The Puppet Kingdom

Once there was a man who could hear the truth.  And he heard the people in his village.  He heard everything they had to say.  And he noticed that they were talking to themselves even when they were speaking with others.  He also saw the truth.  And he saw how differently each one of them viewed everything.  And how distorted and strange their visions were compared to each other.  There were seas of nuance between them even on what they thought they agreed on.  And he heard how they talked to themselves in order to convince themselves of the words they were using and the idea that those words exactly expressed what in fact they could not.  

He also saw that everyone felt as if the world was moving about them and not that they were moving through the world.  There was this deep feeling that the world overwhelms them with more demands than they could ever have wished for.  There was an even deeper sense in these villagers that they did not ask for this life nor surely did they ask for its death.  And so it was no wonder with such irreconcilable matters that they ended up speaking in monologues even when they called it a conversation.

Worse than knowing such things is not being able to say them.  So he kept quiet and pretended as if he were having conversations with others while listening to their monologues.  And he tried to stay in his hut as much as he could in order to minimize that feeling of being overwhelmed by the world’s demands.  Whenever someone asked for his advice, he would tell them the answer they wanted to hear. Otherwise it would take too much conflict to make that person see the truth because when such a person is told the simple truth, the messenger always becomes the enemy.

After a bad night’s sleep, though, he caught himself talking to himself in front of someone.  And that person did not seem to notice nor care.  None of the villagers seemed to notice or care for that matter.  And this angered him because he was slipping into doing it as well.  So he vowed not to fall into this malaise and he figured out a way to make others who were already talking to themselves say things he wanted them to say to themselves by the power of suggestion.  And it was remarkably easy.  All it took was the right word or sentence implanted in the perfect moment and they’d run off with it as if it were their own.

And so he convinced them to convince themselves that he should be their lord and that he should be given whatever he needed to live the life of their lord.  Of course, there were villagers who didn’t like it and felt that he was using them but it didn’t matter because they did not know how to have a real conversation for they only spoke in monologues that nobody really listened to.  Besides, everyday he would suggest how powerless they felt about the overwhelming fact of what it means to be alive and they would convince themselves of it to the point of paralysis.  

He took one of his puppets for a wife.  And they had little puppet children who enjoyed things he never got to enjoy as a poor kid.  And the villagers sacrificed much to provide them with the best of possible lives.  He made them sacrifice even more because he still felt as alone as he was when he tried to isolate himself in his hut but now he had power over others and even though it didn’t cure his loneliness it was better than nothing.  

That is until the villagers suffered too much under his rule.  He went too far without knowing it because he had stopped hearing their monologues and expected them to sacrifice as he requested.  He himself had gotten lost in his own monologue without realizing it.  And through that suffering imposed by him, the villagers bonded against their common enemy and finally learned to have a real conversation with each other.  And after much discourse they went to their lord and realized that when he spoke he no longer spoke to them but was speaking to himself.  And they saw that he did not hold them in his heart and when he called them puppets they knew they had to put him out of his misery.  

The villagers got back control over their village and once everything returned to normal and they benefitted mutually from their labor, they forget about how they needed each other and drifted back into talking to themselves.