^*Agakitsune*^ ~revised

You tumble backward as a shockwave of force bellows out from the cavernous pit descending before you.
Crashing to the dust below, a mighty rumbling can be felt coming from beneath the ground, accompanied by the growing sound of a kind of whooshing, air moving from one place to another.
Shaken about and head spinning, you raise your brow toward the hole just in time to receive an eyeful of dust as the howling current torrents upwards, blasting the area clean and bare.
Trying not to feel discouraged, you scramble to your feet.

As suddenly as it had begun, the howling ceases and calm is restored almost instantly.
Confused and intrigued, you edge towards the pit to get a closer look.
Heel to toe, you edge slowly across the bare earth until within reach of the rim, you peer over cautiously before dropping to your belly and crawling headfirst to the edge.

Blackness. The dirt walls visible for a few meters before impenetrable dark.
You toss in a small stone to see it vanish without consequence, not even a sound.
A small scuffling can be heard behind you, and you calmly turn over your left shoulder.

Standing before you is a red fox, seemingly young and healthy, wandering alone through the wasteland surrounds.
After scratching at the ground with its paw, it holds it elevated mid-scratch before slowly turning its head to meet your gaze.
Its eyes glimmer a sullen gold as it twitches its ears in curiosity.

You carefully roll onto your back, and slowly sit up without breaking eye contact.
The fox watches on, unmoved.
You place your hand out in front of you, in your mind telling the fox that you are no threat.
The fox slowly walks towards you without hesitation, places its paw on your outstretched hand and sits on its hind legs, all the while never breaking eye contact with you.

You lay your hand on the ground beneath the paw, and sit.
The fox says nothing, as it cannot speak the language of man, though its eyes are a gilded hallway, a grandly lit gallery of ethereal knowledge and experience unattainable through the words of the tongue.
It pours wisdom into you, and you invest deeply in understanding what it has to teach.
Time passes.
The sun rises and sets upon you, sated in sedation at the hands of a lone canid and the knowledge it bestows.

After many moons have waxed and waned, the fox raises its paw and looks toward the sky.
The world begins to return to you, the smell of the air, the feel of the sandy dirt around you and the weight of mortality all creep back into your conscious mind, as if your brain has just received a to-do list and is trying to complete everything at once.

Dazed and confused, you look up to see the fox slowly walking away into the wastes.
“Wait!” you yell hoarsely. *cough-cough* “What am i supposed to do with this? How do i use this knowledge, what does it all mean?”
The fox pauses before bounding back over to you.
It slowly approaches your face before licking you on the nose.
It sneezes twice before once more turning around and ambling off into the distance.

As the red fox fades out of sight, you wonder to yourself what it all meant.
So much time elapsed in the eyes of a wanderer, unparalleled experience that cannot be comprehended by the sane or sound.
Journeying through universes with alternate laws and incalculable differences to one another.
Where our minutes could become years, and matter could be created from nothing as if it were the apparition of some wizard or warlock.

Swimming in an ocean of possibility, your mind commands you to do only one thing.
Your body lurches suddenly and throw yourself into the pit.
Plummeting relentlessly, time once again dilates to nothing before finally you stop falling.
Instantly and without sensation, you are surrounded by pure blackness.

Time stops moving, or at least it appears to.
You feel no more hungry or thirsty than earlier that day, and after some time your mind begins to rest, freeing itself of the curiosity and fear that had previously prompted so many unanswerable questions.
Floating aimlessly within an insurmountable black abyss, you wait.
Time passes.
—– — —– — — —-  — — — — — —

Within the blink of an eye, all that was black changes to bright blue.
You close your eyes to hide from the new brightness, which after a few seconds seems to be more than just a universe of blue to replace the old black nothingness.
There is dirt around you, and you are very close to it. Low even, as if laying face down.
There is a bright light above, and you feel itchy all over.
You start to move, walking on all fours like a lizard, you scurry impatiently across what appears to be nothing more than an open expanse of dirt and dust.
In the distance you notice a small shadow on the horizon, and with your rapidly improving motor skills, you bumble towards it to get a better look.
The blurred figure slowly develops into view and you begin to make out the visage of a lone human sitting in the dirt.

You sit and watch from afar for a while.
Once the sun sets, you stand and begin walking towards the human, who upon realizing you are there, vanishes into thin air, leaving a trail of grey dust whirling into the wind.
Everything slowly fades to black.

You reawaken atop a pile of lush green grass.
A babbling brook can be heard nearby, and the smell of sweet pine needles fills your sinus as fresh air wafts through a nearby stand of conifer trees.
The hole is gone, replaced by a small black box, made of metal with the characters “01” stamped on it in white.
It has no latches or panels, and is bolted to the concrete slab below it.

Confounded but at ease, you lay back into the grass and close your eyes, a gentle breeze blankets over your thick red coat and caresses your cheek.
A small orange butterfly flutters above you before landing delicately on your nose.
As you drift into slumber, twitching your ears playfully, you suddenly hear an ominous howling noise emanating from deep within the forest.
You fall asleep.

Hills & Valleys

There is a golden crown laying in the dust at your feet.
You look up to see a dozen or so star-stunned townsfolk, all gaping helplessly at the ground below you.
Amongst the smoke and din of the dimly-lit longhouse the air hangs still.
Everyone is holding their breath.
Without a second more, you reach down and snatch the crown up from the dust, and not chancing a further look spin on your heel for a speedy escape.
By your very first move the longhouse was reanimated, instantly teeming with moving bodies and scuffling peons all vying for a slice of instant fortune.

You jump through the open window and still, without turning, bolt down the grassy hillside and into the gully below.
Surely they are still chasing you.
With a clash of pebbles you vault the creek and land on the embankment, high and dry.
Within seconds this sound repeats itself as your pursuers ford the water , hot on your tail.

‘This cant go on much longer’ you think, struggling to climb the steep gully wall.
Desperation clears your mind and sight.
With no way out, and nowhere to run you turn to face the others.
They are nowhere to be seen.
None of them.
Baffled, you retrace your steps through the creek only to find stones undisturbed, and the waving grasses of the hill trackless, as if never crossed.

You peer through the open window.
Empty.
Not a soul in sight, the place is bare, stripped of its pots and pans. Even the fireplace sits cold and ash-less, as if it’d not felt the warm touch of the coals in many moons.

You climb through the window and stand around, confused and paranoid that perhaps this is some hoax, that any second they will pounce upon you, making escape impossible.
But nothing happens.

After composing yourself, you walk outside and stand in the courtyard.
Suddenly a noise shrieks from the woods behind you and you spin to face this new threat, tumbling on a loose stone to pound your head into the earth.
Everything goes black.

As light enters through your eyelids you realise you have regained consciousness, and peel open your eyes to reveal dull blurriness.
Your vision sways and stutters as if a poor connection is causing static, but eventually compiles itself into a picture.
To your surprise and disembodiment, you find yourself in an unrecognizable location.

Large stone pillars surround you, gathered and grouped in intricate formations amongst a sea of deep red sand, stretching over a vast open plain.
There are no trees or green, and the air is acridly dry and warm.
A lone figure ambles out from behind the stones.
He is dressed unusually, draped in black clothes of various darkness’ and design. Layers of shuffling darkness turn slowly, and begin towards you.

He stops a few feet from you and sniffs before clearing his throat.
“Do you know who i am?” he questioned sternly.
No
“Do you know where you are?”
No i don’t” you reply hastily.
“Good…” He mumbles slowly, “For you see child, this place is like no other place”
“I don’t care about this place, or ‘not-place‘” you retort.
I need to figure out how to get back…you! Strange man, how do i leave this place?
“Where is this ‘back’ you refer to, what is it made from? he queries curiously.
Why are you here!?” you scream, tears welling in the corners of your eyes.
He chortles and snorts. “For the very same reason as you are, my dear child”

With this he leans around your shoulder and begins to guide you slowly towards the nearest standing stone just a few feet away.

As you reach the stone, the man lays his hand on the pillar and wipes away a layer of dust and sand to reveal a small bronze plaque no bigger than a matchbox.
“They all have them” he affirms.
“Everyday i awake to more of them, standing around waiting to be read. They appear from nothing as if by a wizard’s spell or other sorcery, and once they are read, i wake the next day to find them vanished, and others standing in their stead”
How long have you been here?” you stare openly at the man’s ragged clothes and dirty locks.
“The pillars are quite long, yes, but they come in all sizes, the plaque seems to be the key..” the man replies apprehensively.
No, you misunderstand me. How many days have you been in this sand? Enough time out here’d drive anyone mad!

He stares blankly at you, then glances at the sun directly above.
He stares blankly again before slowly turning and wandering away towards a different stone.

You slump into the sand.
All around you is quiet, only the gentle breeze can be heard twisting through the stones.
With little other options, you decide to read the freshly-cleaned plaque;
.
.
.
.
Terrence Fletcher. Born 23/7/39. Died 4/8/17.
.
.
.
.

Humans & Utopia=Incompatible

Since the dawn of man we have aspired for a perfect society.
Peppered across our mythological foundation stories and religions alike, we are taught to strive in order to achieve a state of perfection, akin to ‘heaven on earth’.
Somewhere your every need can be met with ease, and trouble is nowhere to be seen.

One without crime and poverty, free of anguish and pestilence where all people would operate in such a way as to always bolster their fellow man.
I won’t be as bold as to say that this driving force has been the aspiration for all of our technological, political and social advancements, but i have gone to the effort to type it.

This ‘perfect world’ is one where no one need fear or hate, where all errors are either instantly resolved, or cease to happen at all due to each individual’s perfect participation in accordance to the utopian societies laws and customs.

All unified.
Working together, always for the greater good.
In my own mind, it likens to some kind of perfect,  crime-free anarcho-communistic egalitarian society.

This is where the humans come into the picture.

Humans are not only all different, but we are living in the modern day.
In this modern age, despite our technological advancements, medical, transportation and otherwise, we are still fraught with inequality.
In a world where 2043 people have possession of $7.71 billion of the world’s accumulated ‘wealth’, (There has been $8.2 billion worth of gold mined to date globally)
and around 1,000,000,000 people still live in poverty (Live on less than $1.25 a day),
we are a far cry from our proposed utopia. (All values $USD) (Current world economy based on resources, gold being the historical standard and a major current standard unit of measurement for wealth)

But lets assume, hypothetically that we can level the playing field somehow, perhaps it takes 500 years, or some magical edict instantly balances the world’s wealth distribution.

We are still faced with that annoying little dilemma of conscious thought,
and individuality.

Perhaps this Utopia will be free of the social confines of today’s society.
No longer taboos nor social terrorism.
No fear of reprisal, or conflict of any nature throughout society.

But what of our beliefs.
The things that set us apart from one another (beyond superfluous physical differences).
From religions and moral standing to political agenda, philosophical belief or even personal taste in art forms etc.

Variations such as these create schisms throughout society.
However, we can assume that in a utopian world, there will be some kind of unified center of governance, without corruption, and that society would acknowledge an acceptable code-of-conduct regarding morals globally, and that everyone would, for some reason, universally abide and enjoy where the moral bar was set.

We can assume this because, the slightest malcontent among even a single group of citizens would potentially incite a global uprising, as they spread that malcontent to others causing the established state of utopian living to fall from grace, perhaps permanently.
(Assuming the government quelled the uprising it would become a global totalitarian dictatorship, the government enforcers of social peace acting almost autocratically. This uprising would be considered crime as well, therefore uttering a resurgence of penalization)

This may seem unrealistic, considering the contentedness of the people and absence of crime, and you’d be right in assuming such.
But in a world with complete freedom from hostility and reprisal, there must be an allowance for the citizens to have freedom of thought, regardless of whether freedom of expression, freedom of speech and freedom of ownership are allowed or not.
Without the most basic of these (thought), we cease to be citizens or individuals, and instead would be more akin to worker drones in an infallible and never-changing society.

For whatever reason, we all think a little differently.
Some alot differently, however, we can assume that people lying far outside the spectrum of ‘acceptable behavior’ are afflicted with some ‘medical condition’ that can, in the future be remedied completely and effectively, therefore allowing the citizen to be fully integrated into society.

In the Utopian future, these little differences between us may not be enough to inspire the creation of new religions or paths of thought, as there simply is no need for further social progression.
We cater our designs to the purpose at hand, but without inspiration, without need or adversity to overcome, Utopia would be free of new ways of doing and thinking.
But what of traditions?

Are we to wait for them to just…die out?
This may never occur, as the modern world is fraught with peril, and new methods of thought and philosophy are constantly being adapted and old ones solidified because of this.
Humans develop new ideas and designs to overcome adversity.

The future must have beliefs, as shared beliefs form the backbone of societies standards, etiquette and function as a whole.
But whose beliefs will they be?

Christian? Islamic? Atheist perhaps?
How will one overcome the other? Will everyone just magically get converted to one or another?
Perhaps a scientific revelation disproves/proves the existence of God.
There will always be non-believers, and this discovery would likely lead to a great theistic war of some kind, one way or the other.

It seems like the only way to achieve Utopia is through total, omnipotent domination of the entire populaces beliefs, and to keep their loyalty by providing ideal living conditions, (Kind of like taking really good care of your dog).
To achieve this, the removal of all other schools of thought is a relative necessity.
There needs to be ABSOLUTELY no imbalance between each person’s ability to interact, sympathize, socialize, empathize and actualize in order to sustainably maintain Utopia.

Harmony depends on resonating at the same levels, not marginally different ones.
Upsetting the balance of equality may create a ripple effect,  disrupting people in waves as the original person’s poor disposition affects those around him/her.

Despite absolutely everything that seems to stand in the way of Utopia, i believe we will one day, many painstaking years from now, achieve absolute global equality and peace.

The only question remaining is;

Which system of belief will claim the title of ‘undisputed, undeniable & untranscendable way to think, feel and act in accordance with society and your fellow man’?

Or perhaps it was ‘how many will have to be purged or forcibly converted in order for this to be achieved’?

Moral irony aside, Utopia appears to be a fleeting concept.
Perhaps our moments of perfection in life are the only true embodiment of utopia.
That utopia is in fact, a feeling or state of being as opposed to a being of state.

Maybe its a cold beer on a hot summer night, the perfect peace of the green forest or the warm embrace of a loved one.
Next time your life seems perfect, even though its only for a moment, you may think to yourself ((“I’m in Heaven right now!”))
However, theologians across the globe will tell you otherwise.

What you’re actually thinking is;
{{I’m in Utopia right now}}

The best feeling in the world.
Shared by us all, no matter how different the reason or the person feeling it.

Heaven stands to be seen.

>Visitor<

You are standing in the middle of an infinite forest of darkness.
The trees, rocks and the terrain around you is dark for as far as you can see, spare the area directly around you.
A small fire smoulders in a pit adjacent you, so you toss in a few twigs from around the fireplace, exciting numerous small flames from the coals.

The clouded shadows around you whip back and gain definition, and you notice a large log. In fact, you are sitting right next to it, in the dirt.
It is far too large to move, but is solid hardwood, hundreds of feet long maybe.
You search the darkness for tools. An axe or saw would be ideal. You see nothing of use.

With the last licks of flame you bound recklessly into the darkness, hopping a stone and landing in a pothole.
Your ankle twists in your boot and you topple to the ground atop a thicket of what feel like blackberries.
Bloodied and beaten and accompanied by much swearing, you arise and continue collecting usable firewood.

The darkness seems to extend on eternally ahead of you, your shadow projecting faintly onto the surrounding pine trees.
Despite the darkness, You see no signs of any animals.
Just trees.
Their shaggy silhouettes standing idly, as if on any other night they would come to life and trade positions.

You turn back to the now-smouldering coals to see they have attracted a visitor.
You decide to approach slowly, and from the front as to not alert the creature.
This seems to work as you get within a few feet of this strange creature.
Amidst the darkness it is impossible to discern hide nor hair of this whateveritis, so you toss a few short branches on the coals.

The creature startles, and jumps back instantly.
A glint of light from the brewing fire flecks a deep green through its eye as it stares at you in shock and misunderstanding.
The fire builds, and new flames entice the creature back to bask in the heat.
It was completely covered in fur, mid-length and white. White-ish.
Almost tall enough to be a human, it walked on two legs with relative elegance.
It turns to you, elated now and gestures its paw straight into the sky, staring upward as it points.
How can one creature resemble a horse, a polar bear, Grug and human all at the same time?

You gaze up to see the end of a sisal rope, hanging just above your head.
Hanging rope?
Where am i?….
With no further forethought necessary, you begin to climb the rope.
Arm after arm you ascend the rope as it swings wildly in the air below you.
After what seems like 10 minutes, you look down to see a little dot of light, and a shadow standing next to it, looking on eagerly.

You continue to climb.
Pushing through the burn, you climb for what seems like an hour until finally, the rope begins to get tighter.
There is an anchoring point ahead, a tie-off ring as it happens, which is directly connected to a small platform, old rusted steel, seemingly abandoned for many years.
There is a small table, and a glowing green lamp.
As your eyes adjust to the new radiance, you notice it is no lamp, but a computer console.

You scour the console for an input device, but find nothing.
You wipe away a thick layer of dust from the monitor.
The screen displays a few lines of text, written in grey;
“Coupling procedure failed. Manual override terminated. Connection to gas interrupted.”
“This facility will be at 5% efficiency in 00 Minutes and 00 Seconds”
“Please stand by for extraction”

Extraction?
Desperate to know more you scour the dim surrounds for further clues.
You can see a ladder on the far edge of the platform, extending up out of view into the air.
Its rungs are cold and wet, rust flakes chipping off with every grip and release, you rise further and further above the now invisible firepit somewhere far below.
Suddenly, the ladder runs out.

The ceiling is dull and solid. It isn’t metal.
Small pieces of it sprinkle off as you brush your fingers over its surface.
As if it were raining sand, you scrape your hands around in the pitch black, searching for something to give your journey meaning.
There was something here once.
Something metal, above the ladder.
A square framework juts out of the crumbly ceiling, its hollow cavity now filled with even more ceiling.

Disheartened, you throw your arm down in disgust.
The rung you are standing on gives way, and your hand slips from the rung above.
You are plummeting toward the ground in total darkness.
The light begins to get bigger.

Your vision floods with bright light just before you arrive at the ground.
Then everything goes black.

You are standing in the middle of an infinite forest of darkness.

 

De-Humanisation & The lives we lead

Modern society is filled with bells and whistles.
New fashion, new gadgets and an ever-changing sphere of what is ‘trendy’ and ‘cutting-edge’.

We live today in a world of distractions.
Meaningless ‘filler’ items, sold to you under the guise of ‘self-development’ or the acquisition of fame and social credentials.

These inconsequential choices, such as “What colour iPhone should i get?”, we face everyday, and are the building blocks of a troubled life.

In this scenario, it becomes all too easy to forget about the truly important aspects.
Those essentials required to change a directionless fumble through time into a rich, fulfilling experience.

If you find yourself waking up each day to confusion, fear and misdirection, wondering what you can do to turn your existence into a lifestyle, you too may need to reevaluate.

What do we want?
To be happy.
But how do we attain happiness?

Go short, and grab a few pick-me-ups, and find yourself forever searching for new sources to prolong the feeling.
With each quick-fix, each one proceeding it becomes less and less effectual.
This is the plight of the addict.
The eternal struggle of balancing the constant barrage of bad news we receive to reach a contented middle ground.

We all do it, or have been in this situation before.
Eventually, after years of grinding against your own dissatisfaction, we are faced with an ultimatum:

Commit to a life of trying to negate the personal impacts of our world forever, or to look into the future.
To look into our truest selves, and discover how to maintain our balance in a sustainable  way.
SUSTAINABLE.

Rule of thumb; if the thing/feeling you need is sourced from an external source that is unsecured (drugs, food, validation, sex, the list goes on…..), it is NOT sustainable.

Every second of life is a war.
A war against decay, an infinite maintenance of our positions here, within our own minds and in the view of others.

Would you feed your soldiers with handouts?
Load your cannons with forks and spoons?
What happens when one day, support for your cause wanes, and the hand-outs stop coming?
Your force disbands, and your cause is lost until you find the support to raise the banner once more.
After all, Mercenaries are not known for their loyalty or morale.

Do it right.
Build your army from battle-hardened regulars.
Feed them with homegrown crops and never lose sight of your supply lines.
Keep them open, or better yet, build your own.
Soldiers march fastest as the crow flies.

Whatever you want in life, remember this:
If you blow all your funding on mercenaries and fancy gadgets to shock and awe your contemporaries, you may earn their temporary respect, or even admiration.
But once the fighting truly starts, all of these quick-fixes will evaporate away.

Only home-grown troops and resources cannot be sequestered by others.
Only by investing time, effort and care into the development of the self, can we resist and overcome adversity.

Invest in the only force that will never leave or disband.
Invest in yourself.
Invest in your self-esteem, and value the only thing you will ever truly possess and experience directly.

You are Mr. or Mrs. X.
And this is your life.

“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in introduction of a new order of things”
                                                                                                 -Niccolo Machiavelli

>>Cove

You are strolling on the sand, water slowly lapping at your side.
The night is dark and still, a new moon hangs idly above you, concealed in blackness by its renewing cycle.
A dense fog lazily rolls around your body, condensing droplets upon your shoulders and sleeves as you walk.

A faint sound of a distant machine working quietly fills the lower register, its tone synchronized with the gentle hum of the vast landscape between you.
You sense unrest, but it is tired and sleepy. The kind of restlessness implicit of a long journey. Not a cause of distress, but as if the energy of it’s labours go unexpressed.

With each step, the sand bitterly migrates around your soles, as if to avoid being crushed.
There is no one else here. Not a living thing within your scope or sense.
The beach extends for miles, gracefully ascending inland into smooth undulations that could easily be grassy hills.

The air is laden with salt so heavy, each breath includes a slight tingle, enough to overwhelm the sharp chill that accompanies it.
You inhale deeply, and your cough echoes along the dulcet tide.

As you turn away from the hilled silhouettes and face the ocean, a calmness envelopes you.
Like entering a lukewarm bath, the calm radiates from your temple, and slowly courses down your body, clenching your toes as it exits into the ground.
Lapping against your knees, the water’s icey grasp welcomes your venture.
You tread lightly at first, but smooth ripples afoot encourage you to remove your shoes, followed shortly by your other clothing.

Naked, you turn once more to gaze towards the once-invisible hills to see their silhouettes glowing the faintest amber-gold, each ebb of light slightly stronger than the last.

Arms raised at your sides, you tread backwards slowly into the waves.
As you are consumed by the sea, the glowing continues, uninterrupted by your presence.
You smile, and take a final breath.
Holding it deeply in your chest, you close your eyes.

Autumn Rust

The background steadily dissolves away as your eyes are drawn into the centre.
Towards that single point of absolute investing focus.
There are no ‘other things’ or ‘different perspectives’ in this world.

Just a freshly-framed picture, every second of every day.
Each one appearing crisp and bold with definitive contrast, before a point is selected, and the periphery begins to exponentially corrode into that ubiquitous rusty blur that surrounds everything we cherish within the borders of our perception.

No amount of rustoleum can prevent this.
No quantity of refurbishments can lift its oxidizing growth once initialized.
All is consumed.
All, except that tiny moment.
That ever-resistent speck of data among a memorial sea of autumn-hued forgottens.

It lives on in each as a reflection of our own time-honored perceptions, and to remind you that there is always more than what we care to remember seeing.

Always another page to the chapter, another side to leaf accompanied by another insect we have yet to meet, but never will.

For he does not exist, this beyond-beckonable bug is yet another riddle pasted upon the mind’s crumbling prologue.
To know his name would be to forget the greeting card of another, as much as one cannot catch two trains at once, no matter how ‘on-time’ they may be.

The question is not ‘which bug do i want to meet’ and it never will be.
It is simply, “Do i wish to meet this bug?”

To which there is only ever one true option. Only one that requires us to invest time and energy into its manifestation.

“Yes”

(BUBBLE)

Submerged in a bubble, a thin prismatic film refracting the light into its hollow volume within.
The red checkered floor tiles, some pieces overlapping to reveal a blank and slightly  chipped fibre-board floor.
There, off in the distance across the bubble, a small metal valve is lodged directly through the bubble’s reflecting radius.
This is where the gas is injected.
There are many gases.
Some of these gases have both benevolent and malevolent properties, if applied correctly.
I am not sure who controls the admission.  Perhaps there is a red button somewhere.
One thing guaranteed throughout, they are po-tent. Always applicable, seldom renegotiable and always a value guarantee.
Or your money back. Within 24 hours of purchase.

Some eras ago, there was a day when the injection never came.
The button-presser just kept waiting and waiting.
The cities fell first into tyranny.
1 full day of civilization rending, page turning historical devolution.
Starting with the latest chapter.
Chapter 26: “This chapter is incomplete. Please complete chapter to see review”

But that’s kind of o.k, really.
Chapter reviews were never an accurate reminder of the trials at the time, or the adversity overcome.
As one looks back, the once real becomes surreal, changing forever within the frame of your mind’s limits.

There is only one time that exists.
That is this moment your spending right now.
The ever-present Present presenting itself presently.
Trust Master Oogway on this one:
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present”.

#26.1

There is a towering tree standing before you.
It is immersed in a deep fog, gently rolling around its trunk and through its lush canopy.
Water droplets drip from the leaftips above, creating a steady, yet gentle patter of droplets upon the leaflittered floor.

The forest expands for an infinity around you, dense and foreboding.
In the darkness, you can hear the faint, far off sound of a deer calling, or perhaps its a horn…
Crickets and frogs abundant, the ground is sodden yet firm, coated in a furry green moss carpet, patches of shrubs and mushrooms dotted among the solitary boulders and rocky outcrops beneath the forest’s heights.

A man appears from behind the tree.
Draped in dark, shapeless robes, brown perhaps, they are piled upon his shoulders, ensconcing his form as if to provide shelter from the isolative landscape in which he lives.
His belt asway with trinkets and tools, dangling on little golden strings of woven cord.
Amongst them all, you notice his left hip carries some kind of looking-glass.
It’s lens reflects into your eye, and you are instantly blinded.
It burns into your vision, and you suddenly fall to the ground in shock, only to continue falling.

As you approach the ground, the earth beneath you begins to cave into itself piece by piece, each falling sod revealing more of a faint orange glow that emanates from within the ever growing hole.

“The earth demands it” The man utters, standing idly by as your final foot falls out of sight into the deepness below.

You gaze up as you fall to see the earth realign itself, refilling the hole as if by some magical levitation spell cast by the man above.
Despite plummeting downward into the unknown, you are overwhelmed by a foul, bitter smell surrounding you and filling your nostrils.
The smell of burning, melting and charring mixed with metallic twinges and pulverized rock.

As you turn to face the eventual bottom of your plunge, you notice a light far away on the distant floor of the cavern.
There are no other details around you, diving through an abyssal cavern of pitch darkness with only a single reference. The orange light.

Minute by minute, the light becomes stronger, its form taking shape around its twinkling area of effect.
Its a building. A palace perhaps, or a castle? It seems only as a hulking stone form from above.
Within seconds of identifying the light’s source, you collide with the ground at full force, pulverizing the stones below and displacing the dirt out of a 2ft crater around you.
You open your eyes and touch your head in shock, only to realize you are completely unscathed by the fall.

Dumbfounded, you stand, brushing yourself of dust and debris, and begin walking directly for the castle before you. Just as you do, the man from above appears in front of you, dissolving into existence out of thin air.
He approaches you slowly, hobbling as if carrying a great weight upon his back, and hands you a small scroll.
“You must read this. It is only for you” He states slowly, clearly gazing into your eyes.

You peel off the red ribbon around it, and unravel the scroll to reveal a single sentence, hastily scrawled in what appears to be blood.

“I told you not to take the blue pill”

The scrolls combusts in your hand, and suddenly your legs are sucked into the cracked dirt as if by quicksand, hardening around you at the knee.
The man, expressionless and devoid slowly drones out a sentence. “Now, you must wait.”
He turns, and gradually walks within the castle gates, lowering them behind him.
The orange light begins to dim from within, and eventually, despite repeated waverings of intensity, goes out.

Darkness surrounds you.
You stand silently, listening for a sound from within the cave.
Nothing.
Not a drip of water, nor touch of stone.
Complete silence fills the enveloping blackness.
You close your eyes.

Power and Control

Something so striven for throughout human history is Power and Control.
The ability to dictate the terms of engagement.
To align and assign at sheer command of will with no discrepancy.

Millions of humans have perished, decapitated and mangled beyond recognition in order to maintain it.
Environments laid to waste to deny it, and the profits extracted to prolong it.
Ideals developed purely with its continuation at the center stage.

Ironically, it is always for nothing.

Power exists only when it is given, and can only be taken when it is no longer being wielded by another.
Eventually, there will always be a hungrier fish with a bigger gun.
To hold power over anything makes one into the oppressor of all others who also vie for that power, and will always lead to their eventual demise.

Control, as a ‘valid’ concept, doesn’t actually exist.
By definition, control is represented by being able to maintain a set of variables absolutely.
There is no such thing as ‘partial control’, as this invariably means that some variables are uncontrollable.
If we limit our range of variables, we can control anything to a tee.
Though realistically, what is the use of being able to dominate the action of one small set of variables, overlooking self-preservation of course.

Man was not meant to hold the responsibility of another.
We cannot know control, truly.
We experience coincidence, and confirm it as dictation.
We estimate, based on what we believe to know, and summarily confirm our ability to control when the variables fall in our favour.

What we have come to know as control, is actually external manipulation.
The configuring of variables into allocated sets of outcomes, and predetermining the end results, aligning them with a situation that can be considered pleasing.

Perhaps one day soon, the laws we have come to know and anticipate will change.
Our scientific discoveries will open up new ways of understanding, and dictate new configurations of variables that we can manipulate.
Perhaps it has already happened, and is constantly changing.

Control, and the Power that comes with it, are merely perceptions of the mind, or minds, of those who choose to conform to the necessitation of the variables being observed.

“This sentence is in Spanish when you’re not reading it”