By Chris Rossini
The Gatekeeper: "Step right up! Step right in! Welcome to the land where The Society is superior to the individual."
The Thinker: "Hello, Mr. Gatekeeper, and thanks for letting me check this place out. I've heard so much about it. You guys have the best PR department in the world."
Gatekeeper: "Yes, we're proud of this place. Are you ready to see The Society?"
Thinker: "Yes, of course. I'm ready to meet him!
Anyone who claims to be superior to the individual must be incredible.
Gatekeeper: "Meet him? I don't understand what you're talking about, but come on in funny guy."
Thinker: "Fantastic.....Ok where is he?"
Gatekeeper: "Where is who?"
Thinker: "The Society."
Gatekeeper: "What do you mean? ... This is it ... This is The Society."
Thinker: "But all that I see, Mr. Gatekeeper, is a bunch of individuals. Lots of individuals in fact.
I'm not looking for those who are inferior.
I want to meet the superior!
I want to meet The Society. That's why I'm here."
Gatekeeper: "Listen fella, I have other people to let through here. Don't bother me with your riddles.
Thinker: "All right, I guess I'll go and speak with one of the inferior individuals then.
Let me go ask this guy if he knows where I can find The Society.
'Excuse me sir, what's your name?'"
Thinker: "Harry, pleased to meet you. I'm new here. I've heard so much about The Society and how it's superior to the individual. I'm trying to meet The Society, and the Gatekeeper couldn't help me at all.
I only see inferior individuals here (no offense).
In my entire life, I've only seen individuals, which is why I'm so excited to meet The Society.
Can you guide me to him?"
Harry: "Oh no, you must be confused. The Society is not someone that you meet. The Society is the collective. It's all of us individuals put together."
Thinker: "Wait ... what?
What do you mean 'individuals put together'?
How do you put individuals together? Is it like taking two colors of Silly Putty and smooshing them in your hands?
What happens to the individual bodies? What happens to the individual minds?"
Harry: "No, not literally together."
Thinker: "Then how?"
Harry: "Actually, now I don't know. I never thought about it before. I suppose it's more of an abstract thing."
Thinker: "Like art?"
Harry: "I guess....Now you have me wondering."
Thinker: "Ok...let's see what we have so far.
The Society is not someone I'm going to meet. I have to admit, I'm bummed by that.
The PR for this place is misleading. If you're going to claim that something is superior to the individual, you need to specify in your marketing that it's not actually some thing.
Next you tell me that it's all individuals 'put together,' but not really since individuals can't literally be put together.
So....I'm assuming that it's safe to say that whatever "it" is, "it" doesn't think...."it" doesn't make choices... and "it" doesn't act in any way?
Harry: "Yeah, I guess you're right."
Thinker: "And I know I'm going to be stating the obvious here. But, you and I are both actual things ... we're both human individuals ... and we both independently think, make choices, and act."
Harry: "Yes, I can't argue with you there. You and I do all of those things independently of one another."
Thinker: "So, Harry, as someone who lives here, please fill me in on how 'The Society,' whatever it is, is superior to the individual.
What on Earth can that possibly mean?
Harry: "Honestly, I don't know. We've just been told that it is, and no one really asks these types of questions."
Thinker: "You've been told by who?"
Harry: "People in power, I guess.
Definitely anyone that has anything to do with politics. They're always telling us about 'our values,' and 'our way of life,' and how 'our voices need to be heard.'
I don't pay much attention to politics. But I know that they like to use the word 'our' a lot."
Thinker: "People in power?....You mean individual people, right?"
Harry: "Yes, of course, individuals. What else is there?"
Thinker: "That's what I came here to see. I've always believed that there are only individuals. I wanted to see the superior Society.
Let me ask you this, when these people in power use the word 'our,' do you think they mean 'The Society'?
Are they just interchanging those two words?"
Harry: "Yes, that's exactly what they mean!"
Thinker: "OK....now we're getting somewhere. We have some individuals who claim to speak for The Society.
Can anyone speak for The Society?
Can you, Harry?
Harry: "No, of course not."
Thinker: "But aren't you part of The Society?"
Thinker: "Ok. Since you're a part of The Society, but apparently can't speak for it, do you agree with those who do speak for it?"
Harry: "I told you, I don't even pay attention to politics. But when I do, no, I don't agree very often at all.
To tell you the truth, there never seems to be any agreement. No matter who speaks for The Society, there's always tremendous animosity from those who don't speak for it."
Thinker: "If there's never any agreement, why do those who speak for The Society, use the word 'our' all the time?
The word 'our' implies unanimity. But you're telling me there never is unanimity. Why do they use the word 'our'?"
Harry: "Yeah it's pretty ironic, isn't it? I don't know. They really shouldn't say 'our.' It's not accurate."
Thinker: "What happens to the individuals who disagree with those who claim to speak for The Society?
Are those who disagree now considered outside of The Society?
Are they thrown out of The Society?"
Harry: "No, they're still considered in The Society."
Man, this is getting weird.
I don't know who I am anymore....haha."
Thinker: "Ok....I think I see what is happening here Harry.
The PR for this place is wrong. Your slogan that 'The Society is superior to the individual' is false advertising.
Since we've established that there are only individuals involved here, it looks to me that some individuals are taking advantage of other individuals.
'The Society,' is just a cover story, or something to hide behind.
What you have is a few individuals who have made themselves superior to all other individuals."
Harry: "Wow...that makes sense. You know, people do the most vile and immoral things imaginable, just to be able to speak for The Society."
Thinker: "Of course they would.
What's their take?
What's the budget for those who claim to speak for The Society?"
Harry: "Let's just say its astronomical. They get their pound of flesh out of me, that's for sure."
Thinker: "I bet you're told that it's all taken from you for the good of The Society, right?"
Harry: "Yeah, naturally.
I'm starting to wonder if that's like a guilt thing too. After all, who wants to be against the good of The Society?"
Thinker: "They take your money and make you feel guilty about something that you literally cannot define?"
Harry: "Boy, that is sad, but true.
Man, these people who get their pound of flesh out of me are pretty brilliant...In a bad way, of course."
Thinker: "Well this has been fascinating.
I came here seeking to meet something that's superior to the individual, and all that I have found is a few individuals who have figured out a way to live off the backs of the majority of other individuals.
I guess I return home just as I came.
There really is no such thing as a Society that is superior to the individual."