Carousel (Part II)
The offspring of tradition are guided and judged within the confines of the elaborately decorated carousel, where heavy amounts of stimuli have distracted them throughout many rotations of lapsing time. The cyclical redundancy and its formulas have stunted the healthy growth of their own identities, and so they become curious about the blurred kaleidoscope outside the carousel's boundaries. Enticed by the blurry, unknown territory, they take a risk by stepping off their familiar path, but immediately find the new world to be intensely disorienting. Without an identity, they are initially confused when confronted with reality's challenges, but as they adapt, they begin to understand the individual power they all possess. They disconnect themselves from the routine of the carousel and its lingering concepts of false romanticism, and begin grounding themselves in this new world of clarity. As they progress, contemplate, and evolve, the masters of the carousel attempt to prey on what's left of their insecurities and naiveties, in order to increase the potency of their formula which prevents others from stepping off the carousel.
Through the Teeth
There was once a time when fantasy reigned and romanticism left a child optimistic about their future, but as he grows into an adult, these promises are shattered when faced with reality. As the luster begins to diminish, disappointment arises, fueling anger towards all that once pacified him. The tendency to be a dreamer is hard to relinquish, and he's scolded by those who claim he should “wake up.” Despite this, he remains a hopeful, naive sponge – for life's truths are no more deceitful than his fantasy world. This leaves his perception of reality inconclusive and ever-evolving. The realists' one-dimensional path seems to leave them oblivious to both their surroundings and the unknown celestial world, and they accept anything that they're told – so, are they any more delusional than the dreamers? Is this mundanity something that we must accept, or fight? Do we avoid intruding on others' paths, even if we predict them causing harm? Do we give them the benefit of the doubt in terms of realizing their own faults beforehand? Mobility prevents the evil moss of stagnancy, acceptance, and realization from grabbing hold of him, and he wonders if trying to solve certain problems in our world parallels Sisyphus being doomed to his boulder duties. Do the countless efforts represent life's puzzle, even if we fail eternally? Does what we make of this inevitability represent our own life's meaning? With all these questions, he embarks on a journey to seek out others who may identify with his intent to create good, in hopes of finding or creating a sense of relief, purpose, beauty, and camaraderie, in order to better understand life.
As a meager fellow eases into a life of stability, he finds his leisure time slowly being compromised before him. Aside from his normal obligations, he is contributing less and less to society, and the time necessary to feed his curiosity and growth in new directions slips away. He begins yearning for a sense of productivity and self-worth, but like the body, his mind inevitably grows tired and weak, making it more difficult to revive his vitality. He can't help but attribute this decline to the slow approach of Death, as well as the diminishing state of his worth. This realization causes impulsive anger, frustration, laziness, and other harmful behavioral changes that leave a stain not only on himself, but the world around him. In his failure to consciously grasp this transformation and its negative impact, this fear of Death seems as though it will greet him much sooner than the day his heart stops beating.
At a desolate river crossroads divided by a wide river, a solitary man operates a lone ferry. Through this occupation, he encounters many travelers who find comfort in confiding in him their sins, secrets, and dreams. The man is of few words (mostly acknowledgments), but he is old, wise, and the absorbent sponge for their catharsis. He holds the key to happiness and fulfillment, yet refrains from divulging this information, knowing that organic change and realization must come from within.
Mirror of Majesties
A small, prosperous community begins absorbing technological advancements of the outside world, which they allow to dictate their malleable lifestyles. They are fed nostalgia and reassurance, and comforted by what's instantly gratifying and easily absorbed. Their dependency on it all guides them farther away from their true selves, restraining them from committing to anything else. Like the others around them, they blend in amongst the crowd of avatars, fearing to step out from behind their facade, which would reveal their true, weak, and insecure nature. Being a member of the group gives them an identity, despite having no individual voice. And so, they do as they're told, as they always have, overlooking and trampling anything pure or beautiful developing on its own around them, for it doesn't fall in line with the mission of the group. Their subconscious minds hint that what they do is wrong, but they're in too much of a narcissistic trance to acknowledge this inner voice, which has been oppressed for so long. Without inspiration or motivation to think for themselves, they forever become enslaved to whatever the mass trend instructs.
Bright Within the Darkness
Despite his acceptance of absurdity, a quirky individual still feels as though the world contains infinite possibilities. His perspective changes only when redundancy, predictability, and formulaic processes begin reigning over the community, encapsulating anyone who falls within its societal perimeter. The mass surrounding him is fueled by ever-evolving aesthetics and other superficialities that block him from his intended path. Because he unwillingly lies within their boundaries, they categorize and speak for him, but will never include him, because the individual mentality threatens the credibility of their collective power. When he tries to deviate, the perimeter shifts with him. Anything he creates is filtered, diluted, or stolen by the group, but the ideas are never allowed to transcend their barrier. He realizes that if one has the strength, courage, and wit to rise above this wall, an unfiltered bit of honesty may leak into the public consciousness. But if one does not fight, they'll be lost in the mass, inevitably feeding the monster they once tried to elude.
Having submitted to the current of society, a man has been stripped of any tendency to approach life “as a child”. A higher power intervenes to constantly interrogate him and criticize his path of taking comfort in security and perpetual nostalgia, which minimizes his ability to feel, “The Now”. It explains to him, that by remaining in a safe state of ignorance and unawareness of himself and his surroundings, he is voiding his chances of absorbing the true emotions that make one feel alive – like experiencing beauty, evil, pain, pleasure, and all of the ambiguous grey areas in between. If one is to truly be free, they'll venture out alone on a risky journey to embrace wonder and the unknown. They must continue to live as a child, and they'll soon realize that there's still so much more to gain, and that the pain along the way is well worth the sweetness of authenticity.
The protagonist has finally reached the breaking point in their own story, but instead of it resulting in an explosive send-off, their exhaustion has plagued them with a resounding emotional numbness. The burning emotions that once fueled their catharsis and motivation are now muted, leaving them in some sort of apathetic, sluggish purgatory. They don't know how to interpret this new state of mind, whether it's a forfeited compliance with the absurdity, or a new, misunderstood beginning that stems from an elevated state of consciousness. All they can perceive is the ambiguous frontier ahead, which gives them no indication of hope. Because this dramatic shift has occurred, the protagonist fears that their deep confusion has placed them in a fragile state of vulnerability once again, but where the knowledge that they've harvested up to this point may be useless against an even greater unknown.
Carousel (Part I)
As mold overcomes the stagnancy of an environment reigned by shade, a morphing sprout breaks free to shine amongst the dull. Though it suffers from pain and fatigue, it perseveres, understanding that this grueling path toward its goal is inevitable. In admiration, the neighboring buds cry out for aid, and the sprout extends a hand to help them as much as possible. But as soon as the other buds discover the difficulty in maintaining independent beauty, they unhinge from the sprout to remain stationary. Solely absorbing the fundamental nourishment for simple survival, the buds begin feeding back into the loop that they once tried to break free from.
Frustrated with the deceit and dishonesty prevalent in society, a man decides to dismantle the village structure using his intellect and witty trickery. He utilizes the people's weak principles as leverage against them, hoping to prompt a realization that could lead them to building a much stronger foundation of consciousness. But his plans backfire, and he's captured by the townsfolk, imprisoned, and put on display in a transparent cell which sits in the village square. They study their captive like a deprived primate, and entertained by his suffering, hope he fulfills his own punishment by doing himself in.
Fear of White Walls
After another season of failed crops, a farmer contemplates finally giving up his harsh, unpredictable lifestyle. But that very night, he's visited by a formidable shadowy figure, who mysteriously tempts him with a life of promise and ease. Skeptical and fearful of this strange lure, the farmer uses his own power to ward off the figure, and much to his own surprise, is successful! With a new sense of confidence and ambition now filling his veins, he begins preparing for the next season, while ivory wings slowly begin sprouting from his shoulders. Months pass, and yet his crops still produce nothing. His hope wanes yet again, and in response, the wings slowly begin tearing off from his body, painfully reminding him of his tepid past. Amidst the agony, he prays for the shadowy figure to return once more, so he can be offered a second chance.
A Sterile Draft
A prophet enters the world and is immediately accosted by the reigning beasts of the present. They feel threatened by his emergence, and so the prophet confronts them with his psychic knowledge, exposing all their weaknesses and falsities. Fearing the descent of their integrity through their exploitation, they plead with the seer, who vows to spare their disclosure if they can rebuild themselves with purity and truth. The beasts attempt make an attempt, but find it much more arduous and cumbersome than their usual approach. They give up quickly and relapse, in order to get the most from their lowest energy output. The prophet is then left to interpret the fate of their decision.
Subconsciously avoiding a constructive self-evaluation, an aimless wanderer hastily seeks prophetic signs, divine symbolism, and patterns in nature for some personal guidance and reassurance. But when his own ploy is suddenly unveiled, he persuades himself to take a new initiative, only to find other paths that have been heavily trodden upon. Old age has stolen his agility and youthful ambition, leaving him with an inability to begin his own course. He reaches out to successors for consultation and consolation, but is only handed plastic principles and invitations to join their pursuits, so that he can adopt an identity under their wing. He declines out of suspicion and retreats to a natural environment to take pleasure in eating society's forbidden fruit. Though indecisive and against all odds, he acknowledges and embraces his naivety, choosing ambiguity over the security of being a gear in the machine of another.
Upon the Clearing
A tribe of cynical, judgmental, and hyperactive folks are unable to elect a leader, which puts their collective on the brink of mental combustion. Then one day, in the distance, they witness a ceremony of pain and transcendence taking place, and are quick to become envious of this primitive form of self discovery. Naturally, they hope for the worst with the individual at hand, who must undergo his observers' scrutiny in order to become a figure of medicine. But when the individual survives the ritual of torment, he is praised by both tribes, and all want to feed off his glory. The acknowledgment and power is invigorating, yet he's saddened to realize that the praise won't last forever, despite the pain and strife he's endured for his accomplishment. Others are proud of him for the moment, but the emptiness of his own personal purpose is a far worse pain that inevitably awaits his confrontation.
Persona Non Grata
A lone traveler, cold and hungry from an unsuccessful hunt, stumbles upon a small village hidden deep within a forest. He approaches, and at first finds its people to be warm, welcoming, and energetic with life. But as time passes, he notices inconsistencies in the way their village operates. No one appears to work or sleep, and their over-indulgence in festivities seems endless. It feels like a paradise to the traveler, who's interested in learning how they're able make this system work. The villagers decline to explain, and warn him that prying will only cause discrepancies in their flow. But the outsider cannot help his curiosity, and because of his persistence and their constant rebuttals throughout his stay, the villagers lose their patience, morphing into evil, aggressive creatures in order to protect their ways. In this event, the traveler is forced to decide whether he should flee or become part of their utopia with no questions asked.
The Fourth Wall
A thick, heavily polluted environment hosts a wave of bustling drones, who seek involvement with any sort of activity that will distract them from entering a consistent stream of consciousness. Deep within this mass, lies an innocent victim with no means of escape. He takes to hiding within himself for self-preservation, only to realize that this elevates his feelings of isolation and unease. In order to avoid internal combustion, he absorbs his surroundings and everything trivial that goes along with its course, filtering out only the dense redundancies that could permanently damage his psyche. He seeks remedies to not only numb his pain, fear, and frustration over this adaptation, but to also generate a point of stability that enables him to reflect and ponder his situation in a healthy manner. Though aware he's being broken down along this journey, he hopes that his patience and persistence will eventually provide a permanent escape before he's indefinitely consumed by the abyss of nothingness.