The Nature of the Dragon

“We are the Dragon,” Guan-Yin philosophized over the Go board. I never minded such lectures; I found them as beautiful as I found the game, as beautiful as I found the player. Serene, calm, and a meditation in layers upon layers of complexity.

“And yet we are not. Individually we are lacking; collectively we are whole. We are the cells of a single organism, the essence of its being. Without us, it is nothing. Without it, we are lost. Being lost is part of our nature, part of our function. We exist in perpetual paradox. We don’t understand why we do what we do, but the Dragon does. But how can it know, if it is us, and we are ignorant? Because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Think of your body. Think of your hair, your skin, your teeth. Think smaller. Think of cells. How many billions of cells comprise you? Each one blindly going about its hidden, secret instructions, fulfilling its own private destiny. How do the cells in your eye know their task is not the same as those in your stomach? What makes your skin soft, your lips moist? These are a thousand different individual mandates, each one isolated and self-contained, and yet together they orchestra a symphony of incomprehensible complexity, culminating with the unthinking, unfeeling cells of your brain giving breath to the majesty and wonder which is you — a conscious, creative, determined being. How?

We don’t know. But this is the Dragon. Perhaps I am a brain cell, and perhaps you are muscle. Is it important that we know what part we play? No. We play it, because it is in our nature to do so. I am, and in being I fulfill my function, even if I have no inkling of what it is. What choice do I have? I cannot be what I am not;I must be what I am. You’d as well ask water not to be wet, or air to become stone.

And that is why we are not ‘Dragons’. We are Dragon. Cut off your arm. Are you now ‘yous’? Slice it into small pieces. Take a single finger. Take a fingernail. Divide it down to the indivisible, and yet you shall never find another ‘you’ hidden inside. They are parts of you, but they are always you. Many pieces; one puzzle. Many grains of sand; one desert. Many flakes in a blanket of snow.

Individually, we are meaningless. The Dragon gives us meaning. Collectively, we are a being of legend, one that coils across the Heavens, across time and space. The death of individual cells means nothing. In your lifetime, each and every piece of you has been replaced time and time again. Physically, you have nothing in common with your prior selves. And yet here you are. Here you are. That is how the Dragon endures. It is why we are ageless, and why we were here before the Templar or Illuminati, and why we will exist beyond them. We have no need for structures, for hierarchies, for charters, incorporations, and uniforms. We simply are. We work together with a harmony that the organizations will never dream of achieving. We do so effortlessly and unknowingly. They will never defeat us, never quell us, never conquer. Cut off our hand, and we will sprout a new one. Cut off the head and another shall grow in its place. So long as one of us exists, we all exist. A single cell divides and divides again, growing the Dragon anew.”

The whole time she spoke, her eyes were still focused on the board, but the philosophy did not temper her concentration. I’d lost far too many games to believe she was ever distracted, no matter how passionate her words. She finally moved, placing a single black stone on her chosen point. She smiled at me.

And I smiled back, because I thought was in love.

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