Bill is a weirdo. He travels the world with his suitcase, and there are CIA agents trailing him. Bill wants to make our world a better place, and he seems to know exactly how to do it.
Evolve or die!
Part 1: New-York - Paris
Bill: Excuse me, but it looks like you’ve taken my seat, sir.
John: What? That’s impossible. My seat is 15A.
Bill: Perhaps the airline has made a mistake. It happens sometimes. Here is my boarding pass, my seat is 15A (he shows the stranger his boarding pass).
John: (taking out his ticket) Yes, you're right. But which seat is mine, then? Yeah, here! Mine is 15C, after all. My apologies… I will free your seat at once.
Bill: It's okay, John. Do not worry.
John: Excuse me, do we know each other?
Bill: Do we… ? Oh, sorry, I accidentally read your name on the ticket. By the way, my name is Bill, nice to meet you. (he held out his hand)
John:Very nice to meet you (he shook Bill's hand). Let me put your suitcase on the hand luggage shelf. There is a perfect spot for it.
Bill: (pushing the suitcase aside) No, no, thanks. I'd rather put it under the seat. I have a laptop inside; I'm afraid that it might break.
John: Ok. (he seats down and fastens his seatbelt) Are you flying to Paris or just in transit?
Bill: Going to Paris. And you?
John: Me too. Is this your first visit to France?
Bill: Yes. And, apparently, the last one.
John: Hmm... yes, Paris is not the same... The city has changed a lot over the past 15 years.
Bill: Do you go there often?
John: I have to. I work for a large multinational corporation. Are you going to Paris for work reasons?
Bill: Hehe, you could say that. In fact, I'm flying to Paris to decide the fate of mankind.
John: Ha-ha, Bill, I instantly recognized that you are a scientist. And you are most likely flying to some scientific conference with a very important report. Am I right?
Bill: You are! How did you guess?
John: Well, first of all, you are still holding on to your suitcase, apparently your important report is right inside it (smiles amiably).
Bill: Oh, how silly of me (slaps himself on the forehead), I'm sorry... I’m kind of absent-minded this morning...
Bill put his suitcase under the seat in front of him.
John: And, second reason is, I often have to converse with all kinds of scientists, artists, designers due to the nature of my work. So, I recognize your fellow colleagues right away. Bill, if it is not a secret, what is your specialization?
Bill: My specialization? I have a degree in microbiology, but lately I have been very much engrossed in archeology, biology and...
Bill didn’t manage to finish, because he was interrupted by the captain’s voice, which informed that the plane was ready for takeoff. When the plane gained altitude, John took out a fresh newspaper and began to read it. Bored Bill had nothing to do, so he began to read John's newspaper. Out of the corner of his eye, John noticed that his companion was also reading his newspaper.
John: What do you think about this news story, Bill? (moves the newspaper closer to Bill)
Bill: Oh, sorry. I didn’t want to bother you.
John: That’s ok. So, what do you think? (nods at the newspaper)
Bill: That’s basically nothing new... I’d read the very same thing 10 years ago. Most interestingly, if this newspaper was published during the times of Neanderthals, it would probable contain the very same things.
John: Really? What do you mean?
Bill: I, I .. I mean, over the fifty thousand years of the existence of Homo Sapiens, practically nothing has changed in our way of thinking, our desires and actions.
John: What are you talking about?
Bill: (leans closer to John) I want to say that people still kill each other for resources and power. Just as before, the strong humiliate and exploit the weak, and the power belongs to the villains who, through violence and deception, govern society.
John: Really? You so lightly compare our civilization with the barbarian tribes that have hunted mammoths and slept in caves. Do we really have that much in common with them?
Bill: You can’t even imagine... We differ from them only by the weapons we now have – instead of sticks and stones we have nuclear bombs, tanks and airplanes. But our motivation is still that of the primitive people. Do you know that humans have engaged in their first genocide 50,000 years ago? Homo Sapiens had deliberately destroyed the Neanderthals.
John: No, I didn’t. But I believe that there is no surprise in that. We descend from monkeys. You probably know that better than me. And if we behave almost the same as our distant ancestors did – what's so unusual about that? As they say, may the best man win.
John: Homo Sapiens turned out to be stronger than the Neanderthal man, so the Neanderthals disappeared, and the winners continued to reproduce. This is only natural.
Bill: So, if the Nazis had managed to destroy all the Jews, it would be only natural and logical? Right?
John: No, of course not... It's a bit different...
Bill: Unfortunately, John, it's the same thing. It would seem that Homo Sapiens should have used all this time to develop and get rid of their primal habits and backward mentality. But that did not happen. The humans have remained the same. There has been no evolution. Moreover, the humankind had only further developed its negative qualities, becoming more cunning, cynical, greedier and more dangerous. Only now we cover up our wild instincts for power and money with moral principles and hide them under beautiful wrappings.
John: Bill, I think you're being pessimistic. It's not that bad. Don’t you know that the situation was far worse during the Middle Ages? They could have been burned at the stake for any trifling nonsense. What about slavery? We don’t have any of these terrible things anymore.
John: We have a democracy. We have independent courts and freedom of religion. No, Bill, I don’t agree with you. People have made a huge leap in their social development.
Bill: (sighs) It really does look that way. But if you dig a little deeper... In general, all these pretentious words about democracy and freedom are just a beautiful wrapper. And what does it conceal? Violence and ignorance. People have simply become more cunning. They’ve honed the skills that allow them to lie to each other and to themselves. In fact, they’ve perfected these skills.
John: Don’t you believe in democracy?
Bill: Is that a matter of belief? Although you are right. People used to believe in spirits, then in one god. And now they believe in democracy and the dollar.
John: I do understand what you're talking about. And believe me, I completely agree with you on this. Our world isn’t perfect. There are a lot of villains around, so we still have a lot of work to do. But we’ll solve all these problems. We are solving them already. Give humans some more time and they’ll remedy the situation.
Bill: (stares at a spot in front of him) The problem is that we are out of time. 500 centuries weren’t enough for people to fix everything. Therefore, humanity has no chance. Humanity is doomed.
John looked at Bill. He seemed to have immersed in a trance. He sat motionless and stared blankly at the seat in front of him. It made John feel uneasy.
John: I'll go to the bathroom and fetch us something to drink on my way back.
Part 2: Coffee with soy milk
Bill didn’t stay in Paris for long. Two days later he bought a plane ticket to Dubai.
During the pre-flight inspection, he put his suitcase on the moving belt and went through the metal detector.
Officer: Sir, is this your suitcase?
Bill: Yes, it’s mine. Is there a problem?
Officer: Did you pack it yourself?
Bill: Yes. But what is the problem?
Officer: Please, come with me to the search desk.
Bill: What? What for? For what reason?
Officer: Standard procedure, sir, don’t worry.
Bill: Standard? Why are you only searching me then? Do I look like a terrorist?
Bill spoke louder and louder. Onlookers began to gather around to see how the story will develop.
Officer: Sir, don't make a fuss. Come with me, please.
Bill obeyed and trudged on to the security table. The officer took the walkie-talkie and said something in French. Bill’s suitcase was laying on the table. A minute later, another airport security officer appeared with a dog. They let the dog sniff the suitcase.
Bill watched with his mouth open as the dog grunted over his suitcase and, apparently not finding anything, stepped aside. The officer said something to his colleague and left.
Officer: Sir, come here. Could you open the suitcase?
Looking very displeased, Bill opened the suitcase and stepped away. The suitcase contained some personal items packed for a short trip, toiletries, a book and a box. The officer carefully examined the contents of the suitcase.
Officer: Sir, open this box, please.
Bill: Can't you do it yourself?
Officer: These are the rules, sir. Please, open the box.
Bill stepped up and opened a small box. Inside it lay thirty or forty identical ballpoint pens.
Officer: What is this?
Bill: What does it look like?
Officer: Like a ballpoint pen. May I (takes one of the pens)?
Bill: Please, go ahead.
The officer took a notebook out of her pocket and used the pen to write a couple of lines. Then she returned the pen to the box.
Officer: Sorry, sir. We apologize for the inconvenience. Have a pleasant flight.
Bill: Can you at least tell me what happened?
Officer: (comes closer to Bill and speaks very quietly) I’m not supposed to talk about this... but a man approached us and said that you may be carrying drugs. According to our rules, we had to search you.
Bill: Drugs? What nonsense! Do I look like a drug dealer? This is simply absurd!
Bill packed up his suitcase, which was still laying open on the search table, and went to look for his gate. The loudspeaker system announced that the Paris-Dubai flight was delayed by 2 hours, and Bill decided to stop for a snack somewhere.
Bill: Excuse me, do you speak English?... No?... Tell me, do you have coffee with soy or rice milk?... What?... I don’t understand you.
The girl who was sitting at the nearby table heard Bill's futile attempts to use gestures and explain what he wanted to the waiter, and decided to help.
Rachel: (in French) Monsieur, this gentleman wants coffee with soy or rice milk. Do you have that?... Okay, let's go with soy. Thank you.
The waiter left.
Bill: Thank you very much. I really thought of calling the embassy and asking them to send an interpreter. These French... They are so mean. They don’t want to speak English. I’d understand if this happened in the city, but at the airport? Oh, well. Thanks again!
Rachel: You are welcome. Always happy to help, especially a vegan.
Bill: Vegan? How did you know that I am a vegan? Maybe I'm just allergic to milk protein.
Rachel: (smiling) Unlikely. Your suitcase gave you away.
Bill: The suitcase?
Rachel: Yeah. You have some curious stickers on it. (she nodded toward the suitcase that was standing at Bill’s feet) “Save the whales,” “Preserve nature for our children,” “Protect endangered species”... So, I made an educated guess.
Bill: Hmm, interesting. May I sit at your table? My flight was delayed for several hours. I would love to spend this time in pleasant company.
Rachel: Um, sure, of course. (she removes her stuff from a chair at her table)
Bill took the suitcase and sat at the table with Rachel.
Bill: By the way, my name is Bill.
Rachel: And I'm Rachel, nice to meet you.
Bill: Are you on a vegetarian diet too?
Rachel: I'm a vegan, just like you.
Bill: Why did you give up animal products?
Rachel: It all started when I got sick. Doctors prescribed me a bunch of drugs. And one doctor suggested a vegan diet. Since then, I have stopped eating meat, fish, milk and eggs. And then I realized that this is not just beneficial for me – it’s good for the whole planet, for animals and for other people. Now being vegan is not just a diet for me – it's a way of life. You can even say it is my worldview. Recently, I quit wearing leather and fur...
The waiter brought Bill’s coffee.
Bill: This is a pretty bold step nowadays. People do nothing at all. Going to the supermarket and to work does not count (smiles slightly). I was actually led to being a vegan by science (takes a sip of his coffee).
Rachel: Really? That’s curious. I thought that most scientists are cold materialists incapable of feeling things like compassion and love. And even if they do, they don’t attach much importance to them. They live in the world of logic and numbers.
Bill: In most cases, that’s true. For many years I’ve specialized in microbiology and biology. Then I began to study archeology, the history of mankind and social sciences. After that, I became interested in ecology and the study of the planet's biosphere. To make it short, at one point I realized that something is wrong with humanity. It seemed to me that humanity is a dead-end branch of evolution.
Rachel: Wow! That’s a strong statement... What made you think that?
Bill: I studied the way primitive people lived. I studied how animals live. I studied how we live today, and realized that humans are a very dangerous species. We possess an absolute advantage over all other living beings on the planet, namely, a developed brain and awareness, and we pose a real threat to all the living things on the planet. Nature’s experiment to create an intellectually developed being has gotten out of control and now threatens to destroy the very nature itself.
Rachel: I know what you're talking about. I myself was horrified when I began to study this issue. We ruthlessly destroy forests, air, soil, animals...
Bill: And don’t forget the cruelty and cynicism that we employ. We don’t just rape nature, we burn it down to the ground. We don’t just kill animals, we torment and taunt them, depriving them of their freedom and dignity.
Rachel: Yeah, we didn’t even learn to respect each other. I used to think we live at a time when human rights and freedoms are inviolable. How wrong I was...
Bill: But people can at least somehow protect their rights. And who will protect animals’ rights? They are generally defenseless against humans. A person can do whatever he wants to them. If he wants to, he can skin them alive. And if he wants to – he can use them for sexual perversions.
Rachel: Yes, that's terrible.
Bill: And you know what the saddest thing is, Rachel? The fact that I don’t see any evolution of the human race, compared with our half-savage ancestors. There is no quality improvement. Only quantitative growth. There are a lot of us, we consume excessively, we kill and torment and destroy increasingly more.
Rachel: The most annoying thing is that very few people think about it.
Bill: You know why? Mankind is missing something to become what nature had intended it to be. Apparently, something went wrong at some point. People should have been the pinnacle of nature’s evolution, and actually became its greatest mistake.
Rachel: But there are those who understand all this. For example, people like you and me.
Bill: Please notice, Rachel, I'm not talking about individuals, but about humanity as a whole. There are very few people like you. And all of your good intentions will not be able to prevent a disaster. Do you know that we are just a step away from a global catastrophe?
Rachel: Yes, I’ve heard about it. But these issues are now being discussed at the highest level. Ecology is becoming a priority throughout the world.
Bill: Yes, but it's just too late to change anything. People no longer have time for it. They should have thought about this 50 years ago, when intelligent people started talking about it – and now it's too late. Have you read Dennis Meadows's "Limits of Growth" reports? They describe all of this in great detail. I’ve been dealing with this issue for the last 5 years. I can tell you as a scientist - humanity is doomed.
Rachel: I'm really sad to hear that... Is there really no way out?
Bill: Not for humanity, no. But there is still the chance to save the nature and biosphere of our planet.
Rachel: And how can this be done?
Bill: It’s very easy, my darling, very easy... Sorry, I need to use the restroom.
Bill finished his cold coffee, picked up his suitcase and went to the restroom.
Part 3: Dubai
In Dubai, Bill stayed at a hotel for a few days. Late in the afternoon, he bought a tour to the tallest building in the world - the Burj Khalifa skyscraper. He took a high-speed elevator up to the skyscraper’s observation deck with a beautiful view of the city. Bill leaned on the railing and watched the sunset. A stranger came to stand next to him, without Bill noticing his presence.
Stranger: Hello, Bill. Enjoying the sunset?
Bill: (examining the stranger) Excuse me, do we know each other?
Stranger: No, I don’t think so. Although I do know something about you. You are a scientist from Boston with a degree in microbiology and biology. Recently, you have been specializing in...
Bill: Sorry, but could you introduce yourself? I’d like to know who I'm talking to.
Stranger: You can call me Sam. Listen, Bill, do you know that you are being followed?
Bill: (instinctively looking around) What do you mean, followed? By whom?!
Stranger: You are being followed from Boston. By the CIA.
Bill: The CIA? But, but... why the hell should I believe you? I don’t even know who you are. And why on earth would the CIA follow me?
Stranger: I don’t know... I thought you’d tell me about that. Look, Bill, I work for a very secret organization. And I was sent to help you, since you are in real danger. But in order to help you, I must understand why they are following you. Do you have any idea?
Bill: All right, let me think... It seems to me that you are an agent of the world government. Am I right?
Stranger: Hmm, you are not as simple as you seem at first glance. Do you believe in the world government?
Bill: What do you mean “believe”? I don’t believe in it, I just know it exists. But I used to have only indirect evidence of their existence. And now, with your visit... But does it mean that the CIA is not accountable to you?
Stranger: Do you think we control everything? It's a delusion. We have a strong influence on various spheres of human society... A very strong influence. But we do not exercise total control and do not strive for it. In this case, the CIA protects the interests of the US government.
Bill: Whose interests are you protecting?
Stranger: The interests of the part of the world's population that cares about its fate. And certain people who are at least somewhat aware of what’s happening around them.
Bill: It doesn’t look like you are doing a good job with this. There are very few people like that on our planet. And they have long been held hostage by greedy, stupid and worthless idiots who seek to gain power and money by any means. These people usually come to power around the world, as they are ready to climb over heads and shed blood. Then these people start bloody wars. That’s why money is spent on weapons and the military – thousands of times more than on education and environmental protection. These idiots just don't have brains.
Stranger: Bill, now is not the best time or place for a philosophical discussion.
Bill: Excuse me, what’s your name again? Sam? But this is not a philosophical discussion. This is our real life. This is our world, which for some reason is ruled by brainless, ignorant people. Often, they are real maniacs, ready to press buttons and launch nuclear missiles at cities. Where is your world government? Maybe they are on the same side with those maniacs?
Stranger: And why is it that you’re only complaining about it and making others responsible? Why don't you try to gain power and change something yourself?
Bill: Because the system works in a way that you have to lie a lot, pretend a lot and play the ape. It is neither interesting nor pleasant for a normal person. Besides, the mostly dull common man will probably support their own candidate, who is just as dumb and shallow. Because he will speak their language. They will understand him. And they wouldn’t understand me.
Stranger: In my opinion, you are exaggerating a bit. The world has many sensible leaders who successfully manage large states and regions. They have a vision and understand the problems that they must solve.
Bill: It may be true. But still, there are more idiots around. And with every day they become more and more powerful. Your world order system is not working. Normal people have no chance of winning in this world. There are too many people, everything is too confusing. That’s why humanity is doomed! And your world government won’t be able to do anything (he says it so loudly that people on the observation deck turn around to look at him)!
Stranger: Hush, Bill, hush. We shouldn’t attract too much attention. Let's stop this pointless discussion and talk about more important issues right now. What exactly are you working on right now? Perhaps you are leading some important scientific project? Perhaps that is the reason the CIA is tailing you?
Bill: You know what, SAM, I won’t tell you anything! Deal with your CIA yourself, and leave me alone. If you threaten me, I’ll call the police. Is this clear?
Stranger: As you wish, Bill.
Bill: That's great. Farewell.
Bill turned and headed for the elevator.
Stranger: Hey, Bill!
Bill: (turning around) What else do you want?
Stranger: Just don't do anything silly, ok?
Bill did not answer and walked quickly towards the elevator.
Part 4: Shanghai
A few days later, Bill was already in Shanghai. He called a taxi at the airport and asked the driver to take him to the hotel. But on the way, Bill noticed that the taxi driver was looking at him in the mirror with curiosity. He asked him to stop the car, paid, and then went on foot along one of the Shanghai streets.
Bill didn’t sleep well after the unpleasant encounter in Dubai. He was nervous. He had a feeling that he was constantly being watched. It is possible that they even wanted to kill him. But he has a chance to dissolve in the crowd here, on the crowded streets of a large city among millions of passers-by. He wandered about unfamiliar streets and alleys for about an hour, trying to cover his tracks and break away from possible surveillance. In the end, he was tired and hungry. Without thinking twice, he sat at a table at one of the street cafes.
Using gestures, ingenuity and Google, he ordered from a young Chinese woman. When she left to get him his food, he put his suitcase on the table, and looking around, began to look for something inside, muttering under his breath.
Man in a suit: Excuse me, is this seat free?
Surprised, Bill dropped some of the pens he was holding in his hands on the table and on the floor.
Man in a suit: Oh, I'm sorry I startled you. Let me help you.
Bill:Don’t bother, that’s all right. I’ll pick them up myself (ducks under the table and begins to collect the scattered ballpoint pens). Well, I’ve got them all (hurriedly throws the pens back into the suitcase, closes it and puts it on the floor next to him)
Man in a suit: I’m sorry, so is this seat occupied?
Bill: Yes.. Uh... I mean, no. It’s free.
Man in a suit: Thank you.
The man in a suit sat next to Bill, gestured to the waitress, made an order in Chinese, and began to study the newspaper in his hands, without paying any attention to Bill. Bill was looking suspiciously at his tablemate.
Bill: (thinking to himself) What a strange man. He is not Chinese. This is very strange... Why did he sit next to me when there is a free table over there. Sam had probably sent him to spy on me. What do they want from me?
Bill: Hey, mister, you can tell Sam to go to hell!!!
The man in a suit slowly looked up from his newspaper and looked at Bill.
Man in a suit: Excuse me, are you talking to me?
Bill: Yes, you! Stop spying on me. I still won’t collaborate with you.
Man in a suit: Sorry, sir, but you are obviously mistaken. I don't know who Sam is, and I'm not spying on you.
Bill: Oh, yeah? Why did you sit next to me if there was a whole empty table over there (Bill pointed to the side)?
Man in a suit: Because it’s reserved. It's rush hour in Shanghai. Everyone goes out for lunch. There aren’t enough seats, so I sat next to you. If I am disturbing you, I can leave.
Bill: (realizing that he got carried away) Uhhh... No, sir, I'm sorry, I must have made a mistake. Forgive my rudeness. I’ve become so suspicious and nervous recently... Please, excuse me. That was very nasty of me...
Man in a suit: Oh, don’t worry. This city can drive anyone crazy.
Bill: Yes, the city is bustling.
Man in a suit: Heh! That doesn’t even begin to describe it! This city is just insane. Here you can feel all of the charm of planet overpopulation.
Man in a suit: Here you can experience it all – rush hour crowds, and smog, and traffic jams, and hurried people with comatose expressions... all the attributes of a developed modern city.
Bill: Do you think the planet is overpopulated?
Man in a suit: Can't you see it? Actually, I have my own theory on this issue...
Bill: Really? Very interesting. And what does this theory involve?
Man in a suit: Would you really like to hear it? At this point most people just say that it’s time for them to tend to some important business.
Bill: But I'm really curious! I am listening to you very closely.
Man in a suit: Very well, then. Yes, I do think our planet is overpopulated. It’s not just overpopulated – it is extremely overpopulated! And overpopulation is one of the most important problems of modern humanity, which leads to a bunch of other problems.
Bill: What other problems?
Man in a suit: What other problems? You come across them every day - traffic jams, pollution, frantic pace, stress, fatigue, poor ecology...
That’s when the waitress brought Bill and the man in the suit their orders. They began to eat, but continued the conversation.
Man in a suit: Add the huge problem of recycling the waste that billions of people across the planet throw out every day. You can’t imagine how much plastic and other rubbish people dump around the world every year! The numbers are just incredible! You ask yourself – where does it all go? We are talking about hundreds of millions of tons of garbage per year.
Bill: (pretends to be foolishly unaware) Yes, I’ve read about the recycling somewhere. We have containers for sorting the garbage by our house...
Man in a suit: My friend, you are very lucky that you live in a place where the problem of waste is somehow resolved. Only in developed countries does the government try to recycle and reuse waste. And it is only partially recycled. But only about a tenth of the planet’s entire huge population lives in developed countries. In the rest of the world, trash is simply thrown away. Millions of tons of plastic and other waste are thrown into the ocean and buried in the ground.
Bill: Yes, you are probably right. I’ve heard that China one of the leaders in the recycling field.
Man in a suit: Yes, garbage from all over the world is being brought to China. It’s processed there to be used again as recycled material. But there is so much garbage that China had recently stopped accepting it, because they can’t process it quickly enough. China has giant storage facilities for sorted waste that’s awaiting its turn to be recycled. But it accumulates faster than it is used up.
Bill: (plays the fool again) Well... I think there are a lot of smart people in the world. They will come up with something to solve this problem. Now technology is developing at an incredible rate. Recently, I read somewhere that there are new technologies for garbage processing based on lasers or some sort of plasma. They basically heat the garbage to incredible temperatures and it literally breaks up into molecules.
Man in a suit: Technological solutions do exist, but they are usually very, very expensive. Indeed, what lasers can we talk about if most of the world's population does not have a garbage can near their home!
Bill: Yes. You're right. I keep forgetting about different living standards and the development of economy and science in different parts of the world.
Man in a suit: That's exactly what I’m talking about. There are a lot of people on the planet. And this entire human mass is extremely heterogeneous and ambiguous. Somewhere in Switzerland, you can deal with garbage utilization using modern technologies. But how would you solve it in Bangladesh, for one?
Bill: Garbage is not the only problem in that country. The population is starving to death..
Man in a suit: Problems like hunger and lack of water are also caused by overpopulation. The population of the planet is increasing by 1 billion every 10-12 years. Problems with food supplies will soon affect developed countries, too, it’s only a matter of time. But, oddly enough, I believe that garbage, hunger and environmental pollution aren’t the most important and dangerous problems that we are facing because of the planet’s overpopulation. These are the obvious problems. But there are other issues that are less obvious, but no less dangerous.
Bill: Ok, and what are those?
Man in a suit: You see, it seems to me that overpopulation greatly inhibits the development of mankind.
Bill: What do you mean by the development of mankind?
A man in a suit: Hmm, I would say that development is qualitative growth. Qualitative growth of each individual and the society as a whole. We must become better and make the world a better place. It’s my deep conviction that human beings have great potential. But he cannot realize it in any way under modern condition. And overpopulation is one of the reasons why he is unable to do it.
Bill: I still don’t quite understand why overpopulation impedes development.
Man in a suit: I have a feeling that you are playing with me. Seems that you understand everything very well, but are for some reason pretending that you have no idea what I'm talking about. Hmm... You see, now I‘m getting paranoid.
Bill smiled sincerely and shrugged.
Man in a suit: Oh well, it doesn’t matter. Like I said, overpopulation creates huge problems for the whole world.
Man in a suit: The main ones are waste utilization, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, lack of drinking water and food, traffic jams and more. Solving these important problems requires a lot of efforts. Add the differences in cultural backgrounds, religious and life values. Don’t forget political and economic differences or rivalry. Alas, my friend, humanity simply does not have the time to develop.
Bill: But what about our modern technology? Isn’t it a sign of quality development?
Man in a suit: Not really. Technology is only one of the spheres of human life. Sure, it’s important, but it’s not a principal indicator of development.
Bill: And what, in your opinion, is an indicator of development?
Man in a suit: Well, for example, a person’s awareness. His attitude towards others. His worldview. His understanding of the meaning of life. His attitude to others’ opinions. The ability to control his emotions. The degree of his understanding of the structure of the universe. The level of spiritual development.
Bill: Wait, doesn't technology reflect the degree of understanding of the universe’s structure?
Man in a suit: You see, technology is more focused on solving specific problems, rather than understanding the structure of the universe. Science, on the other hand, is engaged in the latter. But science nowadays merely serves technology. It doesn’t pose questions of understanding. Therefore, modern science creates such theories that help create new technologies, but they do not explain the essence of processes and phenomena.
The man in the suit finished his meal, pushed the plate away and took his cup of tea, added 3 sugar cubes that lay on the saucer, and stirred it with a spoon.
Man in a suit: That's why the ancient Chinese and Indian teachings explain the structure of the universe better and more clearly than modern science. Or at least they don’t fall behind it. There is a very interesting book “The Tao of Physics.” Have you read it?
Bill: Uh... no. Unfortunately, I haven’t read it, but I heard about it somewhere.
Man in a suit: Make sure you read it. You’ll learn a lot of fascinating things about modern science and ancient Eastern teachings.
Man in a suit: And we can say that technology today contributes to stagnation in development. Technology develops because it allows us to solve the problems that I’d named. This isn’t development, it’s stagnation.
Bill: And technology also helps to hold on to power and start wars.
Man in a suit: Exactly! You are absolutely right! That’s nothing even close to development. People simply develop technology to control resources, money and power more efficiently. Nothing has changed since Caesar’s time, he-he-he...
Bill: Imagine how the world would change if technology was used to promote human progress!
The man in the suit once again stirred his tea and took a sip from the cup. He looked at Bill intently.
Man in a suit: You know, I still have a feeling that you know a lot more about all this than I do. But for some reason you are hiding it.
Bill: Please forgive me if I misled you a bit. I really do understand what you are talking about. But usually I’m the one telling this to people. And you surprised me today, so, I decided not to be a smart aleck, but just to listen to you.
Man in a suit: Funny situation, isn't it? By the way, I must admit, I also misled you a little. In fact, I do know who Sam is (his expression changes dramatically).
Bill: Sorry, what? Who is Sam?
Man in a suit: The one who spoke to you in Dubai, Bill.
Bill got agitated and began to look around. He suddenly felt hot and thirsty. He saw a carafe of water on the table, poured himself some water and drained the glass in one gulp.
Man in a suit: Don’t worry, Bill. It’s all good. Please, understand that we are not your enemies. We are offering you our cooperation.
Bill: Why set up this whole circus then?
Man in a suit: So that you’d understand that there are other people in the world who think the same way you do. So that you’d know that you are not the only one worried about the global issues of saving humanity and the planet. We also have a clear understanding of these things. We also see all these problems and are trying to find a solution.
Bill: First you created these problems, and now you’re trying to solve them! But the problem is that all this had to be dealt with 50 years ago. It’s too late now!
Man in a suit: Everything is not that simple, Bill. You don’t know much. Therefore, we are offering you our cooperation. This will help you understand everything in more detail.
Bill: What’s in it for you? Why would you care to help me understand anything?
Man in a suit: We think that you intend to do something very bad and dangerous. We just want to help you avoid a mistake.
Bill: I don't know what you're talking about.
Man in a suit: You are playing the fool again, Bill...
That’s when two Shanghai police cars drove up to the café and several policemen came out. Two cops began to walk through the café, looking at visitors. The other two came up to the waitress and showed her a photograph of the man they were looking for.
Man in a suit: So, Bill, it looks like they are looking for you (nods towards the police).
Bill: What? I’ve done nothing wrong!
Man in a suit: Tell all of this to the Chinese secret police. They came to arrest you on a CIA tip. If you don’t want to spend the rest of your life in prison, follow me quickly.
The man in the suit stood up calmly and walked towards the toilet. Bill was perplexed and didn’t know what to do, but his self-preservation instinct made him move. He grabbed his suitcase off the floor and darted after the man in a suit. Next to the toilet door was another door that said "Staff only," and that’s where the two men went. Behind it was a corridor, some offices, and a staircase.
Man in a suit: Bill, keep up. This way.
Bill didn’t understand how they suddenly found themselves in some narrow and noisy street filled with people. It was very crowded. Bill grabbed his suitcase with both hands and pressed it to his chest so that no one would accidentally tear it out of his hands. After a couple of minutes, the noise died down, and people disappeared somewhere. They stood in a quiet side street, completely alone.
Man in a suit: Well, now we are safe.
Bill: Do you really think that they were looking for me? Or are you lying again and trying to lead me on?
Man in a suit: Want to check it out? Go back, I’ll show you the way.
Bill didn’t respond.
Man in a suit: So, what are we going to do, Bill?
Bill:I don't know about you, but I'm going back to the hotel.
Man in a suit: What about our collaboration? We could be useful to each other.
Bill: I don’t know. I need to think about it. Let's meet tomorrow somewhere in the center of Shanghai and discuss it. Will that work for you?
Man in a suit: Good. I'll pick you up right at the hotel tomorrow. It will be safer that way. Where are you staying?
Bill handed him a smartphone with a map on screen.
Bill: Here it is.
Man in a suit: Good. I know where it is. I’ll pick you up tomorrow at 3 pm.
Bill: Well then, see you later.
Bill nodded his head, turned and walked down the alley towards the nearby street. The man in the suit stayed put. He took out a cigarette, lit it, and watched Bill for a long time until he disappeared around the corner.
Part 5: Cape Town
Bill didn’t stay in Shanghai. That evening, he bought a ticket to Cape Town and flew to Africa. All the way on the plane, Bill wondered why they let him get away. They have unlimited connections and opportunities. They were most likely following him and should have known that he didn’t go to his hotel in Shanghai. Maybe they know everything? Why didn’t the Chinese police detain him at the airport? Or was it all a show? All of it seemed very strange and troubled Bill.
The next morning, Bill went for a walk along the coast. The weather was beautiful in these morning hours. A light breeze blew from the ocean. Deciding to rest, Bill sat down on a bench, put his feet up on his suitcase and began to watch a group of teenagers playing beach volleyball. Thoughts and memories suddenly surged through him. He did not notice how he began to speak to himself.
Bill: ... God, what am I doing? Is there really no other way out? Is everything really so hopeless? Maybe I didn’t think everything through? Maybe I should give humanity another chance?
Bill: On the other hand, we had many chances not to bring everything to the edge of the abyss.
Bill: We ourselves are to blame for what must happen in the end. I will only save us from unnecessary torment and preserve life on the planet. And we’ll perish anyway. So let’s at least leave with dignity.
Bill: Yes, that's right. But it seems that I didn’t take something into account. Something has escaped my attention. But what is it?
At that moment, the ball bounced off the ground and flew straight into Bill's right shoulder. Bill started in surprise. A little boy ran up, apologized and took the ball.
Bill: Here! Maybe that’s it?! Maybe children are the way out? Maybe this is the secret that will help resolve the current situation! Well, of course! You just need to explain everything to the children. They’ll grow up and fix everything. They’ll build a new society, a new economy, new everything... And then a disaster can be avoided...
Bill: It’s a good idea, even if not realistic. First of all, the disaster will already have happened before the new generation grows up. They won’t have a single chance to fix anything. They just don’t have the time. And secondly... Bill, you understand everything perfectly well.
Bill: In modern conditions it is simply impossible to raise a new generation that will understand everything and change its attitude to many issues relating to human society, the nature and their interaction with it.
Bill: Why is that? They study mathematics, chemistry, physics and other sciences in schools. Can't they understand simple and logical truths?
Bill: It's not about whether they can understand them or not. The fact is, will they be given this opportunity or not?
Bill: Do you think parents will just surrender their children to you so that you can raise them differently somehow? You are a naive fool! Most people are extremely conservative. Especially when it comes to raising children. But how would you know that? You haven’t got any children.
Bill: It doesn't matter.
Bill: And they’ll tell you just that: How can you be a judge of children’s upbringing if you yourself have never had a child? And this will be the end of this attempt. And the problem is a little different.
Bill: How so?
Bill: The problem is that no educational program can raise children different from their parents. Most children are brought up in families where their ancestors’ worldviews are implanted in them.
Bill: Bullshit! This was true twenty years ago, but not now. Today, children are more affected by the Internet and by society. Parents come second. And there is a chance to influence the younger generation.
Bill: Yeah... But you forgot that society is no better than family. And that the Internet will turn them into dumb perpetually consuming mediocre folk even faster. This is exactly what’s happening now. The only option is to open up schools like Summerhill all over the world, where children will be brought up without parents in a completely free environment. Then something will be able to change.
Bill: You see! Not everything is so hopeless.
Bill: Don’t harbor any illusions about this. Most adults will never send their children to a school like this, because it contradicts their ideas and beliefs. By the way, these beliefs are precisely what had led the humanity to an inevitable disaster.
Bill: Don’t they understand that it’s practically the only way out?
Bill: What? Are you out of your mind?
Bill: They treat children as their private property. And they also like to reason like this: “My parents raised me like this. And did I grow up to be a moral degenerate? Or a thug? Or a drug addict? No. I’m quite successful, I have a good job. I pay taxes regularly. So I'm good. Why radically change the education system if it helps raise normal people?” Bill, that’s exactly what they’ll say!
Bill: Do you mean to say that children and the younger generation have no chance?
Bill: None at all. Poor kids have no chance of growing up and building a new society. They are innocent hostages of adults and the system that they had built.
Bill: But what about evolution? After all, in theory, with each generation people should become smarter and better.
Bill: Heard of dinosaurs? They died out, in case you forgot, just as millions of other creatures that could not adapt. And how do people essentially differ from them? They don’t. Except that it looks like humanity is nature’s biggest mistake.
Bill: Yes... I look at the children, and I feel so sorry for them. But they really could have fixed everything. Perhaps they could raise a rebellion against the adults who are leading humanity straight into the abyss, and fix it all.
Bill: Stop talking nonsense! What rebellion could children possibly lead?! Humanity is doomed! And if you don’t get scared, you can still at least save the planet...
His phone rang suddenly. Bill pulled it out of his pocket.
Bill: Strange, a US number... Who could it be?
Bill answered the call.
Sam: How are you, Bill? Recognized me? It’s Sam. How is the weather in Cape Town?
Bill: How did you…? Alright, it’s a stupid question. What do you want, Sam?
Sam: Bill, you’d made a lot of noise. There is a rumor that the Chairman himself is dealing with your case now. It is very serious. Even I have never seen him. Our people have searched your lab...
Sam: We now know a lot about what you are up to. Bill, listen, do you even realize what you are doing?
Bill: If you know everything, why don't you just kill me?
Sam: I will be honest with you - this option is also being considered. But we still hope to cooperate with you. We hope that you will stop acting alone and will start working with those who think almost the same way you do. Bill, you and I have the same goals - to save humanity and save the planet. Isn't that what you want?
Bill: Yes, this is what I want. Only, as I have said more than once, you’ve wasted your time creating an insane consumption system and other redundant nonsense. Your time is up. You did not accomplish your goal. Therefore, I have no other choice but to act independently. If you want to kill me – do it. But I won’t back down from my task.
Sam: Bill, Bill, don't hang up, please...
Bill switched off his phone, took his briefcase and hurried away.
Part 6: Buenos Aires
Three days later, at the Buenos Aires airport, Bill was seized by Argentinian law enforcement and US intelligence. He was arrested right at the airport, before even leaving the airplane. Intelligence agents went into the cabin, arrested Bill and took his suitcase. Local Argentinian publications mentioned this incident, but it was not widely publicized. The case was hushed up, indicating its insignificance and purely local nature. Few knew that this seemingly plain and unremarkable man with a suitcase in his hands was about to decide the fate of the entire population of the planet.
On the same day, Interpol and the CIA interrogated Bill. He was accused of terrorism and an attempt to use biological weapons against civilians. Three hours of interrogation were futile. The agents didn’t understand who Bill was working for and why he intended to carry out the attack.
Agent: Okay, wise guy, I’ve had enough of your crap for today. We’ve got some people from Washington here. From Langley. They want to have a word with you. You had your chance. Now we’ll let them do whatever they want with you.
The agent got up, collected the photographs and documents from the table and left the room. Fifteen minutes later, a man entered the interrogation room. He was wearing a black suit, and the badge that hung on his chest read “Special Agent Sam W. Central Intelligence Agency.” Bill did not pay any attention to the person who entered. He just sat silently with his eyes closed.
Sam: Well, hello, Bill.
Bill recognized the familiar voice and opened his eyes.
Bill: You? What are you doing here (Bill looked at his badge)? Ah, now it’s all clear. You lied to me then, right? You are with the CIA.
Sam: (waved his hand) Don’t pay attention, it's all just a disguise. No, I don’t work for the CIA. And I haven’t deceived you.
Bill: Why are you here then?
Sam: To save you.
Bill: Yeah right, I'll never believe that! You are here to save your system and all humanity.
Sam: That, too, I won’t deny that. Believe me, Bill, I understand you, probably better than anyone else on the planet. But what you have in mind is very awful and stupid! Bill, you are making a mistake.
Bill: Bullshit!!! I’ve heard that before.
Sam: We know that you created some kind of super-powerful biological weapon. We also know that you still need to activate it in order for it to start working. You have visited the largest airports and transfer hubs on the planet through which millions of people pass through every day. And you sprayed these bacteria at all airports. When bacteria multiply in sufficient numbers throughout the planet, you will activate them, they’ll kill every person on the planet and humanity will be destroyed. Billions of people will die...
Bill: Yes, I understand everything! I’m not a monster, after all! What do you think, that I am a crazy professor who decided to destroy the whole civilization because I’ve lost my marbles? Hell no!!! I am sane and fully aware of what I am doing. Just the same, I thought it over and over a thousand times. I’ve been looking for reasons not to do it for the last 20 years.
Bill: My heart breaks as I watch our civilization moving towards disaster!!! What do you think, I'm a heartless creature with no feelings?!
Sam: So, what's the matter then, Bill?
Bill: The fact is that whether we like it or not, humanity must be destroyed. Then nature will have a second chance to create Homo Sapiens, a more reasonable kind than the current version.
Sam: But what about evolution, Bill? Or do you consider yourself smarter than nature? Who the hell do you think you are, man (Sam slammed his palm on the table)!!!
Bill: Evolution? What does it have to do with anything?
Sam: Because it applies to humanity as well, the humankind is also evolving.
Bill: (laughing) Sam, that’s ridiculous! What evolution are you talking about? Did you read the news today? Mankind is in deep shit, and it’ll never get out of it!
Sam: To hell with the news! Bill, listen, I’m going to tell you something very important now. Something you may have missed. Something that can really change our world for the better. Believe it or not, Bill, but humanity is now on the verge of a giant leap in its development.
Bill wanted to wave him off, but Sam insisted.
Sam: No, Bill, listen to me, you have to hear everything, and then do what you want. No matter how hopeless everything looks in our world, there is a very important and interesting fact. We ourselves have just recently realized this. And I want you to know that too.
Bill: Just be quick, I'm very tired.
Sam: Bill, you're a scientist, right? You know that our human race is called Homo. And our race has species, right? The modern-day people are called Sapiens, which means ‘intelligent.’ But there were other species of the Homo genus before, right?
Sam: There was also Homo Habilis, better known as Australopithecus, there was also Homo Neanderthalensis, whom we usually call simply Neanderthal, there were many other Homospecies. Some of them even lived at the same time, simultaneously with each other. For example, Homo Sapiens lived at the same time with Neanderthals, am I right?
Bill: That's right, go on.
Sam: As you know, Homo Sapiens was the most developed of all these species. It was Homo Sapiens who survived and became the dominant species on the planet. And all the other Homo species became extinct. That’s evolution.
Bill: Well, what does this have to do with our times?
Sam: Everything! Bill, you say that humanity is a dead-end branch of the living beings’ evolution. A mistake of nature, as you like to call us. But nature doesn’t make mistakes, it creates. And I am ready to reveal to you the most important secret of the 21stcentury.
Bill: Let's leave your conspiracy theory madness out of this. Get to the point.
Sam: Bill, the fact is that a new kind of Homo has emerged on the planet.
Bill's eyes widened as he stared at Sam.
Sam: What I’ve just said. A new kind of people has evolved on the planet. To be precise, it began to form quite a while ago. Maybe a hundred, maybe two hundred or a thousand years ago. But that’s not important. The important thing is that they have very special features.
Bill: What are they? Mutations?
Sam: No, they are signs that characterize a person’s level of awareness and his spiritual qualities more than anything. I don’t think that there are any physical or anatomical differences. Although all this has been studied very poorly at this point, and there may actually be physical changes.
There was silence in the room. Bill didn’t know what to say. Thoughts rushed frantically through his head. He tried to process the information he had just taken in.
Bill: And what’s the name of it, this new kind of Homo? Have you come up with a name for it?
Sam: Yes, of course. We call him Homo Intellexit, or Conscious People.
Bill froze up again, deeply immersed in thought.
Sam: Well, Bill, how do you like this news?
Bill: I don’t even know what to say. Surely it sounds very promising and interesting, but what if this is all just a figment of your imagination.
Sam: Bill, the whole world is a figment of our imagination. (pause)
Sam: Listen, you're a very smart and brave man, Bill. You clearly understood that humanity is heading for the abyss and dragging the entire planet into the grave along with it.
Sam: You attempted a really courageous act, deciding to help nature correct its mistakes, the way you saw fit. And indeed, humanity is facing a time of demanding and tremendous changes. It will be a difficult time. But, Bill, there is something greater than each of us individually. And nature is also part of this. And it does not make mistakes, since it’s always right. You consider them mistakes because you should look at these issues from a different angle and scale. Then you’ll see what we saw.
Bill: What did you see? How did you manage to identify the new Homo Intellexit?
Sam: Do you want to see one of them?
Bill: That would be great.
Sam: No problem. You can see one just by looking in the mirror.
Bill: I don’t understand you.
Sam: Don't be shy, Bill. You understand everything perfectly. People like you are Homo Intellexit. And you are not alone. There are already a lot of us on the planet, and the number is growing every day. It’s surprising that you didn’t think of it yourself.
Sam: You said that there are few conscious people on the planet, but they do exist. And they are nothing like the ones who brought us to the brink of the disaster we are facing now. They are very different from them. You’ve always known this, but for some reason you did not realize that you and people like you are no longer Homo Sapiens, but a different species.
Bill: Yes, that makes some sense...
Sam: Some sense? Bill, Homo Intellexit is the future of humanity and our planet. We are absolutely sure of this. Homo Intellexit possess a new level of awareness, a new level of thinking and a different worldview. This is what we’ve been looking for and not understanding for so long.
Bill: And what will happen next? What do we do now with this new species? And the most important question, what do we do with billions of Homo Sapiens?
Sam: They will die out, just as the Neanderthals once did. Homo Intellexit is the only possible future for the human race. This is the next evolutionary stage, which will allow humankind to survive and continue its development. These are the laws of nature, which we do not ye fully understand.
Bill: This is all ideology. What about practical issues? How are you going to solve the problems that we’ve discussed? An evolutionary leap can take a very long time. The fragile Homo Intellexit can be destroyed along with the entire planet in the next 30-40 years.
Sam: That's why we suggest you cooperate with us. Now our main task is to preserve the Homo Intellexit and ensure its further development.
Bill: But how?
Sam: Wow, there’s curiosity in your voice. And I can see the little spark in your eyes. That’s a good sign. We’ve got a plan, Bill. And we really need you to realize it. So, what do you think about that?
Bill: Hmm... This is all very interesting. Of course, I’d really like to study Homo Intellexit if your theory is correct. Find out its characteristics and differences from the other types. Understand how he thinks and what he wants... Basically, it’s very, very tempting. But what if you are leading me on again?
Sam: It doesn't matter. After all, as I understand it, only you can activate or not activate your bacteria. Therefore, the fate of mankind is in your hands.
Sam: If it comes to that, you can finish what you’ve been planning at any time. I’m just offering you an alternative. And I can tell that you appreciate it. In the meantime, let the bacteria sleep soundly. After all, they are completely safe until activated. Am I right?
Bill: Yes, you are.
Sam: Okay, Bill, I won’t pressure you anymore. You had a very difficult day today. You need to rest and sleep, so, I am leaving. You’ll have to spend the night here. And tomorrow I'll get you out of here. I’ll make sure that you have a good place to sleep with all the amenities.
Bill: I'm afraid I won't fall asleep today, Sam. To be honest, my head is just spinning from thoughts and ideas.
Sam: Relax, Bill. Give your brain a break. In order to succeed, we need to look at the world differently. And to do this, you need to clear your head.
Bill: Are you suggesting I get drunk?
Sam: No way! There are tons of other ways to do that. Meditate, for example. Read an interesting book, listen to music, watch a movie. There are many options.
Bill: You are probably right, Sam. That’s what I’ll do. Only they took everything away from me.
Sam: Don’t worry, I’ll take care of everything. See you tomorrow, Bill.
Sam held out his hand, and Bill shook it fervently.
It was already past midnight when, having resolved all the issues with the CIA, Sam went outside. A black sedan pulled up. Sam opened the door to sit in the front, but then changed his mind. He let the driver go and walked along a deserted street somewhere in the center of Buenos Aires. The air was fresh and humid, since it had just recently rained. He walked along the street and relished the night city. Few people knew that this seemingly ordinary man, who usually introduced himself as Sam, was actually the 34thchairman of the secret world government. He was most important person in this mysterious organization, which for several centuries has tried to control the direction of development of all mankind. The enormous power and even greater responsibility this man possessed were truly hard to imagine. Despite this most challenging day, Sam felt great, because now he knew exactly what he had to do.
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