November 28, 2012

An Allegory for Rebels

"Lost" by Alecu Grigore
If our society were like a decaying mansion, what then?

Kibble clutters corners. The stinking water stains eek over rotting plaster while the click of rodent nails echo in the walls. Few panes of glass remain in the windows. The house is decaying. Failing. Rotting from the center out. The occupants recognize this fact but shrug their shoulders or raise their eyes to an uncaring God.

There are some inhabitants who do not conform to apathy. They stalk the forgotten wings of the sprawling mansion, learn the secret passwords to skulk in the basement, identify the weaknesses and ready their attack. Together they plot- drawn together tighter by a hatred of the crumbling house above them than by any creative pursuit. Or rather, destruction is their creation. They whisper fervently about disturbing the sheep and cattle who live above, opening their eyes and leading them from their prison. They speak of the glory of chaos and beauty of anarchy. Fire and blood haunt their dreams.

But what if they succeed?

What if the bombs are placed on the weakened supports? What if the fuses are ignited  What if their dream is realized?

The house explodes. Violently. Passionately. Dust and debris rain down as the flames consume the life we once lived. Ecstatic at the change, we dance before the inferno and believe ourselves to be freed.

But the fire burns out. Dawn comes. We realize what is outside of the house is not the Eden promised, but a world even more drab and crumbling than the house we left. Plus, our winter coats were burned in the fire.

No longer tied together by a common enemy, the inhabitants begin to fight among themselves to establish some sort of shelter. Worse, they band together to destroy an overlooked, but structurally sound shed on the edge of the yard. Their need for companionship that comes from shared hatred turns their focus to individuals or institutions no deserving of such attack.

What have their plots gained them? At least the home was familiar. At least it kept the worst of the rain from our heads. At least it gave us a common complaint. We could always look out the cracked windows and imagine ourselves leaving. Perhaps we even did.

No. I do not want to see our house reduced to rubble and dust. Not unless there is an architect with crisp blueprints that solve, in clear mathematics, the structural problems of our past home. Not unless there is an army of builders who will not cut corners to line their own pockets.

Until then, I will wander my house like a specter  hands clasped at the small of my back. I will neither pretend to ignore the decay nor will I aid in its destruction of the house. I will not pretend the windows are whole and clear, but neither shall a rock leave my hand to shatter the sharp panes. Instead, I will clean what panes I can so others may see the world outside more clearly. I will not step over the discarded chair, but nor will I kick it to pieces for the petty superiority of watching something break. Instead, I will right it, dust it off, be on my way. Better yet, in my own corner of the house, I will gather together supplies and build myself a book shelf or writing desk.

Destruction is easy. There are so many ways to break things. It is much harder to create.

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