RUBICON OF ZWY QUETZLE TOTCULL
"Teachings of the Cenobium"
Original box design & research by Eric Gross
Thomas Paine grew up in humble beginnings of a Quaker in Thetford, England. His life amounting to little, following in his father’s trade of corset making. He eventually moved to settle in Sandwich, Kent where he married Mary Lambert. His business collapsed soon after. His wife became pregnant, went into early labor and died along with her child.
Paine became idle and took to fits of malaise, often reflecting; "What is the point of it all?" He had no stature, nor wealth or even prospects of a better life.
Thomas stared down at his dinner table, looking at an overturned wine glass and the fly that was buzzing around trapped inside. He watched as the fly searched every inch of the glass frantically for a means to escape. Carefully, he picked up the plate with the glass it was sitting on and went over to the window and released the insect, letting it live another day. His life had felt much like that of the trapped fly, and he was never fully able to shake this feeling of helplessness.
One summer, at the end of harvest, a traveling carnival arrived. Thomas found himself drawn to it, more out of curiosity than anything else. He did not remember entering the strange rose colored tent that proclaimed with it's sign:
Paine only remembered the strange man with the piercing eyes sitting at a small table in the center of the tent. A shining gold box was on the table as the man asked him "Are you prepared?" Thomas answered "What is the point?" The man said "Everything and nothing, Master Paine." The man then left him there alone in the tent for what seemed ages. At last, Thomas stood up and left, not knowing what had just happened.
He emerged from the tent and into a larger tent, more dimly lit. Puzzled, he searched for a way out thinking he had made a mistake and wandered into another part of the carnival. Paine could make out the shadows of people on the other side of the canvas, but could not find anyway out. Eventually, as his search became more frustrating. he crawled under the nearest wall…only to emerge on the inside of another tent.
He called out for assistance. The silhouettes against the canvas seemed to take on a sinister contenance. He began to feel as though he was no longer alone. Thomas began to panic, and then ran blindly. He reached the side of the tent and immediately began to climb underneath it, sensing that whatever was after him was right behind him. His heart was fit to burst. Something took hold of his hand, and he let out a scream. The man with the piercing eyes was helping him up.
Paine looked around to find he was back. The gentleman sat him down at the table with the golden box, and offered him something to drink for his nerves. "You must be of very strong moral fiber, Master Paine. It is few men who are given the freedom to live another day." And the man winked at him, holding the tent flap open revealing the carnival and the world outside.
After that night, Thomas Paine's life changed dramatically. He became involved with civic matters, joining The Society of Twelve - a local group of elites who presided in Lewes, East Sussex. He began a writing campaign against corrupt systems, urging that men not sit idly by and accept their fate, regardless of class.
In 1774 Paine met Benjamin Franklin in London. Franklin advised Paine to immigrate to the British Colonies of America where his writings could be published in a series of radical pamphlets which sought political independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. In his introduction to Common Sense, Paine makes comparisons of the King and his own experience of being the fly that was let go to live another day.