It had been 5 years since she left Gandenwat with Miram – to embark on her path as a lancer; for the time being it was what she was meant to do. And here she was now stuck in the mire of daily life doing her duty – gratefully. Lanceage – the lancer code – was now the way she lived, it was demanding yet for her it was practical because living that code was in her daily life – not bypassing with wisdom in a monastery; that was for when she was older – incapable of functioning as a lancer, she thought.
And now she needed all her training and discipline. She was working with Miram in Lopham, a centre that was famous both now and it appears in Taj times. In her early life she thought sophism was only the Hivihfin. As she had developed and moved in the life of a lancer, she had first learnt there was hi-soph, and then there was the Fintaloha – the history leading up to the pandeme times. The Fintaloha was a history that was recorded in the monasteries where sophism was founded, where the Fahendra had not only crafted sophist Hivihfin but had also described events leading up to the pandeme times. A sophist history, a history recording how the defilement had grown, exploited Talaks, disconnected Talaks from Kolok such as in the Lopham of old (and maybe contemporary Lopham?). It was meant as guide of don’ts, a guide to understanding the source of accumulation and a guide to the need to fight compromise maintaining power and responsibility.
In her training she had learnt the real meaning of the perils of ego, how simple attachments can build into the destructive force that Kolok needed to purge in the pandeme times. And unlike in her native kaomi these signs of simple attachment were showing their defilement in Lopham. Lopham was a built city, a centre where Talaks gathered seeking – such an accumulation of Talak dwellings was never a good sign. But this seeking was not a quest into sophism. It was the seeking of the young and educated who were looking for excitement, it was the seeking of the older who were spending their lives trying to relive the excitement of their youth, and a building of the accumulation they were using to regain those supposed joys.
For the lancers Lopham was a hellhole, it was the potential for a pandeme – it was all their order were there to correct. Lopham was the place where the lancers would rise or fall - a turning point in the redress that sophism symbolised. And the lancers were not confident. Short-term egoic satisfaction was outweighing all the sense that sophism could bring. The essence of the problem was the lack of maturity amongst the older Lophaams. It was perfectly natural for children to seek short-term satisfaction – that was Kolok’s way of growing up, but as Talaks entered adulthood such child-like interests needed to dissipate; as they did in her kaomi, she mused. But these Lophaams had become attached to the child-like joys and then become attached to the adolescent joys of procreation. Rather than seeking the contentment of family and a life of love and commitment to that family, Lophaams were trying to relive their attachment to adolescent fantasy and its myriad confusing passions. Rather than tolerating child-like egoism and leading Talaks into ways of life that were responsible, mature and fundamentally sophist, these Lophaams copied the young trying to relive the passions. Whilst this was far from the greed that was central to Taj defilement, it was evidently on the way according to the lanceage of the Fintaloha.
What was also clear to the lancers deployed to Lopham, the accumulated attachments were beyond re-education – this attachment had such control that there was not the presence of mind that could be attracted to sophism. It was a constant dilemma for the lancers – educate or worse – the code of any means necessary. Knowing the young could be educated, the real problem lay with the older Lophaams who were trying to relive younger passions; how could they not see the destructive nature of those passions, how there was no lasting joy in such rollercoasters. Sophists maybe never had the passionate highs, but there was a peace balance that increased throughout the life of a sophist – a peace balance where there were never the rollercoaster lows of short-term passion-oriented lifestyle. To persuade Talaks immersed in the short-term that such a peaceful balance was possible or to be aspired to once they had shown the willingness to become part of Lopham.
The accumulation of Lopham itself seemed to have a life if its own, a life that worked against sophism - against the path. There was a strategy meeting for the order in Lopham. The educationalists gave their report that was not favourable, some Lophaams could be educated into returning to Kolok’s wisdom but they were unable to make inroads into the increasing attachment – the accumulation of Lopham.
Miram mooted “We could try to make Lopham uninhabitable.”
“Work is bringing Talaks here,” suggested Coemi on a different tack. “if it is work they are here for it is not community.”
There was murmured agreement. “And if it is work, we must be aware of the history that work began the exploitation – taking away power and responsibility to provide for what comes in community (home and survival) at a price,” Lindor added.
Salpidio nodded “At the moment there are no wages but there are Talak continually suggesting the need for money.”
“At least Lophaams are sufficiently conscious of history to be aware of the risks of monetising Talak labour,” Lindor agreed.
“Yes, monetising was a crucial step in dispowering Talaks,” Miram contributed but he was not happy – this was all too soft. There was danger of severe defilement in Lopham. “Anyway without work how would those Talak live?”
“We can continue to monitor work situations and expose exploitation if it happens,” added Lindor “Lophaams are conscious enough to reject exploitation – for now.”
“But only for now,” Miram added “Soon there will be far too many Talaks in Lopham, and they will compete for work that is available.”
“That competition will lead to exploitation,” agreed Coemi. “I also agree with Miram, we have to discourage Talaks from the attractions of Lopham, too many of our young on the farms see the so-called attractions of Lopham as a way out of their familial farm duty.”
There was a pause as they deliberated between drastic and ineffective action, and they were all reaching the same conclusion that Coemi voiced. “Let’s face it. In Lopham we have failed. In Lopham it is not possible to follow your path and survive, it is too compromised. The balance is all wrong. Bartering skills is too centralised and those in control are beginning to exploit – subtly but they are exploiting. We don’t want to face it because as lancers it is our job to protect and as lancers we have failed.”
She continued saying what they all knew deep down. “Miram has legitimately proposed drastic action to encourage Talaks to return to villages and discourage new Talaks from moving to this accumulation, but these actions must disrupt daily life …. too much. We would create suffering, maybe a backlash of increased centralisation without any certainty of achieving our goals. What Talaks are attracted to Lopham for are only likely to increase with centralisation and suffering. These actions might have prevented increased accumulation elsewhere but Lopham is too far gone – too much of an accumulation, with too many defilements of accumulation.”
Her words hit true, and brought silence. “There must be acceptance of truth,” added Miram finally “but it is our duty not to desert Talaks. What are the implications of Coemi’s truth?”
“In the short term we must focus on two things – preventing accumulation in Lopham,” proposed Lindor.
“And other centres,” interrupted Salpidio “What Coemi has spoken of here will happen elsewhere …. whatever happens to Lopham,” he added ominously.
“And a continued strategy of decumulation,” added Coemi “we must try to find ways of good Talaks getting back to harmony with Kolok.”
The meeting assigned duties to attempt to accomplish their strategies, and they left the meeting despondent. Because there was the unspoken. They had accepted failure that had been spoken, but what they were unwilling to vocalise – lancers could not succeed. For whatever reason when Talaks accumulate in centres, they lose their harmony. Can the Fandhenda ever fight this? They can slow it down, but in the end can it be prevented? Can prevention ever work?
Coemi’s duty lay in Lopham itself. Over her time there she had been a driving force in building a “decumulation” organisation, Lopham’s kaomi. This kaomi had always been there, basically Talaks who missed their village but Coemi changed it slightly with her kaomi dedication. As a result, there were Talaks who wanted to bring that dedication to their own villages. But of course these intellectuals were based in Lopham and not in the villages, so they had nowhere to apply it – no sampajanna. What their theorising amounted to was a dichotomy – a daily life in Lopham and a dream in their home village. Typical of the accumulation they could live with such a theoretical delusion because that enabled them to stay and enjoy Lopham.
Once Coemi had created the kaomi seed, she spent her time in the organisation encouraging Talaks to take this knowledge to their villages. But she met much resistance because Lophaams enjoyed the intellectualising, they enjoyed being with like-minded Talaks, and did not see the urgency of the dilemma of not decumulating. Coemi pushed the urgency but she understood the attraction. From her childhood she remembered a certain loneliness. None of her teenage friends understood her commitment to kaomi dedication, and at times this left her isolated. It was only when she became a lancer that she knew deep friendship, a camaraderie that she trusted and revelled in – and feared losing.
But interwoven with her work in promoting kaomi was her work on Hivihfin. Here in Lopham there was limited exposure to these books, they were not central to education and rarely discussed in daily life. This was the nature of Lophaams, and it was sufficient for her in understanding Lophaam history. Somehow these Talak were vulnerable. It was not only the accumulation in Lopham, it was the villages the accumulation came from. Their connection to Kolok didn’t have to be Hivihfin but there had to be a connection, they were vulnerable because this connection was rare, and connection wasn’t prevalent in the culture of the region. Whilst the lancers knew of this it was just accepted, and much of the reason they recruited from advocates of Hivihfin as well as the indigenous was to overcome this regional anomaly. Whilst the Fintaloha spoke of Taj starting in Lophaam it was simply an observation, now many lancers observed that the possibility of a new Taj was growing amongst the Lophaams – the same region, and did not understand why. What was worse, there was nothing they could do about it except paper over the cracks. Were the Talaks of this region ever connected? That went against every understanding of the Unity of Hivihfin, how were the lancers to address this? There had to be more than a historical coincidence.
It was not that defilement was confined to the Lophaam region. Lancers operated throughout Kolok and spent much of their time deposing despots whose greed perverted village life. But according to the Fintaloha such greed was isolated within those communities, and very quickly those talaks reconnected with Kolok once the disruption had been ended. Such actions were the bread and butter of the Fandhenda, and had been carried out for centuries long after pandeme times.
What she had noticed was that Lopham attracted Talaks from outside her region – like-minded Talaks, disconnected Talaks. As with Talaks from their own region the commonality of these disparate Talaks was the lack of connection, and this lack Coemi had recognised as intellectual. Yet there had been intellectuals at Aberunwi, and they had returned to their kaomis, accepted connection, and were harmoniously productive in their dedication.
Yet somehow there were intellectuals who did not reconnect and somehow they were attracted to Lopham, something in Lopham that did not connect. When she looked at Kolok as a whole there were more centres in this geographical region but not exclusively so. In hi-soph the Fandra teachings spoke of Kolok redressing the imbalances caused by the Taj, perhaps there so much imbalance the redress had not gone deep enough in Lopham and other centres. Was this natural – just the way Kolok is? The lancers were trying to redress these imbalances but she recognised that in places such as Lopham they were simply fighting a losing battle. Lopham had her disconnected Lophaam accumulation of intellectuals, its attraction to entertainment and escape, its potential for exploitation through slavery and money, technology and even fashion. What Lopham lacked was a deep-rooted compassion. It was not that these Lophaam intellectuals were uncaring but their disconnection meant that compassion must come through personal development as opposed to the compassion that was part and parcel of connected kaomi dedication. Throughout her kaomi there was compassion, it was not deep-rooted within her Talaks but it was just part of the dedication; her Talaks were not “better”. But with the intellectualism of these Lophaam Talaks there was a barrier that separated then from the compassion of connection. They were left only with their separated, sometimes compassionate, intellectuality.
But it was not all negative. Amongst these intellectuals was an aspiration towards the Fandra teachings – even towards becoming Fahendra, but they were unaware of this. Many rejected Hivihfin because of its discipline, its lack of entertainment but fundamentally because of its lack of intellectual proliferation. These intellects desired expansion, their egos wanted to create something “new”, they wanted answers that were “new”. This newness was encouraged by their education that were institutions of expansive intellects. There was not the dedication to the disciplined inner journey written of in the Hivihfin and perhaps before. This was an outward journey of ideas, appreciation of ideas, proliferation of ideas, a paradise of exclusive ideas that only had the inherent value of newness. The Hivihfin contained verifiable truth through meditation and experience, but neither tools were of interest to Lophaam intellectualism.
And around this proliferation of ideas had grown the accumulation, a social structure that included the drive for technology, entertainment, fashion and potential for finance, all of which had no connection. For some this intellectual ego could be transformed into a transcendent raft to Fandra because they could be made aware of the inherent suffering accompanying such a disconnection. But for most their egos massaged each other increasing their egoic strength further distancing themselves from Kolok.
She realised that Lopham was Kolok’s battleground. In the Lopham region the Taj had built an empire that had expanded and encompassed the Talaks and their villages which would have quite happily ignored that Taj expanse. But once they were incorporated into the Taj market they became incorporated into the Taj defilement. What their connection with Kolok had provided as protection against the desires leading to defilement had been ended by the Taj expansion. The intellects of villagers expanded not with wisdom but with desire and defilement comparing their Talak lives with promoted Taj lifestyles. Kolok connection with all its myriad benefits was replaced with conditioned Taj fantasies that Talak minds were not protected from.
And now there was the Lopham battleground again, and the protection of the lancers was failing. There was a long way to go for these intellects to become the exploiting Taj but it was not inconceivable. For Coemi the answer was clear. She had found the source of the Taj, and there could be no repetition of such source. It was her duty to nip the new Taj in the bud – no matter what the consequence in terms of loss of life. Was this something she did alone?
And could she prevent the rising of a new Lopham anomaly?