Christmas presents are more about what people you care about think of you than so much in what you get. For instance, one of my daughters’s bought me two extremely rare Joseph Campbell books that are beyond treasures. They are literary classics that are difficult to find in rare book stores in places like New York, let alone Ohio. But using Amazon.com, she was able to get her hands on them and give them to me—which I will devour. My other daughter bought me a simple Jurassic Park t-shirt that is vintage from the 90s which is simple enough. For whatever reason, I never bought one in the 90s, and would have loved to have one. I almost bought one while at Universal Studios but didn’t quite get around to it. So she bought me one for Christmas this year—because she knows that I want one, but that so many other things usually get in the way that I just didn’t get around to it for myself—like the Campbell books. So my kids took care of me. But the best present I received this year is actually for the first time something I created. It is a written character I created over a decade ago and my wife has been gently prodding me to return to. Now that I have with the series of stories called The Curse of Fort Seven Mile she rewarded me with the newly embroidered pull-over seen below with the simple name of Cliffhanger stitched across it.
The reason for her encouragement is due to the fact that my intentions for Cliffhanger are epic, he is a hero unlike any ever created in literature or mythology at any point in the human drama. He is on a scale that is epic, more so than the Biblical characters such as Noah who was chosen by God to survive as mankind was wiped clean by a wrathful Yahweh. Cliffhanger is not David from the same book who haphazardly brings down the giant Goliath only to become a king that can’t keep his pants on getting himself into trouble in a sexual context due to his buckling under the reigns of power. Cliffhanger is not Moses who must flee Egypt and the Pharaoh. Rather than part the Red Sea to escape into the wilderness, Cliffhanger would stop and fight every one of the soldiers seeking his destruction—so in that regard and many others he is the strongest literary character ever put into a story and my wife thinks that the world is in desperate need of him. So when she learned that I was returning to that character in my artistic work, she was very happy which was reflected in my Christmas present.
But it’s no small order, let me say that. Human beings have been conditioned to accept that nothing on earth is perfect. This trend has been established by our religions to hold us tethered to control by the deities of mythology. Even our heroes are flawed flesh that is destined to return to God by means beyond the design of the human race. We are taught to accept fate—not to make it. The trouble is, when we approach problems in such a manner from budget concerns to psychological family issues, we are always looking for someone else to solve our problems instead of ourselves which often means, we never reach a solution. We spend our days praying for some supernatural aid to help us, and most of the time it never does leaving us either feeling dejected, or unworthy of the grace of Gods.
So to write about a character that is inwardly empowered and self-reliant to such a measure that he does not reject the values of religion but does not surrender to passivity either is a very delicate balance that can be extremely difficult. To create a character in this day and age who does not fear anything—anything at all—yet to be compelling in a narrative is a particularly difficult hat trick. To be a superhero without any superpowers but a highly developed intellect might otherwise be a recipe for youthful rejection. But, as my wife and I have talked about many times for many years, the world needs new heroes as the old ones have either been killed and slaughtered, or are failed people who eventually let us down. The world needs to see a character who does not fall, surrender, or react out of fear so that they can see what it looks like—and take a step in human development that has been placed before us for a long time but not yet acted upon.
In Islam there is a reason that they don’t allow criticism of their Quran characters—it’s because they are all terribly flawed and if people actually considered the quality of the characters that they were sacrificing their lives for, they would have second thoughts. So the religion requires non-thinking so that followers can believe in the flawed prophet Muhammad, the vengeful Allah, or the pacifist participant of his own life in following orders to a fault in Abraham. These flawed traits are bred into our human nature by the mythologies which form our religions and they lead us as a society to perpetual war and doom—stifled with intellectual stagnation. Cliffhanger is intended to step beyond those limits.
But its one thing to think something, it’s another to make it real, to flesh it out in a story that interacts with other characters which challenges the premise. I felt good in doing that in The Symposium of Justice where Cliffhanger was introduced. But I had only touched the tip of the tip of an ice . I wanted a character so strong and so powerful that his greatest challenge was in standing against the real villains of the universe, those beings from an ultra advanced future civilization that can step across space and time to manipulate through disguise and dreams our present civilization through subtle means. Because here is the quandary of our times, all time and its events are occurring at the same time, the expansion of the universe as an entity is still a measurement made within the dimension of time—so the reason and cause of it is still a mystery because more information is needed to contemplate it—which is missing unless the additional dimensions of quantum law are considered—those beyond time. And civilizations that advance to the ability to use entire solar systems—and galaxies for their energy hundreds of billions of years from now are still anxious about their role in the universe and their need to move beyond it—as the universe is not infinite, but doomed to destruction as well within billions of years. So what’s beyond the universe? Well to discover it, or find a way to last long enough as beings to find out, those advanced cultures have their own insecurities and fights for power. But their war is not so literal, but more passive aggressive because of their advanced state. So they journey back and forth through time and space manipulating the past to affect the far distant future. It is not ancient aliens out there more advanced than we who have always been causing human beings trouble; it is a further developed ghost of ourselves using quantum physics to manipulate our time to benefit theirs. How better to wipe out a future political rival than to just eliminate their bloodline `from millions of years in the past by entering their dreams and lives as a parasitic entity hell-bent on destroying them with temptations of intoxication, adultery, and other reckless living.
The more I read about the gods and goddesses of mythology, which I’ve done a lot and continue on each year, the more this tesseract idea of fifth, sixth and seventh dimensional villains seems valid. So to defeat such creatures there is only one way—and that is a new hero not bound to terrestrial limitations—and evolution of the human being that is well beyond anything yet created who isn’t just roaming the earth fighting evil, sex trafficking, drug distribution, political upheavals, and all manners of human terror—but to fight against the manipulators of history itself, those outside of the living world who step across millions of years of evolution like steps from one level of a house to another. Because evil, as we define it in the context of our own lives is a big entity which encompasses the universe as a whole and to defeat it requires a new kind of hero—not one with super powers, or even the grace of some God like the womanizing slug Zeus, but a human being that has grown more than human to the eternal well of life essence which our bodies simply catch through living bodies so that the root of evil can be explored properly, and identified by a clueless, busy audience.
That is the task, and why my wife has encouraged me to the effort. So for Christmas while I dive down that deep well of difficult scholarship to bring to the surface a story which covers that enormity my wife gave me a reminder of how that character of Cliffhanger should be emblazoned with memory. It is one thing to wear such an emblem that is created by others, but in this case, Cliffhanger can come from nowhere else, and by seeing such a creation, it is a reminder to me of how important such a character can be to the emerging world mythology. The only restriction is the difficult task of telling those stories from a place deep in the gut where they reside. And her Christmas present will help me greatly. That is the benefit of Christmas and a wife who understands how difficult, and important the task is.