What is the world?
I use the word in the temporal sense. The world is busy, blind, distracted by its own discord. The world is the purposeful creation of drama. It’s the need for speed. It is circular reasoning. It never arrives at the truth, though it reaches many conclusions.
The world is noise and light. It’s the heat of activity without surcease, without purpose. Even those who sense its opaqueness are most often blinded by their own delusions. That becomes their world. And so it was with me.
Every once in a while, someone walks into our lives who sees through the world. They really want no part of it. And that represents a threat to its veracity, to its existence. So the world fights back. It doesn’t fight back of itself, for in and of itself, the world is nothing but a false idea, a zero value. Yet it fights through those who believe in it. It fights through those who have an investment in it, through those whose investment in it has paid off. They’re the only ones who’ve got something to lose if the illusion is pierced.
The someone in my world who came to challenge the delusion that the world means anything was Yale Forestall. He didn’t come with a mission or with a sense of vengeance. Yale wasn’t like that. He just did his own thing. That was the threat. That’s why, eventually, they came for him.
Who came for Yale? Who did the world use, and who used the world, to try to stamp out his fire?
There was Judge Puett, who presided over the case where the State sought guardianship over Yale. Yale’s crime? Trying to rescue a child crying in the middle of a Wal-Mart parking lot at 10:00 at night. Puett was legal authority. In a culture in decline, the system becomes increasingly obsessed with rules of all kinds, on many levels. We become legalistic, putting our faith in the idea that lawlessness and immorality (as those in control define those terms, of course) can be controlled through more rules. Laws will bring things back into balance, back into a harmony that never really was. We seek control. The result is less control than ever before. So, more laws, until we all become lawbreakers of one kind or another.
There was Don Cash, the politically-connected lawyer who pressed the State’s guardianship case. The system which sought to have Yale, who always sought to be maximally free, locked up in a nursing home was in reality powered by its own interests. It claimed to help others, but really all it sought to do was grease its own moving parts. That’s what the rules are really for. The people the system seeks to help become superfluous, irrelevant in a way. The world seeks to convince us – or rather, through the world, we seek to convince ourselves – that if we throw enough money at a problem we can solve it. Instead of rolling up our sleeves and solving a problem ourselves, we pay someone else to do it, or at least to hide the problem from our own eyes, sweep it where the sun don’t shine.
But really, Don Cash was just a mouthpiece for Dr. Clifford Showater, whose ego and precious reputation and even more precious pocketbook were all wrapped up in convincing the State, the judge and the jury that Yale was in need of a guardian; when really Yale’s crime was that he was eccentric, a little different than the rest of us because he cherished his freedom above all else. So Showalter, the State psychiatrist, rained all his diagnoses and labels down upon Yale in a hail of judgment. Why does that threaten us, when someone does their own thing? Oh, we say it doesn’t, but really, when it runs up against what we believe, against what we’re told to believe, then we’ll shut it down.
These beliefs make up the world. Don’t you dare undermine them. The consequences for believing anything different may be subtly imposed, subtler than just setting up camps and tossing people in them if they don’t agree. But in the end, they are a crude crucifixion.
© 2022 by Michael C. Just
Mike’s novel, The Dirt: The Journey of a Mystic Cowboy, is available in softcover or eBook formats through Amazon.
You can purchase the book through this website. Or go straight to amazon at https://www.amazon.com/s?k=the+dirt+journey+of+a+mystic+cowboy&crid=1S40Q4BXSUWJ6&sprefix=the+dirt%3A+journey+of+a+m%2Caps%2C180&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_23
Mike’s other titles, including The Crippy, The Mind Altar, and Canyon Calls, are available through this website or through Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002
Four of his short stories have recently been published online:
Lies, Ltd. has been published by The Mystery Tribune @ Lies, Ltd.: Literary Short Fiction by Michael C. Just (mysterytribune.com)
The Obligate Carnivore has been published by the Scarlet Leaf Review @ Category: MICHAEL JUST – SCARLET LEAF REVIEW