the parable of the decline
of two potential leaders
into two mumbling mice.

although they didn’t consider themselves religious people, the two of them met in a sacred place, a place where young adults come to better themselves. an institution not unlike alcoholics anonymous, but on a grander, much more expensive scale. there, the two of them sat side by side on a daily basis and buried their noses in books, looking up every now and then only to communicate and clarify the new ideas upon which they had stumbled. these ideas were new and revolutionary, some might even argue dangerous; nevertheless, these books and ideas continued to shaped their ideals and made them want to better themselves, and eventually change the world. yes, they were becoming more and more idealistic everyday, and they prided themselves on this fact. they wrote essays and stories and poems, and they submitted it to elders and to each other, seeking approval and acceptance. society, after all, taught them to want such things.

and so it went. they encouraged each other; they learned how to have fun. they believed they were empowering themselves in order to fight for a just and worthy cause. simple words, spoken or read, sometimes both, helped them to understand that complacency and ignorance were simply unacceptable. these words, these ideas were changing them, changing the world. together they learned that they must fight for justice and compassion, even if it took an entire lifetime, no, especially if it took two lifetimes, and they promised each other, themselves, that they would resist, that they would never sell out, that they would always refuse to become passive, zombie-like consumers.

passivity is death, one of them once read. hope springs eternal, the other said.

the words lingered in the air, a sustained note, ringing and echoing continually, reverberating and shaking skeletal structures.

at last, they were told, go on. you’re ready, someone else said. and so the two of them believed it. everything else they were told was true and right, why not this. together, they packed up their shit, and they left. it was time.

too soon, they learned their idealism was of no use in their new surroundings. when they fell behind in rent, the landlord said, get a real job; your idealism doesn’t pay the bills. they began to argue over petty things. a leaky sink was enough to drive one of them mad. they tried to recapture those insights they once had, but the words sagged and drooped, each letter indistinguishable from the next. they became ink blots, incommunicable. nobody was listening, anyway. everyone, for one reason or another, was far too self-involved.

people in this new community took advantage of their childlike ideals. they treated them as slaves, as ignorant children. we just want to do a good job and help those who need it, the two of them said. but their voices, their spirits were broken. once articulate and empowered, they were now reduced to nothing more than two little mumbling mice.

at last they looked at each other and said, what happened to us. we were going to change the world, but nobody even respects us. we don’t even respect ourselves. they said things like, no wonder nothing ever gets done. it’s no wonder nothing ever changes. we’re still so easily broken. we’re still lost in the dark wood. and then they wondered, will we ever get out? will we ever really be free?

they thought about this for a long time. it came up in many future conversations. to this day, they’re still thinking about it.

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