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Story of the World

The world is the Greek summer at, let’s say, 35 degrees. It’s sluggish in the late afternoon, no one wants to work now, same story, same same story. The boy’s erastes has told him that if he can scribe, let’s say, a scroll’s worth before sundown, he’ll get some extra money and attention. The boy rolls his eyes to himself, ugh, fine.

So here he sits in this cramped little room, scrawling away despite his exhaustion, despite the damp upper back of his himation. The ink runs low. The other scribes’ elbows keep bumping him. He almost ruins the scroll multiple times. The Aramaic is messy, the hot breeze through the door suffocates, but he tries his best anyways. He does a good job.

He manages to get the scroll done and gives it to the erastes, who’s also tired out from the heat. He skims over it. Okay, looks great, take three drachmas, one for you, two for the poor family, I’ll see you tonight.

The next day the erastes dresses as someone else, takes the scroll to the hill, and starts preaching. He gets into it. He’s got such a convincing and passionate voice that people start to crowd around him. The power of not only the Lord’s voice but also his own puts genuine faith into peoples’ hearts. Some fear too. No one yells at him or takes him away. When he finishes, the crowd themselves go home and spread the Holy word to their wives, children, cattle, friends; directly quoting him and everything.

The erastes goes home content with today’s work. He reads through the scroll again, after all it is the Lord’s word, but then realises – oh. Ohoho. My eromenos has written kamelon, not kamilon. I have been reading kamelon. I have been preaching about camels this whole time. Hohoho.

The erastes tells the boy the funny story; they laugh and shrug.

Now, the world is Christian. So many stories, stories I don’t have space to tell you about, have happened to make the world Christian. Some poor Christians are okay with being poor: again, Matthew tells us, it’s easier for camels to go through the eyes of needles than it is for rich people to enter Heaven. Hoho.

Alright, the world’s now being translated into English, but remember that everything is more complicated than it looks and God, nothing can be simple anymore. So there’s another scribe. He’s staring at a word he’s never seen before, arsenokoitai. He knows that arsen is man, and koitas is bed, but he’s never seen them compounded before, arsenokoitai. What the fuck does that mean? Man-bed? He pictures a bed doing things like a man, hohoho, or a bedframe having a little carved head on it who talks(!), cute.

It probably means something different when put together, like how butterflies are different to butter or flies, who knows. It’s just that this must be a rare word, or it’s supposed to mean something specific he’s just not sure about. Anyways, it’s only one word out of how many; only one sin out of how many; so he takes it to mean something like homosexuality or adultery.

The scribe translates as coherently literal as he can, and he does a good job. After he copies out today’s sections, he passes his work to the non-Greek speaking scribes, so they can copy it out in more English. His hand hurts from all the work today. He needs a break. He forgets about the man-bed.

Now, the world is English. It’s passed the 19th and 20th century, again with the many stories I have no space to tell you, and now it’s 2022 and English-speaking. Yes, the present, finally! Some Christians are not okay with other people being gay. Again, Leviticus tells us, you can’t lie with another man, you’re an abomination. Now the world has 11 countries death-penalising LGBT people. The highest rates of suicide among LGBT people.

Ohoho. The butterfly effect.

Okay. So now, all over the world, people feel they really lose. Now, all over the world, people feel they really win. 2022: the age of digital, social media, two-page articles. Stories come in that form now. Now, all over the world, people still go back to Aristotle, they never left Aristotle, it’s still all about living well, isn’t it? So, how do you do that? Now all over the world you do it with money money money.

Scribes are gone, pretty much. Though things to be passed on still exist. Lots of people want to be storytellers, writers, journalists, but there’s no money in it. Most of the money now is through stories relayed online, especially the trending ones.

Great, so, there’s a news company and journalists who actually do get paid well. They have enthusiastic, persuasive, headstrong voices, but to keep the job they’ve got to keep the clicks. There are too many stories to cover, let alone cover in a digestible, simple-worded way for the millions.

The journalists were interested in their field because they wanted to bring happiness to the masses, truth to the masses, maybe change for the masses. Through storytelling, which is the Holy word.

But there’s a lot of pressure to do well at work; a company is for money after all. Before the easy reading is the difficult one. Overwhelm impacts their wellness of living, but they write anyways, and they do a good job. They manage to write about the hot topics, the crises, the calamities, the reforms, in a general, digestible way for the millions. In a way that either goes against the majority opinion to generate clicks or with the majority opinion to generate clicks. In a way that lets them say, actually, it does pay, I’m living pretty well.

Now the world is millions: millions reading about millions, talking about millions, through those general, digestible stories. Here are some of the stories covered: 27 million refugees, to which millions say go back where you fucking came from. 419 parts per million, to which millions say stop the emissions! 572 million reported COVID cases, to which millions say wear a mask or this is fake! 50 million views on a TikTok storytime, to which millions say im gonna try this lol.

Hohoho. Then the world is its stories, yes?

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