When I was a child, authority figures would often ask me whether I would jump off a bridge just because somebody else did: teachers, parents, et cetera. I would of course reply in the negative, then make about feeling stupid for awhile and wondering whether or not I had answered truthfully.
Looking back, I still wonder. What if everyone you ever met was jumping off the bridge, a never-built bridge to that magical place where the grass is always greener? What if the only way to continue the construction of this bridge was to dredge the very foundations upon which the bridge stood? Would I help? Would I wheelbarrow cement to the edge of time simply because the parents and teachers I loved were the ones digging the holes at the bottom?
It is no secret I have helped build some part of the bridge before. I have even passed people like Lance on the way to the top with my cement-filled barrow. People who sat hiding in the gutter, smeared with shit and mud and hacking at the chains around their ankles with the same hammers they’d been issued to work with. Usually I would look away. I would receive a shudder of embarrassed paranoia as what I saw attempted to consult with what I inherently knew.
If I happened to be in a group with others, we’d all have laughed.
There were words for people like Lance and I knew them. Words like criminal, fanatic, terrorist, and it was my responsibility to tell someone else about them. If I didn’t I could even be judged an accessory, for I must be harbouring some kind of sympathy for their madness.They might find out that I was mad myself, that I sometimes heard voices in my head, and these voices told me what it meant to be normal. A nightmare racing silently in the shadow of mind. Not until that night had I even known it was there, had been there for a time. How could I have known? It had been gathering momentum with each small compromise I made, cutting the keys to my brain.
It knew everything about me. It had developed its own protocols between my thought and my action. It was in my blood.
It. They. Everyone.
Of course I can see it now. Why tell someone they are mad when you could instead suggest to them how not to be. Install your own parameters into the deserted shell of will like some sort of radio-controlled robot. What exactly is madness anyway? The loss of mental distinction? No awareness of opposition? The lack of choice? Of judgement? Karma? Is it merely foolishness?
Take away a choice and what do you have?
Can we choose for it not to be broken?
Can we choose for it not to be deceived?
Our reality springs forth from such decisions.