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Dear Fate:

I hate you in the morning
I hate you in the night
And if you find a muffin
I’ll stomp it with my might

you kicked me in the noggin
and took me to a mugging
you best be set for running
for when it’s next I see you
I’ll send you to your mourning

Sincerely Yours,

Me

Why you, Hello there!
I have a question to ask

Do you think you have no destiny?
That choices you make
are of your own volition?

That your are more than
an echo in neural firings?

Or that your consciousness
is certainly more, no less

than mere stochastic fluctuations
in brain chemistry?

Ah. Then I am most sorry to inform.
that this is not true
Long before you decide
on which finger to lift
Your brain has sent a cascade large
of chemical messengers adrift
and only sometimes will
later decide to inform you
tricking you to think
the choice had been yours

Can you claim the credit
that you think as you?
Perhaps but forget not
that you were born
In accordance to the summed
dangers of lineages long past.

The blueprint of your genes set the tone
So though you may think you prefer that one
It is more a preference turned by actions taken
That led some to live and give birth
Long by far before you were born.

But genes are only a guideline you may say
A rough formless blueprint of arbitrary sway
ah, but remember you did not pick
the where  and when you would be born
Nor did your parents and so on back
Nor did you choose what things to expose
As you grew and gained to a weighted average
of things seen done and others consumed,
mere connections flimsy but tricked to consequence

So there we have it.
Your brain, genes and places all
collude to your path inhibit and your choices still.
That your destiny becomes set.
So is all you do not of yours?
That you may harm and certainly no choice
More than a moving train?

No. for sometimes though rarely so
the system does reflect
up to a point that is fixed
so that the choice made
and the choice unmade
fix to become one and the same
Sometimes. maybe twice, not much more
A decision is made that goes as you had

so do not forget when next choosing
That though not often, actions may conspire so
the guide rail is removed to an open place
The choice is yours and all too real
And then in those few times yes
the consequences are certain. less surreal.

You will set and pick a cascade to the chaos
that will set and limit the choices of one many
Far and long removed in time and space
so for that very moment you must all your life spend
practicing on choices prepackaged and unfree

That the innumerable lives the wave
that simple choice touches
are imperceptibly turned
from wretched souls
to full and kindred spirits

Two people sit on a rock. The rock is the largest of the stones scattered across the shore of a brook. Overhead thin rays of light struggle to fight their way through large sheets of cloud. The sky is a dim red and no hint of the sun can be seen, it could just as well be dawn as dusk. No sounds can be heard mingled with the soft breeze which weaves its way around the relaxed sway of the trees that dot this place.

It is hard to tell how long these two have been here. Five minutes or five millenia their position is so unstrained that they might have just placed themselves atop the rock, so natural that it seems they must have always been so. They sit quietly, observing some lesser creatures go about their business – insects perhaps, or something else altogether. The exact form of the creatures is vague to the eye. After some indeterminate amount of time one of them says to the other.

“Xryl! This is futile, I should end their misery.”

It is clear from the patient look of resignation written across Xryl’s eyes and face that this is a topic of conversation that they have hashed and rehashed countless times to no resolution. Yet, the issue is of enough weight to them that still they continue to raise these same lines of thought.

“Ehm Yrlx, surely we have better things to do than revisit this age old argument about what to do about these creatures.” The implication remains hanging in the air for a time while the two continue in silence. Eventually Xryl speaks again.

“It is not for you to decide their misery, their lives are so alien to ours we cannot even know if such a concept as we understand it can apply to them”.

This time Yrlx answers. “There you are wrong my friend. Look at how some of them simply stop moving. In their refusal to continue they show us that in some way some of them know the futility of their journey.”

“You are right. And I cannot say why some of them stop as they do. But thinking about it, I am certain they don’t know this misery you speak of. For they cannot see the larger shape of the world around them as we do. They do not know the context of anything better.”

“You are a funny one Xryl, In the same breath you take to tell me to respect them, you put them down as simple things little better than the dirt they drag around so. Even if they cannot perceive the wider shape of the world they must at least see how limited theirs is.”

It is clear that Yrlx has hit a note and there is a look of slight annoyance on Xryl’s face. “Don’t play that game with me. We both know their limits, I respect them for what they do within those limits. You however, in your arrogance have decided it is your place to ‘end their misery’. If you think as highly of them as you just implied then surely you should take the time to ask them what they think of your act of kindness.”

“No! No! No! I am in the right. Take a look at them, they are hatched on the slopes of a ditch. None of them ever tries to go up. Always they go down and without fail those which make it to the bottom all fall into the hole there. What is the sense of that?! It is a waste and a tragedy.” Yrlx pauses and reflects for a moment. “And as I said before, they know this on some level. For some time they have been trying to fill that hole. Silly that, when all they must do is climb up.”

“Neither you nor I know the extent of the hole nor its ultimate destination. Perhaps something beyond oblivion lies there. And surely you must appreciate the beauty and intricacy of the carvings they make in the dirt as they go about their journeys. Surely there is something in that. Not to mention that we have not fully untangled the recursive functions and rules which underlie this universe. Who knows, by destroying them we may end up unravelling ourselves.”

“Haha Xryl! You and your farcical fractalities. You do so enjoy invoking cosmic nonsense to disguise your penchant for inaction. I am sure the universe is strong enough to handle whatever I could throw at it. It probably doesn’t even know I exist.”

The mirth fades from Yrlx’s face as a shadow blanks the expressions carved there. Then slowly Yrlx’s head turns to fix a gaze in Xryl’s direction.

“You cannot claim to care more about these creatures than me. It is because I care for them so that it pains me to watch them in their meaningless closed circle. And you use such pointedly colourful language. I do not mean to end them, I mean to lift them. To make them like us. I have spent long figuring on the intricacies that would involve. It is an act of compassion for all our sakes. The closest thing to appreciable they make is the forms they carve into and from the dirt, some in their likeness. But through it all, always they struggle futilely to fill the hole at the bottom. And, as if things weren’t grim enough, they do not even hold themselves to the same level of respect that you think they deserve. Always destroying those others who would not match their markings.”

Yrlx is worked up now, gesturing wildly and eyes blazing with a focused intensity. “The saddest part about all this Xryl, is that it will storm soon and wash them and all their carvings away. Into the hole. They do not comprehend your urgings upwards. All they see are shadows and dark forms which they scuttle around. Please, if you care at all for my sanity let me end this madness.” Yrlx pauses and breathes deeply for continued speech at that rate would certainly cause asphyxiation. After taking a moment to reach a more balanced mood Yrlx continues on.

“Look at how they pile the dirt upon themselves. And see how those with the largest pile try to get others to place more upon them. It is all so nonsensical. And those structures which you admire so, look at how they carve the markings of them unto themselves. And then kill all those that do not have those markings. They are each of them more or less the same but by mere difference of the meaningless markings they dream up, they decide those who are not similarly marked are not worthy to live. Tell me, what place does such banality have in your notions of balanced actions?”

Xryl brushes the question aside. “What I do know is that lifting them is tantamount to destroying them. Their old memories would be rendered meaningless or at least valueless and incommensurable, their new experiences completely unrelateable. Their person’s fully foreign. Make no mistake about it, lifting them will erase everything that they were, a full destruction.”

“Perhaps. There is no precedent for this but that is a price worth paying no? For a higher and enlightened existence where so much worship is not placed on piles of dirt. No?”

Part II