I missed a regular orchestra. I don't know...but I do know that I didn't enjoy the concert. All I could think about was the old days...and how they were gone. Instead of being able to relish the music, all I could do was reminisce with myself. I told myself stories to drown out the noise. I'm sorry Mandy.
Mandy: That's okay. Were they good stories...that you told yourself.
Viewer 5: Some were, but they were all old stories that I had relived before. I wanted to experience something new. I hoped your music would do it for me.
After the fifth viewer, there was a special report.
SNNI Reporter: I'm informed that Bob Halperson has a report to interject here. Is that okay with you, Mandy.
Bob Halperson: I've reviewed the comments of the other critics, and I think you should see the report from the critic who gave the lowest ranking to the concert. Remember, this is the worst review. The overall rating among the 10 reviewers is a 7.6 which is excellent. However, the nature of the worst review is important to consider.
The screen changed to another critic. "This is Murry Sherman, the music critic for the New Orleans Times. I have just witnessed a most outrageous musical performance. The music began organized, but as the piece continued, the complex and often contradictory tones and sounds made it impossible to enjoy.
"There was clearly a discordance in the background. Maybe one million participants, even though there is one primary focus, namely Mandy Wensler, cannot possibly provide a meaningful piece of music.
"After the first movement, the music forced itself into my thoughts and feelings. It forced itself as an unwanted intruder into my mind and soul. This was very disconcerting. I felt invaded. If it were not for my job as a music critic, I would have left the HT-Unit. I felt like I had a person in me which was listening to my thoughts and feeling my feelings. I lost all sense of privacy. I lost the wondrous feeling of being alone with the music.
"I had hoped to connect with the Universe through the music. But alas, what a disaster. The Connected Universe caused such a discord within me that I could not even connect with the music, yet alone with the Universe.
"I can only give a rating of 3 to this work. It would be even lower if not for the singularly beautiful violin music from Mandy Wensler."
SNNI Reporter: "Mandy, do you have any comment.
Mandy: "The responses seem to be very strong¾ one way or the other. People seem to have enjoyed or hated the concert. That's okay with me. At least we instilled strong emotions in all the participants. However, this persistent theme of sharing ones thoughts and feelings with another person, thing, universe, or with another facet of oneself is very curious. I don't know what to make of that.
SNNI Reporter: "Mandy, do you plan on having another concert?"
Mandy: "I haven't thought that far into the future yet. It looks like most people enjoyed this one. I probably will do another concert. I need to pick a theme that captures my imagination, and hopefully the public's. It's going to be difficult to follow The Connected Universe.
The SNNI Reporter turned toward Mandy and said, "I've just received a report that we have an interview with your son at the Washington DC HTI offices. If you don't mind, Mandy, we'd like to show the interview now.
Mandy nodded in agreement, and said, "He better have liked it...or I'll spank him." Mandy and the reporter laughed.
The screen changed to a new face,. "This is Sam Teller reporting from the HTI offices in Washington DC." The impressive office building with the HTI logo was behind Sam.
"I've just finished a remarkable interview with Mr. David Wensler, son of Mandy Wensler," continued Sam, "David HTed tonight's performance from an HT unit inside these offices along with 99 other people including his wife."
"I'd like to show you the interview now. It occurred immediately after the performance."
Sam nodded and the screen changed to show Sam still in front of the HTI building, but now there were many people exiting. He approached David and Jamali. "Mr. Wensler," said Sam. "Do you have a few moments?"
Jamali and David were holding hands, and when Sam asked his question, Jamali pulled David away. She could be heard saying, "Don't do it...it's crazy."
David first turned toward Jamali and said, "It's okay, hon. Don't worry." Then he turned to Sam and the camera.
"Sure Sam," said David. They knew each other from previous interviews related to David's meteoric rise to Deputy Director of SACC.
"First of all, did you enjoy the concert?" Sam asked.
"Yes...very much. But, something much more significant than an excellent performance providing good memories happened tonight. Tonight, a brand new type of HT-Sharing occurred.," answered David.
"I don't understand," said Sam.
"I don't understand how it happened either, but I sensed¾ very strongly¾ that there were psychic connections made between many of the HTers participating in The Connected Universe." David paused.
"Psychic connections?" Sam echoed with a question mark in his voice.
"The theme of my mother's composition...or it's music and light dynamics...or the fact that so many people participated...I don't know why or how it happened..., but I personally felt in telepathic communication with literally hundreds of people. I felt I was in touch with their memories...with their lives. This information seemed to be in my memory...like it was inserted there. Similar to my psinfo ability."
"For our viewers who don't know," said Sam, "David has been shown to have the rare ability to recall from his memory anything written. He recalls this information even though he never consciously read the material. He has been tested and his skill has been verified."
"I might add, that the psinfo ability is not yet understood, but it's real," said David. "And I now believe that telepathic sharing of information has occurred among the HTers."
"Mental telepathy...mind reading? Is that what you're talking about?" asked Sam.
"Yes, I guess so," answered David. "I seemed to share other peoples' thoughts and feelings. I suppose that's mental, as well as emotional, telepathy."
"What do you mean?" asked Sam.
"Well," began David slowly, "people's lives were available for sharing... as long as I gave them equal access to my life's story. The information was simply waiting there to be encountered. Generally, the lifestory information was rather overwhelming in magnitude and coldly impersonal."
David paused and then continued. "Often, however, I also felt personal direct telepathic contact. Sometimes, unfortunately, the contact was grossly misinterpreted. For example, In one case, a young woman began probing my lifestory. This caused me to look at her life. I saw that this woman's boyfriend died two years ago and she still deeply missed him. When she became aware of my presence, she thought and felt that I was her dead boyfriend. I unintentionally induced her to believe that she made contact with her boyfriend."
David paused sadly, "I'm very sorry for this misunderstanding...I suppose some of this is inevitable. But," David now became much more animated, "most of the contacts were quite positive and experiencing other people's lives was exhilarating. For example, the contact with my wife was warm and loving," David looked to Jamali who reluctantly and nervously nodded.
Jamali pulled at David, "That's enough," she said. "We'd better go."
"It's okay," said David. "I must tell them what I saw."
Sam wasn't sure what Jamali was so upset about. The telepathy was certainly unusual, but he sensed there was something else. "Telepathy and lifestories...that's pretty amazing...and difficult to believe."
David nodded in agreement. "And since we're talking about incredible, let me give you another one. I sensed experiences from the future."
"From the future," repeated Sam with a baffled look on his face.
"Yes...there's going to be a big earthquake near Los Angeles...next Thursday morning. The quake will be a magnitude 8.5, and there will be a large loss of life and property."
"How can you possibly know this?"
"Somehow...in a way I don't understand," said David, "I sensed it during the concert... I sensed it from many people's experiences... future experiences... This earthquake will be the big news event for a week or so. And hundreds of thousands of the HTers from the concert will become intensely aware of the quake... I was somehow connected to this future information through them."
"Are you the only one who can do this?" asked Sam.
"No...I don't think so," said David hesitantly.
"Are you sufficiently certain about your prediction that you would recommend an evacuation of the LA area?" asked Sam.
"Yes, but not enough people will listen..." said David sadly.
"As Deputy Director of SACC, can't you go to the President or somebody else and force an evacuation?" asked Sam.
Jamali then pulled at David, "That's enough, let's go."
"Sam, not enough people will listen... I have to go," said David. He and Jamali then walked away toward the flycar parkport.
The camera returned live to Sam. He took a deep breath, looked directly at the camera, and said, "I too was privileged enough to have participated in The Connected Universe concert. And I also sensed a strange type of psychic ability which I used to explore my wife's mind and life experiences. More importantly, I also saw flashes of an earthquake...in Los Angeles...where my wife and kids live. I'm hoping by supporting David's comments and prediction, I can help begin an evacuation of the LA area before the quake occurs on..."
The screen suddenly went blank for a moment. The SNNI production manager ordered Sam's piece terminated. He felt that all the talk about an earthquake was irresponsible. The SNNI reporter and Mandy were back on the air."
SNNI reporter: (After a rather long pause) The earthquake prediction has no scientific basis. I too participated in the concert, but I had no inkling of any earthquake, and I'm in Los Angeles. This prediction is so speculative that I cannot, in good conscience, even continue discussing it. This completes the post-concert broadcast.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: SUNDAY, MARCH 3, 2052
The headline in the morning papers and computer news services, was:
MAGNITUDE 8.5 EARTHQUAKE
PREDICTED FOR L.A.
The articles discussed David's prediction and highlighted the fact that he was the Deputy Director of SACC.
The morning talk shows were buzzing with the prediction. They noted that it was quite unusual for earthquake predictions to be so specific.
Earthquake scientists were interviewed, and they unanimously scoffed at the prediction. They all agreed that there was no indication of any unusual activity on any of the faults in the L.A. area.
Considerable progress had been made in monitoring the Earth's movements and stress concentrations along key faults. Two earthquake warning had been officially announced during the previous year. Thousands of people were evacuated, and in one case, lives were saved. But, the scientists acknowledged that their prediction capability was far from perfect. It was impossible to monitor every fault along its entire length.
"To believe that fortune telling is the way to predict earthquakes would rock the foundation of science," was the comment of the Chairman of the California Earthquake Preparedness Agency.
SACC HEADQUARTERS, WASHINGTON D.C: MONDAY, 8:15 AM, 4 MARCH 2052
David was called to the Director's office first thing in the morning. The Director's name was Ed Mansfield. He had a big plush office, and David sat in one of the two chairs in front of the polished oak desk.
"How could you be so public with your wild and unsubstantiated claims!" said the Director with no attempt to hide his anger.
"You didn't think even one moment about the effect on the agency," he continued. "I began receiving calls at my home last night¾ minutes after your interview was broadcast all over the world. Do you want to know who called first?
"The Governor of California, that's who...I went to school with him. He wanted to know if your earthquake predictions were endorsed by SACC," the Director answered his own question.
"The Governor received a call from the Mayor of Los Angeles. The Mayor wanted to know if a general evacuation of the city should be initiated. And why not, the earthquake prediction came from none other than David Wensler, the Deputy Director of SACC.
"And frankly, God damnit, I'm even angrier about your openness concerning the ability to access any kind of information from the future. You know that subject is one of the most highly classified secrets we have... I can't believe it..." Ed sadly slumped in his chair.
Ed and David were good friends. The Director was clearly in a difficult position. David knew it still wasn't time for him to say anything. It was time to let the Director get everything off his chest.
After a long pause, the Director continued with a terrible mix of sadness and anger, "My next call was from Mr. Halder¾ you remember him¾ the President's Chief of Staff. He was calling to find out why SACC had not cleared this revelation concerning its new ability to predict earthquakes with the President and the National Security Council. Mr. Halder told me that the President was quite upset because if we were to acknowledge that SACC could predict earthquakes, then we would probably have to reveal all the other capabilities we have concerning the future.
"When I told him that SACC had not developed any new capabilities concerning earthquakes...he didn't believe me. He assumed, just like most others will assume, that SACC must be involved. David Wensler was simply using the concert as a cover for predicting the earthquake. Mr. Halder thought that it was a pretty flimsy cover at that.
"Frankly, I hope your prediction is wrong...then you can quietly resign, and that will be the end of it."
Ed sighed a long troubled sigh. "I really ought to fire you right now, but I respect your abilities too much to do that...what if there's an earthquake this Thursday in LA...then the agency would really look bad. Frankly, Dave, I don't know what to do."
David knew that it wasn't his place to make any suggestion. He simply remained uncomfortable and quiet. He hadn't meant to cause all this trouble for his friend. He fidgeted in his chair a little. But, his conscience was clear. He had simply told what he believed to be the truth so he could save peoples' lives.
After another pause, Ed asked, "Do you still believe that the Big One will strike Thursday?"
"Yes," said David after clearing his throat. "In fact, this morning I woke-up with strong images of a specific building which will be severely damaged. It was a skyscraper with a car-port on top. I saw several flycars fall off the building. It was pretty gruesome."
"Strong images, huh," said Ed.
"Look," David said, "I'm sorry for all the problems...and it's true that I didn't think through all the consequences..."
David paused for a moment to gather his thoughts so he could express his position as clearly as possible. "But, I'm convinced that the earthquake will happen, and I had to speak out to try to save as many lives as I could. I know there will still be a devastating number of deaths, I saw that. But, I really had no choice...I had to warn as many people as I could...as soon as I could."
"How can you possibly be convinced?" Ed asked rather angrily.
"I have a sense of knowing¾ just the way I know what I had for breakfast this morning. The confidence is quite strong. I'm internally convinced, but I can't convince you."
"Even though you feel convinced, you could still be wrong!"
"Yes, and I could also be wrong about the eggs. orange juice and two pieces of toast I had this morning."
"I'm not concerned about your goddamned breakfast," shouted Ed in frustration.
All requests for interviews with David, the Director of SACC, or any other representative of SACC were declined. A statement was to be released at noon, Washington time.
The flycar traffic out of LA was about 30% above normal; only half the normal traffic flowed in.
MARINA DEL REY, CALIFORNIA: 9:00 AM March 4, 2052
Mandy and John watched the SACC statement from their home. The statement was brief, no questions were permitted, and the following sheet was provided to the news media:
SACC OFFICIAL STATEMENT
The earthquake prediction made by Mr. David Wensler was in no way associated with his work at SACC.
His prediction was made after attending a HT-Music concert which may have affected him mentally and emotionally.
He still believes his prediction to be valid, but SACC does not endorse this prediction in any way.
He showed very poor judgment in announcing his prediction without any notification to SACC.
He is immediately relieved from all his duties at SACC pending a review of this whole matter.
Mr. Edward Mansfield
END OF STATEMENT
That afternoon, John and Mandy flew to the JFK airport to give David moral support and to leave Los Angeles. The flight took 3 hours.
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: EVENING: MARCH 4, 2052
John and Mandy took a flycab from the JFK airport to David and Jamali's home. They landed on top of the 260 story condominium building at about 8:30 PM. Jamali and Sharon met them.
"Grandma, grandpa!" exclaimed Sharon as she ran to give John and Mandy each a big hug. Sharon was five years old and she loved Mandy and John. Sharon had spent last summer with them¾ it had been a fun summer for them all.
"Oh what a terrific hug," said John. And then he faked a groan as he lifted Sharon high in the air. "You're just growing-up so fast."
"No," said Sharon, "seems slow to me."
"Now John," said Mandy, "don't over-exert yourself."
"Not to worry," said John, "I'm a young and healthy 112."
"What a terrific daughter you have," said John as he walked to Jamali and gave her a long hug. Tears began to form in John's eyes. He loosened his arms so he could look at Jamali.
"Will you forgive me?" he asked her.
"For doubting you...for not trusting you all these years. I've been such a fool."
Jamali renewed the hug. "John, John," she said, "you did look at my life...I'm so glad." Then tears came to her eyes.
"Mommy, what's the matter?" asked Sharon.
Jamali and John released each other, and then turned to Sharon.
"Nothing's the matter," said Jamali. "We're a little teary eyed from being happy. Grandpa and I were remembering a special thing that happened to us during last night's concert."
"Can I HT during the next one?" Sharon asked.
"Sure honey," said Jamali. Then she turned to Mandy and John and said, "Let's go downstairs. David's HT-Sharing with a guy who also sensed the earthquake during the concert."
They took the elevator to the three bedroom 2500 square foot condominium on the 192nd floor. New York City was the leader in VTHSs¾ Very Tall Housing Structures, and VTBSs¾ Very Tall Business Structures.
David emerged from the HT-Unit about 5 minutes after John and Mandy settled into the living room of the well furnished home. Jamali told the kitchen robot about the drink and snack requests and was putting a tired Sharon to bed.
David walked into the living room. "You have the latest outfit, I see," said John. David was wearing a skin tight dull-silver outfit which covered him from head to toe. Only his eyes and mouth were visible.
"It's funny looking," said Mandy.
"Yes," said David, "but at least it's mobile and I don't have to change every time I leave the HT-Unit. These ultra-light flexible outfits are a significant advance. They'll probably come out with designer versions soon enough."
"Can I give you a hug?" asked Mandy as she stood up.
"Sure," said David. He gave his mother a hug and a quick kiss on the lips. "These outfits 're strong. They're literally made of millions of electronic circuits created at the molecular level."
Mandy held on to David, and looked at his face. "Are you okay," she asked seriously.
His face became heavy with acknowledgment of the seriousness of the situation. "Yes...yes, I'm fine. I've decided I have to resign from SACC. I can't speak out if I stay.
"Oh no," said Mandy, "...what about your career?"
"I don't care about my career," David said with a little anger in his voice. "There's going be a large earthquake in Los Angeles, and I must do what I can."
"You're still so sure?" asked John.
"More sure than ever. I've just finished an HT-Sharing session with a guy from Wisconsin who also sensed the quake. He called me this afternoon, and I've just found time to follow-up. I've been receiving tons of calls... Unfortunately, most of them negative. I even received a crank call from LA. The caller threatened to kill me because my prediction scared his mother."
Mandy gasped at the threat.
"Don't worry, mom," said David. "All my calls are now being screened by the police, as well as the two secretaries I hired. We're only following-up on the calls from people who claim to have sensed the quake. The guy from Wisconsin was the forty ninth person we've HTed with so far today."
"We...?" John asked for clarification.
"Oh yes, Jamali is as active as I am in screening people who claim to have information about the quake." David walked very stiffly over to the chair next to the couch where Mandy and John were seated. Without bending his knees, because of the stiffness of the suit, he plopped down.
"So far," David continued, "thirty two callers are legitimate... That's thirty two people who also had a strong sense of a quake in Los Angeles. Each of them picked-up some information which was different in detail, but all of us agree on it being a large quake causing many deaths and extensive damage to Los Angeles. About half of us picked-up a sense of the time of the quake...we agree that it will be this coming Thursday morning."
"How do you know that these guys aren't cranks? asked John.
"Jamali or I have HT-Shared with most of them. If they're willing to go one on one we can know if they're telling the truth. It's amazing," said David, "the honest ones...we support each other...we all feel more confident than ever that our information's accurate. The biofeedback with these guys...it's simply incredible." David became quiet as he remembered the feeling, and then he added, "It's very different than normal HT-Sharing. HT-Sharing is very focused, we start there to establish mutual credibility. But, when we tune-in to each other, we go to a very different place. It's very open...sometimes too unfocused I'd say. And yet, we experience these insights into the future."
"What have I done," thought/felt Mandy. She was feeling responsible for the controversy David was enduring. "All I wanted to do was bring beautiful music to as many people as possible...what have I done?"
John thought, He's really convinced...I think he's probably tuned-in... Incredible... John asked, "What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to resign from SACC in the morning," said David without any hesitation.
"Oh no," said Mandy with obvious pain in her voice.
"Mom...it's okay," said David. He stood up from his chair, with some difficulty, and plopped down next to Mandy on the couch.
"I have to go with my instincts...my feelings," said David. "You taught me that. You always said I should be true to my self. I feel, as deeply as I know how to feel, that there will be an earthquake."
He paused and kissed her on the cheek. "And there's more. I know about other earthquakes...and hurricanes, and a swarm of tornadoes...there's another drought coming in Africa...
"Don't you see, your concert has activated something in many of us. Something which is really amazing. We're convinced of its reality. We must go public with it...and now, before the quake occurs."
Mandy sighed and gave David a big hug. "Davey, do what you must do," she said. "I've always known that parts of the future could be known. I knew I'd marry your father...
"Yeah, you told me that story when I was a kid...trying to make my psinfo seem like only one of many mysteries." said David.
"Davey," said John, "I trust your instincts...I believe you're tuned-in to the future. Is there anything we can do to help you?"
"Thanks, both of you, for your support," said David. "And yes, there is something you can do. Openly join and support our group."
"I don't understand," said John. "Neither of us sensed the quake..."
"This group is about much more than just telling people there's going to be an earthquake," David paused for a moment.
"It's becoming clear," he continued, "that during mom's concert many participants' lifestories were willingly released. These participants entered a special state of consciousness where other peoples' liberated life experiences could be accessed. Apparently, the very act of complete openness...of a willingness to hide nothing, permits you to experience the lives of others similarly inclined."
John was nodding in agreement as he remembered how he probed Jamali's life.
Mandy did not understand what David was talking about. She said, "Experience other peoples' lives...that doesn't make any sense."
"You don't experience it exactly...it's more like remembering a past experience of your own," said David.
"Remembering my experiences," Mandy was becoming upset. "Why should anyone else know my life that well? I don't want anyone to know me that well."
"I know, it's perplexing and maybe even frightening," said David. He slowed his speech and carefully chose his words. "There is a moment of choice...a conscious moment when you choose to put your lifestory out there. Then your life's experiences seem to flow to a Place where they simply are."
"This Place¾ and that's what we're calling it," he continued, now speaking more normally, but carefully, "contains more information than anyone can absorb, certainly more than anyone can remember. It seems that while we're HTing, this Place contains the complete lifestories of the consenting participants.
"A person's lifestory includes all the person's experiences from the moment of conception to the moment of death. All that a person consciously felt, thought, tasted, smelt, saw, heard, imagined, dreamt, believed, feared, desired, loved, hated, wrote, composed, read, understood, etc."
David continued, but it seemed that he was mostly talking to himself, trying to make sense out of this new phenomenon. John and Mandy simply listened as he hypothesized about what they both feared was rapidly becoming an obsession. "It was the concert that brought enough of us together to remember a little of this Place of lifestories, and to remember some things from the future part of many peoples' lifestories. I believe we needed the power of HTing and the energy of enough people willing to release their lifestories to open the door and enter this Place. And even then, we were probably lucky to glimpse any of the future...
"But now that the door's open, there's no going back. The group is growing...we're probably over a 100 people by now. There's a tremendous camaraderie building. Any of us can now easily go to the Place with anyone else who will release their lifestory. I'm referring many of my calls to others in our group."
David paused when he realized that he had lost his mother's attention. He made eye contact with her and said, "I don't know how big the group will become, but Mom, I'd like you to join us."
"What are you talking about," Mandy said with alarm. "Your going so fast..."
"Mom, don't worry," David said with as much assurance in his voice as he could muster, "It's a good Place we've found."
"You want me to join you... What about your father?" Mandy said trying to change the subject.
"He's already been there, so he can easily go back. It happened during the concert. He and Jamali released their lifestories...Jamali told me about it after the concert," said David. "It was your concert Mom...it somehow activated this special Place."
Mandy said nothing. She was quite unhappy with the request.
"I have no inkling of this state¾ this Place¾ your talking about," said John. He was quite surprised by David's assertion that he could easily go back...back to where?
"Dad, the Place is a new paradigm or model for understanding present, past and future information flow between HT participants," said David. "The first time you release your lifestory while HTing the feelings and mental comprehension lack any grounding. This idea of a lifestory Place helps when we talk to each other in our so-called normal or real lives. After you go there a few times, it will feel more like a home than a strange abode."
John said, "I sensed some of what you've been talking about. But I only probed Jamali's life. I didn't notice any other lifestories...or anything about the future."
"You were probably not interested in doing any more than you actually did," said David. John nodded in agreement.
Mandy thought, What if behind the door there are horrible demons waiting to be released. I don't like this.
David continued, "The participants' lifestories are simply out there... someplace...waiting to be examined if another participant is so inclined. I feel that there's so much to be learned from these lifestories. I often feel that I do learn important lessons while I'm in the Place. However, when I return to normal life, I've forgotten most of what I learned."
Mandy broke in rather angrily, "I don't want strangers to know everything about my life¾ not even if they won't remember."
"You began all this," said David disappointedly. "How can you not join us?"
Mandy brusquely stood-up from the couch. "I'm gonna give Sharon a good night kiss." And she walked off.
What's that all about? thought John. Why the overreaction? "Let her be," said John.
"I didn't mean to upset her so," said David.
John changed the subject. "You said that I could easily return to this Place. I'd like to see if I can know more about it. Can we go there?"
"Sure," said David. "but first, I want to say good night to Sharon too. You suit-up, and I'll join you in a few minutes."
"Not until I get my kiss from your little girl too," said John.
"You look so funny," John said to David as they walked toward Sharon's bedroom. The HT suit forced David to waddle down the hallway.
After John and David finished their HT-Shared session, John found Mandy in the living room with Jamali. Mandy and Jamali were talking about Sharon.
"Why don't you take off that crazy suit?" asked Mandy when she saw John.
"No," said John. "I'm going to HT-Share with some of the people who are still calling David about the quake."
"Why...why for heaven's sake do you want to do that?" Mandy asked.
"They're probably ready to join the group," said John. "It's amazing, this time when I HTed with David, I was able to see the earthquake too. It's both a horrible disaster and an opportunity to show the world that some future signals are now ready to be received. These signals are becoming stronger as more and more people join the group. Even though they're not in the Place at the same time, there's some residual energy...or something, left over."
Mandy just stared at him.
"I know things are moving fast, but right now that's necessary. We have to grow as strong as possible," said John.
"Strong for what?" asked an exasperated Mandy.
"We need to be strong for the approaching revolution. A revolution in how we think about the future and about ourselves," Jamali said.
"You too Jamali," said Mandy with a mixture of surprise and disappointment in her voice. "I don't want my private life shared with anyone," said Mandy angrily. "I just don't want that!"
John walked to Mandy, put his arms around her and said, "Nobody'll pay much attention to your past. There's just too much interest in the future."
Jamali pleaded, "Please join us... We love you and want you to be part of the Place..."
Mandy broke away from John's arms and ran off to the guest room.
As Mandy changed into her bedclothes, her thoughts wandered, Knowing about earthquakes...about the future... I hope Davey doesn't get hurt by going public. Why does he have to use this lifestory Place? Who are the people who will come to this Place...what right do they have to snoop into my life? My concert's been a disaster...Davey's losing his job. Only God knows what's gonna happen now... God, huh... How can man know the future... How have I known bits and pieces...?
After brushing her teeth, she unpacked her violin, sat on the corner of the bed and began playing Lullaby. The music sounded sweet, then turned sad as Mandy's thoughts and feelings drifted to the sad secret her mother had protected all her life.
Mandy learned the secret when she was 17 years old; the year was 1985. She only learned the truth because she came home from school early one day and brought in the mail¾ that's when she saw the envelope, addressed to her mother, from Sweden. On the bottom left of the envelope were written the words, Please forgive me.
"It's from your father," Mandy had said excitedly. Mandy had never met Amy's father, and didn't know much about him. (This was in sharp contrast to grandfather Baroni.) Mandy knew that Amy's father lived in Sweden. She also knew that Amy's mother had died when Amy was a child. Amy rarely talked about her parents.
Amy's face had become very sad and solemn. "What's the matter?" Mandy had asked. "And why does he want you to forgive him?"
"None of you're goddamn business. And don't read my mail!" Amy said angrily as she slapped Mandy in the face. Mandy had never been struck in the face by anyone, let alone her mother. Mandy stood motionless for a moment¾ not believing what had happened¾ then she ran off crying. She went to her room and slammed the door.
About 10 minutes later, Amy had knocked on Mandy's door. "Can I please come in."
"No," Mandy had said loudly.
"I'm so sorry hon, I'm so sorry..." Amy had sobbed. Then Amy began crying uncontrollably.
Mandy opened the door. Her mother was sitting on the floor of the hall crying. Mandy sat down next to her, they hugged each other, and they cried together for a while.
"I guess your old enough to know the truth about your grandpa," Amy had said after wiping the tears first from her own face and then from Mandy's. "He's in Sweden, all right, but he's in a hospice."
Mandy looked quizzically at her mother.
"A hospice is a place the terminally ill sometimes go to die," Amy had said. "But your grandpa is there because he's dying of AIDS."
"Oh my God," Mandy had responded with both surprise and fear. AIDS was the scourge of the late Twentieth Century, and in 1985, the fear and stigma level associated with AIDS was very high.
"There's more..." Amy had paused. "My father was bisexual. He was having homosexual affairs while he was married to my mother. When my mother found out...she killed herself."
Amy had fought back more tears. "She took an overdose of sleeping pills. I found my mother dead in her bed in the morning. My father had not come home that night... He was with his boyfriend."
"I was 12 years old at the time and living in Paris," Amy had continued. "I moved to New York to live with Aunt Bess and Uncle Ted. They told me to not tell anyone about how my mother died, and they told me not to discuss that my father was bisexual. They said it would be very embarrassing and harmful to me and to them. They said that some things were meant to be kept private. It was all so horrible. I wanted nothing more than to keep the whole mess a secret¾ and we did. Noone outside our immediate family ever found out."
Amy had paused as she remembered the pain, and then she angrily had added, "And now, your grandpa's dying of AIDS. It's terrible¾ it could ruin my reputation¾ and any chance you'll have of being a musician. I still hate him, and I won't forgive him."
Mandy remembered how important it was to her mother that noone know this secret. There was real fear evident in her mother's voice and face. This secret had made her mother distant from people, constantly afraid that they might discover the truth.
As Mandy was finishing the Lullaby, she realized that she was still keeping that secret. Even John didn't know about her grandpa.
She put down her violin and began meditating. Tonight, as with most nights, she quickly went into a quiet state of meditation. Her thoughts faded away exposing deeper levels of subtle consciousness.
Flo was released to the outer world for the 20,000th time, or so. "Here we go," she said to herself."
Over the years, Flo had improved her ability to transmit information to Mandy. Flo sent the information by being very conscious of it when she returned to Mandy. The information was best received while Mandy was in the deep meditative state.
Flo found David and John in The Place. David and John had separately HT-Shared with callers who had indeed experienced the earthquake. David's home was equipped with two HTs and two separate fiber optic telephone lines, so the independent connections were rather straight forward. Flo knew that all of the HTers who opened their lifestories went to one Place, but this was not yet apparent to David or John. Humans have so much to learn. They think of Places as being separate...so they are. They think that HT biofeedback is necessary to connect people's lifestories...and so it is. They're so simple...but I love 'em.
Flo went to John who was basking in the feeling of openness and trust. He felt that those who could enter this Place would not betray its openness. He knew everything about the young woman who was HTing with him. She similarly knew his lifestory, and they were aware of their own lifestories. Knowledge about the future came from what was remembered from the lifestories in the Place.
Flo could not understand why humans only remembered a trivial amount of information from the Place. Just like children, I guess, humans remember¾ and forget¾ what they can and cannot handle. That's part of the mystery and wonder of this Place.
Flo thought of Mandy, and she was with Mandy. In Mandy's deep meditation there was a small ripple of awareness that John was near. Mandy sensed John's confidence in the Place.
Flo returned to the Place to be with David.
David's HT-Sharing partner was being assimilated. The Place was illuminated with the unique energy or light spectrum of the new person. The light first appeared as a complex rainbow connecting two pinholes which coupled the Place to the rest of the Universe. The new light diffused and became interconnected with everything else in the Place.
The welcoming sentiment from the Place was, "Here we are. What we know you can know." The newcomers response was simply, "Here I am. What I know you can know." That acknowledgment unified the Place into a totality. A whole without boundaries, except for two pinholes.
The welcome was accompanied with a feeling of total acceptance and love. When in the Place, it was clear that the lifestories were vehicles for expressing information about living, loving, and learning. David wanted Mandy to know the radiance of this Place.
Flo left the Place through the pinholes. She simply wanted to be with Mandy. She too wanted Mandy to know the wonder and sense of love in the Place. She wanted Mandy to know that once you have visited this Place you truly never leave it completely.
Mandy sensed a Place of Love in her meditation. It was illuminated by the two glowing lights of Truth and Harmony. She felt its warmth. It felt good. She knew it was the Place that David had talked about. She very much wanted to be with John and David. Please, let me be with you, Mandy prayed/felt/thought. And she was.
As Mandy's light entered the Place, she shared herself, "Here I am. What I know you can know."
Mandy entered the Place without the use of HT-Sharing to guide her. John and David were ecstatic¾ that is, as ecstatic as subtle light essences can become.
Time was not a particularly relevant concept in the Place. At the instant of entry of a person's light, the person's lifestory became part of the data bank of knowledge available for as close scrutiny as desired by any member. In the Place, truth and knowledge were simply all the life experiences of the people there. No more, and no less.
While in the Place, the common goal was to add Wisdom and Love to the Truth of Lifestories, and to send back to the physical world as much of that wisdom and love as possible.
When Mandy's meditation ended, she remained seated on the edge of the bed for a couple of minutes. She knew that something significant had happened. Then she remembered the information about the earthquake. We have to let them know. She jumped up and ran out of the guest room.
NEW YORK CITY, NY: 2:00 PM, MARCH 5, 2052
David called a Press Conference to be held at his condominium complex. The meeting room on the tenth floor was jammed with people and broadcasting equipment. David had only given one hour notice to the press and satellite news networks, but that was enough.
"Ladies and Gentlemen," David began, "I'd like to make a brief statement, and then I'll take your questions." He was standing at a handsome wood podium. Jamali, John and Mandy were also in the front of the room; they were seated adjacent to the podium facing the reporters.
David read from a statement he had written the night before. "After serious thought and soul searching, I have decided to resign my position as Deputy Director of SACC effective immediately. I spoke to Mr. Ed Mansfield, the Director, about a half hour ago and informed him of my decision.
(There was considerable stirring in the audience.)
"I acknowledge that the public comments I have made concerning the earthquake in the Los Angeles area were not appropriate. These comments were often interpreted as being made by SACC.
"The comments were mine, and mine alone. SACC was not, and is not, involved. I apologized to Mr. Mansfield, who has been a good friend to me. He graciously accepted.
"Now, as a private citizen, I urgently repeat my warning to those of you in the Los Angeles area. Please leave the area before 9:14 Thursday morning.
"There will be a magnitude 8.5 earthquake at that time.
"This earthquake has now been predicted by 442 people who have been able to reach a deep meditative state where some parts of the future are knowable.
"Unfortunately, we cannot prove to you that our prediction is accurate...until it is too late.
(David paused sadly because he knew that most would not heed his warning.)
"The future is ours to see. At least some aspects of it can be known and plans can be made.
"The earthquake is one part of the future which we have been fortunate enough to witness. Let's not ignore this knowledge."
David paused one last time, looked directly at the camera and added, "Please, leave the Los Angeles area before Thursday morning. If we're wrong, you can chastise us, you can sue us, you can hate us... But what if we are correct...?"
After a long pause, David said "I'll take some questions now," as he pointed to a woman whose hand had been raised and waving for a while.
"Mr. Wensler," she began, "why do you believe you're any better at predicting the future than all those misguided individuals who carry signs saying that the world is coming to an end."
"I take it," said David, "that you don't have much confidence in our prediction." The room broke out in laughter. "It really is not a laughing matter. Too many people will be killed in the quake. I can, however, understand your skepticism...though your opinion will change Thursday."
The woman persisted, "No, even if you're right Thursday, I won't believe you can predict the future. Noone, except God, is privy to the future."
"Being privy to the future is not new," said David. "There was a time, centuries ago, when predicting a total eclipse of the sun was impossible to imagine. The person who first performed that feat may have been considered to be a god¾ or a devil. He may have taken liberties and even pretended to have caused the eclipse. Look at the power that might have been attributed to him.
"I believe that the future is knowable...some of us have had the privilege of knowing about this earthquake. We didn't cause it to happen, but we have been provided the knowledge of its occurrence."
David pointed to a man in the middle of the room. "Yes sir."
The man asked, "You mentioned that there were other people," he looked at his notes, "442 you said, who also share the same vision of the earthquake supposedly striking LA this Thursday. Could you tell us who these people are, and how you came to share this common perception about the earthquake?"
"By now, I suspect the number's a bit larger. You see, I received over one thousand calls from people who say they also sensed the upcoming earthquake. We can verify their claims by normal HT-Sharing. We're continuing to receive calls. I believe there were thousands of people who entered a special state of consciousness during the Connected Universe concert. These people were helped by the million or so other participants; remember, we were all connected through biofeedback. Together, the participants opened a door to a special place which permitted some of us to see the upcoming earthquake.
"We metaphorically refer to this mysterious state as a Place¾ a Place where there is extensive Knowledge, including information about the future. This Place seems to grow stronger as new residents enter bringing a total openness concerning their lives."
David turned and looked at his wife and parents, "My wife and father entered the Place during the concert. My mother joined us a bit later. In the Place, huge mountains of knowledge can be touched...and only a few pebbles can be brought back.
"I, as well as others, have acted as guides to help individuals enter this Place. Once you have tasted the fruits, you want to share the joy with others¾ this sounds quite spiritual, but we make no pretense to touch God. This Place is based on the life experiences of men and women. This Place contains the past, present and future histories of all who enter it.
"A guide can help you find this Place, but it is not necessary to have a guide. HT-Sharing can help you find this Place, but HT-Sharing is not necessary. It appears that a strong desire for Truth and Harmony, and a belief in a Place where there are no lifestory secrets is all that is necessary.
"Some secrets of the future are present in this Place. Though, we are able to bring back only limited information."
David took a paper from his pocket. "And, all who return believe it is important to remain faithful to the Truth and Harmony which permeate the Place. Here is the list of all the people who have access to the Place as of a few minutes before this Press Conference. Copies will be made available to you shortly."
"What will you do," asked another reporter, "if the earthquake does not happen as you predict?"
"It will happen," said David.
The Press Conference lasted for another half hour.
The traffic picked-up dramatically from Los Angeles to anywhere else. In total, about 35% of the 30 million people normally living in LA County were somewhere else Thursday morning. 65%, however, did not heed the warning.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: 9:14 AM, THURSDAY, 7 MARCH 2052
The "Big One", which had been loosely predicted for almost a century, struck with all the horror associated with a magnitude 8.5 earthquake. Even the earthquake-proof buildings were only designed to handle a magnitude 7.8 quake.
The top 32 floors of the newly constructed Sears Tower in the heart of downtown LA toppled to the ground killing over 1500 people.
Fortunately, it was still rush hour, and many flycars were in the air. Though, parked flycars were flung off carports all over the city killing many people on the streets below. Almost 30% of the homes and apartments, as well as 15% of the office buildings within 10 miles of city hall collapsed or were severely damaged.
The earthquake was, of course, a disaster of huge proportions in its human costs. The final death count was 165,754 people. The toll would have been larger had there been no warning.
There is no need to dwell on this terrible catastrophe¾ it is a part of the history of the world. A history which contains many such horrible disasters filled with human misery and pain.
Part 2 AFTERSHOCKS
NEW YORK CITY, NY: MONDAY MORNING, 11 MARCH, 2052
DAVID AND JAMALI'S HOME
"What in God's name is Kiela up to?" asked John as he settled into a comfortable chair in front of the HTV. He joined Mandy, David and Jamali who were already in the room.
Jamali answered, "Kiela informed the press corp. that he had an important announcement to make on the topic of Future Palestine-China Trade Agreements."
"I bet there's more to it than just that," said John.
Jamali commented, "He's just been appointed China's Ambassador to the UN. Why couldn't this be his first important announcement."
"It's possible. He's becoming an important influence in Chinese politics, especially when it comes to international trade," said John. "And China's now an economic superpower. It's been quite incredible to watch their progress...who would have guessed."
David added, "I admire Kiela for his bringing the Dalia Lama back to Tibet. He worked out that compromise which gives significant autonomy to the Tibetans under the leadership of their Dalia Lama."
"Apparently, he never forgot his Tibetan roots," said John.
"Right," said David. "The Chinese were terrible to the Tibetans until Kiela became a factor. It took one hundred years from the time the Chinese stole the country until the Dalia Lama could return."
"What did Kiela do?" asked Mandy. "Blackmail the leadership into freeing Tibet?"
"Not quite," said David, "closer to bribery. Kiela became extremely powerful inside China because he made large sums of money for key government and industry officials. He basically lobbied them using a reverse bribery technique. He threatened to stop making money for them."
"How do you know that?" asked Jamali.
"I just psinfoed it from the Chinese government's file on Kiela," answered David. "He was in charge of foreign investments..."
Jamali interrupted, "Here's Kiela now."
"Hello, I am Ambassador Kiela. I have recently been appointed the United Nations Ambassador from China. And this morning, I would like to talk to you about the future. In particular, the future of relationships between Palestine and the Republic of China, but also, the future of the world and what we can know about that future.
"I note, and hope the rest of the world notes, that an important example of the benefits of knowing the future has recently been displayed by Mr. David Wensler of the United States. He predicted the devastating earthquake in California. His brave public announcement saved many lives.
"His public demonstration was crucial in our decision to acknowledge our ability to know the future. The time is now to begin the process of public acceptance of the ability to predict certain aspects of the future¾ aspects which most individuals would consider unpredictable.
"Most of the technologically advanced nations of the world have known this truth for many decades. This truth has been kept secret for many reasons, but, it is time for this truth to be let out of the bag so to speak.
"Today, simultaneous with this announcement, the people of China are being told the marvelous truth about knowing the future. We are asking them to be tested, and those with an aptitude will be asked to participate in national programs for continuing the investigation of predicting the future.
"Many countries are using various biofeedback techniques to provide accurate forecasts of world financial markets. This world-wide capability has produced a stability in these markets which has helped bring an economic boom to the world.
"China uses a combination of scientific and spiritual methods for forecasting the outcome of future events. The future is not 100% knowable, but good use can be made of predictions having far less certainty, especially when many such predictions are being made and acted upon. Our predictions include the influence our behavior will have on the outcome. All of us are part of the very future we choose to predict.
"The leaders of my great country have chosen to use this capability on the prediction of significant international trends¾ both political and financial. At the present time, we believe that the Middle East is ripe for investment. Palestine and Israel have reached a relatively stable, but still somewhat turbulent, relationship. Their economic ties will continue to grow and both countries will prosper. The road will continue to be rocky and long. Investments now will not pay off for three or four decades. China is willing to make that investment, and we invite the other countries in the area to join us.
Today, I am pleased to announce an economic treaty with Palestine. We will provide them loans in the amount of 100 billion dollars over the next 10 years. They, in turn, will provide a steady stream of the most sophisticated robotics equipment for China's industries and homes. Our forecasts show that this will lead to a strong and relatively stable Middle East. A stable Middle East will permit us to obtain a good return on our investment, while helping the people of the region.
"The future of the Middle East is part of the history of mankind, and mankind must acknowledge that some parts of future history are knowable. We are acting on that knowledge. We urge the rest of the world to openly act on the bits and pieces of the future which they can uncover. We will all benefit from such a policy.
"To demonstrate China's ability to foretell the future of certain events with near perfect, though not 100% perfect accuracy, we are taking this opportunity to predict the future price of gold and several world currencies for the next 10 business days.
"We publicly make our predictions knowing that we will encourage the movement toward broader acceptance of foretelling the future as a legitimate part of the activities of mankind."
Kiela reached for a chart, "Here are the predicted prices in US dollars." Kiela held up a large chart with 10 dates and four columns of prices. The column headings were Gold, Eurodollar, Yen, and Yuan.
"The future is basically bright and fulfilling. Please join us in the challenging adventure of perceiving the reality of our world¾ a world that permits itself to be known a little at a time. A world still full of pleasant surprises.
"Knowing more about the future will help bring peace to our world. Why the fruits of peace have taken so long to materialize is a mystery, but the trees are now blossoming.
"We can never know all we would like about the future. The parts which we can know, cannot be changed...," Kiela paused and added, "or will not be changed by those who can know.
"And finally, remember, knowing the future will help us extract the most out of it. Thank you for your kind attention."
There was a long moment of silence. Finally, Mandy asked, "Can he really predict specific prices with such certainty that he'd put his credibility on the line like that?" asked Mandy.
"That is strange," said Jamali. "What if he's wrong?"
"More important than that," said David, "Kiela is making a very public move encouraging the world to accept that the future is knowable."
"John, you didn't answer my question," persisted Mandy. "Do you think he can truly foretell specific prices?"
"Basically...yes," answered John. "However, he's so confident...that's what's new. Normal success rates are only 30% or so for the type of predictions he's making. That's because the predictions are being shared with other people who can influence the outcome. You remember the Criss-Cross Factor."
Mandy thought for a moment, "Ah yes, you told me about that many years ago. Some sort of static caused by knowing ahead of time what the outcome of the future is going to be. For some reason, when you predict the future, the fact that others involved in the outcome know your predictions make the predictions less reliable."
"Mandy," said John with a big intentionally gratuitous smile, "I'm impressed with your memory. Anyone who says that all you have is a pretty face underestimates your talents."
John paused, and added more seriously, "How the heck did he get over that criss-cross factor? I thought it was impossible!"
"Dad, said David, "it's the Place somehow. I don't understand what happens when we go there, but the information which we remember is shielded from the criss-cross factor."
"Or maybe," John speculated, "only the information which has survived the criss-cross factor can be brought back from the Place."
"The Place only contains the future history which actually happens," said Mandy. "So your criss-cross factor is irrelevant there."
"You're right, of course," said John. "The issue is what future information can be accurately brought back to the present."
"I think Kiela has it right," said Jamali. "The part of the future which can be known cannot be changed...or will not be changed by those who know.
Kiela indeed foretold the future. He was nearly 100% correct. The only error was in missing the closing prices of gold and the Yen on the same day. The predictive feat was acknowledged as being quite remarkable. For many years, there was a debate among skeptics about 'self fulfilling prophecies' vs. 'luck' vs. 'actually predicting the future'.
As people continued to argue, more and more examples of successful predictions of the future were being published. Many people came 'out of the closet', so to speak, to describe how they had used HTing and focusing on the future to acquire information useful to them in their lives. Useful for both personal and financial goals.
The CIA was tasked to determine how Kiela was able to achieve such remarkable accuracy. The President signed a special order authorizing "...activities directed toward identifying the people and techniques enabling The Republic of China to accurately forecast the future. This forecasting capability is critical to the national security interests of the United States."
REPORT TO THE PRESIDENT
The summary section of the CIA's report to the President is reproduced below:
AUGUST 18, 2053
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS ON CIA DIRECTIVE 2052-42
The Republic of China has succeeded in developing a reliable capability to foretell the future. This has been achieved primarily through the coordination of a group working out of Beijing under the direction of Chin Hsa Lee. Dr. Lee took over this position from Lama Kiela when Kiela was appointed Ambassador to the UN. Dr. Lee was previously the Assistant Director.
The technique used for reliable predictions has two key elements:
1. Techniques similar to HT-Sharing are used. Ten members (5 pairs) of the group are asked to independently respond to a specific question about the future. If, and only if, eight members (4 pairs) of the ten agree on the answer is an official prediction released.
2. Each member of the group has been through an extensive training program. A key feature of this program is the focus on predicting ones own death: the time, place and circumstances. Also, there is a related focus on predicting the details of the deaths of close family members and friends, as well as on any other future traumas in the team member's life. The theory is that only if one can face the future openly and without fear of death, injury and traumatic loss can one be free enough to predict the future.
There are currently over 120 trained members of the group. New members are being added at about the rate of 2 or 3 per month. The training program takes nine months to complete, and only about 10% of the participants are accepted for the team.
Lama Kiela is the focal point for this very successful program. China is rapidly gaining significant political and economic advantage from this ability. In particular, we estimate that the Chinese Banking System has earned over 50 billion dollars (US equiv.) through its currency trading operations in the last 12 months.
Successfully foretelling the future is considered to be of such importance, that this commission unanimously recommends undertaking a major national effort to create a similar program in the United States. Furthermore, this national effort must be done in an open manner or the administrative constraints associated with attempting to keep this capability secret will severely limit our chances of success.
The United States was the originator of HTing. HTing began a revolution in present-time information gathering. Let's not lose the future to other countries because we are afraid to look at the future.
The cat is out of the bag. The Chinese are successfully using this ability to foretell the future. They are making no secret of their capability. In fact, they are educating their people to accept the new reality. The United States should do the same.
WHITE HOUSE, OVAL OFFICE: 1 SEPTEMBER 2053
"Please call David Wensler," said the President to his secretary.
"Yes sir." The President's secretary dialed David's home.
"Hello," Sharon answered the call.
"This is Mary Woods, the President's personal secretary. He would like to talk to David Wensler."
"Hold on, I'll get him," Sharon said. She put her hand over the receiver and shouted. "Dad, it's for you."
David was working in the study on a plan to locate more people who could join them in the Place. The number of new members had dropped to only one per week. He felt it was important to find as many people as possible to enter the Place and help see into the future. "I've told you a thousand times not to shout," said David. "Who is it? If they're selling something tell them I'm busy and not interested," he shouted back.
"It's the president of some company," said Sharon.
"What company," said David.
"He's busy," said Sharon, "What company are you calling from?"
Mary said, "I'm calling for the President of the United States of America."
Sharon froze for a moment, then dropped the phone and ran to her father. "It's the President...the President of the United States."
David picked up the phone in the study and turned on the view screen.
"I'm David Wensler."
"Yes, Mr. Wensler. Please hold for the President." The screen changed and the President's energetic young face appeared on the screen. He was into his seventh month of his first term, and was about to put his current high approval rating at-risk.
"Mr. Wensler, it's a pleasure to meet you."
"Sir, it's an honor to meet you, and almost in person."
"David...may I call you David?"
"I'm wrestling with an important issue, and I need your advice."
David was quite surprised, of course, by the call, and then the reference to asking him for advice. David managed a "Yes sir."
"I wanted to talk directly to you...you have some pretty remarkable skills, your ability to psinfo and your ability to foretell earthquakes and probably other aspects of the future."
"As President, I'm considering the establishment of a formal government project which will look into the future. I know that you're aware of some classified work in this area going on at SACC. And, I'm now aware of many classified programs going on in other parts of the government. Programs which had their origin decades ago. Some of my advisors believe it's essential to begin an unclassified program for obtaining information from the future. The majority of my advisor, however, believe that I would be opening up a Pandora's box. Actually, many tell me that I may destroy the country, causing more devastation than ever imagined in the nightmares associated with nuclear warfare."
"Many people have strong opinions and deep fears about foretelling the future," said David.
"What's your opinion...about starting an unclassified government project?" asked the President.
"I think...," David answered slowly. His focus turned inward, and his eyes looked away from the screen. "...it's about time..." He was trying to understand all the implications of the President's call. What options is he considering? David thought, and a list of options prepared by the President's chief of staff entered his mind. On this list was a reference to the most aggressive plan which would be comparable to the Chinese approach. What Chinese approach? David naturally psinfoed the CIA summary. Oh...Kiela again. "... to go unclassified." David finished his sentence and then looked directly at the President again.
It was obvious to the President that David was deeply concentrating on the question. Is he psinfoing? the President thought.
"Sorry, Mr. President," said David. "I was trying to... ah...focus on what you were really asking me."
"Are you focused now?"
"I think so," said David. "In my opinion, you should do all that you possibly can to advance our knowledge about the future. There can be no doubt that the capability exists to gather some information. I've shown that, and other's have written classified reports to you about this mysterious aspect of the universe. The Chinese are regularly using information from the future. I would recommend that you go as aggressively as possible in matching and even exceeding the efforts of the Chinese."
"Do you know about the Chinese program?"
"Yes, I just psinfoed the document the CIA recently sent to you."
"Have you predicted the time and nature of your death?" asked the President.
"No, and I don't think that the Chinese training approach is the only way," answered David," to teach people how to gather information from the future. Mr. President, in my opinion, the psychic state which we have called The Place is the key. I know many people who have reached this Place without consciously seeing their own deaths. However, sir, it is true that in the Place you do have this knowledge. And it may be that before you can enter the Place you have to be sufficiently strong to see this part of the future. I don't know... But I don't remember the details of my death."
"What do you think about the risk to our country by acknowledging that the future can be known? Some have predicted panic, mass suicides, the reign of the devil, anarchy..."
"I think that's ridiculous. The risks of avoiding the truth must be more dangerous than facing reality. People are much stronger and have common sense far exceeding the politicians who treat them as children. Anyway, how can the truth about reality be avoided for very long?" David answered.
"So you feel I should initiate a large program investigating the future?"
"Yes sir," said David.
"And how would you recommend preparing and telling the public about such a program?"
"I really don't know, sir. I haven't thought about it"
"Well," said the President, "I've considered the various options, and I have a plan." He paused. "David, I'd like you to head the project we've been discussing."
"Mr. President...I don't understand. Why me?"
"You are probably the only one who can pull off what I have in mind. You have credibility, as a person who risked his career by predicting the Big One. You have enough experience at SACC to secure Senate approval. And, you're committed to the truth about what we can know from the future."
"Mr. President, I'm very much involved in finding others who can bring back information from the future. We need as many people as possible in the Place. I'm not ready to abandon these efforts. I think it's critically important."
"So do I," said the President.
"But I don't see how I can do both," said David.
"I do. I'm close to initiating an executive order establishing a new Department in the Executive Branch. I want you to be the head of this Department. I'm talking about a Department which will be as large as the Department of Defense in 5 to 10 years. The Department of Future Affairs, a Department which will probably become more important than any other in 20 years or so."
"Department of Future Affairs," repeated David. He was not fully comprehending what the President was saying.
"Yes, David, I'd like you to become the Secretary of Future Affairs."
One week later, after consultations with his advisors and key members of Congress, the President told the American people about a new government agency, the Department for Future Affairs. The Secretary of Future Affairs had full cabinet rank and would work closely with both the Executive and Legislative branches of the government.
David Wensler was appointed the first Secretary for Future Affairs.
The newspapers dubbed the announcement by the President as the beginning of "... the Fortune-Teller Race," which was actually quite accurate. The countries who possessed the best methods for predicting the future indeed had more success in dealing with that future.
David entered the world of government funding, politics, and power. The Department for Future Affairs (DFA) was allocated 50 billion dollars taken primarily from other Departments and Intelligence Agencies. The executive order establishing the DFA directed that "... the Secretary of the DFA will establish an independent Department of the Executive Branch of government whose primary function is to provide the President with accurate information concerning various aspects of the future. The President will provide the directives concerning which specific areas will be investigated, however, the DFA will work closely with the Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, Defense, Justice, and Energy since they will be the primary beneficiaries of the information about the future. These Departments will provide the bulk of the initial DFA staff and funding. ..."
David's experience with SACC and the FBI only partially prepared him for this important and powerful position. The DFA was controversial from the moment of its inception. Departments whose budgets were cut to fund the DFA were not particularly cooperative. For example, most of the people transferred to the DFA were generally the least desirable in each category. Fortunately, David was able to pick his own people for key positions. He persuaded the most competent people he could find from SACC, the FBI and the Department of Justice to join him at the DFA.
Probably David's most important administrative appointment was for his Deputy. David needed someone who could guide him through the Washington political jungle. David called his former boss at SACC, Ed Mansfield, and offered him the position. Ed accepted.
At the heart of the DFA was the design and staffing of a new facility which would efficiently provide predictions concerning the future. The soul of this facility was the people who would provide the predictions. These people were quickly dubbed knowers by the press. While this name implied a more detailed knowledge of the future than actually existed, the name stuck and was also applied to people outside the DFA who could foretell the future with uncanny reliability.
David took a personal interest in knowers and recruited many of them to join the Department. David knew many of the knowers from the California earthquake prediction episode. The people who were brave enough to contact him before the quake were ideal candidates. Most knowers used HTing techniques to bring back future information. Often the knowers were aware that the information came from the Place. But there were many tested knowers who used a wide variety of other techniques to gather information from the future, for example, focused meditation.
The DFA hired about 1000 knowers within the first year. This represented about one fourth of the knowers in the United States who had been tested and certified. The DFA was assigned responsibility for certifying knowers. There were many other people who were knowers, but were not interested in being certified or labeled as such.
The DFA was also interested in anyone who had psinfoing ability. Of the knowers identified, only 6 were also capable of doing psinfo. All of these were immediately hired and their identity kept as secret as possible. There was no written record of their capabilities. Only David, Ed, and the President knew who these people were. The President provided verbal assignments to them through David, or sometime directly on a one on one basis."
Once the US government had acknowledged that knowing was possible, the demand for this valuable skill was insatiable. On the other hand, there was tremendous jealousy in many people toward knowers. Their unusual, many would say, unnatural ability, caused knowers to be either strongly praised or viciously scorned.
Predicting the future was not a panacea, however, for either the United States or companies who hired knowers. The difficulties arose in two areas. Firstly, not all aspects of the future could be probed. There simply was not enough time nor would the future reveal all its secrets. Some areas would not respond despite considerable efforts. For example, retrieving information from more than roughly 100 years into the future seemed impossible, as did discovering new inventions before their time. Secondly, the information that was recovered was not 100% accurate. Techniques of independently predicting the future and later correlating did enhance the probability of success, but this rarely exceeded 95% for important decisions.
The paramount issue for the DFA became 'What questions does one ask?' and 'For what purpose?' A national debate erupted over how to best use the fifty billion dollar budget. David Wensler became a national figure in the center of this very public and heated debate.
MARINA DEL REY, CALIFORNIA: MARCH 15, 2055
"I can't believe it took three years to build this house," said Mandy as she and John walked into their new home.
"We were lucky," said John. "We still had the land to rebuild on."
The earthquake had completely destroyed their home. The devastation included roof and wall collapse as well as a fire fed by a broken gas line. Fortunately, their home was not on a hill. Many of the hillside homes were not only destroyed, but many hills liquefied during the quake and the hills literally flowed away with the homes.
Their new home was a high-end robotics estate. It had two mobile robots who took care of the cooking, cleaning, and general maintenance of the house and yard. There were also five HT-Units in the home. Two were, of course, for John and Mandy. Two were for visitors, especially knowers who wanted to spend a few hours visiting the Place without interruption. And the fifth was an HT-Production Unit.
In the three years since The Connected Universe concert, and the quake, over two thousand HT-Production Units were sold world-wide. These units were still used primarily to produce HT entertainment programs.
"We're also lucky," Mandy said, "that life is nearly back to normal. It's hard to believe that it took all this time for the Marina area to recover."
"In some ways, I think what we have now is better than before the quake," said John. "And I don't mean our home. It's the reality of knowing, the growing number of knowers and the wonder of the Place."
"Better, huh. I suppose so," Mandy said with some sadness creeping into her voice, "the acrimony and even violence between knowers and non-knowers has become progressively worse during the last three years."
"I know...I know," said John with a smile. He was trying to avoid getting too serious.
"It's not funny," said Mandy. "There's a growing and serious controversy in this country, in fact the world, over whether knowing should even be allowed. Some are calling it anti-God and are threatening to lynch knowers like they were witches. It's incredible."
"It's been more than threats in Italy," said John. "There've been street riots and two incidents of knower's homes being ransacked. The Catholic Church is using knowing as an excuse to try to put the clock back on technological progress. They say it's not progress, it's simply the Devil doing his work."
"Well, so far it's not that bad in the States."
"Not yet, but there's fighting goin' on in so many families. They're now rightly referring to marriages with only one knower as 'mixed marriages'."
"There are problems among two knower families, I'm afraid," said Mandy. "Not even knowers know how to handle the new realities."
"Yeah, even Davey and Jamali are fighting," said John.
"They're always disagreeing about the knowers organizing a special group of some sort¾ maybe a political action group. Do you think that's a good idea?" Mandy asked.
"Boy, that's a tough one. Knowers in politics... Davey wants to organize...Jamali thinks it's a terrible idea. She wants knowers and non-knowers to become completely integrated. She thinks a separate organization will isolate knowers."
"I agree with Davey," said Mandy. "We knowers are being isolated and discriminated against now. So it's natural for us to think about organizing ourselves."
"Well," said John, "There aren't enough knowers to make an effective political organization anyway."
"Why do so many good people have such a fear of knowers..." mused Mandy. "They fear being known," she answered herself.
"I think it's fear of losing ones privacy," said John. "People have secrets that they don't want everyone to know."
"It's even deeper than that...people want to have private lives that they only share with loved ones. Privacy permits intimacy... I think in many people's minds, privacy is close to... to love," said Mandy.
"If non-knowers feel we can invade their privacy, that's going to be hard to overcome," said John. "But, we can't really see into non-knower's lives. We've tried to tell them..."
"They can't understand anyone freely giving up their privacy," said Mandy. "We've completely opened ourselves up, but only to other knower's, and we don't mind. Non-knowers just can't understand that. "
John nodded, "It seems to me to be perfectly balanced. If you're willing to be totally truthful and open about your life, then¾ and only then¾ you become capable of seeing and probing other knower's lifestories. Lies, and any other method of blurring life's realities, effectively block knowing. Non-knowers truly have nothing to fear."
"Unfortunately, they do fear us," said Mandy. "I think it has a lot to do with our ability to know things about the future. They are afraid of knowing any part of the future...especially anything concerning their own future."
"Well frankly," said John, "I wish I knew even more about the future. When I'm in the Place, I feel that I know all that I need to know about the future." He paused remembering the feeling.
"But as soon as I leave," he continued, "I forget almost everything, except the feeling of having known. I see vague glimpses, with clear visions only rarely. That's all any of us can recall. What's going on...?" He ended with a mix of exasperation and curiosity in his voice.
Mandy gave him a big hug. He's always trying to understand and explain...once a scientist, always a scientist, she thought. She loved him so much. He loved her. It was quite wonderful.
Flo was aglow with the warmth between them. Flo had a hard time understanding what all the fuss was about. She was born knowing.
DFA HEADQUARTERS, WASHINGTON D.C.: FEBRUARY 2057
"David," said the President, "I wanted to thank you personally for all your help in the Iraqi operation."
"Mr. President, I'm just doing my job. But I appreciate your call during these busy times," said David.
"You're doing more than your job," said the President, "your helping bring democracy, and I believe a stable peace, to the world."
"Thank you very much, sir. That's very kind."
"The State Department's receiving all the credit. But I know that it was your information that made our move possible. We couldn't do anything about the assassination...that didn't bother me at all. We did use the two months notice you gave us to our advantage. We were ready with the proof about the General's plan, and we had the democracy leaders primed to take over. It looks like we've had our last dictator in Iraq...and it's about time."
"Just the Iranians, Saudi's and the Syrian's left," said David.
"That's in the Middle East...the Chinese are still our biggest problem," said the President.
"At least the problems are economic and not military with them," said David.
"The effects are almost the same, Japan's in economic turmoil now that China and the Commonwealth have developed a technology base and have learned to use their manpower effectively."
"And, they're about to form an economic alliance," added David.
"Yes, your predictions are becoming reality," said the President. "They'll announce the Commonwealth-China Economic Community in just two short years. We're almost in as much trouble as the Japanese. If it wasn't for our HTI manufacturing capabilities, our exports would be pitifully small."
"Who could have imagined that the Soviet Union's collapse would allow the Commonwealth and China to become such economic friends," said David.
"Their being neighbors, with huge natural resources, helped...," The President paused, and David waited. "David, I have a new assignment for you and your brand new HTing facility. The paperwork will be on your desk in a few days."
"Yes, Mr. President."
"Now that Iraq is a democracy, it seems possible that the Middle East will form it's own economic alliance. I'd like to know if and when that's going to happen. And, I'd like you to develop a plan with State to encourage this to happen with terms as favorable to us as possible. The economic potential in that area is tremendous because of the dwindling oil supplies in the rest of the world...and with Israel's manufacturing and high technology skills."
"I guess you've accepted the idea that several powerful economic communities are inevitable," said David.
"Yes, though I'm still surprised that we've not been able to create one world economy. Somehow I thought the electronic age would mean that being neighbors wouldn't matter that much any more. But, local manufacturing and distribution is now the rule. The pendulum has really swung back in the last 50 or 60 years. I'm a bit worried that China will begin to dominate the global economy in ways which could hurt the United States."
"I'll begin immediately laying out plans for evaluating whether a Middle East Economic Community between the Arabs and Israel will become a future reality," said David. "Then, if a MEEC appears likely, I'll help formulate plans to encourage its formation with favorable trading terms for us."
"Thank you again David, for your enormous assistance."
"Thank you Mr. President."
Since his appointment, David was consumed with establishing an effective and efficient DFA. There was no shortage of questions from various US government Departments, especially Defense and State. Most questions concerned the future, but there were also inquiries about the past and present. David organized the DFA into individual divisions each responding to a particular Department or Agency. He hired over a thousand knowers. These knowers quickly spawned a bureaucracy of 10 thousand people to perform administrative, accounting, security, secretarial, and purchasing functions.
Half of his 50 billion dollar annual budget was spent internally, including the purchase of two thousand HT-4s, hundreds of HT-Production Systems, and the design of a prototype facility in Washington D.C. The other half went to research on knowing and optimizing the reliability of information from knowers. This money was spent at Universities, think tanks, and specialized schools sponsored by HTI.
Initially, the knowers HT-Shared for information, i.e. two knowers at a time, and then results were compared from several teams. This was the basic approach used by the Chinese. This approach led to an uncomfortable mix of successes and failures. The DFA also experimented with, and was somewhat more successful with, the HT Production System¾ 10 HTers and the focus performed a mini-HT concert having future predictions as the primary objective.
David believed that more accurate predictions could be achieved with larger HT sessions focused on the future. He began developing a consensus within the government for constructing a sophisticated HTing facility devoted to predicting the future. This facility would permit a large number of HTers to simultaneously focus on issues of concern to the nation. The facility was expensive and had to be approved by Congress. To obtain the necessary support from Congresspersons, David needed endorsements from at least part of the scientific community. Since he was absolutely convinced of the validity of foretelling the future, he funded hundreds of scientific research projects by many independent groups throughout the country. The DFA thereby created a new scientific discipline, which would eventually be called Holistic Space-Time-Consciousness, or HSTC for short.
With significant funding available for scientific research, many innovative approaches were developed for scientifically investigating the ability to successfully forecast some aspects of the future. The process of science, however, is quite slow. The fundamental viewpoint of scientists, philosophers and the general population concerning the predictability of future events was not radically changed during David's almost 8 year tenure at the DFA. Scientific theorists began testing and building the hypothesis that the actual physical event generates a powerful signal which can sometimes be sensed both forward and backwards in time.
After two years, the DFA had enough evidence to convince skeptical Congresspersons that the most reliable knowing for future information occurred when many knowers were simultaneously HTing. The HT concerts were the paradigm, except now the job of the focus was to maintain balance while many knower participants could remember information concerning a specific question or issue concerning the future. The key problem was to find qualified foci. Of all the knowers hired in the first year, only twelve were able to focus sessions with several other knowers. These foci were sufficient to prove the point. Then, the finding and training of foci became a key priority for the DFA.
David convinced John and Mandy to start the HTI School of Focusing to determine whether knowers, or anybody else, could be trained as foci and thus fill DFA's needs. The primary purpose of the school was to train HT-Foci, and the secondary objective was to perform research on knowing and bringing back information from the Place. Mandy had no problem with training foci, but she initially refused to be part of any school having to do with knowing. She felt that knowing was a relatively shallow use of the human potential, and that it was important to learn to go much deeper than to the Place. She was convinced that when she meditated, for example, she often reached states much deeper than the Place. She was primarily interested in teaching people to delve as deeply into themselves as possible¾ to touch the truly spiritual.
"The deepest place¾ the most spiritual place¾ you can go is so deep that your self disappears," Mandy had said. "You journey so deeply that there are no barriers to anything or anyone...then you effectively synthesize the biofeedback desires of others." David convinced her that while what she said was true, the power in knowing and remembering information from the Place was also important because it could have a direct and profound affect on the physical world. "Not that the spirit isn't important," David had said, "indeed most important since it's the source of what we do in the physical world. But on this physical plane, the Place seems to be the way to communicate with a broader knowledge, and it seems reasonable to assume that includes deep spiritual knowledge. Mom, the DFA needs your help to develop foci. I'll be your first student." Mandy could not refuse under those circumstances.
David and 24 other knowers from the DFA formed the first class. David's participation was spotty because of his DFA responsibilities, but fortunately he was a natural focus. A prototype facility with 20 HT units connected to a Focus Unit was built by HTI. The students rotated into the production unit and attempted to act as a focus for various themes or questions put to the group at the beginning of HTing sessions. It took three months until David and several other students were able to focus an HT-future session for more than 2 minutes. It took the rest of the year until the delicate balance could be maintained for 15 to 20 minutes.
At first, the training was very emotionally and mentally stressful. The balance between the participants biofeedback was quite difficult to achieve. The foci experienced nothing but discordance and frustration. Any attempt to think through what the balance should be was doomed to failure. The balance was only achieved by permitting oneself to merge with all the incoming biofeedback signals and synthesize them unconsciously. This is what is called disappearing. Disappearing is more difficult to learn than riding a bicycle, but there are similarities.
David learned how to disappear while reciting written materials. These were initially written issues, concerning some aspect of the future, sent over from the White House. However, it quickly became David's habit to rephrase the issues into simple poetry. The poetry permitted more freedom of expression for David acting as the focus and for the participants.
Disappearing involves completely losing one's individuality; disappearing involves balance in the midst of chaos. The freeform of poetry helped David and the participants. David's words and tone of presentation would often develop extraordinary intensity and new meanings when he disappeared.
Disengaging the intellect and releasing the surface emotions permits the self to function as a tuned instrument of balance. There is always a balance point which the deep self can find. This is the discipline taught by Mandy at the HTI School of Focusing. When David first succeeded in this feat, he said the feeling was one of total exhilaration. "This must be the nirvana the Eastern religions talk about," David had said.
David often acted as the focus for key issues raised by the President. David was an excellent poet-foci. David and the other foci generated enough successful predictions to sell the idea of several large dedicated facilities where knowers and foci could tap the knowledge inherent in the Place.
The design and construction of the HTing facility with 169 connected HT-Production units became a prime objective during the last four years of David's tenure at the DFA. The initial prototype design was totally reformulated. The new design had the advantage that any unit could act as a focus unit, and any combination of units could be connected together for multiple groupings. A top view of the configuration is shown below. The 7 rings of hemispherical Production units around the center focus permits straight forward connections between all units.
The DFA's success with this design was rather phenomenal. In HT sessions with more than 100 knowers, future information was from 80 to 99% accurate depending on the corroboration achieved among the knowers. In sessions with even more knowers, detailed information not available to smaller groups could often be remembered from the Place.
On the other hand, too often no information would be remembered from the Place concerning specific questions or important issues. This was the case with the President's question about the possibility of a Middle Eastern Economic Community. The Place was not ready to reveal this aspect of the future. Or at least, David and the DFA were not able to retrieve this information.
David did have a hypothesis which was shared with the President after three months of fruitless investigation.
THE WHITE HOUSE: JANUARY 2058
"What are we going to do about the Middle East," said the President in a sad and hopeless tone. "The sabotaging and terrorism just never stops. This was a heinous act against Palestine as well as the United States and Israel. I don't understand what motivates these people. Don't they know that this hurts their own people more than anyone else?"
A flytruck transporting household robots from Israel to the United States exploded shortly after leaving the Tel Aviv Airport. The American crew of two was killed and 100 million dollars in equipment was lost. The robots' mechanical components were manufactured in Palestine, and then the most sophisticated electronics were installed and tested in Israel. The robotics business was the most successful joint economic program between Palestinian and Israeli companies. That was what made it a prime target of the ILM.
"It's primarily the ILM who are fueling the flames," said the Secretary of State. "They're still advocating the elimination of Israel."
"Of course," said the Secretary of Defense, "that's their last hope for gaining control of any territory. Not even Palestine supports these fanatics anymore. But the ILM induces young people to perform their acts of terrorism, and we of course find these people. Iran and Syria extradite these youngsters for punishment. But we can't touch the leaders. Damn it, even though we know who the leaders are, Iran and Syria refuse to extradite them."
"Why is Syria now helping the ILM?" asked the President.
"Syria will expand its control over more oil and more revenue in the next few years," said David. "Our analysis shows that the turmoil in the Middle East will be a cover for Syria to form what they will call A Protectorate."
"Why don't we just blow those Syrian's off the map," said the frustrated Defense Secretary. Then he quickly added, "I know, I know...it wouldn't work anyway since the DFA has already seen the existence of the Protectorate.
"David," said the President, "What ever happened to my request about a Middle Eastern Economic Community?"
"We have worked that issue very hard," said David. "Unfortunately, we have almost no knew information to tell you. The Palestinian businessmen continue to make deals with the Israelis. The Palestinians are being financed by the Chinese. China is continuing to become more powerful every year. Also, I'm frankly worried about the closeness between China and Syria. At this point, the fact that I don't see a Middle Eastern Community makes me wonder if China and Syria might have ambitions..."
"Syria certainly does," interrupted the Secretary of State, "but I think that China may be subtly pulling their strings."
"I agree," said David. "China's influence in the Middle East is now far stronger than ours. We know that it's their policy to economically control that part of the world. They have no interest in a violent war. But small scale terrorism does suit their current purposes."
"David, do you have a recommendation for acquiring enough information so we can effectively act?" asked the President.
"I do," said David.
"I'm listening," said the President.
"I believe the reason we, I mean the DFA, have not been able to obtain more information about the future of the Middle East is because we do not have enough knowers from that part of the world." David paused.
"More knowers from the Middle East...," the President was trying to understand.
"Knowers tune-in to a state of consciousness we call the Place," David began with something the President already knew. "This Place involves a special type of informational energy relating all the knowers entire lifestories¾ past, present, and future. It's becoming evident that the specific knowers present during a given session strongly influence the nature of the information retrieved¾ really the information remembered. We showed two years ago that the number of knowers is important, but the specific lifestories of the participating knowers seem important also."
"So you think we should recruit knowers from the Middle East?" asked the President.
"Yes," answered David. "As many as we can. The lifestories¾ past and future¾ of the knowers in the HT group sessions are important. I believe the more knowers who have personal knowledge and connection with the facts of the future, the easier it will be to retrieve that information."
"Recruiting Arabs is not going to be easy," said the Secretary of State. "They're still not our best friends...the Chinese are encouraging that point of view."
"Maybe this helps explain why," said the President. "The Chinese are training many Arab knowers."
"Israel is probably our best hope," said the Defense Secretary. "They know the Middle East backwards and forwards."