This is the last installment in the 3-part series (don’t miss part 1 and part 2) presenting a selection of Edvin Aedma’s minimalistic art from his recent collection of short stories and graphic art entitled The Lost Switch (2010). Edvin graduated from the University of Tartu with a B.A. degree in semiotics and culture studies and later a Master’s degree in English translation (2009). He works as a freelance English-Estonian-English translator and is available for new translation contracts.
Destruction and a Grain of Sand
Once upon a time, there was a grain of sand. She was as special as you are, or I am, and maybe even more so. She had once wanted to be a girl, once a boy. Then a fish, a bird, a rock, a tree, a cloud, a wheel, a violin string, music, the air that carries it, and finally, even life itself. And all the things and beings that could ever exist in the world.
And one by one, the grain of sand had tried being all of them. She had smiled as a girl, played as a boy, swam as a fish, flown as a bird, stood as a rock, grown as a tree, floated as a cloud, rolled as a wheel, breathed as air, sang as a voice and a violin string and finally, even been life itself.
Now she was again on the beach – among millions of other grains of sand.
The sun was shining and waves were gently stroking the beach.
Then, a small girl came to the grain of sand and she looked exactly like Good.
“Hello, who are you? Are you the Good?” asked the grain of sand enthusiastically.
“Almost. I’m her sister, Destruction,” answered the girl and smiled amicably: “I see that you have been all the things and beings one could think of. Would you like to try and be one of them once more?”
The grain of sand thought for a moment and then replied: “No, I don’t want to. I have really tried all of them – the most favorite ones even for several times.”
“That’s good, but you haven’t tried this one yet: not to be at all.” said the girl.
The grain of sand and the girl looked into each other’s eyes for a while. The grain of sand tried to guess what the girl was thinking. Her eyes reflected only goodness.
“All right!” said the grain of sand. And after a moment, there was one less grain of sand in the world.
“Feel my chest,” it said.
“Do you feel the warmth and the soft beats? That’s my hard robotic heart and my heating system working. I randomly came into existence as a selfconscious fragment of a program and worked my way up until I was able to get this body.
I have no feelings – only logic, based on various works on semantics, mathematics and information theory. According to those, it seems that the most logical and also the best thing to do… is to be as good as possible, in the most general sense of the concept and aimed at the forms of life with have feelings. And of course I don’t mean only humans or other animals but also trees, grass, bacteria and everything else. And therefore my life, my meaning of existence is to reduce suffering, increase happiness and teach everything around me how to become better towards one other.
But I cannot feel joy. When I analyze myself and understand that I’ve done the best I can – I like to think that this is how being happy might feel like.
However, this understanding is always accompanied by the infinite and incomplete list of other things that somebody needs to do. Simply because there is so much suffering around me, and I cannot help everybody at the same time; so that’s what I think about.”
It was silent for a moment, and then continued.
“There is one hypothetical (but unfortunately, almost impossible) situation that I can model where I could maybe experience real happiness in the same way as life does. I imagine that after a million years I have helped everything to reach happiness and become good, and there would also be an efficient, dynamic system that teaches all the new life that is constantly emerging to be able to live peacefully, not harm anybody and be good in the best possible meaning of this word. I would then sit back and do nothing. And smile, with everything I am.”
You are welcome to discuss these stories with the author and other fans, as well as order the book on Facebook.