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Monday, September 01, 2008

A Dangerous Place

The place where I am presently contracting is dangerous. It is not evil in any way nor have I met any people there that seem evil. But in its own way it is a prison. A self inflicted one. It's as if I sentenced myself to serve time in the place. Dave put it succinctly the other day. You were talking of taking some time off. This seems quite the opposite.

This is a place where you could lose yourself in the sameness of each day. No room for any risk taking. No room for innovation. In fact the mesmerizing lure of the place is that things don't really change at all. It resists change. The people there seem to be waiting, but for what?

For things not to change.

In the interim they focus on the process of their respective jobs. No questioning unless it is the question of the inmate in the prison. Even the act of eating lunch is a privileged rather an expectation. It is alright to eat if it doesn't interfere with the bureaucracy.

They share an unquestioning loyalty (the loyalty of a tethered animal) to their commander who, feeling unappreciated, tries to replicate himself multiple times in the form of them. They may not be the best, he says proudly, but they are better than they were before I showed up. If it is not exact at least he can wall in the pathos of their work life so that it fits his personal pathos. He believes it justifies his existence. It justifies his hundreds of thousands of shares of stock while he delights in dispensing a meagerly small number of options to those who come after him.

What was it that TE Lawrence said about the fact that many members of his bodyguard were cutthroats?

Yes, but they cut throats at my command.

They have grown very use to their prison. They even smile from time to time in their misjudgment of where they reside.

One man asked me how he could get more stock. He had alluded to this question a half dozen times in my short 4 weeks of residency. I finally closed the door and said to him, Go somewhere else. It's not going to happen here. I had seen into his master's mind. It is the mind of a miser not a man who makes dreams comes true. he can't even make his own dreams a reality.

Of course he had reasons to stay. I know those reasons. We all create them to feel comfortable. I just can't feel that comfort anymore. It has been pressed out of me.

Were I king, he would quickly be banished. But I am not a king. I am a freelancer passing through on my way home from the quest. I am stopping to drink water from a dark well. There is very little light down there. Not enough to fool me and I trust my instinct that I have already tarried too long. Like Theseus, I will have to abandon Ariadne on Naxos and seek the rest of my destiny. There is no morality in it. If I stay I will torn be apart.

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