• The Best Of All Possible Worlds


    Peter De Rosa
    Illinois: Argus Communications, 1975

    The story of a kind and fair God who was determined to create a world completely free of pain and misery.

    First, let Me introduce Myself. My name is Horgath, and I come from the distant regions of the gods.

    I was roving around the universe when I chanced on your beautiful, tiny planet Earth. I could not help overhearing the loud protest rising up from time to time against your good and wise Creator for making a world so full of pain and misery.

    Your God has my sympathy. It seems to Me that any Creator in the world is bound to run into trouble sooner or later. But would you care to listen to the story of My own experience?

    Once upon an eternity - long before your world - I decided to make a world of my own. If I say so myself, I really am rather kind and fair, and I was in my kindest and fairest mood when I said to Myself, "I'm going to make the Best Of All Possible Worlds."

    I planned Happyland down to the very last detail. You see, I was set on making My creatures perfectly content.

    "Creatures." I like the sound of that. "My creatures," I went on, savoring the phrase, "will be so happy they will never doubt for one moment that I love and care for them."

    Out came my drawing board for preliminary 3-D sketches.

    First of all, there was the problem of My creatures' shape. I experimented with cubes, pyramids and countless other forms. But eventually I erased them all and settled for the sphere. "It's so beautiful and harmonious," I thought. "And besides, a sphere is very like Me: no beginning and no end."

    In next to no time I drew the first of my Roundfolk.

    "How beautiful!" I exclaimed, quiet overcome by its magnificence. And I proceeded in the first flush of creation to draw another.

    "Beautiful," I cried again, until I realized that there was My first major policy decision. "Are all my creatures to look alike?"

    I saw at once that any differences would ruin their perfect symmetry and, however slight, might lead to rivalry and misunderstanding.

    My head was in a whirl, I can tell you. Why risk envy, jealousy, greed, hatred, theft, fighting, and ultimately war? Far fairer to make all my creatures look exactly alike. Then they are sure to live in peace and harmony.

    I had contentedly whispered this to myself a hundred times before I saw the second major problem. “For how long shall I let my creatures live?”

    No problem really. I said to Myself.  “This is to be the Best of all Possible Worlds. Of course, My creatures have to live forever.”

    Then, I began to feel uneasy. Without the discipline of death, My creatures might become proud and think themselves gods like me.

    In the end, I decided it was best to let the Roundfolk to live forever. After all, if they live under the constant threat of flattering Me just to keep My good graces. They might even withhold their friendship from Me out of pique.

    Once I made up my mind that the Roundfolk would never die, I saw that certain consequences had to follow. Without death, there could be no need to replace them nor even any possibility of doing so. Once I had chosen the optimum number of Roundfolk to enjoy the Best of All Possible Worlds, I could not add or subtract.

    At first it struck me as curious that no death meant also no birth, but that was the unavoidable logic of it.

    If no death, then no pain either. What is pain but a signal that danger and death itself are just around the corner. Besides if my creatures suffered severe pain, the knowledge that they couldn’t die would really upset them.

    “Ah, certainly,” I thought, “the presence of pain in the Best of all Possible Worlds is a contradiction in terms. Also, some ungrateful wretch –forgetting that it was I who drew them out of nothing – would be bound to come along some evil day and suggest that either I’m not good or I don’t exist at all."
    To eliminate all possibility of pain from Happyland , I invented a special kind of material for the Roundfolk’s bodies. Since it had to be both flexible and durable, I called this material “eplastic”.  It would be as beautiful as porcelain and tougher than steel.

    The Roundfolk would never wear out, fell weak, or waste time on food and drink. Their energy would be inexhaustible.  No need for them to work because everything they required would be instantly available, No need for clothes, firstly because they had nothing to hide, secondly because in Happyland there would be no extremes of heat or cold. I admit I had also another reason for preferring My creatures to be without clothes: they would not be tempted to dress differently.

    In trying to be kind, I planned that My creatures in the Best of All Possible Worlds would be in no way uninformed. They would only have to stretch out an eplastic hand and press the eplastic button on top their heads. A built-in computer would immediately answer any question they cared to ask.

    I reasoned like this: "Learning is slow and laborious, and I don't want my creatures to run into any trouble. If some learn faster than others, they would end up as boasters and bullies. I really must be fair and be seen to be fair".

    Next, how would the Roundfolk move from place to place? I'd let them choose either to roll along their round eplastic feet or to hop enormous heights and distances - naturally without injuring themselves when they touched down. A special kind of gravity would eliminate wear and tear and allow the Roundfolk to roll up and down steep slopes at whatever speed they like. For this, they only had to press the computer button on their large central spheres.

    Next, I sketched Happyland itself: a huge, saucer-like surface with crystal mountains, forests thick and deep, gay green meadows, a tranquil sea surrounded by white sand shore, and over everything, a shining ball of fire. This sun would never rise or set but be always at the zenith - a gleeming, golden jewel set in a sky cloud-free and brilliantly blue. There would never be any rain, then, or darkness or disturbing shadows.

    I dispensed with sunset and night because the Roundfolk would never grow tired and need sleep. It would be silly. I thought, to make creatures who get ill with tiredness every day and have to recuperate for hours on the horizontal.

    To entertain them, I wanted to give the Roundfolk the two pursuits which come closest to the life of the gods, namely, music and golf.

    First,music. I sketch special Bliss Trees for Happyland. Each branch bore simultaneously blossom, foliage and fruit. Better still, each tree would produce music in quadrophony. The purple Zimzim tree would play like the strings of an orchestra and the green Zwoom tree like the harmonies of brass. The red Zwirl tree would give forth like the woodwinds, and the squat yellow Zwong tree would boom in its mighty hollow like a drum. Whenever the Roundfolk rolled within a few yards, the trees would respond with a marvelous symphonic sound.

    Regarding golf, I planned many identical courses of bewitching beauty:  fairways as perfect as the greens, and greens with the smoothness of billiard tables.  Each creature would possess one club and one ball, both indestructible. The Roundfolk had only to press the club into their right eplastic hand tap the ball for it to fly unerringly into the hole . Whether  the pin was 200 yards or 2000 from the tee, everything was so arrange that the creatures would always hole out in one.

    “On my golf course,” I thought, “there will be no bickering, no disappointments, and no cheating. They won’t even have to keep score – eighteen holes, eighteen strokes.” This was to be the Best of all Possible Worlds; and, tell me honestly, could anyone improve on that?

    My planning now complete, I uttered My magic formula, and five thousand friendly Roundfolks bounced delightedly into Happyland.

    I looked on unseen. In order to be fair, I remained invisible. I didn’t want them to catch a glimpse of My infinite superiority and feel envious. I was pleased to  see many of the Roundfolk pressing their brain-computer buttons and asking who had put them in this wonderful world. The programmed reply was:  “The great god Horgath.” The Roundfolk’s  cry of praise and thanks was music in My ears.

    I watched them wheeling effortlessly around Happyland. One of them passed close to the Bliss  Trees and set off an enchanting symphony. 

    All over the golf courses they whirled, each elatedly tapping a golf ball and following its soaring flight until it dropped and rolled infallibly into the hole.

    They amused themselves by turns with gold and music,  then frolicked in the waves and on the beaches; they bounced or rolled onto the peaks of the crystal mountains to gaze behind them  onto the gay green meadows or forward over the gentle swell of the Sea of Smiles.

    All the while, the golden sun beamed down from a cloudless sky.

    I listened intently to  the reaction of My creatures.    “To think”, said one who had pressed its brain-computer,    “To think that we will all live here forever and ever.”   Spontaneously the cry arose ,    “Three cheers for Horgath who is infinitely kind and fair.”     Five thousand voices roared in unison”     “Hurrah for Horgath! Hurrah for Horgath!   HURRAH FOR HORGATH!”

    I congratulated Myself on having made as my first attempt the  Best of All Possible Worlds.   From time to time,    I  glanced at Happyland to watch the Roundfolk enjoy a round of golf, a musical concert or a trip  up a tall mountain with a glorious view.   It seemed to Me in those moments that everything was not merely good but the very best.

    It is hard to say exactly when I first noticed signs of coolness creeping into Happyland. But no doubt about it, fewer prayers of thanks were being offered; the Roundfolk were not bouncing about with their earlier abandon; the golf courses were practically deserted now and the Bliss Trees often silent and still.

    Convinced that things could only go from best to best in such a perfect world, I zoomed in on Happyland to see what was going on.

    Surprise! A few Roundfolk were standing idly at the bottom of a mountain. I actually heard one of them muttering, “ I wish that infernal sun would leave us for a while “. Another nodded agreement, “This so-called changeless beauty is a terrible bore.”

    “A bore!” I exploded, but silently, so no creature heard. “How can they be bored when everything in Happyland is perfect.

    I moved to a fold course. There a group of Roundfolk were considering whether to play or not. One of them was complaining openly, “I fell kind of . . . lonely out there.”

    “ I know exactly what you mean,” rejoined another. “ Nothing seems worthwhile when there’s no one else to share your happiness.”

    I was so stunned that I quickly retired from the scene. The Roundfolk were actually scheming to improve The Best of All Possible Worlds. “How can they think,” I yelled to Myself, “that they know better than I what’s good for them?”

    I decided this once to try and pacify them. . On the high cliffs overlooking  the Sea of Smiles, I provided each of My creatures with a round house for occasional protection from the sun’s glare. Naturally, because I wanted to be fair, all the houses looked exactly alike: round walls, round roofs, and round windows with superb views of the mountains and the sea.

    Next, I gave each of the Roundfolk another creature for a companion: a Wipple. No need to add that all the Wipples too were round, made of eplastic and totally alike.

    At first, the Roundfolk were as excited as on the day I made them. They wheeled and hooped across the folg courses with all their old vigor, their clubs in one hand, the wipple’s too were round, made of eplastic and totally alike.

    At first, the Roundfolk were as excited as on the day I made them. They wheeled and hopped across the golf courses with all their old vigor, their clubs in one hand, the Wipple’s leash in the other. I heard them chatting amiably to their Wipples while the Wipples chuffled and chuffled in return.

    This burst of enthusiasm did not last. The Roundfolk soon stopped doing anything, preferring to stay at home and stare at the wall.

    Before things got completely out of hand, I made Myself visible to the Roundfolk. I wanted to have word with My irritating creatures.

    “Now,” I said, when all the Roundfolk, having recovered from their astonishment, had congregated on the cliff, “tell me, what’s the trouble?"
    Face to face with Me, their undoubtedly kind and fair-minded Benefactor, they were reluctant to reply.

    I went on, “Haven't I placed you in the Best of All Possible Worlds? Surely I have the right to know why you are so miserable.”

    Encouraged, I supposed by my gentle tone, one of them rolled forward to say , “Excuse me, Horgath, but we don’t  bounce up the mountains as we use to because it’s . . . unrewarding."

    Another added, “There’s no challenge in it. Who wants to do what everyone else can do without even trying?”

    A third rolled forward to speak, “I’ve given up golf, Horgath, though I like it a lot  at first.”

    “But not now?” I inquired.

    "Golf isn’t even a waste of time. After every round, there’s still an infinite stretch of unused time ahead. And why bother playing golf when you can’t help going around in eighteen strokes?”

    Another backed up this complaint. “ It costs far too much to do effortless things. It’s too monotonous. That’s why, in the end nothing gets done.”

    “I planned everything for your happiness, "I protested.

    "We know that,” several creatures hastily replied, "but we are finding perfection just a little boring. We were wondering if life could be made a bit more difficult so we might…”

    "Yes, yes?” I encouraged.

    "Enjoy ourselves."

    "What sort of thing do you have in mind?” For all my omniscience, I am willing to learn.

    The Roundfolk explained they would like a challenge in their mountaineering; variety in their music, even if they had to compose and perform it themselves; a whole bag of golf clubs for a host of shots; differences of mind and body so that, as individuals, they could love one another and be loved in return.

    "The music will not be as good," I pointed out.

    “No matter,” they responded, “it will be ours.”

    “You might take seventy or eighty strokes to get around quite a small course.”

    Again they cry: “No matter. The harder the better!. We’re prepared to rough the course up a little to make it more interesting.”

    “I’m beginning to suspect,” I admitted, “that I don’t understand you very well at all.”

    “It’s like this,” one creature said. “We fell you have done everything for us. We wonder if you made the world more for your own peace of mind than for our benefit.”

    “But look at your shape,” I said, it’s spherical, without beginning or end. Can’t you see I made you in My own image and likeness?”

    “Only outwardly, Horgath ,” one of them said. “We are more counterfeits than images because we, unlike you, are not allowed to create.”

    “But,” I said in My defense, “if I let you create, there will be lots of differences between you.”

    “We would prefer that.”

    I confess I was startled by the spontaneity of their response.
    “But I wanted to be perfectly fair, and that’s why I made you all alike.”

    A mutter of “boring, boring, boring ” went around the assembly.

    I continued hurriedly as if I hadn’t heard. “If I were to allow differences, don’t you see there would be endless squabbling?”

    “We’ll risk it,” all the Roundfolk cried.
    “But then there will be pain and evil.”
    “So be it, Horgath,” was their loud reply.
    “How can there be evil in the Best of All Possible Worlds?”

    “In our view, Horgath there has to be evil in such a world.
    Otherwise, how will it develop? How will we ever make our contributions? How can we show each other love when there is no possible risk of pain or loss?”

    Politely, I took my leave of Happyland to think over the Roundfolk’s complaints. Absolute fairness, I realized, has its disadvantages. It made all My creatures equal, but equally bored and lonely too. No one needed or helped anyone else. But isn’t this, I asked myself frustratedly, the price of perfection?”

    A huge gasp of wonder and excitement rose from Happyland. When I looked I saw all the Roundfolk gathered around a Wipple. 

    One of them had been rolling lazily up a mountain when the Wipple's head slipped out of its leash, and the Wipple tumbled into a ravine. The Wipple sustained a tiny dent in its central cylinder.

    This was a marvel to the  Roundfolk: here was a Wipple who, if only in a minute particular, was distinct from every other Wipple in a Happyland. Before long all of the Roundfolk were whizzing up and dropping their Wipples deliberately from the mountain tops, not to hurt them but simply to see what kind of interesting dents would result.

    I was horrified but a worse was to come. I noticed a couple of Roundfolk slyly picking up their houses and heading towards a remote valley. They were in revolt against My plan for their well being and were defiantly choosing a less favorable view simply to be different from the rest.

    I was distracted by a group from whom came the most revolutionary of suggestions, They invented death, death sudden and unprovided for. All agreed that such a spectacular finish would contribute a great deal of excitement to life. Every moment would be richer and more thrilling because of the sheer fragility of existence. Give them some risk in ascending mountains, they said, and they might start scaling them again. If only there were a possibility of falling so that their spherical bodies might crack or collapse and bring an end to consciousness, then something far more wonderful than fairness or “perfection” would come into the world: grandeur and heroism.

    To stop the nonsense, I put in another public appearance and called a meeting. Even the two who were carting off their houses to a distant valley came to it, through with obvious reluctance.

    I addressed them in these few word: "My beloved creatures, My aim in creating The Best of All Possible Worlds was to be perfectly fair and guarantee you happiness. However, even gods, it seems, must live and learn. Think over very carefully the "improvements" you want Me to make, I will give them My most serious consideration."

    After a surprisingly short time, the Roundfolk returned with an eplastic scroll on which they had inscribed the Creature's Bill of Rights. It consisted of four basic demands. 

    THE RIGHT TO REST FROM LEISURE
    THE RIGHT TO BE DIFFERENT
    THE RIGHT TO BE RESPONSIBLE
    THE RIGHT TO FAIL

    “The right to fail!” I gasped in astonishment.

    One of the Roundfolk rolled forward and said sympathetically,
    "There can be no success, Horgath, without the possibility of failure.  And that applies to You to."

    I had visions of The Best Of All Possible Worlds crumbling into eplastic dust, so I put My final plea: “For your trial to be genuine, there must be a limit to it. Otherwise, you would be bound to be successful in the end and that too..”

    “And that too would mean,” the Roundfolk continued, “that the success was not either.”

    “Look,” I said, “are you really not afraid of death?”

    “Of course we are afraid, Horgath,” they replied. “But without death, there is no worthwhile life, is there? And there are things far more frightening than death.”

    “Such as?”

    “Staleness, endless repetition , producing nothing, the sense of having no personal worth, a life    without a trace of hope."

    “Then,” I said sorrowing, “My world is not finished. I shall have to go on creating it and peopling it over and over again.”

    “Ah, Horgath,” the Roundfolk cried ecstatically,   “if only we could help you create the world and people it, how happy we would be. We would then fell our lives made a difference. We would feel that when we died we would be part of those who came after us, part of their joys and sorrow, their triumphs and their tragedies. In this way, we would live in Happyland forever after all.”

    “Promise Me,” I said,   “that you will be patient a little while longer,  I don’t want to rush My decision.”

    They solemnly promised, and I left Happyland , knowing that to the kind of self-reliant world they wanted I would never be able to return.

    I could tell the Roundfolk were confident I would not fail them a second time. And they were given some indications of what I had in store for them when they saw the golden sun start to move in the sky and sink slowly westward over the Sea of Smiles.



5 comments:

  1. kon mao ni pre nga boring ang heaven or hell, naa pay choice pre purgatory,,i wil discover

  1. Alwele Pojas says:

    That is very clever Tam... a good reason to consider the possibility of purgatory. Anyway, this earth is enough for me where some are heroes and some are not.

  1. Tammy Relampagos says:

    pre u are really a good writer..nice post pre.it realy chalenge the minds of readers..

  1. Alwele Pojas says:

    By the way pre, I do not own the story. It's from Peter De Rosa. I like the story and I ant to save it in my site for I always do have a second thought of it.

  1. Karl Aparece says:

    @tammy relampagos

    Hi Sir,

    If you mind, I would like to see your journal writings about Soul and spirit concepts of filipino. If your in this blog now please reply asap. I just need it for report thanks

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