He was fascinated by hubris, the stories we tell ourselves, the stories we tell ourselves are part of objective reality. He wanted to understand why we believe things and how we can influence the lies others. Naturally he was drawn to the sciences of psychology and neurology, the source for all our beliefs. If you can map the neural circuitry and grasp every little spark that is on its way to direct your thoughts, feelings and movements, then you will truly understand the human animal. You will understand why we fall in love. Why we believe in the improbable and divine. All the reasons of why men turn to evil. Look closely and you will see; there is no free will. We don’t choose who we are or who we become. Call it predestination or programming, call it slavery to our biological software, it doesn’t matter. We are who we are, even when we change.
But merely understanding wasn’t enough. In his studies he also began to develop a strong moral sense. He saw what the world was becoming, the evils that were intend to take away his freedom. He saw people, even of the fairly intellectual sort, become drawn to these evil men and their wicked ideologies. He did whatever it took to convince the minds of the stubborn and confused, debating them night and day. Any logical observer could see that he knew what he was talking about. That when it came to morality, he had the right angle. But no matter how many people heard his superior arguments, they still voted for the despots. They stood by as the world around them became a police state and the rights of the disenfranchised, dissident or whatever scapegoat was taken away. Sometimes these voters started to have regret. They did not see this coming. ”But I told you this would happen!” He would scream at them. ”I told you!”
He was a still young man back then, not yet mature to call himself a man. Disillusionment set in and in time he stopped caring. He was tired of the game. Truth was obvious but people don’t want the obvious, they want whatever truth feels good to them. Bitterness seemed inevitable. He started to become a bore to the people he loved. On and on he went on about the same subjects: why couldn’t people wake up? Why did the leaders of the free world stand idly by? Can’t see what was going on? Can’t they see that the despots will make a move on them? Despise the propagandists, the Utopian-technocrats who infect the collective unconsciousness of many with imaginary heroes and villains. Beware the myths, he says. The greatest villains of history could not have existed without the help of a great myth.
Eventually, like many other disillusioned dissidents, he needed to confirm to reclaim his sanity. He started working again. Closed himself off from any dissident activity. Then suddenly he was offered a job; a job at a media-firm who were aware of his great expansive knowledge concerning the human mind and how one could persuade it to believe anything. An excellent tool for propaganda. At first he declined, but then it hit him; what else are you going to do? Do you want to stay at your current post? Or do you want to actually live and set aside the horrors of the world. So he took the job. And everything changed.
There was happiness in this world. It was in the expense of others but so what. Some get lucky and others will work in sweatshops making designer jeans for the lucky ones. It was hard letting go of his beliefs, selling himself off like that, but you know what, it was the best he could ever do. He fell in love. Fell in love again. Married a few more times. Then he finally settled. In all this time his carefully crafted propaganda made this empire even more powerful. It convinced those who were sick of politics too and those who were still dumb enough to fight the system would be silenced in time. Life was good.
In the beginning he wanted to expose the propagandists. In time, he began to respect the liars more than those who seek the truth. ”They just don’t get it,” he would say, ”looking at the thousand protesters from his huge penthouse apartment, ”they could make something of themselves instead of being beaten on the streets by the police.”
All these great minds serving time in these claustrophobic cells. They could be doing really important work. Contributing to the progress we all want for the human species. Instead they are fighting the unstoppable. Don’t they see that no matter how hard you try, it will always be this way? Even if you manage to topple one, another one would come back. In the meanwhile, all your colleagues and family members will die needlessly. Have a heart and let us do what we need to do.
One night he couldn’t sleep. He was anxious. Sweating. There was something he needed to do. It felt like someone wanted to burst out from his chest. He needed to exorcise something. There was a demon that needed to be unleashed. He grabbed a pen and a piece of paper and wrote something down. It would be the last thing he wrote until he suddenly collapsed and died. This is what he wrote down:
whenever we escape one myth, we seek solace in another. Whenever we destroy a myth, we make another. We just can’t help ourselves. Even when we find enlightenment, we are still dreaming.