Things you want, eventually, either become things you have and therefore you don’t want them anymore, or they become things you never got, but the want is long gone and not a shadow of hurt is left. By then you have other things to want. Better things, you say to yourself, shinier, this time you really want them. If only you got them, you’d be happy. While time flows on.
When Alexander traversed the known world on his mighty stallion Bucephalus, when he conquered the Persians and there was no one left to challenge his brilliance, Kosmic Klowns appeared before him. They congratulated the general, patted him on the back, offered some hemp. Nevertheless they acted with eerie restraint. They asked if Alexander wanted to hear a joke. He said yes, because it wasn’t really a question.
Kosmic Klowns took him to the clouds and showed Alexander the world. Most of it was already in his domain, there was nothing left for him to conquer. So Alexander wept and Kosmic Klowns laughed.
Then Kosmic Klowns pulled the veil off Alexander’s eyes. They showed him two masses of land – they were so huge Alexander refused to believe they were real – connected by a narrow strip, as if holding hands. They showed him a continent formed of ice and rock. They showed him heavenly archipelagos, breathtaking mountain peaks, deserts whose resemblance Alexander recognized, and deserts that were nothing like he ever saw. They flew above unending oceans of steppe until they ended, and then they flew above unending oceans. Alexander set foot on the moon, pierced the sun and came out unburnt, left the Milky Way and breathed distilled vacuum into his lungs. He saw stars being born and supernovae exploding. He saw microscopic starscraps embed earth’s surface and become life. Kosmic Klowns showed him human greatness and their horrible follies to be. Brilliant minds that would do astonishing things and even greater minds that wouldn’t, because they were born poor or cripple or unlucky or women. Alexander saw the vilest, most terrible, most unthinkable – though they had been thought of, obviously – things humans had done and would do one to another. Some of them were of his own making.
And he also saw the unexplainable compassion, empathy and humanity that sprouted there in spite of everything. They showed him why against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain, and how stupidity falls against the simple inertia of progress. They showed his empire crumbling and falling like a house of cards. Alexander did not know what a house of cards was, so they showed him that too. Kosmic Klowns showed Alexander things he’d never get to see. And he cried once more and they laughed once more.
Alexander died not long after. They said it was fever or something.
— Wulf de Butterbroder
app. year 150 After Damascus