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PEASANT AMBASSADOR, CHAPTER 5: DAR'RAEN

PA5-0
     Breakfast time was only six Obar hours later. They met, both very tired, and they finished breakfast almost in silence, then they walked into the Yellow Reception Salon to enjoy refreshing drinks.

     “Did you sleep well last night, Princess,” asked Dar’Raen smilingly, though in a distinct ironic tone of voice.
     She replied caustically, “Very well, thank you, Mr. Dar’Raen. How was your bed? I trust you managed to make it firm enough for your cultivated taste.”
     He confessed, “Oh! The truth is, Princess, I found that bed awful. I could hardly sleep for one hour or two.”
     Shalle asked intrigued, “Tell me, please, Mr. Dar’Raen, what is the beauty in living the life of a farmer?”
     “Well . . . the beauty, Princess, is in waking up before daybreak to admire the first lights of the morning . . . Oh, they are so beautiful! There is nothing more beautiful than the first lights of the Palhn Star, Princess. Waking up early in the morning gives you the feeling of being born again, each and every day!
     On the other hand, the morning itself is a wonder. It is cool, there is dew everywhere, and the flowers, fruits, and vegetables have such stimulating scents that they make you feel you have gained one more day of your short, precious life. Then, there is the grass, Princess: it is such a wonderful sensation to walk on fresh, wild grass with your bare feet . . .
     There are also birds, butterflies, and cattle, and it feels as if you are an integral part of that innocent nature. You forget all your artificial civilization, all your troubles, and you go back into time to our ancestral roots. It is a living in a new Universe: simpler, cleaner, and far more true.
     Later in the day, Princess, you should meet the ocean with its salty waters, the relaxing songs of the waves, the warm beaches, and the gentle rays of the Palhn Star. Each new day spent on the beach is similar to meeting with a very good old friend, lost in the childhood past . . .
     Overall, there is much silence—natural silence. You can hear, Princess, the wind, the water, the birds and, at nighttime, there is so much silence you can hear everything from very, very far away. At nighttime, there are other flowers, with stronger and more euphoric perfumes, and you drop down on a firm bed, Princess, and you sleep like a little child . . .”
PA5-1
     Shalle said hesitantly, “The way you describe it . . . you made it so . . . tempting, Mr. Dar’Raen.” She felt a great desire to see and feel everything he had described. It appeared so pure and innocent!
     He explained, “It is not the picturesque that is the most important aspect, Princess; it is the psychological impact. Living a farm life helps us understand the real scale of values in our Universe. You feel small, and your life appears insignificant but, in the same time, you realize that is exactly what we really are. All artificial conventions and impostures are wiped away, and we are left with the bare truth, with what we really are: men and women.
     Living in a civilized society is a real burden, Princess. There are behavior rules, social conventions, dressing codes, social etiquette, plus many others. It is as if we were all actors, and we have to play our role. Everybody is on the stage, and each is striving to perform to the best they can. It is an environment of permanent and meaningless large artificial smiles to the public. Above all, what is truly amazing is, this entire social spectacle never brings back to us what we really want.
     Should you ask the people you know about what they really want, Princess, you are going to discover that almost all of them want something they do not have, though they cannot even define precisely what it actually is. People are missing something in our civilized society and, unfortunately, they will always do so.”
     She asked intrigued, “What do you think we should do in order to make our society a better place to live in, Mr. Dar’Raen?”
     “Well, changing our society towards the better is not easy, Princess. You see, take the Military Force, for instance. It appears as a necessity at a certain point in time, during the natural trend of social development. That particular structure is a highly organized social organism based on strict rules and regulations: all artificial, and all constraining.
     Now, we do not like constraining social environments, and we want to change them. However, if we do ease those strict rules and regulations on which the Military Force is built, everything goes wrong, and our military social organism would become a group of vandals.
     The point to note is, when dealing with social environment insufficiently studied measures of change could easily make things worse. For individuals, social changes are very good, and they are even necessary; however, it is very important to ensure that social changes do lead to a better life.”
     “Is there a viable solution of improving our social life, Mr. Dar’Raen?” asked Shalle thoughtfully.
     “My Dear Princess, always, and in any situation, there is more than one solution to discover. Let’s try to define our problem first.
     Our society is an artificial environment, and each step further towards its development makes things worse; better said, more artificial for individuals. Now, we want to come up with solutions that would improve the degree of happiness of each individual. Do you agree with me, Princess?”
     “Yes.”
     “At society level, global changes affect all individuals in a bad way, because there will always be some to approve, and others to disapprove. Even worse, that disaccord works towards further deepening the existing social rifts between people. Right, Princess?”
     “Right.”
     “Now, how could we correct that situation? As I said, there are many solutions. One may be to work with each individual, and to convince him to change his way of living, from time to time, to a totally different one. Those changes are meant to keep the individual into a permanently adaptive mood, therefore he or she will never have sufficient time to analyze the bad parts of the current existing situation.
PA5-2
     For example, think that we have a scientist who works very hard for two hundred days in a demanding social environment. Next, we could create for him conditions so that, when he ends his research activity, he starts living and working for the next two hundred days in a totally different environment—as it is the farming one. We have experienced that, and things work really well!
     When the scientist returns for his next two hundred days of research activity in laboratories, he does it with desire and satisfaction, despite the fact that his colleagues are making fun or they tell nasty jokes about him. He loves them all, and he feels well among them—for the following two hundred days. This example is based on the theory named, ‘Social Adaptability to Radical Changes’.”
     “I never heard of that social theory, Mr. Dar’Raen,” confessed Shalle, and she appeared to be troubled.
     “You see, Princess, theories are good only if they bring some real benefit. On the other hand, any theoretical concept must be very simple; if you complicate a theory, it will never work. Now, when a good theory is a simple logic mechanism, you do not have to bother too much with its name, Princess. Important is to understand its functional logic. Names are just conventions we use to identify and organize things: they are only the tags, not the essence.”
     “Ah, I see . . .”
     “Now, consider my case, Princess. I come from my farm life into your imperial environment, and I like it very much because everything is new to me: your food, your clothes, the etiquette, and so on. If I had to live here forever, things would look a lot less attractive. However, because I know I shall return one day to my farm, to recharge all my systems with the simple life of a common farmer, then everything is just fine. This is the essence of the theory without any name, Princess.”
     “Aha! So, you do not like my life!” remarked the Princess annoyed and surprised, while watching him suspiciously.
     “I said that I do, Princess, but let me end this topic. One solution of making people happier is to change their dull, sterile, artificial social environment to a new and attractive one. However, with little efforts, we could discover many other good methods.”
     “Are you certain there are other ways of increasing people’s level of happiness in our society?” asked the Princess still suspicious, and a little bit annoyed.
     “Of course there are, even very many, though most of them deal with the need for a good change in people’s life. Some changes are better than others; however, the simpler we keep those changes, as is the farming environment or the strange environment of a new Planet, the more efficient things are.”
PA5-3
     Shalle took a few moments to reflect over his words. He was right and incredibly logic in everything he had said, and she began suspecting that his knowledge in . . . about everything was a lot richer than what she had heard. She thought that it was of a capital importance to find out information about his personal life, before anything else. She asked hesitantly, “Are there . . . beautiful Ladies on Aggrea, Mr. Dar’Raen?”
     “Yes, Princess. I am not an expert but, yes, there are many beautiful Ladies on Aggrea. Some of them are even exceptionally beautiful.”
     The Princess felt a sharp stinging pain inside her heart. That was way too much: she actually wanted Dar’Raen only for her! She felt she just couldn’t stand the thought she could lose Dar’Raen to another Lady forever!
     “But,” thought Shalle “I am THE Obar Princess. I am very lucky to be the first Lady to discover Mr. Dar’Raen’s qualities, and I am NOT going to lose him!” Then she said in a loud voice, “Thank you for your presentation of the farm life, Mr. Dar’Raen. You made it sound more tempting than anything we could offer to you, on Obar. We shall arrive soon, and I would like you to wait on Tezlun until I meet with my father, and I arrange for suitable accommodations for you.”
     He replied, while watching her with concerned looks, “Somehow, I do not feel very well knowing that you are away from my protection, Princess. After all that happened, I cannot just stand by and watch—”
     “Aha! He cares about me,” thought the Princess with satisfaction, then she interrupted him saying, “Relax, Mr. Dar’Raen. On Obar, I am home—my home.”

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