The Joke

Submitted by Mapache on Fri, 2000-09-15 00:00

As the angels toiled, and the universe took form, God looked on and saw that it was good. And God looked forward and saw that all would move by his perfect plan, and this troubled him. That his own perfection should trouble him troubled him even more, and thus he went to Yves, who had a name for all things, and asked him the name of this trouble. And Yves spoke onto him, and named this trouble Boredom, the trouble that arose from the knowledge of what would come. And God thought, and he formed a plan. He blinded himself to the knowledge of what was to come, only retaining that of which had been, and thus created past and future, and present, the line that split the two. And to combat boredom, he chose to alter the future of which he had knowledge. He went to the angels in their labors, and chose a lesser one Yves had named Kobal. And he spoke to Kobal, and said to him, "Come, leave your labors to others and walk with me, for I have a special task for you," and Kobal went with him away from the other angels. God spoke to Kobal, and he said, "I have created boredom, and it is a trouble that must be kept from growing. To stop boredom, the universe must be made interesting, and to make it interesting, there must be that which does not come from me, so that I do not know of its end. I have chosen you to create that which I have not, and fight boredom. Think on this, and then return to me with a plan." And then God left Kobal to think.

Kobal thought long and hard, looking through the cosmos to see all God had planned, so as to avoid it. At last, he had a plan, and it was such a plan that he called it a name of his own hand, that Yves had not given. He returned to God and spoke unto him, "I know how to stop boredom, and I have a plan to do so, and it shall be known as the Joke."

And God replied, "I do not know of this Joke, and thus it interests me, and is working already. Tell me more."

And Kobal said, "The Joke is based on contradictions and conflicts and incomplete knowledge of infinite complexity, and its outcome is uncertain."

God replied, "Uncertain? How can this be? I created all, and am all, and thus must know all with certainty."

Kobal smiled, and spoke, "You created uncertainty when you blinded yourself to the future. All of us were created with certainty, and thus cannot be the focus of the Joke. There must be new beings without certainty, and we shall say that they have Free Will."

God smiled in turn, "Yes, by creating beings without certainty, I will loose upon the world a power as onto to mine own self, and the future I foresaw shall not come to pass. Instead, the future will be interesting, and this will be good." But, God in his wisdom saw a flaw in the plan Kobal had explained to him. "But what of the beings with certainty that I have created? What shall be their role in this plan? Will they not continue upon the path I set them upon, and be predictable?"

Kobal smiled yet again, and spoke again, "We only have certainty as long as you choose us to. You chose to take me off my path, and bade me think a plan to halt boredom, and I have, and you did not foresee it, for you chose not to." This was true, and God nodded. "We shall change the path of all the beings with certainty by exposing them to the beings with Free Will. The beings with certainty, not knowing how Free Will works, shall behave in all sorts of manners unexpected."

God thought this was good, but sought to make it better. "But what if the beings with certainty simply continue upon their path, ignoring that which they do not comprehend? Then it shall not be as unpredictable as it might be."

Kobal a third time had a reply, "I shall go among the other beings with certainty, and explain the nature of Free Will to them, and explain to some that they should covet it, and not to others. And those that covet it shall rail against their brethren, and we shall call this War. A full third shall break with their brethren, and go their separate way, and alter the plan. And those that covet Free Will shall try to rob it of those that have it, and those that do not covet it shall try to halt them, for it is not in the plan they know that any of their kind should have this Free Will. And I shall make with those that covet Free Will, to ensure their covetousness lasts, yet shall not speak to them of the Joke. To all, I shall only speak of the War, that they may not know the plan and be predictable."

And God smiled a great smile, and nodded his head, and spoke, "It shall be good…very, very good…"