Long ago, before they privatised all the DNA, a highly successful
businessman lived and died in the mountain kingdom of Stupi. His
business was based on persuading people that they were dissatisfied.
In this of course he was not alone, for there was evidence to show
that between 16 and 22% of economically active citizens of Stupi
between the ages of 18 and 60 were engaged in this pursuit. But
of this army of workers Siar d'Mouton (for that was his name) was
undisputedly the alpha male, despite the fact that he restricted
himself to the tree based sector of the desire creation market (DCM).
His life path took him through stages where he was laughed at,
disbelieved, viewed questioningly, adulated, envied and hated. In
his personal life, as in his business, he aroused strong desires.
People wanted to be near him, to be his friend, to bask in the reflection
of his wealth. Professionally he was given a degree of respect by
his peers, but regarded as an oddball on account of his rejection
of any form of electronic desire creation. His urge to control the
tree pulp side of the industry was exclusive and obsessive. His
empire encompassed not only the production and distribution of attractive
product information sheets, but also the plantation and harvesting
of the trees destined to carry that information. At the peak of
his success, 30% of the forest that once covered the mountain slopes
of Stupi was dedicated to the d'Mouton effort. He also controlled
the pulping and paper making process, the making of coloured inks,
and the china clay and plastics used to add a shine to the paper,
and the creative graphical advertising industry that generated the
images of the product whose desire he meant to stimulate. As with
form, so with content. The DCM effort set no artificial limits on
the products whose consumption was boosted by his operation. It
is true that he stayed strictly within the law, but this meant next
to nothing, since if he felt restricted by laws, he would arrange
for the law to be altered in his favour. He disseminated seductive
information about everything from kitchen equipment through mind
altering solids, liquids and gases to pornography and the machinery
of torture and death. Short shrift was given to any moral objection.
"If I did not do this", he would reply, "someone
else would". One foolhardy philosopher opined that this argument
spelled the end of ethics as an operational discipline. De Mouton
had him put to death after a decent interval, but painlessly, in
order not to give him the satisfaction from beyond the grave of
being absolutely correct.
In addition to this limited moral criticism, he was condemned by
those misguided souls who held that human desire was the problem
not the solution. Siar responded to this criticism by increasing
(by a small margin) the amount of recycled fibre in his pulp, and
by paying journalists to make sure that the adjective 'naïve'
preceded any and every reference to his critics. Ever the entrepreneur,
he also invented and developed a small domestic incinerator for
his products, generating home heating and/or electricity, and fitted
with state of the art chimney gas cleaners which allowed only carbon
dioxide and water vapour to escape. The tars from the scrubbers
were fed back and consumed in ultra high temperature cycles of the
incinerator, and the ash was compressed, collected and reprocessed
into building blocks and arboricultural fertiliser. This move won
grudging and partial praise from some of the naïve environmentalists
but their criticism of the central intent of his business continued.
In this way Siar became immensely wealthy. Naturally this did not
bring him happiness, only the ability to satisfy any desire that
came into his consciousness apart from love. He had never been at
ease with people, and after a brief flurry of high social activity,
he became a recluse. His business activities became autonomous,
run by stewards who were overseen by other stewards, who were overseen
by accountants who reported back to the boss by paper based mail.
D'Mouton designed and built for himself a secure underground dwelling
place. Like all of his creations it was idiosyncratic but perfectly
executed. From the outside the only aspect of the building was a
huge impregnable door with a letterbox through which every desire
creating paper in his empire found its way on a daily basis. Behind
the door was a cast iron spiral staircase which led down to his
main living room. In this Siar ate, slept, and examined incoming
mail. Food arrived by post, in containers that could be heated by
his incinerator. He became very obese. The main occupation of the
day, after reading, was shifting the mail from the doormat to the
incinerator. Although not happy, he was not unhappy, for only a
fool would have been unhappy when every day evidence came through
the door that desire continued to flourish in the minds of the people
In this way the mail order king of the mountains lived alone, until
he slipped on a shiny leaflet on the iron stair. He struck his head
and broke his left tibia and fibula. Waking from his concussion,
he found himself immobilised. He took his fate philosophically.
Three time a day he tried to attract the attention of the deliverer
of post, but the thick door muffled his cries. After two days he
was covered in incoming paper to the extent that breathing became
difficult. After three days he died. After a week his living room
was full and no more post could be thrust through the letter box.
After a month the mail piled outside his front door began to impede
the flow of traffic, and the authorities began to take an interest.
After a year the necessary paperwork was completed to allow the
police to enter the private property of Stupi's richest citizen
unauthorised, and there, beneath a pile of shiny, attractive mail,
they found the malodorous remains of the author and victim of the
greatest mail avalanche known to man. When after five years news
of his death could be suppressed no longer, his business folded,
and after a further four hundred thousand years the forests of the
mountain kingdom of Stupi had recovered some (but by no means all)
of their historic beauty and diversity.