What little boy does not dream of becoming a king: where fire breathing dragons and fair & beautiful damsels await their rescue, intervention and response?
They tucked us into the covers at night, those creatures we called our parents, whispering into our dreams, impressionable minds and destinies. And for every bedtime story told, there is a commensurate community, neighborhood or culture that looks somehow just that way drawn up from the masterful plans of our childhood memories.
The relationship between fantasy and reality operate from two very different business models. While fantasies are staffed with heroes, realities are comprised of real and enduring consequences that can be tallied with mathematical precision. The Rule of Law, for instance, measures the distance between mercy and justice [Law & Order, page 29] while Economics calculates labor and those who exploit it [Then & Now, page 31]. But the real job requirement of reality is to understand and respect the product. Nature, after all, comes with rules of her own and learning from rather than leaning on our past is perhaps the greatest gift of history.
The philosopher Plato believed that only 1 of 4 models of government could exist: Government by the Many (Democracy), Government by the Few (Oligarchy), Government by the Military (Totalitarianism), and Government by the One (Monarchy). The caveat, of course, to his theory was that no one government could sustain itself indefinitely, but rather would “cycle” from one to the next based upon the capital and resources of its current economy.
No where has that particular observance been truer than in the pages of our imperfect past. The German, British and Holy Roman Empires, for instance, taxed their own citizens in order to invade foreign countries, harness their natural resources, poach on their market economies, and convert the people to their own particular ideals [The Silk Road, page 26]. And when the United States of America began to prosper through its cotton and textiles trades, they too entered the inevitable race for world dominance [The Emperor’s New Clothes, page 16].
While we no longer simply invade and conquer other countries in conventional warfare, we have sashayed into a period known as Neo-Imperialism: where we attempt to dominate foreign economies through our financial institutions and corporations [Style, page 6]. Christianity is our calling card and freedom our catchphrase, but “democratizing the world” is merely a public relations campaign for going where we were unexpected, unwelcome and uninvited. As the internet, technology, and our interconnected economies bring the world closer together, the world responds by becoming increasingly and eerily similar.
So whether you identify with the powerful queen, the formidable dragon, the valiant prince or sleeping beauty herself you might do well to remember that each, in their own unique and spectacular way, are what make the story whole. And rather than subscribe to or prosecute any one of them in particular, we might consider how the story would look or sound and feel without them all.