“What are those things?”
I picked one up. It was soft, like a sponge. I tested it with the tip of my tongue. It had a very sweet taste.
“Eat, man, eat. It’s not poison.”
Ami was watching everything I was doing.
“Pass me one.”
I offered him the package, he took one of the fruits, popped it in his mouth and ate it with obvious delight. I bit mine a little and tasted it carefully. It tasted like peanuts, walnuts or hazelnuts. The flavor was very delicate. I liked it. I was getting more confident. The second mouthful seemed exquisite. “They’re delicious!”
“Don’t eat more than three or five of them. They have too much protein.”
“What are they?”
“It’s a kind of honey,” laughed Ami. “From something sort of like bees.” Now he was laughing even more.
“I like it. Can I take some to my grandma?”
“Of course. But leave the package here. And only take them to your grandma. Don’t show them to anyone else. The two of you eat them all. Don’t keep any of them. Promise?”
“I promise. Mmmm… They’re delicious.”
“Not as delicious as some Earth fruit that I really like.”
“Which fruit is that?”
“They’re called apricots.”
“You like them?”
“Of course. They’re much appreciated on my planet. We’ve tried to adapt them to our soil but we still haven’t been able to duplicate that flavor. ‘UFOs’ frequently appear in apricot orchards.” Ami’s laughter sounded like a baby’s.
“You steal them?” I asked, very surprised.
“Steal? What does that mean?” He pretended not to know.
“Take something that belongs to someone else.”
“Oh, ‘attachment to the material world’ and ‘belongs to’ again. All right, then, we can’t avoid the ‘bad habits’ of our worlds,” he was laughing again, “and we ‘steal’ five or ten apricots…”
I thought he was funny but I still didn’t like something. Stealing is stealing, whether it’s a piece of fruit or a million dollars. I told him that.
“On Earth why don’t you let someone who needs something just take it, without paying?” Ami asked me mischievously, because he knew very well how absurd his question was.
“Are you crazy? No one would bother to work if they weren’t going to be paid anything…”
“Then you people have no love. Just selfishness… You can’t give anything if you’re not going to receive something in return.”
He continued laughing at us, the earthlings, but he had a special humorous, non- judgmental way of saying rough things.
I imagined that I was the owner of a big apricot orchard. People came and took my fruit without paying anything. Next, along came a “wise guy” who took advantage of me by bringing a truck and carrying off all my fruit. I tried to protest but he drove off in his loaded vehicle, making fun of me by saying, “Why does it bother you that I’m carting off all the fruit? Isn’t there any love in you? You’re just selfish. You won’t share. Ha, ha, ha.”
Ami saw all my mental “movie” and said, “Sheeesh. What distrust! In an evolved society no one ‘takes advantage’ of anyone. Whatever would that poor man do with his truckload of fruit?”
“Sell the fruit, of course.“
“Nothing is sold. There’s no money here…”
I laughed at my own lack of intelligence. I’d forgotten that money doesn’t exist in an evolved world. Of course. Why would he want so much fruit?
“Fine. But why should I work for nothing?”
“If there’s love in you, you’re going to be happy to be able to help everyone else. And that way you’ll have the right to receive help from others. You can go to your neighbor’s and take what you need from his field. From the dairy you take milk; from the bakery, bread; and so on. And if instead of doing it all in an isolated, unorganized manner, society were to organize and transport the products to distribution centers; and if instead of you working, the machines were to do it…”
“No one would do anything!”
“There would always be something to do: supervise the machines, create new, more perfect ones, help those who need us, investigate life and the Universe, perfect our world, and perfect ourselves, and also enjoy our free time.”
“But there’s always someone who wants to take advantage of the situation and not do anything, the ‘wise guy,’” I asserted, remembering the man with the truck.
“That person whom you call a ‘wise guy’ has a low level of evolution, a lot of selfishness and very little love. Really, he thinks he’s smart, shrewd, intelligent, but he’s very stupid; with that level he can’t enter the evolved worlds. In those worlds it’s considered a privilege to work more, to be able to serve more. Here many people are having a good time but the majority are working in other places, in laboratories, universities, in all those pyramids. Some are on service missions in non-evolved planets, others are studying in more advanced worlds so they can return and work here. Life is meant to be happy, to be enjoyed, but the maximum happiness is obtained by serving others…”
“Then these people…are lazy?”
Ami’s laugh told me that once again I was wrong.
“No, that’s not it. Even though our work is very useful, we have to rest from it from time to time. We have to go out in the fresh air to play, to get exercise, to rest our brains and to think about other things, just like recess at school.”
“So how many hours a day do people work here?”
“Each person determines his or her own study and work schedule, depending upon what he or she feels is the best…”
That made my mouth fall open in surprise. “But, that’s wonderful!” He appeared to anticipate what I was about to think and said, “And no one here wants to waste time. We enjoy ourselves in places like this only for the amount of time necessary, but we find it even more enjoyable to dedicate ourselves to our studies or our jobs. That’s why we can sometimes work entire days, as I’m doing right now.”
“You…working? What work are you doing? It looks to me like we’re taking a spin through the universe.” Just listening to me made Ami laugh.
“I’m something like a teacher or a messenger. It’s almost the same thing.”
It didn’t seem like the same thing to me. Just then I saw two teenagers forcing open the window of an underwater pyramid, intending to go in and steal something.
Ami knew what I was thinking and laughed. “They’re cleaning the windows! You always have crime on your mind.”
“What are the police like here?”
“Police? What for?”
“To take care of things, prevent bad people from…”
“What bad people?”
“Aren’t there any bad people here?”
“Well, no one is perfect, but with seven hundred measures, with essential information and motivation, and within a system of appropriate social organization, everyone stops harming his or her fellow man. Now no one needs to be ‘bad,’ and that’s why there’s no need for police.”
“It’s only natural, Jim. When love is allowed to flow, a benign civilization springs up naturally, in accord with universal harmony. What is incredible and unnatural is what’s happening on Earth, where people kill each other and make each other suffer and don’t live together like brothers and sisters… Too much ego…”
“You’re right, Ami. Now that I think about it, it seems impossible to me that someday we’ll be living on Earth the way that you guys live. For us killing is almost commonplace, and in some places if you don’t want to go to war to kill, they kill you, or they put you in prison. In movies we see thousands of crimes and other cruelties, even in animated cartoons for kids. That’s why we children play at killing each other… We’re bad…”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself, Jim. It’s not your fault if the movies and television of your world serve to distort people’s thinking, instead of serving to make them grow as human beings and to help create a better world…”
“That’s just it. We lack love. Me, too. There are people I don’t like.” I thought about a classmate of mine who’s always serious. Whenever you’re playing or enthusiastic about something, just one look from this guy and there goes all your fun out the window. I also thought about another kid in my class who thinks he’s a saint. He says that the angels appear to him and that he’ll go to Heaven and the rest of us, to hell; he’s always condemning us because we’re up to mischief or playing jokes… No, I definitely don’t like him.
“I don’t find all the people in my world, or in any world, extremely nice either. But just because someone doesn’t seem so nice to me doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop feeling any kind of affection for that person. Or that I could harm him or her in any way,” he explained, looking at me with a smile.
“I wouldn’t do anything to harm either of those wet blankets, either…but don’t ask me to live with either one of them…”
“In worlds like this one or mine, inhabited by people with around one thousand measures, there are souls that are not very attracted to each other, but they don’t reject each other either. Here there is no friction; everyone behaves him or herself. And the majority of them behave themselves especially well, but not everyone here has arrived at the point at which you can’t help but love everyone. We must try to achieve that beautiful step, but for the time being that can’t be demanded of either you people or of us.”
Download whole book here, Ami – Child of the Stars