A shoebox-sized apparatus arrived at the doorstep of every household on Earth, on an average Tuesday. Initially, no one knew where the mystery devices came from or their cryptic purpose. It was a simple little box with a rocker switch on the top. A rudimentary note was included which explained that instructions would follow. Fearing it was some sort of explosive device, many of the recipients were understandably scared.
Once word got out that every known residence in the area received one, it became even more frightening. News reports eventually verified the exact same thing had happened in other places. It was a worldwide phenomenon. Who could arrange such a global thing? No one. The unspoken implications were huge. People examined their switch box from all sides and shook them gently (or tapped the sides) but they didn’t dare flip the switch itself. That would have been decisive and irreversible. Better safe than sorry.
Information and instructions arrived just as promised (and written in the mother tongue of the recipient). The text was easy to understand but the reason for the device and its mass dissemination was still an enigma. More specifically ‘who’, or ‘what’ could do such a thing? Even before the instructions came, they came to be known by many as ‘the God box’. What being could make billions of these strange things and distribute them to every single doorstep, undetected? The idea of a non terrestrial object made people very uncomfortable but it was apparently a divine gift. One didn’t neglect the impact of such a magnificent thing. They were revered, showcased and displayed in the people’s homes like prized trophies.
From lean to, to palatial mansion spread, the recipients kept their switch box on hand for when it’s purpose finally came clear. When the instructions did appear, it raised a lot more questions than it solved.
“The box you received is a gift of change from your creator. With it, you possess the life-changing power to alter your world dramatically with a simple, voluntary flip of a switch on the top.
If activated, every single man, woman, and child on Earth will be granted true and absolute equality (in the truest sense of the word). No person will be hungry or poor. No person will be famous or wealthy. Intelligence, beauty, and creativity will be the exact same for all of humanity.
The switch works only one time. The change it brings is not reversible. The choice to achieve true equality among yourselves (or leave things as they are), is in your individual hands.”
People were dumbfounded. They were startled and frightened at the ominous implications. On the surface it sounded like an amazing opportunity to elevate the world and unify it to true equality, but it would also lead to a number of drastic changes. Human beings were used to the idea of allowing ‘fate’ or ‘the almighty’ decide things for them. The non believers had always taken matters in their own hands but now faced with irrefutable evidence of a supernatural being, they too had their doubts about what to do.
Underneath it all, there is a certain level of subconscious ambition that every person has inside. Even if they wanted to make life better for the disadvantaged and poor, they also desired to rise above their own caste or ‘station in life’ to achieve ‘greatness’. That wasn’t possible in a world where there are no famous or wealthy people. It challenged the expectations of ego, pride, and individuality. It was a much tougher decision than it seemed to many. Life was so much easier when someone (or ‘something’) else was ‘driving’. There was even a level of resentment from being given the awesome power to decide our own fates.
In light of the ambiguities, no one rushed to flip the switch. Even the downtrodden and poorest of the poor hoped to better themselves. That wasn’t possible if everyone was going to be exactly the same. Equality is relative to what standard it’s based upon. It wasn’t even clear what the parameters of the decision was.
Did it require a majority to side with flipping the equality switch? Was an unanimous decision necessary; or nothing for anyone? Did individual circumstances change for those who voted for true equality, while those who abstained remained as they were? Which member of the family would decide for the rest of them? There was no place to clarify or ask follow-up questions. It wasn’t even clear if there was a time limit on how long the people could wait to make their weighty decisions. That amount of genuine personal freedom was terrifying.
Committees were formed. Political action groups tried to sway people for or against flipping the switch. Indecision lead to frustration. No one wanted to go first. The edict had been clear enough about the decision not being reversible. Anger rose and tensions brewed. Well meaning, civic-minded people encouraged everyone to ‘do the right thing for humanity.’ Meanwhile the famous and wealthy captains of industry lobbied against the switch.
Even those with a firm grip on their opinions were temporarily swayed by compelling arguments offered for and against. Would the milestone of there being no ‘lows’ in life, make up for the lack of ‘highs’? Eventually the mere idea of deciding the future fate of the world became traumatic. In the end, every single person on Earth decided to leave things as they were. Every. Single. One. Not one person flipped the ‘God switch’. Whether that was anchored in a universal desire to excel and succeed, or just a nagging fear or changing the status quo, is hard to say. Perhaps it was a little of both but it was a wise decision. ‘The God switch’ was an Armageddon trigger. Those seeking true equality would have received it, in the universal equality of death.