Have you ever been out camping? As a child, while spending a night with other boy scouts at a camping site, I’d already started to realise what place we, the humans, reserved in this world. I remember that cold August night - heat of the campfire, long shadows of people around it, stretching out in all directions. The fire seemed to rise up to the very sky, putting the starlight out, so bright it was; sparks danced over its tongues. Heat burnt our faces and cold always chilled our backs. It was as if the world was bisected; one was bright, hot, locked inside a tight circle of people, the other cold and strange, sneaking up from behind our backs. Do you know, ████, that Chaos is always in a leaping stance? It hides under the outer shell of all things, inside the shell of the world that seems so right and rational, but that is just a mask. Chaos is like a panther hiding in the bushes, tense, ready to spring. Its leap is infinite - it is flying forever, like an asymptote, approaching the line but never reaching it.
First I thought that our world simply got old. God’s grown ancient and can’t handle His responsibilities anymore. God got crazy and in His crazed state He started devouring his children like Cronos.
I thought the reason might be in the world’s deterioration - like a scratch on the fine surface of a CD which causes all the information on it to distort. I thought maybe the space-time continuum has simply worn out like an old cloth. And we had to mend its holes.
Then I pondered - wasn’t the world full of what we now call anomalies before the civilised people came along? Wasn’t it at the time of crowding around fires that the planet was crawling with unfathomable creatures? They say that now that we contain such creatures that could bring forth the world’s end, we cannot make the tiniest mistake, or breach protocol even a little. We are so certain of this that we consider ourselves the saviours, the atlases who carry the world on their shoulders. But let’s not forget that we weren’t always here, and the sky never fell in those 14 billion years. Also there are the far reaches the galaxy where human, let alone the Foundation’s, influence doesn’t reach. What about those places? Does the deterioration never reach there? Does it mean that Earth is the source?
That got me thinking that we, the humans, were to blame. The more we wear the nature out, the further our progress moves, the more anomalies we get. The balance has been upset somewhere. Maybe there are too many of us, maybe we deem ourselves more worthy than we deserve. Maybe when we first disturbed the structure of an atom by splitting it, we mortally wounded the Universe making it bleed. We know that before us there were multiple civilizations on Earth, and each of them was crushed by a new, less-developed one. There was a horde a barbarians for each Roman Empire. That’s it, I thought, The number of anomalies is proportionate to the progress. Each new civilization that’s gone too far is wiped off the face of the Earth thus regulating the amount of Chaos in the world to the required quantity.
And yet the ancient mysteries weren't giving me piece of mind. Since I had the 6th level of clearance, I already knew more than any of you. And the puzzle I could make out of the pieces crashed all my theories.
I came to realise with bigger clarity that before us the planet was ruled by powers so potent that the wise men weren’t aware of them. When we, the stubborn children, imagined ourselves the kings of nature, when we spread like cancer over the surface of the Earth, we inevitably engaged them in a conflict. We ousted them, proclaimed them unnatural, gave them numbers and placed them in cages.
I know, dear ████, that all of you were stunned by my return. You stopped waiting for me after all these years. The fact that I hadn’t aged a year made a lot of you talk about the Second Coming of the Administrator. No, I’m not a god, I’ve never come close to being one. I’m just a man who’s been where no one should be. I’ve missed a lot, and yet I’ve gained even more.
I was delighted to find out my country house was still in one piece. Of course, it’s become a little lopsided - there was mold growing in some corners - but otherwise, it was just as I’d left it. I see, during all these years none of you had the brilliant idea of going down into its basement. It made me happy, as it meant the secret bunker remained untouched. Much has changed, ████ - some Sites have disappeared, others have been built. But there are things that never change, while the Foundation that I’ve created still stands. One of those things is in that bunker.
I once said we'd never return into that long night from whence we came. I’ve drawn a protective circle on the ground, reinforced it with walls and locked it with the sign of the Trinity. And yet all we’ve accomplished during these years hasn’t made us better. There’s still the same cold freezing our backs and the same heat burning our faces. The same world unsaved. Someone has to break the vicious circle.
When you read this, I will have reached my goal. Maybe you’re already standing at the brink of a new world and your eyes are opening. All humanity is rubbing their eyelids after their long slumber. It was the slumber of self-assurance and deep narcissism. We believed we could name things and decide if they deserve a place in the Universe. We decided we knew the laws of nature and we could consider the creatures we couldn’t understand unnatural. And, most importantly, we thought we were the last thing keeping the world from crashing down, as if it couldn’t exist without us, as if the sun wouldn’t come up without us. Because of this, we raged a bloody war against something we don’t even have a name for. But now, ████, you’re going to see that our main enemy is our own fear. You’ll see that the Foundation wasn't really necessary in the first place, and after its doors burst open, the world will find a way to obtain a new balance, because God would never have created a stone He could not lift.
Remember - the panther is leaping infinitely. It always tries to reach and never does.