Kurious

Kurious lived in difficult times. Nature spirits were thought to animate the world of human events and, without a clear moral or ethical standard to act as a restraining force, only the strong survived. Yet strength alone would not guarantee survival. Wit, intelligence, and good fortune were additional requirements. Kurious often stayed awake at night during his youth looking into a star-filled sky, memorizing its patterns and movements, wondering at what he saw. The sky became a living entity to him, a friend he could rely upon. As he grew older, his knowledge of the sky also became a useful tool, landing him a job on a large sailing ship, apprenticing to the navigator’s quartermaster. Living at sea did not agree with him, however, and he jumped ship in a foreign land.

He earned a modest living in his new homeland at first by applying his superior skills with basic hand tools. Then he began to improve local production methods with new tools and proceedures. In the process he increased his wealth and the wealth of the whole community, including carpenters, masons, metalsmiths, potters, weavers, taylors, and more. His quick successes met with resentment from some who continued to see him as a foreigner. Yet he prospered there because of his innovative approach to practicle problem solving. His most practicle solution being, he created good jobs for others.

As his personal wealth grew, he spend much of his time looking for new information to assimulate and apply. Books and book knowledge were scarce; collecting a personal library proved expensive; yet it was the proper use of his time and money, he felt. Plus, he had confidence in his ability to continue making money: the more he spent, the more he earned, it seemed. Then, with a management team in place, he lost track of the actual money flow and its relationship to his daily activities. He began to think about philosophy, the meaning of life, and the pursuit of happiness.

Early one morning, while meditating in his garden, he recalled a vision from his childhood when, after staring into a star-filled sky all night, he understood the universe “out there” to be a large scale mirror image of the universe inside of him. The memory captured his imagination and he attempted to formulate a theory that would explain it in practical terms. Just then, a book of speculative philosophy came into his possession through a chance acquaintance: a remarkable coincidence, he thought.

Although the book contained unfamiliar symbols and mathematical constructions, Kurious understood its basic premises: by assuming the existence of tiny atoms moving and interacting in empty space it becomes possible to explain and predict events in the world through a complex, yet finite, system of formulations. He made a copy of the book to send with a messanger to the only person he knew who might be able to explain the mathematical constructions in detail. And then he turned his attention to the original copy, attempting the task on his own.

War broke out in a nearby district and quickly spread. Kurious dropped everything and turned his full attention to the defense of his property and the surrounding communities. Rather than waiting for the fighting to come to them, he convinced the local military leaders to follow him on the offensive. He immediately became the leading decision maker among all the local army leaders on the battlefield. Under his command, they forced the invaders to retreat back across the boarder. He then supervised the construction of a series of military outposts along the boarder to prevent future attacks.

To pay for the increase in defense forces, Kurious returned to business. But instead of making hand tools for knowledgable potters, weavers, carpenters, masons, and metalsmiths, he built large scale manufacturing systems with workers specalizing in repetitive tasks requiring little overall skill yet acting with coordinated precision like cogs in a mechanism. He soon had ships sailing to markets loaded with newly manufactured merchandise ranging from tools, utensiles, and weapons to portable home furnishing kits. He divided the profits three ways. One third went to the workers, which included most of the previously unemployed people in the community. An equal amount went to the military defense fund. The remainder passed through his hands on its way to a wide variety of applications.

Surrounding communities sent representatives to complain about the military build up along their borders. Everyone turned to Kurious for an explination. Some still looked at him as a foreigner, responsible for changing their traditional ways by introducing conflict and struggle over material wealth. Most of the workers and those in the military, however, supported Kurious and wanted him to keep spreading the wealth. They also favored a hardline against their neighbors, military action if necessary, blaming them for starting the conflict in the first place.

As Kurious prepared to speak to the visiting representatives, a debate still raged in his mind. He had never considered military conquest before but, under the current circumstances, it had become an overwhelmingly practical possibility. All he had to do was announce his intentions to invade and the opposing armies would surrender to him. The working classes would also welcome him as a replacement for their present tyrannical leaders. He might be sorry sometime in the future if he didn’t act now, he told himself. He could depose the ruling tyrants and unite the common people in one swift act by declaring war against his neighbors.

When he invited the visitors to eat with him in the recently constructed worker’s dinning hall adjacent to the innovative manufacturing operation, they were amazed at what they were seeing. And then they were shocked at what they were hearing.

He waited until their bellies were full before announcing his intentions, saying: “What you see here today, this level of organization and cooperation, this will soon spread, because it is based on superior methods. You cannot defend against it. So I’m offering you an opportunity to join in peacefully and avoid bloodshed. Go back to your leaders and tell them this: if they want in, they must deliver that message in person by the end of the current moon phase. If they choose to resist, their territory will be invaded and they will be forcefully deposed.”

Several of the visitors stood in protest but quickly deferring to the one woman among them, who said: “I don’t think you understand what you’re doing. You should learn more about who you are up against before making such threats. This is treasonous. The King personally chose all the local tyrants, as you call them. He will send an army to crush your little uprising. I suggest you consider other options.”

Kurious found the woman physically captivating and, along with her worldliness, authoritative manner, and mention of royal family politics, she held his full attention. “What options would you suggest?” he responded. The woman looked around at the other visitors with a satisified expression on her face before answering: “You can begin by retracting your threats and then you can apologize.” The certainty of his purpose solidified in his heart as he looked into her eyes, and said: “The King’s army is hundreds of miles away and most of the local armies in between will join me before the King can react. I’m committed to going forward with this declaration of war.”

He waited until the moon phase had completed and, when none of the neighboring rulers attended his meeting, he led his army across the boarder into neighboring territories. Just as he had carefully trained his management team and organized his workers, Kurious led his army into battle with a winnable plan and superior equipment. Resistance vanashed after a few initial battles, as word spread of the outcomes. Workers in defeated terrirories were immediately organized to build an entirely new manufacturing infrastructure supervised by Kurious and his management team. Uniforms and weapons were stockpiled to be ready for current and future use as needed.

The more men and women he had employed in his manufacturing business and in his army units, the less likely a violent military conflict would occur, Kurious reasoned: the King would eventually be forced to negotiate. However, the King had a wealthy treasury to draw from and Kurious’ efforts would soon bog down if his resources were not replenished with outside money through business or plunder.

He decided to play his strength while it still existed. The enthusiasm of workers and military rank-and-file would never be higher: the time had come to overthrow the King. The boldness of his attack caught the King’s forces off guard and the weapon superiority of his army brought a quick end to the battle. Although he hadn’t expected to take the war that far, it felt good to occupy the King’s castle, to have the King’s ministers and generals kneeling before him.

Among the defeated, he recognized the woman who had spoken for the visiting representatives in his worker’s dinning hall when he had made his first declaration of a much more limited war. She was standing in the back, refusing to kneel, and when she noticed him looking, she said: “We meet again. I must say, I didn’t expect it to happen this way. I’m Princess Gaiana, the King’s daughter. My father managed to escape, which is bad news for you. He has many friends. He also has mutual defense agreements with other, more powerful kingdoms. You may think you have won something but you have only made it worse for yourself, poor fool.”

Kurious felt aroused by her defiant attitude. Nothing stopped him, he knew, from doing what conquering warriors have so often done to daughters of the defeated. And the temptation to do so proved stronger than he had expected it would. His good judgement prevailed, however, and he turned his attention to counting the money instead. He had bills to pay and a kingdom to awaken. 

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