A Novel – In One Page Per Day
Day 303, Tuesday
October 30th, 2018
Chapter Two: Pain
The prevailing philosophy was this: pain was necessary and purgative, both as penance for sin and as a preparation for holiness. This sentiment was present at every level of ritual in the Imperial cult.
This is not to say that every moment of a person’s life was filled with pain, for pain to meaningful it had to be regulated, interspersed through moments of relief and respite, of joy and happiness.
This teaching was reinforced at every level of the human experience, alternating and successive waves of joy and sorrow, of pleasure and pain.
The experiences were different in every caste.
Among the plebians, the people hoped were for material wealth and comfort, for rank and prestige. They worked to the point of exhaustion for the smallest gains, and routinely saw those gains stripped away.
The soldier wanted victory and glory, to experience the pleasures of the flesh after combat. They were almost universally short lived, encountering death and disease at every turn.
Among the priestly class there was the quest for power and control. They were consumed with the endless drama of their dynastic ambitions.
Above all, the priest wanted to be elevated to the realm of eternal life, to become one with the Continuum.
Priests routinely sacrificed everything they held dear to achieve these ends.
They were easily corruptible
Suffering was life, moments of pleasure were structured to be brief, they were teaching moments, with periods of joy coming as random, intermittent and spontaneous events.
Joy was the ephemeral thing, perpetually floating in the middle distance, tantalizing, always slightly beyond the grasp of the individual.
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