Chapter 9

A dream of a metaphor made starkly, an allegory discussed in study of ontology, in Darkness not unkind. It leaves behind a warped, barely-real data fragment to mark its passing.

There is a voice that echoes across the Darkness, and it asks this question: what is the purpose of it all?

And there is another voice that calls back and says: listen, I will tell you a purpose. I will tell you of a Final Shape.

Look: there are a hundred gildings for this story. It comes down to one key matter. Beings in suffering crave purpose to carry them through. The tyrant consumed by ennui or the disenfranchised struggling simply to survive—it is the state of mind, the pain which cries out: give me a reason I should suffer so!

Let us speak of power and choices.

A man comes to a crossroads and asks of the sky, "Which road shall I take?" There is no answer from the sky, nor the wind, nor the earth beneath his feet. But another wanderer on the road, coming from behind and hearing the question, says, "I know the way. You should take the dexter road."

If the man agrees, he puts himself in the wanderer's power, ceding his own choices for the implicit promise that this is the correct road, the safe road. And if he disagrees?

Let us say that the wanderer draws a knife.

The man may therefore be made to take the dexter road. But now if the knife goes away, the man will certainly flee. And perhaps even if the knife remains, the man may tire of being threatened and decide the risk is worth fleeing. In this way, the wanderer erodes their own power.

If the wanderer says, "The wind has said that you should take the road of my choosing," will the man accept the choice made for him?

And if the wanderer says, "Behold, I have seen that the meaning of suffering lies along the dexter road," will the man give away his own power for longer?

Is it not easier to accept the guidance of a stranger when the path ahead is unknown?