If there is one thing that sets Man apart from his fellow creatures on this Earth, it is his recognition of the Abstract. While the animal sees only what is, Man sees what isn’t, what could be, and what cannot be. When a dog sees a tree, it sees only a tower of wood with branches. It may understand that it provides shade during the summer, and it may consider the tree to be its territory, but to the dog, the tree is nothing more than a physical object. A human, however, sees more. A human can grasp the idea of a tree, the concept of a tall, sturdy, unmoving organism, which encompasses so much more than the tree he or she sees presently. The human sees what it is that makes the collection of matter before them a tree, and what makes it different from everything that is not a tree. When the human sees a different object that shares these properties, it recognizes it as a tree, and can use its knowledge of the idea of the tree to understand how this particular tree is similar to, and different from, other trees. This idea can even be applied to the imagination, to create objects that cannot be found in real life, but may be considered trees, nonetheless. One might imagine a living tower of polished obsidian, branching off in geometric patterns, adorned with crimson blades of glass which throw the glimmer of ultraviolet fireflies at impossible angles. It takes its energy from gravitational waves emitted by the binary black holes that its home planet orbits, and slakes its thirst on the blood of any creature unfortunate enough to burrow beneath its roots. Such a terrible obelisk could surely never exist, yet the human knows that it might still be a tree, for the idea of a tree is not bound by the rules of existence.
It is the hubris of Mankind to suppose that they are the inventors of the abstract, that these ideas did not exist until a human conceived of them. In truth, these Ideals, as they are formally called, were not created by us. Rather, we were created by them. They exist in the Domain of the abstract, and shape the concrete world in their image. Yet there is a kernel of truth to be found in this belief. Just as the abstract shapes the concrete, the inverse process occurs, and the concrete shapes the abstract. Since the birth of humanity, the equilibrium between these two universes has been relatively stable. Just as differing ideals have sparked wars among humanity in the past, mankind has now fanned the flames of conflict among The Ideals. A great war has broken out, pitting hope versus despair, life versus death, chaos versus order, good versus evil, cats versus dogs, and so on. The futility of this war is plain to see, as it can reach no conclusion; it is, after all, impossible to kill an idea. Yet it is possible to kill everything which stands for an idea, and there are those who believe this is just as good. Since an ideal has little influence over that in the concrete world which is not a target of their domain, they must rely on humans to accomplish this. And so, they select champions, and grant them the power to fight on their behalf, on a battleground which exists somewhere between the real and abstract, mind and matter. Some fight for their beliefs, or the thrill of combat, or for a vain hope that they can put an end to the war. Yet fighting will only beget more fighting; only by bringing about Unity can we end this cataclysmic threat to the existence of our universe as we know it. And there are but four with the capability of bringing about Unity: The Dualists.
(Chapter 1 of The Dualists can be found here)