This story is by Wayne Watkins and was part of our 2021 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
A Magnificent Planet
A green and blue, glowing sentinel in the universe.
Ever-changing, by the minute, by the day, the season, the century, and the millennium. A cauldron of life, fighting to survive. From massive creatures to microscopic lifeforms, all struggling and mostly failing. Replaced by new individuals and new species. Each generation is evolving, surpassing the last.
There is hunger, injustice, pain, and inequity. The environment is too hot or too cold, too dry, or too wet. Creatures kill and consume each other. Tribes, groups, and even individuals fight each other. Nothing is easy; everything’s a challenge.
Every individual being is different from every other. Every group, every tribe, every gender, every race is unique—each with strengths and weaknesses. Evolution is selecting the stronger characteristics and discarding the weaker to produce the next generation.
Despite the challenges, the planet is thriving. Life is jostling for advantage. Brains are becoming more complex. Life there seems meaningful and satisfying.
In contrast, there is a similar planet, far away in the stars. Somehow, in the distant past, the inhabitants took a different path. They now suffer no inequities, no pain, no gender differences, no struggles. Only a single species lives there. Because there is no need for complex thinking, their brains have shrunk, and they have eliminated all mental illnesses. The ultimate creature? They have no nations, no borders, no wars, no hunger. They eat the crust of their planet, and their excrement and decaying bodies perfectly replenish their food source. They enjoy an energy-neutral status in perpetuity. Have they achieved perfection?
There are similar creatures on the Green and Blue planet – they are called earthworms.