The Origins of Evil
Back before the Earth was round and before the sky was far away and before the water was cold and deep, our Universe was one big place.
There was no Sun and Moon. No humans or animals or Gods or plants. There were Lights – unyielding and brilliant balls of energy that surfed around the Universe happily.
The Lights travelled separately, never staying too long in one place, but always met together with the intent of sharing good news from around the Universe. This council was held weekly, and all of the Lights from the farthest stretches gathered together. The Lights loved attending council and being together. They would seat themselves among the tops of mountains and speak about their home and their travels, admiring each others fiery brightness and sharing gratitude for their existence and the flourishing nature of their home.
One council began as any others. The Lights spoke of undulating oceans and howling winds and large stones breaking from the surface of the waters. The Lights spoke of the darkness that followed their tails and the way the malleable Earth reacted to the heat of their bodies when they touched it’s form. One Light, indistinguishable from the others, interrupted the others and said that they had been thinking.
“Why are we here?” the Light mused.
“Is all of this for us?” the Light asked.
“What are we meant to do with it? the Light wondered.
“Surely we’re meant to do more than just sail around and look at it” the Light asserted.
The other Lights murmured quietly, each respecting each other’s opinions but having no answers for this bold Light. The council ended then, and the Lights dispersed for another week of exploration and consideration.
In one week’s time the council met again, but this time more Lights had questions.
“What will happen if I stop moving?” one proposed.
“What will happen if I fly up and up and up until I can’t see any more?” another puzzled.
Again, the Lights murmured quietly. The first Light who had started asking questions sat silently. Though the other Lights asked the Light for their opinion, the Light stared silently at their amassed glowing brightness. The council ended then, and the Lights dispersed for another week of exploration and consideration.
When the council met for the third time, the first Light, the one who had started asking questions in the first place, spoke excitedly about their ideas for the Universe. The Light had no more questions, only answers. The Light explained, “We are all too similar. How are we supposed to do anything meaningful for the Universe if we are all the same?”
The other Lights gently nodded.
The Light continued, “The Universe was put here for us, I know it. I have thought long about this and I am certain. If it was put here for us we are to use it, we are wasting it. Am I correct?”
The other Lights gently nodded.
The Light said, “We all need jobs. It is not enough to fly around and talk and visit. We are lazy. If you love the Universe, you will work for it!”
The other Lights nodded enthusiastically. They did love their Universe.
The Light pointed to group of Lights, “You will become a big ball of light in the sky that shines all the time on the Universe”. The Lights agreed.
The Light assigned more jobs to his friends. “You will become a great wind that makes the Earth round, so that there is no underside, and you will spin it so that the ball of light may always shine on one side”. The Light agreed.
“You will become plants. The light from the sky will make you grow tall and green”
“You will become animals. You will make your home on Earth and work hard to use it’s gifts”
The Lights agreed. The bold Light continued to share his ideas. The Light spoke of the greatness that will come to them from a world where the land is worked. The Light spoke of his great dream where everything can work together and benefit greatly. The more the Light spoke, he greater his voice became. Every other Light was enamoured with his story. They would have it all, the Earth was theirs. While the bold Light’s voice grew loud, the other’s voices grew quiet. The power of the Light’s story overtook them, and soon they had no story or thought of their own.
From the corner of the Universe one small voice whispered, “And who will you be, Light?”
The Light answered, “I will be the overseer of all the Universe and it’s operations. If you forget why you are here or what your job is, I will remind you. I will decide what happens and I will take and use what I want so that our Earth will be as great as I see in my mind. You will all work hard to make the Earth as prosperous as I imagine, and we will all benefit from it’s riches. You cannot argue with me because it was I who gave to us this plan and you must always do as I say, even if you do not like it. We need to work together.”
The quiet voice, almost silent under the roar of the Light’s energy asked, “And what will you call yourself?”
And the Light said,
Once the Light’s great story about the Earth and it’s usefulness was told, it couldn’t be called back. The other Light’s did not know how to protest and could only believe, and the bold Light could only hear the voice that urged it to realize it’s own dream. Once told, the Light’s story was loosed upon the world.
Telling the story:
- I made this story a little long, so finding willing participants was difficult.
- Who I am as a storyteller also changed people’s perceptions of the story I was telling. I am a loud and proud vegetarian and I refuse to participate in anthropocentrism – the believe that the world revolves around humans and is here for our exploitation. (I love this interview excerpt with moral philosopher Gary Steiner –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JK3kbl75-xc ) – As a result of this, my Mother is “sick and tired” of all my “opinions” (ahem – facts*) about the ways in which anthropocentrism negatively affects the environment, animals and even other humans. These feelings obviously coloured her interpretation of this story, because after she rolled her eyes and said, “Yep. I get it. Humans suck”. (Note: I’m close to cracking her, I can feel it) – My boyfriend, on the other hand, shares most of the same ideas and beliefs as me regarding the treatment of animals and the environment to satisfy human greed, and he liked the story. Take that Mom.
- Truth be told, I don’t know where this story came from. I sat down to write this and it was finished in 15 minutes. I’m wondering if anyone else found it that easy to finish their story? I think it was so easy because I am familiar with the sense and style of creation stories in general, and found it really easy to mimic that and apply it to my own ideas. When looking for other examples of creation stories, I found this cool (and free) website that makes creation stories accessible for teachers and young students, and presents them in a fun and memorable way. http://www.bigmyth.com/2_eng_myths.html
Linda McNeilly Purcell
May 30, 2016 — 9:29 pm
I really enjoyed your story, and I did not find it preachy. In fact I thought it was thoughtful and interesting. I liked the idea of starting at the beginning of time, before the world was even formed, and although I went in a different direction for my story, I had considered it as a launching pad for my own story.
One thing I really liked about your story was how you incorporated telling the story as a declaration of how things would be, and in this way create the world. It was thought provoking how you showed the corruption of absolute power and the arrogance of humanity, and included both of these concepts as a means of introducing evil into the world.
I would never have known from your story that you were vegetarian, because I felt that the story dealt more with the human condition than it did with being vegetarian. Here is an interesting link that sums up what the human condition is – which is basically the dichotomy of both good and evil within the human psyche http://www.humancondition.com/freedom-expanded-book2-what-exactly-is-the-human-condition/ .
In your blog post, you talk about an interview excerpt with moral philosopher Gary Steiner, but I could not find a link for this. I was wondering if you could provide more information about Gary Steiner’s views, and what the interview covers.
For the record, I too am vegetarian, and I am looking forward to reading your story in our next assignment.
May 31, 2016 — 11:04 am
Hi Linda 🙂
Thank you for all your feedback. I’m glad you didn’t find it preachy! I think that the only time the vegetarian thing became evident was how it affected my own Mom’s perception of the story. I just realized that I did not link the interview with Gary Steiner correctly! Thank you. I’ll fix that right now.
June 1, 2016 — 10:59 pm
So I’ve read your story more than once now, and I find it so incredibly insightful – not preachy in the slightest. Isn’t it interesting how we interpret our own stories based on how others tell us to? I found that after I told my story to those around me and heard their feedback, the way I read the story the following time changed. It really shows the kind of multidimensional impacts of stories. We interpret our stories, share them, they get interpreted, and shared in a new way. Stories are changing and fluid, and I really felt that with yours.
When reading your story I also felt a great ability to relate to the lights and the force of a strong voice dictating my actions and situations. I think a lot of my peers (mid 20’s) feel that we are asking what our purpose is and the loudest feedback is often by our political or social leaders. I saw this in your stories about the light and think it’s intriguing to think of that impact on the beginning of time.
Do you feel, perhaps, that this is not just about your vegetarianism but also about your pursuit to figuring out your own purpose? Sorry – personal question, so no pressure to answer! But I could not avoid how plainly I saw this theme in your text.
Thanks for sharing!
June 3, 2016 — 10:01 am
Hi Heather 🙂
Thanks for reading and all your kind words.
I think when I was writing I chose lights intentionally, as a kind of callback to what I imagine souls to be, and wanted to show that just because some modern thinking does not recognize the presence of a unique and special life force in everything, doesn’t mean I agree 🙂 I also thought that if everything started as the same light I might be able to communicate a feeling that everything is equal, and no one species is more important than any others.
When I was writing I think I was really focused on portraying humankind as the enemy of a cooperative and empathetic society, and I think because I was so focused on that I didn’t consider the angle that you saw. The “loudest voices” definitely weigh heavy on me, but rather than specific individuals, I imagine that these voices are more like broad ideals – like capitalism? Those societal forces that tell me doing something that makes me money is more important than doing something meaningful that I love? Y’know? I dunno.
I love that you had a totally unique perspective of my story 🙂 I loosed it upon the world!