What Dragons Are

“So how do you define a dragon?” I was asked.

“Uh, er. Um.” I did not answer. I didnt even attempt to answer, and
swung the conversation elsewhere until such time as I could answer. Thats
actually a question no ones ever asked me before. Unbelievable, I know.
When conversation headed back in that direction I still didnt have an
answer, but now I do.

“A dragon,” I would have said, “is large and awesome and encompassing, so
large it fits into the spaces between things and often is not noticed at
all. It is dangerous, and aggressive. It breaths fire. It eats people. But
it does not do this all or most of the time; it dwells on the potential
of courses of action and that is, usually, enough.

Dragons know the truth
about things. They frighten people. They frighten people by knowing the
truth about things, and by not caring. Or by saying the truth you didnt
want to hear, speaking fire at you and burning away the old things. You
aren’t afraid the dragon will eat you; you’re afraid the dragon will notice
you, judge you, and find you unworthy of their time. You’re afraid the
dragon will notice you at all.

The dragon’s afraid you’ll notice them. Often
they would prefer not to be notice or bothered, but left alone so they
may observe things from afar. They study things with a detached interest,
often reluctant to interfere. They study things and detach them from the
value system in a way that can be upsetting, for they do not place more
inherent importance in people in preference to crickets. They sometimes
fail to view themselves in the larger picture through a desire to be
apart and alone and left alone, to be the impassive observer, in the
scene but not an active element most of teh time. Unless a catalyst
strikes. Actions may seem capricious, but often spring without apprarent
warning from a firm base of prolonged thought.
They are old. Very old,
but they dont care much about this. Its years, things pass and change,
but mostly stay the same within patterns.

Dragons know who they are and
are so comfortable in this that they may seem arrogant, when really, they
just know who and what they are and don’t feel a need to seek external
confirmation and reinforcement. They often operate outside the standard
and accepted parameters of things because theyve judged the system and
don’t find it useful.
Unuseful things (and people) are not respected, no
matter how potent. This is part of a values-free philosophy…or rather,
the nod to the idea that one should probably value their values rather
than getting them as hand-me-downs.

Dragons are their own system. They
are thus on the whole neither good nor evil, helpful nor uncaring,
friendly or introverted. They are islands.

Dragons are small, medium,
or large animals with a reptilian or mammalian or saurian or avian cast,
who may or may not have wings, may or may not eat people, may or many not
have an intrinsic alignment along an axis of good and evil, may or may not
have an elemental affiliation, may or may not like knitting. Sometimes,
dragons are lonely because of the people they successfully discourage,
by being too honest about themselves and others, by never actually
seeking contact, by being too big and arrogant and eating the neighbors
dog.

Dragons are not aloof for the sake of being aloof; they are aloof
for the sake of not stepping on people, but secretly, because theyre
quite afraid of being stepped on. They want people to be without being
interrupted, and want the same for themselves. Although…it is easier
to observe and not be known. Not everyone can hurt them, but the right
people can. The right an accurate people can hurt something big and
intense because dragons are not perfect.

They are an archetype and a
powerful one, but real dragons know that nothing is above the need to
learn, nothing is above mistakes, and nothing is above the ability to
be hurt. Dragons walk softly because of this. To hurt someone else is
to possibly hurt yourself in the long-run. Consider it enlightened
self-interest at the very least. Some of them are loud. Generally,
dragons are not seen unless they wish to be seen. Some wish it more
than others. Dragons like stuff. Some of them have manners; they always
have manners but often tilted toward getting to the root of things and
being honest. If they respect you. If not, all bets are off.

Dragons
are prone to retreating into their own mental worlds, but this is not
good for them. Dragons need friends too. They need new experiences,
they need things to wake them up. They need people banging on gongs and
reminding them to send the rain. Dragons are fierce and loyal and endless
and eternal, and they are large, if not in shape than otherwise. Dragons
are graceful and reachable and part of a mythos. Dragons are distant and
cold and unreachable, for they encompass each a shard of the unknown,
even to themselves.

Dragons all have something in common with other
dragons, but they cannot say what it is. They dont know. They’ll try to
discuss it anyway, because they like to ponder, but they know that the
thing they have in common with each other is visible only in small shared
moments, and not visible in an attempt at a larger concept. Dragons have
presence and inspire awe and fear and they have the ability to have no
presence at all. They often walk silently. If you ask them to speak, they
will. If you invite them, they will accept if they feel like it. And you
might not like it, because they speak for the sake of whats being said,
and may answer questions and take up offers that the host was unaware
of making. If you ask them if they are godlike and perfect, the smart
ones will say no, and the hearts of the unsmart ones will say no as
well even if their minds say yes.

Dragons are a class of things, each
unrelated to the next, but obviously part of a cohesive and sensible
whole.

Dragons are about opposites and the containment thereof. They
contain opposites by embodying dualities. They hold opposites within
themselves comfortably, as part of themselves, and yet they exist. Perhaps
this makes them grumpy at times, to balance so many things, to see that
there may not be a one right answer but to understand the rightness of
all the smaller answers.

Dragons understand two things: that change is
necessary, and that preservation is necessary, and that nothing really
ever changes.

Dragons challenge people. They dont eat them if they fail,
but the feel sad and angry sometimes when too many of their challenges
go unmet and unanswered. Asking questions is one modality of interacting
with the world. They dont want to hurt people, even if their challenges
and healing seem radical and aggressive and frightening. They want to
share the one thing any dragon really treasures, which is information
and ideas. They want to share it so that it might propagate, so that it
will last and change and eventually come back to them. They want to watch
the process but are sometimes afraid to be drawn into it. They sometimes
are the process, at least by power of will, and do not exclude you from
it but you would never think of sharing that space with them.

Dragons
are vital and alive and grounded and ethereal and dualistic and whole
and utterly touchable and enigmatic and frighteningly violent and gentle
and perfect and flawed and aloof and arrogant and loving and charmingly
shy and in need of friends.

That is what dragons are.”

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