In the Three Kingdoms Romance, there is an episode where Guan Yu, one of the three oath brothers who are the protagonist and (perhaps historically inaccurate) heroes of the novel, is captured inside of a city by Cao Cao, the novels antagonist and (perhaps historically inaccurate) villain. Guan Yu is guarding the family of the leader of the oath brothers, Liu Bei. As such, he is presented with a dilemma. He should keep his oath brother's family safe, but to surrender to Cao Cao, an usurper, would demean his honor. And Guan Yu is (in literary terms), taken to be almost the embodiment of honor. This puts him in somewhat of a dilemma. A dilemma heightened by the fact that the political situation during the fall of the Han was complicated, to say the least.

While Cao Cao was an usurper, taking control of the remnants of the core Han territories, he still had either the sense or the respect to not depose the emperor. The emperor was still, in name, the ruler of the empire, and Cao Cao was just his Prime Minister. That Cao Cao made all the decisions while the Emperor was left locked away in a gilded cage did not change the fact that the Emperor was still the Emperor. And so, Guan Yu, to protect the family, surrendered, but not to Cao Cao, the schemer and manipulator. He surrendered to the emperor of the Han Dynasty. Was this a nominal difference? Perhaps.

But let us return to you and me. You, who are not reading this and probably won't. The time that we have spent without communication is now much longer then the time we spent in communication, or even in communion. Despite my gambits and stratagems, this seems to be the situation for the foreseeable future. But as for myself, I will surrender to you at any time, but I will not surrender to your desire to control me. Although any modern anthropologist or student of history will probably debate the historical accuracy, in literary terms, the idea of the imperial order represented something quite sublime: the unity of heaven and earth, the idea that people could all live in harmony with each other, combining their natural familiar order into a greater, macrocosmic social order. In some ways, Guan Yu's loyalty to the emperor was nothing else but loyalty to the empire, and to the Being that it disclosed. And in the same way, I am loyal to your Being. Capitalized like that. To the experiences we had, and how every footstep we took, every glimpse of the rich black soil of Oregon was something we shared, and a place where our consciousness put aside temporalities and incidentalities and... ah, how to describe it? Every single incident of water, and of mountains, of adventure and relaxation, was a sign that the world was both astonishingly brilliant and comfortably close to us. The shutters were open and I saw for the first time that there was a bright world directly in front of me. And how could I ever refute that? What type of disloyalty and foolishness would that be on my part? But to everything that came along with that...your desire to use silence as a weapon, your need to install a subject/object dynamic into our relationship that was more reminiscent of years and years of female coyness than of the 21st century, and the fact that in the end I was a role (and an antiquated one at that), and not a person--- all of that is something that I can only treat with a mixture of skepticism and puzzlement and frankly, disgust. The worst thing is that all these stratagems merely make me impatient, because I know that they will end, as history has precedented, in fire.

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