After the Coming War

It has long been said that the pen is mightier than the sword. But it’s not at all true.

It was a different world since the Eight Minute War, yet the world was still really the same old place. People were born, they lived some kind of life and then they perished. Just as mankind had done since it wore animal skins and hunted to eat. In that regard things were still the same, people still hunted to eat, only they did their hunting in the mercantile stores and their weapon was chips and bars of precious metals: gold, silver, platinum… Paper money no longer existed and it was doubtful it ever would again. Paper money was a promissory note, based on governmental whims and that which backed it up was more empty promises existing solely in cyberspace as ones and zeros. All of that was erased in the Eight Minute War, a conflict that no one knew who started it, only that at its conclusion, it was a level playing field. Everyone was broke. No one could prove their ownership of anything, be it property or goods, for that too was recorded in memory chips in the control of banks and government. The war was begun by a worm; that’s a stealthy computer program that self-replicated across the well networked computer tools of governance and business. There was no more a division of classes, save for a few with reserves of precious metals who hired their own private security. And they were the first targets in the post war cleanup. Realizing that no one really had an upper hand anymore, people banded in groups and spent a bloody few months finding the richies so easily identified by their private little forces. And they were found and they were killed, and their stashes of solid wealth taken and distributed..

The caches of precious metals were located; they weren’t all that hard to find. By broad and unanimous agreement, the metals were distributed to those who participated in the Reconstruction and Revision effort, or were too disabled to take a part. No one could fault someone willing enough, but physically unable. The layabouts and egotists got none of it, and their self-lofting attitudes died off with their possessors who finally got to experience the proverbial shoe fitted to another foot. It was discussed over and over again in the social congregations –the pot luck community meals as to whether the former self declared elite finally understood the feeling of the general population. For all of their fancy education, it was universally held that they learned nothing, but perished in lonely confusion, unable to understand such things as Sauce for the Goose. Oh, they finally saw the reality of their conservative ideals, where a person stood on their own accomplishments or fell from the lack of them. What a funny fate for them to perish for the self same way of life they claimed was best –when they were monied and affluent and lived not on their own efforts, but the efforts of other with skills beyond knowing where to hide a decimal point in order to make a profit. But innocents died too, some cut off from a population in which to function. Their ideas of a resilient life of complete self dependence proven just as fragile as the hubris filled capitalists.

Had they survived they would have called the world a place of Socialism or perhaps Communism and they’d have been right. But now in place of Liberals, Conservatives and the other political cliques was simply empathic society. Wealth was no longer prized but cast in the role of a tool useful to assist the quest for real wealth: food and shelter, education and conservation, The more well schooled the more like the proverbial grasshoppers everyone became, storing against the discomforting and fickle turn of the seasons, and a steadily changing environment. Sport had changed from inane and pointless competitions to judged competitions of the useful skills performed with either the body or brain, a win determined by accomplishment that benefited mankind at large. There was no such a thing as a worthless skill, for all skills now produced not only chips and coins of the precious metals, but advancement for all and a heightening of the quality of every life.

Realizing that mankind was, after all, oriented to self centeredness, the population engaged structure upon the new society. A government of sorts, its representatives were selected from the hives, the naturally formed groupings of peoples. They would gather as ombudsmen who by popular vote which included every Jack and Jane, determined the rules. The concept of military and police replaced by the Witnesses, who merely observed and then reported actions to the Ombudsmen who in turn informed the hives of the activity. Again a popular vote would decide how to respond to the affront. They might, because of the circumstances as explained by the accused, choose to merely order a stop to the behavior. Or they might choose the worst of punishments, ejection from the hive. This would leave them to fend for themselves without benefit of the community, leaving their survival to luck or deity, whichever they might believe in.

Schools continued to instruct, but the curriculum was a broad thing and included all from theories to skills, history to critical thought about the future. Wrapped in it all was still the three Rs, the very first skills taught. Physical education was taught through the teaching of the physical skills and an introduction to tools of every kind and sort, hammer and nails to solder and wire. Some years after the war, the world had again become networked, the hives networking first themselves and then to one another until all that was learned or could be was the province of all. It was neither panacea or utopia; suffering follows humankind like a loyal canine, the accidents of physical illness or pain existed as much as the emotional agonies of unrequited love and other disappointments. But it was all equal and all the best that together the population could muster.

The greatest product of civilization was hope, and with that coin of the realm in play, happiness was a common commodity –and as well the greatest form of wealth to be earned. Those whose skills ran to history, anthropology and sociology all agreed that the war, so often predicted as Armageddon was actually a release from bondage where the winning ‘side’ was all of humanity. The only subservience was subordination to nature and her fickle yet understandable needs. Yet another proof that cooperation well out performed the opposite. But all learned that it was not the pen which was mightier than the sword, it was wit and compassion that produced the greatest success.