Attention: this will be a lengthy post, but for good measure! It’s a short story that accurately depicts the nature of ourselves and the society we live in.
It was something I came up with while running at Descanso Gardens the other day. Not leaving anything to chance, I quickly recorded my thoughts as soon as I got home.
Here are the results:
One day, a boy and a girl were walking through a forgotten trail. They were dear friends, blissfully ignorant of society’s demands; or the consequences of not “following the rules.” They were, by all accounts, unaware of the different paths they would indeed walk upon in the unforeseeable future.
Well, the boy and girl ran through the large dirt path which winded right and left, which had small hills, and which had expansive ever-green lands as far as the eye could see.
But as they continued to make their way through this forgotten pathway, they noticed that there was a bend in the road up ahead.
Two different paths were now visible.
Most peculiar of all was the old blind man sitting lonesome on a wooden chair. He was ironically staring off into the distant horizon.
As the boy and girl looked at each other, the boy asked the girl if they should turn back. The girl agreed they should.
But before they could make another move, the old blind man spoke to them, “Do not be afraid, for I am just like you – a human who is misunderstood.”
The boy and girl both looked at the old blind man as they felt nervous. They should definitely turn back now.
But the old blind man stood up carefully, with the help of his walking stick.
The two children were frozen with unknown fear. They weren’t sure what to do anymore.
As the old blind man slowly but eventually made his way over to the two children, he cleared his throat and spoke clearly. “Well, it would appear you two are brave indeed! You’ve proven to me that even though you harbor fear, you certainly were brave enough to stand your ground. Commendable! For such courage, I will impart upon you some gift of knowledge.”
The two children looked even more confused. They weren’t brave; they were merely frozen with fear. But to the blind man, it made no difference. They hadn’t left him when he had approached them, and as far as the old man was concerned, he took this as an act of bravery.
The boy cleared his throat now as he looked up at the old man and inquired about his presence. “What are you doing out here all by yourself? Shouldn’t you be living inside your cottage?”
The blind old man seemed baffled by this young boy’s words. “Lad, you must be mistaken. I’m not dead yet. In fact, I feel more alive than ever before! Now shush, let me impart upon you some knowledge. It’s the only thing I have left to give, so hear an old fella out, wouldya?”
The little girl nudged the boy and shook her head as she whispered as lowly as possible. “Let’s hear him out, at least. He probably just wants someone to talk with. If worse-comes-to-worse, we can outrun him. We’re certainly faster than he is.”
The old blind man seemed disheartened but also proud of the little girl. “It seems you are well-versed in our current reality; you’ll make it far in this lifetime. But, unfortunately, ours is a reality wrought with corruption, lies, and deceit. So you’d do well to take some advice from her, lad.”
The little girl seemed slightly embarrassed, and the little boy seemed somewhat infuriated by the old man’s comment.
At any rate, the blind and wise old man said: “Our sins are born of our willing ignorance and naivety. Our society is upheld not by illusions but by deceptive truths. You see, the truth takes on whatever form an individual’s perspective is on such a matter at hand. To the materially rich man or materially rich woman, their profits are not an act of sin. No, such acts are merely an act of preservation for themselves. But to the poor and disadvantaged, such acts are seen as acts of deception and lies. The poor are uneducated due to school systems not truly favoring parting true education on their children. In essence, the powers that be do not want to financially or systematically support the poor person’s children, nor any advancement of their family in this twisted society. The poor are misunderstood, not fully seen in the eyes of “wealthier” individuals, and ignored by all those who share the wealthy person’s status. You see, the rich person profits are gained on the backs of those who work day-in-and-day-out for monetary compensation; to survive in the rich person’s world.”
“We have damned our future children’s lives, and their future children’s lives as well. But do not fret, for everyone should still live out their lives according to their true wishes. Because the truth is told, the cycle of our different civilizations goes through different phases. Nothing ever stays the same, so you shouldn’t dictate your life by fear of the unknown. Life has always meant to be about the unexpected.”
“You see, everything is a cycle. Just like the seasons of our world, once you understand this concept, you will begin to understand that everything about to happen in your life is not your own fault. No, it was the fault of past generations, of their actions to preserve their own lives and families. It was actions taken against the wellbeing of “the community” and redirecting such efforts towards “turning a profit.” For the rich person is no fool. They understand the workings of our physical world. Of this world, we see with our two eyes. They fully embrace their natural talents to abuse such authority and rise above the madness of our world.”
“We have created a world in which compassion, nurturing, and understanding are only eligible for those who are a part of the top earners of our society. Everyone else falls to the wayside, which is the majority of the people in the world. We are the many who are faced with the harsh realities of inequality. You see, money was never a part of a fair game. Yes, money can be a good thing; it can lead to wealth – but the game we’re playing in is far from realistic. It’s barbaric, brutal, and unforgiving.”
“Suppose you are working for a successful corporation. In that case, you will learn to live a life full of micro-management, a life full of harassment and degradation. And all of this happens without a single person flinching. We, as a collective, understand that there truly is nothing we can do about changing such a reality. We have, in effect, learned to love this abuse, for our survival depends on this re-wiring of acceptable behavior. After all, parents instill fear into their children to have kids who are willing to behave and listen without much resistance left in them.”
“Now you may be wondering: why are you here? Well, I have been left by the wayside in this lonely corner of the world. Beaten, harassed, misunderstood – I am merely a human being who wanted to help others. But this society has created a monster. I have become a beast; in the eyes of this upside-down society. To be human means to be against big government and big corporations. To be human means to be against those in positions of power. To be human means to be weak and a fool. You see, you are afraid of me because you don’t understand me. You would sooner trust a kind old man who is a pervert than you would a strange old man trying to educate the young folk, like yourselves, on how to survive in the real world.”
“The real world is the world you cannot see with your own two eyes. No, it is, in fact, the world in which rests deep within your mind and your heart. It is the one place you can go to whenever the physical world becomes corrupt and unbearable.”
“You will find at times that your life will, in fact, become unbearable. You will have days of hardship, days full of misery and misfortunate. Days filled with complexities you cannot even begin to imagine. But to help you endure such tragedies, your mind and heart will help heal your broken soul.”
“Trust in the voice deep within you. Trust in your instincts, for they are there for a reason. But, above all else, trust that the physical world can sometimes be a crazy place full of contradictions and uncertainties. In such times, you must close your eyes, take a deep breath, and realize that this moment too shall pass.”
The children had long since lost interest in the ramblings of an old and wizened man. They were, instead, more interested in the two separate paths which lay ahead of them.
Without even thinking it through, the little boy blurted out. “Which way should we go?”
The old man shrugged and blindly looked down at the two children. “I’ve never gone past this point in life. You two, though, shall have to make that choice yourselves.”
The boy and girl looked stunned as they looked at each other and then up at the old man.
But as they turned their eyes back on the old man, he was gone.
Almost like a flash of light disappearing within the shadows of eternal darkness, he had vanished.
Where had he gone? Was he ever even there? In some way, the boy and girl may never find out. Life was, unquestionably, full of puzzling and mysterious secrets. This was just one such experience they would face in a lifetime full of overwhelming uncertainty and strange realities.
Forever in Your Debt,
Leon R.M. Auguste