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Whatever You Believe, You Are In A Sect!

Updated: 6 days ago



The Revelatory Tale of Bob the Squirrel Messiah, and Young Cyril´s Rebellion



I


Yes, Bob was stoned when he had his vision of The Great Squirrel God,

and yes, he´d always hoarded nuts and slept in his basement -

but when, after an entire winter´s hibernation there, Bob called a press conference

in which he leapt, death-defyingly, from branch to branch

on the old oak tree in his front garden -

declaring The Squirrel God had assured him he would not fall -

and he didn´t -

millions believed him -

and Squirrelism was born.

And Bob became its Messiah.


Dressed in Squirrel jumpsuits with whiskers painted on their cheeks

Messiah Bob´s followers would scamble up and down oak trees in public parks on Sundays

as a form of worship of their newfound, adorable, bushy tailed divinity.

And with the understandable over-excitement of the born-again,

they would throw acorns, playfully, at passers by.


“Humanity is an evolutionary stage on the way to Squirreldom”, Bob would preach gloriously

to his ever-swelling congregation of followers -

in defiance of all religious and scientific thought.


Giant Squirrels on street corners would hop about and hand out pamphlets

with diagrams explaining the evolution of monkey DNA to human DNA to squirrel DNA.

“How arrogant has humanity been to consider itself the apex of evolution!”

Messiah Bob, First Among Squirrels, would chuckle compassionately,

overflowing with the chanelled wisdom of The Great Squirrel God.

Christians and Muslims devoted to a White Bearded God,

Hindus devoted to Gods with Lots of Arms,

and Scientists and Atheists devoted to Cosmic Meaninglessness

would mutter mockingly as they walked past the Giant Squirrels on street corners...

“People will believe anything! It´s amazing. It´s astonishing – this new sect.

It´s unbelievable how stupid people can be!” they would whisper ever-so-quietly -

concerned, perhaps, that the Squirrels might set upon them with their fake claws.


But the Squirrels,

endowed, almost mystically, with new auditory capacities,

would hear every word of this vicious critique, and reply, squeakily:

“What makes you less of a sect than us?

All religions are sects,

even science is a sect...

You all believe things you have heard,

things you have been told,

and repeat them as if you know them to be The Truth

above all other truths,

when it´s obvious that if you´d been born in another time and place

you´d be repeating Other Truths.”


They could certainly debate, those Squirrels!

“You underestimate the intelligence of other species!” the astute and articulate Squirrels would shout

at the members of the other sects

as they hurried off,

clearly out-argued.



II


But not all was well in the forests and city parks where the Squirrels gathered before enormous screens to watch videos of Messiah Bob´s teachings on evolutionary development.

There were women who were hesitant to give birth in nests in trees.

“Perhaps we are not sufficiently evolved” they would wonder -

courageously questioning the message of the Messiah.

There had been numerous accidents while practicing branch acrobatics.

“Is it truly Thy Will, Great Squirrel God” they would enquire in crutches and casts,

“that we will continue to take leaps of faith?”

And, perhaps of most concern, were the number of hypothermic deaths during hibernation.

In fact, unbeknown to Bob and his inner circle of Most Devoted Squirrels,

a Squirrelist Revolution, or at the very least Reformation, was well underway.

Rebel Squirrels would fake-hibernate -

and when everyone else was asleep -

hold clandestine meetings and share heresies.


“It´s true that others are as sectarian as us,

but that doesn´t make us any less of a sect!” some Squirrels would dare declare.

“We are not stupid, well maybe a bit -

but above all, we just feel lonely and afraid.

Is that not why we dress up in these jumpsuits,

and bow before The Great Squirrel God?

Is that not why we repeat Messiah Bob´s doctrine of genetic evolution so fervently?

Do we not crave the security of certainty -

and the sense of belonging we feel when we nibble nuts together?”


One brave young Squirrel named Cyril,

a Squirrel who felt a special affinity with the giant red and white flying Chinese Squirrel,

began to scratch such faithless doubts into the shells of acorns -

in the tradition of Chinese Rice sculpting...

And so the revolution spread.


Meticulously engraved microscopic texts such as

“Our existential insecurity and sense of separation

create an inner state of disempowerment,

making us easy to control, manipulate and exploit”

circulated sureptitiously among Squirrels at their holy suppers.


Yet this brave, young, heretical, acorn-sculpting Squirrel

had doubts of his own.

One fine morning, alone in his secret sculpting studio,

he fell to his knees in his Squirrel jumpsuit,

pressed together the palms of his little Squirrel hands,

entwining his cute little fake Squirrel claws,

and began to pray...

“Oh Great Squirrel God,

I feel these engravings are true -

yet they do nothing to remove our loneliness or fear.

My best friend has quit the Squirrels,

and become a football fanatic!

Another has become a politician!

What to do?!

It´s obvious they´re still compensating for their loneliness and fear!”



III


All of sudden -

light poured in through the window of Cyril´s secret studio,

and within the dust that floated in the sunlight

young Cyril saw the unmistakable form of a Giant Flying Chinese Squirrel!

“Are you The Great Squirrel God?” the young devotee enquired humbly of the moving dust.

“I am its cousin” replied the dust, with a slightly Chinese accent.

“I was once a Squirrelist, like you” it seemed to say to Cyril,

“but I stopped believing - in anything.

I stopped believing in believing!”


Cyril was in a ecstacy.

With every word the dust spoke

the form of the Giant Flying Chinese Squirrel Disbeliever became more tangible.

And the light just got brighter and brighter.


“Then what happened” Cyril gasped, in disbelief.

“Then I felt lonely and afraid” the Flying Chinese Squirrel Dust confessed.

“Oh!” said Cyril, disappointedly, yet surrounded now, it seemed to him,

by not just light, but love.

“But I felt my loneliness and fear, young Tree Hopper -

I felt it, and I felt it, and I felt it -

until I felt myself falling, as if from the highest of oaks -

yet falling with no branches in sight!”

“Oh!” repeated Cyril, hoping still, for some resolution to this sad tale of letting go -

yet worried...

“Did you hit the ground?” he asked the now fully-tangible, radiant, giant flying Chinese Squirrel

squatting on its back legs, there in his secret studio, in front of him.


“No” it said, smiling inscrutably, like a Taoist Squirrel Master,

“the further I felt, the less I found.

I couldn´t find my loneliness.

I couldn´t find it anywhere!

So I was no longer afraid.

And I have never believed again!”


Despite the venerable, disbelieving Taoist Giant Dust Squirrel Apparition´s

thick Chinese accent,

its words penetrated every cell of Cyril -

and Cyril was filled with love and light.


Cyril now knew, somehow, that loneliness was an illusion.


His Squirrel jumpsuit fell from his shoulders,

his fake claws fell from his fingertips,

his painted whiskers faded from his cheeks, miraculously -

and as the afternoon passed,

and dusk arrived,

and the sunlight ceased to shine in through his window,

and the dust ceased to dance,

and the answer to his prayer became, once again, invisible -

Cyril felt not only unafraid, but deeply happy

to not be a Squirrel anymore.

He felt unafraid and deeply happy

to not know

what he was.




Mark the Mystic Activist

Aragon, Spain.

Spring 2024



Image by Carollyne Yardley

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