The Philosopher Between the Capitalist and the Communist
Chapter 43 : One Last Dialogue With the Anarchists
"We're stuck together, you know," Benjamin said, "No Communist village in this world would take me in, and the same applies to us and Capitalist villages."
"You're probably right about that," Emma replied, "We're birds without a perch, chicks without a nest."
"For revolutionaries, you did well -- you realized from the very beginning that success depended upon accepting people who are very different from you," the Philosopher replied, "But, you stopped realizing that as frustrations had built up when you had no tool or mechanism for handling, frustrations between those who believe in Property and those who don't. And then, by attracting all of those with a rebellious attitude to your city, you had this upsetting effect on the natural balance in human, social ecology. Authority won, conquered all, and now, with nothing left, it is eating itself."
"You truly blame that on us?" Benjamin asked.
"You never should've trusted Spargo or Ally. They were agent provocateurs," the Philosopher replied.
"They're what?" Emma asked.
"They want to pretend to be like you, so that they can encourage and incite you to do things that are actually bad for you and your cause," the Philosopher replied, "That's what and who they are, and nothing more. You trust your friends, because that's the type of people you are, but you don't know how to tell who your real friends are."
"How come you never revolted against anything?" Benjamin asked, "How come you're the one who went around telling everyone what they should be doing instead of doing it yourself?"
The Philosopher laughed, "When I was young, people called me a revolutionary, but then they got used to me, so now they just call me a philosopher, or even, the Philosopher."
"I sometimes wonder what I would be called if there was no such thing as Anarchy or opposition to Authority," Emma said, "If there was no word for 'Anarchist,' I would call myself a Friend to the Friendless."
The Philosopher caught the glint of her smile as he looked to the ground, "Do you remember, long ago, when I said that I hated being called Olmo or Amin? And how King Solon and King Hammurabi had given me those names merely as tokens to gratify the impression of their empires? Do you remember that?"
"Yes, I remember you getting irritated when I called you Olmo," she said.
The Philosopher asked, "Do you even know what really happened to Olmo? What they did to him?"
"No," Emma's face showed concern as her eyebrows furled, "I only heard what was told to me by Athenian speakers, and they only repeated the words of Solon. What happened to Olmo? What is the truth about Olmo?"
"Just another wave of human ignorance," the Philosopher replied, "A child in his village was tortured, raped, and killed. Olmo was a Communist, and the only Communist. So all of the blame fell on him, even though no evidence existed at all. That's why they crucified him. All along, the crime had been committed by a Capitalist, his prime accuser. That's the real story behind Olmo, and why Kings will only reference him, without really explaining him."
"The real meaning of having names instead of stories, fables instead of books," Benjamin smiled back, "Sayings instead of substance."
"That's what you have when you listen to kings instead of peasants," the Philosopher said, "That's what you have when you get advice from someone like Solon or Hammurabi."
"How did you even escape from Hammurabi?" Benjamin asked.
"I'm the Philosopher," his friend replied, "I should probably be better known for escaping from imprisonment than for possessing the truth. I remember we were arguing about something. And then he said 'isn't truth just what you need to understand?' I wanted to scream at that old man, 'There's enough truth that you need understand, that I could beat you to death with it!'"
"And what is it in the nature of Truth that you find?" Emma asked.
"It is in the nature of Truth to hurt no one," the Philosopher said, "Which was something that a person like Hammurabi would never understand."
"Didn't you throw a grapefruit at the face of a cop and then run away as fast as possible?" Ben asked.
"I wasn't charged with a thing," the Philosopher replied, "So in the eyes of the State, it never happened. Truth has quite a different set of eyes altogether, though."
"Oh, and what did the eyes of the Truth see?" Emma asked, "Was it something completely different from what you would see in the heart of Truth?"
"That might have to do more with me than with the Truth," the Philosopher replied.
"Why did you do it?" Benjamin asked, "Why did you save our lives? Certainly, I would have been executed, and eventually, Emma's revolt would have been crushed. What brought you to such incomparable kindness?"
"Maybe, I pictured the world, in a few thousand years, and even beyond that, maybe five thousand years into the future," the Philosopher replied, "I know there will still be kings then. There will still nations. There will still be empires and emperors, poverty and the poor; there will still be well-respected and honored professors amidst clamoring crowds of the illiterate; there will still be civil servants and cops, magistrates and soldiers, even Capitalists and Communists; there will still be private trade of wealthy merchants along with public trade of powerful governments; there will still be religion, drug use, tradition, rebellion, individualism, communalism, and everything that makes humanity what it is -- but, I would be saddened, if there were no more Anarchists."
"Would you be saddened, too, if there were no more Anarchy?" Emma asked with a smile.
"The future will need plenty of that, too," the Philosopher replied.
"Aha!" Benjamin exclaimed, "So, you really have been an Anarchist all along?"
"What's the difference, anyway?" the Philosopher smiled.
"What about you, anyway, Philosopher?" Emma asked, "We haven't heard much of your story."
"Yeah, who are you, anyway?" Benjamin prodded him on.
"Was there one thing you wanted to tell me? Isn't there anything at all?" Emma asked, "You've done a lot of talking about ideas, Philosopher. You are a swordsman with thoughts as your weapons. But there is very little that penetrates past your shielding. Why haven't you said anything about yourself? Why haven't you had a dream or a want or a hope? Why is it just that you're someone who knows how to debate and argue well, and not someone who has some real craft and skill developed from some personal and often never-understood inner characteristic? Doesn't the father figure of Truth have something that moves him deep inside personally? Everything you've said so far has been so impersonal and direct and exacting. What made you like that? What crafted that instinct for arguing and that impulse for disagreeing?"
"This may be the one time you actually used me or what I said in your argument, and it has nothing to do with Truth," the Philosopher replied.
"Where the hell did you even come from, Philosopher?" Emma asked, "What the hell is your purpose, anyway? Come on, we've asked politely far too much."
"I've always told you that I'm the Guardian of Truth. Do you really believe that millions of generations are brought up and put down, without a single soul watching?" the Philosopher asked, "Maybe I just wanted to hear what everyone was going to say. Maybe I just wanted to know how everyone was going to describe their intentions. And then maybe... I never wanted to be here at all; I was only here as a servant of the truth."
"The Truth, huh?" Benjamin asked, "That is the idol of your worship? What the devotion of your personal powers can be found?"
"I suppose, that is something I meant to tell you about the Truth, or to tell someone, at least."
"What about it?" Benjamin asked, "What about the Truth? What happened?"
"Something happened to it all right," the Philosopher responded, "It may have been the truth at one point, pure and simple, but now, it is more like an idea, just a thought, about looking inward and discovering yourself, so that you cannot let the outside deceive you. It's very much so a disfigured thing now compared to its once pristine beginning. I feel like I'm carrying around the shards of some sentimental vase, broken and useless, although still beautiful and, at the right angle in the light, there may even be a few bits of glory in there, too, but still, regardless of all of its uselessness, I still carry it. It still weighs me down, makes my footprints just a little deeper wherever I walk."
"Of course, and every time I have been searched by the king's guards, soldiers, and cops, and their fingers grimed the surface of that broken object, they never knew what they were holding, or what it might have even looked liked in its original, working state. They would sometimes even tell me, 'You're not the Philosopher, the possessor of truth -- you're just a vagrant, with a bag of broken glass.' To imagine that soldiers don't even have enough poetry to come up with something like 'a bag of broken dreams.'"
"Or 'a rag full of shattered misery,'" Benjamin said.
"'The urn of my hopes,'" Emma added in.
"'The pebbles that haven't fallen through the holes in my pockets yet,'" Benjamin wins.
"They have always called me the guardian of truth," the Philosopher said, "I guard it like a night watchman guards the cemetery,
"Philosopher, you had mentioned truth's original, working state? So, the truth had function at one point? It was capable of doing things instead of simply being admired? Have a really misunderstood the nature behind all nature?" Emma asked.
"Oh, certainly it could do things," the Philosopher said, " The machine behind the machine -- the gear behind the gear; truth was always there, always working alongside the universe, never separated from it. And then something happened, and while the universe was too sturdy to be destroyed, the truth died. A sadness has draped the world, a depression that can be felt throughout the stars, since the universe lost its life equal, the Truth. There was once a time when the sun would shine, and the waterfalls were glimmering, and the trees had rich and sweet and refreshing smells, and the truth was no less active in existing and working throughout all things. But that is no longer so."
"What happened, Philosopher?" Emma asked.
"It was like a great flood of human ignorance," the Philosopher replied, "It swallowed all who could breathe a single effort of resistance. All who spoke in protest were drowned in the rising seas, those who thrashed about with their arms were beat down by the angry waves, and while I was only a young man, fighting against the engulfing water and reaching out to save my friends, by the time the flood had receded, I was old, and there was no else left. That's why they say that 'the Philosopher has lived forever.' What they really mean is that I've lived long enough."
"Tell us what happened," Emma said.
"Long ago, there were many people like me, and we all spend our time discussing, exchanging, and trading every piece of truth we could get. We were living in a community that disapproved of such an activity, and one day, they all of my friends disappeared. And I never was able to trade truth with anyone ever again. It was something that only I had, and nobody else would be able to trade with me again. Nobody else would be able to listen to that amount of truth or to be able to handle its depth again, for the truth of the other Philosophers was executed alongside with them. I was a carrier of the sacred wisdom. For a long time, my significance was only that I was holding something left by someone no longer around. But then, I started talking to people about what I know -- and then, that's when they gave me the name, the Philosopher."
"I thought you existed before all civilization?" Emma asked.
"Does anyone exist before all civilization? Maybe the rocks and the trees, and if there are any real answers in the world, anyway, that must certainly be their source."
"Does that mean you were an Anarchist at the beginning of everything?" Benjamin asked, "I would be angry about any centralized, organized, community effort that ended up in destroying my friends."
"No, it doesn't mean that I was an Anarchist at the beginning of everything," the Philosopher replied, "There was a time when I blamed all of that pain simply on misfortune. Or at least, I had hoped it was simply misfortune, and not an incident that would lead to deep implications about how society was organized. But, you live, you suffer, you learn, you grow, you end up hating any obstacle in the way of Truth spreading itself, even if it is a broken truth now."
"It must be worth spreading still, though, even if it is broken, right?" Emma asked.
"I think so," the Philosopher replied, and then after a deep moment coupled with a few mmmm's, he said again, "Yes, I think so. After all, how else is it going to get fixed, unless I let people know about it?"
"Do you think it can be fixed?" Benjamin asked.
The Philosopher replied, "Of that, I am absolutely certain..." and then after a pause, "I hope so, anyway. What do you think?"
"Haha," Emma said, "What if we don't think anything about it? This is your story, right?"
"It certainly is," the Philosopher replied.
"What were your friends like in the beginning?" Benjamin asked.
"I want to know, too," Emma added.
"What did they talk about?" Benjamin asked, "What were your conversations like? How did you really feel about them? Respite or compassion, animosity or desire, frustration or love?"
"There are nights when that is all that I can think about," the Philosopher said, "But most of them time, they are out of mind. Thinking about them makes me remember how I lost them."
Ben spoke, "I had always heard that... the Philosopher is always alone."
"No, no, no, that's not true," the Philosopher replied, "It's not that I'm always alone, so much as ... after so much, it's most comfortable to just be alone now."
"So, the truth is broken, huh?" Benjamin smiled, "Then maybe you, the Philosopher, should go looking for the one they call, the Engineer."
"Philosopher, you're such a weird person," Emma also smiled, "I sometimes think that I wouldn't have ever learned anything from you unless I disagreed with you."
"Sure, you know me, the Philosopher, the one guardian of Truth," the Philosopher covered his giggles from the sarcasm of the Anarchists, "But what do you know about the guardian of Time?"
"Not a thing," Benjamin said.
"Nothing at all," Emma replied, "You're called the Philosopher because you guard Truth. But what do you call someone who guards Time? And what would such a guardian say?"
"There may be no name we would understand for such a guardian," the Philosopher replied, "And perhaps, time's guardian is always speaking. At any moment that you wish, you can hear the words. You must only be listening."
"Is this a friend you keep in your head?" Benjamin smiled, "Or is this some parable to explain some important truth to the world?"
"Neither of the extremes," the Philosopher replied, "You shouldn't have such great distrust of truth. Not at this point."
"So what do we have to learn from the one who guards Time?" Emma asked, "I always thought time could take care of itself. It sweeps before all humanity, without any objection, whether man, woman, or child, and carries all with it. But Truth, it is constantly hounded, persecuted, tortured, abused, and destroyed, at any time there is someone with enough power to profit by doing so. Truth needs a guardian, because it is constantly hunted, but Time needs no guardian. There are none who can challenge it."
"If it is something that society needs to exist, then it has a guardian," the Philosopher replied, "It has to."
"Is that a commandment of Truth?" Benjamin asked.
"Truth has no commandments. That's a commandment of civilization," the Philosopher replied, "An order of the ability to be civil."
"What do you think such a guardian sounds like?" Emma asked.
"Oh, if you talked to her," the Philosopher rubbed his chin as he gathered his thoughts, "She'd probably sound a lot like me."
"And what do we sound like to you?" Emma asked, "How do you like our thoughts in your ears?"
"Yeah, what is your opinion of Anarcho-Capitalism and Anarcho-Communism, anyway?" Benjamin asked, "You seemed to give an opinion on every possible event from here to Babylon and beyond. Why not give an opinion on that?"
"Oh, there's something different between Anarcho-Communism and Anarcho-Capitalism?" the Philosopher asked, "Then maybe you asked the wrong question. Maybe what you really meant to ask is what is different between Communism and Capitalism. If the two systems you're comparing have no laws, then start comparing the other parts."
"So, which was first, anyway?" Benjamin asked, "Authority versus Anarchism or Communism versus Capitalism?"
"Honestly, I don't even remember," Emma replied.
"So, I guess the Communists and the Capitalists are going to be in a war with each other until one side is completely destroyed...." Benjamin said, "Who do you think will win?"
"Who cares? It won't matter," Emma replied, "Do you even think that things like Communism and Capitalism are even going to matter in a few hundred years? It's only 600 BC -- lighten up! After a thousand years, there's no way that people are going to be so stupid as to kill each other over something like 'private property' or 'public property.' Ideas are going to inherit the right to rule the world -- force is explicitly prohibited from the inheritance by the will of humanity. That's what brought about the Communist Revolution, and that's what going to bring about the next Revolution, too -- whatever it's going to be about."
"Are you sure?" Benjamin asked, "Isn't there anything at all that makes you think that the struggle between Communist and Capitalist is innate and essential, like the one side of the human character struggling against the other?"
"Sometimes, you make me think that collective, social organization isn't such a terrible idea after all," Benjamin said, prodding her more.
"Bah, forget about it," Emma replied, "If you hate Capitalism and think Communism is better, think of Capitalism with smiley faces painted on everything. That's Communism."
"So, it was a good thing that King Solon's regime will be overthrown?" the Philosopher asked, "And that he will be replaced instead with a group of conspiring and conflicting political parties?"
"As long as none of them possess a dominant position over the others, then the situation better allows for true Anarcho-Communism to become established," Emma said, "As opposed to a situation where a Communist king controlled everything. That's what I believe."
"It opens up the possibility that Athens may cease to be the homeland of worldwide Communism?" the Philosopher asked.
"Yes, yes it does..." Emma said, "The fact saddens me, certainly, but it is as necessary as one generation dying to give its place to the next. But at least, there was Anarchism that Communist -- there was a type of Libertarian existence that was beyond the scope of Conservativism and the ancient echoes of the past."
"Is that really your opinion about the past?" Ben asked.
"It certainly is," Emma said, "Yesterday's Liberals are tomorrows Conservatives. Real revolutionaries keep pushing boundaries, but when you have both feet stuck in the past, one in tradition and the other in convention, you can't move forward. You have nowhere to go. That's the true lament of the Conservative thinker."
"At least I know where I've been," Ben said, "Do you even know where you're going?"
"You Capitalists just represent the whole Right-Wing to me," Emma said, "You're all Conservatives. Don't you feel like you believe in a hollow ideology, when in a hundred years, the Conservatives will have the ideas and beliefs of today's Liberals?"
"And what do you think about your ideology?" Ben asked, "What do you think when you know that in a hundred years, tomorrow's Liberals would scorn you for being an absurd Conservative, proud of soaring above barely challenging and completely meaningless, social standards?"
"We Anarcho-Communists are the original revolutionaries, updated to modern times. Communism is the new thing. Capitalism is the old thing. We were ready to revolt against the old times, when it became apparent that Capitalism had outlived any sort of usefulness. But the Anarcho-Capitalists didn't revolt yet. They had to wait until the state had outworn its usefulness, before they would decide to resist. And how could they even want to resist? We Anarcho-Communists wanted to abolish an economic system when nobody else would and a political system when nobody else would -- those Anarcho-Capitalists only want to abolish a political system when it's inconvenient. We Anarcho-Communists are different from the authoritarian cultures of the world in two, important, distinct ways; but the Anarcho-Capitalists are only different in that one, particular, specific way. We oppose all authority; they oppose it when it interferes with anyone who has middle-class or above status."
"You're a Revolutionary just like any other Communist," Ben said, "You get big ideas and think you can solve everything if only people listened to your ideas. You're only a shade or two different from Solon."
"And you, look at the people you made deals with!" Emma said, "You worked with the ultra-religious, fanatical cults!"
"That's only because you Communists worked so closely with Freethinker groups!" Benjamin screamed back.
"We can live without the irrationalism of your religion," Emma replied, "But we can't live without the logic of secular thinking."
"You're right," Ben said, "And we can't live without the inspiration of something beyond us; but we can live without cold-blooded calculation."
"I was wrong, Communism and Capitalism aren't the same thing," Emma said, "The problem with you is that you have a bad attitude."
"A bad attitude?" Benjamin smirked, "What does that even mean?"
"You Capitalists probably get your bad attitude from having such a bad upbringing. I was raised by a Communist, someone who made themselves by revolting against the established order of all societies in the world. So when they ceased to live by the graces of humanity and decency, I revolted against that Communist, without a doubt. But you -- you're raised by Capitalists, the inheritors of tradition, and that makes you a traditionalist from your upbringing. The only way you know how to revolt is by rotting in a prison. And it wouldn't have been that way if you had simply been exposed to a non-Capitalist culture as a child."
"And whoever said that Communism and Capitalism are the same thing, anyway?" Benjamin asked, "From hearing the anger in your voice, it's hard to tell you apart from one of the members of Solon's Youth brigade."
"Communism and Capitalism aren't the same thing!" Emma screamed again, "They never have been and they never were. The problem with you Capitalists is that you just don't have enough of the right spirit. They shouldn't separate us into Communist Parties and Capitalist Governments -- they should separate us into those who rebel against all oppression and those who rebel only for their own freedom. That's the difference between you and I."
The Philosopher smiled at the words of the Anarcho-Communist, "That's the real difference between you and I! You just have the wrong attitude! If someone revolts, you say it's because it's easier than being lazy, but I say that it's something worth investigating! That's the difference between you and me, and it always has been the difference between Communist and Capitalist. That's the reason when the crowds split into halves, the one side Communist and the other side Capitalist, I chose the Communist crowd, and I belonged to it, heart and soul, because of who I am. I'm the type of person who believes that every voice in revolt deserves to be heard. The fact is that I could only find like-minded people among the Communists and nobody else. You talk so much about how we've forgotten the sacredness of family; you don't understand the arduousness of being alone, isolated, and alienated in an incredibly public-based city, having nobody who understands anything besides their own wants, and finding that one place, this magical setting, where everyone believed that every injustice should be brought to light. That's why I chose Communism. That's why I still choose it."
Benjamin looked at Emma, made a curiously stern face, said nothing, and then after a few moments, turned away. "You simplify a lot of things," he finally said, "But you might be right, at least about some things."
"Come on, Philosopher! You and I!" Emma said, "I will harness the strength of Anarchist-Communism and you can use the power of truth -- together, we can take on both Hammurabi and Solon and crush their empires; I can just picture that glorious moment when I'm break into the Capitalist palace, look Hammurabi in the eye, and scream, 'Of all the governments I have overthrown, yours was the worst!' Come on, you know we can do it!"
"Now I think you know that's not where this story is going," the Philosopher replied, "You should know that I'm too old to make revolutions, now."
"Older than civilization, if the rumors are correct," Benjamin smiled.
"Cities. Maybe you should blame cities," the Philosopher said, "A large group of people living in a confined space without any control over their own lives, obeying whatever boss or overseer can pay the basis of their existence to exploit their skills out of them -- maybe that's why there's Communism, and why there always will be Communism. A handful of people, living vast distances apart, each completely dependent upon themselves and whatever rare soul they can afford to help them -- maybe that's why there's Capitalism, and why there always will be Capitalism."
"There will be always be cities, don't you think there will be a time when all villages mature into cities?"
"There are places where cities have dwindled into absolute nothingness," the Philosopher replied, "With nothing but a crater to mark their former place, and there are perhaps more of these spots on the globe than all of the villages that grew up into great, big capitals that we still know about."
"What kind of Original Myth did those places have?" Benjamin asked, "Well, certainly, they must've been Capitalists in the original Anarchist land, right?"
"Capitalists?" Emma asked, "Developing a community without sharing is like raising a family without feeding them. They had to have been Communists, or at least Communist-like, right?"
The Philosopher looked listless for a moment, and then after turning away from his listeners, finally said to them, "It's hard to say..."
"Really?" Emma asked with a degree of sarcasm, "Has history caught the tongue of Truth?"
"No, it's simply that, well," the Philosopher shrugged, "They wouldn't understand your question, either."
"Hey, you said you were the guardian of Truth, right?" Benjamin smiled, "You're telling us now that you don't know the Truth?"
"It's not a matter of whether I know the truth or not," the Philosopher said, "You know, if you exercise free will, you could simply ask me how they lived, I could tell you, and then you could make up the decision for yourself. Aren't either of you individualists?"
"The world just ended, and now we're getting scolded by the Philosopher," Emma sighed with a smile, "Is this day going to get worse?"
"You originally knew this?" Benjamin asked, "Philosopher, if you knew that there had originally been an anarchist land, without kingdoms, long before the Capitalist kingdom and the Communist kingdom -- how come you didn't tell anybody?"
"I tell everyone what they want to know, and you never asked," the Philosopher replied.
"So, did someone ask? Is that how you know?" Emma said, "Who asked?"
"I can't tell you that, obviously," the Philosopher replied, "And besides, so what if I had told someone? I'll volunteer that answer to anyone who asks me that question plainly, as opposed to simply volunteering that knowledge to two anarchists trying to get over their differences so that they can create a revolution."
" 'There was originally an anarchist land.' That's it," Benjamin said, "That's all you would have had to say."
"That would've solved your problems?" the Philosopher asked, "Did you even understood the problems you were experiencing -- like when you were telling me them through prison bars? Did you, Anarcho-Communist, even understand your problem when you had organized a revolt against Solon?"
"All right, whatever...." Emma relented, "So, let's have it."
"What?" the Philosopher asked.
"How did they live in the Anarchist land?" Benjamin asked, "How did they live in Anarchist Africa?"
"Do you really want to know?" the Philosopher said.
Emma replied, "I will tell the world, I promise."
"It's not a matter of simply how they lived in the past, so much as how it is that they're living right, as I'm breathing this air, the Philosopher replied.
"So tell us!" Benjamin pleaded with his friend.
"The fact is, there have been stateless cities, stateless territories, even stateless empires, and always have been," the Philosopher said, "Look at the city of Jenne-Jeno, which has existed without government in the heart of North Africa with neither kings nor masters, living like this for thousands of years." [*1]
*1. Africa: Biography of Continent, by John Reader, page 225.
"You mean, all of Africa is simply 'plain Anarchist'?" Emma asked, "There is no feud between the Anarcho-Communists and the Anarcho-Capitalists?"
"If Communism and Capitalism don't exist, then there can't be a feud between their adherents, now can there?" the Philosopher replied.
"Sometimes I don't think there are Leftists or Rightists, there are only good people or bad people," Emma said, "Roz wasn't a Right-Winger Militarist, the way they made him up to be in Babylon. He was just a good person. And Pan wasn't an Orthodox Marxist, the way they had once praised him in Athens. He, too, was just a good person. That's why, even though they were black and white when it came to ideology, Pan and Roz were perfect allies."
"What you've done here with your lives will be remembered forever," the Philosopher said, "Judge people how you want. You need to think about what you've done, too."
"You get what he's saying, right?" Benjamin asked, "Athens in Greece shall forever be remembered throughout all humanity as the home to Communism; Babylon in the Middle East shall forever be remembered as the home to Capitalism; and Africa will never be forgotten by the world's people when they are thinking of liberty and Anarchism. Right?"
"Well.... you're right about Babylon -- I can verify that."
"It will be so interesting at that point in time, thousands of years in the future; I wonder how much different things will be. What are they going to have in the future, if there aren't things like Communism and Capitalism and the State?" Emma asked, "What new kind of 'ism with its devout 'ists will establish their own cultures while secretly plotting the destruction of the others?"
"Things very much like those; that is what I believe," the Philosopher smiled.
"You mean you don't know?" Benjamin asked, "How does the Guardian of Truth not know what the future holds for human civilization? What happened to that certain wisdom you always had beyond others?"
The Philosopher looked up at the skies, then checked his shadow on the ground. "I'm sorry, but I must be leaving," the Philosopher said, "Just keep North and you'll find yourself away from any potential threat of the two Emperors. Stay close to the river. You may see me again."
"The river?" Emma asked, "And how soon?"
"You'll know when you need to know," the Philosopher said with a grin, "You've doubted me so much before, at least trust me now." And after polite exits had been made, the Philosopher once again disappeared.
And just behind the ears of Emma and Benjamin, they almost thought they could hear the calm whispering voice, "You can't kill me. I'm an economic system. You can only convince people to abandon me. But I'll always be there, waiting for someone else to pick me up."