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I credit SF writer S.A. Barton with inventing this style, a kind of prose poetry. You may retweet, Share, copy and distribute this image as you wish anywhere online as long as all imagery and text is unaltered. Please do, in fact!

Here is the backstory for the piece:

Nobody likes The End, unless they somehow come out on top. But what if no one does? What if everyone dies on the eve of apocalypse in a pitiless, uncaring universe that favors not a one? To quote Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, “The fairness of unfairness is in everything’s demise.”

Long time readers will probably recognize the aliens in this, the genocidal but loving and caring Suthidruu. Pious. Zealous. Compassionate to a fault. Sterilizing whole galaxies for billions of years in a holy mission to rescue all life from suffering and sadness. I pattern their perspective from the monstrous Inquisitions of history, but not their theology.

They have no concept of sin as such, no concept of even original transgressions against the divine. Their gods are above and beyond such petty concerns. As alien cosmic entities, as survivors of the oldest sapient species become gods, the Nine Who are One are said to be as transcendent, uncaring, and pitiless as the universe itself.

Only their final commandment to their creations matters:

“Love all life in the universe as though it were your own. Assuage suffering, relieve from pain, alleviate sorrow, at any cost. Then and only then may you join us in radiant bliss yourselves.”

And that means planet by planet, species and civilizations fall, all for love. Hatred need not be involved in this rampant mass extinction. As with those of the Inquisitions, the Suthidruu do what they do for benevolent reasons — to save souls, for their victims’ own good. To succor them with love in their hearts and the piety in those whose ringing dirge triggers the weaponry.

I’m not just targeting religion, but any ideology that controls, dehumanizes, or enjoins harm to others, for an alleged good or simply damage control for the flock or the State. With that, all is permitted, and no heinous act is forbidden so long as it is commanded. There is no greater motivator to moral evil for good people than when seeing themselves as sanctioned by a supreme authority, and this goes for allegedly secular ideologies which serve as religions of the State with all of the relevant features, including Authorities which may never be questioned and unfalsifiable doctrines of faith.

The Suthidruu are my ultimate, most extreme example of that, throwing into sharp relief the excesses of absolutist and dogmatic thinking.

To paraphrase Voltaire, “Believe absurdities, and you may commit atrocities.”

Tf. Tk. Tts.

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