You’re the problem.

There’s this action no-one likes taking, and I mean no-one. It’s not a hard thing, really, but it stings.

Admit you’re the problem, see how that feels, see if I’m right. Look at yourself as clearly as you can — and let’s be honest, not particularly clearly even then — and you will notice this. You’re the problem.

You’re not always the problem, of course: there are genuine instances where you’ve been acted upon and had no fault in it. I’d guess that those instances are rare.

If you call it fault, or blame, or something like that, fine. Call it that. But in doing so, don’t reduce everything to a set of sums, to percentages, to balances and counter-balances. Have you found a way to rightly apportion that force of will that entangles us all? Congratulations; in thinking flawed so deeply, you’re the problem.

But what came before? How did you get to this place? And even, if you could see all the connections, tenuous or otherwise, would your trifling intellect begin to comprehend the permutations? The primaries, the secondaries, the tertiaries (or the framework of numbers forces upon them)?

Sometimes I imagine the world like strings, every man and woman trailing them wherever they walk. Like marionettes with countless hands pulling in countless directions. Like a fabric, maybe, shifting in the present, reaching hesitantly into the near future, somewhere into the far, being laid down in the past.

Can you control the things that come before, that determine what comes after? Can you identify them and disentangle yourself?

Do you have free will?

Sometime in the future you may admit — privately, publicly, it matters not — that you’re the problem. That there’s an answer you need to find to yourself. That you are the only thing you can change. And that when you change you, you change the future.

Or do you?

Maybe you’ll admit you’re the problem and see a tiny gossamer strand reaching back to these words.

But you probably won’t.

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