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The Man Who Knew Everything

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Old 02-24-2018, 03:04 AM
James Lemper (Offline)
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Default The Man Who Knew Everything


The Man Who Knew Everything


Once there lived a man who boasted he could know everything
and the two brother gods, Remembrance and Forgetfulness,
punished him for his pride by taking him down to limbo
where nothing ever lives or ever dies
and there they expanded his mind almost infinitely,
and placed within it everything there is to know
The position of every leaf on every tree,
when and where that leaf would fall,
knowledge of the tree when it was a sapling,
a seed, and when it was a campfire,
and then as ash, and to soil and back to a seed again
What you had for breakfast yesterday,
What you thought about the car accident you saw on the way to work
and the ladybug stuck on the windshield of that car
and what that ladybug had for breakfast yesterday . . .
EVERYTHING there is to know
right down to the position and velocity of every single particle in the universe
throughout the cone of time
which you might think is impossible
due to Heisenburg's Uncertainty Principle
But somehow, he learned it
Then they put him in a room with a bed, a table a chair and a locked door,
and the two gods said unto him in their unison voice:
“NOW YOU WILL LEARN THE BOON AND BANE
OF REMEMBRANCE AND FORGETFULNESS!
WE HAVE ONE LAST THING TO TEACH YOU
THE DOOR IS LOCKED AND WILL ONLY UNLOCK
WHEN YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN ALL WE HAVE TAUGHT YOU
ONCE IT DOES YOU CAN OPEN IT
AND GO ANYWHERE IN THE UNIVERSE AT ANY POINT IN TIME.”
Then the gods vanished, leaving the man in his room alone
and the Man Who Knew Everything spent billions of years in this room,
desperately trying to remember to forget
But one memory he tried to write with his own blood on the walls
a memory he felt terrified to forget
He tried to scratch all important words of the gods into his skin
but to his dismay he found that blood did not flow in Limbo
nor could he leave any mark on anything
He tried the door millions of times
but still it remained locked
and one day, after countless eons, the door finally unlocked
Did the man ever escape the room?
Was his fate was eternal?
After he forgot the last thing that they taught him
that the door would only unlock after he forgot
the last thing that they taught him,
what could cause him to try the door a final time?
Only after he forgot all that the gods taught him
and then spent further eons
forgetting that the door was locked all the times he tried it before
When he happened to try the door one time in curiosity
and it swung open and he went through
by then he had no knowledge of anywhere in the universe but his room
and that's exactly where it led
and on a guess he decided to go to the room at the point in time
when he first entered it billions of years before,
though he had no memory of that time
There he met the gods just after they decreed their cruel joke to his past self
and since the gods did not anticipate this,
they became frightened and vulnerable
For the first time, the god Forgetfulness knew what it was to remember
and the god Remembrance knew what is was to forget
The doomed men saw their one chance
Working together, the two selves took hold of the gods
the past self grappling Remembrance,
the the future self grappling Forgetfulness
and they threw the gods into each other, winking them out of existence
forever freeing the universe from their pernicious games
Then the Man Who Knew Everything and the Man Who Forgot Everything
Exited the room together, and reintegrated into one
and since the condition was now met
since now he had forgotten everything, and at the same time knew everything
he was free to go anywhere in the universe at any time
So he went back to his home and family and computer
and finished keying in this story at 10:07 pm, February 21, 2018.

And the moral is:

If you punish yourself long enough to forget what you've done, then you're doomed to punish yourself forever. Yet if you always remember what you've done, you may likewise never cease to punish yourself. To forgive yourself you must learn to remember and forget simultaneously.

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  #2  
Old 02-24-2018, 09:25 AM
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A remarkable tale you have woven here. It's very hard-hitting, and comes packed with a message that has significance for any reader's individual life, whoever they might be. You don't see much of that anymore.

It might be better, however, to weave the moral into the story somewhere as a character quotation or thought. The dry postscript addition at the end tends to kill the magic, and magic is one of the most crucial elements in a whimsical, fantastic piece like this.
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Old 02-24-2018, 05:02 PM
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I would like to see some connection between the tree to ash, and then to bug. Other than that, line edit, and forget the moral of the story, that part ruins it. Let the story speak for itself. Do not tell others what you meant, many an argument is ruined by such.
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Old 02-27-2018, 10:28 AM
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You are so talented! Thank you for sharing! I hope I will find the strength to share my works...
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