If you follow the trail north of camp for about an hour, you will find yourself at the foot of a giant mountain. A small path winds its way to the top. You are surrounded by miles of untouched forest; rarely interrupted by small wooden towns filled with hundreds of people worth knowing and thousands of stories worth telling.
But for you, it is as if the entire world was a forest. The other world, filled with laws and advertising and distraction is forgotten and replaced with this world. The breeze is soothing as the sky turns to twilight.
The mountain, that’s right.
Let’s get to the top.
The red flattened earth crunches with each step.
Halfway to the top, around one particular corner, you stop. From here, you can see the entire world. Behind you, where the forest becomes a desert, huge rolling clouds flash against the red sky.
Below on the path, for the first time, you see a figure. He is staring up at you, silently. A skinned fox is hollowed and worn on his head. The paws drape down past his ears like sideburns. He just stares at you as twilight erases the colors of the world.
His mouth isn’t moving but you can hear his voice in your head.
“You must now experience the entire life of another creature. From birth to death you will live their life. I will take your mind and combine it with the mind of the creature. After it dies you will return to this moment.”
“I can live the life of another creature?”
“And you get to remember it all and return to this moment.”
“I remember everything? So if I pick myself, would I live my life twice?”
“You can’t pick yourself.”
“First, you have to begin their life by being born into it. I can’t send you back in time, I can only put you into a newborn creature and summon you back when they die.
Second, it’s possible you wouldn’t come to this mountain at this exact moment while reliving your life. That would mean this moment wouldn’t have happened so I could never summon you back.”
“So I can’t pick myself…”
“Why would you pick yourself when there are so many other creatures to choose from?”
“Well, I’m just trying to figure out the rules. If you are anything like a genie or leprechaun, this is just a trick to make me suffer.”
“I am not a genie or a leprechaun. I am a simple Indian chief trying to understand your intent and make it so. If you just want to relax for a lifetime, or make money, or hunt – I will take that into consideration while filling in the details on whichever creature you choose.”
“What if I don’t choose?”
“No. You have to make a choice. I will kill you if you don’t make a choice.”
After a few hours, the details behind your inevitable choice become clear.
3. While living in the creature’s world, your current mind and its memories will also be there. This will give you the ability to combine the creature’s instincts with your knowledge.
4. When you return you will retain all memories of the experience.
5. While the creature is alive, you will actually be walking the earth at the same time – already containing the knowledge that the creature is still gathering. This means that you could meet up with your creature-self. You could work with it to do incredible things. And you would already know the outcome because the creature’s entire life memories are already embedded deep in your mind.
6. To initiate the choice, you have to say the name of the creature and where it will be located. Just thinking about a creature won’t make it your option immediately.
7. Be specific. For example, if you said “Tortoise” – this would mean the Indian chief would have to fill in the rest of the creature’s details. Rather, you could say, “A healthy tortoise destined to grow up on the Galapagos Islands and never be stepped on by a tourist.” This gives the Chief a much clearer view of your intent.
Your mind is instantly visualizing different creature’s life scenarios, trying to determine which one would be the most beneficial. Suddenly, the choice becomes clear.