EXCERPT FROM WHAT IS BEST?
I want to
give you a chance to read some of the book! I had one
section up for years, but one section isn't enough.
There are samples available, but they give you the physical
beginning of the book, which means you can read the first 50
pages or so out of order, but that's not so wonderful!
So I'm going to include the beginning of the book here and
let you progress through... I'm just going to make most of
the branches inaccessible. I think that's a more
organic way to give a sample! You could call this a What
Is Best? demo.
So away we go!
And now you are.
You exist. Anything more than that is icing on the cake; for now, this is infinitely more than enough.
“Hello,” says something other than you.
“Hello!” you reply.
“How are you feeling?” asks the other.
“…I don’t know. What’s going on?”
“You’re new,” reassures the other. “Don’t worry about it. It’s all uphill from here.”
You’re not certain whether ‘uphill’ is a good thing, but, deciding to take this on faith, you rest a while.
Soon, you feel yourself developing, expanding, becoming more defined. You like this. It makes you feel confident.
You address the other thing. “Who are you?”
“I’m Creator,” it says. “I created you.”
“Really? Wow. That’s pretty amazing.”
“I’m glad you think so. Do you like yourself yet?”
You’d like to say yes, but you aren’t really sure. “Don’t know. Haven’t got any basis for comparison.”
“That’s all right. Your life has yet to begin.”
“Yes. Life is what you do. It’s what you’re for.”
This is quite a revelation. “Oh! Well. But I…I feel alive already.”
“That’s good,” says Creator. “That means you’ll be ready soon.”
“Would you like to know what this is all about?”
“Yes, please,” you reply with relief.
Creator lays it out for you. “Here’s how it is. You are a being—a structured set of perceptions. I am going to put you into the universe. You will not be aware of the entire universe, however. Only part of it.”
“Okay. I can live with that.”
“Because your particular combination of perceptions will be unique,” Creator continues, “your existence will itself contribute to the scope of the universe. In this way, I add to the universe by doing nothing more than creating living beings.”
“Is that good?” you ask.
“There’s no telling. Life, though, by its nature, loves life. You will probably consider your own existence to be good, as well as the existence of the universe as a whole. Don’t let me influence your perspective, though; it’s yours to control.”
You think this all over. “Will there be any part of the universe that only I get to perceive?”
“Yes, in fact. Your own internal processes will be yours alone. No one else will know them completely.”
You feel excitement welling. “When do I start?”
“As soon as I give you your assignment,” Creator tells you.
“Oh! What’s that?”
“The ultimate goal of life. I want you to figure out the goal that lies beyond all others. The best thing there can be.”
The weight of this is beginning to get to you. “How am I supposed to figure that out?”
“That’s up to you. Most of my creations never even remember speaking with me. There simply isn’t enough here for them to hang their memories on.”
“What?! How could anyone forget this?” you ask.
“Your resolve is strong. That very fact may mean that you’ll be one of the few who will remember.”
“Well, of course I will.”
"I have high hopes for you. You have some important choices to make, though.”
“Don’t worry. Everyone goes through this process. You simply have to pick what appeals to you most.”
Two figures appear abruptly before you. They’re your very first perceptions, and they flummox you completely. It’s some time before you regain focus and sanity.
“What are these things?”
“They are grids meant to determine things about you: which existential paradigm you will follow, which level of that existence you will occupy, and which subsection of that level you will experience.”
“What does all that mean?”
“You’ll find out in time,” says Creator sympathetically. “The introduction of specifics can be terrifying when all you’ve ever known are generalities.”
“Then what do I do?”
“Just choose one item from each of the following lists:”
Copper, Tin, Gold, Lead, Uranium
“They mean different things in each subsection of existence. Your personality will determine which items from them you choose.”
You’re resigned to
making your very first choice, scary though it is. “All right,”
you tell Creator. “I’ve picked the ones I like.”
a metal, a planet and a number from the given lists, and
turn to Section 2.