THE GODS OF WAR

5 Sep

The Dimwids were slowly sleep-walking into chaos.
It was like this.
They lived on Dimwid, a lovely green little planet that encircled its beautiful sun in just the right amount of time for days to be days and weeks to be weeks and months (yes, they had a moon so they had months) to be months.
So you would have thought they would be happy. You would have thought they would have lain back and basked in the health-giving rays from their sun and yet had the sense to shelter before it burnt them. And you would have thought they would have tossed good white wine down their throats in just the right quantities to make them mellow without turning them stupid.
But they did no such things.
Instead they argued and quarrelled and invented deities by the score in order to have something to worship that wasn’t beautiful, like their world was beautiful. And those deities divided them because each little Dimwid group wanted one of its own. They wanted their own little fabricated god to be the only true one, the only real one, and they wove stories around them to prove it. And after the way of Dimwids they knew two things: they knew that the stories were totally fabricated and they knew that they believed them.
And in many lands they built mighty towers to the skies from which they could bawl hideous pleasantries to as many of those deities as they called their own, from the sunny centre of things and out to the cooler poles, and then, as if it had a strange inevitability about it, they divided amongst themselves because gods do that when they get fixed into brains as if they were real.
And each enclave of Dimwids became a threat to other enclaves of Dimwids, and the people became so divided that hatred was born, and all from the absolute adherence to a belief in their multitude of deities. Indeed, they wove the most glorious tales about castles in the skies, way beyond mortal reach yet accessible if you died with a brave and believing heart and they sang mighty verses re-enforcing the power of their gods.
It became so clear that even a fool could see it, that weapons were needed for there would be war because that’s what the gods wanted.
So the Dimwids raped their world for ores and materials and wrought powerful weapons which cost them so much in coin and effort that they became poor. But there were enemies just about everywhere. Their leaders told them. Their leaders said that weapons needed to be stockpiled against the day when they would be needed to blast their foes and their false beliefs to smithereens. Their leaders told them to stick by them and in the end all would be well.
The future would be glorious, but first there must be austerity in order to pay for the power of what was the most right of right things.
And so, in hunger and poverty, the Dimwids shivered together in underground places where there was a chance they might be safe, and they prostrated themselves onto the cold stone of those places and prayed extra hard to their deities so that their world would return to being the happy, sunny place it once had been even though no living soul had seen it like that.
But when they went above ground, out of their underground places, the air was turgid and made them cough and splutter, for the missile factories belched forth great quantities of toxic fumes and the once-green fields were withered and brown, and all was awry.
The Dimwids were at their wit’s ending. Even their food, mass-produced from slimy stuff in even more factories, was foul to the taste and the air that reached to their dark underground refuges was tainted like acid. Slowly their very being became utter misery and the only place they could find memories of what things had once been like was in books and magazines where pictures showed them.
But they looked at the pictures and called them lies. “Propaganda,” they said, “by our enemies!”
So an army of them went forth into the world, went by air and sea and land, and searched for those enemies. Every land-mass was populated and every land-mass was the same: a haven of misery where pale Dimwids were dying of a decayed and corrupt environment. And on every land-mass, where once there had been knowledge and hope and even love, there was ignorance and despair and damnable hatred.
“What must we do?” they cried to each other, and the wrong answer came forth.
“Fight to the death for glory!” it screeched from the tops of the tall towers that still rose into the turgid skies. “Fight to the death! For glory and for all our gods!”
There were some who were surprised that those voices still existed, for there had been many a quiet movement over the years, to silence them, to render them obsolete. But they still existed. They still ruled the hearts of a few, and it was that few that had the power of words. It was that few that stirred the passions in miserable hearts. It was that few with ancient manuscripts and the poisons of words.
And it was in the minds of the leaders that it would be wise for their Dimwids to rally around something rather than just an abstract idea called “memory”, so they rallied round their gods and their venomous words.
And those vast storehouses of weaponry, the mighty arsenals that had been forged over generations, came in very useful.
“It is time to end our misery!” was the cry, loud in everyone’s ears and echoed around the once-green and beautiful planet. “We will fight and destroy our foes and once again we will bask in happiness and contentment under a beautiful sun, and children’s voices will sound their trilling laughter, and all will be well.”
And they did.
In a gigantic, wonderful, awesome bang that resonated through their corner of the Universe for almost a day before, clearly, there was a brand new vacuum where once hearts had beaten and gods had somehow shone like coal-dust in the hearts of men, and peace at last ruled throughout eternity.
© Peter Rogerson 05.09.16

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