Thursday, March 10, 2022

Griggl and The Teacher: A Dialogue (Earth, 2200)

"So," says Griggl, the young colonial student from the plant Zorgoz. "Teacher -- what happend to the humans that lived on the planet Earth before we came here?"

"Oh, they were very unevolved creatures, Griggl. The problem with them is that they thoughtlessly pursued goals that eventually ruined them."

"But," says Griggl, "I thought our Great Book teaches that 'to reach upward is to find Paradise.'"

"Well," says The Teacher. "That's true. But it depends what one reaches for. Our archaeologists have figured out much -- but not all -- about the extinct Earthlings. They and our anthropologists say the Earthlings were actually ended by what is called call 'cultural suicide.' They seem to have wanted, within their collective spirit, to become extinct. Even before they created the weapons which caused their ultimate end, they seem to have been trying to figure out ways to make themselves irrelevant. For instnance, they created computers that made art, music and literature with what they called 'artificial intelligence.'"

Griggle grimaces. "What a strange choice, Teacher. Is not creativity the highest function of the mind? Why would anyone want to automate it?"

"Why, indeed," says The Teacher. "You see, they were obsessed with proving what they could achieve, whatever the cost, even if that cost was their own irrelevance or even their extinction. Our historians think that this is a result of their lack of internal spiritual peace. They never found cheegara, as we have: that innate assurance that our worth as beings is equal. Oh, they talked about it. One great document said that 'all men are created equal, but archaeological evidence suggests that even as they wrote this, some of them were enslaved."

"What's 'enslaved'?" asks Griggl. The teacher explains. Griggl listens and tears form in all six of his eyes. "So, they wrote what they did not truly believe. That goes against the Great Being's Second Edict: 'To lie is to dishonor the life spirit. To lie to soothe one's mind is the most abhorrent weakness.'" 

"It does, indeed, Griggl," says the teacher, handing the young lad several tissue sheets. "As I say, these Earthlings seemed to have been plagued by an obsession to prove their worth and strength, something we left behind long ago. It even lead to their creating weapons that were capable of a level of damage that made their use unthinkable. Yet, they used them."

"But -- why?" asked Griggl, wide-eyed. 

"They became crippled. At some point in history, the leader of one of their gracols ("countries," they used to call them) committed unspeakable atrocities on another while the rest of the gracols watched. No one wanted to act to stop the atrocities, because it meant possibly unleashing these weapons. But it was counter to their natures to not help others in need. (They were not an all-bad race.) No one knows exactly what happened -- whether the rest of the world thought it was better to die than to watch others suffer; whether one of the insane leaders acted without care... but, at some point, the weapons were unleashed. We take comfort in the fact that, as our historians believe, they actually wanted this cultural suicide. Perhaps they know their time had come and that all civilizations must, eventually, fall."

Griggl's mandibles had dropped wide-open. 

"Alright, class. You are all in your Second Year from spawn. Time to get serious: Let us turn our studies to the great philosopher, Frezznah-po and his Meditations on Psychophysics."

The class groans. 

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