Bjorn leaned back in his chair and looked out of his window to the north east. He scratched his head idly as he let Ingunn's story sink in. The woman had come across as quite eccentric, even the first time he read about her. And her eccentricity had become more acute over time. The woman claimed to have direct contact with angels, and at one point, shortly before her eviction, she had even performed a wedding ceremony between mother earth and Jesus.
It had all been quite entertaining to read about. But the woman was clearly mad, and Bjorn had no trouble understanding the need to treat her. Isolating here pretty much completely from the outside world seemed rather excessive, though. That was probably not so much for her own safety as it was for the safety of others. Her world view, as strange as it was, had a charismatic appeal that had proven to be rather contagious, and this was probably the real reason to keep her away from any public interaction.
Ingunn had to be isolated due to the contagious nature of her madness. Anders, on the other hand, although popular in certain circles, did not have the same appeal. And this difference in public appeal could easily explain why Anders was relatively more free than Ingunn. Ingunn's followers had started emulating her ways. Anders' followers, on the other hand were more like cheer leaders with a morbid fascination with his insanity. No one had been found to emulate Anders in any way. People were drawn to him, but his followers did not cause any harm to themselves or society in general. Ingunn's followers on the other hand, were handing in their passports, refusing to associate themselves with the state, and even stopping their mortgage payments. Ingunn's followers were disrupting public order and causing harm to themselves in the process. Ingunn's ideas were in a way, although completely peaceful, much more damaging than those of Anders.
Bjorn was reminded of the public debate on mental illnesses that had emerged during Anders' trial. Several experts had pointed to the dangers of infectious misconceptions, erroneous ideas with dangerous appeal to certain types of people. Anders had been infected by the outlandish idea that the government was seeking to destroy Norwegian culture by encouraging immigration from Muslim countries. Unchecked and untreated, this idea grew into a whole system, and finally, the man went completely mad. He took it upon himself to stop the government by killing the children attending the summer camp of the leading political party, and in doing so he became one of the biggest mass murderers of all times.
What started as simply an eccentric belief morphed over time into a homicidal madness. Likewise, Ingunn's eccentric ideas had not only morphed into a weird system of angles and energies and whatnot, it had spread like a contagious disease. There was no telling where it all could lead if left unchecked, and the move to stop it was probably not a moment too soon.
But what about Frederico and his weird empire idea? Was that not similarly eccentric? It was certainly contagious. Bjorn had even entertained the idea of trying out a citizenship for a while. Frederico did not come across as quite as eccentric as Ingunn, but he was certainly wane and a little strange, and his popular appeal had left Bjorn with a feeling that something was not quite right.
Could it be that the people of Lundby were falling pray to a dangerous idea that would eventually turn into some sort of collective madness? Frederico and Ingunn had both been talking about personal sovereignty. This idea was the common core of their separate beliefs. And if Ingunn's version was considered dangerously delusional, then Frederico's version was probably not much better.
And what about Thomas? He made no secrets of his admiration for Frederico. Was Thomas turning mad? And if so, was his madness beginning to spread to Ante? Was Bjorn himself getting infected? Bjorn wondered. Was he exploring ideas that might best be ignored?
The whole empire thing smacked of manipulation. People were being infected by Frederico's fantastic ramblings. And into this whirlpool of madness, people like Jan and Pedro had stepped and started to stir the pot. Pedro, acting in the dark, had already made fortunes through corruption and manipulations. Pedro was a master of dark arts, Jan was his thug in chief, and Frederico was his sorcerer. A fantastic combination.
And this most sinister trio was acting with impunity. No one was making any moves to stop them. Ingunn, on the other hand, eager for fame and deluded by her own ideas and popularity, had been locked up for life. The forces of darkness, as is often the case, roam unchecked, while those unable to see the dangers of their good intentions end up mad and isolated.
Bjorn felt the world suddenly spinning as if the mad whirlpool of ideas out there were dragging him physically into its darkness. But before he could relate to the dizziness, he was abruptly woken up from his budding daydream. Ante was knocking on Bjorn's door, informing him that dinner was ready. They were waiting for him to come down stairs.
Bjorn got up, and shaking off his dizziness he headed downstairs to join his colleagues for dinner.