“Thing is, with our dreams, our goals, our aspirations, they are such a big deal to us, that we tend to assume it is a big deal to attain them. When really, it isn’t.”
– The Young Man
The chaos began, slowly at first, as the great Gravity Engines de-powered. Arriving successfully in the new galaxy, all seemed well. Glitches appeared, not unexpected. The first major sign of impending havoc came when entire starship populations awakened prematurely. Lucky that, too lucky…
Navigation next, resulting in unauthorised fleet dispersal. When the full extent of the computer collapse became known, the inevitable was obvious. Before communication shut down permanently, that last order went out: “Find the nearest habitable planet!” Controlled crash landings the only option with all systems failing. The living would be safe, along with most of the necessary cargo and some of the technology, but the mighty starships themselves, these would be beyond salvage.
The chaos wasn’t random. New galaxy, new beginnings. Humanity had been evolved in isolation. Now they had finally managed to enter into space in which other comparable species lived. But, humanity, as it was, was not enough. They would be a key element in the Great Project of the Gods.
Back on the soon to be Old Earth, the idea of humanity “moving to the stars” as a serious idea had begun with a corporation. A long-term idea begun as a motivation campaign. This corporation was a B-Corp, a Benefit Corporation. Their concept designed to encourage and stimulate not only the hard sciences, but also the social sciences. Especially those. Part of the campaign was envisioning the culture, the ideals, the psychology, philosophy and spirituality such settlers of a new galaxy might have.
This idea, this campaign, came in a time of powerful self-questioning. It took hold as the necessity for a new paradigm for society became especially pressing. One of the leading nation states had taken a “leader’ into power who represented the very worst of the old paradigm of dominance and superiority, of the falsehood of ego and vanity. A representation of a still sizeable, but shrinking, section of the population that clung desperately to refusing to change. They had never before been so obviously represented, always subtly, their agenda furthered indirectly. But this time it was blatant, raw, obvious, in full consciousness, and ugly. As always with such matters, they only thrive in the dark. Exposure killed this false dream of stasis, showing it for what it really was: Stagnation. But, it had shown the clear necessity for a replacement of the entire system.
At this time, the concept of the Noble Ideal resurfaced, but in its pure form, stripped of any superiority associations. It was this concept which fuelled the idea of humanity ‘starting over’ somewhere. Beginning again, but this time without needing to blunder their way through all the false and detrimental ideologies. The idea of what constituted the Noble Ideal, when it first surfaced, had much to support it, and thus had a good basis for extending upon. The concept, helped by the B-Corp, caught fire with the entire world. Under the guise of the project to ‘settle the stars,’ the concept was further developed and extended.
The corporation, in their efforts to stimulate the sciences, held regular contests to showcase new innovations, concepts and great ideas. They started by changing the format of contest themselves. There was to be no “winner.” This they declared, was part of the problem. A foolish system that tended to waste all the brilliance of those participants who produced real value, but who did not “win.” They instead declared that they would reward ALL excellence. They even rewarded excellent effort that in the end did not lead to an actual usable idea, or proved why something would Not work. These were just as needed as those that did. They rewarded excellence in any way it came.
They handed out grants, funding and investment seed money. This was part of their overall business, funding new technologies, new ways of doing business, new ways to run corporations. It all worked together. The new corporations they funded and invested in took over the world of business, this campaign making the original investment company the most wealthy by far.
But the company initially did not have the resources to reward all the excellent ideas financially. Instead using a use a master stroke of inspirational genius, setting up their project as a long-term realistic plan and dream. The goal was to fulfil just exactly how this dream might be accomplished. Sending humanity out into the stars was presented seriously. The efforts they would be rewarding was anything that brought this ideal one step closer.
The genius which caught the imagination of those of creativity and aspiration across the world was the primary reward: A place on the starships!! This ignited passions. Most imagined that such a selection would be determined by money, status power etc. But when it became clear that this would be the only criteria, the understanding took hold that everyone had a chance. Especially when it became known that any Efforts-of-Goodness would also be rewarded in this way. As the project developed, individuals would be nominated by others, simply by virtue of how they had lived their lives.
Being selected to be a representative of humanity, a representation of goodness, effort, ingenuity and other desirable qualities became a matter of a peculiar humble pride. Finally those efforts many deemed to be good and useful, but which were not usually rewarded in the material world, now were. The project took on a life of its own. Being rewarded with a place on the starships, being chosen, became the new standard of achievement. Especially since it affected anyone, in any sphere of life.
The corporation had from the start outlined the impossibility of the challenge. The project, according to what was known then, had no realistic chance of success. Not technologically, not even ideologically. The challenge, from the start, a challenge of conquering the unknown, of overcoming impossibility and creating the possible. To encourage this mindset they simply pointed to the abundant impossibility present in life at that time, compared to even a recent past. There was no denying the logic that the impossible could indeed be made possible. The world’s imagination was set ablaze with this dream.
The New Beginnings Project, as it became known, became an institution of the world. It did not matter that there was no end in sight, the advantages and progress of bringing the project ever closer, were decidedly real. With each yearly announcement of those awarded a place on the eventual starships, the dream came ever nearer. The advancements were real indeed. Each year the company seeded a fresh round of new companies, with fresh sciences, both hard and soft, with fresh conceptions and ideals, fresh new ways of doing business with which to benefit the world, since all these new corporations were started as benefit corporations, furthering business through benefiting the world.
Many impossibilities came into being. Like corporations where all employees loved to work, where all benefited and participated in the financial rewards. Impossibilities such as corporate cultures founded on cooperation instead of competition came into being. Many technological wonders previously thought impossible became reality. But the grand impossibility, that of conquering the seemingly immutable laws of science, particularly relativity, these remained elusive. Many alternative ideas were proposed and explored. After all, writers and dreamers had long been busy imagining and propagating such ideas.
But then, only a few decades after the origin of this dream idea, of the original Noble Ideal and conception that started it all, the truly impossible DID happen. A way to traverse the enormity of space was found! A means to travel realistically to other galaxies was discovered. It still involved substantial time, but not insurmountable by any means.
Thus The New Beginnings Project started a new phase: the actual construction of the starships. No small project. By this time, fortunately, the original corporation was wealthier than even the wealthiest governments and had become a de-facto world government. Because of their radically different way of doing business, and the proof they constantly delivered of truly being different and of having the people’s interest at heart, they became far more trusted. Many smaller governments adopted their organizational styles and ideologies. And when they discovered these to be substantially beneficial, they lent their full support to the corporation, preventing some of the legacy governments and institutions from dismantling this new power in the world.
Which all worked out well by the time the actual construction of the starships began. The legacy governments had to adapt and ‘get with the program’ by popular demand. No country wanted to be left out. Because by that time, the number who had been rewarded with a seat on the starships numbered in the millions. The corporation decided to build a fleet of a thousand ships. Each ship accommodating a few thousand ‘Seeders.’ A nice round number of ships, even it proved to be an ill prophetic choice.
Thus the project began in earnest, governments now Donating to the project. Overwhelmingly prohibited from participating by their constituents. The public had come to realise, that if The Dream was to be truly fulfilled, then it had to be accomplished by those Seeders who represented the Noble Ideal, no matter in which of its various multitudinous forms. Those on board would not necessarily represent the “best’ of humanity in the conventional idea, as for instance, the “smartest” or the “most successful,” or best looking, or other such flawed criteria. No, instead they represented a vast cross-section. Many simply souls who were just solid Good people.
Good Character was consistently rewarded, from the start. Not luck of birth or circumstance. If such luck was involved, it was how it was utilised and made the most of. Those talented individuals, who produced actual real value, but did not represent good character, they somehow never seemed to be rewarded with selection. This from the very start was known. Faking good character, also not a solution. All winners of a spot on the starships had to be approved by their peers, anonymously. As a result, the entire lives of individuals came under scrutiny as never before. Real change, as in overcoming one’s foolishness, was recognised and rewarded. Part of the contest involved finding ways in which to select the winners, ways to identify and reward those that truly did represent the ideal, and who would thus Seed the future of humanity. Fantastic new methods for identifying genuineness developed. The corporation benefiting massively in its hiring practices.
No age limit, one of the rules that greatly contributed to the popularity of the program. As long as someone was in general good health, they were free to participate. They simply needed to be able to survive the trip and a reasonable expectation of even only a few years on the other end. Each ship would be a community. As such, the full range of contributing individuals was necessary. Not even hereditary diseases were excluded. The concept originator had said that these would simply be another of the seeming impossibilities that would be overcome in time.
The original corporation held the secret of the engines. The breakthrough had fortunately occurred within their corporate fold. The individuals responsible understanding fully the magnitude of their remarkably fortuitous discovery. It had indeed been the consequence of the most incredible string of utter impossibilities coming together. They had kept their discovery completely private. Taking it directly to the originator of the entire concept. From there a plan was devised to develop, produce, and test the engines, but is segmented parts. None of them obvious as to the intent, or possibly leading to a guess as to their purpose. Only a few knew the real goal.
By the time the secret was revealed as a demonstrable actuality, the secret itself, and its originators, would be aboard a factory starship sent to the edge of the solar system out of any possible reach of anyone. There they would manufacture engines as needed. Harvesting raw materials from the now easily accessible asteroid belt, or anywhere the necessary materials were found. Inter-solar travel now taking place near instantaneously. This original starship served as a test prototype for the community ships. The developers of the new engines would take all their family with them, indeed anyone whom they held dear, so as not to be subject to coercion. The factory starship became a massive ship, built mostly in orbit, as large as a small town. Necessary as it would be home for a number of years to those on board. A huge spinning doughnut design, to simulate gravity.
Although the new engines were gravity engines, using them meant affecting time as well as gravity. Sustained use would bring them out of sync with earth. This was the secret to intergalactic travel. Manipulating time via manipulating gravity.
Enthusiasm for the project eclipsed all else when the mighty starships began to be assembled. Their orbit trails of reflected sunlight making for a pretty daily reminder of the realness of the project. Not to mention the round the clock media coverage. So much involved, a shortage of new material never an issue. The inhabitants of earth spellbound by this magic, unfolding as a real and true manifestation of the long believed impossible. Especially since it was unfolding within the lifetimes of most who had been utterly convinced no such thing Could ever be possible.
The Seeders too morphed in the minds of the public. They came to be known as the Noble Superheroes. A name the Seeders, as they insisted on referring to themselves, found uncomfortable. However, this name allowed for an appropriate perspective on the core ideological drivers of the project, those originators of the original concept, those who comprised the core of the founding corporation: The New Nobility Corporation. Not all Seeders were focused exclusively on the ideological aspect of The Dream. Those that did however, became the nucleus, and came to be known as: The New Nobles.
As the starships neared completion, the public by then thoroughly understood the mammoth undertaking involved. The uncertainty, the challenges, the risks, the enormity of the challenges the Noble Superheroes would face in settling unknown planets, even if they were deemed habitable.
Adding to these physical challenges, the ever-present ideological goal, always maintained front and centre. Merely settling a new world was not nearly enough. The goal was to settle them physically AND to start humanity off with a new cultural foundation which would avoid the endless wars, pointless struggle and needless suffering. Especially the goal was to end the dominance and superiority paradigm.
When their descendants eventually met other species, humanity hoped they would be proud of its representatives. Those Seeders would exemplify the formerly believed impossible made possible, just as the entire project did. The descendants of the Seeders would be a massive evolutionary leap when it came to Being, the root concept of the New Nobility ideology that drove the impetus for the project. Earth’s people had become inspired by the idea being represented out in space by better versions of themselves. They might see this as an unrealistic Aspiration for themselves, but they certainly came to believe it possible for their descendants, via the Seeders.
Thus the people of earth, by the time the ships actually launched, had indeed come to see those onboard the great starships, especially those entirely focused on the ideological aspects of the mission, as Noble Superheroes.
Little did humanity know that their new liberation, into the impossible now made possible, would be even more impossible than they believed. This new conviction, based on the undeniable evidence the project produced, even from the start, had led to a shift of belief when it comes to alien species. Their existence soon came to be seen as probable and inevitable. Part of the Dream Project, a vital and important part, was selecting a destination galaxy. New and heretofore impossible methods of not only detecting habitable planets, but ones likely to already be inhabited, were discovered and developed.
But the time the project completed, and the ‘Fabulous Fleet’ departed forever, life elsewhere in the Universe had been confirmed. Just exactly what kind of life, still unknown. The target galaxy finally selected, based on two criteria; maximum number of habitable, but uninhabited planets, as well as maximum number of planets that showed some signs of habitation. There were not too many of these planets, and none showed evidence of overly advanced technology. This galaxy then Ideal.
Humanity would be on a par with any species they might encounter. Except for that one glaring exception: The great Gravity Engines. The game changers of everything. Inter-solar space travel was one thing, but the realities of that type of space-travel made travel to systems even one light year away, a practical impossibility. This meant that species evolving as far as space travel, still remained effectively isolated. Preventing contamination if their ideological, social, cultural, and spiritual evolution had not kept pace.
But, all this incredibleness, all the impossibility made manifest, even with the focus on the ideological, blinded humanity to one possibility. The overwhelming incredibility of the physical technological impossibilities made real, dominated humanity’s perspective. Beliefs rooted in superstition fell away, and all but disappeared, except as mythology. The one impossibility humanity made no place for being possible, was the impossibility of the old gods actually being real, not even in a realistic version.
As things turned out, this blindness was just as well. It would be many centuries before humanity would once again become acquainted with these gods. The first encounters had ended disastrously, since these gods were nothing but humans who had prematurely realised their potential potential. At least some of it. What humanity has come to know as gods, were simply humans who had become aware that physical limitations were a matter of perception and belief.
However, as these unshackled humans, or ‘gods,’ came to realise, with powers and practical immortality, wisdom did not automatically come. This was a long and painful lesson. Extremely so. Immortality makes for a poor motivator when it comes to learning. Entrenched habits for a god were no less difficult to overcome. In fact, they became a major obstacle, as the longer times spans involved served to entrench them even more.
The peculiarities of the Universe, which bound the very existence of these ‘gods’ to that of their origin species, forced these gods to actually become Gods. At least as close as practicality would allow. Their fate tied to the evolution of their origin species. Their mandate became supervising the evolution of the species. But as they repeatedly soon discovered, this supervision a severely restricted activity. Interference was extremely risky. Unintended consequences their perpetual bane. The Gods had power, but their sensibility, wisdom and understanding, were still very much within the sphere of their origin species. They possessed no more ability to foresee the future than anyone else did. In fact, because they had been so hampered by those entrenched bad habits of being, and the inordinate time and effort needed to overcome those, these gods, at the time of this great inter-stellar event, a first for them also, were little wiser than humanity as a whole. Or any other species for that matter. They regularly learned from humanity, and other species, when it came to wisdom and Awareness.
This then was The Great Project of the Gods: To foster the Development and Enhancement of Awareness. They had come to see that all the evil, all the havoc they themselves had caused, and which had perpetuated as a result of them, all of it had been caused by Lack of Awareness. They had also come to realise, that all they could do, was align themselves with the Universe. As this purpose of Developing and Enhancing Awareness, they came to see as the Universe’s Intent. Their only option to Attune to this goal and facilitate it as best they could. They knew full well the disaster that resulted when they did not. They had inadvertently disrupted humanity’s path with their foolishness, arrogance and self-importance. Humility coming slowly, but it had come, placing them in the peculiar position of overseeing what they themselves needed, learning along with those they watched over. Their own existence, a premature accident, most believed, or perhaps an experiment. They did not know.
Now however, matters had taken a serious turn because of that incredible anomaly: The great Gravity Engines. The incredible, once in an eternity chance, that led to their discovery severely affected matters. Their thorough ineptitude as gods had unleashed a cascade of events which had now led to the unleashing of humanity into the wider universe. Yes, initially it was to another galaxy only, but, in universal terms, a mere blink before they could spread anywhere.
The Gods already knew humanity was not alone. Many other species had evolved to similar stages of development. None, for various reasons, had evolved ideologically past where the humans had been at the start of The Dream Project. In universal terms, this project, and the accompanying ideology, was also an anomaly. A potential game changer no less profound, than the Gravity Engines. But, there was a problem.
The Gods considered the consequences of humanity’s new expansion into the greater universe. Would the new ideological goals hold? Would they develop as the project originators hoped? Or would humanity’s old habits reassert under the pressures of starting afresh. Would the same distortion of that grand corrupter: Superiority, again establish itself because of scarcity, just as it had everywhere else the Gods knew of? They knew the horrors resulting from the dominance psychology they had helped foster. Other species had to greater or lesser extents, mostly lesser, also suffered from this bane. There were some that had not. But, was it fair to all those other species, and there were a good number of them in humanity’s destination galaxy, was it fair to risk their survival and progress to an untried new humanity? The old humanity certainly could not be allowed this possibility for dominance which the Gravity Engines presented.
What if humanity did not evolve as planned, as hoped? What then? What if they reverted? It would be a long while before they would be able to return to Earth. Even if Earth itself evolved in this new direction, it would not matter, as the secret of the Gravity Engines had left with this new grand experiment. There would be no second wave. The chances of that incredible, even to the Gods, accident of discovery happening again, were beyond astronomically slim.
The stakes were just too high for the Gods to risk the future of an entire galaxy, and potentially the universe, on a maybe. Maybe humanity would evolve into the potential they could be. Maybe The Gods Themselves would evolve sufficiently to be able to deal with what might come. Maybe. The unknowns were simply too many. But, as great as the risks were, so to the potential opportunities, even more so. The possibilities of the Noble Ideal, as a culture, were profound. The Gods had to give this Dream a chance to develop. But safely.
They devised a plan, one that required the most minimum of interference, merely the tweaking of some code. Some computer, some genetic. Any potential dominance would be taken care of, at least initially, by dispersing the starships. Forcing each one to a different planet. This would not only set them back technologically, as the starships themselves would not survive, but force a statistically better test for the nascent ideology. It was no good if it did succeed simply because of luck or momentum. It had to be shown to be valid internally. If the Noble Ideal could survive and thrive, and come to be influential independently, on many different worlds, then the Gods could feel reasonably certain they had not needlessly risked a galaxy.
By the time the humans regained their technology and sufficient numbers, industry, and wealth, to once again set forth into space, the other species would have had a chance to either catch up, or surpass them in the galaxy. The galaxy where the knowledge of the Great Engines would be if the Noble Ideal prevailed, it would not matter if humanity were behind, the Great Engines would soon nullify any advantages. And critically, this vital technology would then be the means to spread the Noble Ideal, as humanity would control interspecies interaction. They would become the ideological bottleneck.
The Gods could destroy this knowledge. But that not only incurred the monumental risk of going against the Universe, and they had suffered mightily in the past from doing just that, but they risked the fantastic potential evolutionary benefits, for all species. The Gods calculated those worlds where the Noble Ideal took prominence, would have a substantial edge in development, since one of the core concepts of the Noble Ideal, was Collaboration. True collaboration, not merely cooperation, where the results of the collaborating group far exceed the results from simple cooperation. Such cooperation could be attained via coercion. True collaboration unleashed a magic that led to exponential increases in results and benefits.
The Gods not only had high hopes for The Noble Ideal, but high expectations. Despite their caution, they fully expected this sensible purpose to thrive. An ideal they themselves had come to adopt. So much so, they decided to make a change which would, in effect, be a bet that the Noble Ideal would succeed.
The God-Gene, as they called it, had always been a part of humanity’s DNA. However, after the Gods had made such a mess of things, and belief in gods waned, the gene had fallen dormant. Being a “god” had always been available to any human, since really they were just humans with benefits. And indeed that’s what had happened, just any human had become a god when it first happened. They could see how, from the Universe’s Perspective, a few millennia or aeons here and there didn’t matter. The Universe, like nature, would get where it needed to in the end. But for the gods, they would have to endure the needless suffering in the meantime. If they could reduce this, they would. They had caused enough already.
Besides, they would assist with the collective intent of humanity. Never before in the history of Earth had the vast majority of humanity been so singularly focused on a goal and an ideal, not to mention an Intent. Above all, humanity wanted their descendants in the stars to Evolve. The Gods did, after all, still have a mandate to serve humanity. The natural evolution of mankind was to evolve into Gods. But real Gods. Gods that had wisdom, ethics, sensibility and an Overview Perspective. Gods who were in Attunement with the Universe, for even Gods were part of the Universe becoming conscious of itself. And real Gods, especially, would follow the Noble Ideal.
The Gods decided to reactivate the God-Gene. Humanity-in-the-Stars would now be Gods-in-Training. In particular, the God-Gene would respond to the Noble Ideal. Even indirectly. An individual would not have to be on the forefront of pushing the Noble Ideal, just in alignment with it in some way. This alone would move humanity that tiny bit closer to activation. The effects would be imperceptible of course. Centuries would be needed before any noticeable effects would show, even then, it would only manifest as an ability to implement the Noble Ideal. From there, humanity would have to make the jump in belief themselves.
The Gods found it amusing, and faintly ironic, that the name Old Earth’s population had bestowed on the Seeders, would now in a sense be true. Such was the way of things they knew. Humanity-in-the-Stars would now indeed be Noble Superheroes. If they succeeded that is.
The following is the story of your children, our children, out there among the stars, those versions of ourselves we hope they will be, training to be gods, as we all are.
We are still in it of course, back here on Old Earth. Still in the training. We can’t give up. This manuscript has somehow come back to us, from the future, to give us ideas…