The Paths of Two Souls
Updated: Jun 15
The following is an extension of an email message to one of my readers, regarding two characters mentioned in previous articles. The first is Razro/Lazlo, a character from an old video game from the 2000s (Suikoden IV), who was cursed by a living rune that consumes life. The second character is one I made, called Razor Reapkvar, a warrior haunted by hallucinations that drive him to senseless killing in the name of a mysterious acronym: E.X.P. The reader in question found great similarity in them, while I take them to be different. Herein lies the extension.
I take the two characters to be opposites, with the main similarity being that they are bound to do what they're doing by certain "spirits". The runes in Suikoden are known to have lives of their own and are, in fact, living beings. Razor may have no magic, but he too is enslaved by a force he does not fully understand.
The core difference is that Razro, despite his curse, gathered an entire army under his command in the name of liberty, while Razor remained despised, feared, and alone. Regardless, both have accepted the destiny imposed by their curses -- to be consumed by them, with death being the only true escape.
Another core difference: is that the rune consumes the life of its bearer, while Razor's hallucinations empower him when he follows their whim. The first punishes, the second rewards.
You say that death may only lead us to square one, but that depends on the question of the infinity of reincarnation. If we are here only to learn before our souls pass to a higher state of existence, then our time on this earth may indeed be limited, even if our souls are immortal.
Regardless, it is safe to assume that both men live their lives in accordance with a higher power that is beyond their control. For you, it may be your hunger for the arcane; for me, it is the innate desire for immortality through legacy. Are we not all, in the end, slaves to our whims, whether they reward or punish us for following them?
We need desires and whims, for they define our character, regardless if they are imposed or accepted. They are the framework of our individuality. Even the desire to live to the bare necessities is a desire nonetheless that we do not necessarily have to follow.
Razro, the hero, surpassed his curse and lived alongside it, while living a military life and liberating his native islands from an invading empire. Razor gave in, because he lacked the fortitude of the former, and because killing indiscriminately means that you won't make friends or allies along the path of life. Regardless of the latter's hardship, his ultimate desire is rest, which he fails to achieve due to his madness' hunger for harvesting lives.
By desiring, both characters are defined beyond the limitations of the uncontrollable forces that govern their lives. To want to liberate a nation, is as much opposition to said forces, as the desire to lead a life of rest, regardless of whether either goal is ultimately achieved.
We cannot escape the self, or the forces that govern it; external or internal, personal or political. Does it truly matter, when the only foreseen liberator is death? And even if death will restart our lives, what other salvations exist, to hopefully break the chains of our current existence?
Epictetus said that there are things within and without our control. Death appears to be on both sides; a hybrid condemned by society. For the non-suicidal, hermitage is the only acceptable imitation of death, even if seen as weird or undesirable by millions.
I've seen myself as a Razro for most of my childhood; a silent general who carries the orders of existence. Seeing the Rune of Punishment in action -- I recall using it numerously due to its rewarding damage to the enemy. If there was not a better option to see the enemy defeated efficiently, then I would use it, for it was my mission, my purpose back then, to defeat the enemy and reap the rewards: the EXP, the equipment, the money, and sometimes the followers that came along.
It was only in adulthood that I realized I had a "Rune of Punishment" of my own, called autism or ASD. It has punished me for trying to be normal, because with each trial, I faced rejection, condemnation, and abandonment from those with whom I felt comfortable. Like with Razro, I sought solitude to not bring unnecessary harm to others by my existence; like Razor, while I am not a killer, I sought rest from this world via solitude, in the hope that I would at least feel a tiny sense of serenity.
It has all come to this: my life has been defined by my abstinence from the world, both because it punishes, because not all are inherently normal. It is thus a choice, to seek servitude through Razro, or permanent rest, like Razor. Regardless, I am aware that there is no true escape from this existence. You can't cure what is permanent, regardless of your life choices.
Thus, even long before I recognized my inescapable self, I fantasized of world dominance. Realistically, it is not possible unless you're ultra-rich. Then you might have a reasonable chance. Zuckerberg, Bezos, and other such folk. The answer to true contemporary significance is through the internet and through immense wealth. Since I have only one, my only salvation-while-living is through immortality in the minds of others -- immortality through faithful and legitimate contribution.
The path of Razor says: "Go to sleep; go home and be quiet; weaken the struggle by rest", while the path of Razro calls to live alongside the cursed disease, even if it will bring you great harm. For years I've been leaping between the two sides; desiring recognition in lieu of solitude and vice versa. People criticized me for hypocrisy because I stayed in the external world, regardless of my desire to be left alone.
Power and rest -- reward, influence, and solitude -- energy, harm, and irrelevance -- consequence; I seem to be forever haunted by both sides, both paths; both souls. And beyond the two opposing forces, lies a great desire to dominate the world in spite of my solitary nature.
Power... It is too tempting to just live a life of complete hermitage... Because then, she and her cohorts will win over me; The female trio of rejection, who abandoned me for who I am, who I was, and who I might stay forever more. To see them win because I chose complete solitude, that is something I sense I cannot forgive myself, should I ever choose it.
To attract people to my cause, and see them rewarded for my efforts, it is my "original sin"; the one that originated from Razro's game, back 20 years ago; the one that consumes; the one that will reward and advance, despite of the harm it causes... Perhaps, because of said harm?
Yes. It has been settled. It has been settled all along, has it not? Her words, the words of a particular character from said game, are in my ears. Only now, I seem to understand and appreciate.