Some savants sat around what looked like a stone table covered with all kinds of objects of dull or gleaming metal. Some of these looked like tools, or scientific instruments, others like measuring devices. A few of them looked like mechanical pencils, or weapons—it was hard to tell which, for it was very dark. The savants spoke in low but haughty tones.
‘There is nothing left to know. The pan-human spirit has filled every corner of the material universe, just as the ancients fabled the human soul to fill the body fully from head to toe.
‘In vain we sought shallowly or deeply, searched the infinite vastnesses and smallness for their fabled god or gods and found no one, nothing we could identify as that of which they wrote and spoke.
‘The ancient records just dreamed at best and lied at worst, while the human race was raised from infancy to maturity, from despicable, miserable lowness to exalted, triumphant heights.
‘Without the help of god or gods, unaided by the invisible, invincible power our benighted ancestors worshipped and supplicated, we have on our own steam, as always, advanced ourselves.
‘Our seminal planet, even original solar system, once home, now long since vanished, we think of no more, for the countable, unendless stars and galaxies have come to nest in our crown, and we reign.
‘There never is, never was, and never will be any other god or divine splendor but we ourselves, knowing all, filling all, controlling all, consuming and transforming all, for we are lords of all.
‘We finally comprehend who and what we are. Even our once opaque beginnings have become clear as glass, through which we see all, and seeing all, be all, we, the first and last, we, light itself!’
‘Where do you think you are now, heroes of limitless knowledge and night?’ asked a young child who wandered into their midst, almost like any other, but for the fact that none of them had ever seen a child before.
‘Where did he come from? There have been no children here for thousands of years! Is someone playing a trick on us?’ asked the savants of one another in quasi-consternation, ignoring the child and his question.
‘There is nothing left to know. The pan-human spirit has…’ they rehearsed again. With hardly a pause, the boy revealed from somewhere an ancient lantern that cast a soft, warm glow against the hard, cold walls of this subterranean world.
To the eyes of these savants that had never known light, the gentle glow of the boy's lamp was an unendurable and ferocious brightness, and they shrank from it, almost melted like wax before a fire.
The child said not another word but, holding the lamp before him, turned toward a door in the rocky wall, and opened it. The light of a cloudless day flooded the dark room for a moment. The boy extinguished the lamp and, closing the door forever behind him, stepped quietly outside.