Scribes, Bards, and Sages
Premiered 9/9/9 (9 September 2009)
The continuation of The Myth and Legend of D'PTah, an original novel by Dan Sewell Ward.
Scribes, Bards, and Sages
There's no longer any more doubt. The full blown PROC wants a visit, an official one! So much for “May the Truth in All of its Glory Continue to be Pursued”. Clearly, the only real intent for the visit will be to restrict, limit, mislead... and for what purpose? Are they really so worried about our having our day in the sun, especially when we get there by glorifying the truth? Isn't that what it's all about?
But maybe – Duenki was now learning... it was not deceit, but perhaps survival skills... and always laced with a touch of sarcasm. Duenki could write about information control and pretend to apply it to the ancients – and let others read between the minds and know what was afoot now. That might even make it past the IAGO censors. That would be its own form of delicious retribution. Accordingly...
Control of Information
An obvious step in consolidating the establishment of any new ruling regime is to control the information channels, no matter how antiquated or unsophisticated these channels might have been. On the one hand, individuals and tribes can most easily be controlled if they are unaware they are being controlled. The second best option is that those being controlled are not aware of any viable alternatives. A third method is to ensure that even with a restive population, that the people do not have access to the means of a changing agent or agents. This last technique is realized in part by drawing upon the loyalty of the Warriors, and then thereafter ensuring that any other possible scenario is never allowed to be communicated to any potential revolutionaries.
A radical exception can be countenanced if the population can be sufficiently diverted not by the stick but by the carrot. A sense of great and rapidly changing improvements in the daily lives of tribal members can potentially accomplish wonders in terms of sweeping away such oppositions as:
The enormous difficulty of the carrot approach, of course, is in the near impossibility of quickly manifesting great and positive changes that directly benefit the populace in measurable amounts, and furthermore, continue to show such promise or give hope over the long term. Humans may eagerly rush to embrace radically new regimes with great promise, but these same humans are also capable of being enormously fickle and may quickly desert their new leaders at the first appearance of difficulty or disappointment. Truly great changes in society are incredibly difficult to achieve in the short term, and those with unrealistically great expectations – which is most of the population -- are likely to be easily dissuaded from staying the course of maintaining positive expectations. As has been noted, a regime can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time. The key, however, is how long the con lasts, i.e., how long one can get away with it.
One means of reducing the possibility of any loss of faith among the faithful -- as a result in failures to deliver on promises – is , of course, to prevent the faithful from knowing that such failures even exist. To maintain standing among the loyal supporters, in short, may only require the faithful not be allowed access to the information that would suggest their faith is sorely misplaced. As long as leaders can deny on a consistent basis any possible shortcomings – and when they are not required by others, such as Scribes, Bards, and Sages to admit to their mistakes – then they can rule with impunity. Invariably, if allowed to do so, they can and will in fact get away with anything.
Clearly the means and control of information dissemination is an enormous power, in some respects as effective as a force of arms. While it is true that the Regency moved early on to placate and find common grounds of interest with the various militaries, these attempts might have been considered as primarily a fall back position. First and foremost the Regency was obligated to control the existing communication channels. In the long term, such control of information dissemination could prove to be ultimately important.
In terms of the rule of D'PTah in this suggested scenario, the critical ingredient was the means by which the Regency might attempt to control the flow of information. In the Legend it is described as:
The apparent wisdom of D'PTah in this portion of the Legend is readily apparent. The key might be the idea of “new songs, greater visions, and the universal truths”. There is simply nothing like an attractive new possibility, laced with a hopeful vision to capture the imaginations and enthusiasm of most peoples. This slight portion of the Legend is, of course, rather tantalizing in terms of just how the “new songs” and “greater visions” were promulgated – including the possibility of the use of Warriors to add dramatic relief to the relating.
We are indeed fortunate in that numerous bronze sheets have been found which provide a comprehensive description of the “new songs and greater visions” given to the peoples by D'PTah, even if some of these are fragmentary [and which are being translated and analyzed as this report is being finalized for dissemination]. The method of delivery of his teachings is also intriguing in terms of its simplicity and possible effectiveness.
The information itself is presented in the form of a dialogue between the Regency and several other individuals. The Regent's words are assumed in large part because of the use of the personal pronoun and simple references to his actions as Liaison and the like. As for the others involved in the conversation, there appear to be at least three different voices.
Scholars have suggested that the other individuals within the dialog are in fact the legendary Scribes, Bards, and Sages of the Legend of D'PTah. This could account for the different tenor of these three voices, and the conversations may include at least one of each. While three distinct voices are described with different indecipherable words in the bronze sheets, we have with considerable care assigned the indicators of “Sc” (for the assumed Scribe), “B” (for the assumed Bard), and “Sa” (for the assumed Sage).
Furthermore, there is the assumption that the ostensible conversation may have been presented in the form of a play for the general populace. Such presentations could have been carried to even the most outlying tribes by the Bards and others, and with each performance the people would have learned of the world-shaking events in great detail Some modern authorities have also suggested that such plays may have included in their entourage more than a few Warriors as a means of ensuring the attention of the various audiences to these essentially documentary style, staged performances.
Some skeptics of this suggestion have argued that the alleged plays lack dramatic appeal. It is simply dialogue without plot or the other ingredients of fantasy entertainment. This assumes of course that the ancients' view of entertainment is equivalent to ours. Furthermore, the sheer importance of a newly installed ruler, his thinking, and how the new order of affairs might effect each and every tribe or village on the planet would undoubtedly contribute to the rapt attention of any playgoer.
There is also reference, in the form of apparent handwritten notations added as an editorial addition, to what was apparently, music to accompany the proceedings -- thus making the likelihood of staged dramas more likely. The music in this particular case was entitled, Hey, Hey, We're the Monkeys , but nothing on the nature or rendition of the music has yet been discovered... nor the possible implication of including such music in the notes and fragmentary records of the event.
However, the means of dissemination of the below dialogue is clearly less important than the contents. The first extended fragment begins with:
...not the point. Your selection had as much to do with the level of trust your [?] place in you, as with anything else. It's obviously not geographically or ethnically sensitive, but one of establishing as soon as possible the meaning of the astounding events we've all encountered, and what they imply for the future. We fully understand there are a lot of very concerned people out there. So let's proceed.
Sa: It's been observed by numerous authorities that you have already taken...
We're going to interrupt. Henceforth, your referring to nebulous claims by unknown individuals is not a technique we will tolerate. You can speak of your thoughts and ideas, what you believe or suspect, but we do not intend to spend time replying to possibly fictitious individuals or groups or those who haven't the courage to state their own case publicly. If you cannot assume responsibility for your own questions, then you will not be allowed to prostitute yourselves for others.
Sa: My apologies. Allow me to start again. Your first actions have, in my mind, been primarily about gaining the trust and loyalty of the world's Warriors. That might be construed by some... Let me rephrase that. I interpret your apparently frequent meetings with members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other military leaders to mean that you will use military power to enforce your... orders or decrees. Is that something we can expect?
Much of our actions since assuming the position of Liaison – that collection of events we are now referring to as “The Return” -- have been taken in order to maintain as civilized a stance in the world as possible. Security and a degree of normalcy are clearly essential at this time. Not only would it be ill advised to have a massive breakdown in discipline among well trained and well armed military and law enforcement forces who might then run amuck, but the contrary maintenance of discipline can serve to act as an example for others who might want to...
Thus ends the first fragment. Several points concerning it might be made. The first is that the Regent has immediately turned the tables and placed the interviewer on the defensive – always an effective technique. Furthermore, the Regent is clearly not going to be totally open, a condition seemingly essential to anyone attempting to be an effective leader. Leadership is not a dialogue.
Finally, the Regent makes no bones about using the Warriors to enforce his decisions. One can only wonder at the apparent idiocy of the question. Was there some sort of expectation on anyone's part that everyone would willingly and cheerfully go along with all manner of changes, even when said changes sometimes conflicted with the individual's own preferences and goals?
The next fragment apparently continues the dialogues with:
...choice. Is this Regency an attempt on your part to attain a leaderless society?
We strongly feel that any civilization which requires a leader is not worthy of the name. The only excuse for government is as a means to eliminate the need for government. Sovereignty of groups or individuals is something which must be earned; neither inherited nor bestowed in an elitist manner.
Sa: If you expect to act as Regent, instead of King, does this in any way limit your authority?
Actually, no. We have been invested with absolute authority over every human being on the planet. The fact we are choosing the title of Regent instead of King is to make it clear to everyone that our [?] is one of a fiduciary, as opposed to an inherited or assumed right.
B: That sounds very nice, but I suspect many will... I personally would question whether or not any single human should be allowed such unilateral power without any suggestion of checks and balances. It has been said, for example... and I personally believe this may be true... that “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
That old adage is a good example of an ignorant, illogical statement. It implies, for example, that any omnipotent creator of the universe, a creator who is thought by many to have absolute power over all things, must of necessity be absolutely corrupt. What would be the point in being corrupt if you possessed absolute power? We doubt that you or for that matter any of your followers would be willing to argue to the contrary. We would, on the other hand, agree with you that while power may indeed tend to corrupt, there is a threshold of power, after which the closer one is to absolute power the less such corruption is likely.
Reality suggests that giving someone a degree of power often results in the newly acquired power going to their head – even if not always. Furthermore, once a degree of power is enjoyed, there is often a corruption caused by the desire to maintain or increase the feeling of power. But there is also a point, a threshold, where the quest of power begins to lose its appeal. This is not entirely a matter of the degree of power, but the experiences encountered in the pursuit of it.
There are kings and aristocratic lords who accept and maintain an appropriate power without the seeming necessity of maintaining or gaining ever more power. Simultaneously there are those with considerable power who feel impelled to always increase their power and are willing to go to all manner of corruption to achieve just such an end.
It's often a matter of inheritance, or more precisely the means of acquiring power. Individuals long accustomed to the exercise of power through generations – the inherited aristocracy, for example -- are often far less corruptible than others, while the new rich, the rising stars and freshman entries into the aristocracy are seemingly insatiable for additional power. It's as if coming up through the school of hard knocks tends to result in missing out on the proper education of the relationship between privilege and responsibility. Rank has its privileges, but it also has its responsibilities. The latter is often forgotten by those coming upon higher rank through great effort. It's as if they believe that their efforts to achieve rank thereafter give them special dispensation in the use of such rank.
With respect to the Regency, we have not endured the struggle to assert ourselves – it has been handed to us on a [-?-]. Accordingly, we are not as disposed toward corruption as one might think. We would in fact prefer to avoid it. At the same time, we are likely to be forced to make some hard decisions in the coming years. These cannot be avoided. Such decisions may indeed be interpreted as a form of corruption.
Sc: As Regent, will you act as the sole authority on any and all subjects?
No. The very nature of what we would hope to accomplish is the early establishment of a republic. In some respects, I hesitate to use the word, republic, if only because it has been sorely misused in the past. But it is nevertheless our goal. Accordingly it is important to understand the definition we will be using – which is the only one that counts here in terms of interpreting our words. Succinctly, a republic is a form of government in which the sovereignty of individuals must supersede all other forms of authority, and where every one under the auspices of the republic have certain inalienable rights which cannot be infringed by a majority or minority rule.
Obviously, the challenge will be to determine which individuals will attain sovereignty and in the process become those in whom the responsibility for the maintenance of the republic is entrusted. In this regard, I envision four distinctions of individuals within a republic which has as its basic charter, the legitimization of each and every human attaining their freely chosen destiny, their independent pursuit of happiness, and the maximum extent of their freedom and choice of goals and dreams. These levels include Sovereigns, Citizens, Dependents, and Independents.
A Dependent, as the title implies, is defined as anyone who is dependent upon any other for their welfare and sustenance, and who are unable for whatever reason to trade or exchange their own efforts for the fruits of the labors of others. Children come to mind, of course, but those falling on hard times, or reaching a state wherein they are no longer able – or choose not to be able – to maintain themselves without external assistance are also considered Dependents. The fact someone reaches the level of Citizen or Sovereign does not imply that they will not return to the Dependent level by choice or by their inability to maintain their higher status.
Citizens are those who can function independently of others and furthermore choose not to rely on so-called “entitlements”. They will benefit from having greater autonomy, but do not, as the name might suggest, have the right to control or influence the destiny of others, except for selected Dependents for whose care they may be given specific authority of a limited nature.
Sovereigns are those Citizens who have demonstrated a commitment to serving society in one or more of several possible ways, and following the completion of their public service are entitled to influence the direction of society and its individuals members. They are the voting citizens who have acted as public servants, and following their service are willing to continue to act in a fiduciary manner for those over whom they have influence. Sovereigns are former public servants who can be thought of as those with a modified form of “diplomatic immunity.” This group would include former Warriors who have served the Regency and/or society in an honorable manner.
The final distinct entities are the Independents. These are those individuals who are simply not part of the republic, essentially the outsiders. They receive no benefits from the republic, and in turn owe it no allegiance other than to not attempt to impose their views on any other human, including their own children or other dependents which they may have adopted. For the lack of a better word, the Independents are drop outs who at the same time are required to be very careful in order to avoid treading on the toes of others, in particular any and all members of the Republic. They are also, in a nutshell, those ornery cusses that proliferate in a free society.
Sc: Prior to the establishment of this “Republic”, I assume you will be acting as sole authority on all matters?
Yes. As we phrased it earlier, until enough Sovereigns have made the grade and society has come of age. Obviously, it will be our sole decision when that time arrives.
Sc: Which might not appeal to a lot of... It's something I don't find comforting.
As previously mentioned, there are some hard decisions that have to be made. It's a decision we've already made, even if we will revisit it often.
B: How long do you suspect it will take for society to come of age?
Good question. How long would you think?
B: Probably years.
We suspect a time frame more on the order of decades.
Sc: Which would provide a certain degree of job security for yourself.
Absolutely. But it also provides for a longer term stability for everyone else, and which in turn may be fundamentally essential in order for the world to re-educate itself.
Keep in mind, that we're not talking about [-?-] in terms of political or economic rights. This is not like we wake up one day and society has suddenly come of age. It won't be quite that dramatic. Instead, as individuals step forward and demonstrate their willingness to assume a greater responsibility, more and more power and authority will be tendered to these individuals and their groupings in developing governments. The entire process is a learning one for everyone.
Sc: How will such governments be selected. Through democratic processes? Also, are our peoples to have democracy imposed upon them?
We do not have the positive feelings concerning the joys of democracy that many do. I also appreciate very much the oxymoron of imposing democracy. The reality is that by far the best form of rule, the one most beneficial to everyone, is a beneficent dictatorship. The fact that few dictatorships have been beneficent throughout history does not dispute this claim. However, the problem with even the most beneficent dictatorship is that at some point in time, a new dictator must be chosen – that problem of succession we've already discussed.
No, despite the flaws of democracy -- and there are many -- ultimately a republic must have an informed group of participants in the government, in this case the Sovereigns who have both served the public and then assumed the responsibility of maintaining the republic with a long term view. At some point, these Sovereigns will almost certainly establish some form of democracy – although to be strictly accurate, it will be a modified timocracy: a government of elites where every person in society as an equal opportunity to become a member of the elite through government service... and most emphatically... not by inheritance. It is not something anyone should or will ever inherit.
Sc: Which is likely to result in a lot of people being disenfranchised.
Or never being enfranchised to begin with. The reality is that a pure democracy in which everyone, including every child, is allowed to vote has to be considered pure idiocy. The vast majority of the present voting citizenry of the world are barely qualified to rule their own lives, much less the lives of others. All too many voters have also failed utterly to recognize or contest the blatant corruption in the voting methods now practiced, or in the determination of who precisely is eligible to vote. Many haven't even [?] to the fact it's never a matter of who can vote, but who counts the votes.
There is also the tyranny of majority rule, wherein every member of every minority has the opinions of what might constitute a majority imposed upon them. Imposed without justification or for adequate reason, I might add. Laws which are not vitality needed for the continuation of society should never be made. I suspect 80% of laws and [?] are an excessive imposition of various extreme philosophies upon everyone else – even when these extremists constitute a minority, albeit possibly a very vocal one.
Sc: Interesting sentiments, but my concern and the concerns of my people are about the imposition of your views on everyone else. For example, you mentioned The Return earlier as if this was an established fact – in direct contradiction of what most of the world has been taught since time immemorial.
What has been taught and what is truth have never had more than a casual relationship. Teachings since time immemorial have been primarily as a means of controlling the masses, used by the few to manage the many. As to the claim by those who have installed us as their liaison that their arrival is a return from a time when they were instrumental in the genetic restructuring of our most distant ancestors and the creation of mankind in its modern form... the evidence of this from ancient traditions is really quite ample for any open-minded skeptic. The so-called truths which you note have been taught since time immemorial are in fact flawed interpretations of what has gone before. Such traditions and writings may just as easily be interpreted to confirm that what we have just witnessed is indeed a Return.
At the same time, it's almost irrelevant. It might provide the Returnees with a legitimacy of sorts for their assumption of control of all people on the planet, but their [?] superiority pretty well makes the question moot. The much more relevant question is: Will the human race be better off with their influence and history, or with what we've already endured in the interim between their visits? Considering the history of our planet, we have to believe that things can only improve in a very substantial manner.
Sc: But this... this revised interpretation... carries with it an affront to all established religions. You're asking people to forsake their life long beliefs, to discard their most cherished traditions...
Are you referring to such "cherished traditions" as honor killings? Inquisitions? Holocausts?
Sc: Traditions such as the honoring of ancestors, of obedience to a supreme being...
The latter is one which our fore bearers have identified as one of the Returnees! We're sorry, but the degree to which the current religions of the world find themselves perplexed and aghast at the implications of what no one can seriously question as having happened before our very eyes... we suspect that problem is one of their own making. Faith, wholly unsupported by truth or even the appearance of truth, is very much akin to the sand upon which we have been told by these same religions to never build our important structures. Or as they say... to never dwell on a fault.
Sc: Religion is and will always be...
A topic which is better left alone for the moment. It is my intention to spend a significant amount of time in the near future with as many of the leaders of all the religions of the earth as possible. For the moment, that will have to suffice.
Sc: I don't think you should expect religions to go quietly into the night.
I don't. It might take a generation. Literally. In the interim...?
Sa: What about the power of the [aristocracy]? Do you have plans in this arena? Aren't you likely to encounter a great deal of opposition here as well?
Of course. Anyone with power who is threatened with the loss thereof is in most cases going to oppose any changes.
B: There have been some [elite] who seem to welcome the new state of the world.
And they may even be telling the truth... as opposed to...
At this point, this fascinating narrative abruptly ends. There is, however, sufficient concepts and ideas being put forth by the Regent in just this small section to give scholars a wealth of fodder for future discussions. In fact, no other comparable fragmentary evidence – save one, which will be discussed later – has thus been found and which might prompt further corroborating evidence.
Several other fragments – which for various reasons may be out of place with respect to the above chronology (but which was apparently describing conversations during the same performance/interview as the above) – are included here.
...use of torture being condoned?
In general the right of anyone to avoid cruel and unusual punishments will be enforced by the Regency. The exceptions are for governmental officials who knowingly and willingly used all manner of cruel and unusual punishments on others, who avoided due process as a matter of course, and who routinely denied the most basic civil rights to individuals, who by law were required to be presumed to be innocent.
As for the specifics you touched upon in your question, the Regency reserves the right to use varied punishments for varied criminals. If for example, someone in authority and with the ability to impose such views advocated and argued for the use of torture, that person will be subject to torture in turn. Those who had the power to object and instead acquiesced to the use of torture will also receive their just due, although perhaps to a slightly less...
...shotgun blast in the right side of the face and body – just as if it had been the kind of hunting accidents of which we are all aware. We trust the irony is apparent, although the shooter, in this particular case, was not drunk. Despite this lack of inebriation, the shooter might still be liable – except that he was acting under our orders to execute our instructions to the let...
...what we refer to as the “G'Kar Treatment” . Such a treatment has its own irony, in that those who have attempted to enforce their orthodoxy on others by the use of law, are provided with a refuge, complete with security to prevent any interactions with others, where the only relief from boredom will lie in their access to the holy book or books which they so revere, and which they had used in attempting to force their own, extreme interpretations of said books on others.
Sc: But are they not isolated totally from outside influences, not provided access to news, letters from friends and family?
Yes, although in the case of the highest ranking individuals, any one else can view their plight, even as the detainees cannot see or be aware of this occurring.
Sc: Did they receive due process?
As much as they allowed others. Which for those who ignored all due process, then they were not afforded any more than what they gave others. This may sound a bit like an eye for...
...betrayal has often been one of the greatest of crimes. The quick, inexplicable concession in the midst of clear evidence of fraudulent activity, again... can only be considered betrayal... and accordingly the Senator received...
...make government service considerably less desirable?
The key factor is that it is not the belief in any philosophy, dogma, or orthodoxy that is criminal, but the attempt to impose such philosophies, dogmas, or orthodoxies on others. The primary crime is the misuse of governmental authority. As long as anyone...
...in essence, it's genital mutilation. It's entirely one thing for a person to knowingly and willingly submit to such a procedure in order to honor his or her religious beliefs. But to inflict such beliefs on infants who have no say whatsoever in the matter and no defense against such monstrous actions is morally and ethically wrong from any reasonable measure. Why would a creator insist that his perfect creation needs a severe modification of one being imposed by others attempting to proclaim their allegiance to their god?
Sc: But the practice is such a fundamental part of the Judaeo-Christian tradition.
Why is that? Because of a Biblical scripture? Do these people also claim the rights in Leviticus to sell their daughters into slavery, to put to death adulterers? Have they read the story of Jacob, who used the circumcision bit to massacre a whole kingdom, a kingdom where they had been treated as guests and allowed to practice their religion without interference?
Do other major religions such as Islam or Buddhism require such practices?
.... and for abortion, that's a topic better left to the Grand Ecumenical Council.
...such a fundamental right as to reproduce?
The world by any stretch of the imagination is overpopulated in terms of humans. Arguments which claim economic necessity to maintain a growing population are the height of hypocrisy. If you are a member of the elite and are looking for cheap, expendable slaves – even slaves in reserve that the masters do not have to support -- then yes, you would argue in the most forceful manner for such human population growth. Anything in over supply will be devalued accordingly. Alternatively, uniqueness implies value. The fewer and more unique will thus...
While these latter documents are fragmentary and less detailed, they suggest some far reaching decisions and actions which had the potential for being enormously important. There is, for example, the distinct possibility of a degree of vindictiveness in the Regency being hinted at in these discussions.
This is all very Machiavellian. The leader comes across as human with human failings, strong in his determination, someone with a sense of justice, a champion of the underdog, but also very understated, someone who can readily depart -- when circumstances warrant it -- from a strong philosophical position of never fighting fire with fire. In this struggle for the actual control of Earth, one might assume that such departures from moral absolutes are justified. In other words, all things are negotiable, can be changed given the circumstances and the minimal cost of departing the dogma, and finally such things become justified because of the resulting benefits to the greater good. These basic truths have in fact not changed over the millennia. Moral absolutes must be flexible.
This greater good will of course be tested in extremity when religions rear their Medusa style, Hydra headed apparition and join in the fray. Not only were several barbs tossed into this arena in the above discourse, but the matter of overpopulation of the human species had been broached. For many of the ancient religions (and some modern ones), overpopulation of humans was (and is) an oxymoron. What is not realized is that more and more records of those ancient days talked about billions of humans upon the planet at the same time. Many scholars have ridiculed these assertions as ludicrous, pointing with some justification of the virtual impossibility of the Earth being able to even remotely provide for such numbers of humans without untold calamities occurring in the environment. The fact remains that there really were apparently massive numbers of humans, and that indeed the planet had been unable to adequately support them – leading to predictable and immense human suffering.
The crux of the problem of course was that most of the various and sundry religions were adamantly opposed to any form of thinking which would suggest the need to curb an expanding human population. At the same time, religions were so important to so many of the ancients, and clearly the greatest thorn in the side of humanity. It was time to remove the thorn by any means possible, even if there was no assurance that the enraged Tiger relieved of so such gnawing pain would be, as in the fairy tale, grateful, or whether the animal now relieved of its painful burden would descend upon its benefactor with intent to maim, kill, and devour. The fragments above merely hint at the coming battles to decide the destiny of man, and to determine the choice taken by the Tiger.
May the Truth in All of its Glory Continue to be Pursued
M. A. Duenki
 Referring to a character in the television series, Babylon Five, who upon being sentenced to jail and allowed the use of his most holy texts, actually reads and studies them. In the process the character encounters an epiphany, loses much of his blind hatred for alleged enemies, writes his own detailed treatise (which eventually becomes a near-holy book itself), and ultimately becomes a very changed person for the better. The TV series was written by J. Michael Straczynski, having premiered in 1993.
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