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 Xartis Psyxis - "The Last Confession" (contd)

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nordmann
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Join date : 2011-12-25

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PostXartis Psyxis - "The Last Confession" (contd)

Another word of advice Abby, if you can take such from a father you would be forgiven for despising. When a political man speaks, listen intently. His words will always skirt the truth so your ears must listen beside the words, and between them, for their real meaning.

But it is not as though he lies by nature or design. It is because he cannot help but misrepresent the extent of his knowledge. In this world knowledge is power Abby; a snippet of information can, if used judiciously, topple an empire. A man who lives for power must know this and it shapes his very language. He is as unable to state an open fact without ulterior motive, as a babe in arms is unable to stifle a wail when it is hungry. Both would be unnatural acts and precipitated by some other duress greater than their instincts. But understand the motive and you understand the fact, and in time also the man.

Then you will learn a universal truth Abby. We are all of us political creatures. We all can speak obliquely to suit our ends, and in many ways our ends are similar to the politician’s too. We seek power in our affairs - power over our fate, power over our relationships with others and power especially over those who would harm us. We differ only in the extent to which we are satisfied in how much power we secure for ourselves. The world is driven by men who will never be satisfied in that respect. They are hungry men and hungry men are ruthless, but they are also often more eagle eyed than the rest of us. They see things that we miss. So listen to them well, Abby, you may be surprised at what you might learn.

Know this too. Trust is not a virtue and plays no useful role in life, and least of all in politics. It is a liability of the highest order, something that one enjoys as a facet of privilege, and secured only through the efforts of others who labour outside that world of privilege and to whom trust represents a luxury beyond reach. I have asked you to trust my assessments of events, yet in all honesty Abby I would prefer to hear that you doubt them as much as I was forced to doubt them myself then.

In Ireland, you see, I found a paradox. The trust that binds the Irish is the trust that sooner or later the one will betray the other. They will forge an alliance where none should prosper based on that very trust alone it seems, and unite in opposition to any who would question their right to do so. We English will never truly understand their methods – if method be the term – and what we do not understand we know we cannot control, so we vanquish it.

I, who had never enjoyed trust for its own sake, could see this truth. And for the first time I was beginning to see the role I had played in it. Here was a people who had taken our hubris-laden philosophy through to its logical end, and saw that the end was their own destruction. We fancifully saw destruction as justified in the pursuit of a greater good. They, who stood to be destroyed, saw it for what it was, the removal of one thing to make room for another, neither better nor worse, just different. In a way, that is more terrifying than a threat issued for motives such as avarice, jealousy or hatred. It was almost destruction for its own sake, with no opportunity to reprieve oneself from one’s threatened doom. We cheerfully accepted that betrayal was an intrinsic tool for fashioning a society that would benefit us all. They saw that betrayal was more natural than that. It was a base facet of man which we had elevated in our minds to a political virtue. To them therefore, we were barbarians, vandals in truth and natural order, and for nothing more exalted than the pursuit of a society where such hubris-inspired notions could thrive unchallenged. Neither of us were superior to the other, we were just different. And in reality ours was the society under threat from theirs, not the other way round.

This was the knowledge that the politicians, on either side, could never express. Such knowledge, once broadcast, gains a life of its own and by its very nature undermines and destroys the pillars of rational argument that all sides have erected to support their policies. And my role up to now in all this was quite clear – subvert and destroy the other, not because it is wrong, but because there is truth in it, as indeed there must be if it already sustains a whole people. You might wonder what it was that brought me to this realisation Abby. I wish I could quote one incident, one moment of Damascene lucidity whereby my true role had been revealed. But such is not the way my mind works best, not if I am to trust the change. Perhaps the seeds of doubt had already been sown in London as I learnt my trade. Perhaps it is inevitable, if you teach yourself that the only trust you can place in your fellow man is that he may betray you, that you then find an affinity with a whole people who not only share this opinion, but have lived profitably by it and drawn mutual strength from its honesty. And, as I said, we are all of us political creatures. We seek empowerment, and this realisation was indeed an empowering thing. Perhaps it was Titus Perry himself who had initiated this chain of thought, as I watched him reconstruct his life with a strength that I could never emulate, from values that I could never borrow, and through a pain that I had never shared. Such effort is impressive, if only because its source cannot be readily seen, and it makes one mindful of how shallow are one’s own resources in comparison, clever and pointed though they may be.

But while it had arrived in my consciousness at a point where still I could be saved from myself by it, it had arrived too late alas for those whom I had implicated in my schemes, or for the events I had helped set in motion. They all must find their own course, however constrained it was by our designs. I, on the other hand, was free.

:::

The religious man will tell you that there are two lives, this earthbound one where our spirit is caged and tested, and a heavenly one where it gambols for eternity in bliss or toils for ever in despondency, both options sounding much like Hell to me. This marks the cleric out to be a naïve fool. The pagan will tell you that there is only one life, and heaven or hell are to be made and found within it. This marks the pagan out to be an intellectual fool, the worst kind of fool there is. But there is another life that both men have missed, one which I dearly hope never to have experience of again, and that you are spared from also, Abby. This is the life where the spirit has departed from the shell but has left the machinery of consciousness in its wake. The brain conjugates thought, the lips move to speak and the body goes through the motions of living, but the reason and purpose for all these things has left.

Add to this the sweet ‘courant profond’ of pain and you might begin to understand the life I led for the eternity that was my first days in captivity.

Captivity of course is a subjective and much abused principle. To a large extent we are all captives and I need not explain in what way I mean. We all can identify the walls that contain us. We all can feel the weight of time between our moment of contemplation and the end of our sentence. We know how feels approaching doom and we know, or think we know, how also feels eventual liberation. In short, we know what it is like to be trapped. Whether the cause of our captivity is just or unjust, intended or accidental, the prisoner is a prisoner nonetheless and in this small way we are all equal. If you can see that small truth and understand it, then no cage of man’s devising can trap you any more than you already are. And of course as truth is liberation, then by this simple ironic truth has our captor freed us. What makes captivity a different experience for each of us is our relationship with the concept, not our understanding of it. With my spirit absent it could not therefore be crushed by false hope or oppressed by any malefactor. So I found that I merely had two components of life to nurse in my captivity, my mind and my shattered body. My relationship with my surroundings was therefore not based on being a prisoner, but solely based on finding that I now had time, but little else. This would have caused my freedom loving spirit to despair, so in its absence I found not despair but an odd serenity. The moment I realised all this, and believe me it was all in a moment, I also knew then that I was dying.

What prevented this from happening were two odd things, or at least they struck me as odd at the time. This motivated my mind to make sense of them, and my mind, not having the guile or intelligence to do it alone, slowly hauled the other attributes of my person which it required back into activity to achieve this purpose. The first odd thing was that my physical world was no longer behaving in a way to which I was accustomed. Light became dark and darkness light. Sound became silence and the quietest moments shrieked in my ears to the point of pain. But even the pain did not behave as it should. Like a play of colour on the waves of the ocean it shrank and grew, absorbed me and then threw me away, washed over me and through me, so that I was sometimes floating free from it and sometimes submerged in it, but never less than fascinated by it. The other odd thing was that my thoughts became words and were spoken, but not by me or even in my own voice. They became the voice of an old man and the words suddenly more than echoed my thoughts, but embellished them, gave them meaning I had not realised, and a lucidity they had never enjoyed before. I found those words reassuring. They were like companions I could depend on as the rest of my world went mad, and were there as I tossed about on that ocean of pain, guiding me towards a shore to safety, where pain was no more, and night and day could resume their natural place in the order of things.

I took to seeking those words out at the worst moments when I could feel myself slipping into the freezing and murky brine, as a shipwrecked sailor reaches to find a timber with which to stay afloat. And when I found them, to keep them in my company, I entered into a dialogue with them. I asked myself questions and then heard myself answer them in the old man’s voice, and always they were reasonable words. I played games with them, invited them to crescendos of indignation, anger, laughter even, just so I could accompany them as they subsided and then play the game all over again. And just like that shipwrecked sailor my timber carried me eventually to a shore. Then one painful day as I clambered up the shingle into a world with which at least I was part familiar, I saw that old man waiting for me, sitting with hands on knees and a playful smile on his ancient bearded face.

“Welcome back,” he said to me “I hope you are such diverting company still, now that you are sane!”


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