The Secret Undertown Ministry

Once upon a time, although since as a dimension, time is a relatively unstable paradigm and cannot often be trusted to remain in the tense that one would expect, in a land far, far away [and distance too would seem but an illusion that our physical bodies must endure, but that our minds can easily dissolve with a modicum of effort], there was a very small planet that circled its medium density star – one tiny speck of dust in a mighty dustbowl of a universe.

It was a planet of contradictions. A planet of unusual propensities. A planet that called itself a world sometimes, but at other times felt like a planet.

The inhabitants of this strange planet who had an interest in such things at one point unanimously named it. Those who did not require a name for it seldom acknowledged such activities, regardless of how much circumstance their participants conferred upon them. They may have been thinking, “What’s in a name?”, but they also might not have even noticed. In the seventh-most widely spoken language of the inhabitants who populated (either by chance birth or through destiny motivated relocation) the most diverse range of climates, the planet was known as Arthel – well, the name was not actually a word in that language, but in a language that was used by a majority of the dominant inhabitants, a language no longer actively spoken on the planet, but revered as a way to escape the need to define things to the non-dominant inhabitants. You may already have begun to guess at some of the unusual propensities to which this planet was inclined.

The inhabitants of this planet, Arthel, were fortunate enough to have been able to develop, propagate and thereby populate it, thanks to a remarkable compatibility between their requirements for survival and the resources available from the environment in which they did these things. The significance of this fact cannot be overlooked – there were many other planets that would not have nurtured these inhabitants in such a successful manner. Many of these inhabitants marked this significance by embracing a sense of their own uniqueness, their innate skills; many others did not. Some of those who chose not to mark such things?were among those who had no “name” for their home – at least not one that was widely circulated or shared.

As one might typically expect on a planet that embraced contradiction and an air of “mystery”, the species of inhabitant that was most abundant on Arthel did not “control” Arthel. It may be that they did not wish to control it, or it may be that they simply had no conceptualization of control with which to apply that construct. In either case, the primary inhabitants of the planet were not the most vociferous planetary residents. There was far too much planet, it can be assumed, to cause much of a reason for worry about which inhabitants got which resources. Think locally, you can almost hear them saying. Work with what you’ve got at hand. Of course, many of the majority inhabitants did not have “hands” – hands were an evolutionary development that concerned only a small number of Arthelans. Most Arthelans enjoyed other physical traits that more than compensated for opposable thumbs.

But it is the Arthelans with opposable thumbs that concern us in this story. This is their history, more than the history of Arthel, although the two are intertwined so closely that few can see light between the threads.

2003

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