P. Edronkin

Comments on Antoine I, King of Araucania and Patagonia.

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Did you know that Patagonia had a King?

This is a true historical fact. A man called Orellie Antoine de Tounens had himself voted and crowned as King of Araucania and Patagonia by the Indians of that region during the middle nineteenth century. Antoine I was recognised as the legitimate leader of all lands below parallel 42 by all chieftains of the region, as well as by many legitimate governments, including France.

His Kingdom was indeed more ideal than real, since little remains of his venture, but it is known that he started in Valparaiso and slowly, all tribes of both sides of the Andes accepted him, with no violence, no wars, and no regrets. 

He built a country out of nothing, by peaceful negotiation, but was eventually swept away by progressing Argentina and Chile. His descendants are recognised as true nobility by the French Government; his detractors are now even more obscure than him. His Kingdom now lives only in the memories of a few.

And then, after the King was ousted the common sense of our world did its job: the indians where killed by the thousands, and the soldiers who did the dirty job died by thousands too. All those cultures where lost in a war with no medals for no one, and no glory for any army, and after the epics ended, nothing happened.

After the cannons went silent and the arrows flew no more, western bacteries did the job of finishing off some tribes that did not even have a name for any God or idol, but spoke with vocabularies of more than thirty thousands words.

One wonders if "state policies" and states themselves are such a good thing after all. 

Antoine I, King of Araucania and Patagonia. A madman? Crazy? Opportunist? Adventurer? I wouldn't be so sure. He was better than most of our leaders at his job. He was an amateur who managed to do what governments find exceedingly hard to do, which is sit down, talk, and bring out a solution that hurts no one.

Now, what do you think?

Aside the historical and political facts of this curious history, there is one thing that we have to rescue about Antoine I and his Kingdom, and it is that by being "unconventional", so to speak, he bought himself a place in history and a place for his descendants.

Granted, nobility does not mean much in today's world in financial or political terms. Yet, it has a value. It has a leverage that film stars envy. It is not a coincidence that in many countries, aristocracy is respected and praised, so even being a member of the Patagonian aristocracy is better than being John Doe, alias Nobody, even with a good resume under your arm.

So, he bought prestige for all eternity to his descendants. He lived an uncommon life, but died in obscurity. Not a very happy story I am afraid. A sad ending for a man who once was a King. Yes, more proper of Don Qixote than Romulus, but he was more of a King than many others, and he was more of a politician and a true leader than most of our presidents, prime ministers and senators.

This man fought for what he believed. He went to the endo of the world, he got a Kingdom that proved useless at the time and was swept away by the powerful forces of two already formed countries in expansion, but he did not end with empty hands.

In fact, those politicians and officers who caught him, had him sent to prison and back to France as a lunatic in five different ocassions are already swimming in oblivion, but King Antoine I is still remembered, even if it is just in whispers.

In the long run, he brough results, and even in business, that is what really counts. He won.

He did not became a hero because he led no victorious armies, he did not killed thousands, and he did not sacked cities, like most heroes really did. In fact, he did quite the contrary.

Was he such a lunatic? If so, why did the Indians believed in him? Why the chieftains -being themselves, politicians- entrusted him with all their power? Did they saw something that we all missed?

Something does not fit here, and it is that King Antoine was no madman at all. He was unconventional, he was a dreamer, and he had uncommon goals, but nobody who does that and buys a place in history for posterity and does not harm anyone, can be called a lunatic.

Hitler was a lunatic.

Antoine was a common man who became a King without shedding blood, without lies and the kind of stupid discourses that presidential candidates give us today. He certainly had his share of shortcomings, but what he did in his life will live on eternity. His shortcomings are forgotten, and thus forgiven. These could not be so important, for they would have been remembered otherwise.

I think that there is a deep lesson in the story of this ill-fated King: no matter what our dreams are, if you pursue them, even if you ostensibly fail, you are still succeeding because you are living a true life, not the one that consists in 'assignments', jobs and degrees that others grant you, because this sort of recongition forms take the pride out of yourself, and you end being just a reflection of a standard, and not a true man or woman. 

You end being an average statistical point in a Gauss curve, and remember from your geometry classes, that points are, in fact, infinitely small.

With the passing years I began to look with ever decreasing interest at this schema of degrees, jobs, professions and things that define a life which increasingly reminds me of an ant colony. I am starting to look with a little contempt at those people who define themselves as the peak of evolution and yet, have lost the essential ability of intelligence, which is to enable us to look at our own shortcomings and correct them, because their are hiding behind their vested honors which in their true nature, are no more than the scents that categorise all working ants inside a colony.

If intelligence is lost, then we humans are losing the one and only thing that brought us here. We are more than ants because we are individuals, so let us stop pretending being a passport number, a degree or a job title. We are people.

People who need others to bring them everything that has a value in their lives, and are unable to dream and struggle for a purpose of their own are, I am afraid, cowards. Cowards are losers, and losers get terminated, sooner or later.

People who dream just on going to one educational institution to another just to receive a degree and "get a job" are, I am afraid, expendable -for Nature, I mean. A shark would eat a doctor as well as a xmason.

People who recklessly seek power or success, are expendable too. And this is for the world does not stop one second when they die, and when they do so, they die forever, even in the minds of those who were supposed to grant them the "honors" of being "well-adjusted" members of a disadjusted society.

Do you think that life or Nature care about "achievements" that are really waypoints laid off by someone else for you to follow? It reminds me of the trails that the ants make for themselves, guarded by the soldiers, while the workers go on about their exciting career, taking seven times their own weight.

If they were of any significance, someone, somewhere will stop to remember them. Nobody does. We crush them without even noticing the fact.

You too: you spend at least one third of your life on something that is not your own, just to get the nourishment that you need. Wouldn't it be nicer to work for your own sake?

Make your own path, and not a 'career.'

I believe that in this sense, the insane are at least living in a world of their own. Granted, it might be a little metaphysical, or they might not know exactly what good and evil are, but do we? Or is it just a fable that we invented to protect ourselves from the real seriousness that we had when we were children and could also construct worlds of our alchemy?

Do we really know what good and evil really are?

We are still burning people at stakes in the marketplace, and sooner or later, we will burn too.

Science should be joy of knowledge, not the stupid, grave endeavour of endless academic overhead that alleged scientists should undergo today. Business should be progress, and not laying off people on the basis of "reenginering" and politics should be moral improvement, whatever your morals are, instead of sawing off the floor of adversaries.

Would you call that a fairly good group of leaders? I would call them good anesthesists.

By pretending to reach one place, we really are getting away from it. We are losing our real nature as humans, which is to be individuals, and not members of corporations, nations or clubs. Social gatherings are fine, until they begin to consume your own self. Masses, spectacles and things that are needed to bring a collective joy that seems to escape us at individual levels.

We love Comodus and his Circus.

This disgusting way of life that we are adopting is killing us, and not only in physical terms with crime or pollution, but spiritually. It killed Comodus as well as many Romans, anyway, starting with the Gladiators, the 'producers' of the spectacle. You, ant worker, are a producer of this show. You are the Gladiator this time, and someone will find it funny when someone finally cuts you in half. 

Just look at this: a country may live in the deepest sour hours. Yet, when their national team wins a championship, everyone jumps. Others need to get drunk to feel better, and others just take pleasure in finding their neighbors inferior. But after the hangover, comes reality again.

This kind of social narcotics are the things that take us away from what we are supposed to be: unique human beings with unique thoughts, feelings and personalities.

Degrees, recognition, security, money and comfort are good, to a certain extent, but when these become your only and unique objectives in life, you are not living, but masturbating.

I prefer to live the life of an insane King, if you pardon me. I don't need anymore the magic wand of someone called an "authority" or a "PhD." or a "demagogue" or "boss" to tell me who am I, what can I do or what is my worth, despite the fact that I do have a degree, I am a businessman (or should say, I am ending to be one), and indeed, I am a boss and an authority.

Put all these folks in a desert island, and their titles and honours will not save them. Ingenuity and intelligence hopefully would, but the thing is that living in a society from which depends even our own definition of ourselves is killing our individuality.

I tell you with just knowledge of causes: there is nothing at what we all call "the top."

I prefer to leave such a state of mind and look elsewhere, and you should go back to your own Patagonia too. We all carry Kings and Queens within our minds. It is just that we stopped saying hello to them when we were twelve years old. Look harder, and you will find yours again.

Long live the King!

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