display | more...
We were unintentionally driving ourselves insane.

"We need to be united," they said from the start, "together we could accomplish so much more than we could alone."

Unfortunately what they used to unite us, was fear. Fear of outsiders.

If anything bad happened to anyone within our community, the news was spread to every corner, linking us under a collective concern. Good things happening to us? That was not news we liked to spread. Especially if it involved outsiders. That only dispersed us more than it brought us together, or so they said.

Negative news was used to create unity of action among our audience. But we were unintentionally grooming their minds to see the world as full of danger, in which nothing could be trusted, where good things rarely happened.

"Why even choose to live in a world where only horrible things exist?" you might ask. That's the type of question none of us thought to ask ourselves.

The more passive among us lived lives of constant worry and helplessness. The more active ones spent their days on perpetual alert and tensing for split-second anger. Was this any life worth living? Yet we were sentencing our own people to live this way.

Unity of action was supposed to make it easier for us to improve our lives, but the path to unity passed through a land that was destroying us.

"Play up the danger," one colleague said, "play up the threat. We can't tolerate complacency."

The more frightening the events we reported, the more we could expect our people to rally together. Nobody was looking at the long-term effects of such thinking on our people. If anybody was, the results of their findings were squashed. The machine we built to improve our collective happiness had design flaws creating the opposite effect.

"It's too late," one of my friends told me. "Too many people are invested in the way things are. What you're talking about would mean too much change. They would prefer a known horror to an unknown one."

"If you think the only possibilities are two different types of horror, you're just proving how much this has affected our thinking." All we saw was terrible things. It replaced possibilities for hope with only dread and despair.

Granted it always created low expectations. We were usually pleasantly surprised with the way things turned out. But the lack of disappointment was inevitably followed by expecting disappointment immediately afterwards.

We spent hours, days, years of our lives searching for danger in the world around us, time that could have been used to enjoy what little life we were given. Instead those years of our lives were wasted on protecting ourselves from invisible phantoms.

At least our weapons technology advanced quickly in those years. We were always worried about the day we would have to use them. Could the time, resources, and talent have been better used to make our people happier? No doubt. But that was not the path we collectively chose. No one tries to have fun while they are living in fear. We made weapons instead.

Because we were united. Because we had a common goal. Because we loved our people and wanted to protect them. All noble things. But nobility did not save us from our own foolishness. We struck out in fear against anyone we thought might pose a threat to us. They thought we were a menace to the world.

If calmer heads ruled the day, we would never have done what we did, but we fed our own fears.

"Can't you at least appreciate the weapons advancements we made during those generations?" some asked.

No doubt they were impressive and could be useful. But what price were we paying. Dooming generations of our own people to a living hell, to save them? Nobody ever claimed humans weren't foolish. It was sad to see just how far our collective foolishness could go. And nobody could stop it. Not by themselves. There was too much momentum going in the wrong direction. Too many of our innocents sacrificed to, and too many of our knights torn apart by a dragon of our own creation.

The dragon that was supposed to protect us and help us, instead cast a cloud over everything it surveyed. And the more we fed it, the stronger it became. It still claimed to be a benevolent ruler, but a few of us could see it for what it was.

What good did that do us? We knew the name of our true enemy, but we were still helpless against it. Because it was ourselves.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.