27 March 2016

Everything is Preordained - Part 2

The being's face was expressionless; it showed no sense of emotion or feeling after having uttered a phrase so grave and grim. "People need to die, of course that happens on a daily basis. Natural deaths, diseases, hunger, murders, suicides; men, women and children. Everybody has to die eventually but once every few hundred years we need death and destruction on a much larger scale; a kind of reset button that has to be pushed. We had the plagues before but with man exploring, discovering and developing the sciences to advance the methods of warfare, I figured why not?"

The man tried to listen patiently trying to quell his now throbbing heart that beat like a drum. "Humans are the most developed animals on this Earth and yet your categorizations - things that you've come to perceive by your own - causes conflicts among yourselves. Race, religion, gender, political ideology - all things that you have created to distinguish yourselves from one another. Your need to be different, to stand out and be special drives you into conflicts, into WAR. Of course, you cannot expect them to be perfect beings. If everyone was perfect, there wouldn't be a God. A figure to look up to in times of need, times when you feel a divine intervention is necessary. Someone who is perfect and can guide you; that's when you look up and pray do you not? Despite countless opportunities that have been presented before the human race to turn from this behavior and to unite as one and live peacefully; you have failed repeatedly. Sin has become the norm. War is the solution to peace. Conflict after conflict that has no absolute resolution. I cannot send a 'Jesus' every time to die for your sins. I've given the choice to you and can merely guide you to the righteous path, what you choose at the end of the day is entirely your choice." the figure's voice was no longer calm and soothing. Anger and rage seemed to be physically manifested into the words that spat out from its mouth

"So your intentions just happened to align with my vision and goal for the human race? What if I had chosen differently? What if I never became the most feared tyrant in the world, then what?" asked the man, his curiosity aroused and his anger building. "If not you then someone else. Someone somewhere will have surely carried out mass killings, not your choice of people in particular but surely people would have died. What is the death of millions if it means I can save billions? It becomes an example, a sign that humans need to unite and stand together. Put their differences apart and come together. Death surprisingly does that - always brings people closer than life ever has and will. They'll learn what not to do and build a new world from these ashes. But of course some other sort of conflict will soon occur in a matter of decades because they will lose sight of where to go once again, the process repeats over and over like a circle." explained the being, now calmer and more conserved.

"So I ended up doing all the dirty work for you... A mere pawn in your elaborate chess game. But why me? Why not use some divine intervention?" questioned the man. "Divine intervention would mean something akin to God or God himself. If it wasn't God and God didn't stop it then what good is he? If it was God and he did it then is God truly good? People will question the power of God and then the existence. That cannot happen. People cannot know God is both good and evil... God has to be pure, God has to be all things good because if he possessed both opposing qualities then in the minds of the people, he is no different than themselves. He loses his power and divine status among them. He will no longer be pure in their eyes and that is when the blind sheep become blinder and stray from the herd heading straight for the cliff. One by one they will follow each other throwing themselves over until the whole herd is dead. The moment the belief in God no longer exists is when the destruction of the human race begins. The devil himself is merely an agent to God's will. 'I am the Alpha and the Omega' - the beginning and the end. 'The Lord gives and the Lord taketh away." Likewise, you were just an agent despite your thinking that this was all your will. Your rising to power, the death and destruction of millions of people, your wrong move to attack in winter, your loss in the war and now your death. I have seen everything, I know what is going to happen, I just choose not to change the outcome for that is how it needs to be. Everything is Preordained." the figure rose from the bed and walked over to the man.

"They're at the door..." it said.
"So tell me, how do I die?" said the man nodding and smirking having accepted his fate, whatever was preordained for him.
The figure smiled back. "Of course..." it said as its extremities began to fade until it vanished completely.

Metallic clanking came from the door as the enemy soldiers tried to crack it open. The man pulled out his revolver from its holster and checked the cylinder; six bullets was all that he had to stop whoever, whatever was behind the door. The man cocked the gun with his right hand and rested it on the arms of the chair aiming directly at the door. A small sudden blast blew through the metal lock on the door flinging it open. Smoke and dust erupted from the entrance blinding the soldiers momentarily. "I'm going to hell anyway right?" muttered the man as he looked up and raised the pistol. The click of the hammer and another short bang rang throughout the room. The soldiers took cover expecting a rain of bullets. But no other sound followed. They moved into the room cautiously with their rifles raised. The revolver fell from the man's hands. His mouth ajar and eyes looking up such that the soldiers could only see the whites of his eyes. A splatter of blood on the velvet cushion behind his head told everything the soldiers needed to know. It was over. It was preordained...

Everything is Preordained - Part 1

The pipes bellowed like a large monster waking from its slumber as the people stood up with heavy books in their hands, their faces in expressionless unison. The air was thick with smog and the walls of the church seemed like they could crumble at the slightest touch. The congregation started to sing as the words that came out of their mouths sounded more like chanting than singing. The choral voices and the bellowing of the organ metamorphosed into an angrier, larger monster. Voices of different pitches and loudness fighting one another to stand out.

Suddenly, the earth began to shake with the intensity increasing with every note of the organ. The voices were drowned by the sound of concrete crashing down. The sirens began to sound like a wailing child. The congregation turned into a stampede of animals rushing to the only exit as they trampled over the holy books and each other. The man in the robes at the alter was shouting, trying to get everyone to calm down for God was with them. "Do not be afraid my brothers and sister, we are in the house of the Lord. He will protect us." But this too was drowned by the blasts and the screaming of women and children. As the priest stretched out his arms to show that there was no safer place than inside the church itself, the roof came crashing down on him. His arms still outstretched but not moving. "Mama! Papa!" children cried in despair. The raging inferno engulfed everything in and around it. People ran in every direction, hurt and in pain - sometimes in flames. Bomb after bomb rained down from the sky as the earth shook in horror. The streets were covered in dust and dead bodies.

High in the fortified tower, a lone room was locked and heavily guarded by men with rifles in uniform. Men willing to protect and die for the man inside the room. The man of the year. The room had a large king sized bed with birch frames beside which stood a drawer with a table lamp on it. On the far right corner of the room a man was sitting on a chair covered in velvet cushions and gold. His worn-out brown uniform decorated with numerous medals and patches. His eyes were dark, his face worn and expressionless as he put the tips of his fingers together resting his elbows on the arms of the chair. He took a deep breath and exhaled loudly and slowly closed his eyes, listening to the thudding of the bombs and the screams of innocent lives. No natural light entered the room save a tiny opening the size of a brick to his left from which he could see the world perish - if he wanted to. Bright flashes of crimson filled his closed eye lids as sirens wailed and structures crumbled.

"What are you thinking?" asked a voice. The voice of a man, so soothing, so familiar - like how he had imagined it his whole life. The man opened his eyes slowly and looked up. A strange figure stood before him, it seemed to glow and shimmer despite the lack of light. The being was dressed in some kind of white robe, the whitest he had seen. The man squinted his eyes to get a clearer look at the face but could not quite see it. The figure crossed its hands together and leaned in as if to urge the man to give him an answer. The man's furrows brows widened as intrigue gave way to recognition and relief. "You?! I was expecting the other guy..." he said in a tone of surprise with a tinge of disappointment.

"I just wanted to talk to you, you know before"

"Before I'm shot to death..." said the man completing the sentence. "Why though? How does it matter? Is my fate not already sealed? What could you possibly want to talk about?" questioned the man. The figure stood silent, hands still clasped together. "I know that you want to say and ask a few things, so go on..." urged the figure. The sirens and screaming seemed to have stopped. Silence filled the room. The world seemed to stand still.

"What I have done are all justified in my eyes. They're what I wanted, what I desired for this world. Absolute destruction." said the man after a lot of thought, playing the conversation in his head. "That is correct, you're considered history's greatest tyrant. What you've done will forever be remembered, studied, analysed. People will write stories, books even about you and your actions. Your legacy." said the figure.
"My question is, if all of it is wrong then why did you stand by and watch? Why didn't you stop it? You could've stopped it right from the beginning. Nipped it in the bud. But you didn't! You stood and watched. So tell me why? Why me?!" said the man filled with rage as he sunk his nails deep into the arms of the chair. The figure slowly walked over to the bed and sat down, all the while silent and staring at the man, almost as if it could see into his soul. It brought its hands together and put the tips to its lips. The room was cloaked in silence.

Finally it spoke "Kill a few to save the many."

10 January 2015

New Worlds - Short Story

"We have been watching Earth for years now. Seen them evolve from mindless apes to a civilized race of living beings" said Calder. 
"Yes but look at them now, fighting over divisions that they have created among themselves. Race, religion, wealth, ethnicity etc. It's ridiculous. Our race is so much more civilized and advanced compared to them. There's nothing we can learn from them; only they can learn from us. But they are not as advanced to communicate or even locate us in the Universe." replied Tadeas. 
"That is not the point of observing them. They are the only other living beings in our known universe. It is comforting to know we are not alone. Our race is much more advanced, yes, but that is because we are a much older planet. Their planet is young, their resources are sufficient. Calder and Tadeas were students who would one day lead Craeura and their citizens. 

YEAR 2169:
"Space exploration is the next leap for mankind. We are here in an age of fear and curiosity. The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds. We could not have imagined that man could set foot on the moon 200 years ago. But we did it and here we are setting out to go further than we ever have before." said the President. "From learning how to paint on cave walls to now setting out on our quest for knowledge. We as humans have come a long way. We choose to do what is hard, we choose a challenge that propels us as a race. This mission is a collective effort of every country on Earth. Every man, woman and child have contributed towards this. This is the most dangerous, daring and greatest adventure of which man has ever embarked." 

The crowds cheered as the large screens now showed the view of the large spaceship. Men and Women of every race & religion stood by to watch this great event unfold. Today, they stand as humans, not divided by any categorization whatsoever. "Stand by for lift off" said an electronic voice inside the astronaut's helmet. The mission was to set out on a journey to the stars to find solar systems with planets that had Earth-like qualities that could sustain life. A team of 30 members, the best in their discipline picked to take the next big step for mankind. The alarm rang to inform all personnel to stand by at their respective stations. "Lift off in 10.. 9.." the voice began counting down. Crowds on every major city gathered to watch on their television screens to see the spectacle. "5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1.. Lift off!" said the TV presenter. The crowds roared with joy as the spaceship ascended into the heavens.

"It is happening!" cried Calder. "Get our children to the bunker. I'll be down soon." 
Calder as President of Craeura, had to make a speech first to inform the nation that Doomsday was upon them. That hope was not lost but that everyone must find shelter and go to their bunkers which were specifically designed by the scientists to withstand the explosion that would be created by the impact. "Citizens of Craeura, do not be afraid. We all knew this day would come and we have prepared ourselves well for it. Follow the procedures in your survival bunkers. If all goes well, I will see you again once this has passed." 

Calder was rushed to the bunker by the security personnel. Inside his wife and children were waiting huddled up together. "It'll be okay" he said to his children whose faces were heavy with confusion and fear. "I promise" he said even though he knew he really could not keep that promise. Nobody knew what would happen. Nobody could predict anything because they did not know any living beings surviving an asteroid impact so large. Earth's early living beings were wiped out in similar circumstances hundreds of years ago. Calder held his wife's hand and embraced his children with his other hand. 

The asteroid also brought with thousands of smaller rocks that hurtled down first, crashing into anything and everything that existed. Calder watched his monitor screen which showed various parts of the city. People who did not get to a safe place were hit by the boulders and squished. Vehicles and buildings exploded. It dawned upon Calder that the bunkers were not going to be enough to withstand this. They were not going to survive it. It was the end of their world as they knew it. 

Time seemed to slow down as the tip of the asteroid made contact with the surface. The large rock seemed to fuse into Craeura as a ring of fire emerged from the impact, expanding outwards, growing larger and larger. Calder closed his eyes and hugged his children tighter as if to suffocate them. Minutes later, the planet stood still. Not an organism moved because there was not an organism left to move. Everything had perished and the land was barren, rid of all buildings. So empty that it seemed like nothing remotely living ever existed. 

On Spaceship 1: 
"Sir, you need to see this. Our detectors have picked up a signal. It's not from Earth..." said John. 
Captain Russell studied the readings with furrowed brows. He was not yet considering the possibility of aliens, for all it mattered he was not the speculative type. "Can we trace it?" he asked after a long pause. "I can try" replied John. 
The ship's thrusters rattled with power as she prepared for warp drive. The crew of 30 representing mankind was about to begin something that would carry on for generations and generations. And if they were successful, it would be a victory for humanity as a whole. The moment was certainly overwhelming. 

Dust swirled in miniature tornadoes as a gust of wind blew by. Clouds dark and heavy loomed in the distance ready to break out into a storm. Water droplets started falling from the clouds, wetting the dirt, turning to mud. Far away in the distance, a tiny object appeared. It moved closer and closer towards the planet, turning to avoid the storm and land safely. The spaceship entered the atmosphere and thrusters reversed their direction to counter the gravity of Craeura. 

YEAR C.984:
He put his one eye to the looking device while closing the other. His face filled with curiosity and confusion.
"We have been watching Earth for years now. Seen them evolve from mindless apes to a civilized race of living beings" he said...

29 December 2014

Intelligence Quotient

I was reading "A Song for Selma" by Kurt Vonnegut the other day where a group of school teachers discover that a certain pupil is a genius and so encourage him to do better, while another dumb pudgy boy is criticized for his stupidity. In my previous blog posts, I've discussed how nature and nurture shapes us into the individuals that we are today and will become in the future. So this brings us to the question of what is intelligence

Granted that we have all heard of the IQ test and how it determines how smart a person is but we have to keep in mind that the test itself was created by a group of human beings who are prone to bias and would think in a certain way. There is the very clear distinction between Arts and Science but a person skilled in the Science discipline maybe bad at art and vice versa. So if you were to judge him from an Arts perspective he wouldn't be brilliant whereas from a Science perspective he could be a genius. We only know the I.Q of the most brilliant minds in the field of Science, Stephen Hawking for example. But does that go to say that someone like Michael Angelo was not very intelligent? Today paintings that look like they could have been done by a 3 year old seem to sell for millions of dollars because the buyer sees it as a genius' work. 

Survey's have shown that teachers expect a child who is physically more attractive to perform better and will be biased towards that child and push him/her to perform better. So if nurture does play a bigger part than nature, then that means that subconsciously we are hindering the performance of a child just because "he does not seem to be the type that does well" etc. So not having a clear distinction then leads to the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Proposed by Howard Gardner, it consists of 8 abilities that a certain individual could be categorized into. Again, humans and our need to categorize...

So really there is no way to tell if an individual is actually intelligent or how intelligent he is. Everybody is in their own way some form of intelligent, the idea is to find and nurture that ability. Find something you like and are good at and stick with it.

The famous Albert Einstein quote comes to mind; "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid".

10 October 2014

Crimson Sky

Helicopters flew across the sky covered with black clouds that hung like a disease over the city. Police and ambulance sirens blaring as they rushed past the emptied apartments. Rats, cockroaches, humans running haphazardly down the streets; all fleeing, fleeing from doom, from death. Many took the moment to hastily take whatever they could from the nearby shops; thieves, employees all the same. Thick black smoke emanated from the buildings as they crumbled under the heat. Nobody was trying to be a hero, nobody could. When basic primal instincts take over, the scared and frightened animal runs. And they all ran together, blindly not knowing where they were going or what they were fleeing from. 

"Honey get in the car! We don't have time to take anything. Just get in."
"Okay seat belt Abbey... and you too Nate" 
"Daddy, I'm scared. I don't wanna go!" 
"Shhh sweetheart it's gonna be fine okay. I promise. Just let Daddy drive" 

The skies became angry and the red smog crept in blanketing the city; inch by inch. Screams of men and women echoed through the streets as they were engulfed by whatever was behind the smog. 
"The day has come! This is the beginning of the End! Confess, confess now dear children!" shouted the old man as he walked along the pavement waving the bell in his hand. Ash rained down from the buildings all around as flocks of birds covered the sky. 

He switched gears and pressed down on the accelerator. 
"Just hold on okay. We don't have full gas but it should be enough to get us out of the city" 
She grabbed his arm while clutching the baby's head with the other. He looked at her and she at him, they knew. They knew just getting out of the city wasn't going to be enough to get away from it all. 
Explosions now shook the ground as the car swerved to avoid them. The underground pipes burst and the road ahead started to collapse. The frightened screams of the children filled the car. Tears broke from the eyes of the mother as she held her baby close to her chest. 

Finally they had reached the bridge. There was a glimmer of hope, maybe they would make it out alive. A great ball of fire hurtled down from the sky, the wings of the plane were still visible through the flames. 
"Peter! Watch out!" 
The plane came crashing down on to the bridge and went straight through it. A loud hiss went through the air as the burning plane sunk down into the river. The bridge was torn right through. Peter knew there was no way they would be able to make that jump, the car was too heavy and the hole was too large. The car rolled to a stop to the edge of the hole. 

Peter repeatedly punched the steering wheel, shouting. Mary grabbed his arm again trying to calm him down. "Peter stop..." her voice was low and soft. Tears rolled down her cheek, she had accepted it was over. They removed the seat belt and got out. The crimson smog was now at the bridge creeping closer and closer. They looked up to see Death inching towards them. Nate held Peter's hand, Abbey held Peter's and Mary's and Mary clutched little Martin...