You Aren't Free Without Me
An exercise in personification
Hi, my name is Freem. Nice to meet you. Well, I’m not sure it’s nice to meet you yet, but I’m going to find out. I want to learn about you. To be honest, I just want to learn enough about you so that I can figure out what you can do for me. I would really like to know how you can help me in my mission of self-aggrandizement. I like being able to do what I want without restriction.
For example, just the other day, I went to this charming little town along the river. Who knew a place could be so beautiful?! It was impressive to see all of the tiny fish struggling against the currents of the crystal clear waters. The birds would noisily alert their friends to this buffet below, as though it was a stroke of good luck (luck that happened every day … no wonder they are called “birdbrain”). When the sun would tiptoe below the height of the ancestral trees, bursts of color shot through their leaves, as though one were standing in a hallway of stained-glass masterpieces. The air was so pure, the whole of one’s body felt cleansed, not just of stale air, but of restless thoughts too. In this magnificent place, I set out to enjoy myself.
I had to move on a year later. The place was trashed! When I party, I can’t let anything get in my way. The rivers now gurgle with a black sludge obscuring any life that might have survived below the surface. The trees that had survived for centuries were swiftly chopped down—-I needed the space. The people who once wore welcoming smiles and gladly fed me (“Mr. Arket, try this dish,” they would say) when I arrived had become stressed and half-dead. It’s probably because I didn’t give them enough time to rest and recuperate. Or maybe it was the unrelenting labor I forced them to submit to. In any case, they are not my concern. The weaker individuals ended up getting sick from the particulates I expelled into the air. I don’t know if they survived. A few brave folks tried to stop me from having my fun, but I crushed them before they could present any real challenge to my influence. A small group tried not to join my party, but I helped them bring near their expiration date. It’s not that I intentionally killed them; I just didn’t give them what they needed. There is a difference between killing someone and not giving away my stuff, even if it produces the same result. Isn’t that right? After all, I know how to throw a party so I’m very popular with most people. They will pretty much do anything I say. I have been around for quite some time, and let’s face it, I’m pretty much a legend. When I show up, people kiss my feet, unless I make them lick my boots clean. They know who’s boss, and they want to get on my good side. It’s either that, or they fear my punishments, which I dole out generously.
It’s not important to me how I get what I want, so I needn’t unnecessarily burden myself with “responsibilities.” The coolest thing is that people rarely notice my role in the transformation of their environment or culture. Instead, they blame each other and fight each other. They think their problems are from the people on the other side of town, so they are constantly asking me for guns and other weapons (which I gladly provide) to assassinate key personalities. Where you see despair, I see opportunity. Seriously! [chuckle of self-righteousness] Do you know how much my power grows when I give them these weapons? I’m pretty much untouchable.
So, enough about me. Tell me about you. How can you make yourself useful to me? I’m not being rude, I’m just cutting to the chase. I know, I’ve heard it all before from fools like you…[sigh]...”Mr, Freem Arket, you’re so callous, cruel, conniving.” These may be true characterizations, but don’t you see? None of that matters. My responsibility is to myself and my development. It’s my nature. And baby, this is what I call freedom. It's right there in the word: I'm FREE to DOMinate. Say it with me now, “FREEDOM!” [repeat as necessary] If you try to trespass on my freedom, I will mobilize my disciples against you. I’m part of the people’s mythos now, a cultural god, and we will resist you and your counter-cultural absurdity. My disciples will sacrifice themselves for my purposes. Your ridiculous psychobabble diagnosis suggesting a sociopathic disposition is something my adherents won’t swallow. They believe that I am the one who has given them a better standard of living. They believe I’m the source of their innovation. And best of all, they believe I AM their freedom. Like the gods of yesteryear whose moods brought lightning, tempests, and sunshine, I am the god of freedom. That is my power; and as long as people believe in me, I will constantly seek new lovely towns, beaches, forests, and cities to dominate and set ablaze. There are always more places to exploit. I cannot be wrong about that, can I? It is not a corruption of my nature, it is my nature. With new technology, I am now crafting plans to expand to the moon! What can I say? I’m a badass!
I understand how you feel, but here’s my card. Keep it handy for when you feel hungry and are ready to submit.