Independent Order of Paradise Seekers
As you are well aware the IOPS has been in existence for hundreds of years. Its known members number hundreds including such notables as Jules Verne, Aldous Huxley, The Bennets, Milton and many more. Not to mention the thousands and possibly millions who have dedicated themselves to this visionary undertaking. The reason for this meeting is to determine the future of this group and the basis on which it has been formed. But first let us remind ourselves of our past and our reason for existence.
Paradise, Utopia or Heaven, call it what you will, has been described in visions, paintings, manuscripts and books from time immemorial. It is a place of lush foliage, clear streams and skies, friendly fauna, abundant flora and, most importantly, free from any human damage. Coal mines, cities, railways and rubbish are not to be found in Paradise and never will be. We can in fact consider this as being a basic definition of Paradise as we know it, or not know it as the case may be. A place of unsurpassed natural beauty that is waiting for man to live in.
For hundreds of years explorers have traversed the globe in search of this virgin land. Europe, being densely populated, was discounted early on, as was England and Scotland. The mountains of Wales were considered ideal for many years but Paradise was not discovered there. Hopes have been successively raised and dashed with the discovery of America and Asia. Whilst each contained areas that were very close to the definition of Paradise it was only a matter of time until they were defiled in various ways.
Again I will reiterate that Paradise by its very nature is eternal. And as such is incapable of being defiled by humankind. I don't pretend to know how this actual situation takes place, whether by industrious animals or direct intervention by God of whaever, but the fact remains that mankind is unable to deface Paradise in any way. Both America and Asia and later Australia, whilst being almost Paradisiac at one stage, easily succumbed to man's destructive nature. This brings us on to two points: direct open opposition to our search, and a further necessary definition of Paradise as it must now be.
Firstly, there has been noticeable opposition growing to our works. It takes the form of what has been described as the money-motivated Paradise buyer. This unsavoury character's sole aim is to discover any place likely to be Paradise and to build flats, hotels, motels and hamburger shops in it in order to exploit the public who will inevitably rush to Paradise as soon as it's discovered. Fortunately Paradise has not been discovered by these people although the Bali Hilton, Hawaii Sheraton and Kabul Imperial are proof of his determination to turn any Paradisiac area into an anti-Paradise of cement and steel. Should these unscrupulous people discover Paradise before we do they will undoubtedly seal off the whole area and charge admission, being unable to pollute it with their more lucrative ventures. Which brings us on to our second point; likely places to look.
As we all know the world seems to be getting increasingly smaller. Places that may have hidden Paradise have been found to be empty and in fact very few places now remain where Paradise could be. Of the 700 possible locations on five continents, only 17 are left.
Places like Siam, Viet Nam and Hawaii, Afghanistan, Chile and Taiwan, India and many more have beern turned upside down in this quest of quests. And now only a few remain: the Amazon Basin, valleys in Africa, Bhutan, Sikkim and numerous undiscovered islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
But here gentlemen is disconcerting news. Although we welcome the exploration of any new tracts of land previously hidden from our eyes, hoping that here we will find Paradise, it only serves to reinforce our growing feeling that even if Paradise is discovered it will be too small to hold the people who would obviously want to live there. What this means is frightening. Although Paradise can by its very nature resist all attempts at pollution and remain green and lush eternally, it might well be that it will have to do this six deep in people from one end of it to the other.
An Address given by the Chairman of the Independent Order of Paradise Seekers (IOPS) at a recent Extraordinary General Meeting of the Order
This is extremely paradoxical as we have previously warned. Paradise must be by definition a perfect place to live, free from litter and other unpleasant junk, eternal, to last forever, and easily accessible to one and all. And yet the number of places of suitable dimensions and accessibility rapidly diminish.
It is for this reason that this meeting has been called. We will have to look long and hard at our original, definition of Paradise in order to account for this anomalous situation. Many members have suggested that a land will rise out of the sea, but oceanographers have found that the sea bed is already polluted and is not lush and green. Other members have suggested that Paradise might be discovered under one of our present land masses and only be reachable by a subterranean tunnel; this too seems impossible in light of the comprehensive studies of the Earth's crust. We are all aware that it is not in the sky and wasn't seen by recent space journeys to the moon and around the globe. It is an extremely perturbing situation and I would like to ask each one of you to retire briefly and commune with yourself as to what this can mean. Try to think of any stone we have left unturned or any lost knowledge that can solve this riddle, why Paradise has never yet been found.
In all honesty I cannot conceive of any tract of land that we haven't already scoured, no rabbit warrens unentered, no mountains unclimbed, no rivers uncrossed. And if I might end this unhappy address on a somewhat lighter note, the only place we haven't looked is inside our own bodies, ha, ha. That's a rich one.