One brisk morning, before dawn, while I was hanging out on one of the refinery towers doing regular maintenance work, I was visited by a small beetle. I was so hungry, I snatched him up in my hand and almost ate him but, before I could, I felt a sharp stabbing pain in my palm. Immediately, I opened my fist to see the beetle standing there with a tiny sword clutched in one of his tiny claws. He shook his sword at me menacingly and roared with such ferocity I could not have imagined, “Unhand me you yankee imperialista!”
I was stunned, seeing the blood dripping from my palm like the stigmata, and struggled to comprehend the strange creature I beheld. Before I could formulate a response, he struck at me again and I only barely blocked his attack with my other hand, which his sword pierced like a nail. I yelped in surprise and flung him back onto the platform.
“What was that for?” I cried like a girl, clutching my bleeding hand with my bleeding hand, “I was going to set you down.”
“So you say,” he replied, “but your people are all liars and thieves, ¿so why should I believe you?”
I could not think of a good answer, so I just sighed and reached into my flame retardant coveralls to tear several strips of cloth from my shirt to serve as bandages. He kept watching me as I bound my wounds, expectantly awaiting my response, still clutching his sword like a projection of the force in his heart. I had not noticed before that he was wearing miniature glasses and was dressed like a jungle guerrilla, with fatigues and a ski-mask to conceal his face. After a moment, he sheathed his sword and retrieved a small pipe and pouch of tobacco from his pockets. Then he looked up at me and asked, “¿Do you have a match I can use?”
“Of course not,” I responded, “you know, you’re not allowed to smoke near all this volatile equipment, it could cause an explosion!”
“I won’t have any imperialistas telling me what to do,” he scoffed, “and besides, explosions are why I am here in the first place.”
“That doesn’t sound very nice,” I said, a bit baffled by the little bugger’s venom.
“Well the world is not a nice place, so you had better get used to it gringo.”
“Would you stop calling me names? I have a name of my own, little brother.”
“Well, it won’t matter for much longer, so I won’t bother asking. When I’m done here, this place will be a pile of ash and dust and you will be nothing more than a fading memory, to be forgotten along with all your yankee comrades—but they will all remember how the mighty Nebuchadnezzar drove his dagger deep into the heart of the neoliberal global trade order and set the world free from their awful tyranny.”
“Nebuchadnezzar? Wasn’t he one of the Chaldean kings?”
“Ah, you are quite astute for a common laborer, but today you are wrong. Nebuchadnezzar is my name, but my friends call me Don Durito, the great knight-errant de la Lacandona. However, you are not my friend, pinche gringo, so you may call me sir. ¿Do you have that match?”
I shrugged and thrust a hand into my pocket and fumbled around until I found one of those strike-anywhere matches that are prohibited on refinery property. When I passed it to him, he didn’t seem to mind that it was as tall as he was and proceeded to strike it and light his pipe with the relatively gargantuan flame.
“What is so wrong with neoliberalism, that you would call it tyranny? I thought free trade was responsible for absolutely everything good in the world, so why would you want to ruin that for all of us?”
“Oh my, how naïve you are little man. ¿Do they teach you nothing in those factory-farm schools, or do they just churn out compliant workers to slave endless hours for minimal wages without question?”
He didn’t wait for my answer before continuing on his tiny tirade.
“Neoliberalism has nothing to do with free trade,” he proclaimed, “but has everything to do with preserving the social order of global industrial capitalism. They like to say that endless competition benefits everybody by stimulating ever more efficient methods of production and so providing ever cheaper goods and services for public consumption. However, they rarely discuss the negative consequences of this competition for the losers, for whom failure often means the loss of everything they had worked so hard to attain. They speak of business cycles and periods of consolidation like they are benign phenomena with only positive implications, but usually fail to mention the human lives ruined by economic upheavals of such magnitude—fail to mention the cyclic dismissal of factory workers when the machines go idle or the executives who commit suicide when their embezzlement schemes are uncovered, or their companies go bankrupt and ruin the livelihoods of their employees.”
“You had better hush up,” I warned him, “someone might hear you and think you are some sort of communist. You know they don’t take kindly to communists around here.”
“¿And you call yourselves free?”
“Well, I uh… I suppose you have a point.”
“You’re damned right I have a point, so if you would stop interrupting me I might get to it.”
I gestured for him to proceed.
“So, as I was saying,” he continued, taking a long puff of his pipe, “they have been going around the world proselytizing new converts to this free-market ideology, convincing everyone to buy into the hope of their golden future and opening up new markets for them to exploit. The result of this spread of industrialism has been the systematic undermining of traditional modes of production, leaving people who were once self-reliant utterly dependent on the machines of global capitalism and vis a vis on the owners of those machines. They call this state of utter dependency ‘freedom’ and act surprised when people rebel against their hypocrisy.”
“Go on,” I entreated.
“Well, normally, being that I am just a beetle, I would not care about the woes of mankind. However, as it happens, this state of affairs has consequences for me also. Not only do I live in constant fear of being trampled by the boots of rebels who are fighting to restore their communities’ freedom of self-determination to live autonomous of the global industrial system, who have been forced off their lands to make room for new factories, plantations and mines; but now I have to deal with the subsequent ecological devastation and toxic byproducts of those projects. To make matters worse, I also have to hide from the drug cartels who smuggle narcotics through my jungle and into your country, to keep your people too delirious to realize the monstrous brutality of their sensualist self-gratification. All this, they call the march of civilization.”
“I know just what you mean, little brother.” I told him, “I’ve always thought it was pretty disgusting that people willingly give their money to the same cartels that are responsible for the murder of thousands of good and decent people. I even know altar boys who do cocaine and hundreds of others who use ‘legal’ pharmaceutical stimulants to get an edge in the competition of educational bureaucracy. Many of them were given scholarships to help pay for their learning and drug habits, but I was always too proud to stoop to that level, so I wound up being treated like a worthless goon and as a result could only get this lousy job.”
Durito appeared surprised when I said this, exhaling a lungful of pipe smoke followed by a hacking cough that wasn’t at all healthy. He managed to say in between spasmodic gasps for air, “There may be hope for you yet, yan–kee.”
I shook my head solemnly, “As long as you are going to call me names, you ought to know, I am not a yankee, not a gringo, and certainly not an imperialista. I’m actually a Jew, from the tribe of Judah.”
“I find that highly doubtful.”
“Well, my friend, the truth remains true whether or not you choose to believe it.”
He seemed to understand my meaning, for it took him some time to think of what to say next. As he stood there pondering, puffing on his pipe, I noticed behind him the sun peaking over the horizon. His curiosity finally got the best of him, so he asked in his characteristically direct way, “Well, if you are Jewish, then tell me, ¿what do you think of the Israeli state’s persistent violations of Mosaic Law, every time they launch attacks against their neighbors or kill innocent protestors like Rachel Corrie?”
“I never said I was Jewish, but to answer your question, I think the whole situation there is pretty sad. To me, it seems like hell on earth, a state of perpetual conflict, of constant antagonism, in no way reminiscent of the Olam Haba, or world to come, as I have it pictured in my mind. It is worse, what is happening in Palestine. I can only imagine the terror of being forced to live like animals trapped in a cage of concrete and barbed wire. It reminds me of a concentration camp, but without the release of a gas-chamber or even the comfort of a semi-regular diet for some. Is it living death, or un-life? I cannot be sure, although it reminds me of home.”
“¿Reminds you of home? ¿How so?”
“In a couple ways, actually,” I explained, “In the first place, it reminds me of my present circumstances. You don’t know this about me, sir, but I’ve been hungry for a long time and I know exactly what it feels like, living in a cage, trapped by the brutal responsibleness of my countrymen. Everywhere I look, it seems like I see other people who feel the same way, but we lack the clarity of a physical wall to point at or hurl rocks and rockets at, so our anguish and frustration are manifest in other ways. A lot of people suffer a deep longing for escape, but they don’t know where to go so they turn to drugs and violence instead. Just two days ago, someone close to me died wrapped up in this frustration, feeling like a caged animal longing for freedom. It is a sickness that is consuming my society, I see it everywhere I look and cannot escape it.”
“It also reminds me of my ancestral homes,” I rambled on, “and the long journey of my family from the Kingdom of Judah to here. I remember our history so vividly, as though I were there myself, during the reign of my ancestor Zedekiah, when Jerusalem lay under siege by the forces of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, ironic as that is, considering that you share his name my little friend.”
“Yes, yes, ironic indeed,” Nebuchadnezzar nodded, exhaling another tiny cloud of pipe smoke followed by another raucous round of coughing.
“Those were horrible times, when the Chaldean army surrounded Jerusalem and built up earthen walls to keep my people from escaping, to keep us caged like animals. I remember the cries of the children at night, as the days turned to weeks, turned to months, turned to years, and the food stores dwindled and famine was raging. I remember the pain of their hunger and the fear in their eyes and their fervent prayers to God, prayers for freedom, for food and for comfort. And I remember the cowardice of Zedekiah, when he tried to escape the mess he had made, when he fled under cover of night and abandoned his people to suffer whatever torments lay in store for them. I remember because I was there, in the ovum of his daughter Tea Tephi, waiting to be born.”
“Now you just sound like you are making things up. There is no Tea Tephi in the Bible, she could not have existed.”
“Little brother, neither you nor I are in the Bible, yet we still seem to exist.”
“True, but I thought the Bible was the sole repository of human history from that time, ¿so why would they neglect to mention such an important detail?”
“Well, for a start, the Bible only contains the history of a small, geographically isolated community which was in a state of disarray at that time, during the Babylonian captivity, so there are a lot of details overlooked by the scribes. They were focused on recording the major events of their time and place, so could hardly have taken notice of Tea Tephi when she fled west with Eochaidh, a descendent of Judah’s son, Zerah of the scarlet string. Have you not read Thomas Paine’s book The Age of Reason? He points out a great number of factual errors in the Bible texts, so it is no surprise to me that we would discover yet another.”
“¿Wasn’t Thomas Paine a heretic? I thought heretics were incapable of the sophisticated intellection required to interpret the sacred texts. ¿Why should I trust his flawed human reason or yours, for that matter?”
I thought this was an amusing question, coming from the mouth of a beetle, so I sat and thought for a while before I finally answered, “Well, you don’t really have to trust me, I think the evidence speaks for itself. Take, for example, the fact that Tea Tephi is remembered as a Princess of the Harp, King David’s instrument. She and her companions carried his tradition, poetic Psalmody, with them to the Iberian Peninsula and ultimately to Ireland, where she and Eochaidh established the Irish monarchy. Some say this very word, Hiberia, is a linguistic relative of the word Hebrew. Even the town Zaragoza is rumored to derive its name from Zerah of the scarlet thread; it lies on the banks of the river Ebro, another linguistic relative. Moreover, the author, Conor McDari, has identified a number of corollaries between the Irish and Hebrew languages. For instance, Jew, Jude, the slang Yid, etcetera, all relate to the Irish Iudh, meaning light. Hebrew similarly relates to Heber, Irish for the sun… but then again, Mr. McDari was a pretty wacky guy and I disagree with most of his conclusions; and I’ve also neglected to mention that Zaragoza was at one time called Ceasaraugusta, which may totally undermine my point.”
“That is not very convincing.”
“It does not matter anyway, whether you believe that the Irish monarchs are descendants of Judah. What matters is that they believed it and that the British royal family may also believe it, given that their ancestor, King James IV of Scotland, James I of England was a descendant of Kenneth MacAlpin, whose father was the last of the kings of Dál Riata, who were all heirs to the Irish throne.”
“And that matters why?”
“It matters because this is a significant element of British nationalism, termed British-Israelism, and it also matters because I myself am heir to the same glorious history, a lineal descendent of Judah and David. But, I remember the truth of our history. I remember when King James the Sixth betrayed his Jewish family, his own flesh and blood, forced us off our lands, made us outlaws, had us whipped and beaten in the streets, sold our sisters and wives into slavery, forced us into hiding to protect our necks from murderers and thieves who could trade our heads for official pardon of their heinous crimes. And I remember when Queen Victoria committed the same fratricidal atrocity against the Harpers or Filidh of Ireland, in her vain attempt to break the spirit of Irish nationalism, by outlawing the Davidic tradition. And I remember when God, in His infinite mercy, redeemed the suffering of my ancestors and gave me absolute authority to reveal these facts of history, when He reached His hands down from Heaven and placed a starry crown atop my head…”
“Woah, woah, woah, wait a minute. You sound insane. Every bug knows that God doesn’t have hands, He has claws, and besides, I thought you said you were not a yankee, but now you’re saying that you are related to the Queen of England. ¿How am I to believe anything you say if you cannot keep your facts straight?”
“Well, that is just the point I was making, it is an arbitrary delineation. For you to call me a yankee, you’d have to believe that I am English, which, by the way, I am not. But, what is an English person, if not the descendent of someone who came from somewhere else? If you draw the lines back far enough, we all came from Africa originally, so really, I am African. Do you get it? National identities are meaningless conceptions, trivial sentiments. Clearly, it is no great thing, to be of the tribe of Judah, if it means that my cousins are the murderous fiends I’ve described. These are just fairy tales we tell ourselves to feel good, illusions of the mind and nothing else.”
“I suppose you do have a point,” Nebuchadnezzar relented, “and I can see why you would have such sympathy for the people of Palestine, since your people were also caged like animals and forced off their lands, made to suffer the vilest torments imaginable just to satisfy the selfish desires of other people.”
“You are correct, sir. It is the same reason why I also have a natural sympathy for the indigenous peoples of the Americas, who have all suffered a similar fate. Consider the plight of the northern tribes, who were herded onto reservations; or the Amazonians in the south who are, even as we speak, being scattered to the winds, all in the name of civilization. Is it such a great advance, to be denied the right to hunt and gather the fruit of the lands where your ancestors lived and died in relative peace and instead forced into abject poverty alongside the billions of others who endure the harsh conditions of overpopulated urban ghettos? They do not become civilized, they become violent barbarians, pirates and fodder for gangs and cartels and radical movements. It is no mystery why poverty and crime are statistically correlated, it is simply desperation. People are desperate to get what they need and many of them are taken advantage of by people who want more than they need. I never truly understood this fact until a University stripped me of all my opportunities and made me one of the desperate people.”
“So then, you understand why I have come here,” said the little beetle, “to put an end to this neoliberal nightmare and set the world free.”
“No, not really.”
“But, ¿don’t you get it? The machines of their conquest depend on the oil that is refined here, so if I destroy all this equipment, it will cripple the global economy and force the high-born captains of industry to realize the profound mistake they have made by undermining the traditional patterns of collective cooperation that have allowed humans to live in near harmony with the earth’s natural cycles for so many millennia!”
“But, you’ve said it yourself: the people now depend on those same machines, so if they are destroyed many innocent families will suffer.”
“I can hardly be concerned about that. Their suffering is an acceptable loss, if it means an end to global financial tyranny.”
“Now you sound like they do, chanting the mantra of endless competition—whatever it takes to get what you want, no matter who gets hurt in the process. Don’t you understand what I have said? Every murder is fratricide, even if a beetle is the killer or the victim, because we are all one family in the great chain of life.”
Nebuchadnezzar winced at this last statement, realizing the veiled threat, realizing that I would have killed him to protect you and your family, would have squashed him like a bug. But, don’t misunderstand me, I don’t enjoy killing insects. I’m just willing to do what is necessary for the greater good.
“How dare you threaten me thusly, you insolent knave!” he screamed at the top of his bug-lungs, drawing his sword again, “I am the great knight-errant of the Lacandona, beloved of the City of Palaces, for whom Apollo shreds the night’s sky with his golden knives. I will not tolerate such disrespect from a neoliberal sympathizer. Prepare to die!”
At once, I grabbed the blade of his sword with my bandaged hand and lifted him up off the platform. As he dangled there, flailing his arms and legs trying to get free, I spoke again.
“Now listen to me, you little worm, I wouldn’t be here, maintaining all this volatile equipment, if I was not already prepared to die. My sympathy is not for the neoliberal ideologues, but for the families who depend on these machines. I won’t let you hurt them.”
With that, I shook the sword, rattled his sabre, until he lost his grip and fell back onto the platform next to a pile of rusty bolts and discarded wire. As he stood up and collected himself, picking up his pipe from where it lay, I noticed that the sun had now come into full view. After a few puffs on his pipe and several failed attempts to snatch his sword back from my hand, he finally gave up and asked me another question.
“¿But how can you stand to be ruled over by these adherents of the chaotic theory of economic chaos, the stupid exultants of social stupidity, and the catastrophic political managers of catastrophe, servants of neoliberalism’s dark goddess, Stupid Improvisation? ¿Why do you not rebel?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about, nobody rules over me. That is just a relic of the narrative of tyrants. My submission to the rules of society is purely voluntary, dependent on my conscious and willful acquiescence to the wishes of my fellow citizens, as it has always been for all people, in all places. This is the truth John Locke identified in his theory of the social contract, from which he derived the principle that governments ‘rule’ by popular consent, a consent that may be revoked at any time, by any number of people… It is the same truth preserved in an ancient Chinese text, described as ‘old’ by the philosopher Hsün Tzu in the third century before our common era, which says, ‘The ruler is the boat and the common people are the water. It is the water that bears the boat up, and the water that capsizes it.’ As you say it, ¡mandar obediciendo!”
“So much for Western ethnocentrism,” Durito chuckled, “but you have not yet answered my question! ¿Why do you voluntarily submit to the authority of plebeians who only act like they know what they are doing?”
“If you really must know, the answer is self-preservation. See, despite the fact my obedience is voluntary and that my society pays lip service to intellectual freedom, the moment I step out of line with common opinion, I will be viewed as a reality deviant and my society will lash out against me and try to force me to renounce my eccentric position. Carl Jung alludes to this unfortunate truth when he describes his hesitance to connect his ideas to those of Sigmund Freud—his fear that his ideas would be discredited because of the anti-Freudian sentiments current in the academic community of his time. It is the same cruel truth that led to Socrates’ death by hemlock, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the dismemberment of Hussein bin Mansur al-Hallaj, the burning of Giordano Bruno, the persecutions of Pico della Mirandola and Martin Luther, etcetera, etcetera. I think Peter Weiss says it best, in his great play, ‘Woe to the man who is different, who tries to break down all the barriers. Woe to the man who tries to stretch the imagination of Man. He shall be mocked. He shall be scourged…’”
“¿Is that mere fact not reason enough to renounce the society altogether and leave them to be ravaged by the wrath of bugs like me, who will not submit? ¿Why would you prevent me from delivering the punishment Mankind deserves? ¿Why have you stripped me of my sword?”
“Are you familiar with the ideas of Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the American Black Panther Party? He distinguishes between two kinds of suicides; he calls them Reactionary Suicides and Revolutionary Suicides. On the one hand, the Reactionary is so overwhelmed by the oppressor-oppressed dichotomy that his outburst leads him to trade places with his oppressor, to become the oppressor of himself, leading to suicide. Unfortunately, although this may satisfy the Reactionary’s longing for escape, it only perpetuates the cycle of violence. On the other hand, the true Revolutionary is one who recognizes this cycle of violence for what it is and, in the words of Douglas Hofstadter, ‘exits the system.’ He realizes that the answer to his dilemma cannot be found by merely repeating the age-old pattern of antagonisms that color human history, but that by his efforts he can lay the foundation for a better future that he may not live to see…”
“Answer my questions you twit.”
“Well, the problem here between us is that your reaction, your violent assault against the machinery of industrial civilization, will not make life better for my people and will only make it more difficult for us to harmonize our relationship with nature. It is a Catch-22 of amazing proportions, but you must understand that a catastrophic disruption of our productive capacity would only lead to a more barbaric state of affairs, making it nigh unto impossible for us to develop a sustainable civilization. It is the same problem of thinking that we can wait to squeeze out the last drops of fossil fuel before we begin building the next generation of energy infrastructure—by that point the costs will be astronomical and people will be much more desperate than they already are to attain their basic necessities. In short, the brightest future human-kind can hope for depends on a harmonious transition from our parasitic non-renewable resource based economy to one that is more self-sustaining, and for now that depends on our access to fossil fuels and so it depends on this refinery.”
“That doesn’t seem likely to happen,” he pointed out, “The parasitic industrialists are fighting tooth-and-nail to protect their vested interests from unwanted competition. ¿How can a common laborer like you hope to overcome the power that only money can buy?”
“I really wish you would stop insulting me, sir. I am not a ‘common laborer’ as you keep saying. I am a noble man, with a noble heritage and a noble destiny. The blood of kings flows through my veins and the dignity of men is in no way defined by our pay-grades, so it is quite absurd for you to belittle me in such a way. I am a self-sovereign entity, as I have indicated, as all men and women have the inherent potential to become and, until you recognize this fact, we will never move forward. You too could be as a king, my little knight-errant, if only you would take hold of your destiny and stop allowing other people to define who you are.”
“Sup…” he paused to think, “Supposing that what you say is not pure rubbish, ¿how can you translate such idealistic sentiments into effective action, into real power?”
“I wonder, do you understand that there are many types of power?”
“Don’t be daft, boy, I’ve been studying the paradoxes of power since before you were crawling around in muddy diapers, tormenting your parents and teachers. ¿Won’t you tell me something I don’t already know?”
“Hey dude, simmer down, it was just a simple question. Anyway, your choice of words was quite apt since, to answer your question, I planned to bring up Joseph Nye Jr.’s book, The Paradox of American Power, where he draws a fine distinction between two general categories of power—hard and soft. His argument there is that the world’s sole remaining super-power cannot rely on hard, military power to solve the global problems of the 21st century, but instead must make use of the soft, persuasive kind of power. I think his arguments are even more compelling, in the wake of the economic implosion in 2008, after our formerly dominant position has eroded by a waning confidence in the United States’ weak inability to lead the world in any coherent way. The most accurate description of our political culture today is ‘maddeningly schizophrenic’ and many are wise enough not to follow a herd of idiot lemmings as they march over the edge of a cliff.”
“I would not be too assured of that view. Money convinces a lot of people to make stupid decisions.”
“You are correct, sir—money is the root of all evil. Nevertheless, I can use their philosophies of power against them. I can blend elements of both hard and soft power to build a comprehensive strategy that will combine both material and spiritual, tools and media to carry my message to the mass and affect real change.”
“So you say, but without a war-chest full of gold, assets and allies to match ¿how will you ever hope to overcome the might of your oppressors? Tell me, ¿what assets do you possess, to give you such optimism?”
“The primal fire burning in my heart is the only gold that I need in my war-chest!” I howled like an ape, thumping my solar-plexus with both bloody fists—twice for the double entendres… understandings.
“Touché,” he nodded.
“Still, I concede that assets and allies will be crucial to my victory. It is why I am talking to you still, little brother, why I haven’t tried to eat you again… I am still so hungry, but I realized early in our conversation that you might actually be able to assist me in this respect.”
“Well you see, I’ve been working for a long time to build a device—a weapon I can use in my struggle against the forces of darkness—to part the seas of ignorance that isolate me from the distant shore I long for, this tiny time-bomb I hold, no larger than a hibiscus seed.” I held it out in the light of the rising sun, between my thumb and forefinger, where he could examine it closely—which he did with great enthusiasm.
After several hmm hmms and scratchings of his head, analyzing my asset from every possible angle and displaying a perplexed bewilderment, he finally gave up and asked me, “¿What the hell is it? ¿What does it do?”
“I call it my iron rod. It is the hardpower that I will use to smite the nations of men and force them to submit to my will. Unfortunately, my fingers are such clumsy, monstrous nubs of flesh and bone that I lack the fine motor skills required to put the final touches on its fragile mechanisms… however, it stands to reason that you, with your tiny little claws and brilliant, sophisticated mind, might possess the perfect combination of talents and abilities to be able to help me in this endeavor.”
“I see… You truly are insane. ¿Why would I ever choose to help you, after you have stolen my sword and vowed to prevent me from completing my mission here?”
“Yes, I had the same thought. But, you know, I imagined a mutually beneficial partnership between us, a co-operative, multi-lateral response to my challenge. I’d hoped that, if you would help me to finish building my device, I would help you to accomplish the true objective of your mission, which I know is not to destroy these machines, but to create a democratic space to allow for a more civilized debate of the issues we share.”
“Hmm… indeed, my squire has often voiced such lofty aspirations, but I always tell him his head is in the clouds—that men are beasts at heart and will never change their ways unless they are compelled by force.”
“But, there are many different types of force, as we have said.”
“Then tell me human, in the extremely unlikely event that I do choose to help you, ¿what will you do with this power?”
“I will to give humanity a reason to dream again… to teach them that their cruelty is offensive to God. I will to re-awaken the hope and optimism we once had, when we were still as children playing in the sandbox of life… before the harsh years calloused our minds and made us to hate and fear one another. This is what Jesus said, we must become as children again, happy and free—only then can we build the kingdom of heaven here upon the earth. I want to build a heavenly kingdom, or a heavenly republic, or something, anything, and I will not sleep until it is done.”
“¿So you would conquer the world?”
“Uh… not in so many words, no,” I admitted.
“¿Then what do you plan to do? You really must convince me or I will never buy into your schemes.”
“Well, I plan to start right where Kofi Anon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, told me I should start, when he spoke to me. I will remind my people of the simplicity of pre-industrial agricultural life, of sowing our seeds and reaping our rewards in harmony with nature’s cycles, when periods of hurried activity, planting and harvesting, were balanced by periods of leisure time… even the so-called savage, pre-agricultural society was much happier in this respect, requiring as little as fifteen hours per week, or two hours and nine minutes per day, to do all the work required to sustain themselves. Nowadays, people barely scrape by working forty to ninety or more hours every week, without even accounting for the extra time required to manage their homes and raise their children. What is worse, we have traded a healthy nature-based diet of organic fruits, nuts, vegetables and wild game, for quick and easy pre-packaged, machine-made food-stuff that is unnaturally high in sodium and cholesterol and so only compounds the cardio-vascular diseases associated with our harried, workaholic way of life… honestly, how far have we advanced?”
“You don’t want me to answer that question.”
“Yes I do… Yes. I. Do! That is why I will use the power of my device to make every meal a sacrament, to say that God in is every loaf of Bread and every Fish—because when God spoke, the Word was Food or, in His holy language, Aum, the sound we make with every mouthful, and it echoes through all time...”
“You are nuts child, I’m not listening to you.”
“He is Nuts too! Every nut, every Bean, every leaf of Lettuce and Kale and Spinach you eat! He is Life, do you not understand?”
“I eat humus, human, and I never tasted any God in there.”
“That is because you do not taste the true Humus, but only machine manufactured byproduct.”
“I think you are the one who does not understand… you are the machine whose byproduct I eat.”
“All I am saying is, He is in you too and in everything you see, in every monster you fear and in me.”
“You are so full of it.”
“Listen to me. These words derive from Wisdom—the other word of God. Have you heard it?”
“That is not what I was talking about…”
“But it is what I am talking about, little brother, so listen up! I plan to use the power of my device to re-establish Wisdom to its rightful place in politics, as the most pragmatic policy guide available to my species, because they have forgotten.”
“They haven’t forgotten shit. They choose not to listen, just the same as you are not listening to me.”
“I don’t need to listen to your idle poop jokes when I am trying to talk about something serious, sir.”
“I wasn’t joking.” Durito said sternly, exhaling a thick cloud of pipe smoke that blended easily with the billowing smog emitted from equipment in the unit upwind of where I was working.
“Neither am I!” I coughed, choking on the chemical vapors, “Do you not have eyes to see this poison in the air? It is serious stuff… a serious problem that must be solved.”
“¿And I’m sure you are just the great leader God has ordained to solve this problem for human-kind?”
“Oh, get real Nebuchadnezzar… You know that is not how wisdom works. Wisdom cultivates the strengths of the community, teaches people how to work together in harmony and suppresses their selfish tendencies. Wisdom recognizes individual limitations, chooses the right person for the right job and prioritizes tasks on the basis of their real importance to the collective wellbeing. I realize that I am too retarded to solve the problems of pollution, resource depletion, mass starvation and social upheaval by myself, although I realize they are real issues, having their basis in physical reality, unlike illusory issues, such as problems in financial markets, which exist only in human imaginations. Do you see the distinction here, or do I need to draw you a map?”