From the very first conscious thought of the morning to the moment when I lay down to sleep, my life is filled with purpose. The mission burns bright in my thoughts, keeps me contstant company, illuminates my way, puts everything into perspective.
I often wonder how many of the people I meet could say the same, how many of them have a direction that guides them through the mess their lives inevitably become. I'd wager it's not a lot of them, maybe a handful.
I was like them once, before my Awakening. I had that empty feeling somewhere deep inside myself, that part that neither a carreer nor a family nor working for charity can ever reach.
I was lost in the intricate system of cogwheels and levers that is our society.
Now, as I leave my flat and walk down the street, I have that spring in my step that sets the likes of me apart from the rest of flock.
My first stop of the day will be the post office. I love the people that work in such places, they are so close to the tipping point that it often doesn't even take more than one visit to switch them. Sometimes I try to keep the conversation going for as long as I can, while we're talking about two completely different things. It's an art form – once I've managed to go on for nearly two hours on the phone with a cable company. At the end, I nearly convinced the guy on the other end that he was indeed trying to sell me a pony, and he was quite disappointed that I wouldn't buy it. Sometimes, they don't even notice. Those are the ones that deserve our pity and our attention the most, because they are so lost within their routines and the dullness of their lives that they won't recognize meaning and relief when it jumps into their faces.
Most people don't notice us, as long as we don't make an effort to be noticed. And we don't always do: There are different splinter groups withing my Organization. Some of us believe that we have to take a subtle approach at all times. If we change people's surroundings in little ways, without being too obvious, they will gradually switch. It'll trigger less resistance, they argue, and they might be right. I don't know everyone withing the Organization – that would be impossible, as we are Legion – but I believe I'd recognize the signs of a successful turning if I saw it on the news, or heard about it in any other way. And who knows if the consequences aren't much bigger than the immediate results, anyway.
Of course there's always those that tend to take the Words of the Prophet quite literal. It's only a few of us that would go to such extremes, and the so-called Axe-men are but small subgroup within the Organization. Which is a good thing if you ask me – we won't achieve much if we spend all day on the floor or marching around in bowls. There are better ways to live up to the Meaning of the Prophet, to serve our common Cause. And the Axe-men are way too visible, for my tastes. If they attract too much attention to themselves, they'll just isolate themselves. But each tool might have its use, and who am I to judge the actions of another, if he is of the same Faith?
I take pride in being quite effective, in many of the more subtle Ways.
There's one technique I used more frequently than others, and even if the details might be different each time, the goal is always the same. If you make your target question their sanity, they're already several steps closer to losing it. Lately I've worked with tiny speakers that I install in their offices. Depending on the setting, the target and my mood, they will play anything from a high-pitched ringing sound to inane laughter or whispering voices, just barely audible above the usual soundscape in the room. It's set to play at irregular intervals; there's no way of anticipating it, and the devices are high-tech enough that the source of the sound can't be tracked to any particular place within the room. In my earlier days I also installed small cameras to watch as the effects of the sound treatment set in. But lately I've come to trust the process. The devices can be safely removed within three weeks. Or they could be left in place – once an individuum has joined our cause, they won't stick with their previous routine for long. Most won't hold their jobs, which is perfectly fine, as their tasks make way too much sense, anyway.
However, sometimes it is necessary to be a lot more direct – or may it's just more fun. Either way, a more personal involvement leads to very visible results, and while we're mostly not resorting to painting people's bodies in their sleep (paint is more expensive than you'd think), we still come up with ever new ideas to reach our goal.
Casual conversations that suddenly take a different turn to the absurd.
Spontaneous recitals of Ancient Greek poetry on the subway.
Supermarkets designed as labyrinths, where you'll only find what you're not looking for.
And flashmobs – I'm especially proud of that guy who first came up with the idea of gathering in a public place and doing something silly at the exact same time. We all thought it would be a great idea, but nobody could've foreseen the success it would turn out to be. Nowadays, we don't even have to organize it ourselves, they just keep happening, pushing the general population ever closer towards our Principles, inch by inch.
I think I'll head home now and spend some time on the telephone. Working with telemarketers is one of my favourite things to do – they can't go anywhere, they even get paid to listen to me, and sometimes I suspect they might even be on my team. Wouldn't that be fun, the both of us following the same guidelines, ignorant of our common Cause?
There's still a lot to do, so many people that still need our help. I won't despair, I won't give up, because even one more Awakened will shine like a beacon of our Cause and enlighten many more around him.
And maybe someday soon you and I will meet and I'll help even you in overcoming your sanity.