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Ch 5 Egotivism

The old had stepped in. For Honiti’s society there was great respect for the old. It was not only that they had stepped in with the Dogmatons, it was that they had wisdom of their time. It was a kind of balance. Lifetimes produced changes in society. By the time people were old enough to have wisdom without all the passions of youth society had already changed yet their wisdom had value. And of course there was timeless wisdom, it was often the old who could interpret.

When Honiti arrived at the Cotla he was visibly sad, because Lina knew why it was not a sadness that mattered; he would just go through it. Honiti’s family, as most, cremated, and they had just left the memorium. Honiti’s grandfather had passed early, and his grandmother survived him many years. She was a wonderful old woman, it seemed as if she had always been old and Honiti often visited to listen to her talk of the time of the egotivists.

Honiti recounted a conversation with his lovely grandmother. “Honiti, we grew up at the time of the death knell of the Dogmatons,” Maa Yai told him one time. “It was a turbulent time of increasing violence. There were the dogmatons with their rules and conformity, there were the creatives with E3R angry and deeply unsettled because of the repression of their art, and there were the liberalistas for whom violence had taken over as a way of life.”

She paused with sadness welling up. “There was so much confrontation. Conformism and expression, even the words conflict.”

“We went to school, and learned about the Pasur and Pagan times, and there were no doubts it was good to have ended those times. But we didn’t have the fear of previous generations, we didn’t have the fear pf those times. We grew up in a time of different confrontations and we were afraid of them. Unintentionally the Dogmatons had created a fear in us, that was the same fear they had. Only that fear was now focussed on the Dogmatons themselves.

“For generations we just accepted the scenario of the rising good of the Dogmatons, we can’t live like the Pagans it is safer to live with the Dogmatons. The fear people grew up with created the same delusions that the Pagans had. The Pagans didn’t like having wars fought in their name but for their generations the Pasur had provided for what they called the middle-classes so the Pasur were tacitly given control. Only history told what an awful time it was, for those middle-classes they were safe.

“It was the same when I grew up. The Dogmatons provided safety for our communities. We could be normal, we could grow up, get educated, play sports, be entertained, get our own houses, educate our kids and so on. Yes we could be normal.

“But what if we were more than normal, what if we had a spark, what of we felt like expressing ourselves differently, this was not allowed. Somehow in Dogmaton times it hit our generation more than most. Were we more creative? I don’t think so. It wasn’t so much that we were more creative but more and more young people had been demanding the right to be creative.”

Yai turned to him and half her teeth smiled at him – she hated dentures – plastic in her mouth. “ I don’t think I had a creative bone in my body, and I demanded the right to be creative. It wasn’t that I wanted to stop other people from being normal. I didn’t want to take anything from them. They were just boring, Honiti, so boring. I couldn’t live a life like that. Get up, go to work, earn enough money for a home, go home, watch tv, play sports, and turn my kids into the same. All of that just drove a spear through my heart. I just didn’t want to do that. Could I put a brush on a canvas, could I write a poem, could my hands turn clay into beauty. Not a cat-in-hell’s chance,” she smiled then cackled, “but I demanded the right not to have to do all that. I wanted to express but I had no idea what – still don’t,” she turned and showed him her teeth again.

“That was my generation, we just couldn’t put up with all that,” she halted. Then she told him “but that was only half of us …. Whatever the numbers I don’t know. And the other half demanded the right to follow the Dogmaton narrative. We were all young so passionate so rigid. Here we were demanding the right to express but we knew not what, and then there were the rest of our age demanding that they be allowed to grow up boring and normal. And we fought.

“Of course we had no military, the government didn’t support us, but when the Liberalistas came to annoy us the government supported them.

“But then the old stepped in. They were frightened at all the violence. Good kids in their families were being locked up as subversives yet to the old they were just kids growing up and not wanting to be boring. Even the old said Dogmatons were boring but they were happy with that because they were old and safe.

“But old love the young. However headstrong they might be young people don’t want to be old before their time. The old people kept complaining about all the confrontation, they hated it.

“Things started to change with Gurudasa. As a young woman she went hunting round all these different monasteries that had sprouted up to hide from the confrontations, and she came up with this egotivism stuff. All her life she had been talking about egotivism but few really listened.

“Now you have to know all these Dogmatons loved this path stuff,” she knew he’d jump at that.

Honiti remembered his reaction when she had said that. How can the Dogmatons possibly have loved path? Path was all they didn’t stand for, he figured old Yai was losing it a bit. “No I’m right,” she laughed at him. “Those Dogmatons used to sit at their parties and say, “I’m following the path”, and argue with each other about how much more they were following the path. We used to say they followed the path of mediocrity. It had become fashionable to listen to people bang on about the path but the path they banged on was just dogma. “Path was studied at their universities but they couldn’t subscribe to one path and go deeply. They had some kind of consensus path, I know it doesn’t make sense. Different people dug up old manuscripts from all kinds of religions with their paths, and they listed all the dogma. Do this, don’t do that. Here do this, there don’t do that. And they got them all together, and produced a consensus. “This they called the Codex, the Dogmaton Codex. Remember the old Wadkin human constitution – reason, perception, feeling and senses. There was no Being as we know it, no God, no presence, no muse, no Beyond, need I go on ….” he laughed.

“There was just the Codex and their form of meditation,” she continued “we called it mindlessness meditation.”

“They even taught this mindlessness in schools, only they called it “paying attention to the Codex”. Every morning we recited the Codex, and then we would sit in silence thinking of the Codex. Or at least some of us did. We laughed at this because there were two people at school those in ecstasy and those stuck in codextacy. Guess who the Liberalistas were. They were there with their reciting the Codex, and then they would sit in silence going “I will follow the Codex” “I will follow the Codex”. It was just brainwashing.”

“So Gran what did you do?” Honiti asked.

“We just fantasised. We thought about boys meeting them after school, wandering through fields together – just being together anywhere but school. We let our minds go anywhere – they can’t tell you what to do inside your head,” she announced still defiant.

“But that’s not what it is about,” Honiti jumped in.

“Of course it isn’t,” she agreed unquestioningly. “But remember these were times of intense conditioning, and school was the main place they introduced their conformism. Yeah sure it was all over the TV but that was more subtle – disguised as entertainment. But school, that was just conformism 101.”

“It’s amazing so many people bought into it,” he mused, and then laughed “Codextasy”

“Do you know that when the Liberalistas stopped us they demanded we quote the Codex?” Yai noted with amusement …. then anger. “Well not all of them but some.”

“We wouldn’t answer or we would say

“Codex 12 says we must paint a picture before breakfast.”

“Codex 15 says we must kneel when we recite the Codecticon”

My favourite:-

“Codex 13 says we must put on a suit at 3.00pm to listen to the Dogmaton council recite the Codecticon.”

We were amused at our Codex, the game was to make up a Codex that was absurd yet as close to a real one as possible. But this taunting had a dark side. We would say these things and the Liberalistas would get angry, hit us, we would defend ourselves, and then get arrested for VPO, Violence against Public Order. That wasn’t funny.

“But the whole of the Dogmaton Council got angry when young people started talking about the path of creativity,” she changed tack pointedly.

“I remember egotivism but I don’t remember anything about the path of creativity,” Honiti answered.

“Even history doesn’t really talk about this but I think it was significant,” replied Yai. “But like most of us, including the Dogmatons, I didn’t really understand it.”

“Honiti, did you hear of the Glowing Path?” asked Yai.

“Yes I did,” replied Honiti.

“Well the organisation, Glowing Path, grew out of the path of creativity,” Yai explained. “It started out of nothing. A couple of writers got together, and they started a skit on that stupid old Codex. They called it the path of creativity. It talked about how you should conduct yourself in order to become creative, eventually they called it the Creativity Codex or the Codex with Meaning.”

“Yes I have heard of those,” murmured Honiti “weren’t they connected to Wakington? That was an awful blight on our recent history, more Pagan than Pagan.”

“Indeed it was!” she told him “And Wakington was the catalyst that started the new era.” She paused. “Excuse me, I am getting a bit tired.”

“Of course Maa Yai,” Honiti replied and got up. “Can I get you something?”

“Just green tea,” she sighed deeply “I want to take a break.”

Honiti went off to the dispenser but took his time, she rarely showed when fatigue was taking over. Wakington was a real blot. A group of creatives had got sick of being harassed by the Liberalistas. They decided to move far from the cities to a place called Wakington. Having managed to scrape money together, they bought this land and started growing their own foods and rearing livestock. Basically they were just farmers but in the evening they would hold meetings to discuss what had been written or what had been painted or drawn. It was OK for Dogmatons to have soirees in which they criticised creatives, to discuss the Codex, or just bang on about the latest group who had written a play describing the Codecticon. But creatives couldn’t meet on their own land to discuss what they had produced.

In a nearby town, Kudulan, the Codecticon recitals were taken particularly seriously, they were a reactionary people. But of course they had young as well as anyone else. Now they lived far from the cities so there was not much contact with creatives. Young Ellie May was fascinated with the creatives, and often went to Wakington. Her father forbade the visits but she still went. One night her mother found paintings in her room, Ellie may told her mother that she had painted them but her family would never accept that Ellie May was one of those creatives.

Meanwhile resentment towards Wakington amongst the townsfolk of Kudulan was growing. Even though the creatives kept to themselves the Kudulan folk didn’t want them there. Ellie May came home pregnant, she had been raped by one of her neighbours, she had kept quiet about the rape because it was a young uncle. One morning she was sick, and the mother heard her – the third day in a row. She confronted Ellie May who couldn’t tell her that the father was her mother’s younger brother. Immediately the parents decided that it was one of the creatives who was the father. That evening they were drinking and a few of them went out to Wakington to confront the creatives.

Whilst the people in Wakington knew Ellie May because she visited, they had a strict rule not to have relations with the local townsfolk. They knew it wasn’t one of them but fueled by the drink the townsfolk attacked one of the young men. A fight broke out and the townsfolk went home injured.

Not satisfied with this they went to the mayor and sheriff and complained that they had been attacked by the creatives whilst they had been innocently working in the fields. Months of reactionary fears built up, the town’s forces gathered, and they went and attacked Wakington. There was much carnage, injuries on both sides, but eventually the townsfolk left leaving Wakington devastated. In the middle of their small commune there were the embers of a fire where every single piece of paper and every painting had been set on fire.

But that was not the end. One of the most vociferous cantankerous old guys had returned home, he had received a blow to his head. The next morning he died of a heart attack. Of course his family blamed the creatives. Again a Kudulan mob descended on the Wakington commune, only the children escaped. History records that 20 people died for painting and writing poetry.

Deaths of so many had to be investigated and representatives of the Dogmaton Council arrived. They were horrified at what these people had done. Yet at the same time these were creatives who had died, so there was not much sympathy. Rural people were often in conflict with the cities, so the council tried to bury it. But one of the council reps was herself a creative. She recorded the investigation, including discussions between investigators and the townsfolk where they admitted the full history of their wrongdoing. Kudulan knew, the Dogmaton Council knew, but no-one was accused. When a whistle-blower publicised all that happened, there was an outcry. Old people criticised the young investigators and the members of the council for being too hard-lined. The young tried to turn away the criticism of the old but the old people gained support from the young creatives like Maa Yai.

It became a huge incident but in the end the Council did nothing but from that moment on the Glowing Path was formed. And the Glowing Path were violent.

For the first time Pagan violence had come to the Dogmatons. Those same old people became vociferous again, and started to promote egotivism.