Just as every candle that ever existed confirms the existence of someone who lit it, the candle burns to light another face. It is the fiction of empathy that illuminates our own existence. On every birthday cake, every window sill, in every hand raised to the doorway, at every graveside or staircase. Every candle is a reminder that you are not alone. The flame of the candle burns for someone, or else it cannot burn at all. It is another human being wanting to be seen. 

Every lit candle must also die out, and so we feel a stab of pain for every human who will live only to die. Empathy takes shelter in such futility, and so we look for the flame in every window and door we pass.

The final strategy of fiction is the square. Simply and dramatically equal on four sides, an open invitation to the recipient. The square has an outside and an inside, one side that gives value, and one side that takes value. 

It is a frame for all potential exchanges, a place that remains concrete no matter what truth is told. The square can always be divided into more squares, evenly distributed and revalued. Exponential growth, like bacteria in a petri dish, or the golden ratio, endlessly add value until supply and demand grow intolerant of  one another and then panic sets in. 

Fiction as a square will always maintain a position, regardless how truthful it is, since value is its own truth.  

Such is the magic power of the square.

The Frame

Every Candle 

Resistance appears in the strangest of places, momentarily constructed by the breath of the people. Defiant and awkward, the Barricade is not often planned or carefully constructed, it rises up in an unstoppable tide. Once construction has begun, it requires solidarity to clamber on board. The Barricade needs no internal structure, it burns with the passion of hot tempers and tumbles unruly into the streets, holding out and holding in. To dismantle the Barricade is to oppose the will of all who built it, to restore the order of a unyielding doctrine or to bear the danger of descent. A human Barricade is a solemn presence, risking life against ideology.

A well ordered Barricade is another thing altogether, a sign of oppression or defensive power, a reckoning against subversion. It may be a reassuring sign that order is maintained, firmly pointing the finger at those who do not comply. 

A porous Barricade is the sign of a benevolent force. A gesture that the individual may set their own limits of division.


The fiction of transposition is a Labyrinth.

Those that enter the Labyrinth do so with the purpose of getting lost, so maps and directions are useless. The present location in a Labyrinth is impossible to mark, since there is ultimately nowhere to arrive except back out of the Labyrinth. You begin to feel you've been here before, but since there is no way of knowing this place from the last, you may be reliving the past as the future. Once you surrender to being lost, purpose disintegrates and you begin to live this place as you remember somewhere else. You transpose every thought, every experience from your past life onto this one. That's why visitors to Labyrinthine cities often recognise people and places from their home. This is the purpose of the Labyrinth. Inside every hidden corner is the potential of someone you already met. 

The Labyrinth 

The Barricade 

There is a monument made from glass, a towering mythic monolith. In the midst of the city, sandwiched between stone columns and poured concrete, the glass monument is pitch black from the dirt of smoke and petrol fumes. Up close you can see the initials of tourists and lovers scratched into the dirt. On winter mornings the shade from the monument casts an icy shadow on the streets below, frequently causing accidents, and assuring it as unpopular with locals. Every now and then an ambitious politician or a well-meaning social group in a rash of civic pride will clean up the momument to give the city new life, but the grime of daily life always catches up. At the base of the monument is a miserable bunch of broken objects accumulated over time, the hands of a ceramic goddess, the cap of a camera lens, the missing page from a novel. Lost objects and forgotten histories end up here scratching at the base of the monument, adding to the disarray with forgotten purose. 

The Infinite Bundle of Sticks can be found anywhere, but recognition isn't always easy. To come across a single stick is good fortune, while finding a small bundle of sticks may have many uses. A larger bundle may become a burden without some idea of what to do with them, but an infinite bundle of sticks will have every possible permutation and potential. What can you do with something that has no beginning and no end? 

An opportunist will sell them off a few at time, a fool will take one for safe keeping and forget the rest. A poet however, will leave them in a bundle and climb inside. There he will find the infinite doorways to worlds never imagined. 

Infinite bundles of sticks are a doorway to possible worlds. They can be found anywhere if those searching are looking for it, in a forest, a desert, a drowned city, a prison cell, in the sleeve of a shirt.

The Monument

An Infinite bundle of Sticks

The Abyss is a place no compass will find, yet remains close by. It marks a defeated turn from one ideology in betrayal of another. It consumes the hearts of those who live in absence. The more hearts that live in absense, the bigger the Abyss becomes.

To stand at the edge of the Abyss is to confront your own fears, to inhabit everything that distorts a rational view of yourself. Many believe that terrifying monsters live at the bottom, where no light can escape and all sound is an augmented roar.

Once you have seen the Abyss, you carry its residue as a reminder of what may lie ahead if rational sense is lost. The monsters are a consequence of losing all sense of self. Fiction knows no better ally in fear than the abyss.

The Ladder is as useful as it is difficult to climb.

The ladder needs two surfaces to function, the ground (as status quo), and a horizontal surface (as an irregularity that cannot comply), without either the ladder will fall. A good climber is supported by the status quo, stablised by many-handed presumptions.

In parody the ladder is only ever as stable as these two surfaces, one uncertain assumption and the climber looses footing. Either the climber falls and must find a way back up, or the ladder must move to a more stable surface elsewhere. A climber on a wobbly ladder won't stay long hanging on for dear life, the public don’t want to witness desperation, it’s cruel and unseemly. Better to fall in a bloody heap than flail around in uncertainty.

The ladder is not comfortable place to rest, it's only a way up or down, anything in between is fleeting.

The Ladder

The Abyss