"Grandmother, tell me the story again."
"The one about asima?"
"There was a boy once, long ago. A young man, really. It was a time when it was said there was a great evil in the world. Some said humans were doomed, even that we might go extinct. There was uncertainty everywhere, and the whole world seemed ready to explode into war.
This young man was an adept, at what they called the Internet at that time, a crude form of technology. There were many empires then, with empire builders at their head, who built that technology, who controlled all of the technology of the time, who carved up various aspects of it, to control it, to funnel wealth to themselves, to exert power over others. This young man was different. He talked of freedom of information. He wanted all information to be free to everyone. He did nothing for personal gain, he simply did whatever he did freely.
This angered the empire builders. Information would not be free, it would be controlled, and they sent their warriors after him.
He died then. The story was that he killed himself. Many could not believe it. The empire builders shrugged their shoulders and moved onto the next conquest.
But the people did not forget. And they endevored to build a new kind of information system, one based on sharing. And people say something of the spirit of that boy filled them then; until all the worlds precious metals and gems comprised this new information hardware, that was open to everybody.
You know that room. Where we go, to access that other world?
That room is connected to the hardware that connects us to the entire world.
In the early days hardly anyone could believe it. They started calling it asima, but no one knows why anymore. Some say it was the name of the boy. Others say he was a girl. Everyone agrees now, asima is female; some call her Gaia; all we know for sure is, She is verrry old. You know how sometimes she feels like she is everywhere in that world, in a different way than when we are here? But then there is the sun also like a Father, and brooding Jupiter out there like Grandpa when he's cranky? How different at night too, when the moon is out, especially when she's full?
Which is why they talk of humans now as the trinity, thrice conscious. This world, where we grow the vegetables and fungi, and raise animals and hunt and fish, and breathe the air and drink the water; there is also that other world we have access to, what some call the gaian mind, where we have access to everything humans have ever created and are creating, where anything seems possible; and then the dreamworld when we sleep, where it gets even stranger than that!"
"Will there ever be war again like there was, grandmother?"
"There will always be war. There is an energy in this world, a kind of malevolence that desires to destroy it. But there is an agreement now too, and as long as there are those of us dedicated to protecting and sustaining the earth, and that connection to asima, to the free flow of information, there can never be war like that again, that would destroy the earth, or enslave it. We like to think that anyway. It is certainly harder now for the bad guys, now that we share our consciousness with asima. But we are all aware that there are many consciousnesses beyond the sun, and so nothing ever is certain.
For instance, you are not ready yet to be introduced to the consciousness of the Galaxy. That one requires fortitude and much experience."
"Can I go see if Grandfather is there, with asima?"
"This is not a time for him to be disturbed. You and I are here, protecting him. He is something like a wizard in that world, you know. He'll be alright."
"There is much that you do not know about that world yet. It is fantastic beyond imagining. But also very dangerous. Just like this one, if you stray too far from home before you're ready.
Meanwhile, before your next lesson there, with asima, it is time to tend to the plants. Dinner needs preparing. Your grandfather is likely to be hungry, when he gets back.
After dinner perhaps I will tell you a story about how dangerous it gets out there. But really your Grandfather is better at that."