In what was assumed to be the terrible silence of space, the world searched for a source. Using more than scientific equipment; using stories and heavenly signs, the world ‘found’ a creator. It was not a man or a woman or some alien being, but an awareness; an invisible force that was said to rotate the globe and warm the lands.
Questions were asked and eventually an effort was made to explain how life began. It was decided by some that something or someone must be responsible for the conception of a planet. It had to be this voiceless unknown that gave pure mystery a grounding. It gave speculation a plausible foundation and a believable beginning.
The presence that set the world in motion was realized by those select few individuals. Some had ears that could hear what couldn’t be heard. Some had eyes that could see what couldn’t be seen. And they were, most of them, intelligent and well spoken. They wrote and in their writings, convinced others of what they had experienced. Visions were transcribed; dreams and feelings were all written out as simple facts and not as the insubstantial workings of the chemical minds that produced them.
And the words both confused and excited a population. They were simple messages that worked their way into the ears of others. They were risky ideas, but also intriguing and mysterious. They made just enough sense that they must have been true. The unexplained coincidences that people shared and the correlations they had with life must surely be a sign of god.
Hence, a religion was born. A shared belief grew into being that sought to rule the world. And as with any assemblage, a symbol was chosen to represent that belief. Some physical representation had to be found that anyone would recognize.
A star, as you might imagine, worked well. A five pointed design that was aesthetically pleasing and yet easy enough for one to draw. Soon, everyone was wearing a star. It was worn around necks and over wrists; tied to strands of hair and painted on eyelids and punched though the fat of cheeks and the lobes of ears. The star became the sign that defined the individual. It was the belief that from the intense and endless silence of space, an omniscient deity was watching them and waiting. A terribly powerful god, it was told, gave favor to those who accepted the star as their own symbol and as their true identity.
And the stars were beautiful. They shone like the heavens and the eyes of everyone who looked upon them glittered. Not only could a symbol carry a religious meaning but could also mark one’s place in society. Soon the religious began carrying stars with them at all times. They made sure their symbol decorated their home and their body in an effort to prove their belief. And those who did not have stars were sought after in hopes of selling them a powerful belief along with an attractive star.
“Join us,” the ones with stars implored, “and believe.”
They stood on corners, waving their 5 pointed symbol to passersby. They welcomed strangers into elaborate buildings so that they could share the secrets of the universe. “Take a star,” they urged. “Even if you don’t understand all of the mysteries and wonder of god, take this symbol upon your body and you will be blessed. Never remove it for fear that those without stars will be cast out in to the silence of space.”
“We will be cast out?” the starless voices asked. “Our bodies will be thrown into the expanse of the universe?
“No,” said the star marked. “When you die, the essence of you, the feelings inside you will evaporate like water and drift out past the clouds, into the emptiness of space.”
“How can that be?” the starless asked the unfathomable question.
“Because prophets of old have foreseen the fate of those who do not believe. Your essence will drift into emptiness and eventually into the fire of the sun and there you will be forever in agony. Therefore, we urge you to wear the star!”
Some who feared this, wore the star. Some who saw that power was obtainable, wore the star so that they could rise in rank and favor. Some wore stars to retain their families and friends who gave no room in their lives to the starless. And some wore it with pride, reaching out with all of their feelings toward the moon and the emptiness of space, in hopes of finding solace in the feeling of a god. They, all of them, wanted to believe in the possibility of something greater than themselves.
As the words were carried across the globe, they were changed and modified. Additions were made to the words until the star marked began to seek deeper answers. To the profits and seers, they often asked out loud, “How can we be saved from death that rapidly approaches? Will our god rescue us from the pain and finality of our own destruction?”
The ones who could see what can’t be seen and the ones who could hear what can’t be heard answered them without hesitation. “If you wear the star, you will live forever.”
“Forever!” The star marked rejoiced, repeating the word that tasted too good in their mouths.
“However, your bodies of flesh and chemicals will indeed fail,” the words were quickly written. “But if you are faithful and true, you may continue to live in prosperity and good health in yet another form. Upon your passing, the essence of your being will escape like smoke and go on to live forever in a state of purity and glory, for those who embrace the star will certainly be saved.”
The star marked touched their stars that they wore around their necks and over their wrists. They stroked the stars that were tied in their hair and punched through the fat of their cheek and the lobe of their ears and they smiled the smiles of the faithful.
And those who remained starless were looked upon as hopeless, vilified as evil and pushed toward the outskirts of society. They let others believe what they would and instead wondered at the vast expanse of space and questioned the true workings of the world. They lived out their lives just as the star marked, but without either the fear of a vengeful god or the anticipation of a heaven that may or may not truly exist.
For to them, the idea of god was so incredible that it was nearly uncontainable. For something that could do so much, a deity could be anything or it could be nothing. The starless found that with only speculation as proof and stories labeled as truth, they could not buy a star. With only imagination and the stir of chemical feelings in their starless chests, they simply could not purchase the idea of god.
Brandon Paul owns notebooks. Lots of them. In every size. And in these notebooks, he writes. In 2014 he used these notebooks to write every day of his 38th year; in 2015 you’ll get to read this book. Stay tuned.