(And a dented brick wall)
By some error of misfortune, finding oneself stranded in the brutes enclosure. Of all of the people that dwell on this earth, for some reason there remains a proportion that dedicate themselves to manifesting the less desirable traits of human nature. Though few in number, they are enough to retard the development of the whole of the circus of life. What a queer and terrible misfortune it is to find oneself trapped in their world.
There is a scale of brutishness ranging from the weakest bully to the most grandiose and inflated of megalomaniacs. Between these two extremes there lies a spectrum of malignancy and thugduggery that somehow manages to appear in all places, expressing a burdensome curse that is borne by the human form.
Of this sub-population there seems to be a kind of gravity that holds these types together. A bond that binds them all in a tangled web of confusion. A blight that degrades what would otherwise be good fruit. A shadow that envelops them. A stain, a miasma, a dark mist that obscures a clear background.
It causes them to orbit around or near those of a similar ilk. Strutting about, each ready to enter into mortal combat at any moment, ready to vie for dominance in the hope of becoming the leader of the pack. There are, however, some unfortunates whose circumstance propels them to a proximity with this type of social milleiu, even though they belong to a different sphere. Sometimes they find themselves pulled into an orbit with these alien beings and worlds.
So transpire the tragic conditions here on planet earth. Various populations thrown in with each other, all doing what they can to navigate their way. Each with their own burden to bear. Most are happy simply to be alive, to breathe-in fresh air, and every morning to greet the new day. But some need more.
Among the brutes the greatest desire is to be the one brute to lead them all, and so thus conflict and fighting ensues. It is the only way that such a question or such a desire could be resolved. The outcome is guaranteed – suffering, more fighting and worst of all, the emergence of the alpha dominator – the greatest curse and disease in the community of humans.
There is a fire that burns from one end of history to the other. Everything that it encounters is incinerated. It is heated until it releases all of its energy into the conflagration, leaving only a small dusting of ash. Its flames scorch and burn, and cast both light and shadows equally. It is their way – they don't know any other.
At first the flames are small, a thick orange-red colour - and not very warm. They become hotter and hotter, and clearer and clearer as the fire progresses. At the beginning it gives off a thick smoke, acrid and pungent, with clouds of it billowing from the blaze. It spreads everywhere, irritating the lungs, and settling everywhere as a thick soot. Eventually the fire settles to an even heat. A clear heat without smoke. There is also the ash to be considered. The light ash, so innocent and pure, drifts lazily into the sky, and returns to terra when it must. Eventually the charred matter can be taken and made into ink and used to tell our stories. All of the stories of the gritty grist of life. The tragedy of suffering. Lastly there are the sparks. By themselves they defy gravity and jump from the fire. They jump as high as they can jump, and burn, mimicking the stars for but a few seconds. They fly, free of gravity for a moment, and then disappear. A moment of light, a feather of ash and energy, disappearing into the vastness, never to be seen again.
Those unwittingly and unwillingly trapped in the brutes enclosure frequently dream of a warm and comforting fire – especially when the cold wind of callousness brushes against them. O for a warm fire, casting its hearty glow equally on all.
A warm fire to comfort the haggard heart. It remains cold even as history blazes all around, as does the individual human life. The fire blazes through the brutes enclosure, and it fuels the intensity of what they do. And as they do what they do, one can't help but wonder how it is that one happened to find oneself here. Eventually it will raze all of the unwary. It will raze all of the gentle and mild-mannered too. It will raze them all to the ground.
Sometimes it is difficult to see the path through the past that leads to this here and now. Sometimes it is difficult to see the machinations of the mind that set the path leading to this here and now. Sometimes it is difficult to see why anyone would elect, consciously or unconsciously, to be in the brutes enclosure, or why it should exist at all. It is difficult to see altogether and that makes it difficult to comprehend too, and if it is difficult to comprehend then it is difficult to do anything about it.
We could open a clinic there. Staffed by volunteers offering free heart examinations, or better still, teaching people how to examine their own heart. Learning to listen to the voices in their heads and examine their entrails. The entrails of their lives, and the entrails of their minds. Very few pills or potions would be offered, nor surgical operations. There is no guarantee of a total cure, but there is still value in making the effort.
The entrails make very interesting reading they do. More interesting than any of the many works of novelty fiction or works of the imaginations sway. More interesting than what all or any of the forms of common media can portray. More interesting than any of the diversions or distractions that litter the path of life, that keep us otherwise occupied, and not usefully employed or deployed.
It makes for wonderful reading – lifes entrails, and they are well worth close examination. In the brutes enclosure there are always plenty of entrails to read. They are generally liberally spread over most surfaces, and usually it is only the king of the brutes whose entrails remain entirely intact. They are well hidden behind an solid wall of violence and brutality. Hidden behind an impenetrable barrier of fear, they seem to be quite unreachable. Unreachable and unexaminable, this most unfortunate of creatures, the dismal result of our primative past. Thankfully it is but a small proportion of the population that suffer this illness.
When the entrails have been read and the heart has been examined, the patient should be ready for remedial treatment. It is a long and difficult process, and few of the inhabitants of the brutes enclosure have the courage or perserverence to see it through to completion. Some will turn their backs on it and flee, fearful of the cure. They will return to their position of maintaining the status quo. They will remain as they are, and the tradition of brutes and brutishness will be handed-down to a new generation.
Other than the reading of the entrails, there are other things to read that are of some value. There are hieroglyphs, petroglyphs and all of the books of medicine and health that are to found in the library. The conclusion might be drawn that many seem to espouse all manner of unnecessary operations. Many seem to miss the point, and fail to find the heart of the matter. Yet among these traditions there were those who genuinely knew what they were doing.
There are pictures of physicians drilling holes into the body, cutting off old bits that don't function any more, and attaching new bits. Pictures of them looking inside the body and finding things like lobsters and soccer balls and garden pruners in places that they shouldn't be. Then there are potions and ungents, the consumption of toxic chemicals and poisonous preparations. These and so many strange and unnatural things. But a simple and direct path to wellness is always preferred. A clear view of the emptiness and the source from which the carnival of life emanates. A tour of paradox and contradiction. If skillful at avoiding side-roads, wrong turns and diversions, it cannot be missed.
Often the denizons of the brutes enclosure don't really know that there is a problem with themselves or anybody else around them. They don't see that the organism is diseased. They don't know that there is any other way of existing, and they are not really aware of the way that they exist either. They don't see the monkey on their shoulder. They seem to have a form of blindness that causes them to look at one thing and see something else, and in the background, there is the eternal struggle for their place in the pack.
The ailment that afflicts human life on this planet has so many faces, and ways of showing itself. When we have seen enough of them, or even long beforehand if we are watching closely, we could seek advice from various folk who observe this situation without necessarily being involved in the proceedings. A decision is made to consult with everyone that we can find who can and will talk to us. We will seek the advice of the other tribes that populate this space.
There is a tribe of hill dwellers who live on the hills behind town. They wear loincloths and brassieres made from coconuts, and have dreadlocked hair. They own nothing. The advice of their wise ones is to stay well away from the matters of men. It is best to avoid humankind altogether. Spend times with the hills and mountains and trees and streams instead. They and all of their world live in peace and will bring peace to those who visit there. They seem to be surrounded by spaciousness, and spaciousness seems to pervade everything around them and all that they do. Go now they seem to say. Go and find this world. There is a subtle and unimaginable world of weightlessness and light that they populate, and most of the world seem to be ignorant of it
There is another tribe who excel at hunting and strategy, and travel in small groups from place to place. Their advice is to herd the brutes into a contained space, and let them battle until only one brute remains. Then wait for him to fall to the passing of time. Being sure that this brute doesn't breed, or influence others is the most crucial and difficult part of their otherwise simple method.
There is a tribe who live in the sky. Their home is at the far end of the galaxy. Their advice is that we develop a culture that genuinely fosters the finer side of human potential. Then wait a few hundred thousand, or million, years for the improvements to show themselves in society in general. They will show themselves, in the fullness of time, but it is a very long wait for positive results to be seen. Few have the patience or forebearance required for this approach...
Seeking yet another perspective we could travel to the twilight worlds, where snakes talk and dragons roam and reveal themselves freely. They have one leader who makes all of the decisions. Behind him are his familial bitches, and a population who quake in fear. The leader expects that all who seek an audience pay obeisances before anything is said. A distasteful experience for those unlucky enough to cede to this demand. There are a few who are brave enough and wise enough to ignore it.
When an answer is given about what to do with the brutes, it is surprisingly detailed. They seem to have intimate knowledge and experience in this field. The first step, he says, is to put them into a uniform amongst others, with a clearly visible hierarchical distinction. There must be a regime of regular beatings and humiliations. This can go on for days, weeks, months or even years. The aim is to break the spirit – an important part of the process in this shadow world. Being without spirit is an intrinsic feature of their realm of existence.
The next step is the institution of toil. The energy of the brute is diminished with hard and menial work. Those who are too violent or unstable to work, or have other major personality defects and an unsatiable propensity to trouble, or a lust for power, are given the task of endlessly goading and pushing those who do work. In this way their leadership qualities are developed. There is a type of functional efficiency here – but with corrosive qualities.
The final stage is that those at every position in the chain of social hierarchy are initiated into a futile and endless struggle against themselves and each other. They all jostle and harass each other in the hope that they will rise through the ranks, unseat the leader and take the position of leader of the pack. One must defeat all of the others before the ultimate challenge is made. Success in the challenge brings the prize of ultimate power. Failure, once the challenge has been made, is fatal. Such is life in the twilight world.
It takes a long time to tell this tale, and one must eventually take their leave. Take ones leave, and leave the twilight world to whatever future it has. Sometimes the worst fate is to continue the same cycle of affairs with no hope of change. Leave it as quickly as one can. Take ones leave and take these ideas that we have gathered and go somewhere quiet and gnaw on them. Gnaw on them and find ones own place in the whole picture of life. Gnaw on them in a place where time is of no concern, and where one is free of debilitating distractions and infectious influences – whether external or internal. Gnaw on them in a place where the appearance and maintenance of form is minimised, and where the ones ability to reflect on the self and its role in affairs is unimpeded.
It is hard to accept that the approaches that work well in other worlds will likely not work here. Maybe it will be a ten hundred thousand million year wait to come to a solution. It is a hard job too – to find the glue that holds the whole of the picture together. The glue at the centre of it all that holds it all together. The glue that holds it all in place and enables the situation to reproduce itself over and over. It is a hard job looking at the whole mess and saying that in some way I and we all have created all of this.
A hard job it is indeed – being alive on this here planet earth. And for some folk it is harder than it is for others. A hard job. Maybe we should go away and wait a few million years on a rock far away in space. Then come back and see whether things improve on their own.