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"The world cannot keep on changing forever," countered
Budach, "for
nothing is forever, not even change itself . . . We do not know the
laws of
completed perfection but completion will be reached some day,
sooner or
later. Examine, for example, the structure of our society. How
pleasant for
the eye of the beholder to regard this geometrically perfect system!
Down at
the very bottom come the peasants and the artisans, above them the
noblemen,
then the clergy, and finally the king. How meticulously everything
has been
calculated! What steadfastness, what constancy, what harmonic
order! What
change could ever occur in this cut crystal from the hand of our
divine
jeweler? There is no structure in this world that is
superior to a
pyramid--as any well-trained architect will confirm." He raised a
finger,
punctuating each remark with a slight stab in the air. "When
grain pours
from a sack, it does not spread out flat in a plane area, but will
form a
so-called conical pyramid. Each little grain adheres to the next,
trying to
avoid the fall to the ground. And this is the way it goes with
mankind. In
their attempt to form some kind of an entity, men must cling
together, and
inevitably they form a pyramid."
"Do you seriously consider this world the best of all possible
worlds?"
asked Rumata astonished. "After your encounter with Don
Reba, your
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Arkadi and Boris Strugatski. Hard to be a god
experiences in jail?"
"Of course not, my young friend! There are many things I do not
like in
this world, I'd like to see many things changed. But what should we
do? In
the eyes of the Supreme Power, perfection presents quite a different
picture
than in mine. What sense would it make for a tree to complain
that it is
rooted to the spot, although it would be most happy to be able to
move away
in order to escape from the woodcutter's ax?"
"But if it were possible to change the decisions of the Supreme
Power?"
"Only the Supreme Power itself is capable of doing so,"
"But just imagine you had divine authority to act . . ."
Budach laughed.
"If I could imagine being God, I would become God!"
"All right, suppose you had the opportunity to give God some
advice?"
"You have a fertile imagination," said Budach amused. "That
would be
splendid. You know the Holy Scriptures? Wonderful! I'd be happy, to
carry on
a conversation with you."
"You flatter me. But still, what advice would you give the
Almighty?
What, in your opinion, would the Almighty have to do so that you'd
be able
to say: the world is now truly good and beautiful?"
Budach smiled approvingly, leaned comfortably back in his
armchair and
folded his hands across his stomach. Full of interest and
anticipation, Kyra
peered into the physician's face.
"All right then," he said, "if you so desire. I would
tell the
Almighty: 'Great Creator, I do not know your plan; maybe it's
simply not
your intention to make mankind good and happy. Nevertheless, I beg
you: let
it happen--it would be so easy for you to accomplish--that all
men have
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Arkadi and Boris Strugatski. Hard to be a god
sufficient bread, meat, and wine! Provide them with shelter and
clothing,
let hunger and want disappear from the face of the earth, and
all that
separates men from each other."
'That would be all?" asked Rumata.
"Does it seem too little to you?"
Rumata shook his head slowly from side to side.
"God would answer you: This would be no blessing for mankind.
For the
strong of your world take away from the weak whatever I gave them
and the
weak would be as poor as before."
"I would beg God to protect the poor. "Enlighten the cruel
rulers,' I
would say."
"Cruelty is a mighty force. Once the rulers rid themselves
of their
cruel ways they would lose their power. And other cruel men would
take their
place."
Budach's friendly face grew suddenly somber.
"Then punish the cruel men," he said with determination, "and
lead them
away from the path of evil, so that the strong may not be cruel
to their
weaker brothers."
"It is man's nature to be weak from the moment he is born. He
will only
grow strong when there is no one stronger than he is. And if the
cruel ones
among the strong are punished and removed from their ranks, they will
simply
be replaced by the relatively stronger ones from among the throng
of the
weak. And the newly strong ones will become cruel in their turn.
That would
mean that eventually all men would have to be punished, and this I
do not
want to do."
"You have greater insight, Almighty Lord. Therefore
arrange that
mankind will obtain all they need and thus avoid that they will
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Arkadi and Boris Strugatski. Hard to be a god
rob each
other of whatever you gave them."
'This solution wouldn't be a blessing for mankind either,"
sighed
Rumata. "They would not reap profit from this. For if they obtain
everything
from my hand without any effort on their part, they will forget
what it is
to work and labor; they will lose their taste for living. As time
goes on
they'll become domestic animals whom I will have to feed and
clothe--and
that for all eternity."
"Don't give them everything at once!" said Budach excitedly.
"Give it
to them slowly, gradually!"
"Gradually mankind will take everything they need anyhow."
Budach's smile became embarrassed.
"Now I can see that things are not quite so simple," he
said. "I've
never really thought about the problems ... I believe we have
discussed all
possibilities now. However," he leaned forward, "there exists still
another
possibility: Ordain that mankind will love work and knowledge
above all,
that work and wisdom will be regarded by them as their sole
reason for
being!"
Yes, thought Rumata, we've already considered such
experiments. Mass
hypno-induction, positive remoralization, exposure to hypnotic
radiation
from three equatorial satellites ...
This is an alternative I might choose perhaps," he said. "But
could it
be justified if I were to rob mankind of its history? Does it make
sense to
replace one type of man with another? Would this not mean in the
end that
one would wipe this mankind off the face of the earth and create
another in
its place?"
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Arkadi and Boris Strugatski. Hard to be a god
Budach frowned and remained silent, busy with his own
thoughts. From
below the windows came again the melancholy groaning of heavily laden
carts. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]




 

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