The Ex-Mass Holidays and Solar Cause (was Re: newtonmas story)

Date: Mon Dec 24 2001 - 11:08:07 MST

Spike's Newtonmass story reminded me to reprint, as I have customarily for
several Ex-Mass holidays, one Extropian account of the reason for the season:
"The Ex-Mass Hoilday Season and The Story of Solar Cause," reprinted from
<>. Relative newbies might not
know this bit of lore, after all. I warn you that it has some groan-inducing
puns, though.

* * *

The Ex-Mass Holiday Season and the Story of Solar Cause

The Ex-Mass [fn1] holiday season amuses us with feasts and fêtes, socializes
us in shared ceremonies, and educates us via allegory. It runs from the
solstice nearest perihelion (winter solstice in the northern hemisphere,
summer in the southern) until Sir Issac Newton's birthday on December 25th.
Especially for children, the character of Solar Cause [fn2] plays a large
role in Ex-Mass celebrations. Adults tend to focus more on such convivial
rituals such as exchanging gifts, praising our stellar good-fortune, and
meditating on the illuminating powers of human science and industry.

The Story of Solar Cause

For most of the year Solar Cause lives in the warm, yellow sun. He watches
over the far-away Earth, making sure that it spins all through the day and
all through the night. Once a year, the Earth's clockwork starts to run down.
Day and night get so out of balance that one almost falls into the other! On
that crazy day, Solar Cause reaches across the vastness of space and draws
the Earth a little closer to the sun. He climbs down to fix our shivering
little planet--and brings with him a bag full of presents for good boys and

Solar Cause comes to Earth on that special date to set things right. With a
gentle nudge to the North pole, he puts day and night back onto course and
sets the Earth whirling into another year. But each of our hearts spins on
its own, private pole. Like the Earth they will, if left alone and untouched,
tumble into weariness and confusion. When he comes to fix the Earth's orbit,
then, Solar Cause nudges each our hearts to set them right, too.

Grown-ups sense the touch of Solar Cause in a typically grown-up way:
absent-mindedly, as if their feelings wore five layers of sweaters. But
children! Their light hearts dance on Solar Cause's touch like motes in a

Solar Cause has a special understanding with children. All through the year
he traces the days and nights of their little hearts. He sees all their acts,
both good and bad. Because Solar Cause loves extropy, he loves each child who
plays nicely and studies well. Solar Cause dislikes the cold and dark of
entropy, however. It thus grieves him to see children hurt their playmates or
neglect their lessons.

While Solar Cause watches over Earth's children, his vast fusion-powered
factories teem with tiny workers making gifts. All year long they build toys
and cook sweets. Solar Cause brings these gifts with him on that one special
night when he comes to set the Earth back on course. Then, in the darkest
hour of our longest night, he flies across the whole of the world. Solar Ca
use flies over our roofs and shines down through our windows and chimneys!

Solar Cause visits each dreaming child. Because watching boys and girls
*extrope* [fn3] during the rest of the year brings Solar Cause such great
joy, he thanks each of them with a special present on this special night. But
to children who did terribly entropic things during the year past, he gives
only shadows.

Of course, no one--not even adults--can act perfectly well all of the time!
Solar Cause thus gives everybody at least a little bit of a shadow. These,
our conscientious guardians, follow each of us throughout the year, reminding
us to try and overcome our weaknesses and to improve ourselves as much as we
possibly can.

Dreaming through his visits, children do not see Solar Cause in all his
glory. What does he look like, then? A mane of shining, golden hair rings his
beaming face. His vibrant yellow costume reveals a fit, trim build. Solar
Cause shines so brightly that, sometimes, even sleeping children feel his
warm gaze. And, if their good acts have made Solar Cause especially happy,
they may hear a light-hearted laugh echo through their dreams. "He! He! He!"
Why gives Solar Cause so much joy? Elementary: Seeing Extropian children grow
forward, upward, and outward!


[1] Why "Ex-Mass"? Because the holiday celebrates the sun's conversion of
mass into energy.

[2] Solar Cause's female companion, Luna, plays a periodically recurring role
in his story. But her lights merely reflect, to a greater or lesser extent,
Solar Cause's own; he plays the star in the pageant of Ex-Mass.

"[3]Extrope": v.i. to advance the subject's extropy. So far as I can tell,
Amara Graps coined this particular variation on "extropy".

* * *

T.0. Morrow

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