6,000 Years On The Wheel

(We can call this one an experiment. I hardly know what to think of it myself.)

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The life that has been gifted to us is old… more than 6,000 years old. It began before recorded time, on the plains of Mesopotamia. There it was that the race of men was regimented; it was there that they learned to be ruled.

For this gift we happily accepted compliance, drudgery and selflessness. We learned to take our places in large and complex hierarchies, knowing that our slots protected us from the evils that lay without.

And so we taught our children to give authority the benefit of every doubt, to do as everyone else does, and that outside was naught but shame and destruction. Regimentation, we carefully taught them, was the path to paradise.

We learned to shut our minds when we thought the shameful and forbidden thought, that our way was wrong in some fundamental way. We recognized that thought as treason itself, and we turned away from it.

Our way, we knew, was the only way, and there could be no other.

Our way is a small group of men directing the rest to the things they must do, and punishing those who do it not. Their work is therefore righteous, and only the deranged and impious could conceive otherwise.

It is the way, and there can be no other.

Our small and sanctified group collects the sacrifices of the large group, and leads us into the best of all possible worlds. Even when we suffer, we know that nothing better is possible.

It is the way, and there can be no other.

Our way is spacious. It allows us to labor, and has gifted us with ORDER, the greatest of all gifts. More than that, it has given us entire classes of overseers for our benefit, which have remained constant over six millennia.

It is the way, and there can be no other.

And so we live in hierarchical structures, each level of which confers upon its occupants a certain level of status… status they will fight for all their days. We can never rise as high as a ruler, but we can rise higher than our neighbor. And so we run on the Order’s power wheels, always striving to outpace our neighbor.

It is the way, and there can be no other.

We are proud to obey people who are no better than ourselves: it means that we value the Order above ourselves, and that makes us good people. This is our work, always running for the benefit of the Order, yet forever staying within it.

A wheel within the Order is where we run, ever-faster, to the glory of the Order.

Should we imagine that we were built for creativity and expression, we close our thoughts and run all the harder; we will not commit treason against our way.

The wheel is where we belong, and there is no other.

We question nothing within and we doubt everything without. This makes us true and approved creatures of the Order… unblameable supporters of the Order.

The wheel is where we belong, and there is no other.

Eventually we grow old and tired; we slow down and soon enough die. But we are comforted, knowing that we spent our lives… spent our all… continuing the Order.

Because there can be no other.

We ran forty or fifty or even sixty years on the wheel, passing our competitors, and so no one can criticize us. We ran well, forever sacrificing our own will and remaining faithful to the Order.

The wheel was the place we belonged, and there could be no other.


Paul Rosenberg