Monday, November 22, 2010

Abner Doon

"In Orson Scott Card's The Worthing Saga
...Abner Doon is the person
out of the past of The Worthing Saga universe
who put everything into motion.

It is due to him that things are the way they are,
and it is to him that everyone owes thanks
for a better tomorrow.

What did he do to bring it about?

He destroyed everything.

The old universe was a decadent empire
where those with wealth and power
could extend their ability to keep things in stasis
by thousands of years.

...The result was a predictably stagnant and hopeless society.

How Abner brings about the fall of the empire
is never directly addressed,
but is alluded to in the way he plays a game...

In one of the worldwide tournaments
where players purchased the rights to play nations
in a computer simulation that began in 1914,
one player had managed to build Italy into a powerful empire
on the verge of global domination.

It was a beautiful and seemingly immortal political creation
that inspired the world of entertainment and academics,
if merely a hologram.

Abner buys the rights to play Italy, refuses to sell,
and destroys it by carefully orchestrating corruption,
oppression, and aggressiveness
in a way that leads not to isolated rebellion,
but a total and simultaneous collapse into anarchy.

When Doon topples the real empire,
he does a thorough enough job to bring a halt to space travel
for thousands of years.

And out of the ashes rises are more diversified humanity
better equipped to plumb the depths of time and space.

Doon the destroyer.

Doon the serpent.

Doon the messiah.

...When does a life of comfort and stasis cease to be life?

How much adventure and uncertainty do we need to be human,
and when do we slip deep enough into routine that we cease to be?

How much destruction is justifiable in an act of creation?

Is playing the devil any worse than playing God?

How much does one individual have the right
to force on all humanity?

Maybe Abner Doon
was good and evil, just and wrong,
God and anti-God at the same time.

Maybe all those people are who enter and leave this world
leaving life unimaginable without them as much as with them."


"Jason thinks–he knows–that what Abner Doon did resurrected life,
resurrected humanity’s soul.

Yes, it caused pain.

Yes, it caused discomfort.

Yes, it caused upset and confusion and turmoil.

But it was in humanity’s best interest.

Or so we’re told.

...I think people–collectively and individually–like comfort,
like complacency,
like knowing what’s going on, like feeling safe.

But it is in times where you don’t know,
times of uncertainty,
times where you’re challenged,
where you struggle that you learn,
that you grow, that you become.

Pain and suffering and endurance
are often the catalyst for people becoming better,
stronger, smarter, more capable.

Some people fear change.

Some people accept it and adapt.

Some always look back to what they had before,
they glamorize what once was
–or what might have been.

Others live in the moment.

Still others live and dream about the future.

I don’t know that there is a “right” way to live
…but I feel certain
that living too much in the past, present, or future
could be a bad thing.

“After the worlds were slain by Abner Doon,
ten thousand years of darkness passed
before the fires again burned their threads
between the stars.”

“The Unmaker of the Universe?

The Breaker of Man?

The Waker from the Sleep of Life?”


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