A little story about anxiety, social control, the media, and social media.
In a little village, or town or suburb, lived a group of people. The people were good people, going about their daily lives in the best way they could. The problem was the dragon. Yes, dragon. The dragon was a magnificent beast, strong, elegant, fierce. It was known for eating sheep, and if it couldn’t find sheep, there were stories of it eating children. There were tales of it breathing fire and destroying homes, of taking fair maidens captive and the maidens never being seen again. These stories where handed down from parents to children, children to other children. People were scared. They went about their daily lives, listening for tales of the dragon (and there were many) and working hard to keep themselves safe.
Then, one day, George showed up. George was tall, handsome, charismatic and brandished the silver Sword of Truth. He spoke with confidence and sounded knowledgeable. He stood tall, he was someone to be listened to, admired, respected.
‘Don’t worry’, said George, ‘I’ll sort your dragon for you. Keep yourselves safe, I’ll be back’ (in true Schwarzenegger style). And off George went.
The people continued their daily lives, listening for stories of the dragon and frequently casting furtive eyes up into the sky. Life continued for them, pretty much as usual, while they waited for George to return.
Eventually George did return, brandishing his Sword of Truth and his winning smile.
“People,” he said, “I come with great news! Your dragon is dead!”
Relived and happy the people celebrated. The dragon is dead. What relief! We can now begin to live our lives without fear, breeding sheep, playing happily in the fields, living our lives to the fullest extent! How wonderful to be free of this fear!
But George sighed, dropping his shoulders, he turned his winning smile to the people and said, “Yes, I killed YOUR dragon, YOUR dragon is dead, but I’m not sure about other dragons, or dragon babies, or even other things that might look like dragons.”
The people cast their eyes at the skies, then at each other and went back into their houses.
On the outskirts of town, on the edge of the forest, met a group of individuals. There was nothing striking about these people, they didn’t stand out in anyway, they just viewed the world a little differently. They met frequently, chatting, laughing, enjoying being with each other. They didn’t care for dragons, or dragon babies, or anything that might resemble a dragon. Dragons, they knew, belonged in fairy tales, in picture books, in myths and legends. They knew they had never seen a dragon. They knew no real dragons had ever actually been seen. They knew that sheep tended to disappear for other reasons than dragons and the fair maidens had just simply left home and gone to university, and then decided to stay away. They didn’t particularly think George was all that, if they were honest. They had learned that it’s very easy to be scared and to listen to the scary tales of dragons and other magical creatures, of harm and hate, and fear, and they had learned how much this really gets in the way of enjoying each day, each moment, each other. So, they had chosen to ignore the tales of the dragon, leaving them where it belonged, in storybooks and to focus on what they did know, and to find the good in people, others and the world; to take risks, chances, to trust themselves and to step outside their houses and look up – not to look for dragons but to see the birds migrating, the sun shining, to feel the breeze on their skin. They had learned that even when they were feeling nervous, or scared, overwhelmed, that there was never a dragon.
Art by Secret Unicorn Art