We live in an increasingly synthetic world. A world of centralisation, staggering corruption and spectacular cognitive dissonance – for those with eyes to see. It is a world of shattered dreams where the lifestyles of a handful of lucky minorities are presented as the standard of living for the world at large. But this is not so, and the most observant among us realise this. I count myself among these lucky minorities. I'm not talking about the super-rich. I'm not talking about the predator-class that have made themselves the elites and sinister gatekeepers of this world. See, I have access to running water, food and shelter. In truth the majority of the world's population does not have reliable, consistent access to such amenities. And although I live below the poverty line in Western terms, comparatively speaking I live like a king. I did nothing to deserve such luxury. I was simply born in the heart of Empire, though like many of us I find myself forever on its fringes. I would have it no other way, really. Invisibility is one of the many gifts of the edgelands, if you know how to thread the mantle. And for an Empire such as this one; a deranged, cannibalising black-op hiding in plain sight – that seeks total information awareness and complete submission – invisibility of any kind frightens them. And there are, as magicians and artists are well aware, many ways to cloak one's self.
And how does Empire safeguard against this wild, unsanctioned creation of meaning? Well, we all know they have an arsenal of weapons in this regard, both literal and symbolic. But the source of such weapons, in my opinion, is the full-scale assault on mutual affection. The taking of Love and Synergy into a very dark place. Alienation, dehumanisation, desecration. After all, very few of us are born as monsters. Instead we learn, and are taught, monstrous behaviours. And monstrous appetites. This is the ancient and well-read playbook of Empire. I against I, me against you. Survival rather than contemplation or creation. Empire is built on the conceit that that there are no other ways; that inequality is unavoidable, that oppression is natural. This lie has claimed the lives and souls of countless millions across time. This blood-soaked icon of hierarchy, this demonic sleight of hand.
In today's world maidens are not simply locked in towers.
They are bound, gagged and trafficked.
Make no mistake, this has always been the occupation of Empire. There are many kinds of underworlds. Many of them share space and time with us. Right here, right now. Empire is a consummate torturer, a rapist and murderer. Genocide is not a thing that once happened. It's happening now, both literally and figuratively.
But none of this breaks my spirit.
None of this can remove our Innermost.
Because every single day I witness acts of the most staggering bravery and compassion. I see men and women fighting for the physical and spiritual health of their brethren. Every day I see people sacrificing what they have for the well-being of others. I see kindness and tenderness among friends, thoughtfulness among strangers – and I know that life and breath and divine fire is still present in this world, still seeking to rise. And sometimes in order to rise you must first descend, into the dark places of Empire where your beloved dwells against his or her will. And this descent is often terrifying. It is terrifying to contemplate your beloved in torment, crying out to you across the chasm. And that is why we journey to these places below the world. That's why we don the mantle, or break bread in secret, or craft stories that Empire claims we are forbidden to tell. We do it to embody the spirit. We do it for Love. Personally speaking, I can't think of a better reason for doing anything.