This is a story I wrote. I would love to hear feedback on it.
It sprung out of my views on humanity.
Hello! Greetings from a parallel universe! Should this message reach you, pay special attention to it.
I had better tell you who I am and my intentions. I am a physicist. In our planet, we have recently discovered a way to communicate and view other universes. We have viewed enough of the past of your planet and present, and we were surprised to discover that you, like us, are human. We were also amazed to discover that the laws of physics in your universe are the same as those in our universe. I took upon the task of sending you a message with the pure intention of helping you to thrive about an old friend of mine. I decided to tell you about The Smart Man, the man who changed forever the human race on our planet.
It all started on an ordinary day. The Smart Man, like always, was giving a passionate lecture about physics at the university where we both worked. It felt good to watch him. His passion materialized in each lecture, and filled the whole room. Somehow, he made it easy to forget that our planet was being overtaken by pointless war over territorial disputes between sectors. Like you have countries, we have sectors. When The Smart Man finished his lecture, I came over to talk to him.
“Can I ask you something?”
“Of course, my friend. You will give me 'the usual,' right?”
“Yes! Why do you not get yourself published?”
I gave him a piece of paper.
“Do you have any sort of idea what this is?” I asked, frustrated.
“Of course. I derived these equations a few days ago. I suppose you took them from me without permission,” he said. He had absolutely no emotions when I talked to him about getting published. His calm attitude made me want to bother him more.
“That is not what I mean. You have taken a revolutionary approach on the problem of unifying the laws of physics once and for all. These equations are the start of something big. Do not get me wrong, friend. I mean big for humanity and for you, not me.”
“What is wrong? You go home and do physics every night! Why do you not share your ideas with others?” I said, very frustrated.
A student stopped at the door of the lecture hall right then.
“Excuse me, professor. Can I talk to you for a second?” he asked The Smart Man.
I almost chuckled. The Smart Man completely went against the stereotype of cold-hearted physics genius. Yes, we have that, too.
I looked around as the student talked to The Smart Man. On the wall, there were countless equations. That man surely needed a break. He probably had enough equations to make 50 papers. At least one of them contained a major breakthrough.
"See?" asked The Smart Man to the student. "Do not be afraid of what you cannot understand. That is the only way to gain a true understanding of something."
After the student left, I asked The Smart Man, "Another one?"
What we meant was that students were barely taught in our university. Old students of The Smart Man would come to him for help. You have never seen it in your universe, trust me. Most of the science professors rarely showed up for class in any school on our planet. Oh, yes, everyone knew. The armies of the sectors, however, paid huge sums of money to all scientists per hour of research. They knew what was happening. They could not care less. The students took monthly tests scored by computers.
"You see? Here is why I will not publish anything!" exclaimed The Smart Man. I had never seen him this angry.
"I know you will not support the war, but you have to-"
"DO WHAT? WRITE PAPERS FOR THE ARMY OF THIS SECTOR, SO THAT THEY CAN MAKE STRONGER WEAPONS AND KILL PEOPLE? SO THAT THEY CAN BUY ALL THE RIGHTS TO WHAT IS ON MY PAPER, AND NOBODY, INCLUDING ME, WILL BE ABLE USE AN EQUATION FROM MY PAPERS WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE ARMY? DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT OUR WORK CONTRIBUTES TO HUMANITY WHEN IT IS USED LIKE THIS?"
"Okay, calm down. I do not support the war, either, but I had to work with the army. The army has all the funds now."
"That is why I am content with only teaching. Physics research is only a source of pleasure for me. The army even took over the food industry. There is no place without it, except this lecture hall. You thought that the work of a theoretical physicist was of no use to the army, so theoretical was like this lecture hall for you, only better, because you made a lot of money. You were wrong."
He was right. The army had amazed me when they made a horrible weapon based on my work. I do not want to discuss the details here.
"Look," The Smart Man said, "the army employed my parents, too. When my parents saw what their work did, they tried to quit. It was too late. The Army accused them of being as spies from another sector. You could figure out the rest. Thankfully, I was old enough to ask for shelter from others. I moved from family to family, in an effort to complete my education. That is how I got here. The classroom has always been where I felt I belonged. That is why I am happy here."
"The war has been going on for a long time, is it not?"
"Yes; we are lucky in we are in a protected zone. It is too bad it is getting smaller by day."
"Say, do you know why the sectors were built?"
"I do not know and I do not care. All I care about is the present and future. Neither seem too bright."
At this point, just so that you are not confused, I should probably tell you that the war was between all sectors on the planet. There were no allies. Production industry went through major breakthroughs before the war started, so each sector became self-sufficient. It was the increased confidence of the sector leaders that lead to the disputes and the war.
After a long silence, The Smart Man spoke again.
"My father was right."
"My father was right. He once said that the humanity as a whole feared scientists."
"Because many people cannot understand nature. Scientists do. Scientists seem like sorcerers from whom nature cannot keep a secret. That is ridiculous, but, deep down, that is what most believe. They tend to think that nature behaves according our equations, but forget that our equations only represent what we think nature behaves like. They are scared of us, and they want to take from us our research, because they are scared of that, too. They want to think that they have control over it, convince themselves that they do not have to fear. They give it to the army, an entity which was created out of fear, just so that they could feel safer. In the end, though, they amplify their fear, because they are amazed at the power generated through science. It does not matter whether it gives us computers or destruction.
"Us scientists are afraid of nature, too. What separates us from others is that we are fascinated in nature. We try to understand it, the best way we can. With each new discovery, we are tempted to discover more; we realize that the only way to silence our fear is to forget about our fear and try to speak the language of nature.
"This difference is not clear to someone who is not a scientist. That is why many people are afraid of scientists; they cannot understand scientists."
"Your father was a smart man."
"He was. As smart as he was a man."
"Anyway, yesterday you were telling me that you had something important to show me."
"Oh, yes!" he said, as excited as I had ever seen him. "I have not confirmed my hypothesis yet, but it looks promising. Very promising."
He went over to his computer. After a few minutes, he told me to come over.
"Check this out," he said.
He showed me a screen filled with bizarre characters. (By the way, yes, we have computers identical to yours).
"So?" I said. "Machine code? Communication signal? Insert other option here?"
"The second one."
"Since you are getting excited about it, you think it is not from this planet."
"Correct. Yesterday, my compass started spinning like crazy when I was in this room. I searched for a signal from the sky and got this. Let us hope we can decrypt it."
"Wait, wait. Why did you search for a signal right then and there?"
"I have been waiting for a sign of extraterrestrial life for a while, my friend. I have hoped that they would come and either save us from our misery or destroy us for good."
I silently sympathized with my friend. With my help, The Smart Man decrypted the message in 20 minutes. Here is what it said:
The inhabitants of the blue and white planet,
Whichever one of you captured and decrypted our message, congratulations to
that being. We are the Intergalactic Council of Welfare. Our mission is to establish
peace among member galaxies. Sadly, the only planet in your galaxy whose inhabitants
have not made peace among themselves is your planet. In order for your galaxy to
gain admission into the council, this must be changed. All of the other planets in
your galaxy unanimously agreed that your planet, along with your species, must be
In accordance with the council's laws
equity and understanding for all beings, you will be given a chance to
prove yourselves worthy of joining the council. We believe that the one
among you who has captured and decrypted this message will play a key
role in this. Of course, there might be more than one among you who
captured and decrypted our message. You must convince all the
inhabitants of your planet (who do not know about this message) that
they will be attacked by a alien race from space. They must be united
against that enemy. If they fail to do so, they will be annihilated. The
resources of this planet will be used for the greater good of the galaxy.
Complete the mission in 24 months (in the terms of your planet).
The Smart Man looked at me and smiled. When he did, one could not help but do the same. When he smiled, he believed. He believed in whatever he wanted to believe. He made one wonder why they could not do the same.
“My friend,” he said. “This is it.”
“What are you planning to do now?”
“Something that always needed to be done. Stop the war.”
“You believe that this is real, do you not?”
“Yes. I may have no proof of it, but this message may be the end-or the evolution- that our species
needs. I do not know how, but I have to alleviate the fear and ignorance of the inhabitants of our planet.”
“Fear and ignorance of what?”
“Of each other. I should not say fear and ignorance, because they are one and the same.”
At that instant, I believed. I believed in this man. I realized that he was not only smart. He was a man. Maybe I had been wrong before. Maybe I was not smart. I definitely had not been a man. Maybe being smart and being a man were one and the same.
“You asked me why sectors were built, right?” asked The Smart Man.
“Yes, but I know the answer now.”
“So do I, my friend.”
“How are you going to alleviate their fear?”
“I will find a way. That is what I do to breath. Nature gives me problems. I solve them. I have been waiting for all this time for a sign. Now it came. If I can make the fear leave the hearts of humans for a short time, this Council should help keep it away.”
You want to know what he did; I know you do. All I can tell you is that he solved this problem. At the end of the 24 mounts, when the ICW came, he died. He died with a smile on his face. You want to why he died; I know that, too. He died, because he was wounded and exhausted from his battle with the worst humanity could ever be. He won. He brought out the best in us, and suppressed the worst. His work was used to greatly enhance human technology. It helped us make things that impressed even the best scientists of fellow planets in the ICW. His work became the white weapon of survival that he wanted it to be, not a dark weapon of death.
I beg of you, you who got this message. Help your kind. What awaits your kind may very well be the chaos we went through. Become a Smart Man (or a Smart Woman); that is the only way to prevent this!
Edit to add breaks between paragraphs. - d