Friday, March 9, 2012

Short Story: "We Are Not The World: An Unresearched Report"

I had fun rewriting this one. First of all, let me say that the "theory" presented in this story is not my personal philosophy, or even anything that I agree with – it's fiction, pure and simple. This story goes out to all those smarter-than-me, know-it-all kids I used to hate back in school. You know the ones – they always had all the answers, always made the best grades on tests, and often had these wild theories about random things which they couldn't prove but you couldn't disprove either. Maybe you used to be one of these kids yourself. Or maybe you hated them too. Or at least intensely disliked them. Either way. This story is a sort of comeuppance for kids like that. And yet, this girl is still not shaken in the end. I hate her. Hopefully you will too. Enjoy!

"WE ARE NOT THE WORLD: An Unresearched Report"

Dorothea began by clearing her throat. The sound was earthy, almost primeval, originating from deep within the cavernous confines of her prodigious gut, and was amplified through the live microphone almost to obscenity. Oblivious to the scowls of premature disapproval, Dorothea glanced down at her notes and started reading:

"For thousands of years humankind has existed on this Earth. And for as many thousands of years we have attempted to determine our purpose. What does this life of ours mean? What is our reason for existence?

"There have been numerous theories regarding the meaning of life. Some would argue that we exist merely to reproduce, and thereby create numerous other creatures like ourselves. Others would contend that our sole purpose is to glorify the Creator of all life, so that we might stand before Him blameless at the Day of Judgment. Still others might say that time is a continuum and that we are constantly evolving into greater, more supernatural beings which will ultimately become part of the world itself.

"Today I stand before you to refute these and all similar theories as bogus, and to declare that I – and I alone – possess the knowledge of the meaning of all life, human and otherwise."

Dorothea gathered herself for the big reveal, amid curious chatter from her audience. They knew that nothing terribly profound or important could ever originate from the mind of Dorothea Vickers of all people. Still, they were interested in what she had to say, if for no other reason than to fuel the fires they planned to burn her with later.

Dorothea continued: "Throughout all of my studies and all of my research, I have indeed discovered the true meaning of life, and this is it. The reason we exist is to destroy ourselves."

Dorothea paused to let the truth sink in. Audible groans and snickers, along with a few gasps of disbelief, pervaded the silence. Anticipating their dissent, Dorothea raised both hands high in the air to indicate that she wished to continue without their assistance. Most disregarded her pleading gestures and continued mocking Dorothea, though their words eventually dissolved into hushed whispers. They didn't want to miss anything else she had to say.

"Before you criticize me," Dorothea cried, "please allow me to elaborate. You have all, I'm sure, heard of the universal laws of gravitation, formulated by a brilliant scientist named Mr. Isaac Newton." She paused only briefly to make sure they were still with her, and seeing a few grudgingly given nods, plodded forward. "Well, the first law of gravitation, which is commonly and appropriately referred to as 'the first law', states – and I quote – 'For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.' Unquote. While this law specifically refers to scientific actions and reactions, it can also be used to demonstrate a greater, universal truth. Mr. Newton, unbeknownst to himself, actually stumbled upon a snippet of the meaning of life here.

"Case in point: If every action requires that there must be an equal and opposite reaction, then for every birth there must also be a death. And as births and deaths are an everyday occurrence, I need not further prove this statement. I am certain that there are books somewhere where these things can be looked up, and if you choose to do so, that is your business.

"Therefore, if for every birth there must also be a death, then it is left to us – or rather, to me – to examine more closely the ways in which births and deaths can occur. Traffic accidents, nonfunctioning parachutes, undercooked chicken, and venomous snakes – these are just a few examples of things which are responsible for countless accidental deaths each day. According to Mr. Newton's 'first law', for every accidental death there must also be an accidental birth. Therefore, it only stands to reason that a large percentage of births each day, in particular fifty percent of all births, occur accidentally. As there are many ways in which births can occur by accident, and most of these are common knowledge, I need not elaborate further. However, if you so choose, I am sure there are books in which you can look this up also, as well as the World Wide Web which I have heard is moderately helpful in various aspects of research.

"As any daily newspaper and television news report will attest, there is also a growing trend toward intentional deaths, namely homicide and suicide. Common variations on these include patricide, infanticide, genocide, and insecticide – well, perhaps not insecticide. A joke – ha, ha!" The audience was unimpressed.

Dorothea continued: "Therefore, it only stands to reason that a large percentage of births each day, again an even fifty percent of all births, occur intentionally. Some would argue that the rate of intentional births would far outweigh the accidental births, but I – and indeed Science itself – would tend to disagree. Again, if you doubt me, please feel free to look it up. I understand there is now an electronic device called a smartphone, which is apparently quite intelligent and able to answer difficult or troubling questions. Perhaps you will find this device useful in attempting to disprove me.

"In conclusion, the...conclusion...that I have come to is this: That we are born, we live, and we die in order to die, live, and be born. This is our purpose. This is why we are here. To destroy and be destroyed.

"I am certain that not all of you will agree with my findings, and that is perfectly fine. But I can go to sleep at night knowing that my judgment is sound and my thinking is right. Can you naysayers say the same? Nay, I say!

"So, the next time you hear someone spouting off that we are gods or God, or that we are in actuality a part of the world itself, or that we have a purpose higher than ourselves and a calling beyond this life, remember these words. We are not gods or God. We are not the world. We are destroyers – of life, and of ourselves. But we will be reborn. We are always reborn. It's scientific that way."

Dorothea Vickers made a polite bow toward the speechless audience and waited perfunctorily for the applause she didn't really expect to hear. Seconds later, she exited the stage with her head held high. Proud that she had dared to speak out against everything she or anyone else had been told or taught, Dorothea smiled contentedly to herself. 

She finally knew why she was here. And now everyone would know.

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