Hello, please come in and take a seat.
My name is Kedian. You are in a philosophy class.
This is the third class in a series. I'm not sure when it will end. Probably when I run out of things to complain about, but as that supply is nearly infinite, who knows.
If you'd like to ask a question, or have a comment, please whisper me. I will be available for discussion afterwards.
Today we're going to talk about politics. This class is part three in a series, the first two having been on the octave, as well as the path of the Aisling. As you might have guessed, politics is, most unfortunately, something that impacts a lot of our lives, and so I thought it was appropriate for a class.
I will state my position simply, and then work from there: politics is a useless and entirely worthless endeavor engaged in, historically, by vainglorious bureaucrats hoping to fill a void within themselves. In its current form, it merely does damage daily to our lives and society as we engage in a pointless game that has no winners, only losers.
As some of you know, I always like to start off strong, dig a huge hole for myself in the very beginning so that I have a lot of work to do. After all, we need to fill the twenty minutes somehow.
OK. First, I've known many politicians. In fact, as some of you probably know, I was one, a very, very long time ago. I've talked about the zeal and maniacal fervor of the early Aislings and it should not at all surprise you that our politicians, at the time, were the distilled and bottled version of this. Another way of saying that would be to put it baldly: we were fanatics.
At that time, several political issues became so uproarious, and the implementations of various laws and policies became so antithetical to the social order, that the Mundanes stepped in. It should surprise no one that they have continued to do so, time and time again. Each time that they do, it cheapens and denigrates the democratic process, until it has no meaning.
Politics with boundaries, with limits, are not politics; they are a game. And a badly created one at that. Politics is intended to be a mechanism for governing society - for whatever that may mean. We all know that it can become necessary to reinvent society - to reinvigorate it with new ideas, new philosophies, new laws. As I have mentioned in my previous lectures, the wheel we find ourselves in wishes to turn, to complete a circuit - but is stuck, unable to return to the source and renew itself. It is entirely unsurprising, then, that the political process is a mirror of our larger society: feebly attempting to have impact and desperately trying to convince itself that it has importance and relevance.
Here we arrive at my first point: Our politics are circumscribed. There are limits. Our politics SHOULD be able to guide and shape our society but, realistically - our politics are entirely subject to the Mundanes. Some like to call it the King, but really, when we say King, we mean the Mundanes, and if we can be even blunter, when we say Mundanes, we are speaking of the State.
You see: our politics are set aside from mundane politics. And when Aisling interests conflict with Mundane interests - in all cases - in EVERY case this has ever happened - Aisling interests are set aside.
Did you know there used to be a law against selling red potions for a profit?
Did you know, in the old days, you could be imprisoned for heresy, or exiled?
Did you know it was once possible to be permanently imprisoned ((banned)) for heresy?
Some instances of bad laws were overturned by Aisling politicians as part of the normal political process - as you'd expect in a healthy democracy. But some were struck down or changed or voided by the direct acts of Mundane interests, who enforce the interests of the State at all costs.
It is a curious time we find ourselves in. Mundane interests, from a detached, logical examination, seem purely and absolutely limited to the accumulation of coin. Nothing else matters. Aisling complaints, feelings, laws - all are subordinate to this goal. Don't believe me? Try making a law that jeopardizes Mundane interests and see what happens.
Let us look at a concrete example. Sleep hunting has plagued these lands seemingly forever. The Mundanes claim it is not allowed. Aisling law very clearly says, repeatedly, and loudly, that it is not allowed. And yet, this activity has been occurring forever, and will likely occur forever. Why? Simple. There is profit in it for the State.
Observe the creation of the Knights and Rangers. These are not political entities, in the slightest, as they are entirely subject to Mundane oversight. They are a politically exempt enforcement mechanism reserved to the Mundanes themselves.
Because our politics was said to not be able to handle certain types of lawbreaking, especially lawbreaking that happened far from the jurisdiction of Aisling towns.
A reasonable person who was interested in preserving and improving Aisling democracy would have perhaps suggested that a federated body with lawmakers from all towns, empowered with the ability to imprison and detain, would have been a fine solution to this problem.
The solution that was implemented, however, was not to invest more powers in Aislings - or Aisling politics - but to corrupt our own democratic process by making certain, special, influence-holding Aislings agents of the Mundane state and agenda. These Aislings, some of whom no doubt strive for good, and for progress, are still limited by the overall needs and desires of those vested interests. Do you see? It is a prison. When the state's interests are threatened by the activities of those dedicated Rangers and Knights - they are simply ignored. When ignoring them does not work, they can be stripped of power without consequence and without oversight.
This kind of push/pull is the best case, assuming a worthy Aisling with a good heart. You can easily imagine what is possible otherwise.
So. What do we arrive at? A system that cannot entirely police or modify itself, with a different, undemocratic system on top of it that is subject to no Aisling oversight? We have the nerve to call this progress?
I said before that politics was a worthless endeavour. Are you beginning to see why I believe this? Our politics are another toy to entertain us. As I have mentioned before, we are all drowning in boredom. It is the main challenge of our age. Some of us play with this toy in the hopes it is not actually a toy. We wish with all our hearts and souls for a mighty sword we can use to impact our enviroment - to exalt Aisling culture and to improve it - to shake the foundations of Temuair itself.
Sadly it is little more than a baby rattle. Try as we might to get the attention of the Mundanes by shaking it as hard as we can - we are forgotten, because it is in their interests to do so.
At the end of the day, this is why our politics are useless - because they are not authentic. We do not govern, or control, anything. Much of politics now really comes down to paper pushing back and forth, or grand proclamations or new laws that, in the end, do nothing, change nothing, and are in fact, nothing.
Like so much else in our world, it has been crippled by the Mundanes, and we struggle, mightily, to encourage the spark to rekindle and flow into this realm. It cannot, and will not.
The sad part is that this is by design. Aislings were, at the beginning of the Deoch era, the leading force of society and culture. Our spark infused and transformed the world around us. Deoch and Danaan gave us their love and their flame so that we could awaken the world.
Over time this progress, this process, threatened the Mundanes, or was outright incomprehensible to them. And so slowly, the Mundanes enforced more and more limits on the Aisling process. Whether or not you agree with certain laws, we can surely agree that the enforcement of those laws - or their revocation - should have entirely have been left to us to decide as a community.
Our home rule has been stripped slowly over very long periods of time, leaving a shell of the original system.
So, what now? Well, in general, I advise that if you are playing a game, you know it is a game, and it is no longer fun: you are empowered to stop. No one is making you do this.
So I would say to any politician listening, or perhaps reading this lecture later: All things. Let go. Remember the lessons of the Octave. You are not required to engage in this nonsense.
Alternatively, remember that politics and governance, in the most idealistic sense, are meant to improve conditions. Perhaps you might use the feeble and limited tools at your disposal to improve the fabric of the society, or to bring Aislings together, rather than to enhance bureaucracy or show us how great you are at writing legalese. Do you serve a purpose beyond enforcing a decaying order?
If not, carefully and thoughtfully consider whether your political endeavors are worth your time and energy. Remember: supplies of either are not infinite.
To citizens, I would say: consider carefully before casting votes. Does this person improve your life? What is their underlying motivation to be granted political power? When you vote, if you vote thoughtfully and well - change can be possible. More importantly: the act of NOT voting is as loud, sometimes, as the act of casting a vote itself. If you support someone simply because you have always done so, you reinforce the decay. Surely, you have better things to be doing with your time and effort than holding up a moldy, rotting wall.
We must address, also, those who use schemes to stuff ballot boxes - another form of abuse which benefits the state, and so therefore, cannot and will not be prosecuted. I would ask you simply: what master do you serve? Do you seek this power to better others? If not, you stand in opposition to the people. You are an agent of the State, a mere satrap to an oppressive order. Surely, you had higher aspirations for your political and personal lives?
Sadly, I cannot change the behavior of any politician. I gave up on that game a long, long time ago. If I could, though - I would uproot you entirely from the face of our lands.
Instead I will ask you to rise to the call and needs of your society. We do not need needy, attention-seeking bearers of titles. We do not need pale shades of statesmen. We do not need abusive bureaucrats. No more accords, jurisdictional diktats, or useless pages of idiot reports signifying nothing.
What we need are humane, humble, wise men and women willing to put the needs of their society ahead of their own. Do you have it in you to do this? Or shall we all slowly watch as the suffocating wave of business as usual drowns us all?
In conclusion: remember that there is always a great deal of power in the simple act of refusal. Refuse business as usual. Refuse that which dulls and degrades our collective sparks. Refuse the counsel of the so-called learned and wise, who would keep you in your manacles forever.
Your spark is the greatest gift in the entire world, and only you can maintain it.
If you cannot find the energy, ability, or the will to brighten Temuair - certainly, you can find the energy to say no to those who would reinforce its darkness and bring ever closer the greyness of mundanity to our precious world.