The Empire Chapter 2

Somehow there was no need to talk, every need to speak.
Communication was somehow important. I wondered about that, reflecting that every great civilization and empire had been formed, founded and even perhaps broken by changes in the communication system. The creation of alphabets, papyrus, paper, books, printing press, and the computer, with the internet, the telephone and telegram, all of these had changed Egyptian, Babylonian, Roman and even the British Empire. Ours would be no different. The changes were radical; being able to communicate instantly with anyone was a two edged sword, and needed cooperation and understanding. Be it Ogham script or Phoenician alphabet, clay or bronze scrolls, papyrus or telephone, or internet or telepathy. These systems create the great empires, but ultimately destroy them. Knowledge and information can be shared, manipulated, twisted and turned into propaganda and the truth is lost, washed up on some desert island, discovered later, when the actions of those responsible are beyond challenge. Our empire had fallen, every empire falls; I laughed, the old woman and the boy looked at me. I decided. They would be free, whatever that meant. Rebuilding or renovating the old house would need money, logistics and time. Perhaps it was better to abandon the house, but I had yet to set eyes on that challenge. Perhaps I could sell the house, that monument to crass ownership, Ozymandias’ monument crumbling into dust. Even mountains get eroded. If natures force could be worn down, what chance the temporary changes we try to make, in our arrogance and deceit?
I would try to rebuild and invest in the local economy, building my own Empire. Perhaps it was better to walk away, give the keys to the boy and his mother gift to ease the guilty conscious of the past. What would they do?
So it was that communication started.
What did the boy and his mother really want? They had come for the money, that much was sure, we all make that mistake, but the house was far from anywhere, the rich person’s excess. The nearest village was 10 kilometers away, the nearest neighbor the same distance. The village was small, dusty, and full of old people and a few children. The grandparents had stayed, working the land till they dropped, and the children were left by the younger generation, who had left the village to work, going to the big cities 100’s of kilometers away. They had abandoned the fields, and had gone to the comforts offered by city life. How incredible it was, the rich searched the calm of the country, the poor searched the wealth of the city.
I decided. Cut down the trees that bare no fruit. What was futile in our lives boiled down to almost everything? What one person had struggled to build, robbing people, using people, providing jobs for people, even building structures to help people, all of these could be undone. Argue what you like.
The boy and his mother, why had the taken that offer, what did they really want? Did they want to stay and work if I paid a good salary, and gave good conditions? They were days away from their village, already dependent on me; they couldn’t go back unless I took them. What then, did they want to?

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