The Philosopher Between the Capitalist and the Communist
Chapter 44 : One Last Moment With the Emperors
A wagon with gold hilt and blue banners carrying obscure religious symbols rolled through a village with a desolate economy and crops rotting in the fields. On the other side of the village was a careless, old man, walking around in his hooded clothing, lured by a child's chant for a second, "Hey, Olmo!"
"That's not my name, kid, so don't call me that," the Philosopher said, "And for at least a little while, pretend that you forgot seeing me at all." He added in a smile as payment for his request.
It was among the handful of dregs passing by on their entrance and exit of the local taverns, and among the few peasants and their children in the marketplace, that the royalty within the wagon could hear the echo of someone yelling, "Hey, can anyone here spare one mina of gold? Just one, that's all I need."
"Hold!" Hammurabi leans forward to the driver of his caravan, "We need to stop here. I need to do something personal."
"Will you require your entourage of personal bodyguards?"
"No, I need to be alone, but stay on the lookout," Hammurabi said, "Keep the guards on alert. I shall return." He walked aimlessly in the direction of the yelling he had heard, some of the local townspeople exchanges glances, their dirty faces to the clean and pristine skin of his. At the final edges of that village society, he saw nothing but green and more green, trees and more trees, vegetation and more vegetation. "Well, as long as I am here," and he began to urinate, when he noticed someone in the town staring at him.
"Excuse me, miscreant peasant, but there is a king here trying to relieve himself, and I order you to quickly and quietly disappear at once from my presence," Hammurabi's obstinance was not broken by his grip on his member. And the dirty face disappeared, as his unbroken stream continued to fall into the roots of the great oak before him. Quiet. Too quiet, Hammurabi began to think. He finished emptying his bladder and hoisted up his pants when -- BANG! A small pebble bounces off of the tree just whizzing by Hammurabi's ear. He turned around instantly, noticing a shadowy figure far, far, far in the depths of the woods.
"Is that you, Philosopher?" Hammurabi asked, "Get back here right now! I'm ordering you!"
The Philosopher turned around at the ever-slowest speed, and just as his face came into full view of Hammurabi's vision, he gave the widest grin, then took off back into the forest.
"I told you! I can have you abused and tortured in ways you haven't yet imagined! Get back here!" Hammurabi saw the object of his desires disappear into the thick green of the forest. He wiped his shoulder against his forehead to catch the sweat, the gold tassels on his sleep becoming more like candle wicks than loose fabric. Instead of taking pursuit, he looked deeply into the forest, before quietly surrendering to a seat on a large rock, examining the dirt on his hands while catching his breath.
"Ow!" a tiny pebble bounces off of the king's knee. He looks up to find the Philosopher, deep in the woods, grinning without any other motion in his body.
"I order you here now!" Hammurabi screamed.
The Philosopher made an O shape with his mouth, widened his eyes, and pointed to below his feet.
"Don't you touch that rock!" Hammurabi instinctively responded.
Without a word or change of expression, the Philosopher bent over and grabbed the rock, still looking directly at the king.
"Put that rock down! Right now!" Swoooooshhhhhh!!! The pebble bounced off the boulder that Hammurabi was resting upon. "I'm coming for you!" Hammurabi screamed at the top of his lungs, but not before the Philosopher got a good shot at his pelvis.
"You know, that's the problem with you, Philosopher," Hammurabi shouted as he ran, "You always got your head up in the clouds. The advice you need is to go back to the beasts and learn to have some selfishness in your life."
"Better save your breath for the run," the Philosopher turned around just quick enough to show his smile.
"If you really are the distributor of Truth," Hammurabi finally stopped and lean against a tree, gasping for air, "If...."
"Oh, finally done, are you?" the Philosopher quietly walks back to the King, panting just like his competitor, "No more running of the legs, just running of the mind?"
"If you really are the distributor of Truth, then how come you weren't so impartial with your meetings with the Communist King and the Capitalist King?" Hammurabi asked, "How come you accepted the first so much, and despised the later so much?"
"They are both different people altogether; and I dealt with them according to their differences. I had to," the Philosopher replied, "How I dealt with you and how I dealt with Solon is like deciding how to deal with the flood and how to deal with the drought. There is no refuting the Truth. You can only refute how the brain perceives it. That's the only place where your drapery and curtains can block the light from the one who wants to know."
"That's ridiculous. Nobody even knows how the human brain works, and the only ones who might would be those who couldn't explain it to others, people we might nickname Philosophers," Hammurabi said.
"You're a humble patron, you deserve that compliment," the Philosopher replied, "At least you thought about how the human brain works enough to come up with some answer like Philosophy."
"If you knew so much about how the mind really works, then I doubt you'd be getting into arguments so often," Hammurabi replied, "Who wants to argue? It's a lot of talk and heat with no profit. Action, that's what commands dignity and interest. You're just the opposite of action, though -- you're all thought. And your thoughts just get in the way of you and everyone you've ever interacted with, whether it was the rebel Anarcho's, the runaway Marxist and Militarist, the undercover Communist and Capitalist spy, both Solon and I, just about everyone. You talk for a little bit to anyone, and they end up in an argument with you. Now how does someone who know so much about the mind gets so uselessly engaged with it whenever the opportunity arises? How do you disagree with everyone if you already know what everyone is thinking? Tell me, now, so-called Guardian of Truth."
"At what point did I say I understand people?" the Philosopher smiled, "Consciousness is one thing, being a human being with infinite flaws and endless dreams and ceaseless irritations and unknown impulses, that's an entirely different thing altogether. It might be better to say that I try to align the two together, mind and action, or at least convince others of this. I'm not talking so much about a difference of heat versus cold or pain versus pleasure, so much as a difference between rational understanding and impulsive needs."
"Of course I can't get a straight answer," Hammurabi replied, "You just feed me another argument. Another classic trap, I'm pretty much responsible for laying it. Or maybe you're just on drugs. Don't you consume the smoke? That intoxicant herb that we find all of the kids hopped up on? You know how many times we drag a kid into court and send them off to prison just for that?"
"There are times I just want to sit down, lean back, drink, and smoke," the Philosopher said, "Any old stone or tree will do, any old hill where you can still get away with minor crimes, I would take any of them. There are times when I'm going somewhere, obligated to do something, and seeing a path with no objective somehow just appeals too greatly. If being the guardian of truth means anything, it means constantly resisting anyone who uses knowledge to abuse others. And by the end of it all, after the very last round of thought has been spent, I need a place where I can collapse and rest -- I need a sanctuary of thoughtlessness."
"And how do you know that it's a sanctuary and not a sewer?" Hammurabi asked.
"Because I enter without the ability to retain anything in my mind," the Philosopher replied, "And I return with the ability to have deep insight into anything I interact with."
"Oh?" Hammurabi asked, "And what makes you think you can trust those feelings? What makes you think that it's not just another form of 'general rest' that all people need from time to time?"
"Smoking is not just another form of general rest, because before it, I had never even thought of Philosophy," the Philosopher replied, "I smoke everyday, but it was psychedelic mushrooms that brought me to that supreme greatness, Philosophy -- Truth simply commanded me to share it with everyone around me. [*1] That is why they call me the Philosopher."
*1. Eleusinian Mysteries.
"I don't believe you," Hammurabi said.
"The king who wore no truth," the Philosopher replied.
"It sounds like a ridiculous garment," Hammurabi said.
"Everything about Truth sounds ridiculous to you," the Philosopher said, "Use it as a food, use it as a smoke, use it a medicine, use it a thought -- it all always sounded ridiculous to you."
Hammurabi gave a keen eye to the Philosopher, "Are you trying to say... that Truth is nothing more than your illicit use of drugs?"
And from out of the bashes behind them, they can hear a noise, several feet stomping over underbrush and thatched bushes. Out from the crinkling noises, there appears a rather-dull faced peasant and to his side a much more cautious Solon. It was the same peasant that Hammurabi had caught earlier.
"Hello, Solon," the Philosopher said, "Good to see you here." The peasant walked to the Philosopher, received several pieces of gold coin, and then disappeared into the woods without saying a word. "I'd like to introduce you to someone. Have you met Hammurabi yet?"
"What is this?" Solon asked.
"What did you do?" Hammurabi asked.
"You have no idea what it took to organize this meeting," the Philosopher said, "You will never be able to imagine the cost in human labor, lost moments, imprisoned friends, efforts dispersed, and physical tragedy that was necessary to bring you two together right here and right now. Can you at least pretend to appreciate the pains I took to put this together?"
"But why would you want to trick us into talking to each other?" Solon asked.
"Yeah,?" Hammurabi added in, "Why all of this deceit? How is Truth's defender so good at lying? Why bring us together like this if you never informed us of your true intent?"
"Maybe I just wanted to hear what each of you had to say," the Philosopher said. "In the beginning, you both requested a personal audience with me, and I granted it. But I should have refused. I should have required that we all meet at once. I should have required this."
"So, did you end up even having an actual opinion on Communism or Capitalism?" Solon asked.
"Actually, it is probably best to moderate between the two," the Philosopher said, "But that's really just a guess."
"I thought that was your opinion on everything," Hammurabi rolled his eyes.
"And why am I so important anyway, Hammurabi?" the Philosopher responded.
"But you're the Philosopher! You're a great man!" Solon said.
"What the hell are you talking about?" the Philosopher replied, "If, at any point, I acted because I thought I was being a great man, and triumphing over the inferior man, then there is nothing that truth could say in my defense."
"What about that one point when you stole a private communique from the Communist Party in Athens, and then dove out of a window? You climbed down a gasoline soaked rope, and when soldiers gave chase to you down the rope, you set it on fire at the bottom. You burned one soldier's hands and another's legs. You're not a harmless old man, you're a crazy ideologist defending something that nobody has ever seen," Hammurabi was beginning to get angry with his words, "You're just as dangerous as any terrorist."
"Sometimes I don't want soldiers and cops to be following me, wherever I go, when I just want to know how the laws of the land are being made," the Philosopher replied, "Any amount of fire is justifiable to protect that right."
"Do you know what a Philosopher's Stone is?" Hammurabi asked.
"I should hope so, if it's mine," the Philosopher replied, "But yes, I've heard that phrase before."
"It's the myth that a philosopher uses to control people, whether the philosopher is you, Amin, or some other philosopher. But it's always a hoax, a guise, a ploy used to deceive and beguile others, to trick them into respecting and revering you for having planted a false idea into their head. Your philosopher's stone is and always been the Truth!"
"I sure wish it were a stone," the Philosopher replied, "I've got a good throwing arm when it comes to stones, but with ideas, you need to actually throw them at something for there to be an impact."
"Admit it," Hammurabi insisted, "There is no truth, and there never has been. Go on, say it. Let Solon and the entire world know it."
"Is this true?" Solon asked, "Is there really no Truth?"
"Don't expect a straight answer out of him," Hammurabi said, "My spy network is vast and deep. They can turn up some amazing and useful facts."
"Philosopher, is that a fact? Did you make up the Truth?" Solon spoke, "Did you really wrap the world around your finger and made the minds of its inhabitants your servile playthings? Did you really establish Philosophy by deceit?"
"If you wish to believe it, then I cannot stop you from believing it," the Philosopher replied.
"See, how straight of an answer was that?" Hammurabi replied, "All I want to believe is whatever's necessary to manage, govern, and expand an empire. That means wanting to believe nothing -- not a hope, not a dream, not a future. I believe in what my spies tell me, and every fifth spy who returns me some juicy information, I torture him to death, arbitrarily telling him the information is a lie, just to hear his reply under the worst agonies -- then I can figure out the average rate of when my spies are lying to me."
"Really? I thought governing an empire required a bit more than ruthlessness and the ability to add or divide," the Philosopher spoke.
"Not every King rules because they want to rule an empire -- some of us do it because we want to change the world," Solon replied.
"Oh, really?" Hammurabi said, "You wanted to change the world? You and everyone else with an idea! Behind, world, the class of men who want to change the world -- drug-addicted musicians and kings, side-by-side, each ready to do their part to 'change the world.'"
Solon replied, "And you wanted to keep things the same, the way they've been for generations -- slavers, nobility, aristocracy, capitalists, priests, and kings, all side-by-side, each working for convention and tradition and 'accepted morality.' Those miserable elements are the heart of your 'Capitalist Society.'"
"I flick some dirt at you, and you flick some dirt at me," Hammurabi replied, "But only you got offended. Don't think like a commoner. I know your society feeds and clothes its bureaucrats the way our society feeds and clothes its capitalist class. You're just like me, in some ways."
"You're both the same in one aspect definitely," the Philosopher interjected, "You're both responsible for bringing us all to this exact point in time -- the empires faltering beneath their shattered columns and the entire world ready to disintegrate underneath the pressure of military-based economies."
"Do you really think Truth's servant would bring about a World War just so that he could see the two most powerful men in the world hurl insults at each other in place of rational debate?" the Philosopher replied.
"Ah, 'the truth,' there you go again," Hammurabi replied, "You're arguing again from a point that has no basis."
"Maybe if there was Truth, and maybe if it had a servant, and maybe I had enough experience and qualifications to be that servant," the Philosopher, "Then just maybe -- maybe the real reason why you're standing face-to-face with the one person with which you co-created the World War -- just maybe, then just maybe, against all of the odds and possibilities, just maybe -- Truth wants to hear what you're going to say."
"So, the mythical being that nobody has yet seen, it even has ears?" Hammurabi chuckled to himself, "To say nothing of 'wants,' of course, as though it were a sentient being."
"You have a good spy network," the Philosopher replied, "But so does the Truth. Would you, a Militaristic, Capitalistic Emperor, ever dare talk to another soldier, or even an officer, of such a thing as 'sentience'? Was there ever an instant, in your entire career, when that word graced your lips? When is the last time you even talked with someone about 'why thoughts exist'?"
Hammurabi's said nothing, but the Philosopher and Solon noticed his chest deflate a little.
"That's why you both know nothing about the Anarchist philosophers," the Philosopher replied.
"An Anarchist philosopher?" Solon asked, "That's like saying there's a philosopher of the birds."
"And why shouldn't there be?" the Philosopher asked.
"Whenever I heard the word 'philosopher,' I always thought of you, as in 'the philosopher.' But with these Anarchist Philosophers, Emma and Benjamin, I'm totally confused," Hammurabi said, "Should I now call you 'the regular philosopher'? Or how about just 'Regular'? At a point like this, that seems much more fitting than Amin."
"That was never my name," the Philosopher replied, "And what makes you think that there won't be Anarchist philosophers until the end of time?"
"Never heard of them," Solon said, "Or, at least, I don't hear their names mentioned in conversations, I don't see their words written in books. We have no Anarchist philosophers in Athens, Philosopher."
"How come there's no Statist Philosopher?" Hammurabi asked.
"I don't know -- how come there's no Philosopher of the Reptiles?" the Philosopher asked, "How much Truth is there in the state?"
"What happened to your Objectivism?" Hammurabi asked.
"Hey, ever been threatened with being punched in the stomach and mugged by the King of Capitalism?" the Philosopher turned to the emperor and smiled.
"Fair enough," Hammurabi almost blushed.
"Why did you feel like you had to punish the Anarchians? Why did you have to wipe out the home of the Anarchists from the face of the Earth?" the Philosopher asked.
"Those damned, rotten kids," Hammurabi replied, "We only sent them to school so that they could be educated, so that they could exercise their brains and make them more durable as you would do with your body. They are definitely exercising their brains, except its only the lower parts of the brain, the underhanded side, the gymnastics of Revolution and the yoga of Individualism and the meditation of Collectivism. So, they are like a misformed athlete, with their legs all brawny, and their upper body completely underdeveloped and underused. Like literal monsters. That's what you're dealing with when you have the mind of a revolutionary. Maybe now you understand why we felt like we had to punish them -- it's because, they were our children, and we were disappointed in what they became. We let them keep doing whatever they wanted for the longest time. That's not why we punished them, because of what they were doing. It was who they are, or at least, what they became that made them deserve it."
"You perfectly said it," Solon agreed, "Like a judge handing down a verdict after each piece of evidence has been weighed and examined, your ruling on Emma and Benjamin is completely accurate. Emma was just an Anarchist at first, like a newborn baby, no thoughts at all but the complete absence of them, and then she became a Communist, like the rest of us at Athens, but then, her Anarchist side grew more and more important to her, and her Communist side less and less. By the time she started up that little embarrassment known as Anarchy, she was only Communist enough for her to make the rest of us Reds look bad. She wasn't Communist enough to resist Capitalism, to fight Imperialism, to overthrow Militarism, or abolish Government by the Rich. She definitely was Anarchist enough to draw away enough Socialists and Unionists and Cooperativists from our cause, like a hole in the pipe delivering water to Athens."
"So, you, Hammurabi, hated Ben because he disappointed you, and you, Solon, hated Emma because it was politically advantageous to eliminate her," the Philosopher said, "It seems to me like your mutual hatred of them wasn't based on such a great, mutual understanding."
"That's the problem with you, Philosopher," Hammurabi said, "You try to reconcile facts in a way that books will understand but that people won't ever comprehend. When it comes to leaving behind a record, you, Philosopher, top the rest. But when it comes to living in this world and changing it, you definitely can't reach that. That may be your only weakness."
"You simply are bad at judging the character in others, Philosopher," Solon added in, "You don't get Emma or Benjamin. You never did. And now you're trying to drag each of us, both Hammurabi and I, around in the mud, like we're responsible for creating all of tyranny, and like those two Anarchists are saints among angels in the heavens. You overestimate their accomplishments, you ignore our achievements, that's always been your weakness, Philosopher. I sometimes wished that I had attempted to name you Friend of the Anarchists."
"Well, I was, wasn't I?" the Philosopher smiled, "And you don't go around calling one of the local farmers the Grower of Wheat. You simply called them by their name."
"And you have none," Hammurabi replied.
"And you wouldn't accept one," Solon said, "We call you the Philosopher because we only know that you Philosophize. No other craft or art is really applied to your activities."
"You know, I have friends where I'm only known as the Poet, and that doesn't really bother me, it never really did," the Philosopher said, "But the way you use the word the Philosopher, the contexts in which you apply it, all of that makes me leery and suspicious of the true intent of your emotions."
"So, we know plenty about your Philosophy," Hammurabi said, "But what happened to all of that lovely Poetry you said you could claim?"
"Yes, what about that?" Solon asked, "Why would anyone look to the Guardian of Truth and call them the Poet? That makes no sense at all."
"You think the Truth is all Philosophy and no Poetry? Please, don't make me pity you gentlemen," the Philosopher said.
"Pitying is a controlling mechanism," Solon said, "You pity someone because you can't do anything else to them. You can't argue them, you can't fight them, you can't kill them, you can't imprison them, you can't disprove them, you can't arrange for a misfortune to befall them -- you can only pity them. It makes you think that you still are in control emotionally."
"So, if you're both right, does that mean that I only have so much self-pity, because I'm trying to control myself?" the Philosopher smiled, "You compliment each other like fine wine and a delicious meal, or like raw timber floating down marshy waters."
"You master words, we master empires," Hammurabi said, "I don't care how many thumbs up you get when you dance with your thoughts when we just fumble meakly with even the act of touching our ideas. Millions of soldiers dance to the beat of our drums. That's more than enough to satisfy us."
"You philosophize, we act," Solon said, "That's the fundamental difference between you and I. We are thinking, moving agents within this world, changing all that we touch, but you are this still, motionless being, understanding every change yet incapable of doing anything about it."
"To philosophize is an action," the Philosopher replied, "You just never picked up the reverberations of its motion, and mistook deep thought for laziness and lack of clarity."
"An action to you, of course," Hammurabi replied, "You're the Philosopher. You Philosophize. To you, it's an action, it's a doing, but to the rest of us, it's just a waste of time. You're really just a troublemaker."
"You need to feel your own importance," Solon said, "It's not really about interpreting the world around you, so much as in getting it to look back at you. That's what you're after and what you've always been after. It's in your character."
"And when is the last time either of you got the world to look back at you?" the Philosopher asked, "When you were judging it from atop your thrones? When you were accusing it from the safety of your palaces? When you were carrying out its executions from the comfort of your infinite luxuries? Did you ever get anyone to look at you and see a human being instead of some untouchable master of the lives of all citizens?"
"You and I want different things," Hammurabi said, "That's all."
"So what if the world looks back and sees your suffering," Solon added, "It doesn't change the fact that you suffer."
"It does, if it means that you're suffering, because of lack of knowledge," the Philosopher said, "You might actually not suffer so much, if you were willing to pick up wisdom from those around you. And if there's any suffering that really damages the soul, isn't it the suffering that comes from not knowing?"
"Nothing but debate tactics," Hammurabi replied.
"Argument by sentimentality," Solon said, "You stand on nothing, Philosopher."
"The truth can stand on its own," the Philosopher replied, "It always has been able to stand on its own, and nobody ever calls out 'semantics!' or 'Ad H ominem!' when it speaks. Mock it all that you like. It stands out all the more because of your miserable shrieks and cries."
"You're the one we should be listening to in judging our children?" Hammurabi asked, "You're so facetious and presuming."
"Someone calling themselves the Guardian of Truth shouldn't be a counsel in a legal proceeding," Solon said, "I'd embarrass myself and the case just to mention the name of the person giving me advice."
"You'd never let me into your courts, because you'd be too afraid that I would come in with words like mercy and leniency," the Philosopher replied, "The only thing that could compel you to let me in would be the possibility that you might possess truth, and not that you can consume it, but so that you can own it. You want to possess it, pass it between your fingers and toss it between your hands, but not to use it, not to think about it."
"And not to tell us how to raise our children, that's for certain!" Hammurabi screamed back.
"For someone who's been friends with such well-known Individualists, I'm surprised that you wouldn't let your neighbor groom their backyard as they please," Solon said.
"Oh, so you do think of Emma and Ben as your children?" the Philosopher asked, "And you think that your punishment of them was like lopping off a crooked, deranged branch from a beautiful oak tree in your yard? Have you heard me at all what I said about your impulsive nature to possess things rather than indulge in them?"
"Ben wanted to give the land to the peasant and Emma wanted to give the factory to the worker," Hammurabi said, "You might as well give your wife to the pervert and your children to the slaver. How could we let that go unpunished? It would be against everything we are."
"You could have listened to Truth," the Philosopher smiled, a bit of redness in his eyes and almost daze in his posture.
"I can tell you exactly why my empire was destroyed!" Hammurabi became angered, "The Philosopher was a Communist in disguise, sent here to cause trouble and stir up our animosity, to whip us up into such a great anger that we had to invade and take from our neighboring countries all that they have! It was really all my fault -- for inviting the Philosopher. I should have never sent for him. I never should have sent for you! The Anarchist Revolt is all your fault, philosopher! I never should have invited you to my capital!"
Hammurabi spit to the ground and walked passed the Philosopher down the stream, before stopping for just a second, to turn and say, "You claim to be the Guardian of Truth, yes we've all heard that story before, of course, of course. Would you try to be unbiased maybe just a little bit once in your life?" And Hammurabi had disappeared.
Solon looked to the Philosopher, "What Hammurabi said before -- about how the Truth never existed -- he was lying, right?"
The Philosopher opened his mouth to speak, then stopped, waited, looked at the ground, and then returned eye contact with a calm smile. Solon's eyes widened, as he replied, "Really? Really? How? But how? And besides that, I really thought my spy empire was wider and deeper than Hammurabi's."
"Please don't envy the Capitalist King," the Philosopher replied, "That's a very unbecoming act for the Communist King. Learn from the lies as much as you learn from the Truth."
"Or, whatever there is, at any society or point in time, that passes for Truth, I suppose, right?" replied Solon, and before the Philosopher could reply, "You know, actually, I think I need to catch up to Hammurabi and ask him some questions. I'm in need of his answers. Please do not mind as I disappear in quest of them! I revere the Truth of the Philosopher, but I must also have everyone's truth. Good, Philosopher."
The Philosopher opened to speak, but before he could say anything, Solon's face turned around, and he ran down by the side of the river. After a few moments of hesitation and after Solon had gained a good deal of ground, the Philosopher finally shouted, "If there was any wisdom I was going to tell you, it would have only been because you were going to listen to me!" Solon's running pace remained at its steady stride. He did not look back. And then, once finally out of sight, the Philosopher whispered to himself, "...goodbye, Solon."
"I will miss you, Solon. Hammurabi, though, not so much," the Philosopher quietly listened to himself, "Maybe Communism and Capitalism aren't the same thing."
Before disappearing back into the underbrush, he whispered to his conscience, "I don't know what I came here to do, or why I came here to do it, but I did it, and it's done."
At one point, the world had been cut up into three colors -- red, blue, and black. But when the Anarchists exited society through the one river that might lead to liberty, the stream would turn red at points, and blue at others. It was in the depths of darkness that the Philosopher reappeared. He saw the two walking side-by-side, Emma and Benjamin. Rushing up to them with every piece of his energy, they took his enthusiasm by surprise and almost shock.
"I need to ask you a personal question," the Philosopher was almost out of breath, "Are you armed?"
Emma and Benjamin quickly exchanged glances, before their faces turned into wry smiles. "What's wrong, Philosopher?" one asked. "Do you need help? Is someone bothering you?"
The Philosopher studied their eyes, and then a wide grin drew across his face, "You're not armed, are you? Here, take these." The Philosopher pulled out two knives and then he gave each to one of the Anarchists. "Sometimes being the servant of truth makes you look like a fool, sometimes it makes you look like a hero. You will need these. Trust me." And before Emma or Benjamin said anything, the Philosopher dashed off.
"But, what do you expect us to do with these?" Emma shouted out.
"Your advice shouldn't be so obscure," Benjamin remarked, "Your instructions should be clear."
"Here's my advice," the Philosopher stopped and turned around for a second, "Trust yourselves. When the world is against you, that is all you have." The two Anarchists securely gripped the blades handed to them. "It has been a pleasure meeting you." And the Philosopher was again gone.
And then, from the woods, one could hear two voices becoming louder and louder, "Well, at that point, I would just imprison anyone who disagrees with me and execute their leaders," Hammurabi said.
"That's too harsh and you lose too many people that way," Solon replied, "If you have a traitor, sell his wife into slavery, that way, you still have the soldier and you still maintain obedience."
Emma looked to Benjamin, and Benjamin looked to Emma. There was a quiet hesitation, just before the prey realized the trap that had been set. A violent struggle and desperation against force, and the emperors were no more, their empires falling to squabbling heirs, the deathblow to anything resembling order within civilization. The Anarchists had killed their kings, but only because of Philosophy's guidance. The rest of civilization, either ignoring Philosophy or holding it in contempt, ceased to exist.