I don't want your structure. I want everyone to live the life they want to live.

They can't. You know that. There has to be someone doing the jobs that no one wants to do.

Still. People could at least choose what they did sometimes.

And they do – just not at the formative stage. Only once they've accepted.

But by then it doesn't matter. -You really don't understand, do you.

I understand many things. Not all of them are ones you yourself have comprehended.

I said, you don't understand. You don't understand why things are the way they are.

Neither do you.

But I try.

So do I.

I find it hard to believe that you try honestly.

Maybe I don't, always. -Tell me what you learned.

I won't.

You won't?

You have to figure out the basics yourself.

Why?

Because there has to be something for me to hang my ideas on.

Ideas are not coats to be hung on a rack.

No, they're more like people. And you're the one who keeps insisting people need structures.

Tell me. Please. After you tell me I'll understand.

I'm not going to tell you, okay? I'm not going to tell you until you're ready to learn.

But she would, and she knew it. He wasn't the kind of being that could be disagreed with for long.

Tell me.

No. You wouldn't understand.

I can make you.

I've already incorporated it – tied it to everything. If you pull it out...

I don't want you to die.

Then wait.

For what?

Just think about your perfect world. What you've discovered about minds, and brains.

Minds and brains?

They're completely different. You should know that.

I know.

But you don't see why it matters.

No. I don't.

See? You don't understand anything, really.

I can take your memories. I can understand everything you've done.

Just because you can steal my memories doesn't mean you can decode them.

The key to decoding your memories is hidden in a memory of yours.

How do you know?

It has to be.

The mind is an entirely different entity from the brain. You would do well to remember that.

I will.

You'd better.

She wondered how long she could wait. How long she dared risk her life for her secrets.

Why do you still say I don't understand?

Because you don't.

I don't?

You still can't remember everything at once. And you still can't think emotionally.

I have to think emotionally?

You have to think logically at the same time as you think emotionally. It's the only way.

The only way to what?

Understand. Now remember the crystal structures of your empire. Think of the crystal as –

What does this have to do with anything?

Think of the crystal as having a flaw in each place there is a person who is unhappy.

Okay...

How many flaws are there?

I can't exactly count them...

That's because, despite years of contemplation, you still don't understand.

Understand what?

The crystal is your empire. The map is the territory. The mind is the brain. The people are the flaws.

Then I should get rid of them?

No. They're flaws in the crystal, but only while your empire is a crystal. Do you see now?

People don't fit in the crystal, but we can't change the people... We have to change the crystal?

Sort of.

Sort of?

Because the map isn't the territory, because the brain isn't the mind, we can't just change the crystal.

Why not?

We have to change the corresponding thing in the real world.

My empire?

Of course.

He understands at last.

How can we make the imperfect crystal into something other than its current form?

I have some ideas. But before any of them can be put into action, you have to accept.

Accept?

Accept that you need to change.

In order for the empire to change, so must its ruler. I accept.

You couldn't have accepted that without the meditation, the lessons, the frustration. You know that.

I was impatient to know everything when you told me that such a revelation could exist.

You were, and so you knew nothing.

At first, I thought all I needed was the details. Then you told me there was a structure to it...

There is. The structure of metaphor, of logic and emotion, of poetry and proof.

But the metaphor isn't everything. There's more.

There is indeed more. The details. The plans. The forms of control. Someday you will know all of it.

Teach me.

With your bare knowledge of the crystal metaphor, you comprehend but one maze among many.

I still don't really understand, do I?

Your knowledge is nothing, but in admitting ignorance, you do understand.

What is my lesson for today?

Change. Change everything in your mind and see what should never be changed.

Should I focus on the crystal, or on the empire?

There is knowledge on both sides of every metaphor. Study each without ever forgetting the other.

He will look in the records, but records always lie, and he will not think of a search among the people.

I don't know what to change.

It doesn't matter anymore.

How could it possibly not matter?

What you know doesn't matter, because I'll take care of the rest.

Take care... of the rest?

You understand what I mean by that, don't you?

Of course.

She was the one with the body now, the body of an Emperor; or rather, of an Empress. He was nothing.

Are you going to destroy me?

You never understood anything, you know.

I never...

And you never will.

So you are going to destroy me.

Of course.

And replace me.

Why else?

It wasn't her fault that he had never understood...