Bongovia: The Future
There would come a time when the world would be controlled by men of honor.
This, however, would not be that time. It would, instead, be a time of deception and of denial. It
would be a time of power and of subjugation. It would be a time of cruelty hidden safely beneath a veneer
of civility. A time of belief and trust rewarded by betrayal. A time of cameras mounted in the trees,
watching… forever watching… as you walk silently in the park, confident of your safety, this is what you
had wanted, and yet somewhere beneath that confidence a refusal to ask this one simple question: what
could have been gained, what may have been lost?
It would be a time of great restrictions and of unjust imprisonment, and somehow an even greater
indifference toward the suffering of others. A time of hypocrisy and sanctimonious judgment. A time of
paranoia and watchfulness. Of repressed desires exploding uncontrollably at regular intervals compelling
the need for definition as evil or ungodly. It would be a time of religion, which had been once revered and
respected, now contorted into the unkind face of religiosity:
a faustian mask demanding acquiescence to its vision.
A time of metaphor and obscurity, of black and white, of good and evil, of thoughtlessness and deviousness. A time lacking in subtlety and governed by subtlety, when all seems to be known yet nothing is clear… it was, in short, a time like every other time that will have gone before. Bongovia came into being, not with a bang but with a whimper. There was no war which precipitated its inception, only one which followed it. And that one seemed so distant as to not affect the daily workings of the lives of most citizens. It occurred outside their normal experience, rarely involving those they knew or cared about. Admittedly, shortly after the establishment of Bongovia there had come about some internal conflicts, when the evolving philosophies of Bongovism came into dispute. Those who had held with the original precepts of tolerance and passivity were supplanted by the more aggressive believers in Bongovistic dominance. Their argument went something like this: How can we be tolerant of those whose philosophy it is to be intolerant of us. Therefore to preserve tolerance in this world we must not tolerate intolerance. In an ironic twist they also found it difficult, therefore, to tolerate those who were in fact tolerant of all people because, by definition, that would make them tolerant of the intolerant. And, inasmuch as tolerance and passivity do not engender great material power, the decline of the classical Bongovians to the neo-Bongovians… or Bongovists, as they preferred to call themselves, soon became historical fact. Bongovians had tended to include within their world view, the philosophies of those who had come before. They intrinsically believed that Bongo was not a new god, bringing salvation to the universe, but just another way of expressing eternal truths which only a select few may actually comprehend at any given time, and that others would only come to, once they had achieved a certain enlightenment. They referred to the stories of Bongo as metaphor, and felt that their deeper meanings were lost when literalized. They offered logical proofs that the stories were not meant to be taken literally. How, after all, could the Great God Bongo be surveying her dominion when reality had not even been created yet? Upon what road did he walk? Upon what hill did she stand in order to do all of this surveying? How, in fact, could any act be accomplished before the beginning of time, when every action requires the compass of space and time within which to be manifest? The Bongovists countered that the glory of Bongo cannot be comprehended by mankind, and only absolute faith in His word could lead to salvation. Bongovians felt that blind faith and dogma were antagonistic to the nurturing of the mind and the spirit, and they further added that Bongo had never claimed to be an exclusive god, but an inclusive one. To prove this assertion they cited many previous doctrines – the Buddha, Dionysus, Pythagorus… the Gnostic Christ, to name but a few – and demonstrated how these prophets had all historically vaunted identical philosophical concepts and wisdom to that of Bongo, long before the Ninth of April, Nineteen Ninety-Seven. But, and as proof that genius doesn’t need to be restricted by logical thought, one clever Bongovist, named Justin Turtle, explained it this way. He figured it as a given that belief in the Great God Bongo was the salvation of the world. Therefore the truths that Bongo brings must be unique… or else we could all have been saved without Bongo. As it is therefore impossible for Bongo’s words not to have been original, any historical pre-echoes of His thoughts must have been put there (in order to confuse those who possess insufficient faith) by someone who is, not only antagonistic to Bongo, but also has the ability to travel through time. This then would have to be the Devil, Satan, Beelzibub, Lucifer, Cacodemon, Dybbuk, Apollyion, Old Nick… whatever you prefer to call him. And so the term “Satanic Impersonation” was introduced to describe a type of imitation which occurs before the existence of the thing it is imitating. This concept, along with others, such as “Circular Logic” (which insisted that “if Bongo says something then it must be true because Bongo said it was, and everything that Bongo says is true”) had many a Bongovian scratching his or her head in exasperation. Of course they tried to reaffirm the idea that there was no other thing than Bongo, therefore no Devil, or dark destructive power could exist outside of Bongo. But the Bongovists were not having any of this kind of rarefied or subtle intellectualizing, which they considered wishy-washy and, quite frankly, somewhat demonic. Most Bongovians went quietly the way of the obsolete, philosophically preferring to live out their lives, peacefully, in their own way where it was possible, but largely keeping their mouths shut and not rocking the boat. They knew that change comes when it comes, and not when it doesn’t. But others of their persuasion voiced their complaints loudly and made a public nuisance of themselves. Still others chose violent rebellion, stating that Bongo had never said that one shouldn’t defend oneself. The vast majority of these ‘rebels’ were crushed mercilessly by the newly formed Bongovist security troops, but some few still prevailed in dark and underground places and grew, eventually, to be a constant thorn in the side of the new authoritarian establishment, and an unwelcome whisper nagging annoyingly at the conscience of society. Regularly, in posters pasted up secretly at night, and also with spam e-mail, the Bongovians would appeal to Jason Cyllabus Novedi, the High Priest of Prickly Bog, to speak out against this ravishing of the holy word. But the High Priest was not saying a thing. He seemed now nothing more than a ceremonial head of the Temple of Bongovism. A legend more than a man. Perhaps… some believed, he had never actually existed.