The Greater Man
On this rather uneventful and disturbingly typical subway ride, a Mr. Edward Turner could not help but notice that a peculiar man in a derby hat sat across from him—staring. Indeed, the stranger’s glare seemed to be hungrily consuming his nose. When Edward finally raised his eyes to survey the stranger, the other’s eyes met his own. However, instead of dropping aside in shame of the accident, he continued his oddly purposeful stare. He failed to play by those long-developed rules of social courtesy. His eyes poured into Edward’s with a haunting ease, forcing him to break contact first. Yet even before his mind could construct a complete social critique, his thoughts were interrupted by an uncomfortable and unasked for presence at his side. The derby man had committed a most serious and gross violation of those laws of polity so established by generations of proud men. He stood up and seated himself next to poor Edward merely because he felt like it.
Now, Edward was a young politician. He, in fact, currently worked within the cabinet of a rather prestigious senator. And like most men of the political mind, he loved people, but could not stand persons. He could speak of the greater ideals and hopes of Man, as long as he remained distant enough to avoid the quirkiness and oddities of men. Naturally then, the promising political reformist had often critiqued and jested about such social constructs as enforced in this subway both amidst close friends and within his own private reflections. However, he now found himself clinging to their validity, or at least realizing more clearly their purpose. Perhaps on a particularly jovial day, he would have dismissed such petty cares, but on this dreadfully mundane afternoon, he felt these trivial rules strangely anything but trivial. Mr. Turner gathered his things to leave when the strangers hand seized his wrist.
“Please wait, Edward,” the stranger spoke directly, “I have something I need to tell you.”
Without concealing his emotions towards the unwanted guest, Edward responded curtly, “Excuse me, but do I know you?”
With disorienting ease, the stranger moved uncomfortably close. Now other people began to stare, much to Edward’s disappointment. The stranger in the derby continued, “No, you are of this planet; I was not mistaken. Your scent betrays you. You may call me George, and though you do not know me, I do know you…just I have not personally known you until now. You see, Edward, and this is the beginning of what I must tell you, is that I am from another planet.”
Now Edward came to understand more thoroughly the nature of this poor man’s malady. A sting of pity pierced his gut, but the discomfort did not decline, but rather evolved into a weary sense of danger, as occurs to all men when dealing with other beings whose actions and thoughts are not readily predictable.
“Yes, I am inclined to say you are from another planet,” agreed Edward, in what he hoped was not too clearly a double-minded statement, “Though you look remarkably human.”
“Of course,” declared the derby hatted man. “For all intents and purposes, you see, we are humans. Physiologically, we are just as you. But now that the extraterrestrial business is out of the way, the greater reason I am here is to tell you that my people have been watching you—well, not you specifically, but you as a species, that is humans. We have long been in search for other life-forms outside of our own planet, and several decades ago we discovered your Earth. To our wonder, we realized quickly your planet contained creatures amazingly similar to our own. We devised to visit, but while creating the means by which to do so, we watched your species, and as you must know—living here that is—what we discovered was horrendous.” Here, the man paused, apparently to think, and wriggled his nose. Edward noticed the lady sitting across to his right looking on with a remarkable frown. As the train began to slow, she began preparations to leave. Edward noted the man spoke well for someone likely out of his mind, but he recalled that often the maddest men can be geniuses in their own right. George began again, “I apologize, but what I have seen you humans do…absolutely awful. War, genocide, murder, rape, slavery…you even wantonly destroy the very planet that provides you with sustenance.”
“Yes, these things are tragic and true,” agreed Edward, seeing suddenly a potential voter. “It is actually similar pains that have led me to my decision to enter politics. Because we need to change the world.”
“Politics? No, your human politics are much worse than anything ever conceived on my planet. They are littered with corruption and greed, especially where they make the greatest claims not to be.”
“But not all of us are!” argued Edward, finding his intrigue rising against his expectation. “Some of us sincerely desire something better. Some of us are not held back by those old traditions and broken beliefs of our history. And more people are seeing it. It will take time, George, to change this planet, but we cannot give up on it. I would even argue that as science and information are spreading, it is inevitable. Humanity was once worse than it is now, if you look at the ages of old, filled with petty wars and mass torture all under the auspices for irrational gods and hypocritical draws for power. But it has evolved from that, and we are evolving still.” Edward hesitated for a moment, taken aback with his own insights displayed in such unexpected verbosity. He smiled as he reassured himself in his commitment to follow politics. He understood it was far from a perfect world, and the system overflowed with various flaws and antiquated ideals, as did still much of the population, but that was precisely why it needed good, smart people like him to participate. Many of his friends abandoned the idea of change and remained only committed to the sidelines, committed to critiquing. What they needed was the will to act. That he had.
“You see, George,” Edward said, “We can change. We can break off from our past. The way ahead is clear, and we are progressing. We just need more people willing to stand at the fore of our progress.”
“Well, I am glad you see so much so clearly,” reflected George in admiration. “I will then relieve you of your burden. We do not know how soon this progress of yours will occur. In fact, we believe it more likely that you will destroy yourselves and this beautiful planet before you have the chance. However, Edward, my people can change this world. We are unified and lack any of the corruption found on this planet. Instead of murder, we have only people enjoying life, but not clinging to it desperately. We are not selfish and full of dangerous passions; we care for unity more than superficial desires. Instead of rape, we have mutual openness and understanding in all requests of love. Love is something purely of joy, not suffering. Instead of war, we have communion in goals. Instead of slavery, we have people willing to work and not desiring more than their needs demand. Where your freedom of ideas leads to conflict and division, we have discovered a simple yet universal truth that binds us. All religions are allowed, but they are kept personal, as we understand such beliefs work for some, but not others. Furthermore, they remain secondary to the universal ideal established quite stiffly by science. Even in terms of science and technology, the practical arts, we have advanced far beyond your species in terms of capability and efficiency of labor. You see, Edward, and this is where it grows difficult, we can bring about the world you wish, we can bring peace and unity, but it will have to be at the cost of many lives if there is a hope for it. We are convinced, despite your understandable optimism, some humans on this planet will always be standing in the face of progress. The problem is humans, as much as they speak of reason, are not rational beings. They believe nonsensical things, and rarely have control over their passions. We have considered various options, but we have ultimately decided that the safest route would necessitate, frankly, many deaths. But I see you retreating in fear! Please, Edward, understand, we would not come in a war-like manner. Deaths will be peacefully dealt…it will be a relief both to your planet and to yourselves.”
“You cannot just come here and kill people!” exclaimed Edward rather too loudly. He looked around to see the tram quite empty. He realized he had missed his stop. He cursed under his breath, upset that he had actually been sucked into serious conversation with this insane man. He had hoped to do some shopping before heading home, but now he would wait for the next 15 minutes until the train brought him home. Another 15 minutes with George. “Look, George, killing people is wrong; if you want to change the world, you cannot do it by the same violent means which have caused so much pain and malice here in the first place!”
“Now, you sadden me, Edward,” remarked the alien. “Here you cling to the old traditions of your people. You see, death on our planet is accepted. It happens to everyone, but we all live lives filled with purpose and meaning and comfort, so when the time comes, we have no regrets. Yes, life is something precious, to be enjoyed, but humanity seems to have made quite a mess of that. Those we need to…be rid of, they will not feel a thing or even know anything is happening until it is too late even to feel. And dust will return to dust, as you humans have so poetically expressed. But death is also necessary. Nothing lives forever, and for a race to evolve, death of the inferior is necessary. You see George, we see the same evolution as you, and just as you are helping it to come along, so are we. The only difference is we can enact the change now—and probably in a more decent and harmless way than by waiting for arguments and ideas to succeed in a world of people largely irrational and unreflective, especially in the most important areas of thought. Think of it as ripping off a Band-Aid, Edward. Death is inevitable, and we will grant it in the best possible way one can ask to die, at once bringing about the peace and unity of Earth. You must understand that, Edward. You see, we are the evolved society of which you speak; it will just take you opening your mind to understand it.
“That leads me to my purpose here, Edward,” now George spun to look at Edward directly. “I am here to prepare you for the salvation of this Earth, that some of you may be ready when it comes. We have considered all the options, and it is already decided this change will occur as I described. At my request, it was decided I could come here before we save the planet in order to prepare some fortunate people for it. Like you, George, I do care for others, and I do think it best to prepare everyone for what must come. My goal is simply to prepare your people for the change, that it might come as peacefully as possible. You see, we are a merciful people.”
“Well, say you…aliens do enact this change,” asserted Edward skeptically, “You think that none of us will rise up? Would people not see this as a form of tyranny?”
“Not one,” responded George. “For us enlightened people at the fore of progress, as you say, such reasons to ‘rise up’ will be absent from their thoughts once they see the world that ought to be is actually emplaced. The only tyranny will be the tyranny of truth, which is no tyranny at all. It is a necessary and natural sacrifice; this is just the quicker way to bring about the greater future…the most certain way. I have heard even you humans consider yourself to be something of a virus, spreading and consuming the earth and all things laid before you. Perhaps you could break this streak, but if your history is any indication, even your best efforts will not be enough. If you continue in your virus-like tendencies, you will only consume yourselves in the end. I am glad to have found one as high minded as you, Edward, but my people are quite convinced you as a species will fail. It is our duty to preserve what good we can, before it is too late.”
The train finally came to Edward’s stop, and as he exited with his satchel strung across his chest, George followed him, to his dismay. The conversation he honestly enjoyed; it was thought-provoking. He felt he understood this crazy man to some extent. If only it were so easy and seemingly permissible to create such a world, he thought. He no longer feared any irrationally dangerous actions from such a truly rational, though mysteriously insane man, but he was not quite at the point of comfort. It was getting dark, but the road they continued down to his apartment was fairly well lit and populated. Still, he kept his distance. He often wondered at the thought that humanity was something like a virus as he heard asserted even before George came along, selfishly consuming for itself, only leaving destruction in its path. Perhaps a morally higher alien race could be good to be rid of the blight of unreason in humans, to turn the race around, or at least, to stop those who hinder progress. He had always pushed for bipartisanship and unity in his politics, but he now grew seriously skeptical as to whether he would ever be able to bring such an obvious good to fruition knowing his opponents as he did.
“Do you live down this road too, or are you just following me?” inquired Edward.
“Have you forgotten? I am not from this planet. I have no home here yet, though I am marveled by some of the natural beauty this earth contains. I may make a home for myself in the Alps, or perhaps the Caribbean after the salvation of this planet. I have not quite decided.”
“Right…” agreed Edward, interest now waning. He had to be up early tomorrow for a funding meeting; he had little more time to waste with George. The young politician just passed his apartment. He did not necessarily want George knowing where he lived. He would make an excuse, leave the man, and double back around once he was certain he was not being followed. “So, I really must be going. It has been a pleasure talking with you, and thank you for the warning!”
“So, are you saying you are ready for the change?” asked George. “I was worried you might not be ready for such higher, progressive thought. Most humans on this planet seem to find all sorts of fallacious means to hold onto their past beliefs, so ingrained in them by their cultures and traditions.”
Edward smiled at the thought. He agreed completely on this point. People did play this mental game, all too often. If only people were able to leave such archaic beliefs behind, or at least not feel the need to force them on others. They were necessary once, but now they only proved to be in the way of where humanity must finally go. And he assured himself he would be a practical player in that progress. Edward looked to the sky, eyeing the stars just beginning to appear, and nodded his assent. “I think I am ready for that world, George. Thank you; thank you for telling me. I look forward to it.”
They stopped together on the sidewalk. George looked to him beaming. “I am glad, Edward! I am most glad that my time here was not for nothing. It is good that you are ready.”
With that, George withdrew a ray gun from beneath his coat and zapped Edward. Where less than a moment ago a man once stood, lay a discreet pile of ash. After only a few minutes, the wind had removed all traces of what had occurred, and a nondescript man in a derby hat walked by himself into the night with just the hint of a smile on his face.
The Lesser Man
It had been a long walk, but George was happy for it. After his recent success, he thought maybe he could prepare more of the Earthlings for the world’s salvation than he originally thought. Edward had been prepared for change, and as he always wished, he was at the fore of it. However, the small-time alien invader did not wish to linger on Earth too long; he would have to return to his space ship to alert his brethren that the earth was indeed prepared. What he proclaimed to Edward was true, that humanity on earth would inevitably meet its demise, but the question still lingered as to whether procuring the planet was worth it. It was costly and unnecessary in some ways, frankly, impractical. He expected his brethren would not find it a valuable venture, but his report would prove vital in a decision in the opposite direction. Of course, for the sake of unity, he would endorse whatever decision. It was the practical thing that mattered most, but without his report, he felt certain that the others would not risk themselves by stepping onto an unknown planet and facing a still largely mysterious people. Thus, he had to prepare as many earthlings as possible for their salvation, so he could convince his people that conflict would be absolutely minimal. In many ways, George considered himself a prophet to these people, and a leader of progress to his own.
He had walked through the night thinking about his mission, following the highway until he came upon farm country. The red glow of sun on the distant mountains told him that day had once more arrived and precisely on time as he predicted. In a nearby field, he saw a man getting out of a pickup truck, preparing for harvest perhaps. The alien decided it would be good to encounter the rural members of the earth’s society as well.
As he approached, the man spotted him and leaned upon his truck, shaking his head. He had driven out some equipment apparently to aid in his work, as George noted a large bundle of various tools in the truck bed. Stress lines worked their way across the farmer’s face and brow, and he was well muscled because of the nature his of labor.
“Can I help you, stranger?” asked the farmer, “Car trouble, I guess?”
“No, that is not quite it,” said George. “You’re name is Robert, correct? Well, I have come with some news for you.”
“I’ll take the news after I know your name, and how you know mine,” countered Robert suspiciously.
“You see, that is actually involved with the news that I wish to tell you,” stated the other simply, “I know this may be difficult for you to believe, but I am actually from another planet. You may call me George.”
“Pleasure to meet you, George,” said Robert extending a hand, though maintaining a cautious distance. The alien took a moment to recognize the gesture before fulfilling the obligatory response by grasping the field worker’s hand with his own. Though he remembered to use the right hand, he realized a moment later he had forgotten to shake, as is custom. Where George was from, very few customs of this style remained; his people considered them ritualistic and barbaric. He tended to agree.
“So, you believe me then?” replied George, “About being, well, extraterrestrial?”
“You might be, you might not be,” supposed Robert. “I think most people I meet tend to be from earth, but it is not for me to say what necessarily must be out there. I have heard enough stories of UFOs, maybe there is something to it all.”
“Thank you for your honesty and trust, Robert,” replied George kindly. “Now, for the news I have to tell you.” George then spoke to Robert about the progress of his race, with all its merits, peace, and unity. All the time Robert listened with interest, though when the alien began to expound upon their plans for the earth, the farmer frowned.
“So, I know it is a lot, and it may be hard for you to accept, but are you ready for the change, Robert?”
“Certain change is good,” agreed Robert, “But I do not think I like your change.”
“Oh, I was afraid of that. Well, what can I better explain to you?”
“Well,” began Robert, “For superior moral beings, you seem awfully okay with just killing everybody on the planet.”
“Yes, it is sad in its own way,” remarked George, “But only sad in the way that it is sad your dinosaurs are extinct. It would have been remarkable to see and study them, but at once, I am certain you are glad they are no longer here causing problems. Even so, it was simply their time to go. Nothing more. Such is the nature of progress, or evolution. It is in essence strictly scientific, Robert.”
“Maybe that’s just it,” Robert said, “You keep saying progress and evolution, but progressing towards what? How do you know you didn’t go in the complete wrong direction? Progress for the sake of progress is about as good as change for the sake of change. How do you know you are changing for good or evil without some sort of marker of which either is? Frankly, I find killing all the people on earth pretty evil.” Robert jumped up on the bed of his truck and roughly unloaded a bag of equipment, throwing it to the ground. The sun had now taken up its usual encompassing position in the sky, the mountains now obscuring only a small piece of the great star. George began to sweat somewhat in the ascending heat. He removed his derby hat and placed it on the hood of the truck before explaining.
“Try to understand, this is the problem with you earthlings. You become caught up in this struggle between good and evil, both being in so many ways relative to your distinct cultural needs and upbringings, and you fight about it. Yes, arguably there are better and worse ways to live, but ultimately, good and evil are elements of a primitive mind. We must each be free to find purpose and right in our own lives. However, the ways you people commonly live, such dogmatic beliefs and purposes conflict with reason and each other. Many have even been proven false, and others are impossible to prove better than any other, and such a mess inevitably brings about disharmony. You have only to look at your history to see evidence of that, even your current newspaper.”
Robert sat on the edge of his truck bed and rolled up his sleeves, revealing hirsute and weather beaten arms. He was clearly thinking hard, perturbed by this stranger’s answer. “It seems odd you would have unity with such freedom to pursue one’s own purpose. What if someone finds his purpose in religion, or doesn’t like your unifying ideals?”
“People might, but I would not know about it,” suggested George. “Such thoughts are allowed and maybe common, but they do not drive people to rash and clearly ridiculous actions as they do here. You can believe what you wish of course, whether in religion or some other grand philosophy, but it is merely personal conviction, like a personal affectation. It is like choosing what color socks to wear in the morning; it is fine for you, but inappropriate to tell everyone else to wear your preferred socks!” George laughed to himself. Robert simply sat squinting in the sunlight. He continued, “Besides, we have a peaceful and advanced civilization that provides for everyone. I have heard my people say the only thing we do not tolerate is suffering. Our people are happy. What more can you want as proof of moral superiority? What other test can there be?”
Robert shrugged, “So, what if my preferred socks, as you put it, included the desire to kiss your wife, let’s assume. You would not fight me over it, or even feel upset or angry, because that would cause conflict?”
George snickered. “Robert! We are beyond such earthly institutions as marriage! Love is in fact one of the tenets of our universal ideal. It is free and unconditional. Such unbending commitments inevitably lead to strife and pain. That is insanity. You have to understand people have changing thoughts and desires. Love is not selfish. Love understands this, and so judges no one.”
“So love is one of your tenets,” mentioned Robert, “If love is so important, why do you so easily give up on us on earth? Shouldn’t you love us unconditionally too? Enough at least to let us live?”
“Now you are just confusing the idea with your broken earthly view of love,” sighed George. “I apologize; I should have been clearer. It is unconditional for those on equal footing—that is, those inherently deserving of it, those with something worth loving. But it is silly to extend love toward something which has proven itself time and again unworthy of it. For example, you do not love a dog like you do other people; that is simply because it is of a lower category, not as worthy of affection, though worthy of some. You may like your dog a great deal, but once it proves itself to be dangerous or harmful to others, or life is no longer worth it for the animal, you end its life—in the most humane manner you can of course. I suppose in some sense you can call that love too, just properly displayed in a different way, dependent on the circumstances. In this example of the dog, its death is better both for others and itself. The only difference is you are caught up with the rest of this planet with being on top of that chain of evolution. You do not understand yet that your position is now more similar to that of the dog.”
“You cannot compare us to dogs!” announced the farmer with a smile, “There’s a huge difference between humans and animals.”
“I would have to disagree,” stated George matter-of-factly. “Apart from more advanced language and tool usage, and possibly opposable thumbs, I see no difference.”
“Well, I believe we have souls, for one,” Robert said with some hesitation.
“Ah, yes, a completely ad hoc idea. There is no proof of the thing, and I cannot even think of what might count as proof. How would a soul work? And supposing there was one, what difference would that really make? You are too caught up on these earthly institutions and traditions, Robert. Such things, if you take them too seriously, are exactly the problems holding back the progress of your race.”
“Well, I suppose I believe it first because the Bible told me so,” mused Robert. “But even so, I think I just innately know it to be true. Kind of like freewill. I have a friend who is continually arguing all the time about fate, and how everything is just cause and effect, or what have you, but when it comes down to it, if I do not have freewill right now, I do not know how much more free my will can be. I just know it, though I do not know how to prove it.” Robert paused for a moment before returning to the subject. “And souls would be important, because they do differentiate people from animals. They make us more meaningful than animals, I suppose, because we are of a higher creation, and I believe they also mean we are eternal in some respect.”
“Now you have gone far from the path of progress and reason,” George muttered sadly, “All these things seem nice, but ultimately none are provable, whether God or souls or freewill or whatever else makes you feel significant in life. They are helpful for a lower psychology to function healthily, but dangerous and unwise to hold onto past that. That is why it must be only personal, or conflict will inevitably arise.” George frowned, realizing he was probably not convincing the farmer of anything. Robert just sat there, head in his hand, scratching his temple. A breeze blew across the alien’s face, and he found the cool air refreshing. Some hawks flew overhead. He continued. “I suppose you are far from ready for your own salvation. I am truly sorry for you, but you most certainly must go along with the others.”
Robert rubbed his temples before spitting on the ground. “It upsets me that you think our doom is so certain. Do you people not believe in hope either?” inquired Robert, “And you said your people are allowed religion, even if you never talk about it, so what about faith? You do not know for certain our race will not improve, or that God will not bring about a better end.”
“These are again deformed virtues, Robert, quite ridiculous in your interpretation. Yes, we have them, but they are reasonably proportioned to the evidence and probability. The numbers are against you, Robert, and powerfully so. In accordance with our calculation, we find little hope in people’s future. The feeling with faith is similar, whether in God, humans, or whatever else. If God has not saved this earth from you humans, should you have that personal belief, why should we expect Him to suddenly change His mind? Really, you should ask why he put you here in the first place if you would only make a mess of really everything. If He is there, I fear He likely did not find you worth saving.”
Robert wiped the sweat from his forehead and looked to the sun now raised high in the sky. He sighed and shrugged to himself in resignation. George realized this man was putting aside his work to speak with him. It was unfortunate he was so blinded by incoherent and unproven philosophies and thoughts; he could have been a good man if born among his people. The farmer turned back to him to speak, changing the topic. “You know, another thing, I do not see why you are so concerned with saving the planet by killing humans,” posed the farmer.
“I do not follow your logic, Robert.”
“It seems to me the earth does not care too much about its own state,” the farmer remarked, “I have not heard any scientists, or the earth for that matter, complain about how unfortunate it was for the earth during the ice age or when it was a ball of molten rock without life, or however they say it came about. It just seems like saving the earth at the expense of the people living on it is fruitless or mistaken. The farm does not care if it goes to waste, but my family certainly will.”
“The answer is simple,” the alien considered, now growing weary of the conversation, “We are no different from the life or lack of life on this planet. We are all connected in that sense, so it is worth caring for earth in the same way we care for ourselves, for its own sake. What becomes of it is one thing through its natural processes, and we do not find anything wrong with adapting to it for our own survival. Just in this case, you humans will likely cause an unnatural form of destruction, which is backwards, because it is the earth that sustains your race. If something else on this planet outlasts you, it is only because it should. You must come to accept that and see the truth and good in it.” George looked to the ground and kicked up some dirt. “After all, we do plan on inhabiting this planet in time. We could put it to use before you destroy it, if that is of any consolation”
“Yes, I find that deeply consoling,” admitted Robert, with no small hint of sarcasm.
“Then I am glad for that much,” offered George, not at all familiar with how to detect sarcasm. The extraterrestrial humanoid was fingering his ray gun beneath his jacket, deciding whether to end this creature’s misery now or allow him to wait to move on with the rest of humanity. He realized the relentless heat of the sun was causing him to sweat through his clothes, so he tucked his gun into an interior coat pocket before removing the coat altogether. He should be on his way soon. He may have better luck with others more prepared for the next step.
“I think I have come to a decision finally,” thought Robert aloud. He then looked towards George, “I think I finally believe you.”
George’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. He could hardly believe he had won this stubborn and dogmatic man to the cause of progress. “So, you are ready for change? You have accepted the next step that this planet must take?”
Here, Robert laughed, and he laughed heartily. He stood up on the bed of his truck. His eyes brightened in the growing sunlight, and his hair blew carelessly about. “No, I meant I believe you about being not from this planet. I believe you about being an alien. There is incredibly little that is human about you. Indeed, everything seems backwards. Yes, you have no war and conflict, but for all the wrong reasons. People should strive for peace because they are passionate about their fellow man; they are passionate about war being wrong. Oddly, that is the same reason people should have conflict and war. However, you seem to lack conflict and war because you do not have passion or commitment toward anything! I would fight to the point of my own death to protect my wife and family because I love them, and no matter whether they somehow deserve it or not. If there is anything good on this earth, I believe that is. Maybe the best test of whether or not you truly love something is whether or not you are willing to fight for it. Peace, true peace, is no different. Though one of your tenets is love, I do not think you know what it truly means to love at all.
“Furthermore, you say you have no genocide, yet is not killing all of us in the name of some moral superiority essentially the same thing? People who commit genocide lead with a philosophy of pride, that is, one type of person is better than another. Even if you have all the proof in the world of your own moral superiority, you are so high on your moral ground, that you would justify and commit any atrocity to maintain it. You admit your only test of morality is your own survival and personal preferences, whether as individuals or a group. You believe you are the next step of progress, or evolution, but for what reason if death and life are so insignificant and humans are just like anything else? If the people of earth somehow managed to destroy your alien race in some turn of events, I think that would prove we are the next step in progress. Pride is your only true virtue, and it is a lousy one. You say love, but love is only virtuous if it is actually unconditional; it is virtuous as long as you are willing to love something or someone who does not deserve it. The only true test of love is whether it can endure suffering, not avoid it at all cost. The same with hope and faith; they only have meaning when you can hope in the face of hopelessness, and keep faith when all seems lost. I cannot believe your people are prepared for death because each had fulfilling lives, but only because they have not found quite anything to live for.
“You believe you have freedom of thought, but it is not entirely true. You say people can think and believe whatever makes them feel good, as long as they do not inconvenience others with their beliefs. In other words, you can believe in anything as long as your beliefs do not matter. You can believe in God as long as He makes no difference. You can believe in your own morals and values as long as you do not take them seriously. You can believe in anything as long as everyone is unified and moving in one direction, or for that matter no direction, because it seems to me your direction does not matter to you, as long as it is peaceful and unified. But at what cost? People sometimes say the journey matters more than the destination, but your people have taken that thought to its core. It is hardly true if the journey leads to hell.”
Robert had slowly grown louder and more forceful throughout his quaint monologue, but he became quiet again as George was deciding how best to respond to his ranting. “I admit, maybe I have not thought everything through the best I should. I read a lot, and working the fields does give me a lot of time to think.” The farmer breathed deeply. “But, I am only a farmer in the end. I just believe that your salvation of man is truly and totally a destruction of him. And maybe we do deserve it. But if there truly is a salvation of man, then there must be something about him worth saving, and I would rather endure all things then risk losing whatever that may be.
The worker continued, now nearly at a whisper, “However, we do agree on one thing. I do agree that you are an alien, because everything important which seems to make me a human you do not have. And as you said yourself, that includes a soul. And if you do not have a soul, you are like my dog, and when you become harmful to people, I think it wise to put you down.” A strange look came to Robert’s face at that moment, as if he had come to an unexpected realization. “And whether or not you are trespassing on my planet, I believe we can concur that you are trespassing on my property.”
In the blink of an eye, Robert procured a shotgun from the bed of his truck, and he loaded it with impressive speed. George remained unworried. He felt for his ray gun, but to his dismay, it still lay hidden in his coat on the ground. No matter. His derby hat had a purpose other than style. It was programmed with advanced invisible shielding mechanisms that would render the farmer’s bullets useless. He felt for it on his head, but could only find his thinning hair. His eyes caught his hat on the hood of the truck where he left it several feet away. He heard the shotgun cock. His heart raced, and then suddenly stopped as the world around him slowed. For a brief moment, he wondered if death was all as insignificant as he always assumed. Just natural selection really. But why did he wonder now? He heard a blast. All went dark. And in that moment, humanity experienced its salvation, though it would never know.