Part II - Bear Referendum
Chapter 22 - The City of Illusion
July 5, 1996, Friday, sun & clouds, showers en route from Prince George to Dunster
[23:59 @ Roy and Jill Howard’s house in Dunster]
I had what I might call a metaphoric dream last night, a night vision if you will. It was an amazing revelation, in that it presents a single physical object which is at once true and false, real and illusory, depending on your point of view. It is called the City of Truth by its rulers and denizens, but Raminothna calls it the City of Illusion. You'll see what I mean.
First, today’s agenda - the 19:30 presentation at Dunster, which is a mere 4 hours’ drive from Price George, albeit on one of the loneliest highways along the spectacular and pristine western flank of the Rocky Mountains.
Business first. Before I left Prince George, I checked out the Prince George Citizen for the article covering last night’s event, and was astounded to see it prominently displayed on the top half of page A1. It is a coup and a half, possibly unprecedented in WCWC’s history on any newspaper, and though the PG Citizen is not exactly the Vancouver Sun, its 23,000 circulation makes it one of the largest daily newspapers outside of the Lower Mainland. I faxed the article to HO. Paul was himself rendered momentarily speechless on the phone when I told him about the confrontation, after which he said, “I admire you greatly for doing this.” Just one simple seven-word sentence, but coming from Paul, it’s quite something.
In the late morning. I made a bunch of phone calls to network with the people in the towns and cities ahead. Annoyingly, my cell phone is ringing so abnormally quietly I can’t hear it while I’m driving. I tried to exchange it for one that works, but all Motorola in PG could do was reserved one for me to pick up when I get to Kamloops in a few days.
Two of the people I called were Laura Hunt and Lyndsay Tischer of Friends of Banff. I’ve spoken with both before and struck up quite a rapport with them. Since both Saturday and Sunday are vacant, I thought I might make a detour to Banff to meet them. Unfortunately, Laura is currently in Europe. Lyndsay invited me to meet her anyway. We decided on Lake Louise on Sunday. I will enjoy the drive, but something constantly in the back of my mind is that Monday will be Kamloops. It’ll be another openly advertised event in another mid-sized city. Likely another big show down. Not a very relaxed state of mind.
By the time I left Prince Goerge it was 3:30pm. Arrived at McBride around 17:45 and met Peter Amoory and several McBride gents at the Traveler restaurant. I ordered a light pasta around 6:10pm, and, believe it or not, by the time 7:00pm rolled around, still no pasta. Finally, I had to make it a take out, and drove the 20 minutes to the Dunster Community Hall. By the time the presentation began, around 8:00pm, there were about 25 hunters present; and about 6 anti-hunters, the latter all signed up. Though a smaller number of hunters by absolute number, it is a disproportionately higher percentage of the small population. I recognized a few of them from previous confrontations, so, they had come from out of town, are stalking me, and were no less abusive than before. But I've seen most of their tricks, and am getting used to it.
After the presentation/confrontation, I was given two options: billeting by Roy and Jill, or by Peter Amoory. Jill described her place as “primitive” and Peter’s as “sophisticated”. Though “sophisticated” may mean better creature comfort, I stayed with Roy and Jill because it was prearranged and I felt committed. But at the end of a mile-long dirt road of Roy and Jill’s large property, what I expected to be a decrepit shed turned out to be a high tech log house with a roof of photo-voltaic panels, satellite dish, and three computers beneath the set up, all in a natural setting which for the moment was a silhouette of mountains and trees and clouds against a brilliant starry sky.
Now, the dream last night:
The buildings of the City of Reality were all of granite block construction, but of many different designs. Upon the walls of all the houses as well as of the city itself were carved doctrines and commandments, such as:
“Thou shalt accept every word of the Book of Genesis literally as the God-given truth.”
“The Universe was created by God in six days in the year 4004 BC, or else…”
“Yours is not to reason why; yours is to believe or die.”
“All forms of life were created simultaneously, exactly as they are, and once created, they shall forever remain immutably the same.”
“All nonhuman species were created for only one purpose: human use and consumption.”
“Man is created to take dominion over the Earth.”
“Woman, thy desire shalt be to thy husband, and he shalt rule over thee.”
"Thou shalt not drink of the Fountain of Disillusionment, or else..."
And: “Thou shalt not climb the Mountain of Forbidden Knowledge, or else…” This Mountain of Forbidden Knowledge refers to the volcano towering over the city. And the "or else" takes the form of a stake.
I paced these ruins back and forth, reading this and that, believing every word, obeying every command.
Soon, I had run short of water. I was forced to exit the ruins to explored the plain in search of a lake, a river, a stream, a pond, but there was not even a puddle. Surrounding the ruins was an endless desert. Thirst began to take hold of me, and soon, I realized I was in danger of death. Finally, the only place I hadn't checked was the volcano crater. I had seen crater-lakes elsewhere before.
Out of desperation I climbed the forbidden mountain. When I reached the volcanic rim, I was on my last legs. My mouth had become as dry as the desert all around. I looked into the crater and saw the small lake.
After I had quenched my bodily thirst and recaptured the thirst of my soul. Not sure what to do or where to go next, I climbed back up from the lake to the rim of the crater, and sat down to take in the panorama of the Plain of Truth stretching out beyond the horizon in all directions. Inevitably, my eyes were drawn to the ruins at the foot of the volcano, and it was then I was struck by its resemblance to an open page laid out on a table, each house being a letter, each block a word, each street a line, and the whole city a single message, which read as follows:
UNLESS YOUR TRUTH AND REALITY
WILL TRANSCEND THE TRUTH AND
REALITY OF THE FUNDAMENTALISTS
AND THE CREATIONISTS, YOU SHALL
NEVER KNOW GOD NOR CREATION, NOR
THE MEANING OF LIFE, NOR THE WAY
OF THE COSMOS, NOR THE PURPOSE OF
YOUR EXISTENCE, NOR YOUR OPTIMAL
PATH OF EVOLUTION IN THIS MULTI-
The next day, I walked across the crater to the opposite rim. From there, I saw in the semi-distance, a lush oasis invisible from the ruins. I descended the Mountain of Forbidden Knowledge, and marched towards my salvation.
Note from Raminothna:
In 2010, Anthony used new computer technology to create the following 2 single-frame graphic presentations of the dream, and here they are:
(Animal Rights version)
July 5, 1996, Fri.
The Daily News
Environmentalist calls for bear-hunting ban
A controversial environmentalist will talk Monday about why he wants to see bear-hunting banned in BC.
Anthony Marr from the Western Canada Wilderness Committee will give a speech at the PPWC hall, 427 Lansdown St., at 7:30 p.m.
WCWC founding director Paul George said Marr is a Chinese Canadian campaigner protecting endangered and threatened species, particularly the bears, elephants, tigers and rhinos, first and foremost to curb the Asian demand for their body parts. He’ll discuss the plight of these animals and the group’s proposed Bear Protection Act that calls for a hunting ban in BC.
“In some areas, they’ve been heavily poached or hunted,” George said.
“It’s also a moral issue,” and the WCWC feels killing an animal for entertainment or trophy is wrong. . . .
The ban proposal has raised the hackles of the BC Wildlife Federation.
BCWF president John Holdstock said bear hunting is strictly controlled by the province and most hunters use the meat. “It’s really good meat. It’s much like pork,” he said.
Bears are not endangered in BC, as WCWC has implied, he added.
“I think they are liars. That’s my personal opinion.”
And he feels the bear-hunt ban will lead to other bans.
“If you argue that Black bear hunting is wrong, you have to argue that all hunting is wrong.
He expected Marr would talk about the endangered Asian bears; the BC situation is different, he said.
Ray Demarchi, BC Environment’s chief of wildlife management, agreed.
“They mix endangered species with Grizzly and Black bears, which are not endangered,” he said.
Last year, hunters killed about 4,000 of the provinces 110,000 to 130,000 Black bears. They also hunted about 300 of BC’s 10,000 to 13,000 Grizzlies.
Conservation officers in 1996 had to move or kill another 900 Black bears and 90 Grizzlies. Poachers are a small problem, taking probably less than 10% of bears, Demarchi said.
The Fortunate and The Called Upon
at your service
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)