The Mystic

23 May

The city of Druere possessed both advanced nanotube industry and ancient spirituality. These two strains, technology and theosophy, met each other in the life of young Ylan Weitem.

Dressed in a dark indigoid surcoat, the nano-engineer walked into the temple where he often went for counseling with a predicant named Retem Aimek. This short, stocky cleric in glowing yellow cassock was seated in his cuboid office behind a bluewood desk. His canella eyes, a pale orange-yellow, brightened when he saw Ylan standing in his doorway.

“Come in, dear fellow,” he called out. “Come in and have a chat with me.”

Once seated, the visitor began to lay out an urgent plea.

“I must know whether what I am attempting to develop on my own can have any moral or intellectual value, or if I should put a stop to the kind of experimentation I am engaged in.”

“I do not quite understand, Ylan. You have to be more specific.”

The eyes of the young man glowed with a blue iridescence.

“Let me give some details about what I am aspiring to do, then. As all of us with an orientation toward the spiritual recognize, it is not easy to achieve enlightened contact with the higher spheres of being. One may try over and over throughout a lifetime, yet never experience fusion with the universal foundation that underlies every single thing, both material and non-material. Only a fortunate few, a very few, reach the dreamed-of unification.”

“Yes,” interrupted Retem. “I agree with every word that you are uttering.” He paused a moment, then went on. “I consider myself among those still waiting for complete illumination of my soul, Ylan.”

“We have always had only a small number of true perfecti,” muttered the latter under his breath.

Retem grinned. “The nous is the highest sphere accessible to human beings. It is the home of the most sublime bliss. The nous can bath the human soul in the Light of Eternity. It is the only bridge we have to the divinity of the One. Remember, Ylan, what our first thinkers said about this eternal configuration: the soul’s relation to the nous is the same as that of the nous to the One. This original Being threw out the nous as a perfect image of itself, the primeval One. The nous is therefore the archetype of all existing entities, including ourselves.

“Should we wonder that it is so difficult for individuals to reach, to touch, and to meld with it?

“The wonder is that any human beings are ever infused with the light of nous over all the innumerable generations of human history.

“Yet all of us must continue in this sacred quest.”

A silence fell over the tiny office, broken finally by Ylan.

“I aspire to discover an enhancer to improve those chances, those odds,” he declared.

“What do you mean by that?” asked an obviously puzzled Retem Amek.

“My vision is somewhat clouded and uncertain, I admit. But there is a deep feeling within me that certain miniaturized processes can be of help in dealing with our souls and the universal nous. How it is to be finally achieved remains an enormous mystery to me. But my belief is that there must exist tubules and nanoids that can facilitate bridging us over the abyss to the nous.”

Retem, saying nothing for a short time, gaped in awe and surprise.

“Do I sound like a mad man of some kind?” inquired the engineer.

The counselor made a wry grimace. “None of us who seek the Light is mad. No, we are truly the only ones who have a rational purpose in living.” He bit his thin lower lip for a moment. “You must attempt to find out whether this idea of yours has any merit. My advice is to see what can be done in the way that you describe.”

“Thank you, sir,” responded Ylan with a shining smile on his face. He excused himself and left, eager to apply himself to this spiritual-scientific mission he had mentioned.

Druese Nanotubules operated production facilities that crossed the wide city from east to west. Its plants were constructed of distinctive fulvous brique whose yellowish gray stood out on the urban landscape.

Ylan walked on foot down a cobbled alley, toward the centuries-old structure now serving as the research center of the tubular corporation.

His mind was filled with images of the mountain of work that lay ahead of him.

So much had to be done to clear the pathway forward!

Attention had to be given to obtaining required personnel and needed material supplies. That was to be his first step. He had to appeal for these things with the company’s chain of command.

Ylan went into his little office, sat down at the ceramic desk, and spent half the day writing up the necessary requisition orders. The true aim of the new line of experiments had to be concealed, though. It would not win organizational approval, that was for certain. Dissimilation and pretense had to be applied by the engineer. An impression of usual, traditional experimentation and research had to be created in order to obtain and maintain consent.

All that morning, Ylan buried himself in paperwork, waiting for confirmation of all his requests.

Instead, he was presented with a surprise visit by the head of the firm.

The man who barreled unannounced into his office was President Hotd Zaphp, the one who managed and directed all of Druese Nanotubules. In one hand this towering giant held the requisition sheets that Ylan had earlier sent up the corporate hierarchy for approval.

It was plain what had brought the top executive in charge of everything down here so swiftly.

“What in the universe are you up to?” began the square-headed, lantern-jawed bruin, his chestnut brown eyes blazing with unconcealed anger. “Why are you ordering such a strange combination of expensive materials? No explanation is given of what you plan to accomplish with such unusual tubes.”

Zaphp glared with uncontrolled fury at the researcher as he paused a second, then continued with his rage.

“I can understand the need for zinc oxide, germanium, silicon carbide, and tungsten oxide nano-wiring. But look at some of these exotic requests from you: gallium nitride, barium-titanium tubules, lanthanum crystals, cerium wire, prasecdymium salt, and samples of dysprosium. Many of these materials are prohibitively expensive.

“So, can you outline for me what you plan to attempt with them?”

Ylan had to think fast to come up with a reply containing some degree of plausibility.

“I want to test these various tubules under the most diverse conditions, without having a specific, concrete final product in mind. That is the only way to proceed into frontier regions of exploration.”

“Frontier?” exploded Zaphp. “What sort of frontier are you thinking of?”

“My interest will be broad and wide, oriented toward placing tubules in new, unprecedented environments. That, to me, is the direction of greatest curiosity. Can you understand what I am saying?”

The corporate chief spoke with smoldering emotion.

“You may go on with a modicum of what you ask for,” he told the engineer. “Keep me aware of the steps taken and the results obtained, positive or negative.”

At regular intervals, the experimenter visited the Predicant for consultation, reporting on the course of his laboratory activities. Retem Amek listened with sharpening interest to how the work was advancing.

“Only my most trusted associates are present when I have single-molecule wide nano-rods driven into my skull so that they touch the neurons of my cerdellum. So far, I have tried out six different compounds as part of these brain probes.”

“What results have been recorded?” anxiously asked Retem.

Ylan gave him a downcast look.

“Nothing approaching what I am seeking,” moaned the engineer. “I have met with nothing beyond failure and disappointment. The defeats have forced me to rethink the way I am attempting to reach my goal.”

“How is that?”

The engineer drew a long, deep breath.

“I intend to leave aside metallic inserts and go into a different area of brain probes.”

“And what will that be?” asked the spiritual advisor.

“A nano-activator consisting of my own DNA. We know how to produce a strand or string of this. What if it could be threaded into the brain in a sort of sewing operation? A new molecule-sized band of DNA could be the answer to changing brain activity in the desired direction.

“Molecular biology tells us that nano-electrical charges can be transmitted over such strands. That may turn out to be exactly what I need. The hope is that the magnetic effect of such an enhancer will make a spectacular change in the condition of my mind.”

“Can DNA accomplish that kind of feat, though?”

“Until experiments are completed, no one knows for sure. A lot of work lies ahead for me and my people in that regard.”

“I wish you success, Ylan. But do take care to protect your safety in this venture.”

“I always do so, and I will in the future also,” promised the experimenter.

Half a dozen DNA probes into the brain of the subject brought no visible results. On his next visit to the city temple, Ylan’s mind was full of anxious desperation.

“Things are not going the way that I hoped for at the beginning of this. Neither metals nor DNA has provided anything like what I dreamed of producing in myself.”

“I wish there was something that I could do to help,” muttered Retem, deep in complex thought. All at once, an idea of interest struck him. “Perhaps there is a possible contribution on my part.”

The other perked up. “What is it? What are you thinking of?”

“I go every week to the Druese Hospitium to talk to and encourage the sick and ailing. That is part of our vocation here at the temple. We must oversee the spiritual well-being of those confined by illness.

“One of my closest acquaintances there is the staff biogeneticists. He is current with all the scientific breakthroughs of recent years. He is a conscientious student of how genetic factors affect the human brain.

“If I ask him, I am certain that he will be agreeable to helping you.”

Ylan thought for a moment or so. “Yes, that makes a lot of sense. Shall I go and meet with him in the hospitium?”

“It may be better if I ask him to come here. If that is not possible, then you may have to see him on his own turf.”

The engineer nodded his agreement to this. “I shall see this Dr. Banin as soon as possible, either way.”

It turned out that the busy physician preferred that the visitor come to meet him at his office. Retem so informed Ylan, sending him a note to go to the hospitium early the following morning.

One of the largest buildings in Druese, the cubular shape rose high above the surrounding downtown parkland. Its facilities were the most scientifically advanced anywhere on the planet.

Taking an urban thermo-trolley just after dawn, Ylan arrived at the main entrance as the inside lobby was coming to life with staff and visitors. A question at the reception desk informed him how to get to the Neurochemical Department and the office of Dr. Eax Banin. It took two levator rides and a long walk on foot to reach this destination at a far corner of the giant hospitium. He passed high stacks of gurney-holders where sedated patients slept above and below those like themselves. Large cylindrical tanks on both sides of the hallway indicated that bariac therapy was conducted in this section. At last, Ylan arrived at a lobby area with a large sign over it marking the location of his destination.

A secretary sitting at a toonwood desk directed the stranger to the office of her employer. “Dr. Banin is expecting you in there,” she informed him with a cheery smile.

Ylan cautiously entered where he was told, finding a large older man walking toward him.

“How do you do, Mr. Weitem? The President has told me about you and what your goal is.” He pointed to a long gummic sofa for both of them to sit down on.

The visitor turned his head so he could look into the bluntly massive head of the other. Large wolf gray eyes were staring at and studying him, Ylan discovered. A deep baritone tone came from the man’s mouth.

“I am intrigued by the psychological possibilities of nano-tubular inserts into the human brain. That is something with marvelous possibilities that remain untapped. I understand you yourself are a trained nano-engineer?”

“Correct,” replied Ylan. “I am in charge of laboratory research at Druese Nanotubular.”

“What kind of substances have you tested?” inquired Banin.

“I began with metals commonly used in electronic devices, going on to rare elements. Last of all, I have turned to DNA, using my very own on myself.”

The doctor started to breath heavily.

“The spiritual path is a rocky, difficult one, regardless of who the person happens to be. But there are possible engines for mobilizing and energizing the brain for optimal mystical opportunity. Notice that I use the adjective possible. There are no proven agents to be applied for this purpose. You shall be working on unexplored territory. My advice to you is that there is promise among chemokines that affect the signaling molecules of the brain’s neuron cells. I call your attention to a certain substance called enkephalinase. Are you familiar with it?”

“No,” admitted Ylan. “Not at all. It is far outside my field of study.”

“I would test for the effects of enkephalinase. It would be of interest to know the effect of concentrated amounts.”

In a minute or so, he rose, said good-bye, and left.

Enclosed in a molecular-tubule made of his own DNA, the enkephalinase was dripped into the cerebrum of Ylan to see the effects. The process, in the company laboratory, was scheduled to take only half an hour.

The subject began to feel a change in his mind and orientation at once.

His mind was freed from all sensuality, Ylan realized. He was, in a profound sense, returning to himself. All of him was being swallowed up by forces beyond his own self.

Ylan now saw with the eyes of his mind. He thought with power beyond his physical brain.

I have never known myself, the nano-engineer told himself, consciously and unconsciously.

The thoughts within me are realer than any object, even my own material being.

I have never understood before how much of what I call “me” is of a spiritual nature.

What if I could make myself entirely, thoroughly such? What would I do then?

The thinking of Ylan Weiten took him further and further into a realm he was unfamiliar with.

When the insertion of the enkephalincase ended, his technical assistants had no idea what to do with their director, who no longer appeared to be the person they were used to dealing with.

A consensus was immediately reached that the changed Ylan had to be hospitalized for examination.

The next day, Hotd Zaphp issued a general order that no more experimentation with brain inserts was to be carried out by the personnel of Druese Nanotubules. All records of prior work in this direction was quietly destroyed.

Upon receiving word of the collapse of Ylan, Retem Anek went at once to meet with and confront Dr. Eax Banin at the Neurochemical Department of the city’s central hospitium.

The pair got down to the case in question at once.

“What is the prognosis for our friend?” asked the Predicant anxiously.

“Not good, not at all. His present state is one I could characterize as euphoric suspension. His mind is too occupied with its internal experience to make contact with anyone or anything else.

“I fear that the engineer is going to relive this for the rest of his days. He shall be fed and serviced physically, but no movement or action shall ever be attempted or enacted by him. His state will remain one of waking coma. As I said, his condition is one of total suspension.”

It is a blissful one, thought Retem.

This is the true goal that the nano-engineer has always sought for.

He left the office of Dr. Banin, resigned to how things had come out for Ylan, the seeker for enlightenment.

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