18th June 2021

‘The rabbit hole’, an apt and well understood phrase to explain humanities obsession with following abstract tom foolery to the very end of any possible chain of interconnectable absurdities. An invention, as far as the modern more philosophical meaning, of one Doctor Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, as a clever means of lacing together an enticing tale predominantly invented to fascinate and seduce, in the most innocent of ways, the attentions of Miss Alice Liddell for an elongated period of balmy summer afternoons in the vicinity of Christ Church, Oxford.

The metaphor works quite charmingly, as anyone who has studied the vagaries of a bunnies warren can attest, they are illogical, duplicitous, full of dead ends, unnecessary beginnings, circuitous meandering, a maze willfully constructed without the slightest attention to efficiency or geometry. One might suppose that this rather outlandish device reflects Charles’s own inner emotions, as he was obliged to cope with his complex and societally untenable emotions in regard to his secret beloved. Whether such feelings were as innocent as Dodgson professed, or as coarse as later commentators are inclined to suggest remains a mystery unresolved. For myself I favor the concept that poor Charles was painfully smitten by the unattainable, both from morality and his own deeply held religious perspective, and as such simply extended any chance of verbal interaction to the extreme, in a manner that time has proven to be both charming and palatable. There is a vein of evil in all things, sometimes it is simply better not to dissect too deeply.

The current ‘rabbit holes’ seem mainly to concern secrets, hidden agendas, camouflage truths about objects and events, in a word ‘conspiracies’. Subterfuge, particularly on the part of either public officials or cabals tend to vex human kind particularly strongly. The mere hint of a factoid being known and not shared unilaterally seems to inflame certain individuals passions to an extreme of volatility. Such state or factional secrets are perceived by the affronted as attacks upon their freedoms, their rights, their relevance, reducing then in their own minds to second class persons, as untermensch, a strange jump of logic from those so often inclined to espouse fascism, a political system whose precepts require the recognition of an elitist hierarchy.

Paranoia is a very common human phycological state, one we all fall victim too at various moments in our lives, particularly stressful ones. A well-considered opinion that everyone is against us, watching, talking behind our back, attempting at every opportunity to undermine our standing. Such feelings are easily understood, we are naturally after all victims not predators, so having to carry a constant sense of impending danger is basic to species survival. Having largely overcome other species of predators, our attentions were formally turned inwards towards our true adversaries, our peers. Understanding the debilitating nature of suspicion and mistrust the need for physical confrontation was satisfactorily replaced by purely cognitive measures, sewing uncertainly and self-deprecation heavy upon any and every foe. Subtlety replaced aggressive posturing, casual undercurrents the mayhem of frontal tidal waves, suggestion becoming the currency of control, the switch beating upon the beasts back.

Once the slightest crack of doubt is set within the otherwise pristine facade of the human, more faults will follow, like spiderwebs embracing what was a wholly untarnished target. Rudimentary breaches are cunningly encapsulated in lessons learned from infancy, enabling control initially by parents and   authority figures but by default allowing access to any with the desire and divisiveness   of character to infringe on an individual’s natural font of self-esteem. Users abound in any grouping, ‘tis suggested that up to one in twenty become natural manipulators, but the entire population have that capacity if directly pressed by circumstances.

 The victim, a victim is everyone not a perpetrator, simply retreats into a world without windows, avoiding the necessity to contemplate the judgmental glances cast in their direction. From their now ostracized situation the rabbit hole becomes a welcome alternative to reality, a place to feel accompanied in their prescribed inadequacies, even if by a band of fools.

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