I-Land is where memories and experiences turn into short stories, personal journal entries and narration in first person, part memoir, part fiction, exploring topics such as the relation between humans and the societies they live in.

Wonderers — An Xavier Letter Pt. 2 (Chain Gang)

giant-paper-chain-garland[Previously on Wonderers: They remember the highlights but forget everything that comes with them — the essence, the lava of the content — they lose sight of all that, focusing on the hard and cold outer shells, the celebrated, crusted appearances. Always the appearances.]

Society is a theater play, Victor, an elaborate story we stage and direct so that our choices will make sense to us, justifying whatever contradicts our real purpose. Falter, and we blame it on the narrative. It’s what everyone does, how life is, look around you, everyone does it, so why not me, you, playing along and trying to belong and be part of the show? A good neighbor and friend, one of the crowd, one more dependable bolt in the scaffolding of society, on which the stage is set — that’s what we try to be, making everyone feel content, playing into their often sub-par, off-kilter, unfulfilling choices. Their apparently correct but ultimately short pickings.

A chain gang, Victor. Life is and always has been a chain gang, everyone making sure we remain linked through an overkill of bonds designed to keep us tied up.

Heaven forbid if one of us does something different.

It upsets the status quo.

There’s a utility behind this setup, a method to the collective madness, especially in times of crisis and trouble. The bonds are designed to keep everything in place, intact, but it’s a dangerous game, all self-assurance and misdirection, and very little leeway for individual agency — true individual agency, which, a very rare commodity, is persecuted when observed. We live inside a collective that passes for a society of individuals, providing the worst of both worlds. The need to keep everyone together while pretending to celebrate individuality, this secret obsession for covalency and social engineering, cultural buttressing, it becomes presumptuous, overwhelming. It prevents differentiation, cracks down on whoever tries to escape the song and dance routine while pretending to exalt the uniqueness in each person. The carefully-followed and tired script that has so exhausted me and people like me — how dare we discard it and walk off the stage? Who do we think we are, passing off as renegades, dissing the way everyone celebrates birthdays and Christmas and other holidays? How dare we look down on the customs and traditions observed by those around us?

Who the hell do we think we are saying there’s no substance in the way society does things?

Upset by what we stand for, they come after us, eager to put us in our place. With pitchforks and torches, pills and I-told-you-so’s, they come to treat and cure us of our afflictions.

Watch this space for Part 3