Urgent Addendum to the Modern Slave Guide to Modern Slavery.
This is an important announcement. Time is running short and the Slave Guide needs to address a little-appreciated chain of modern slavery, namely costumes.
Humans are observers in a symbolic world, and modern slavery uses this against us. The slavedrivers have kept the ancient power symbols secret from the masses as their ultimate source of power, but they have a weakness: if we become aware how they are used against us, they lose their power.
One doesn’t need to be “illuminated” to understand that costumes are symbolic representations of social order. As a species, we are very attuned to externalities; as a culture, uniforms and other costumes condition us deeply. We do much more than wear clothes: we dress a role and play the part, because without the costumes there can be no play.
The play –as in theatre, script, props– is key to understanding the power of costumes. As humans, we are all actors in the great theatre of life on Earth, and as modern slaves we are also group actors in the sordid kabuki of modern democrazy. Actors come and go, what keeps the roles defined are not the people but the costumes. When a human puts on a costume, s/he puts on a persona, a set of rules, a specific part of a larger whole that is understood by the person in the costume and by everyone else.
Our love for dressing in meaningful attire is inherited from ancient tribal cultures. Even the Kalahari bushmen, whose normal attire is little more than a loincloth, have elaborate costumes for ritual use by the shaman which symbolize the powers of the bearer, granted not by the costume itself but by everyone else who is NOT wearing it. Thus the man wearing the crown is the king, but this power is bestowed to him not by the gold headpiece itself but by his subjects who accept its symbolic attributions.
That said, it is important to point out that despite our love for symbolically-meaningful attires, there comes a point where costumes stop being convincing on their own and require additional hardware to make them serve their true purpose. When the objective is no longer to invite others to participate but to coerce them into participation, the power of the costume derives from the blunt reality of force more than any symbolic whatever. A Roman Centurion in full battle armor was no doubt an impressive sight, but his power over others came from the blade of a sword, not from a free communion of human wills.
Modern slavery has corrupted the art of attire to the very bone, turning our gift of symbolic understanding into a chain of opression. The costumes of slavery rule over us even when we are the ones filling them… but make no mistake, no matter how powerful it makes us feel, it is the costume that is using us, and not the other way around. Humans that don the attire of opression in any of its countless forms will learn that on the day of reckoning it is the human that must answer, not the costume. The “costume made me do it” defense only works in Jackie Chan movies and democrazy costume-based judicial courts:
Cop: Y’onor, I maced the guy to death because I was wearing a uniform… and he wasn’t, see?
Judge: From one man in costume to another, this makes perfect sense to me. The costumeless dupe must have died just to stain the uniform with slanderous accusations.
Cop: No, the stains are from the brass knuckle workout we gave him before the mace, y’honor. It got kinda messy…
Judge: Considering the heavy burden shared by men in costume, let’s just say he fell down the stairs.
To the men and women currently in costumes of opression, please hear me out. There is still time to step out of the costume and reclaim your humanity, but it is running out fast and it has to be done now. There is no middle ground in what’s to come; you either stand as a human or as costume, an illusion, a lie. You are not your costume. You are not a slave. We are human beings in the best reality show this galaxy has to offer, not reptile fodder. So screw them and their two-bit carnival charade and get out while you can, because when the play is over it’s not the costume that lingers, only how it was worn.
It takes a braver man to burn his costume than hide behind it.