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Soulless Zombie's picture

The Idea is big enough (universal, in fact) to allow me a threadbare dissertation. I'm just posting thoughts as they come to me, and anyone who wishes to use The Idea may peruse this section.

I don't recommend giving your character either The Dread Idea or The Beloved Idea in any large quantity. Whether its nature is positive or negative, it will ALWAYS be too grand a concept for mere mortals to contain forever. But you might write about a character who carries it. It is about as powerful thing as you can imagine: creation/destruction at the whim of the the infected party. Sam accidentally used it one famous Saturday in August of 2005, and it brought his ex-wife to him...killing hundreds of Hope Street bystanders in the process.

My recommendation is that you give it to an NPC, if to anyone. Because once your PC has it, he or she can't really get rid of it. The shit's like Herpes. It goes away only to return another day. And the PC must live in constant wariness of his or her own creative energy.


God, as but one of its infinite perspectives, is The Idea. God created itself with a thought (The Big Bang) and burst outwards. The outward burst created all of space and time as we know it. We humans, and everything on this planet, are made from bits of The Idea. The Idea, in and of itself, is not good, Beloved; it is not bad, Dread; it just is, God. But when The Idea collects, like blood clotting in the brain, it becomes too powerful for mere mortals to handle. It can be dangerous, bring bad things to all (The Dread Idea), or it can be quite miraculous, bring great advancements to society (The Beloved Idea).

The Dread Idea can, in fact, bring about good results, and the Beloved Idea can bring about bad results. But each of these aspects of God, respectively, has a tendency towards negative/positive results. Every dark cloud has a silver bullet, and every silver bullet won't necessarily kill the werewolf.

God itself doesn't give a damn. Whichever side of the roof the ball rolls is still Godliness.

No matter how you look at it, a human infected with the essence of God must be careful. IT will inevitably get out of hand. IT will inevitably cause major change, evolution or revolution, depending. A person with the Beloved Idea can inadvertently cause harm (the splitting of the atom wasn't intended to kill people). And a person with the Dread Idea can inadvertently cause good; his inevitable death just might fertilize the soil and produce a marvelous crop of daisies.

The Idea is out there. Anyone you talk to can infect you. Just listening to her drone on about her amazing ideas can be toxic. Ever be bored by a goof at a party as she's telling you about her 10th-level D&D cleric from the 4th grade? (Ever been that goof yourself?) Beware. The dude just might be packing.

The Idea hides. It sits in your subconscious so far down that perhaps not even a Keeper can sense its hibernation. But it’s there. We all have it. We were born of it. But how many of us have it to the extreme? Hopefully none. Otherwise, we just might find a Keeper on our trail. And nobody wants to get her brain sucked. It just ain’t pleasant.


Soulless Zombie's picture

More Thoughts and Supportive Details

The Idea is like a computer virus--so very much a disease--for the creative mind.

And The Idea was not easy to track. It could exist for a lifetime as no greater than a notion: fragile, subliminal, potentially benign. You might never realize you were its host. But then again, The Idea had this habit of metastasizing when you least expected, rising to the surface, an epiphany. Sneeze and it’d explode like a dandelion and drift away as a thousand invisible spores. You’d have unwittingly freed a dentulous fiend, ready to pollinate the first subconscious mind within biting distance. There was no telling whom it would inspire next.

The idea is in everything, good and bad. God knows no morality.

The Idea—sometimes preceded by “Dread,” sometimes “Beloved,” depending on one’s point of view—was the most brilliant substance in existence. It was existence. Ra treated it like Playdough. But her brother had always been this way, a slave to fads. He’d helped invent Rubik’s Cube, after all. And he once owned a Pet Rock—which was a silly idea from the get-go, despite that it made a million idiots happy. Line dancing, the cha-cha, the moonwalk, the Latin Hustle, Ra danced them all. Even danced the Charleston in 1926. But these were the beloved aspects of God. It got worse. Dreadful, in fact. Like when Ra fancied himself a Nazi. Adolph Hitler was an example of The Idea gone bad.

Keeper archangels must always be on the lookout. Anyone can be infected.

Brinkley scanned the girl’s brain for signs of The Idea. Nothing yet. But if she was a carrier, she should be present with Sam when all the sucking and the running and the screaming and the dying took place. So she nodded pleasantly in agreement, and they headed toward apartment 211.

Some infected people are lucky.

Bunny seemed distracted, dazed. Certainly confused. Victims of The Idea often behaved this way. Some never recovered. Fortunately, though he detected traces of inspiration in her subconscious, he didn’t think The Idea had claimed her. It had been there, all right, nipping at her soul. But he sensed a deep resistance in her. Something emotional, most likely husband-related. If someone had hurt her, she might have blocked The Idea without knowing. Lucky girl. She wouldn’t have to be killed.


Yep, now she was sure of it. Jade was clean, emanating innocence of all relevant Ideas, in fact, despite some dark patches in her subconscious. Despite a vampire here and there, a demon there and here, some pain, some suffering, some love and loss, the girl had no Idea. Not whatsoever. Lucky her.

But never underestimate the silver lining in every cloudy mind.

Even Brinkley, whose senses had been dulled over the years, could taste The Idea on Reah’s breath. Obviously, she’d been polluted by her roommate, Sam Aubrey. The odd thing was, the sensation was not one of Dread. Perhaps she could have been one of the lucky ones. Sometimes people catch the flipside, and instead of Dread, they get the Beloved Idea instead. This Reah held great power and didn’t even know it…perhaps would never know it. If Ra were here, he’d say suck her brain; it’s the only way to be sure. But Brinkley nodded to herself, thinking, *perhaps she will be a balance in our favor.*

Even the most innocuous person can spread the thought of God.

“I’ve got these lyrics swimming around my head. Just an…idea that came to me. Not saying it’ll be a hit single, but our fans should like it. So bear with me, and let’s give LA a taste of the new Hanson. Ready, Ike?”

Zoonosis--animals spread it to humans, humans spread it to animals (even animals to rocks, rocks to humans, humans to plants, and plants to rocks!).

Zac allowed himself distractions while playing. The burnt-orange markings of a butterfly had him spellbound. It fluttered around his microphone, then off into the sky. Zac didn’t miss a beat.


Just then, a dancing butterfly appeared, beating around his [Sam's] head and whispering in flight.

Keepers always respond to flavor.

“Remind me,” he said. “When we get our new bodies, we have to find out who caused this catastrophe. The Dread Idea most definitely played a part.” The moisture in the air tasted like armpit and mango.

Keepers can pray using the idea, thereby composing real-world changes. Some possess this skill at higher levels than others.

Poor Brinkley. One didn’t simply pray for Superman to appear. It had been too long for her; her human brain forgot how the praying process worked. Ra demonstrated by closing his eyes. He let the seatbelt hold him, clasped both hands piously over the strap. After a second, he said, “Got one.”

Praying with The Idea puts one in a semi-real void while the change takes place.

It could have happened that way. In fact, given a little longer believing it, it absolutely did happen that way. As truly as the Bug was currently nose-diving toward the sidewalk, the flagpole incident lay in the past. They’d lived two realities that would grow inextricably into one. In the frame of his rearview mirror, he saw hundreds of windows zipping from bottom to top, like the cells on a reel of film. Thirty windows a second became one window.

Praying is powerful--and dangerous. When a normal person prays, the danger also exists, as does the miraculous possibilities. But while weilding The Idea, negative effects can be outrageous.

Fortunately, his flagpole prayer had been answered. He hadn’t been sure if he could pull it off, but now that he did, it was pure skill. Of course. If he had faltered just once during his chant to God, the consequences would have been…unpleasant. Perhaps worse than the 60’s. Perhaps they’d rewrite the 80’s. One’s chances were better if one stuck one’s head in the maw of an alligator than if one tried to recreate Ra’s miracle. Ra was a professional, one of a kind, and barring any untimely flashbacks, he and Brinkley were in the clear.

Trivial prayers can get you into trouble, perhaps even a paper cut.

Hopefully his sister had thought to use the bathroom before they left Denny’s. Maybe he should pray for empty bladders while he was at it. But troubling God about Denny’s coffee would be pushing the envelope, so he simply had to settle for chortling quietly to himself.

Ra ordered the Six Dollar Burger, which tasted like a four-dollar and fifty-cent restaurant burger, after tax and tip, choice of potato included. Brinkley looked so cute, so immature, with grease on her fingers and lips. They’d ‘Super Sized’ everything. Or was that McDonald’s? Oh well—

Even small insignificant (lower case) ideas carry profound results.

“I got to tell you, I’m not sure that’s a good idea on your part. It’s hard to find a quality immortal these days. And I’m quite a catch, got a lot to offer. I’m young, good-looking, broad shoulders. I drive a sweet Volkswagen Beetle with an Alpine DVD-9993 player. I don’t smoke. I don’t do too many drugs. And, not to brag, but I’m the manager of Hanson, you know.”


“And you think this [guy Sam] has something to do with the disaster?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. He looked like he might be capable of an idea or two. And his wifey had some things to say about him.”

The Idea manifests most effectively above the neck.

The Idea often went straight for the head. It might have been coincidence, but Ra couldn’t ignore a hunch to the contrary. He’d been enjoying the aftertaste of mango fruit since the moment he laid eyes on Tech Wit. Ra licked his lips and swallowed. He couldn’t grasp how Brinkley could hate the taste of God-stuff.

Keeper archangels exist to keep The Idea in check. However, some Keepers approach it differently than others. Regardless, their job is important, no matter how it's handled.

“You don’t need to tell me what our job is.” It certainly wasn’t surfing aimlessly, as Ra would have it, until by fate they struck business. It seemed nice, in and of itself, a life without responsibility. But who would be there to keep her idiot partner in line if she went on sabbatical? They had purpose in this life. Ra Davis and his sister Brinkley: poachers of ideas on parole. Taxidermists of convicted hypotheses. Doctors of theories under investigation. Scientists patrolling in the name of God. Absolutely she’d zigzag like Ra through life—if the continuation the whole universe wasn’t at stake. Somebody had to keep their flow on the road.

We humans are conceived by our parents, but that existence is easily taken away by a Keeper via brain-sucking. We consider ourselves important, but in the grand scheme of things, most of us--including our family lines--are just dead-end thought processes.

Ra floated to the girl’s side. He tapped her shoulder, and when she turned, he grabbed her temples and denuded her on the spot. The girl dropped to the floor, and the crowd simply enveloped her, another star-struck fan. No one heeded the limp corpse underfoot. It was perfectly natural to swoon at a Hanson’s concert, and if you lost your place, tough luck. The crowd shifted, filled in the spot where she’d been standing. She may as well have never been conceived.

Some Keepers like sucking brains, some Keepers don't.

The thing with sucking a brain for The Idea: it always tasted like something, frequently grapefruit. Brinkley rarely found a flavor she could abide. So, although she owned the same powers as Ra, she mostly left the brain-sucking to him.

Keeper angels come in all types: humans, plants, animals, minerals. We concern ourselves mostly with humans.

“See here. Human animals learn by dillydallying, not by skipping straight to class. And in case you hadn’t noticed, we’re going to be human for a while at least. Maybe you want to get through and over with God’s divine lesson plan. But I plan on earning me some extracurricular credit while I still got me ten fingers and me ten toes. And I’ll tell you this. I’m glad the zoonosis is on the rampage, otherwise we’d still be living in Louisana with those gutter punk mates of yours. It’s because we haven’t isolated it yet that I am who I am. I hope we never find that dreadful book. Because I like our job.”

Remember. Anyone can contract The Idea. Anyone.

Sam pulled out his copy of Of Mice and Men, rolled tightly into a funnel shape, for it had been living in the pocket of his green coat for weeks now. “This book is great. It's written by"--he checked the binding--"John Steinbeck, you know."

The stranger nodded without interest. He began flipping through the pages of his own, much-less tarnished book. Sam couldn’t help but notice that they were all blank. Every page.

“Hm. Must have saved a bundle on printing costs,” Sam said. He would have laughed had last night not left him apathetic. “What’s it called?”

“Die Angst-Idee.”

”Die. . .” Sam couldn’t pronounce it. He thought it might be French. . .or German. Or even Russian. Jeez, how was he supposed to know? He never took Crazy Talk in high school.

“Only the most adept of God’s people can comprehend its meaning.”

“'God,' huh? You’re a Christian.” Great. Another Christian. Sam figured Kimmie for a Christian, based on her soft, solicitious manner of speaking. But at least Kimmie didn't make Sam's Spidey Senses tingle.

The strange man raised his voice. “I am the contemplation among infinite contemplations. A part of the celestial process. You are now my brother in thought, for you have received IT, too. We are the truly blessed."

“Right,” Sam said, standing, smiling, waving politely. “It’s been swell talking to you, but I have to get home now—” The stranger snatched Sam’s leg. “Hey! What’s the big idea?”

Instantly, the man let go. “It is the beginning, the end. And we are in the middle, waiting for it to begin and end again."

“Okay, got to go, bye!, have a nice day. . .”

Sam spun around and slammed into a women and her walkman. “Hey!” she cried, “What’s the big idea?”

Exactly the question Sam was planning on never asking again.

God, The Idea, and Everything

Kaarin's picture

I know this is a bit off-topic, but just an interesting comment. The prayer stuff puts me in mind of a passage from the Principia Discordia, which I have dutifully scowered the hypertext edition (read: I did a find function on the keyword) to locate.


Mal-2 was once asked by one of his Disciples if he often prayed to Eris. He replied with these words:

No, we Erisians seldom pray, it is much too dangerous. Charles Fort has listed many factual incidences of ignorant people confronted with, say, a drought, and then praying fervently -- and then getting the entire village wiped out in a torrential flood.

God, The Idea, and Everything

Soulless Zombie's picture

No, Adam. That's not too far off-topic. It's surprisingly right on, in fact.

The Book

Soulless Zombie's picture

The Idea is also the name of an ancient tome, sometimes called The Book.

Artifact: “The Idea, the First Thought of God,” an antediluvian book. The only known copy is printed in German (the cover is, at any rate). It is 911 pages, all blank, and bound in unknown material, like plastic, though with the texture of snakeskin. The book cannot be destroyed by any natural means. It will not age, nor can the pages be ripped out.

The Book (The Idea) has many names. It is also known as "Geliebte Idee" and "Die Angst-Idee," translated as "The Beloved Idea" and "The Dread Idea," respectively. It has also been called "The Concept of Joy" and "The Concept of Fear." One cover reads “Die Angstidee.” On the flipside is printed “Geliebte Idee.” The binding is unlabeled.

One would assume that this tome is a global curiosity. But those that get their hands on The Book guard it jealously, so it can live lifetimes in obscurity. However, it is important to note that the poor slavish soul who does own and study its blank pages rarely lives a long life. Only a couple handfuls of persons throughout history have possessed the willpower to give it away, to then live long enough to record their thoughts about its nature and supremacy. As few and far between as these dissertations are, much of the book remains a mystery.

It is said that The Book was not created. It simply came into existence on this planet. No man bound it, and no man shall burn it. Its pages are not read, as they are blank, but they are meditated upon. Every leaf—of the purest white, blinding to the naked eye—contains a mystery, ten mysteries, a million. Some have claimed that pictures appear to them. Some see their own faces reflected, a mirror image. Some declare that the future or the past can be seen. Still, some deny this, asserting that the tome's hidden words do manifest, if properly observed. Stare, more like it. You must stare until you see them, and read what you can for as long as you can. When you blink, the words disappear.

And yet some say that the book is meaningless. The rest can agree on one thing. Either The Book is evil, or it is good. No middle of the road.

A common theme has cropped up among its previous owners. It is believed that the book came into being because of God itself. God is pure idea, expanding in all directions at the speed of light, and all of creation is simply The Idea manifesting itself physically. The Book is therefore as natural as the mountains, the sky, the oceans, the deserts, and the apple pies cooling on every window sill across middle America ( simply because someone once had the idea cool them there, and the idea caught on). The Idea is contagious.

The contents of the book will not be ignored. If you’ve seen it, it’s possible that you’ve contracted The Idea. It will delve into your deepest subconscious and nest there, waiting to hatch. Of course, the longer you spend with the book, and indeed if you meditate upon its pages, getting it is certain. The Idea need not be read in order to take root. It will continue even if spoken.

Or drawn.

Or sung.

Or acted.

Or alluded.

Or roleplayed...

The idea does not discriminate against mediums.

The Idea is raw power, some say, not evil or good, because all things are built of its material. But contracting a heady dose of The Idea directly from the source is perhaps more stuffing than most of us can handle. Eventually, it will stir and rise, and if we cannot handle its nature, as none of us can, it will consume us. We will, at first, be amused with thoughts and inklings. We might next be inspired to draw, paint, write, or speak—a dangerous stage, because the “disease” can spread in the presence of an audience. But then we become jealous of our Idea, wanting to keep it to ourselves, to grow powerful. We will infect all that we influence, and only the grace of luck will keep The Idea from sparking the imaginations of others. Lucky indeed is the soul who never knows he or she is a carrier.

Some have hypothesized that how you read the book makes all the difference in the universe. Read The Idea from the Geliebte Idee, “the beloved side,” and you will generate good thoughts. Read The Idea from the Die Angstidee, “the dread side,” and you will be God’s evil mien. But such opinions rarely become theory, as those who hope to test it have quickly met their demise—some laughing in the revelation, some shrieking their final breaths, the horror, the horror.

Notes for the Player/Writer

Treatment of this mysterious tome is pretty much up to you. Whether you call it The Idea or The Book, The Dread Idea or the Die Angst-Idee, the Beloved Idea or The Geliebte-Idee, know this. It will latch on to anyone who views its pages, but it need not rise to the consciousness of everyone. That’s up to your discretion. And IT may or may not be passed on if a carrier expresses his Idea to another person. Again, that’s up to you. But anyone who works with the Idea will feed it, and in time it will feed off of its host. This is not necessarily evil, it’s just reality. Acid on your skin in not evil, for instance, but your skin cannot handle acid. Simple fact.

For example: A person meditates on the blank pages which he found by opening up The Geliebte Idee side; then he puts the book away. The Idea has taken hold. Months later, this person decides to open a soup kitchen for the homeless. He is using his inspiration to bring happiness to many, and its probable that some of the populace gets a lesser dose of the Idea.

For most, perhaps all, of the homeless population, for instance, the Idea will never manifest. Yes, that’s up to you. But if the owner of the soup kitchen starts preaching his religious beliefs (“I am the contemplation among infinite contemplations. A part of the celestial process. You are now my brothers in thought, for you have received IT, too!”), the homeless will become potent carriers, dangerous indeed.

Be careful how you pass this power around. If you give it to one of your characters, it will probably become his or her obsession. Eventually the Idea will consume this person. It cannot be forgotten. Perhaps it can be repressed, but no one has ever been able to erase it from memory. Be careful you don't write yourself into a corner.

A particularly brainy character might realize that The Idea is a force of creation. The possibilities are limitless! In the wrong hands, it can transform a person into a god. It will consume that person almost as quickly. (Another example the comes to mind is The Fly. Jeff Goldblum's scientist character used The Idea to build the machine...and look what happened!)

Perhaps you could look at it this way, an idea that Dave helped me clarify in my head (though he might not agree with how I see it). God is a river in this analogy. As God rushes forth, it pays little attention to objects it sweeps downstream. But there’s some splashing involved in its rapid journey. These droplets of water are separate instances of The Idea, runoff. Our solar system is the tiniest of these droplets.

The Book is a physical carrier of The Idea, perhaps akin to a canteen that has been dipped into our celestial stream. Then there's the Sun, also a carrier of The Idea. Stars are powerful forces of God. I'm sure you can come up with other examples. Since this is a very philosophical topic, feel free to play with it.

Good luck, happy writing, and thanks for using my *ahem* idea! :D

God, The Idea, and Everything

Soulless Zombie's picture

By the way, last I heard, Robin was going to use The Book. He may or may not, at this point. I haven't spoken with him about it in a long time. But you should still check with me if you see story possibilities. There's only one Book in existence.




P.S. It can get confusing with all the names. The Idea is used to mean God, God-stuff (energy), miracle, calamity, and The Book. All things are made up of it, and yet we know that you can contract The Idea as though it were a disease. In the latter case, think of it as cancer. Cancer isn't a foreign substance; it's the otherwise normal dividing of cells (what our bodies are made of) when such growth is not warranted. Excessive growth leads to tumors, and death is a concern. The body can't handle it.

In the former case, when the same name is used for several different things, consider that it IS all the same. When you hold The Book, you're holding God. In a sense. You're holding a miracle, or perhaps a calamity. It is what you make of it. Read it wisely.

God, The Idea, and Everything

Soulless Zombie's picture

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