The myth of the masses


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There was an empire and an emperor, and neither could see faces; they only saw the people, and they treated the people as if they were their children, and they taught the people to serve the emperor and the empire, but they never saw the faces, they only saw the mass, and they didn’t see that inside that mass were infinite numbers of faces, and many were hurting, and many suffered.

But one day, a person stood up and said, “I have an idea.” And another called back, “I’ve had that idea, too.” And others said, “Yes, and here’s another idea.” And all of them had faces. That was how it began, you see: That was how people began to stop thinking of themselves as “the masses” and began to see each other.

They realized that there was no single, amorphous mass, only a great number of individuals with the ability to work together in harmony, each of them so powerful that a proverb said, “When an old person dies, a library burns to the ground.” When they understood that the true power resides inside each individual, the false and manufactured power of the empire began to fade, until it came to pass that everyone understood the emperor was simply another individual, no greater or lesser than any other of us.

Darkness descends, and night may last a very long time, but some of us remember and whisper about the light and the promise and the face of hope. That may not be much, but some day it will be enough.

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, and an insistent cat. Author of How to Play a Blue Guitar, A Bridge at Crossroads, Refuse to be Afraid, and A Scream of Consciousness.

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