0.001% vs. 99.999%
“We shall remain convinced of our beliefs! We will not acquiesce to the snobbish round guys!” his voice echoes through the small room of twelve listeners as he throws his right fist into the air and proceeds to pound it on the podium. “When they say ‘Flat-Earthers’, they conjure images of backward people living in a cave, misfits of society, the vermin that stifles progress…” The “crowd” jeers. “But we shall prove to them! We shall travel, travel across this flat Earth and reach the ends of it. In the end, we will exclaim with joy because we defied all odds and proved that we were right!” The “crowd” cheers and a standing ovation boosts the speaker’s ego. After that rhetorical speech, the listeners approach him, express their gratitude, further fuel his ego and confidence in making this journey across the flat Earth a success.
As he makes his way home, he imagines: a ship cruises slowly toward freezing Antarctica. Suddenly, he hears a distant growl. As he gets closer and closer, the soft low growl grows into a roar which resembles a majestic and powerful waterfall. Eventually, he sees it. He sees the end of the ocean falling off the surface of the Earth. He sees the distant vibrant blue skies fading into a deep black. The Earth is flat.
His imagination arouses so much excitement in him that he exclaims, “I will prove it to you conformist round losers!” A smile tears across his face as he speeds home to plan this journey to the edge of the world.
He can no longer contain his urge to share his plan with the rest of the world. Who cares if the rest of the world disagrees with him. His vision, his imagining of the successful journey is more than enough to disregard that. He proceeds to write on Reddit to reach out to his fellow believers: “Flat-Earthers Unite! We will travel to the edge of the world on a life-changing cruise. We will prove to the rest of the world that we are right. Always have been. We will make history!”
She is having dinner with her phone in one hand and a spoon in the other. She munches on her food and scrolls through Reddit with a certain passivity. Her chew is slow; her eyes look dead; her thumb scrolls with latent rhythm.
But then her thumb stops abruptly. Her eyes light up. She drops her spoon while her mouth is left ajar. “Flat-Earthers Unite!…” she reads as her eyes transform into a menacing stare, like a predator eyeing its prey. As her eyebrows furrow, she mouths the words, “The fuck?” Her frown turns into a scornful snicker as she types on her phone, “I honestly don’t know if you’re being serious or not. Exactly when were you born? The stone age? Anyway I hope you find out that Earth is really flat so you can fall off.” She clicks send, sighs in relief and moves on.
Over the next few days, she keeps receiving notifications of praise for her comment: “haha so true”, “flat-Earthers are a bunch of idiots”, “preach”. She is overwhelmed by the support she receives. She feels like a leader, the ambassador of Round-Earthers. Her sense of self-appointed responsibility makes her feel obligated to write a critique on Flat-Earthers, so she does just that. “Round-Earthers Unite! There is not much need to say that since we are pretty much already united, superior in both numbers and, obviously, intellect. We make up 99.999% of the entire human population, so I don’t see the need for the other 0.001%. Meanwhile, they are just a bunch of self-deluding, archaic cavemen who don’t believe in the legitimacy of science. God has blessed us with the ability to reason, yet people like flat-Earthers blatantly commit sacrilege and toss it out of the window while choosing to regress themselves rather than to keep up with the times; truly disappointing. Anyway, to all the flat-Earthers out there, good luck on your venture to the edge of the Earth. I hope you fall off it and the devil shall take care of you real nice.”
Her critique is extremely well-received. She scrolls gleefully through the comments with each one reinforcing her notion that she brought justice to all the Round-Earthers.
Then, a particularly long comment halts her in her tracks. She reads: “You defend your beliefs so mindlessly, you berate others who don’t have the same ones as you. To an atheist, you parallel Flat-Earthers. The Enlightenment killed God, yet you are still religious. So what truly makes you different from the Flat-Earthers?”
To that, she merely replies, “Fuck you.”