Once upon a time, a magician came to a village. Under an ancient tree, in the village square, the villagers gathered as the word spread.
The magician proclaimed, “I have a magic wand.”
– “Well, what can you do with it?” Villagers asked.
– “I can convert anything into a piece of paper.”
– “And what can be done with this piece of paper.”
– “Dreams. Hold this piece of paper and it will give you dreams. And dreams give you happiness.”
– “But shall we be happy if we stopped dreaming?”
– “No. But it will keep you dreaming.”
– “And what if we lose this piece of paper? Shall we be unhappy?”
– “Yes, miserable. But I’ll give you people this wand. I have plenty, and it multiplies fast. The more you touch it to things, the more it multiplies.”
– “But what shall we touch it to? Everything is useful. Everything is alive.”
– “Why not everything in this forest? It is just a forest, after all.”
– “We are alive because of this forest. Everything comes from it; our food, our shelter… animal brothers live in it and sister birds live in it… the rain falls for the trees, not for us… the wind sings in the forest, the brooks dance in the forest… Of what good is a piece of paper in exchange for all that?”
– “This piece of paper can uproot you and hang you upside down.”
– “But of what good is getting uprooted and hung upside down?”
– “It changes everything. The way you look at others. People, animals, birds, trees, lakes, rivers, food, love…
You will no longer look at the forest the way you do now.”
– “But still who likes to keep on hanging upside down?”
– “Power makes you forget that. Power makes you enjoy only the inverted, perverted, and the subverted.
This piece of paper is the most powerful thing in the world. With this, you can enslave everyone in the world.”
– “But what do we achieve when we enslave?”
– “Well, you can lead a comfortable life. You won’t have to move a limb, and you will be served.”
– “But of what good is not moving limbs? They stop working if we do not move.
Of what good is losing vitality in exchange for comfort; strength within for power without?”
“Look,” he said, “people from other villages are approaching closer, touching anything and everything since I have already given the wands to them. Now enslave or be enslaved. Whosoever has more pieces of paper enslaves. That’s the only way it works.”
As the words left his mouth, he waved his wand and touched the ancient tree. A tiny paper lay there in its stead, in the blink of an eye. The sun scorched the backs of villagers. He then swooshed it in the air. It rained pieces of paper. The villagers felt suffocated though. He touched the water in the stream running close by. There lay papers, crisp on the stream bed, but no water.
“Hurry up,” he shouted, “people from other villages are not very far now.”
So the villagers grabbed the wand, and started touching anything and everything.
They kept on touching. The wands kept on multiplying.
They even touched the Time. And time became money.
Then they touched love. Then they touched relationships.
They even touched mating, the most intimate of their acts. And mating became sex. And sex became money.
Their religion became money. Their politics became money.
Their art became money. Their science became money.
Their Yoga became money. Their Art of Living became money.
They went about touching every corner of their soul; every inch of the earth.
They converted the whole earth and sat on a heap of rubble.
Deep beneath the heap, the voice of a village elder was buried —
“How do you convert the money back to earth?”