The Outsider

Let’s step outside the box.

The Outsider, as a character trope, has existed since before written history. Ancient South American folktales speak of the Coyote figure, a trickster spirit or spiritual guide offering new perspectives. Cross half the world to ancient Scandinavia, and the Viking Sagas tell of the meddler Loki, who, not quite a god, stands outside the pantheon, and yet whose schemes affect the whole world. Even traditional Christian belief includes the Serpent-figure, an evil and corrupting force who acts against God’s will: a guise of the fallen angel Lucifer, cast down from Heaven, envious of his Creator and jealous of humans.

The figure of the Outsider, then, encompasses all human history. It serves as a cautionary tale, warning generations to follow the status quo, and to isolate and shun those who resist it. These tales paint the Outsider as a danger to society, a destructive force that will shake the foundations of that which has taken so long to build.
The Outsider is a tool to control the masses, presenting an ideological enemy that will unite the people in single hatred against that unknown Other, that invader, that violator. There are always parallels to be found between the theological figures and political goals: what better way to enforce your rule than to convince your subjects they are under threat? Adolf Hitler gained power this way. The Spanish Conquistadores and American colonists ran on the idea of an inhuman Outsider that may be exploited for maximum gain. And even today, tensions are engineered to produce a militant idealism: us versus them. On both sides of the border, the many are convinced that they are the ones under threat, and cling to their rulers like a benevolent shield, unaware that they are the sword.
And all the while, the war economy pumps out money – money that reinforces the age-old structure, and keeps the same sorry faces appearing again and again, forever.

But – can we learn something from the Outsider? Perhaps a new message can be found in their tales. Rebellion, revolution. A change to things. We shun the Outsider because they unbalance the familiar, the comfortable, the nooks and crannies in which we make our nests over a vast, slowly-rising darkness, choosing to ignore the pain and suffering below because it hasn’t reached us yet.
The centre cannot hold. The Outsider is evolution.


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