- Email from Jonas -
Several times now have I been asked to put on paper the story of a conspicious contemporary. There is - I can admit that easily - a certain attraction to portraying the ways and characters of people whose lives proceed in tracks which are not known in everyday life. We probably see the universe of our own possibilities in those others, for we ourselves belong to the same species, maybe live in a very similar surroundings, and yet we are separated by worlds.
A couple of weeks ago, an email reached me, and I still don't know exactly what to make of it. At first I held it to be a joke, and yet... but read it by yourself first:
"Dear Anton, I know you from your reports on the internet. I am glad that you are acquainted with unusual phenomena, for in the course of this mail you will easily recognize that I am by all means to be counted into this category. Before I go into details, you should know that I am on a mission of mediating between cultures and civilizations. The civilization, which I represent, has been completely unknown to you before. Soon I will tell you about it and you will not believe me a word. I will confront you with things that you are able to imagine, the reality of which - on the other hand - you cannot acknowledge at this moment.
For me it is an attempt. My civilization has decided to openly communicate with yours at this stage. We have knowledge that may inspire you, we have questions, and most of all we want to find out how we react on each other, your civilization and mine, I mean. Imagine it to be a fantasy and see if you like it. More than that I cannot expect now, as it seems.
My planet is called Omega 5. Since almost two years I have been a visitor and I am watching life on earth. Jonas is my name. There is - and this will surprise you, too - a number of Omegans who at times are present on earth, since we have learned the use of stargates. We cannot materialize on earth, but we can find a host among the humans, who carries us for a certain span of time and through whom we can articulate. Such a visit also allows us to share human experiences. I have learned a whole lot since I came here and am eager to step into a direct contact with this my former object of study. Not with the medium, but with the society, with people from outside.
My medium is a woman of 27 years. She will hardly be mentioned in what I have to say, because I don't have to explain it to her, she understands. There are some people who immediately understand us, and there is a majority that doesn't. My medium, in a way, is co-reading, while I am writing with her fingers. She is in a trance. Meanwhile, my own body, which, by the way, is quite human-like, is sleeping on Omega 5. Concerning these techniques, I do not want to go into details now. It is not much that I know about them, anyway. So I rather give you an account of life on Omega 5.
The first thing an Omegan notices on earth is the absence of giants. For there we have giants who take care of stability according to our standards. And the first thing that an Omegan does when coming home from an earth visit is to go to the giants for comfort. Or to the meditators. Differently from the earth, there are such among us who become as old as the oldest trees. Those are the meditators. They have a specific social function, just as the giants. My own life expectation, and the one of most of my people, is around 200 years. Not all of us have the ability to travel through the stargate, but some have. Most of us assume that it can be learned.
Ever since the discovery of the earth some 36 years ago, our scientists try to establish a diplomatic exchange, but this - from the point-of-view of our politicians - has failed so far because of the fact that we, if perceived at all, are measured by the standards of the humans and not by the standards of our own culture. On the other hand, the earthlings had had only very limited knowledge about the civilization on Omega 5 and a natural shyness towards the unknown. This coincided somewhat unhappily with the fragile character of the travelers and led, among other things, to misbehavior from our side. There are more of my kind among you, yet I am (as far as I know) the first one who is outing himself, to use one of your humorous words.
I would like to tell you more, but before I will wait to see what kind of reaction this mail will evoke, for maybe I am not at the right address. In this case, I would have to look for somebody else. But you seem to be someone who is ready for new things, curious maybe. This is what I am looking for, you see. Regards from Jonas."
- I Didn't Believe a Word -
As I said before, at first I held it to be a joke. But Jonas has seen that, and yet he wrote what he wrote and sent it to me. Interesting story, if one considered it to be a story, but Jonas was, of course, right, I did not believe him a word. This is what I wrote him some days later. Still, I wanted an explanation for his mail, for there must have been something of importance that Jonas wanted to convey, and there was nothing reprehensible about it. Many a man and woman before had such intensive emotions and perceptions that they condensed them into literature in order to be able to express them. So I came to my conclusion that Jonas was a role that somebody played to present and communicate a hidden part of himself in an imagery way. A metaphor, an allegory.
Indeed I realized at that point a certain similarity to Marianne S. and some participants of the Ozzy Balou Chronicle. There, we had talked about trances and about shamanism. I understood why Jonas had turned to me, and I saw no reason to reject him. So I wrote him that I'd be pleased to hear more about Omega 5 in a further mail, if he was interested, even if I could not be too sure about the extend to which I'd be able to follow him. A couple of days later I received another email from him with the following content:
- Giants, Batuum, and the Foundation of Raat -
"Dear A., I am glad that you could answer me and I will not disappoint you. Yes, imagine it to be a metaphor, that's alright, the main thing is that you listen. The material problem between cultures is that people don't listen to what the other one says, because they are prejudiced or whatever.
The figure of the extra-terrestrian for you is a clichè that had its heydays in the sixties and that since is serving as a projectory field for your interior life. I had two years time to get acquainted with your culture and I am a fast learner. This world, about which I am telling you, is not really alien to you, it only appears alien. When an earthling approaches it and comes closer, they notice many familiar things, and soon they suspect it to be a swindle. It is difficult to step beyond such abstraction.
The population of Omega 5 amounts to about 500 million Omegans. Our planet is a little smaller than the earth, so that we have a different gravity. But we also have a sun and a moon. We have oceans and climate zones, oxygen, plants, and animals, men and women, this is all very similar. We have a couple of animal species, which you don't have, and the other way round. The same with plants. Some of the animals from Omega 5 have language abilities.
A lot of the things here on earth are nice. Through my medium I have experienced the taste of kiwi fruits and of coffee. We don't have that. But we have a fruit that is called batuum and it tastes a little of strawberry. But is has a taste that cannot really be compared to any terrestrial thing. Once every year, most of the villages celebrate the batuum festival, it is a holiday, on which we cook batuum and prepare the most diverse dishes. We dance and celebrate. It is also called the feast of love, for batuum is a very sensual plant.
Your music also fascinated me, especially Johann Sebastian Bach, the blues, the jazz and the Beatles. We have our musicians and our instruments as well. They are different, but our music, like yours, bases on melody and rhythm.
Really astonishing I found that certain pieces of music, and even more pieces of literature, have a staggering likeness to Omegan art. I asked Kara, my meditator, and she told me about an ancient exchange between Omegans and earthlings, a shared dream path, through which our songs can blow to your side and vice versa. For example, Lewis Carol's "Alice in Wonderland" is identical with a known Omegan children's book from the To epoch with the name of "Monia's Travels" to an amount of 60 % of its contents. And this is not a single case by far. The politicians, who sent me, are wishing to examine the shared heritage of humans and Omegans especially because of these correspondences.
Our language is called Berit. There are many more languages, but Berit is known to all of us, also to the giants. The Omegans love the giants and the giants love the Omegans. On our planet, there are street and tunnel systems which allow the giants to quickly reach any place they want. They live on a huge mountain which is called Iram. It is not even so very high, but it is expanding over an area of the size of Australia. Almost all Omegans spend a part of their childhoods on the mountain of the giants. Here grows the batuum and the giants have built the gardens for us, nature resorts, which are a popular place for vacation.
Today, there are about ten thousand giants. An Omegan is about the size of a human and the size of a giant forefinger. By reason of its being a mountain-like plateau, very probably even stemming from a foreign planet in origin, evolution on Iram took a different development than on the rest of the planet. The main distinction between giants and Omegans is in the size of their bodies. We celebrate the same feasts and even wear similar cloths. Without them our whole system would not work.
We have three continents, Myr, Targos, and Latuna, and in the oceans there are many small islands. Iram is situated near the equator in Targos. The countries of the three continents are according to the language barriers, similar to Europe. And yet they are politically less centralized than on earth.
As a political unit we have the dom, that is a village or a community. The population of a dom is about 1.500 Omegans in average. Each dom has a representative in Raat. Raat (two syllables) is a city system at the foot of Iram by a river. There are about 250.000 delegates and further 500.000 so-called suamra, those are traders, press people, students, and meditators, in other words: inhabitants other than political delegates. Raat is by far the greatest gathering of Omegans at all, and it is another place where most Omegans come to at least once in their lives, and be it as a visitor of the fairs or the annual film and literature festivals. The city is constructed in a way that it has the capacity of holding five million Omegans in the extreme case.
The beginning of our history is covered by myths, just like with you on earth. The oldest complete book, which we own, is the Koda Ka Miraat, the "Book of Peace". The Koda is about 8.000 years old and also the first evidence of the language Berit. The myths tell us of the discovery of Iram and what one could call the cultural shock for both parties, especially for the Omegans. The Koda is not the first scriptual evidence, but it is the first comprehensive and philosophical book and the basis of our common culture. The Koda stands in about seven hundred years distance to this first encounter, it was written by an Omegan called Taoh, and it is dedicated to the giants. In the beginning, the Omegans were somewhat superior to the giants in their language, and some generations after the discovery of the giants the war happened, which - in short - was due to the arrogance of the early Targs. "For two hundred years there was war", the Koda recounts, whereas one year is about as long as nine of your months. It followed five hundred years of an uncomfortable peace, and after the circulation of the Koda and later the construction of Raat we came to a real peace.
About the first contacts with the giants we have, as I mentioned, only legends. Yet it is a fact that the Targs and the giants each had had a language of their own. We found old Targic inscriptions and word lists, even some poetic verses. The language of the giants, on the other hand, had never been fixed in script. Now, if you compare the old Targic documents with the Koda, you will find a congruency in vocabulary and grammar of almost two thirds of the information. The rest goes back to the lanugage of the giants which today is died out. Taoh is one of the first meditators who is known by name. He learned the language of the giants and had lived in Iram for many years. He also spoke about the stargate already and wrote about it in the Book of Dreams, which is a part of the Koda. And it was this scholar who introduced the concept of "miraat" into the language which means something like "peace in cooperation" or "flexible peace". The prefix "mi-" corresponds to the Latin prefix "co-" as in "cooperation" or "coordination", and moreover it denotes the verb "mi" ("to move"). "Raat" menas "peace", more precisely: "peace after the war", for "At" is the name of the period when giants and Omegans had lived in hostility.
Taoh was the teacher of Rima, who founded the city of Raat. The giants traversed the planet and produced maps. They also brought the Koda into all the countries. The day, on which the first political session took place in Raat, was the beginning of our calendar, and we now are 7.730 years away from that day.
Raat was the place where those things were fixed which were equally valid for all Omegans. Those "first (people)", as we call them, already talked in Berit, and the giants also did at that time. In Raat, a juridicial system was developed and a scientific center. Many of the laws had been pre-formulated in the Koda. One of the major political issues was the dom system. In the Book of Wishes, another part of the Koda Ka Miraat, it reads: "Live together in small social units (domra), where one knows the face of the other. One dom be like the other, and all are different." As an explanation it must be added that we are dealing with a pun here, as "domra" also means "different, individual".
There are some concepts which have no real equivalent in German or in English (the two languages I have learned) and which are central to our culture. To those belongs the concept "oraat". It approximately means "public peace", or, more formulated, "peace which comes about through publicity". This concept, too, was firstly used in the Koda. It is one of the main issues in our philosophy. Since At, the big war, there had not been any war on Omega 5, neither with the giants, nor among the Omegans. This was only possible because of the bond that was made in Raat and which is renewed every year. The single domra are sovereign in their decisions about their areas, their economies, and their other affairs. In all these things they feel obliged to respect the principle of public peace. Of course there also are quarrels in our communities, there is injustice and greed, and we know forms of oppression, yet there are no greater armed struggles between the domra or even between countries. Therefore we do not have any military on Omega 5, we do not need such a thing.
Without the giants, like I said, all this would not be possible. Before our calendar started there had been tyrants on Omega 5 like the Cruel Myrlon, who named himself after the continent Myr, and who is mentioned in the Koda, as well as in some prehistorical inscriptions. Today, the giants rarely appear as judges, it is not necessary. There had been centuries, when this was different, like the first centuries of our chronology, but also much later. By now we know them so well that we do not want to do anything that does not please them. As many of us spend a part of our childhoods in Iram, we regard the giants as part of the family. So they also appear in our news and in our films.
Technically, we are not as advanced as the humans, probably also, because we have no military. Our machines are not as precise, our computers not as good, some of our vehicles are comparable to cars, but they are not as good as cars, a space technology we do not have, a genetic technology neither. We do have TV, and a kind of internet. Our energy we derive from electricity, from nuclear technology, the sun, water, wind, and "lanoka", a very productive oily fruit, which we reap on the fields and diversely utilize. Not every family here needs a car, because there is a well-functioning taxi system. There also are railways and ships, of course. And then we have another transport means: the "shumra", big birds, which can take one or two passengers and transport them over huge distances.
Now I have eloped with you a good deal into my world. Do you want to know more? Do you find it interesting, what I am writing to you, shall I proceed? I am ready to tell you everything I know. Only that I must not forget that I am here on a mission. It is absolutely necessary for me to find a way of presenting Omegan culture on earth and to prepare a cultural exchange. I hope that you are the right contact person for my issue."
- A Fantasy -
Jonas in his mail also mentioned the possibility of exhibiting a chronicle, similar to the one of Ozzy Balou, on the internet, and yet I liked this idea only in parts. I wasn't sure. After having read the mail, some days passed, in which I was uncertain about what to make of Jonas and the Omega 5 story. The whole thing was absurd, a fantasy, and still I was unable to turn my thoughts away from this other world, and yes, I wanted to know more about it, I wanted Jonas to proceed.