Once upon a time the sun burped, regurgitated and spat out a blob of molten mud which went hurtling into space and tried to get back again. Unfortunately it couldn’t, so it kept on circling, began solidifying and cooled down. Accepting the fact that it’s destiny was sealed, and that it was stuck in what became known as an orbit, it gave up and became Earth instead.
Earth was a rather peaceful place in those early years. The scenery was breathtaking. Plumes of smoke and gas spewed from craters and floated high up into the blue stratosphere where a funny looking clear liquid formed which fell, intermittently, onto a rather pleasant but bleak landscape, and, having no where to go, pooled into great puddles called lakes and seas. That’s the simplified version and that’s where the problem first started.
No soup, even a primordial one, is complete unless there is something floating around in it. As croutons were a little scarce, nature decided to experiment with a few bits and pieces called elements and molecules, adding a dash of lightning here and there, and somewhat magically, this alchemy produced a tiny little bug. This little creature was hardly spectacular actually, as all it could do was flop around the place a little. It didn’t have anything sophisticated like warts, or hairy armpits, but it was a start.
In any case it must have been rather well designed because it managed, all on its own, to discover self copulation. This resulted in the inevitable mitotic explosion of its little uncomplicated self into lots and lots of identical squiggly little bugs which floated around all over the place not really knowing what to do with themselves. Eventually the tedium associated with an individual and solitary existence was solved by the formation of gangs instead. And as these gangs congregated in dark, murky, underwater alleyways, they began to develop all sorts of ideas on ways and means of causing general discord, as gangs do, and before you could say ‘evolution’, an ikan bilis was launched.
These little fish eventually grew feet, discarded their outdated breathing techniques, swam ashore, started eating grass and became heterosexual instead. The Earth however, kept spinning around the sun like clockwork. Day turned into night and night into day. Seasons came and went. Ice ages happened and disappeared and through all this turmoil, these four legged vegetation devouring, sexually potent, pseudo guppies discovered some gob smacking tricks like breeding and evolving. One day they were slithering around on their slimy bellies and the next they were soaring through the air extending droppings over those slow learners on the ground.
It wasn’t long before those aerodynamically challenged ground hugging group of terrestrials turned into furry little creatures because it started getting cold. It didn’t take much to convince these furry little creatures to stand up on their hind limbs because that was the only way they could take swipes at those irritating flying things. And when this happened, guess what? They began to realize they could do so much more with their freed up arms, like poking eyes out, rubbing two sticks together to make fire, sharpening objects so they could be inserted into other furry little creatures, and before you could say ‘nuclear warhead’, they had one.
Now who are we going to blame for all this?
Nature had created a disaster called the Homo Sapien. This species was like no other living thing evolution had spawned. Whilst other creatures were content swinging from the branches of trees or grazing amongst the lush meadows of early Earth, generally minding their own business, man, on the other hand, had better ideas. The major problem is, nature had given this super evolved creature a built in computer with an ever increasing gigabytic control centre called a brain. The more it thought, the bigger it’s brain became. The bigger it’s brain became, the more it could think, so it set about devising ways and means of preserving itself in the state it felt most comfortable, which was, avaricious, aggressive, demanding and selfish. The rest is history.
After a while, things started to go a little haywire, so much so that the vast eternal plot was beginning to become compromised, so God buzzed His secretary on the intercom and told her to get Nature into his office, pronto.
Isn’t it funny how anytime something goes wrong, the female species gets blamed? When the Titanic hit a lump of ice floating around in the North Atlantic and sank, it was she who went down. A Kelantanese rapist is never at fault because it is always the provocatively dressed woman who forces him to veer off the path of righteousness. And when things started to go wrong on planet Earth, Nature, naturally, became elevated to the position of a ‘mother’.
Anyhow, when Mother Nature walked into God’s office, she was greeted with the words ‘What on Earth are you doing?’
That is how the phrase was first coined. It is of course now used entirely out of context, for example, as an expletive comment when a mother finds her 3 year old sketching landscapes on the living room wall with her expensive lipstick, or when a wife stumbles across her husband dismantling the household vacuum cleaner on the living room carpet.
With a severe reprimand, God sent Mother Nature off to sit on the sidelines. He had a better idea. He was going to teach all of mankind to be nice to each other, and to look after the place a little better. After all, animals were behaving themselves by only eating other animals when absolutely necessary, which was when they were hungry. They stayed slim and fit, didn’t use plastic bags and never ever chopped trees down. Man wasn’t doing any of that. Man started killing for fun, leveling forests, discarding rubbish indiscriminately, plundering and raping, and worst of all, multiplying at an alarming rate.
God just had to do something to get the right message through.
He sent on his substitutes.
Heavenly Emissaries were dispatched on their quests to bring peace and joy to the world by uniting mankind under one umbrella of brotherhood and bon homie, to teach man to respect and understand one another, to follow the path of good and to reject all that was bad and evil, to avoid all sorts of nasty habits like taking off with the other guy’s wife, stealing his lap top, telling fibs, setting fire to his new BMW because you couldn’t afford one, and coming back from the pub, pissed out of your mind, every night of the week.
For reference purposes, these guidelines were inscribed on a large piece of granite and stuck up on a mountain in the middle of nowhere, so not many people could actually get to it, and those that did were faced with a translation problem. You see, no one spoke, let alone, understood, ‘God language’, on Earth. This lead to a whole pile of unfortunate misinterpretations. Things were horribly lost in translation, and continue to be, up to the present day.
Nevertheless these heaven sent Emissaries arrived, one after another, all armed with a similar message, ‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you’. Followers were recruited and armies of the self righteous were formed. The standard kit at that stage was an off white caftan, matching bandana, a beard and grubby sandals. These armies of divine salvation traveled in hordes around the wastelands of the world extolling the virtues of adhering to the master plan, whilst poor old Mother Nature, in disgrace, was forced to take a back seat and watch all this take place around her.
Populations expanded under the new order. Vast new civilizations cropped up all over the place. Favour was curried with the ‘Boss’ by the construction of extravagant monuments in His honour. Forests were still cut down, mountains leveled, wealth accumulated in His name and narcissistic power developed amongst those well placed. The world was now supposed to be a better place. Religions flourished and expanded. Civilizations began and developed into empires. All very well.
However, as with all best intentions and despite the most rigourous of plans, Murphy says, if something can go wrong, it will, and it did.
The original message now became ‘Do undo others as you would expect others to undo you’.
Civilizations began to become envious of others. Religions began to disagree on the finer and inconsequential details of the Divine plan.
Perhaps, on retrospect, if there had been only one Emissary instead of a variety, things may have been different, but I don’t think so. You see, Mother Nature had given us that thing called a brain, and with that brain we became clever, and the more clever we became, the more we could think, and the more we could think, the more we began to disagree with each other, even though we were supposed to be on the same side. One man’s meat, literally, become another’s poison. Everyone started to develop their own points of view. Opinions, somehow, never seem to ying and yang. And what happens when you don’t agree with someone? You simply thump them.
So, to exacerbate the situation, and possibly to get her own back, a disgruntled Mother Nature decided, eventually, to put the boot in.
She encouraged man to discover oil, so he could burn it and mess up the atmosphere, nuclear fission so he could mass annihilate, homosexuality so he couldn’t breed, and cloning so he could create genetic mutations. She created the likes of Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden and George Bush. She developed the AIDS virus, the poppy flower, bad weather and Tsunamis. And she added this explosively powerful concoction of unmitigated mayhem to the product of all that had happened whilst she was in Coventry.
She really knew best. She knew she was in control. She knew she had a handle on population growth and expansion. She had developed a culling technique second to none, and she had used man himself as her best and most prized tool. She so wanted good old Earth the way it was and she knew she would get there sooner rather than later, despite all the interferences. So she sat back in her chair on the sidelines with her arms stretched out behind her head, watched the unfolding metamorphosis of her handiwork and laughed out loud until her sides ached.
And no one heard her laugh.