the assumption of responsibility for the welfare of the world
The banner and livery of the universe are black, of course. Black is the color of darkness, and darkness the natural metaphor for truth. Truth is that which is absolute, which exists, which is real; and what exists is necessary ― that is the way of fate. Reality is the province of a cold and empty fatalism. Necessity is the master of the darkest realm.
But consciousness does not know the darkness directly. The worlds of perception are full of colors and shapes, full of passion and confusion. Only the darkness has clarity. To find this clarity, consciousness must transcend the dungeon of color and passion, must rise beyond the world of familiarity and arbitrary differentiation.
These realms of perception ― Earth, for one ― have rendered this arbitrary differentiation institutional. They have taken the symbolism of colors to its inscrutably-logical extreme. Though some sects of Earth have no colorful banners, many do, and their adherents have grown ignorant of the vacuousness of the symbols and the abstract concepts behind them.
Red claims mastery over this piece of territory. Green claims righteousness over that point of doctrine. If I am raised Green, how should it affect me? I can find the beauty in Green. But must I love it unconditionally? Must I follow its ways? Must I grant it ascendancy over all its rivals? The people of Red may be wicked, but they may simply be misunderstood. If I judge as a Green, I will certainly endorse the baseness of all things Red and the nobility of all things Green. But if I judge as something beyond color, I may see that Red is not always bad, and Green is not always good. The people of Green may indeed be just as capable of error as that of Red.
There are some persons who would see a unification of these factions. The panchromatists mean well, no doubt. They have escaped divisions which they correctly believe are meaningless. But they are still temporal, still of this world. They have transcended the arbitrary differentiation of the colors, but not perception itself.
Black is the nothingness that color stands out against. It represents none of what Color is ― no nation, no race, no state, no country, no religion or sect, no faction, no group identity lower than the collective itself. Black is the mark of nothing ― of Nothing. If I am of the universe, I am of Nothing. Where I am from there are no customs. Among my people there is no religion. We celebrate no holidays. We idolize no heroes. We engage in no rivalries. We have no pride of superiority; over what could we feel superior? All consciousness is of a piece, connected through a collective of which each of us is simply a different perspective.
In this world, black has been plainness, has been simplicity, has even been nihilism. This is nothingness as policy, deliberate lack of what would otherwise distinguish. No banners of red and green to worship beyond sanity. No silver or gold devices to set off claims to the primacy of Argent or the forgotten age of Or. No ornament or decoration. Where day is white and night is black, the symbolism of black is not arbitrary. The absence of light and its attendant proliferation of colors is the nearest state of this world to the unmarred reality of the universe beyond. Black is not the truth; but it is the analogue of truth in a world of confusion.
The universe is the house which the stewards serve. They are its retainers; they are the retainers of truth. As individuals, it is for them to decide how they are to represent themselves. But as an individual, I have chosen to embrace the symbolism of black, as the only choice befitting a steward of the universe. By donning the livery, I make clear my allegiance to no lesser body. Black is plain, and simple, and nihilistic. Only so can it deny recognition to the cultures and factions of Earth.
© O.T. FORD
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and O.T. Ford