Bones

Every country, every city, every family has its systems. Each system is designed to maximize or minimize something, given the limitations at hand. At home, my kitchen system is designed to maximize production and flavour of food while minimizing time spent, given the limits of budget and space. In my previous job, the system was designed to maximize profit for the company while minimizing expenditures, given the limits of the level of compensation and working environment that the workforce will accept. In my home country, the US, the political system is designed to maximize the effect of a given person/ group of people’s power, while minimizing the likelihood of riots.

Humans seem to enjoy creating systems, and are generally quite good at it– one system is rarely enough. In fact, we have created a massive sprawling network of interconnected systems, only parts of which are ever known to any given person. As we grow up, we begin to see more of these networks around us. Some people integrate deeply into them, until they can swim through them with fluid grace. Others, who feel themselves disadvantaged by them, may attempt to snap the delicate threads that bind one system to another, and to weave their own patch into the larger whole. But I would say that most of us probably never fully grasp the complexities of all the systems around us, nor feel up to the task of designing new ones to take the place of the decaying or corrupt ones that we do comprehend. For the most part, we just try to learn the ones most relevant to our situation and get by.

For better or for worse, I belong to the latter camp. Sometimes, I imagine the networks that bind us all together, and I consider the different perspectives that may lead one person to move along a thread in one direction, while another person moves the opposite way. Perhaps with enough study I could help more people move in what I view as the preferred direction. With time, I, too, could learn to dance swiftly across the network’s threads like a spider across her silks. I would build my web, and my prey would come to me.

But I quickly dismiss such thoughts. The dew drops that gather on such webs cause light to refract in a dazzling brilliance, and if I open my eyes to them, I would surely be blinded. I would fall from my the web, and be crushed by the gravity of the world, leaving only bones as witness to my failures.

 

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