Sunday, September 30, 2012

Puck on... Duality

We are at war with ourselves.

Oh, you think you understand, do you? That you’re at war with your very nature, right? Is that what you think?

Don’t misunderstand, that’s not untrue, just inadequate an explanation. Your situation is indeed as schizophrenic as you imagine. You are two minds, two natures. But it’s less Jekyll and Hyde than you would hope. It’s not that you are at war with another mind within you but the same mind. I’m splitting hairs, but I trust you’ll understand why in a moment.

You see it as a civil war of the soul. One side the good, that wants good, that knows good. The other evil, that wars and works against the good. A surprisingly eastern philosophy for a protestant. But it’s not that. There aren’t two, just the one. The traitor is yourself. You, being good, fight and strive for that good. Then you, being bad, tear down and mock the good that you build. You erect battlements and walls to keep temptations, to keep me, out, and then you wonder why they constantly fail and seem to crumble and dismantle themselves. When, of course, you are the one dismantling them. The conspirator, the man within your ranks collaborating with the enemy, is you. You think I’m lying.

We are not our sin.

But are you not a sinner?


Doesn’t your sin matter, then? Doesn’t it carry some weight? If not, then what would redemption mean? Would it be necessary?

But we are forgiven. We don’t have to carry that burden anymore.

But you continue to sin, do you not? What of that?

I don’t-

Didn’t one of your greatest say that he had the desire to do good but could not carry it out? “But what I hate, that I do.”

He also said that it was no longer him but the sin living in him.

True. But that means sin lives within you. You want to divorce yourselves from it, so it doesn’t touch you. But it’s there and it means something. Where did you get this idea that you were two different people: the one good, the other bad? Are you not one person? Without excuse? You see, when you believe that you are two, it makes it so easy to not feel guilty for the things you do, because it isn’t you. But it is. A part, a piece, whatever euphemism you use to try and make it seem like it’s not so much you as something or someone else. But you’re wrong. Every sin is a willful act, an act of you. It must be or salvation itself is meaningless.

And who do you suppose would benefit most from that conclusion?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Puck on... Comparison

So what’s the answer?

There is no answer. Only the question. Only the pointing out of a particular flaw in your species’ reasoning.

We say we want individuality but all the while praise conformity.

Not quite, my boy. You have individuality, yet you crave conformity. Individuality is not something you attain it’s something you possess. You are individuals. It’s part of your existence. The fact that you believe you can be human without individuality is the mistake.

The world wants conformity, you want conformity because you are fighting individuality. Though, that is perhaps not the best way of putting it. To be more precise, you are fighting a particular individuality.

Everyone else’s?

Ha-ha! Oh that’s brilliant. But, again, not quite. Sometimes, yes. And how poetic, too. Crafted in the divine image you seek to craft everyone into your own image. But not what I meant. The individuality you are fighting is the individuality that recognizes itself as such and does not seek change. What you are fighting is the contented individuality.

I told you we liked individuality just fine provided it was the kind we liked. Well, the kind that you like is the kind that is not satisfied with itself. The kind that seeks change, what it calls improvement, but is only the placeholder for conformity. And that’s what the world wants. An individuality that wants to be like all others, that is willing to mold itself so, to follow the wheel grooves and not stray. An individuality that hates individuality. And do you know why?

This is about control.

Power. Yes. Because flocks are easier to control that single sheep. A person is smart, don’t they say?

But people are stupid.

Yes. But why? Because they choose to be. Because they have the individuality that is most wanted. You can’t stand any other.

So we try to control each other.

It gets worse than that. It would be easy if it were some vast conspiracy or even a part of human interaction, each will trying to conquer the other. There is something very animalistic about that. But it’s worse. The process doesn’t confine itself to everyone else’s. It’s most brutal attack, like so much else, is the subtlest.

Haven’t you ever woken up and thought you were a failure? Ever looked around at friends, family, complete strangers and thought that they had something you didn’t? Haven’t you ever stood in the sanctuary and known without a doubt that you were not as good or mature or right-minded as the person next to you? In school, you got grades. Little modes of assessment to tell you if you were farther along or not. In life, there are stages, jobs, possessions, financial securities, methods to measure your maturation. Rubrics that you create for yourself or someone created for you. Rules that are never written down, that have no power, yet mean everything. And you’re sure, convinced that everyone’s getting it but you. And even if they aren’t, you are all failing some predetermined standard. Everyday. All the time. It never stops, this judgment, this grading. You live in it; it is your life.

Don’t you see? The subtlest poison is comparison. To others or the standard, it doesn’t matter. Because that’s the secret. The individuality you’re fighting is your own.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Puck on... Individuality

You hate individuality?

Oh, no, we like it just fine. Provided, of course, that it’s the kind of individuality that we want.

Which is conformity.

Well, that’s a rather bland way to say it, isn’t it? It makes it sound so boring. Why not give a nice title? After all, as we’ve discussed, you humans do like nice, catchy names for things.

What would you call it?

Why not: Evolution? After all, it’s all heading towards the same thing, right? The ultimate existence? The paragon animal? And you are just animals, after all, correct? Why, look at the animal kingdom. Oh, yes, diverse, certainly, with your cats and sheep and sharks. But notice the similarities amongst the cats and sheep and sharks themselves. Can you tell them apart? Yes, you have spots on one and stripes on another, but the spots are always spotty and the stripes always stripe-y.

Presumably they can tell each other apart.

Presumably, yes. Though 9 times out of 10 it’s by smell. But look deeper than that. How many existential lions are there, do you suppose? Or erudite mollusks? Any creative giraffes? Or an ape who finds the termites in this particular hill more tasty than another? Aren’t they all very like each other?

I think some people would insist that their pets are quite unique.

Of course, they would. But how much of that do you suppose is their implanting personality into their animals?

You could easily argue that they were drawing it out.

Yes, you could, but that’s through domestication. In the wild, would they not find themselves forced to follow the call of their species or be left to die? That’s what you do, you little individuals, so keen on offering individuality to everything else, potted plants included.

Is that so wrong?

We’re not here to argue that. The point is that of conformity, as you said. Do you not realize that nature asks for conformity? Adapt or die?


And yet you would insist that individuality is some kind of virtue, wouldn’t you?


How many of your fellow men would agree with that?

I think a lot.

Really? How altruistic. Don’t get me wrong, they would most certainly say that. But what would they actually believe?

I see, you’re saying people celebrate individuality, but really they are only celebrating the aspects that they want or like or need. That they are fine with individuals provided they are their kind of individuals.

Does that seem so surprising?

No. Most of the time when people offer freedom they are really only offering another set of guidelines.

Exactly. Conformity. Oh, you don’t call it that. You call it a million different things. Fitting in. Adapting. Evolving. Communing. Coming out of your shell. Hanging out. Being social. And my personal favorite: growing up.

The world asks for conformity because that is what it needs. Like nature, it has no space for individuals. You fool yourselves, of course. You talk about your uniqueness, of geography or ethnicity, but it’s a cover. You see, there’s a theory that’s been going around a while that you are nothing more than animals. And if you truly believe that arguments can still be made for society and order as the constructs of man’s evolution, but only just so. If you really believe that there’s nothing that would allow you to be individuals or unique at all. Because you would still be products of nature and it does not want but one way. There are no parallel branches on the evolutionary tree, only superior and inferior limbs.

Now, where do you suppose you got that idea?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Puck on... Differences

Ah, but I can tell you still are not fully convinced.

What you say makes sense.


But why me?

Why not? Humble, are we? Oh, come now. Is that what you think? That you aren’t worth it? Not worth the time or effort or skill? That there is just isn’t enough special about you to demand my attention, is that it?

Something like that.

What if I told you: you are absolutely right?

I would ask: why waste the effort?

Well, firstly, it’s my effort to waste, and I do so at my leisure. Secondly, I don’t consider it a waste. Oh, not because of you, specifically, or anything you’ve done or what you could do or might do. No, no, it’s not you.

And yet it is.

You see this is not an issue of you personally or any man. Oh, I know the differences. It’s not as if you all look the same to us. We can tell. We spend a lot of time trying to convince you otherwise because we can tell. In the end, we choose to treat you the same because we want you to be the same. Because to us, you are the same. In the end, at least.

To us, you’re cattle. A good farmer can tell each of his herd apart, undoubtedly. But when you’re leading them up the ramp, they’re all alike, the differences die long before they do.

Then why? Why spend so much time-

On one man? I already told you that. One man is everything. Oh, we have led the masses astray before, all the time. But it’s not as much a culling as you might think. In the end, there’s a hook for every fish. One could certainly wish for a trawl net, but things rarely work out like that. And there’s much less style to it that way. You see, it’s not you personally, it’s you… existentially.

No, I can say with certainty, there’s nothing particularly about you that one might label as “threatening” or “important”, nothing that would make you a special target. But nevertheless, there is something about you that drives us. Not what you’ve done, not your personality or talents, not who you are but what.



Sunday, September 2, 2012

Puck on... Appearances

So, is that all this was? An attempt to… what? Trick me?

You make it sound like such a waste of time.

But why?

You keep using that word. I don’t think you fully understand the implications. But, then again, we need not go into the broad spectrum, the imminent cause will do. Why did I go on for so long just to fool you?

Yes. Why?

Ah, but the question answers itself.


Why did I try to fool you? To fool you, that’s why.

To fool me, specifically?


Is that all?

Again, you make it sound so foolish, but really, what could be more important, more demanding of my time that the fate of a single soul? Have you never learned? Or, like so many of your race, do you only view value in the grand scale? Of men, not man, of nations, not homes, of civilizations, not individual lives. Because small things have small significance, don’t they? For surely, they must. Size matters, ha, after all. Goodness knows, important things never come in small packages.

So you’re saying individual lives matter more than the masses.

Don’t you believe that?

I just never thought you would.

How you misjudge me. I know the truth. Individual lives matter more than all of human civilization, my boy. Civilizations come and go, along with governments and nation-states. Compared to the life of one human soul, all of history is a passing fad. We, my kind, see this. The great ruse we play is making sure you don’t. Making you think all of this, this mockery, this painted backdrop that you play out all your drama against, is the “real”, the solid, the meaningful. You give your lives for this, you will take other men’s lives for this, and Hell laughs.

You are of monumental importance, dear child. Every soul is. That’s why we tempt humans, not countries. These are but the furniture that makes up the manor of your souls. Countries cannot be saved, people can. Civilizations cannot be damned, any more than can a table, people can. You see so little. The forest is a blinder for the trees.

Appearances can be deceiving.

Appearances are always deceiving, that’s why they’re called appearances.