Monday, November 12, 2012

The Wager

From the beginning of time, my brother and I have played a game. Over and over again we have watched the pawns drag themselves from the boiling seas onto the land. We watch as they morph and change, as they grow and learn. I cheer and my brother curses as their creativity begets beauty and love. My heart breaks as I watch their knowledge give birth to civilization and with it competition, aggression, and hatred.

It is always the same.  We watch them rise, so graceful and elegant, only to fall into the abyss. Their creations are stunning and unique, never exactly the same but always an echo of the shadows of their failed brethren. They begin as the most basic of elements and transform into the most complex of alchemists, forming technology far beyond our own ingenuity. But despite their resourcefulness, since the beginning of time, no matter the scenario, the result is unchanged.

The most infuriating part of the contest is that the prediction of their demise is their own. The names that they have for it are numerous: Doomsday; Ragnarok; Armageddon; Mokushi; Reckoning; Apocalypse; Kali Yuga; Judgment, they all foresee the end, yet not once have they altered their ultimate path.

After an eternity of repetition I have finally realized their tragic fault. Though they have named their destruction, they do not possess the grand vision of the gods to understand the true nature of their annihilation. Their myths rain down fire and brimstone and tell of cataclysmic events. They see it as retribution from enraged idols. They view the end as one moment in time where suddenly they will cease to exist.

For all their brilliance, they could not be more wrong. The rules explicitly state that neither my brother nor I may intervene. Mankind is a furiously burning blaze that cannot comprehend the eons and epochs that pass in the single blink of my eye. To me, yes, their end is as swift as the snuffing of a flame. But to these fast moving creatures, their true Armageddon is so slow and gradual that it will always go unnoticed.

I had hopes for this current consignment. So many times they have been on the brink and, to my surprise, been able to pull back from the ledge. But now I sit upon my perch and watch as the seas rise and listen to my brother’s gleeful laughter and I know that I have, again, lost.

I tire of this game. To never win, to never see success, is disheartening. There was a time, with every new round, when I felt hope and a naive optimism. Every new culture that was birthed was a new opportunity for utopia and ascension to nirvana and divinity. But to continuously watch such magnificent beings perish at the hands of their own devices, tears at my soul. Perhaps this will be our final match and after an eternity of trials and failure I will finally cede the wager to my brother. 

Copyright © 2012 by Leigh Fischer