If I were given a superpower that I could use to change one rule of nature, I know exactly which one I would choose.
In the science fiction novel, Childhood’s End, written by Arthur C. Clarke, aliens arrive and take over the earth in an indirect and peaceful manner. One of the alien demands, as rulers of our planet, is that human beings treat all living creatures with compassion and respect. The alien solution to humankind’s willingness to inflict violence and pain upon the creatures with which he shares the planet is a simple and straightforward one. Whenever pain would be inflicted upon another living creature, it is the person that would cause the pain and those who would idly witness it that actually experience that pain. That notion was illustrated in the novel by way of a bullfight. When the picador inserts his lance into the bull, the picador, as well as the entire audience, feels the pain. There are no more bullfights, or any other deliberate acts of animal violence, in the world of Childhood’s End. This was my favorite aspect of the novel.
If I ruled the world, and could be granted a superpower, I would steal that idea of Clarke’s which is I suppose, the literal and instant sense of empathy, and utilize it to make this a world where it is impossible to inflict brutality upon others because those who would do so would be the ones to feel the effects of their actions. Brutality, abuse and neglect would stop in a heartbeat.
I read Childhood’s End many years ago, and fully understand the moral of the story. The moral of the story is actually the question: ” What are we, really, if we are good to ourselves and each other by force and not by choice?
I can understand the philosophical debate about the question posed by the novel. I agree with the moral dilemma that it presents.
However, in the world today, there are so many instances of man’s disregard for and exploitation of the creatures that share our planet with us. These bad acts sometimes seem to outnumber our demonstrations of respect and compassion toward those creatures. In keeping with that notion, I am not against using my “superpower” to ensure a whole lot of kindness, even if it is a little bit “forced.”