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Recipe for a Human

God has no language other than human beings. – Talmud

A long, long time ago, long before time was invented, the universe was content and peaceful. Her bliss and well-being were perfect. Well, almost perfect anyway. After a while (it is hard to say whether it was a few months or a million years since time had not been invented) the universe felt a touch of boredom. How much harmony and good feeling can one stand without it becoming tedious?

So the universe decided to entertain herself. She began to look around to find something to play with. But all she could find was herself, since, after all, she was the entire universe.

So she decided to solidify parts of herself into separate beings. She concentrated certain energies in a place until that part condensed and broke off. In one place, the feeling of curiosity became so strong and dense that it fell off and started looking around. In another place, an inordinate amount of playfulness collected until it came loose and began to bounce around. In another place, the urge to dance became so strong that it just wiggled free of the Whole and began to prance around.

These children started to interact and play together. They gave the universe something to watch and releaved some of the monotony of nirvana. But only for a moment. The problem was that playfulness, adventureousness, silliness and all the rest knew what they were made of. So as soon as the universe took her eyes off them, they dissolved back into the Whole. The show was altogether too short.

So the universe decided she was going to have to add something more to the recipe. Urge to sing or desire to frolic was not enough by itself. To these she added ignorance. She made parts of herself unaware that they were, in fact, parts of her. These creatures took a slightly denser form because of their confusion. They were still playful or inquisitive and fun to watch. Since they were also unaware of their true nature, they did not immediately dissolve back into bliss. They were a bit more confused. We might say they appeared very innocent.

But even this was not a lasting solution. If you have ever tried to hold a beach ball underwater, you understand the problem. As soon as you relax, the ball pops up out of the water. So it was with these new creatures. As soon as the universe stopped holding them in separateness, they popped out of form. Maybe the creatures did not know they were part of all that is, but they were very trusting. When they got a little tired of being adventurous or investigative, they would relax and revert back to their undifferentiated selves.

 

Fear

As the universe analyzed her dilemma, she decided that trust was the problem. The creatures were so accepting that even if they did not know who they were, they would evaporate anyway.

So, she decided to add another element to the recipe: fear. As these pieces of herself incorporated more fright, they might run, attack or hide from each other. If she could just make them fearful enough, they would not be so insipidly trustful. They might stay in form. However, fear and distrust were so far from her temperament and so far from the creatures’ temperament (which of course was hers) that she needed some extreme measures to maintain the anxiety. So she pushed droplets of herself into shapes and gave them complex bodies and nervous systems. Into these nervous systems she wired apprehension. The creatures called it a “survival instinct.” They called it “self preservation” as if their essence could be destroyed. In their muddle they thought that preserving the form was preserving their essence. The physical organization of these beings would reinforce their dismay and separateness. She gave them sensory systems that reinforced some perceptions (such as distinction) and tried their best to ignore others (such as continuity).

The universe was pleased with these creatures. They had a lot of variety, they did lots of silly things. They danced and killed and made love and drew pictures and played and hurt each other. There was lots of material for interesting dramas, comedies, tragedies and other forms of entertainment.

But the problem was that despite the extraordinary lengths to which she had gone, these creatures still reverted to their Oneness. It took a little longer, to be sure, but the shape of their physique and the beliefs that they held about being separate where so far from their fundamental constitution that the form of their bodies could not hold for more than fifty or a hundred years. (They had invented time, so we can talk in terms of days and years now.) Their bodies just could not hold such an unnatural shape. They reverted back to bliss. To you or me, fifty or a hundred years may seem like a long time. But to the universe, this was less than a blink of an eye.

Nevertheless, the universe was not discouraged. She was persistent. What else was there to do, after all? Finally she came up with a partial solution. She put a strong reproductive instinct into these beings. If she could get them to reproduce before they disintegrated, then there would be some sort of creature around for a few million years. Watching them would be like watching twinkling lights appear and wink out. The pattern would be fun to observe as the collective mass of them moved around. Perhaps the individuals would not last, but the species might.

 

Recipe

When she had finished with these labors, she looked at herself and said, “I will call these pieces of me ‘humor ones’ or just ‘humans’ for short.” And she was tickled. She opened her recipe book and under “H” for “human” wrote:

How to make a batch of humans:

Ingredients: Me. (After all, what else is there is to work with anyway.)

Instructions:

  1. Take pieces of me and make them a bit more fun loving, adventurous, curious or the like.
  2. Cause them to become as confused as possible as to their true nature.
  3. Surround them in fear. (There seems to be no other way to get them to cooperate.) Since they are at least partially ignorant, give them many different names for this fear: “self-preservation,” “fight or flight,” “self,” “soul.”
  4. Build a physical nervous system and anatomy that reinforces the fear and sense of separation as long as possible.
  5. Give them a strong reproductive instinct so they will procreate before their natural wisdom leaks through and spoils the show.
  6. Half-bake them for nine months in other humans.
  7. Sit back and watch them (me).