Jay Schwartz lost his father at an early age. His mother works full time as well as night shifts. To make up for the vacuum of guidance in his life, Jay spends his days creating worlds and their creatures in cyberspace, searching for meaning within them…

[Jay is talking with a cybermaster who has just appeared in the chat screen on his G5.]

Jay: Hi, your banner said you provide support for advanced universe-creators. Is there any technology to put real consciousness into my creations? Programmable puppets is getting real dull. Like, I want them to make their own decisions, maybe even rebel against me…

Master: Let me see what you have achieved so far.

Jay: Sure. Here’s my multi-world simulation. I did it all myself. Five years of cumulative work.

Master: It is highly complex. You exhibit great skill and promise. But to breathe consciousness into these worlds of yours, you must first experience the secrets of creation of your own world.

Jay: Sounds cool. Can we simulate it on my G5 beta system?

Master: That may be powerful. But not for our purposes. You will need to use our creation simulation technology.

Jay: Give me a time and place and I’ll be there.

Master: We’ll meet on the roof of our downtown office. 5AM. It will be a long day.

Next day, having taken off from the downtown launch pad…

Jay: Wow! What kind of silicon do you use to manage this data?

Master: Make that hydrogen. Each star is its own computer, and they are networked together for multiple processing. All functions are quantum-logic based. The user-interface is thought-activated. Now check our readings.

Jay: The readings on this console indicate a body of light that contains infinite energy. That’s impossible! If it were infinite, how could it be contained within a finite place? And how could we possibly be approaching it?

Master: Indeed, you have asked all the right questions! Your assignment is to now arrange this light within ten conceptual bodies, thereby projecting an entire world into existence. If you succeed, you will uncover the secret of the infinite light.

Jay: Will the beings of this world have consciousness?

Master: That we will discuss later. Look outside. We have arrived within the infinite light simulator.

Jay: But how could we exist here?

Master: I see you are capable of understanding. Yes, nothing can exist within infinite light. There are no shadows, no forms, certainly no matter. In fact, the very parameters of time, space and logic disintegrate within this realm. But our existence has been preserved for the sake of this simulation.

Jay: And if nothing can be, how will a world ever come of this?

Master: Now you must learn silence to observe. The infinite light is about to withdraw.

Without warning, the monitoring devices of the console sink to zero.

Jay: The infinite light is gone! Totally! All existence will cease!

Master: No. It is still here. And its source is here as well. For He is found in darkness just as He is found in light. Only to our subjective measurements has the light disappeared. In truth, it encompasses this entire space, and pervades it as well.

Jay: I don’t understand, Master.

Master: Not everything must be understood immediately, young Jay. You must learn to savor the question at times. Now begins the exercise.

A beam of coherent light now stretches forth from beyond the emptiness, first in a straight line, then forming a perfect sphere, enveloping all that realm.

Master: That is the sefira of wisdom. The first repository of infinite light. Your mission is to preserve it, as well as all the realms yet to come.

Jay: Preserve it from what?

A blast of immeasurable force now runs down the beam and engulfs Wisdom.

Master: Quick! Adjust the controls!

Jay: But this energy — it's extending out of the infinite light! Nothing can contain the infinite!

Master: Nevertheless, it is affected by the Withdrawal that came before it. See what you can do.

Jay: Wisdom has the power of stillness. It must remain perfectly still to remain connected to the Source of this light and accept the unlimited energy flowing into it.

Master: Excellent! You have achieved the first procedure! But now look at what ensues.

Jay: There is another sefira formed within Wisdom. And the beam of infinite light is descending to fill it as well.

Master: Can you save it? It is Understanding.

Jay: Only by its bond with Wisdom. And even then…

Master: Yes! You have partially achieved your goal. There is only some leakage radiating about its circumference.

Jay: No time to do anything about that. Yet another sefira has formed within these two. It is Consciousness.

Master: Can it be preserved?

Jay: I don’t see how. Perhaps the upper aspects that are connected to Wisdom and Understanding…

Master: Do what you can.

Jay: I’m trying, but its bounds are limited. Yet the light is not.

Master: If this one is not saved, then the others will become all that more difficult.

Jay: Master! I cannot! Only the upper aspects!


Jay: What have I done! The receptacle has disintegrated! And the light meant for it is descending rapidly towards a newly formed sphere within the shattered realm.

Master: The light has now entered the Emotive Realm. Next will come Kindness.

Jay: But Kindness cannot take the light meant for Consciousness!

Master: It is Infinite Kindness.

Jay: Infinite shmimfimite! It is still kindness and simply has no capacity for the realm of Consciousness! I don’t see any way...! GEVALD!! Look, Master! What is happening??!

Master: You were right. Kindness is already self-destructing. Can you save Severity?

Jay: It is receiving the light meant for Kindness! No way!!

Master: Work within but stay beyond. Devise a plan to save at least something. We are already at Beauty, then will be Victory, Glory, Foundation…

Jay: You said there will be ten spheres. Perhaps if I begin work now on the last one…

Master: That is Dominance, or Mastery or Kingship. It is the one from which a world will actually be projected.

Jay: …Perhaps I can find some way to fortify it and salvage at least some aspect.

Master: Give her the strength that belongs to her.

Jay: That’s it!

Deftly, Jay adjusts the controls for Foundation — the penultimate sphere. And just on time. As the infinite surge of light enters Foundation, the light that is meant for Mastery is swiftly whisked off and transferred to it — nanoseconds before Foundation self-destructs. By the time the descending surge reaches it, Mastery is already strengthened by receiving its light. Its higher aspects are badly damaged, but the lower vessel — that which is necessary for creating a world — remains intact.

Jay sits with his head in his hands.

Master: You have succeeded, my student.

Jay: This you call success? What kind of a world will come from such disaster? This you call the secret of creation? Why, from such a thing, only more disaster could come.

Master: But this was the first step in creating your world.

Jay: Well, that certainly makes sense of a lot of things.

Master: You began with perfection…

Jay: You bet. With the Infinite Light itself. Can’t get more perfect than that. And look what a mess I made from it.

Master: First comes Perfection. After Perfection comes Failure.

Jay: What for? Who needs failure?

Master: From Failure comes Creation.

Quiet. Then…

Jay: But why?

Master: Because Perfection leaves no room for anything else. Now let us go on. You must devise an arrangement of a new set of spheres that will succeed without shattering. From this we will have a being that may repair the world we have already generated. Here, use this code, and see if you may understand. I will return in two weeks to see how you have done.

Jay: [looking through the code] Two weeks? Why this code is a piece of cake! I’ll have it done in two hours!

Two weeks later, the master returns…

Jay: This code doesn’t work. The syntax is crazy. What kind of crazy kid-hacker wrote this stuff? There isn’t a compiler that can process this.

Master: Let me see what you have done. Yes. It is as I thought. You are still dealing in the binary paradigm.

Jay: Binary? But of course. Everything is binary. That’s the basis of information theory. That’s the basis of how the universe works. Everything can be reduced to true or not true, yes or no, exist or not exist. What else is there besides binary?

Master: This may be so from the perspective of those who dwell within a created world. However, your task is to be the creator, not the created. The creator must generate both existence and its absence as created states. The creator begins beyond the space-time continuum, beyond all parameters of the created world’s existence. Therefore, the system you use must extend beyond the binary paradigm. Yes and No must work in harmony, rather than in opposition.

Jay: I'm not sure I follow. But what difference does this make to the code?

Master: Show me your algorithm charts.

Jay: Well, first I worked with this one, which shows the sefirot in concentric patterns. Then I tried a horizontal continuum. Neither worked. So I tried a vertical column algorithm…

Master: Yes. It is as I thought. There is no integration of opposites. This is binary. Here, try this arrangement…

The master waves his hand over the screen and the sefirot are arranged in the Tree of Life pattern, with the twelve connecting lines.

Jay: But, Master! That can’t possibly work! You can’t integrate the opposites of the right and left currents that way! They will just cancel each other out!

Master: Come with me and we will see together.

Jay: Another one of those intergalactic training disasters? Are you kidding? I remember what happened on the last one. No way…

Master: Very well, then. You may continue with your lifeless virtual games. It seems you have no interest in the secret of breathing consciousness into your beings, after all.

Jay: Wait! I didn’t mean that! I'm coming!

Back in the spacecraft…

Master: We stalled the program at the point where the world of Tohu had imploded upon itself. The shards of the sefira-receptors, ignited by the surge of Infinite Light, descended like glowing sparks to a lower realm.

Jay: And what happened to the light?

Master: Most of it has returned to the pre-void state of oneness from whence it came. But a ray of that light continues to penetrate the void, somewhat weakened by the shattering which we witnessed. It is with this light that we must now work.

Jay: Yes! I see it coming towards us! Master! I am afraid! The memory of past failure surrounds me!

Master: Load the code that you have written.

Jay: I’ve activated that function. But what state of consciousness should I simulate?

Master: Remember the stillness with which you saved Wisdom and Understanding?

Jay: But this light will enter all the sefirot at once. Most of them were smithereened last time.

Master: Then you must attain stillness in all the powers of your soul. All at once in unison, to simply accept the light.

Jay: But this light — it's too awesome!

Master: Do not fear the light. For it is no more than the Unknowable's awesome embrace.

Jay: I can feel it penetrate the sefirot.

Master: Do not feel. Do not know. Do not be. Accept that which is above you. Be absorbed within it. Abandon your consciousness to achieve oneness with the Light.

Jay sits crouched, his eyes covered in his hands, in deep meditation. Then he looks up at the display.

Jay: Amazing! The sefirot have all remained intact! How could this be? And they are in harmony with one another — yet I designed them as opposites, according to the code.

Master: You forget that the light entering these sefirot is the Infinite Light. It extends from beyond the system, from the realm of the Creator. In it, all opposites combine in simple harmony. There is no conflict, only oneness. As long as the sefirot are accepting of the light within them, the light will bind and unify all aspects of the system.

Jay: Now I see what you did when you arranged this pattern of the sefirot. Each contains all the other nine…

Master: Plus a copy of itself.

Jay: …and they are all inter-reliant through those connecting channels. The whole system is a finite model of the infinite. Although it has form and structure, it allows all forms to combine without conflict.

Master: So when the light entered Kindness, containing also the light for Severity…

Jay: …Kindness was able to find Severity within itself — even though they are diametric opposites — and pass that light on without shorting out. What do you call this amazing construct?

Master: Amongst our circle of Kabbalah masters, it is called the Adam. And you are right — just as we can draw a two-dimensional representation of three dimensions, so Adam is a finite representation of the infinite.

Jay: Adam? But Adam is the first human being. I thought this was the design of the cosmos?

Master: As it is written, “And Elokim made the Adam in His form and in His image.” In the form and image He used to create His world.
Now, look again and see what is occurring in our simulation.

Jay observes the display, at first puzzled by what he sees. One by one, sparks of extremely high energy charges are captured in the light and then suddenly propelled in rapid ascent back to where they came from.

Jay: The sparks that fell from Tohu — they are passing through this amazing world we just generated.

Master: Do you see how they are purified and reconnected to their source as they pass through?

Jay: Yes. But how?

Master: Check your readings for some clue.

Jay: Looks like the whole dynamic is related to the first of the ten sefirot.

Master: That is correct. This is the power of Wisdom that emanates throughout all the sefirot of this world. Not the wisdom of creation, but the wisdom of repair. A much deeper wisdom. The wisdom that clarifies all things, returning each one to its place.

Jay: But it seems there are still sparks left unpurified.

Master: So, generate a clone of this world, within a secondary realm of being.

Jay: I built that function in. It extends from the sefirah of Mastery, from its lower aspects. You can generate a whole new world from there. But on a way lower plane.

Master: You understood the code well.

Jay: But it’s not going to work. If the first world couldn’t do the job, what do you expect from the next one? It’s going to be infinitely lower.

Master: The first world was limited by its perfection and could not reach beyond that. An imperfect world can reach deeper into the light.

Jay: Now you’re getting totally bizarre. How could imperfection reach higher than perfection?

Master: First act, then you will learn.

Jay: Okay, you’re the master. Just tell me the mindstate I'm going to need.

Master: Create. Abandon all memory of this world. Originate something entirely new.

Jay: Here’s the world now. Yes! Something completely different! It looks like a real world — not just another realm of light. It, like, has its own sense of separateness.

Master: You have passed from the realm of emanation into true creation.

Jay: And yes, the sparks descend through this world and are purified. The light is reconnected to their source. I think it’s those sparks that lend it this sense of realness. Hey, I could generate a couple of quadrillion of these worlds no problem — that should take care of all those sparks.

Master: No, there will still be sparks remaining. Because there is no form to your world. It is a creation without form. A world of only potentials.

Jay: Form. Okay, I can do that. There’s a function here. I will apply the mindstate of formfulness…

Master: Again you must pass through the void, to remove all memory of your current elevation.

Jay: Do you see it, Master! It’s a world, a real world! And look what happens with those sparks now! I can even see beings generated from those sparks — intelligent beings with consciousness. Real cool beings.

Master: Those are the sparks of consciousness we call malachim — or angels. They were there in the world of creation, but you could not recognize them there.

Jay: They are utterly cool! Hey, Master! Does this mean we’ve done it? We’ve got conscious beings — right?! F a r O u t ! ! ! Whoah, now all I need is a business plan, a marketing agent, an accountant, and…

Master: Hold on, young hacker. There’s still a ways to go.

Jay: But those beings! They are conscious! Intelligent! Look — they’re starting to sing songs of praise to me, their creator! Hey, I like it!

Master: And how long will you like it for?

Jay: Hey, I could go on like this forever! I’ve got a world of angels praising me! Hey, guys! Turn up the volume! I like it! Now this is marketable.

Master: Very well, then. If you are satisfied, you need me no longer.

Jay: Hold it! How are you in marketing? How about customer support? Master? Where did you go? Where is he?

Jay lies snoring over his keyboard, Zap Cola cans littered about, the phone off the hook and plugged into his ear. In the background, small angels chant their songs of praise to Jay, while dancing about on his display.

The Master enters quietly, glances in amusement at the display and places his hand on Jay’s shoulder.

Master: So, young Jay, I hear you’ve been looking for me.

Jay: MASTER! I trawled the entirety of cyberspace for you! That consulting agency I found you at — it doesn’t even exist. Your IP address doesn’t resolve! How could you abandon me in a state like this?

Master: So how is your spiraling global dot com enterprise doing?

Jay: Okay, so I made a mistake.

Master: You mean, you're not in love with your little ministering angels anymore?

Jay: Love? Master, how do I get them to shut up?

Master: But they’re singing your praises.

Jay: And how long can that go on for?

Master: And do they not make great warriors against every sort of superboss and hyperchallenge?

Jay: Great warriors? Nothing I can code has a chance against them!

Master: And that’s not what you so desired?

Jay: Master…this is the most boring game I’ve ever sat in front of. I mean, give me the Lion King game packet before you give me this. I can’t market this. Ultimate perfection is just too utterly dull.

Master: But they have their own consciousness, do they not?

Jay: What good is consciousness if they have no sense of independence? Whatever I demand, they do on the spot — no questions asked. If they even think of rebelling, they immediately dissolve into the cyber-ether. They have such an awe and dread and love of me, it’s totally obnoxious.

Master: So what kind of being would you then like to have?

Jay: I need something that has a mind of its own. Something totally unpredictable.

Jay gets up to pace about.

Jay: I mean, I could give it instructions, but then, you never know. It might listen. It might not. If it rebels, I can get real upset with it…

Master: …but without removing entirely its freedom of choice…

Jay spins around.

Jay: Right. But then, when it follows my will, I mean, it will be such a blast! And hey, what about if it could figure out what I want on its own some of the time? Awesome, Master! Let’s do it!

Master: But Jay, you must realize that such a creation may not be all fun. Such an entity could wreak havoc throughout your entire system. It could get into a repetitive pattern that could slowly ruin everything you have built. Or even suddenly, with little warning.

Jay: Hey, if there’s no risk, where’s the thrill? Anyways, I can always reboot.


Master: Jay, you don’t understand. When you generate such an entity, you will be investing your own self and being into it. In effect, it will be a sort of other "you," looking back at yourself through the window of your own creation.

Jay: Wow! I hadn’t… What an awesome way to play an RPG!

Master: Which means, when it feels pain, that will be your pain as well. When it fears, you will tremble. Its failures will be your failures, and if it despairs, you will feel the weight in your own heart. In every trial and tribulation you put it through, you will travel along with it. You will be imprisoned in the chains of its mental machinations, dragged along in whatever muck and grime that mind plunges into.

Jay: But it’s all my creation, my fantasy. Anytime I want, I can get up and walk away.

Master: Jay, look at me. In order to do this you need to make a commitment. You’ve got to play it to the end. You can’t get up and walk away.

Silence again.

Master: Otherwise…

Jay: Otherwise?

Master: Otherwise, Jay, there can be no true consciousness in your game.

Jay looks down, serious for a moment.

Jay: But, Master, this creature of mine, what if it really messes up bad?

Master: It will. It has to, at least some of the time.

Jay: And destroy everything?

Master: It may wish to do that at times, as well. And it may be capable of going very far.

Jay: Okay. I know what I need to do. I’ll need a very resilient system. I’ll let it make choices. But the system will be just too good for it. Sure, I can take the pain and challenge with it. But there’ll be that thrill, as well, especially the big thrill at the end, when we win together. And then I’ll know I have the ultimate game. A game I can live in and never be bored.

The Master is staring at Jay with an unsettled look, unsure that Jay fully realizes what is in store for him.

Will Jay succeed in creating a world with conscious beings? Will the system he designs be resilient enough to withstand the onslaught of this creature’s follies? Will it be a thriller — or a total disaster? The answer to all these questions and more will only be known when we get to episode two of Tohu Wars