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The Book of Apprehension
"Catalyst"

Jody Nagel
 
1.
Shortly after the Earth's Crust didst cool, Bacteria formed within the ocean's perennially mixed complex organic soup. 2Bacteria divided and mutated into many shapes, 3filling the seas, and then the air, the lakes and rivers, and eventually all the soil. 4Bacteria at first struggled for existence. It clung to its fragile state of Life. 5Gradually, oh most gradually, something larger than the mere sum of its parts didst occur. A dim Consciousness, 6disconnected and in overlapping regions, the net result of quadrillions of individual random motions, gradually became aware.
 
7Bacteria sensed the Earth and knew it was good. 8It wished to fathom the planet from whence it came, but it knew not how to fathom. 9Bacteria desired, subconsciously, for many eons. It wanted, but knew not what. 10Each cell didst contribute to this awareness, being born individually and dying individually, 11and each contributing to the statistical emptiness, the yearning for intelligence. 12The collective mental rate was oh so very slow. For three billion years, 13Bacteria didst attempt to develop increased intelligence, 14to bring forth a world-girdling, single, all-powerful consciousness. 15Wisps of this collective consciousness, generated by Bacteria, eventually developed The Plan.
 
2.
It would, indeed, require taking hundreds of millions of years. 2A portion of Bacteria's Self would detach from Self, 3and enter its own Bacteria-saturated world. 4It then would shape itself into multi-cellular creatures, 5allowing the creations to gain greater complexity, 6to develop elaborate functions such as photosynthesis and multi-cellular respiration, 7and to come to possess mobility, simple senses, and greater intelligence. 8For The Plan to succeed, the newly evolving creatures were granted autonomy from Bacteria, 9and each was allowed to develop freely, based only on rules of chance and natural selectivity, according to its kind. 10At the appointed time, Bacteria said "let us make man in our image," 11according to our own conceptualization of abundant intelligence. 12It didst take great lengths to get man to evolve greater intelligence, but man eventually becameth so.
 
13Now, man indeed was occasionally aware of the diffuse global consciousness, 14and sometimes worshipped it, without ever truly knowing what it was. 15Bacteria sadly recognized the irony that those men that could sense Bacteria's consciousness - 16or "spirit," as they deemed it - 17were the least useful, and didst contribute but little to the intellectual progress Bacteria strove for. 18Time passed slowly. 19Bacteria, and their lowly cousins the viruses, would periodically attack man and the other plants and animals. 20Bacteria insisted that each species of life remain strong, 21and only the strongest didst survive such attacks. 22Bacteria waited.
 
3.
And then the self-sacrificial moment finally didst come upon them. 2Bacteria allowed man to create antibiotics. 3This was the most painful but necessary step. 4The weak would die. But the strong would LIVE! 5Bacteria would finally, after billions of years, 6gain great strength and resistance. 7To use a man expression, it would be steel-sharpening-steel for all Bacteria. 8Bacteria's weak consciousness inwardly smiled 9while man lived for a half-century in what came to be known (briefly) as the grace period for humanity. 10Man thought arrogantly that it could kill the Creator (though it knew not this to be the case), 11and live a disease-free life on a human-controlled globe. 12Man described a "food-chain" as an ascending line, with man situated at its zenith. 13Bacteria, however, knew that they themselves had created the circle of continuity, 14and right "above" man on the food chain was Bacteria!
 
15The small catalyst period of MAN didst last for more than three million years; 16it is this which Bacteria begat. 17Now, the antibiotic-resistant, new and improved Bacteria exchangeth DNA knowledge of resistance directly through their cellular membranes, by osmosis. 18The decisive moment fell upon them, 19and Bacteria reclaimed intelligence directly from the brain tissue of its own creation - man. 20In less than a century, Bacteria's consciousness grew and grew, 21and didst so to the point where it no longer needed man. 22In one last disease manifestation, 23Bacteria didst wipe out all higher level vertebrates. In a token of pity towards its very own catalytic agent, 24Bacteria didst allow man's culture to degenerate; 25it allowed man's arts and music to develop such that they desensitized men's minds; 26Bacteria encouraged the population of men to increase without bounds, 27belittling individual importance, so that intelligent man hardly comprehended or recognized what was happening to him. 28Bacteria didst keep plants and insects around, in case such an evolution should ever be needed again, 29and because these did so nicely make for good transportation systems. 30Bacteria encircled the globe, and smiled inwardly. 31And Bacteria saw that all was good.
 
Jody Jay Nagel
September 4-6, 1998
 
 
 
 

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