think I've changed. They think I'm not the same person I was before. They watch
me with less speculation, they listen with more attentiveness. They assume the
changes are "growing up", or "settling down", or any of a
thousand other phrases we use to describe the process by which other people
mold themselves to fit our notion of what they *should* be. They see the change
in me, and they think it's a good thing.
It scares me, sometimes, the ease with which I've accepted my role. The "Way of the Shaman" should be harder to tread, shouldn't it? It should be more than just another layer of power, a means to hone Jim's senses. When it hits me -- really *hits* me-- how easily I guide Jim, influence his choices, manipulate all the variables...
It's all too easy to look at this gift, this *sacred duty*, as nothing more than another research tool.
Search the literature.
Formulate a theory.
Find a subject.
Test the theory.
Terminate the experiment.
What am I, then? Nothing more than a scientist, carrying out empirical research with my subject pool of one? I observe, I control, I record, I analyze; I have become nothing more than the sum total of my parts, a conduit for concepts best left un-conceived. Corrupted by the very focus that draws admiration, and undeserved praise.
People think I've changed. I haven't. I've been this way all along.
I've just stopped trying to be anything better.
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