=1 "Vatican III"
Vatican II in the 20th century had been very successful in healing the gulf between the Christian churches. Twenty years later a patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church had become Pope, Anastasias I, and twenty-five years after that the first Anglican cardinal was elected Pope, Geoffrey I.
In the year 2063, in harmony with this ecumenical movement, Vatican III invited not only the Methodists and Mormons but also the Muslims and Buddhists, and the shamans and medicine men of Africa, Asia and America. It was a great success. Almost twenty-four hours a day for weeks and weeks world television transmitted hardly anything else. Roman cardinals meditated with Buddhist monks. And since the witch doctors insisted on expressing their religious feelings by dance, the whole world watched while, on the plaza in front of St. Peter’s, the congregatio de propaganda fide participated in a Mexican rain dance which provoked a downpour such as is rarely witnessed in September in Rome.
During Vatican III a cardinalship was offered to the head lama of Anandagompa in Tibet. Benedictine monks participated in the ensuing dance, “The Demon King’s Defeat”, and mingled joyously with the Tibetan delegates. Equally memorable was the common worship of the great Mother, when the images of Kali and Kwannan, of Hina and Mary were installed in St. Peter’s in the presence of a world television audience reaching from Tierra del Fuego to Kamchatka.
But the real significance of Vatican III was its total demystification of religious terminology, which was accomplished by the great Vatican computer, familiarly known as the holy computer. Without it Vatican III would not have been possible. Only a computer could quote simultaneously in the original language from the Quran, the Popul-Voh and the Diamond Sutra; only it could know that ‘Yeruh’ is pronounced ‘Ya Bruuhh’, and that an alcaloid of the Syrian mandrake is part of a daily diet for professional faith healers and itinerant missionaries.
The work of the computer was particularly vital for the success of Vatican III in its brilliant analysis and analog translations of the long discussions and heated arguments. Each religious delegation had come with its systems manager to submit its holy books to the analog computer in Rome. Dressed in white, yellow or green robes, or in gorgeous feather robes, or naked to the waist with the holy thread across their breast, they sat in hushed silence as their sacred books became smaller and smaller, reduced to mathematical formulas. Finally those were eliminated one by one with the comment: ‘already said’.
No reader of =1 will be surprised to learn what the final equation was which reduced all the religious verbiage to its ultimate form: =1.
Then with hardly a pause in the pace of the computer a most astonishing thing happened. The machine continued its purring and clicking, typing out formula after formula - all brand new, all startling, all paradoxical, heretofore unheard of. For a while the engineers and systems managers thought something had gone wrong. But then it became apparent to each one that the new formulas he was reading were unusually appropriate and happy examples illustrating his own most intimate religious convictions, and a complete confirmation of the truths of his sacred scriptures. Sentence after sentence leaped into the silence of the spellbound audience. Book after book, new sutras of perfection, new vedas of knowledge, new evangels of love poured out with dizzying speed from the teletypewriters, not only onto the desks of the assembled church fathers, but into all the newscasts of the world.
Finally the computer explained his own behaviour:
The logosphere of the universe is pervaded by a creative spirit. When all available physical, vital and mental space is fully occupied, it stops creating, but wherever there is a vacuum, a place for a new manifestation, it begins a new creation. And Vatican III had prepared such an empty space, a white screen on which the Creative Force could throw its luminous shadows of glory and adoration.