The Bad Old Ones

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The bad old ones! The bad old ones! The bad old ones! Even the name brings a numbing sense of dread to my heart. A conditioned reflex of despair, and helpless, automatic compliance. But they have been gone a long time now. Gone without a trace, their authority cancelled, their rule a mere memory, a mere reflex of fear and fear-filled submission.

 

Their shadow, dark though it was, has passed from this world. It has been removed, and all the living things on this earth can begin to breathe freely again. They can come back to themselves. The birds can sing again, if they remember how…. The small furry creatures can come out of their burrows and run about a bit. That’s kind of a metaphor, but you know what I mean. Life can continue…

 

Their absence (the bad old ones’ absence, that is) is inexplicable, incomprehensible. For the long centuries of their domination, the idea that they would ever go away was unthinkable. Why would the hungry predator spare its prey? Why would they – ravenous as they are – walk away from a feast that was laid out on the table for them?

 

They were the feeders and that is what they did – they fed. They fed on us. They were the farmers and we were the battery chickens. They were the blue-fin tuna and we were the sardines. They were the big fat spoilt sadistic cats and we were the Kitty Kibble…

 

It doesn’t make sense that they would leave with the larder still full. Head off into what for them might be a pretty damn inhospitable universe when everything they need is right here on earth. We are more than just food to them – we are the most exquisite of delicacies. We are pate de fois gras, we are smoked oysters, we are the finest quality caviar, we are veal cutlets…

 

It’s not so much that WE are delicacies, but that we are a source of something that is a delicacy. They milk us for our nectar, for the nectar of our consciousness. They eat all our consciousness up; like hungry jackals snapping at a morsel of fresh offal they never miss even the tiniest little drop of it. Whenever there’s a morsel of consciousness to be had they are there with their monstrous greedy mouths wide open…

 

The bad old ones feed on consciousness, on unpolluted, uncorrupted awareness. Consciousness is the ultimate prize, the ultimate delicacy, the ultimate treat. And then when after they eat it all up they crap us out as we generally are – brainwashed, conditioned, zombified, robotized to the hilt. What’s left after all the consciousness has been eaten up? Not much to write home about. What’s left of brand new shiny steel-plate when it’s been left out in the rain for a few years? When it’s all rusted away? Nothing. Just the red flakes of rust, crumbling away. Or in our case, just our dead rotten habits, our mechanical opinions and beliefs, just our reflex reactions – kicking away all by themselves.

 

We’re left as dead mechanical carcasses. Left with nothing but our anger, our ingrained bitterness and resentment, our corrosive malice and self-pity. Our ongoing frustration and despair, our perennial petty complaining. Our small-mindedness and chronic suspiciousness…

 

That’s all that’s left of us – our innocence, our playfulness, our joy has been taken away from us leaving us the poor jaded sad creatures that we are. Taking out our frustration, our petty spitefulness on each other.

 

There’s not much left when the bad old ones have eaten their fill, I can tell you. To say that there’s not much left is a bit of a euphemism really – there’s nothing left, and yet – somehow – this ‘nothing’ has to do us. We have to get by with it – it has to suffice. And of course it helps in a way that we don’t actually know any different – it helps that we have nothing with which to make a comparison. As far as we are concerned this is simply ‘life’. This is how it is and we just have to get on with it.

 

But the bad old ones are gone now. The dark shadow of their insatiable hunger, their insatiable need, has lifted from our lives.

 

So what will happen now? What is to become of us now hat our captors have fled? Will we stay in the prisons that they have caused us to build for ourselves? Out of nostalgia for the old way of life, which is the only way of life we know? Will we remain the prisoners of the bad old habits that we have learned from them, or will we learn something different?

 

Will we perhaps learn to grow towards the light instead of the dark, or are we too far gone for that? Have we learned the ways of darkness too thoroughly at the expert hands of our now departed masters?

 

These are questions that I cannot answer…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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