Loading

Warcraft Short Story – Sanity is an Illusion

 

 

Gnomeregan

The former capital city and true evidence of Gnome ingenuity. Though the Gnomes, to this very day, are still trying to retake their home slowly from the hands of Sicco Thermaplugg, one cannot deny that this race is one of the most intelligent of all Azeroth. Their kindness also knows no bounds, given that they are able to maintain a smile and still aid their allies, despise the events that have placed plenty of their own kind in danger and without a home. It will take a few more years to retake Gnomeregan, to clean it from the radiation, the troggs and from Thermaplugg himself!

However, this story takes place long before the events that have lead to the invasion of the Troggs.

 

 

Midrixie, a female Gnome that was still trying to reach adulthood, was the only child that lived with her loving parents. She was also familiar with a few other members of her family, enjoying a rather cozy social environment with those of the same blood. Together, they focused on forging metals and crafting. To create cogs, bolts and other basic necessities that a tinker needs. It was their business, though some of the family members also possessed other hobbies on their own. Midrixie was no different, being an outgoing Gnome that took interest in the most philosophical questions of the time.

While it’s true that the Gnomish historical records are very scarce, Midrixie would still question the purpose of life and how Gnomes came to be. In a forward thinking meritocratic society that values the inventions and technological breakthroughs and contributions from every individual, there has always been room for Gnomes who enjoyed studying particular fields. Her family and peers saw that aspect of her as only temporary. She was a teenager, still trying to reach adulthood and finding her own path, perhaps even a subtle hint of rebellion. Her questions could very well had meant that her future was one of a devoted in the arts of the arcane.

 

Given her family’s suspicions and predictions, they tried to encourage her thirst for answers to the most existential questions in life by asking one of their own family friends to come and visit their daughter. To answer her questions, to use her curiosity in something productive. Perhaps, even one day, becoming a Mage or, even more peculiar, a Techno Mage. This middle aged female Gnome’s name was Indus; clearly given by ambitious progenitors who wanted her daughter to be just as great as Indus, “the inventor” of Dalaran and member of the Council of Tirisfal more than two millenniums ago.

Indus, when proposed to explore the potential within Midrixie to unravel the wonders of the arcane, felt flattered and pleased with the idea of having an aspiring apprentice. Midrixie, on the other hand, remained suspicious of Indus’ kindness. Indus was, after all, aspiring to become a member of the Kirin Tor. Her support felt dishonest, but Midrixie accepted her aid nonetheless. Indus was quite demanding and she expected much of Midrixie. Growing frustrated and impatient with her student’s failures, Indus was quick to give up on Midrixie and to inform her parents that she was useless as a caster. That this teenager was too emotional and hard to rationalize with, despise her interest in philosophy.

This obviously wasn’t an experience that Midrixie would forget easily, growing some resentment for the society around her. She expressed her dissatisfaction over her family’s business, refusing to work. The signs of rebellion were evident and her parents began to feel and express their disapproval, believing the words that came from Indus on the day she returned to them with their daughter in tears.

 

Time continued to flow, Midrixie was growing older and was near adulthood. Once an extrovert, she was now avoiding contact with the people around her. She could not trust her family members, that continued to label her as a troubled teenager and someone that lacked direction in her life. She still had to invent something, to create a name in Gnomish society. A discovery, anything of importance to her own kind. Was her life destined to be a mere cog in a machine? Was that the life of a Gnome? How did it all came to be and why was no one interested in those questions?

 

Deciding to visit the surface, Midrixie traveled to Ironforge with one of her cousins. It was not the first time, though she never traveled beyond Dun Morogh. But she had seen plenty of Dwarves in her life and, thus, was somewhat familiar with their culture. It was always a refreshing view to be surrounded by Dwarves, given that they were more diverse than her own kind, or so she would always think to herself with a smile in her face. She didn’t felt the pressure to be an inventor, or a wizard. She enjoyed every moment that she was away from the influence of Gnomish society!

That day, she opened to her cousin. She explained her emotions, that she was not happy living in Gnomeregan. That, perhaps, the answer to her questions did not rest within their own capital.. but outside in the world. Touched by her words, her cousin told her that they could stay in Ironforge for a week, instead of a mere night that they had planned in order to trade their goods for a few pieces of silver coins.

During this week, Midrixie had the chance to visit the Hall of Explorers and the Library within. This fascinated her but it did not answer the questions that she had. Even she, herself, didn’t knew why these questions were of so much importance to her. Where was her curiosity leading to and why? Her obsession was a mystery to herself, not allowing her to enjoy the life that her parents had planned for her. But part of life is to grow and to become an individual, able to think for themselves. With this experience, she learned that her questions were only a manifestation of what she was feeling. Trapped, conditioned by the environment she had grown that already had a future planned for her.

She felt ready to come home and tell her parents about this discovery, that her destiny was for her to carve, to answer herself and not to ask others what was her fate as a Gnome. What is a Gnome? What is the purpose in life, for a Gnome?

 

Life isn’t easy. Once she returned home with her cousin, her parents shown concern as to why they came home nearly a week later than anticipated. Midrixie explained, feeling confident that her parents would understand, much like her cousin. To her surprise, they did not and her cowardly cousin wasn’t there to help when she needed! They expected much of her, as the only child. They could never let her go, they only wished for her daughter to remain with them and, if she so desired, expand the family lineage. Again, they concluded that it was yet another manifestation of her rebellion.

From that point forward, Midrixie was forced to work for her family. The family business, within Gnomeregan. Again, this lack of acceptance for their daughter’s free will and emotions caused her to retract from any meaningful conversation with anyone! Apathy was her companion, her heart grown cold to any form of flattery to her performance in the tasks given to her. She started to question herself, to question Gnomish society in her mind. She didn’t felt safe and loved enough to express her doubts and dark emotions.

She stopped to read, she stopped to wander in the streets of Gnomeregan. She also stopped spending time with her family outside of working hours.

 

Her thoughts were only hers to listen. And that’s when she started to talk to herself out loud, privately. Away from those that could hear her nagging, her complains, her questions, her tears, her hatred and rebellion.

But.. there’s always someone that can hear, even the darkest of secrets. Gnomeregan is an underground capital city. Within the ground, a large shadow is cast in every corner. It’s cold, logical. Much like the machinery that is build within it. And there are Gnomes that can fall into despair. Is any Gnome truly sane? There are stories that warn about the corruption of those with the most brilliant of minds when they are rejected by their peers. Midrixie, as trivial and not as tragic as her example can be compared to so many, is one of them. Born from a mere rebellion, never solved in adulthood. Her life was an illusion, created by her family and friends, much like the idea of being sane.

 

 

This darkness, this shadow.. it spoke. And it told her that “Sanity is an Illusion”.

Pages:

Hi! I’m a [Label]

 

(Obligatory comment about the featured image)

 

Good afternoon!

 

It’s been a while since I wrote something more.. existential, abstract yet sententious. This is a topic that I’ve been personally invested for years since I decided to look outside the little cult indoctrination box that I’ve, since then, abandoned completely.

 

Labels. Personally, I loathe them. Such a convenient social trap that we all fall into, with no exception, without even noticing. With labels, comes the human desire to form our own tribes, our own bubbles. And within the bubbles, a cult mentality is developed. And when there’s a cult mentality, it is acceptable to demonize those outside of it. To invite others into the tribe, into the cult. The cult of a [label], where you have abandoned your individuality, your potential. Molded to fit the criteria and the ideology of the tribe, which then leads to the development of stereotypes to those from the outside. Our happiness exists as long the other members agree that you belong in this tribe. Singing in one voice, such a beautiful shallow melody!

And all of this.. because being part of a cult of a [label] makes you feel safe from your own fragile unfulfilled ego that has never bloomed because society pressured you into tiny little boxes. Boxes are easier to organize, to label, to talk in praise or distastefully.

Or perhaps a label makes you feel unique, special. It gives you the love you need from those who look up to the label you carry. Either with amazement or as an oppressed individual that needs to be heard. The virtual signaling, the voices that perceive you as a complex human being with enough experience to raise the voice with authority against those from other tribes and labels. Clearly, an individual with a good moral compass and intentions that could do no wrong. Proudly informing about the [label]. They are the [label]. Without it, they are nothing, lost, boring. No one likes an average.

But enough about the abstract thinking. This has always been a problem with society, with humanity.

 

It’s.. so easy to fall. I’m no exception, and neither are you. Even if we vainly, yet graciously, remind our acquaintances of how we avoid labeling ourselves and others and, instead, treat everyone and oneself as an unique individual.. we still decide to label ourselves over things that are nonessential and, when our individual egos are under pressure, we are quick to dismiss others and label them. Because it’s easy to label.

The reasons as to why we resort to labels depends from person to person. Either to protect our own egos, to attack or because of our biases. Plus, it’s easier to communicate! Instead of revealing your personality, likes and dislikes, little by little and within the boundaries of your own vocabulary.. how about packing everything into a nifty worded label? Someone already did the job for you, to wrap part of your being into a word, in the dictionary.

 

But.. is it really worth it? Is it worth to carry the burden of calling yourself a [label]? Of introducing yourself by the use of a [label] or two? Can you handle the pressure of those who have gained a bias or dislike over your labels? Will you crumble and decide to fight back by talking down to those of the opposing tribes by insulting them with more labels? Will you ever reach your true potential as an individual?

Will you.. truly be happy? Or will you destroy the child within you as you walk the path?

 

If you ask an average person about what is the key to achieve true happiness, they’ll answer with a cliche that almost everyone knows it deep down. That, most of all, be yourself. Do the things you truly enjoy, be with those who know you for what you are and not for something you are not.

No one knows who you are except yourself. It’s a life journey that requires you to reflect on your own emotions, your own subconscious and thoughts. The way the world reacts to your presence, to your words, to your gestures and actions. To release the chains that society will try to impose on you in order to mold you into an ideal. To join the tribe, the nation, the religion, the cult, the tribe, the family.

Society will try to label you. As a child, you will swallow those labels and you will accept them, accept what society wants of you. Will society choke you, with all the chains they’ll wrap you up with? Like a riddle, will you find yourself beneath the darkness? And if you do indeed break some of those chains, will you learn nothing from the experience and repeat history against yourself and others?

 

It is more than obvious that we are social creatures and we live in society. We cannot excuse ourselves from society in general, from other people. We will repeat the same mistakes over and over and it will always be a never ending struggle.

However, there are plenty of ways to avoid most of those issues and mistakes. We cannot expect society to change according to our own flawed ideals. People will use labels, people will form tribes, people will eventually form cults. People will love and people will hate.

 

Obviously, being aware that humans have that quirk that they cannot avoid is a good way to be self conscious when we do it. We can become aware when others do it and, as such, avoid unnecessary pain and repression. After all, we don’t want to regress to a state of blind devotion to a cult like mentality, do we? Knowing when we are being dismissive to an opposing view given to preconceived biases and, thus, feeling no guilt over labeling someone as something hurtful; allow us to stop, reconsider our stance and make the necessary adjustments to avoid any form of bigotry and offence.

 

Examining ourselves will also allow us to reach our true selves. No one knows you better than you. And you want people to know you for what you truly are. There’s no better felling than being loved for what you actually are and not for what you aren’t. This is basic and common knowledge yet, regardless, we hold ourselves back all the time. This is not wrong by itself depending on the circumstances and the people around us but the goal should always be to not lose focus of your own self and not fall for the pressure of those who speak louder and with authority.

 

Of course, again, it’s important to note that we do live alongside other people. Basic etiquette should never be dismissed. We cannot expect the whole society to bow down to our own individual thoughts that may, or not, be controversial for the majority. Instead of being arrogant about our self perceived superior ideologies that we believe to have, it is perhaps more beneficial for ourselves and for society if we respect the opposing view. Or, if the topic really matters and both sides want to remain civil, have an honest yet polite discussion. Never demonizing, but acknowledging the differences and allow the other side to move on, an agree to disagree.

 

Avoiding to use labels to describe ourselves and others is also a good method to avoid conflict and further divisions. We will never know how a certain person feels about the [label]. When you use a label on yourself (specially if it represents a very small group of individuals), you are allowing others to create an image of you that may very well be incorrect. Or, also just as worse, you are allowing others to use you as an example for future encounters with anyone that shares the same label. And not everyone is able to look beyond the labels and the stereotypes, the bigotry that blinds them. When you label yourself and someone already has a few biases that affect their judgement, everything you say or do will be taken accordingly to their biases. Like a translator, their interpretation of your own words and actions may not be accurate to reality. Because they cannot look beyond the stereotypes and the biases. You’ve told the world that you are a [label]. The world will judge you has a [label], specially if you make your own public life and personality around the [label].

 

So it’s best to avoid the use of [labels], specially when you are introducing yourself to a person. With most people in society! Can you handle the pressure of being judged because of the label that you carry on your chest at all times? You lose your individually and you become “that one [label]”.

Labeling others is also not beneficial. It matters not how much they appear to act, present themselves or even the words they use seem alike to those of whatever [label]. When you label someone, you can no longer see them as the way they truly are. And people aren’t blind. If they feel they are being judged wrongly by you, they will avoid you. Or, worst case scenario, they will judge you back and just as harshly. Plus more divisions occur. Is that what you wish? To humiliate and to be humiliated in return? Not everyone will stay quiet when they are constant targets of wrong accusations over things they are not guilty of.

 


 

Anyway.. I’m quite sure that I’m rambling at this point over things that most people are already aware of. And quite an unorganized ramble this was!

 

Yet here we are. Walking back to previous times. Society is fracturing more and more. No one wants to listen to the other side. No one wants to respect the other side. Demonizing the other side is acceptable. Violence is becoming acceptable in some cases, over petty disagreements. Sensationalism, virtue signaling, bigotry on all sides (no exceptions). Labels being thrown around quite wrongly and names being tossed on the mud because someone said something that they shouldn’t or wasn’t understood. Over-sensitive, adults throwing tantrums, more division, more segregation. More labels, no debate, no arguments, no facts, no truth.

All of this.. because we want to be heard. We want to be loved. We want to be fulfilled. We want to save.. our own egos, to satisfy it, to feel safe. For others to tickle our ears with the things we want to hear and not the things that should be said. Because everything is offensive. Because everything is wrong. Because I’m a [label].. and you are a [label], thus less human.

 

The time to be honest, the time for civilized conversations and respectful debates.. is needed. But those times never existed on the full extent. There were no golden days of liberty and freedom of speech. But just different shades of ignorance, on every side of the spectrum.

The most important thing to remember is that no one believes that what they are doing.. is wrong. No one believes to be doing something bad. There are no bad people, just people who sometimes do bad things that they feel justified to and, ultimately, see it as good. And some of those bad things are written in history books and will be reminded by everyone.

As long as we know that, as long as we know that we are all humans who just want to be good people, honest to their true selves.. we will be able to respect them and to criticize their ideas without resorting to mockery, witch hunting or personal attacks. That has never worked in the long run..

 

But why? Why is there a need to explain the obvious? I believe everyone knows all of these things that I wrote within their own hearts. It’s common sense, there’s nothing new in what I’m saying. But again.. here we are. We are.. so dumb. Going back, instead of going forward. Times are changing again.

But hey, we have labels to make things easier for us! Just pick a [label], join a tribe (and, therefore, a cult), slap others with [labels] (virtue signaling) and everyone on your tribe will love you because you totally showed them! Oh you.. prolific snob you!

Pages: