In his day, Xocoyotzin watched religion act like a rock falling through space; it held to its course but could only plummet. Religion became shallow humanitarianism, tied to superficial monotheism. Dribs and drabs of God were available to the persistent but the days of religion as a noble, powerful movement had ended.
"X," one of his friends told him, for all his friends called him by his first initial, "you don't much believe in anything that extends beyond your nose."
X only smiled, a studied, self-deprecating smile, intended to hide the seething mass of ambition just covered in his soul.
Xocoyotzin had the ambition of the poor man. He did not believe he was entitled to anything more than he could earn. He did feel he was entitled to all he could earn and he defined earning as the end of aspiration and hard work, with a dash of good fortune. He learned to idealize his desires, then to find ways to make his dreams materialize. He was the quintessential dreamer and the chief of pragmatists. Blocked at one door, he kicked open another to see if the path to his heart's desire was just beyond the splintered opening.
The ambition of that one who has already is corrupt only when it combines, out of balance, the natural ambition of the mammalian species with the curious insecurity of the human being. Alone among the mammals, man is conscious from his youth of how fragile life is for the fleshly being. He might run from this knowledge if he could. His culture will not let him. Civilized cultures enhance the image of death. Whole industries are tied to the cult of death. Death in the early stages of life is romanticized, while the death of elders is judged the "end of an era."
Mammals would not eat without ambition. They would not store up more than they can use without insecurity. The two impulses are not evil of themselves, nor unwieldy in tandem. The insecurity that pushes men to amass surplus creates wealth; some extends to all. The ambition to survive becomes the urge to excel, creating all art, religion and science, along with all the ugly parts of each.
Corruption is often assigned to the family of greed but corruption is the loss of balance between ambition and insecurity. All men are ambitious. All men are insecure. The madman never understands his fear of death. The corrupted being seldom understands his drive to succeed in light of his insecurity and so forfeits the deep need of the powerful: he never feels the inner doubt that lends itself to real humility.
Men of faith demonstrate their deepest insecurity when they must force others to follow their way of thinking. Since all of art, religion and science depend upon faith, all men are men of faith. The artist believes in his genius, even to risk extreme disapproval. The religionists accepts the unverifiable; on this he builds a civilizing force. The scientist puts his trust in experiment and observation, so that all his evidence is anecdotal. He must believe that what happened before will occur reliably again, though all his faculties tell him this does not have to be so.
Xocoyotzin, rising from a people with a balanced sense of ambition and insecurity, was neither mad, nor corrupt. He was a man of faith in an ossified age.
Naturally, in desperate need of recognition, he longed for a woman to see his feats and adore him.
Women will never understand this about men, whom they believe to be the most simplistic of creatures. Men want the physical only until they have it.
Xocoyotzin did not know this consciously until long after he first saw the one who was from that first sighting the love of his life.