Dragon sets her sails and heads out of the harbor for Fiji, right into a blasting 35 knot headwind. Freddy and I stand on the after deck and watch them go. I have decided to follow the Dragon to Fiji. We've been here too long. Freddy is ready. She turns and goes below to straighten out the sail locker. I begin my inspection of deck gear.
Yves has gone back into being busy again and we have not seen much of him. He is moving ahead with the cultural association idea, but does not think he will have any money for films or photographs or anything I might help with for a long time. I seriously proposed doing the Jump photo mural but my earlier prediction that money would not be easy to find has turned out to be all too true.
We have bought a new Zodiac GTII inflatable dinghy. Bright red. It's much lighter than the old Avon and has aluminum floorboards. Freddy is assembling our emergency sea bag. We'll leave the Zodiac on deck, inflated, upside-down. It is our emergency life raft. We'll stow the emergency bag inside. It has food, water, medical supplies, flares, our emergency radio beacon, fishing gear, and a cover for the Zodiac to keep off the sun.
The turnbuckles are all OK, the lifelines are OK. I stand and look up at the standing rigging. "Hey, bring up the bosen's chair when you get a chance," I call down to Freddy.
"Here," she tosses it up through the hatch. I assemble pliers, rigging tape, fine grit emery paper, and get the halyard hooked up to the chair. Freddy emerges on deck and cranks me up the mast. I begin at the top. The sixpence from our Solomon Island exorcism is still glued there, looking out over Sea to protect us against bad weather. I look down at the deck and see Freddy way down there, looking up. "Still there," I call and see her smile.
The wire terminals OK, antenna OK, bolts OK. "Lower me down," I shout. Freddy lowers me down to the top spreaders. OK. On to the first spreaders. I swing out to inspect the fittings on the shrouds.
"What?" Freddy calls.
"Cracked terminal. Two cracked terminals." I moan.
"We should replace them all," she replies from the deck.
We get in the dinghy and head for Marine Corail, the largest ship's chandlery here in Noumea. Fortunately, their price on 1 X 19 wire rigging and end fittings is reasonable.
Back to the Moira to begin the process. Because the wires are holding up the mast, we have to rig temporary lines, take off one set of wires, redo it, put the new one on, take off the next pair, redo it, put on the new set and so on.
As we work, I think about Yves. He came over two days ago and while we were talking about my Behavior Zone manuscript, he said, "but where does all this consciousness come from?"
We had talked about this before but I went over it again, how consciousness is a special kind of awareness. Consciousness is the communications between selves on the same level of organization. Consciousness is knowing together of individuals to create larger organizations. People are conscious, know together, through language to create social systems. Cells are conscious, know together, to create organ systems. Consciousness is not a thing but a network of information transfers.
But Yves was not really talking about consciousness. "Yes, but there is also spirit. Something which continues after death."
"What is death?" I asked, prepared to make an issue out of it.
"OK. OK. I agree," he saw my logical trap. But he did not say, 'I understand.'
"Pass me the crescent wrench, the big one," I ask Freddy. The shroud turnbuckle is stiff and I inspect the threads closely. Little stress cracks along the edge of the threads make it feel rough. "We'll have to replace these, too."
Changing the shroud cables is a major project. Freddy has already hauled me up the mast twice today. Once for the inspection once to set the temporary lines. Now I have to go up again to take off the shrouds. Her little hands can't undo the heavy cotter pins or I'd crank her up. The mast, supported only by the temporary lines, is as wobbly as a wet noodle.
"How do we use this idea of the higher levels of awareness for our problem here in New Caledonia?" Yves asked, abandoning the question of life after death.
"People are not able to place their awareness in these higher levels for any appreciable length of time." I began.
"Yes, of course. Mystics must train for a lifetime to spend only a short period - perhaps only seconds - experiencing nirvana." He said.
"Well, yes. Except maybe the Buddha who reportedly lived there for extended periods. Who knows? People have also experienced the three higher centers of awareness using drugs."
"Again for only a limited time," Yves said.
"Right. And most of the people who drug themselves into these levels of awareness do so without the slightest idea of what they are getting involved with. Without any training at all. While they are in these modes, they experience the benign feeling of harmony with their environment or even become 'the observer' - remote and content and all powerful or - using a strong serotonin block like LSD - they might even experience being one with the universe."
"But the experience ends when the drug is metabolized." Yves nodded understanding.
"Yes. And then the normal, conscious mind begins to try to explain the experience. If a hominid comes from a religious environment, the words available for describing the feelings involved in the experience of higher levels of awareness are words about religion. Being one with the environment is being one with 'God.' Sometimes the conscious mind rationalizes information gained from experiencing these levels as revelations by angels. Or perhaps devils, depending on the experience."
"At any rate, most hominids verbalize the experience as a religious event. And it's not a bad word for the experience. Re - to be again - and ligare - to bind. To re-unite, to become tied again into the unity of all life."
"Yes, I think this is so. And many people who become cured of drug addiction become born again, very religious, is this not so?" Yves was beginning to see where I was going.
"You got it. During their drug experience into the higher levels of awareness they feel something profound and wonderful. An intense and perfect belonging. Without drugs they seek the same feeling in religion. And they find it there. The Church enables people to abandon fear for their personal survival and give up addiction to pleasure, lust and aspirations of personal power.
"They literally abandon their individuality to become one with Jesus or Mohammed or God or whatever church they are born again into. The mental union with the Church enables some of the profound believers to remain for long periods in the happy layer of the first level of higher consciousness. They don't have to make decisions for themselves. They behave according to established Church behavior patterns, nourished at the breast of their faith"
"So the Church is a megabeast," Yves smiled.
"Right. It has a head, like the vatican. It has a nervous system - the priest-hood. It has a memory system - the Bible and assorted cannons. It exerts an organic, growing, adjusting thinking web of being - its members. And it takes necessary action to maintain its existence and survive against competitive religious systems."
"And of course, Missionaries are mouths to ingest new souls into the body of the church." Yves laughed. "I see what you are saying. We must get people to become part of a larger being, to feel they are one with The Living Island, and so abandon their addiction to fear and power. They will become happier. But also we must be careful not to worry the Church as it will become easily angered by the appearance of a competitor."
"Right," I heft the coils of 10-mm thick stainless shrouds. "Lets get going." Freddy and I heap the rigging into our new Zodiac and head off to get the first set of cables made up. Jacques, one of the Pilots, gives us a ride to Marine Corail where we help cut the wire to size and swage on the new fittings.
While we work, I think about the megabeasts of the world. The churches, corporations, bureaus, all tightly controlling the behavior of their individual components. Once a population behavior pattern is established, it molds all future behavior in its population of beings. The beings simultaneously create and are controlled by the communication system.
One of the keys to changing a population, and therefore a key to evolution, is in this mold versus behavior pattern concept. On the smallest scale, DNA acts as a mold. It shapes the movements of populations of billions of atoms. On a larger scale, the planetary environment is a mold. It contains the parameters for all behavior.
I watch the hydraulic die squeeze the stainless terminal onto the end of the cable and try to understand the connections between the way the environment shapes behavior and the evolving concepts of behavior. The behavior and the mold are interactive. Life changes the mold and the mold regulates life. The two change together.
"That will be 78,450 CFP," the cashier smiles up from her list of wires, terminals and labor. Freddy pays her.
Back aboard Moira, Freddy hauls me up the mast again, complaining about my weight. I adjust the shroud as I sit lazily in the bosen's chair. I ascend slowly, looking down at Freddy cranking the geared-down winch. Her trim, bikinied body undulates as she pushes and pulls on the crank. Her waist is very narrow, her hips round and firm when she is bent over. The muscles in her back ripple with effort. When she sands up straight, I get a topside view of her breasts. It is an oddly sexy view, "Hey, it's great for your breast development." I call down.
"One more crack like that and I'll leave you up there," she snaps.
Maybe somewhere we could try out the concept of the megabeast, maybe get some small island to become aware of itself as a unitary, living system interactively molding the behavior of its human inhabitants. It would be nice if Yves could do it here, but I never could. Anyway, it is hard to do such a thing when the people are busy fighting each other, split by larger, outside, evil forces.
I attach the port shroud and haul up the starboard one. It just takes a single pin to hold each in place. I examine the pin carefully, insert it through the spreader plates and wire terminal and secure it with a cotter pin. "OK, Lower me down!" I call and Freddy slowly lowers me to the top spreaders. I set the wires in the spreader tips and she lowers me to the first spreaders where I attach the wires to the terminals there.
When the wires are attached and adjusted aloft, Freddy lowers me to the deck saying, "My little angel comes down from the sky," as I swing down next to her.
On go the new turnbuckles. Screw them tight. Adjust the 11 turnbuckles one after the other until the tension on the rig holds the 20 meter mast perfectly straight and rigid. At dusk I lay down my wrenches and sigh. "That's it. Now we can go."
As I put away the tools, Louis comes up on the ham rig. He is in Baie de Prony waiting for the wind to ease. I tell him we'll be following along in a week or so and sign off.
"We didn't do much here, did we?" I pout as Freddy puts dinner on the table.
"It was OK." she replies, "But it's time to get moving again."
"I mean, except for the behavior zone article I haven't written anything, we haven't produced anything. It was all talk and no action. No research. We didn't even cruise around the island." I grumble.
"You got them working on the crown-of-thorns. They wouldn't let you do the research." Freddy protests. This is true. A woman at ORSTOM, Madame Conand, has begun a study on the crown-of-thorns starfish to test the hypothesis about storms causing population explosions.
"You got Yves interested in the cultural association idea as a way to fight the war mongers." She adds.
"He would have been interested anyway," I remark.
"Maybe yes, maybe no. You never can tell what might happen. Besides, you needed to cool it for awhile after the Sydney Dolphin Campaign. You were very depressed about that. How do you like the enchiladas?"
"Oh, sorry, they're great, really good." I had not, in fact, even noticed how good they were. That's the way it was here in New Caledonia. Good, but I didn't really notice.
The radio says Argentina is fighting the British. Afghanistan is beating the Russians. A Russian fisheries officer was shot for smuggling caviar out of Russia. Queensland workers refuse to handle the American Nuclear Frigate scheduled for a 9 day visit to celebrate the battle of the Coral Sea.
Moira noses out past the lighthouse at the entrance to Baie du Prony. We come to Port and head for Havana Pass. A baby whale surfaces between us and the lighthouse. A host of dolphins flank the baby. But no mother whale. Freddy and I watch it quietly, wondering what happened to its mother. It looks very lonely. It's nice of the dolphins to keep it company.
"The Caldoche say when the dolphins come into the bays bad weather is coming." Freddy sounds worried.
"Terrific," I scan the horizon. The day is fine, a soft southerly wind fills Moira's sails. I'll miss the green-red mountains of New Caledonia. There are no hominids at all living down here on the southern tip of the island. Mile after mile of picturesque, rugged mountains and strange vegetation - a wilderness with nobody around. "Next time let's spend more time down here," I look back into the broad bay.
"Good bye, New Caledonia," Freddy calls. And the rushing tidal race of Havana Pass sweeps us out into the open sea.
Giant rollers, long, smooth, deep-sea purple-blue roll up from the gale blowing some 900 miles south of us. The wind is SSE at 8 to 18 knots, a high strata of cirrus cloud gauzes an otherwise blue sky. Moira is cuttering along at 7 knots with all sails set and drawing perfectly. She heels over 5 to 10 degrees. Rushing on towards an ever expanding horizon. This is sailing.
Just magnificent. What a kick to get moving again. Fiji, here we come. "Bar-Rae-Wa!"