Illusions are easy to live in, especially for an optimist. And the world desperately conspires to give them breath with the idea we can all get along. Why not? We’re all the same… on the inside.
Well, that’s an illusion too, isn’t it?
Society is hell bent on creating separation. It gives people another illusion – that of power. Countries and social circles hunger for it, and will use any means, be it hate or love, to control a little speck of the universe. They force people to defend their rights, defend their very character, even in the face of those who love them.
Twelve years ago, the country found a new enemy, but they didn’t stop at the faceless “terror” living thousands of miles away. Much like the Japanese American interment camps during WWII, our own citizens became the demons we fought. Suspicion, targeting, blackballing; all it becoming the norm, forcing otherwise innocent people to prove they were actually innocent. Guised as protection, the powers that be used this fire to enact several laws and create agencies to further tight their hold on the country, thus expanding their power.
McCarthyism in the early to mid 1950’s is yet another example. Many writers, directors, and actors as well as everyday citizens lost entire careers, entire families ripped apart because of finger pointing and rumor. It pitted neighbor squarely against neighbor in a quest to prove personal innocence. Again, suspicion and fear became the norm and tool by which “order” and conformity was maintained.
But we’re more evolved now, right?
If society wasn’t hell bent on creating separation, I might say yes. But power and control are mighty tempting things. The lust for them lives in the eyes of society, and it will find the one perceived threat to its sovereignty, then ban together and point fingers to divert attention from its end goal.
The concept of separation and the lust for power is a heavy theme in my novel, Ring Binder – The Binding of Twelve, because I believe books should be entertaining but also incorporate themes that break illusion.
Allison grew up in a small town plagued by rumors about her family. The peculiar behavior of her grandmother Shanley created the perfect target for a town that thrived on drama and separation. Of course, Allison didn’t help the situation by choosing not to follow social norms for the sake of getting along. She isolated herself from ridicule and sideways glances, adding to the tension. But the grab for social rankings and the separatist attitude of the majority of town’s residence seemed petty and childish at best.
When Allison ventured into the world of her people this dynamic was magnified. The ruling council of the Mutaní lusted for power and control, maintaining both by encouraging suspicion and unease. Again, the rules of their society served one purpose – separation. By preying on people’s fear of the Iska, soul feeding demons who hunted them, the council effectively manipulated the will and minds of the many to accomplish their end goal, which created a cycle of death killing entire generations.
This phenomenon isn’t limited to governments. It trickles down to infect social circles and even families. When we buy into the illusion of us versus them, when we gossip and spread rumors to defame another simply to maintain power and control over the people in our universe, then we become the monsters of separation. And while I still believe everyone, despite the individual and internal battles we fight, can find a way to get along, it’s difficult to tolerate energy in my universe that thrives on making people choose sides or creates division for the sake of maintaining power.
So what’s the alternative? I’m not sure.
How can we put an end to the illusion that we need to separate into camps? Hell, if I know.
My best option at the moment is respect people from a distance until we find common ground; until everyone realizes we have this one life, this one planet we share, and none of us will ever have power or control over it. At least, not for too long.
I leave you with the opening quote in Ring Binder from Samuel Lonary, shifter and Binder trainer.
“Longevity has given me the ability to look past the common struggles of life. I’ve seen power rise with the dawn only to be reclaimed by darkness. In the reach for control, the one constant is the moon. Pulling the tide with each orbit, the moon reaches into the hearts of men to touch them with power and insanity. For centuries, the Mutaní drew upon its light for ascension. We sought connection to the objects on a spiritual plane, but in this quest, the power corrupts. As our focus turned from the preservation of life to the sole saviors of humanity, the Mutaní forgot the lessons of history. All power is borrowed, even ours. Eventually, it too will set as the moon rises.”