The Vampire Legacy - Saragossa, speaking to Jon

Mortals crave an annotation to their lives – some way to justify the pain and madness inherent in living, an answer to the eternal question, "Why? Why did this happen to me?" . They sense greater meaning to their existence than mere material reductivism, but they always shape their answers in terms of their own cultures. Religion is at once the most sublime and the most pestilential expression of this will to meaning. But mortals have never found the answer, precisely because they are mortal, and so frame their quest in terms of dealing with their own death; yearning for a heaven; bargaining on their own behalf against damnation.

It needs an immortal's perspective to reach the deeper stuff. This, then, is the vampire legacy – a stepping back from one's own petty existence and seeing the panorama of Life. You must realize that life on our planet is a very young creation. Earth came into existence perhaps some four and a half billion years ago, while the universe is possibly nearly fourteen billion years old. Can you imagine what humanity, if it doesn't fail of its promise, will be like even two hundred years from now? With genetic manipulation our species has reached a feedback loop. When humans have overcome the superstitious reluctance to be self-determining, they will create a mightier humanity, which in turn will create a mightier humanity, and so on until the old Greek gods are reborn from human flesh. Add to this, artificial intelligence and the melding of AI with humans minds, both individually and collectively, and nanotechnology and mind reading through SQUIDS, and many things not yet revealed, and two hundred years may be too long by far. Then think what earth will spawn in a thousand years, a million, a billion. The awarenesses that will exist then are simply inconceivable to us. Yet, most of the universe is at least eight billion years older than we are. Even if we had to pass through several recycling of stars to produce the heavy metals necessary to civilization as we know it, there has been so much time that it is unimaginable that gods do not exist. Not, of course, the naive made-in-man's-image Abrahamic god of the Jews, Christians and Muslims, and all the rest, but something far greater and more sublime than mortal man ever conceived of.

What relationship do these gods have with humanity? Probably no mortal has come closer to the truth than Arthur C. Clarke in his 2001 series. The gods watch us; they shepherd us. But from a distance. This is the rule of minimal interference. They do the least possible that will still leave Life on earth the chance to grow without bound. I know this, not because I can claim to know their minds, but by simple observation. We need to be cultivated towards godhood, and we are. We would have no hope without their guidance – there are simply too many chances for self-destruction. But they avoid, as much as possible, stamping us with their imprint. Because gods though they be, they cannot foresee everything. If they make themselves more presently felt, we will inevitably mold ourselves in their image. If we are left to ourselves, we might achieve a godhood that the elder gods themselves have not foreseen. It is this hope of the unforeseen that restrains their hands, that keeps them distant, that gives us maximum free will and scope to grow as we might.

Life does grow, and it grows to an end, despite what the evolutionists would maintain. It grows towards godhood. It does not do so consciously, at least not at first, but it does so. Thus the pattern of ever greater complexity. And where a system does not increase its complexity, it will, eventually, die; for this is a master rule of Life – grow or perish. And this applies to Life on earth, itself. Simply, in some distant but very finite time, without intelligent intervention, all life on earth will perish. The very sun will grow feeble, its fires cooling, then winking out, and life on earth, ALL life on earth, will cease. Or a nearby supernova, or ravening black hole, or meteoric collision, or some other cosmic catastrophe will destroy us. This is an absolute. It will happen, unless awareness averts it. And to this end Life evolves.

Today's environmentalists agonize over the loss of a single species of plant or animal. And they are right, of course, to do so. No man is an island, entire of itself, as Mr. Donne teaches us. Yet in a large sense, this is meaningless. Probably more than ninety-nine percent of all species that have ever existed have become extinct by natural agencies, that is by means other than the acts of humanity. Yes, no doubt the mega-mammals were helped into extinction by humanity, and we are hurrying many other species out the door through destruction of their habitats. But humanity is the shepherd of life. It must grow to godhood, and then, if those illuminated beings so decide, they can re-invigorate the sun's flames. They can bring back all the species extinguished by man. They can bring back all those destroyed by meteor blasts and vulcanism. The can engender all those species which never were, but which might have been. But by and large, they won't, or so I believe. Those species had their day and their chance, and whether they expired by act of man or act of nature, their time has passed. As wonderful as they surely were, they were not perfect. As a step in a chain of evolution, they were fine, but to warrant eternal existence, they must be able to grow without bound. Our nouveau gods will, perhaps, nurture more perfect vessels into being.

So this is my overview – humanity is the shepherd of life, and potatoes, as you call them, are the shepherds of humanity, as Those Who Wait guide them and the gods who shepherd us all. They it was who slew the dinosaurs sixty-three million years ago with the great asteroid, the "hammer of the gods", as Clarke, once again, so insightfully calls it. By the death of the dinosaurs, the mammals could grow from insignificance into dominance on earth, and with them – intelligence, and even more importantly, awareness. And with that, humanity's apotheosis. Man into superman into godling into god. This is the spiritual line I am committed to protect – not the fate of individuals and the question of what happens to their souls and whether the scales of justice will balance out the unfairness of their lives and punish the wicked and reward the good. These are not issues that much concern me. My concern is Life, and its struggle to mature and find immortality before the sun is snuffed out. Elsewise, all the niggling questions come to naught. Everyone and everything simply ceases, bodies, souls, hopes and fears, good and evil all freeze into night eternal. And this, not even Dracula wants.

So what is, precisely, the vampire legacy? The shepherding of humanity into godhood. And this task belongs to you more than it belongs to anybody else, at least on a certain level of immediacy and detail. Assuredly, it belongs to the gods, and to Those Who Wait, who are the greatest servants of the gods on the world, and to me, who have fought so long to neutralize Dracula's attempts to lock humanity into mediaeval stasis. But to you more than to anybody else. It was mine to see the scheme. It is yours to actualize it.