The Mischievous Nerd's Guide to World Domination
Author: Stephen Oberauer

Chapter 72
The truth

The flat we were renting had a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean. It was a quiet evening and we were enjoying a braai on our rather large balcony. We had invited some friends around as a small flat warming party. Raymond was the tong master that night, and tending to the sizzling boerewors, thick, unhealthy and particularly tasty, South African sausage. It was the middle of winter, and some of us had parked ourselves under blankets. The moonlit ocean and the aroma of meat on a wood fire meant that sitting indoors was not yet an option.

‘Nathan,’ Edward began, ‘I enjoyed your speech.’

Dave nodded in agreement.

‘Thank you,’ I replied.

Edward continued, ‘I think we should try and make them happen. I think it’s really something we need to do. Whether we’re going to succeed or not, I don’t know, but they really sound like goals that are worth aiming for, you know?’

‘Totally,’ Dave agreed.

‘Maybe we should get the views of the rest of the BI leadership?’ Rupert suggested.

‘Of course,’ Edward replied, ‘we’ll have to get everyone on board, but let’s discuss it so we’re all on the same page, and then maybe tomorrow we can chat to the other leaders. So, Nathan, which of the three means the most to you? Which one do you want to start first?’

‘I imagine them happening in the order that I spoke about them,’ I replied, ‘I know it might sound far fetched, but I like to believe that it’s possible to teach old dogs new tricks. Shelley and I want to get married, and her parents might not even be at the wedding, simply because their beliefs are not the same as mine. The world is so desperate for unification, and our beliefs are keeping us apart.’

‘I’m sorry, what are you guys talking about?’ Marissa, Raymond’s new girlfriend asked with a puzzled look on her face.

‘Nathan wants to start a truth committee that tells everyone the answer to all of their questions,’ Rupert replied in a slightly sarcastic tone.

‘Right,’ Marissa replied slowly, not quite sure if he was serious or not.

‘I think I’d better explain,’ I started. ‘Truth is not a constant.’

‘Yes, it is,’ Raymond interrupted for fun.

‘You just worry about the meat,’ I replied jokingly and continued, ‘Thousands of years ago, people believed that the Earth was flat. Now we all know that the Earth is round, and that stars are not just holes in a black curtain, and that the Moon is not made of cheese. The planets and stars haven’t changed. What’s changed is that people’s knowledge of the truth has been refined. What I’m saying is that we’ll never really know the truth about everything, but if we have a good system for figuring out the truth, we can do a lot better than trying to figure things out for ourselves.’

‘What kind of system did you have in mind?’ Edward asked.

‘Well, it would have to be something incredibly well thought out, so that it’s as accurate and believable as possible. I don’t have a perfect plan for it, but I have a rough idea. If we actually try to implement it, we can spend a lot more time working out the specifics.’

I continued to explain how the system could work. Half an hour later the meat was ready, so we headed indoors and each grabbed a plate, salad and meat. The ‘Miss South Africa’ beauty pageant was on television, and the girls wanted to watch, so we all sat around the large, plasma television. ‘What’s the criteria for winning a beauty pageant?’ Rupert asked.

‘I have no idea, but I’d vote for her,’ Ryan said, pointing at a lady on the screen.

‘It’s like democracy,’ Edward commented. ‘It’s exactly the same criteria as when you vote for the next president. Whoever is the most popular, the best at promising change and world peace, and looks good in a bikini, gets to wear the crown.’

‘I don’t think our president looks good in a bikini, but the other two sound right,’ Shelley pointed out.

‘They should have a wrestling match for the crown,’ Raymond suggested.

‘Our president wouldn’t do very well in a wrestling...’ I started, and then suddenly realized that Raymond wasn’t talking about politics.

‘I disagree, Ed,’ Dave pointed out. ‘A beauty contest has a far better judging system than democracy. The girls can’t advertise for votes, and they’re judged according to inner strength and maturity and all sorts of factors. Democracy is simply a popularity contest. I’d rather have Miss South Africa running the country.’

‘There should be some sort of a test,’ Raymond suggested. ‘The parties should challenge each other to a game of chess, or even better, Civilization.’

‘Then Nathan would be president,’ Edward remarked.

I smiled.

 

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