Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live at the bottom of a deep well? You’d be aware of a multitude of minor happenings going on around you, movements in the water and tiny creatures moving around the shaft, but the distant circle of light that marks the real world above is so far away that over time it would become unreal. After a few years at the bottom of the well, the world outside might virtually cease to exist; all that is real, confined within the narrow circle of the well shaft.
There are people who live their whole lives at the bottom of a well. They don’t realize it, of course. To them the well is the real world. Anything that happens outside the well is so distant as to not concern them at all. Just occasionally, the “bad beings” up above will shout abuse, or hurl a stone down at them. Then they respond by sending soldiers up to the top of the well to punish the culprits and exact revenge. No-one below ever sees what happens up there, so they get on with their lives and wait for the military to return with their battle trophies.
Life in the well is chaotic; the populace divided into many factions. They fight between themselves for power over other factions. From time to time, factions band together to achieve more power. Then they squabble, and new alliances are formed.
The bottom of the well is a dangerous place. The inhabitants need weapons to defend themselves – though, they pretend, not from each other. Instead, they insist possible incursion of “bad beings” from the Hole of Light up above, is the true reason.
There is no governing body down the well. Rather, everything is controlled by the most powerful factions. Once in a while the populace will play a game. Two members from the most powerful factions will compete to take charge of the well for a period of time. The populace chooses sides, each shouting and screaming for their favorite. The faction member with the following that screams the loudest will win the game. Then, winner and loser return to join the other members of the most powerful factions, and everything continues as before. It’s all rather pointless, but the well populace seem to enjoy it, as a break from their otherwise mundane lives.
No-one dare admit life down the well is boring. It’s not allowed. The powerful factions insist the well is the only good place to live. Most of the populace believe it. They’ve never known anything different, and blindly believe whatever the powerful factions tell them. To suggest otherwise is to incur the wrath of the well-believers, a large and strong faction dedicated to rooting out those not of their persuasion. It doesn’t do to be seen gazing wistfully up at the Hole of Light far above, or to dare to suggest life may be better……out there.
Long ago, when the well inhabitants were still few, an old book fell from the Hole of Light and landed amongst them. The most powerful faction members studied the book, but many of the pages were obliterated. It was a book of mythology, though they had no way of knowing. The only still legible pages recounted tales of the Greek god, Apollo.
The most powerful factions realized the book granted them great authority. They took the text and declared it ‘holy’. They acclaimed Apollo as the Great God that descended from the Hole of Light. The people believed. The powerful factions realized they could use the name of Apollo to control the populace, and bend the people to their will. They declared that Apollo had chosen the well-dwellers to be His people, and they, the most powerful, to be His representatives down the well. It worked wonderfully, and the most powerful factions maintained their power ever after, by invoking Apollo.
Eventually the populace became known collectively as the Unified Selected of Apollo, though over time, it became abbreviated to a simple acronym.
Filed under: Apologies to Plato