Masters of the universe. A Rashomon-like tale
This story is a prelude to an alternate philosophy that aims to give meaning to life while avoiding fantasy & nihilism.
[Vichar meets his old friend — Alexander the Great after many years. As they are chatting, Monkey, an acquaintance of Vichar who is passing by, joins the group.]
Alexander: Hello my dear friend! It has been way too long and I am so happy to see you again after so many years!
Vichar: Wow! Didn’t expect to run into you here. Didn’t realize you were back in town as well. Has always been a pleasure for me!
Alexander: Indeed! So tell me Vichar — you had left our army to build a great empire for yourself in the far East. I’m sure you will have some great stories to tell. You do know how I love a tale of adventure & excitement
Vichar: Haha I indeed know what excites you my friend, but unfortunately my stories are not the type you’re expecting.
Alexander: What do you mean? Surely you still have the zest for life. I still see the twinkle in your eyes!
Vichar: I do indeed have the same zest for life, but it is directed towards other pursuits now. There’s more to life than empire building — I do not care for it much.
Alexander: Oh come now my old friend. Certainly, you don’t mean those words — what greater joy and accomplishment is possible than creating an impactful empire with you on top! You are still a young man, this talk reeks of nonsensical failure!
Vichar: Maybe it does, but maybe not
Alexander: Oh come off it now. The Vichar I knew would agree that settling for anything else less than an empire is the talk of a broken man. Of someone who has tried and failed. That is what men do — not kings. Kings persevere & a true emperor is never satisfied — he builds things & sets the ball rolling for other, lesser men. Is that not the highest ideal a man can aspire to be!
Vichar: I am not so sure anymore. But, look who comes here now — it is my old friend monkey, perhaps you’ve met him.
Monkey: Wow! If it isn’t my old friend Vichar!
Vichar: Hello monkey, it is so good to see you again! I do not believe you have met my friend Alexander, have you?
Monkey: A pleasure to meet you sire
Alexander: And it would have been great joy to meet you too monkey, but you’ve caught me at a vexing moment. My dear friend Vichar is no more — instead his body seems to be taken over by a man content with mediocrity. And I fear this is a case of sour grapes. Do not get me wrong — it is only natural to fail, and I myself have failed numerous times. But noble creatures must rise up & not take defeat for an answer. Nay! You seem to be a worthy monkey — share with us your thoughts!
Monkey: You have taken the words out of my mouth Alexander. I too have failed numerous times and have never let defeat hold me back. It may sound unbelievable, but you are looking at the most glorious monkey to have ever been born!
Alexander: Great man…or rather great monkey! In this case, I implore you to help convince my old friend to snap back to reality. He is still young & can make a go of life. Otherwise he will be wasting his life on things that are not worthwhile
Monkey: It is true what your friend says Vichar! You are indeed much too young to have given up on the pursuit of collecting bananas. It would be a shame to see you throw your life away
Vichar: Maybe it would, but maybe not
Alexander: Hold on for a second monkey, I thought we were talking about empires — what is this talk of bananas? I do not care for them
Monkey: Do not care for bananas? Certainly, you don’t mean those words — this talk reeks of nonsense. I cannot imagine a creature created by God who will not care about bananas.
Alexander: Verily it is true monkey. I do not care much for bananas
Monkey: Certainly, you don’t mean those words. But now that I take a step back & look at you, it is all starting to make sense
Alexander: Good! So you can understand how a man such as myself might have interests other than bananas
Monkey: I can certainly understand that nature has conspired to ill-equip you for banana plucking. It is very unfortunate indeed. And in this you have my sympathies — but know this Alexander — your lack of skill can still be overcome if you try hard enough!
Alexander: I do not think you understand me
Monkey: Of course I do Alexander! I can understand the pain of failure you must experience when you go banana hunting. But know this & take heart my dear fellow — I know of two monkeys with even shorter arms who have built a massive banana depot.
Alexander: I told you I do not care for bananas! You may be better at gathering bananas & have a greater desire than me; but surely you must see that there is more to life than bananas!
Monkey: Oh come off it now my friend! All this talk doesn’t befit you. You sound like a weakling — someone who has tried and failed and given up. I pray to you — do not become a victim of sour grapes, resilience in the face of defeat will make you a noble creature, will it not?
[The conversation continued in this manner without reaching a natural conclusion.
Listening to their conversation, Vichar smiled — they were, of course, both correct from their own perspectives. And so was he — it had taken years but there was a philosophy where the monkey, Alexander & Vichar all had an equally important part to play. ]