Last modified: Sun Dec 19 23:23:32 1999, see what's new.

The Life and Times of Frater X

Frater X entered our plane of existence in much the usual manner. Being first-born of his Father, he was brought up strictly as an elder child. He began reading at an early age and became interested in things technical. Our Brother was not much when it came to mundane social life, prefering instead to engage in activities of a more solitary nature. He was a most inventive child, often placing his entire household at risk as the result of his ill-planned experiments in science.

Our Brother grew up in a rough neighborhood. His naturally passive nature made him the target of much ridicule and torture. The school in which our Brother studied was one attached to one of the more orthodox religions of the time. He quickly bored of the standard curriculum and, instead of persuing more challenging fare, instead took to playing the 'class clown'. Frater X was in trouble with the school authorities more often than not. And, to his surprise, this did little to enhance his image as a normal male child.

It was in his eleventh year that he met Frater M, a man of science. Fraters M and X took great pleasure in constructing various fortresses in which to carry out their many experiments. Their ideas, however, oftentimes outstripped the resources at their disposal. They attempted to form a mundane distribution company with which to finance further projects but failed because of their lack of prowess in the world of business. Intent on carrying out their plans in private, Frater M conceived a cypher which Frater X committed to memory and continues to use to this very day.

Eventually, Frater X tired of the city life and took up residence in a quiet country town not far from where he was born. The local residents were mostly elder folk who occupied their time in mundane activities with which our Brother could not contend. Nor was transportation readily available at the time. So our Brother continued his schooling and spent the remainder of his time reading. He eventually became expert in wireless communication, rocket propulsion, and fine collectables.

It was in this circumstance that Frater X made one of the two greatest mistakes of his life. He made his appearance in his school wearing the garb of the land in which he lived and not that of the land in which he traveled. This instantly made him the subject of ridicule and further isolated him from any fraternal contact. It also served to demonstrate our Brother's poor sense of judgement in terms of his own self-image (a trait which Frater X would use to his advantage later).

Frater X, by means heretofore unmentioned, managed to complete his schooling without ever once having to accept mundane employment. He chose to seek higher education in the city in which he was born, thus forcing him to find work which would provide him enough resource to live in safety in the inner city and yet still have sufficient time left over to pursue his studies. Relying on the reputation of his very Father, he secured employment in the research field.

Our Brother's life became a series of daily routines packed within a seasonal routine. Fortunately, his temporary profession demanded very little in the way of intelligence which left our Brother free to pursue his studies (which, in itself, required little in the way of intelligence). His sole challenge in life was the unending series of debates with his colleagues over the practical applications of the principles they were studying.

After two years of uneventful study, Frater X was blessed by two events. The first was that the supervisor in his mundane job was replaced with an easy-going union worker who did not believe in working hard (if at all). The pressure of his mundane employment having been lifted, and his reputation with the management being solid, our Brother found that he could concentrate all of his efforts toward the sciences. The other fortunate event occured when Frater X met a senior instructor whom we shall refer to only as Frater A (though it should not be lost on the reader that this was, indeed, Frater X's first encounter with the number 31).

Frater A did much to further our Brother's education. He taught our Brother the use of symmetry and reduction to solve a difficult problem. He showed how the known could be used to explain the unknown. Most importantly, he taught our Brother, by example if not by word, that one does not have to know what one is talking about in order to convince someone else of that self-same thing.

For a time, the attractions of the Physical Universe tempted our Brother. First, he stepped down from the mundane position in which he needed do little work and accepted a position which offered increased compensation. However, the working conditions at the new employer were such that not only was our Brother's social life restricted, but his studies and indeed even his health suffered. Our Brother wasted no time in making the decision to return to his former position, which by reason of his reputation, was held open for his return.

It was also at this time that Frater X began to toy with affairs of the heart. Having lived so much of his life in relative isolation, he found himself on completely new ground. After a number of failed attempts, he fell in with a small band of Sorors specializing in the food service industry. Each was as different as the other, which afforded our Brother some much-needed practice in the finer art of dealing with a member of the opposite gender. Along about that time (history fails to record the exact date), our Brother took a liking to one particular colleague in how own field of study (or, rather, she took a liking to him) and it was with her that he first spent the night (albeit without incident).

It was during this period that our Brother's parents went their separate ways. It was the first time that Frater X had ever experienced an emotional bond with his father and he did not know quite how to handle the situation. It may have been at this point that Frater X first decided he would need to seek an understanding of the workings of the human psyche.

Our Brother had several more brushes with romance before it came time to begin his world-wandering in earnest. Since the climate in his homeland was not to his liking, he chose to focus on opportunities in far-away lands. It is said that the nation to which Frater X was native is tilted to one side -- causing all the loose nuts to roll to one corner. And it was to this corner that Frater X rolled, albeit with more that a passing regret. For it was just prior to his departure that he formed a bond with one Soror P, a woman of science. But the wheels of fate had already been set in motion and, in the end, Frater X made his way to the coast.

Not long after his arrival, Frater X fell in wit a band of well-meaning hoodlums led by a red-haired ex-sailor. Knowing few people in his new surroundings, this gang of thugs provided an opportunity for our Brother to expand his ability in social affairs. This group offered what they thought to be a solution to the world's ills and Frater X, being inquisitive by nature, became absorbed in the study of their culture and of their technology. He became so adept in their ways (or, as some would say, so inept at staying out of their way) that he abandoned his chosen career and set out across the ocean to work as a volunteer for the group. But alas, despite his enthusiasm for their beliefs, ultimately he came to realize that his was not the way of urban monastic life and, after some negotiation, he was released from his obligation and allowed to return to his home.

But that incident left a mark of doubt on the soul of our Brother. During an enforced period of coventry (unable to interact with his former associates from the group), he was able to explore the periphery of his own nature. In the process, he learned of simpler and more unique points of view regarding the human condition and also had his first vision of how belief systems can entrap an individual while seeming to free them. Frater X became a staunch supporter of ontological autonomy.

To be continued, check back often...

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