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Why don't they tell the authorities?

I saw an interesting discussion the other day of the Order of the Air, with one reader asking why they didn't just tell the authorities what was happening. After all, if all this strange and weird stuff was happening, why didn't everybody in the world know it? Why don't our guys just honestly say what happened?

Ok, let's take for example the flashback scene in Wind Raker when Mitch saw Gil move the hand grenade by telekinesis. What if I told you it was true? What if I told you that scene really happened? What if I told you that my grandfather was a telekinetic, and he did exactly what Gil did in that scene? Would you believe me?

Some of you might. But most people would start explaining that it wasn't true. My grandfather was a liar. I'm a liar. I'm stupid. I think you're stupid. I'm playing some kind of game with my readers. I'm a deluded dimwit who doesn't know the truth between fiction and real life. I'm much too well educated a woman to believe that. Obviously my grandfather was a con man.

Now imagine what people would say if Mitch, with his history of mental illness, told people that he saw Gil move a hand grenade by telekinesis. They'd say he was delusional and needed to be committed to inpatient care. Certainly nobody would hire him to work as a pilot. At best he'd be unemployable. At worst he'd be in one of the state-run asylums of the day. Why in the world would Mitch tell anyone what he saw? Only someone who was actually delusional would be stupid enough to tell the authorities what happened.

Another example -- all of George's past life things in Wind Raker are real. They're documented. They're in perfectly conventional primary sources. Much of the wording of the ritual on the beach, including the names of some of the actual participants, is real. The ritual is actually from 1936 rather than 1935 and is a blessing on the publication of Bea's book, as quoted by her daughter in Ruth Patton Totten's The Button Box and grandson Robert Patton's The Pattons. Every last word about his past lives is real and I can give you the biographical references. Why? Because George Patton was terrible at keeping his mouth shut, and on more than one occasion nearly ruined his career by talking publicly about esoterica in ways that gave the press a field day and his superiors apoplexy. Did they believe him? Or did they think he was a nut? Pick up any biography of Patton. You can find accounts of him telling people about his past lives as a Carthaginian and as a Roman, accounts of him explaining that he was formerly a Napoleonic Marshal. It was even in an Academy Award winning movie -- as an example of him being a dangerous lunatic. It's not secret. Everyone knows it. But nobody believes it.

Why would anyone tell the authorities? Why would anyone talk about it? The old injunction in esoterica -- to know, to dare, to keep silent -- is because running your mouth harms you. Our Lodge knows that. Alma, Jerry, Mitch, Stasi and Lewis know better than to tell anyone outside a trusted circle of what they see. If they do, the consequences would be devastating to them.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
geonncannon
Apr. 12th, 2015 12:12 am (UTC)
This makes sense! I always wondered why Gary Hobson never told people he got a newspaper with tomorrow's news on "Early Edition." I mean, at first, yeah, skepticism. But after he'd miraculously appeared on-site at a couple of disasters... just tell the cops you frequently run into. Or one cop to ensure you won't get locked up. And in that situation he would actually have the newspaper in-hand to prove it's real. "Look, this says that a man will slip and fall on the ice at 11:20. Let's stand here at 11:18 and watch."
jo_graham
Apr. 13th, 2015 09:56 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's different if you've got a physical object that's solid proof. But how do you prove what you experienced?
lferion
Apr. 12th, 2015 05:37 am (UTC)
Yes, exactly this.
jo_graham
Apr. 13th, 2015 09:58 am (UTC)
Yep! :)
aishabintjamil
Apr. 12th, 2015 03:48 pm (UTC)
Wow. I had no idea Patton's life was that interesting. Now I'm going to have to go do some reading.

I find their attitude totally accurate. There's also one other component - the vast majority of people don't want this kind of thing to be real. Even a fair number of those who talk about wanting it run screaming into the night when something actually works.
jo_graham
Apr. 13th, 2015 10:02 am (UTC)
Very interesting! And Bea was a fascinating person too. You do not have to make this stuff up for a book. The real story is more fantastic than most readers will believe!

There's also one other component - the vast majority of people don't want this kind of thing to be real. Even a fair number of those who talk about wanting it run screaming into the night when something actually works.

Yes, an excellent point! And one Bea makes to Mitch - that her first question when someone asks if it's true is "do you want it to be?" And of course Mitch does, and always did, so he can hear what she says. She's taking a tremendous risk to tell him the truth, and he knows it.

But if it were real -- oh then the doors open! And for Mitch at least there's no way he'd ever want them closed.
mari4212
Apr. 12th, 2015 09:30 pm (UTC)
There's also how many authorities do they know who would be available, have the resources to deal with the situation, and the autonomy to act, even if they were believed. By the time you're high enough up the food chain to have a lot of autonomy and discretion in reporting, you're also out of range of the random person off the street unless there's a prior connection. Henry can call people in, because he has the time and the connections to schmooze. The Lodge is mostly working too hard and too out of the way to make those connections.
jo_graham
Apr. 13th, 2015 10:03 am (UTC)
Very true. They can't just go to the person in charge most of the time. They'd have to flag a random policeman and tell him there was going to be a murder because they dreamed it -- or something equally unlikely! They're not the leaders of the land. They're ordinary people with ordinary resources. Which was one thing we wanted to explore in this series -- it's not necessary to be Tony Stark to save the world!
angelsallfire
Apr. 13th, 2015 01:37 pm (UTC)
Yep, yep, and yep. Mitch, in particular, would have been in danger had he gone off about the things he'd seen and done. Because of his history, and given the time period, it's likely he'd have been committed. And asylums of that time...*shudder* And I don't believe treatment for PTSD was even a thing, back then. I think I remember you talking about that at one point.
jo_graham
Apr. 23rd, 2015 05:26 pm (UTC)
Mitch would be in so much trouble. At best his career would be over. At worst he'd be in an asylum. Yeah, Mitch is never going to mention this stuff!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )