Revolting

Naomi and her Uncle Bobby had been drawing all day. They had started with a jungle in his hardback notebook, which, over many pages, had developed into a city, which became chaotic and whose streets were now ruled by Strong Man, the leader of local vigilante group LL (Lookout Lucerne). It was said that he had become so powerful that even The Authority dared not refuse his requests. He had recently banned all art.

This created a serious issue for Naomi and Bobby. They had created this world by drawing, and if art was banned then how would their story develop? This creative conundrum led to high-order inertia.

“What shall we do, Uncle Bobby?” Naomi sat with her head in her hands, with her fat coloured pencils lying on the table around her. She had inadvertently placed them in a semi-circle around the drawing, all of them pointing inwards, as if the forms hidden within them yearned to break free and manifest themselves. But for this they needed Naomi’s co-operation, and Strong Man’s permission, for the worlds within and beyond the drawing were interpenetrated.

“Strong Man has become the dictator,” said Bobby. “I wonder whether he has a social agenda of some kind, or he’s just power crazy. In the ancient world, dictator was a respectable title, meaning a person appointed to rule in times of trouble. Strong Man isn’t that though. He’s a bully. He made the trouble! He’s made The Authority suspend elections and civil liberties, then proclaimed a state of emergency, repressed political opponents, and he rules by decree. Kid, these are dangerous times. We should keep our heads down for a while.”

“But shouldn’t we do something?” said Naomi. “Remember when we ate oysters on the coast? You told me about the grain of sand that irritates the oyster and becomes a pearl? Can’t people be like that, and cause trouble, and make things better?”

Her eyes look like pearls, thought Bobby. He told her how every system becomes rigid and eventually needs to change. The classic example was India’s caste system. What began as family-oriented trade guilds became a method of social oppression where people were killed for being careless enough to allow their shadow to fall across that of a higher caste person. You needed a revolutionary like Gandhi to catalyse change. He called Untouchables “Children of God”.

“These revolutionaries, are they good people or bad people?” said Naomi. “Don’t they cause lots of trouble?”

Bobby needed to think things through. Yes they did cause trouble, and sometimes wars, but they had higher purpose.

His art history studies came to mind. His favourite artists had all been mavericks. Picasso had produced so many styles of work that he was impossible to pin down – was he making blue, rose, African, cubist, or epic political art? Jackson Pollock’s huge, wild drip paintings challenged views of representational art. Damien Hirst had pickled sheep and sharks, promoting death as art. Were they great artists – who knew? They had shaken things up surely, but would an artist be enough to change Naomi and Bobby’s world?

Maybe a scientist would be better. Galileo’s improvements to the telescope led to his championing the heliocentric universe, for which “heresy” he was placed under lifetime house arrest. Darwin’s careful observations of creatures led to his conclusion that all species of life evolve by natural selection, revolutionizing our understanding of life on earth. Einstein worked quietly on developing the world’s most famous equation: E=mc2, which explained space-time and accelerated quantum theory.

Or maybe they need a spiritual revolutionary. Buddha the Awakened One rejected traditional power structures and prevailing notions of old age, sickness, and death. Moses killed an oppressive slave-master and led his people across the Red Sea into the Promised Land. Jesus mixed with prostitutes and lepers, and healed the sick and lame. All of these people were seen as both good and bad but given time, their truths became clear.

Bobby wondered about Lucerne’s holy men; Guru Baba was too old and demented, and Ozwold Malchizedek, known as OM, was too flaky.

“What about you?” said Naomi, as if she had been following his thoughts.

“I’m an introvert,” he said. “I don’t like crowds.”

“Well I like crowds,” said Naomi. “Don’t you remember, I sang and danced on Canadia Day? Why don’t we do it together? Naomi and Bobby – we could become Nobby.”

Bobby couldn’t help laughing. “Okay,” he said, and together they drew black spots – what she called Nobbys – all over her drawing. Points of Change. Known to mystics as black light or midnight sun, each was a union of opposites, where duality was encompassed by unity, and everything returned to its original state of Purity and Possibility. Each Nobby they made with the point of a pencil was creation anew.

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