Thieves of Souls

“It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail”. (Gore Vidal)

Some people have an odd kind of fear: they are afraid that their loved ones will be plundered. It’s not about material goods being stolen from them; it’s something much deeper. They are afraid that spiritual aspects of the loved ones will be taken away, such as “their soul”, “their faith”, “their ability to love”, “their energy of life”, “their dedication to a good cause, to the Good as a spiritual notion”, etc. It is as if these qualities or aspects or attributes could possibly be stolen… and the paranoid fear of losing them rises to immense proportions, often causing the fearful ones to become guardians or defenders of these aspects belonging to the injured ones.

“Oh, that’s terrible! You’re losing your belief in God!”

“She has changed you beyond recognition! You are under her spell! You have become someone like her!”

“You used to be one of us but now you lost your senses and you are fraternizing with the rivals!”

“You have left us and joined the Dark Side!”

“You have sold your soul to the Devil!”

“She influences you! She is manipulating you!”

“She is poisoning you! She is feeding on you! She is eating you! She is sucking you out of energy!”

“You have betrayed your ethnic/religious community and you are conspiring against your own family/nation/etc.!”

Sounds familiar?

This is a way of seeing life using a dynamic based on Influence: people influence each other and the strongest one influences the weaker one, consequently impairing or destroying him/her. It’s either you or the other one.

There are 2 problems with this way of thinking. First, as you can see, it’s a dynamic of Power: it’s either you or the other one. Nobody talks about Love or a dynamic based on love for the simple reason that… there isn’t any love involved… Second, there is no word about the freewill or the discernment of the one who is being influenced, as if he/she is a puppet in the hands of the influencer/abuser. Obviously, the weak one is seen as not being able to form an opinion, as some sort of handicapped person who resembles to a pawn in the hands of the skillful players of this enormous game called life. And evidently, the players – the manipulators, so as to give them their real name – are afraid that they might lose control over a rebel pawn. They are afraid that the other players might adjudicate a victory by exploiting the intrinsic flaws of the said pawn. Not to mention that the same intrinsic flaws have been previously stimulated and used so as to control the rebel pawn before being captured by the concurrence…

It is not right to transform people into pawns and to fight over their fidelity by pressing the buttons of their flaws (read psychological complexes). But in a war… everything is permitted, because it doesn’t matter the fate of the pawn; what matters is the victory, the defeat of the opponent… by all necessary means.

Did someone say something about Love yet? I don’t think so.

It is important to look a bit closer to the pawn. He has been educated or trained so as to become a pawn. You can recognize a pawn in real life by his desire to serve, his desire to be useful for others, no knowing what to do with his life (his master knows that, of course). So a pawn will come here and there, move all the time, make zig-zags between different areas of the game (occasionally between countries), seeking a master player to… play him. A pawn occasionally falls prey, is captured by one player or another, is used for some time and then is discarded or captured by another player, often the same player who educated/raised him, who knows best its weakest points and how to capture him best. As for the pawn, he is rather disoriented when nobody manipulates him and is in constant search for a master to serve and satisfy. Left free in the open too much, he gets depressed and fades away, because he is not serving the purpose for which he has been trained. Left too much unchecked, he can be captured and used against his previous master, so this should be avoided at all costs, often using emotional blackmail or various creative strategies, like usurping the peace of mind (often during winter holidays), stimulating guilt on any possible occasion, etc. The pawn typically becomes confused and torn apart between several (often two) masters and… the best player wins.

At an even closer look, we see that the pawn was trained in such a way so as to believe he hasn’t the option (and the power) of choice. He lacks a will of his own. He lacks a purpose of his own. He lacks pleasures and passions that could damage the game. And finally, nobody recognizes his right to choose to be whatever the hell he wants. In theory, a man can choose to have faith or to lose faith, to be religious or spiritual or a freethinker or an atheist, to join God or to join the Devil, to eat or to be eaten (to suck or to be sucked), to side with one ethnical or religious group or with another, to be under anybody’s spell or to be free, to be with the Bright Side (or The Force) or the Dark Side, to be dependent or independent, etc., etc. But in the logic of the games based on influence, the pawns can’t choose (or they are not allowed to do so). Their only option is to serve, to obey, to be submitted to one player or another, without any possibility of having a consciousness of their own.

If you feel like everything I write is excessively mechanic, you are absolutely right. No sign of Love yet? That’s because there isn’t.

Let us now see the world through a pawn’s eyes. He is torn between violent forces and tries to please everyone. I say it again so as you can see it better: he tries to please everyone. Then, he feels incomplete, as if he has no purpose and doesn’t know what to do with his time and his life. He is waiting for someone to tell him what to do. Again, I highlight it: someone must tell him what to do, as he is not a player himself. When left alone, the solitude is killing him. Someone must come and put him into contact with other people, because he lacks the initiative to start any contact with other persons, being accustomed with being manipulated and not with making decisions of his own. I repeat: someone must do stuff for him. Often, the pawn feels inadequate, as if there isn’t in this entire world a place of his own, as if he hasn’t the right to be where he is, as if he is taking someone else’s place. It’s normal; he is a pawn, not the real player. So, highlighting again: he can’t find his place, can’t define where he belongs. And finally, he can’t really say what he feels about this or that, about one person or the other. This is normal when you are a pawn, because the emotions are not your own; you are forbidden to feel emotions; you are born only to serve the master player currently manipulating you. Again, highlighting for the last time: you cannot identify if you love someone or not.

We began with a peculiar fear that someone might be lost. That fear is real. It belongs to the player who is afraid that she might lose her pawn. As weird as it can be for the pawn, that fear has nothing to do with him. That fear is used so as to control him, to make him feel guilty and come back. It’s not compassion about him, nor genuine care about his soul and his choices. It’s all about the game and who’s gonna win.

I want you to take time and ponder on your life. Are you a pawn? Are you a player? Could you give up being a pawn now that you know the entire game? Could you free the pawn you manipulate in an act of human compassion? Or are you going to remain a fearful pawn… or player… respectively?

Are you a thief of souls or has your soul already been stolen?

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