I can’t believe this is actually happening!
Well, sort of. Sometimes it feels like I’ve been waiting for ages, but tonight…well, tonight is just filled with excitement! Father says I’m sure to go Right, which makes sense because Mother did too. He told me when she went through the Filing that she was ninety seven percent pure. Ninety seven percent! Can you believe that? I bet I’ll be lucky to be in the eighties.
I should probably be trying to get some rest, but my eyes are wide open right now. I cannot stop thinking of the ceremony tomorrow and how beautiful my gown will look and how proud Father will be and of oh the so many things that are going through my head right now!
I hope Mikal is Filed right too, I can’t imagine what I would do in his absence. He and I have spent such a long time as Youngers together and I cannot fathom a life with him not in it.
I suppose you’re wondering what that was all about.
Allow me to shed some light. What you just read was an excerpt from the diary of a nice little lady who is about to go through a pivotal point in her life, the Filing. She will be assigned social duties and expectations, a residence, and will become eligible for marital affairs.
You and I should be getting close in the future, as I’ll be guiding you through the goings on at Resurrection. What’s that, you may ask? You probably know it as Planet Earth. See, a group of forward thinking humanitarians thought it would be a good idea to rename the planet, since they started civilization anew. But we’ll get to that later.
Centuries ago, the world was changed in a way that shattered the fabric of society. There are conflicting records of what exactly transpired, but the end result was that the world was conquered and reshaped into one governing culture – an ideaology that favored simplicity, sustainability, and justice. There are a lot of holes in the bits and pieces of information we’ve been able to dig up, but it’s been fascinating to study how humans used to live.
The most commonly accepted recollection is that a conflict began in response to an energy crises thousands of years ago. Evidently the foundation of human civilization back then was built upon the use of scarce, natural resources. Almost everything that the ancients used relied on these “fossil fuels” to function, which were mined and extracted from within the Earth. The problem was that these resources eventually began to run out and when that happened…well, let’s just say that when that happened, the world was forced to change.
Records show that during this time, Earth was split into separate regions or territories called “countries”. Each of these was run by their own governing bodies, and thus they made their own laws and rules. It sounds chaotic, I know – and it was. The different countries were constantly disagreeing with one another, leading to many violent conflicts which were called “wars”. War seems to dominate the historical records, and can basically be summarized by the following. A country (or one of its inhabitants) comes up with an ideology and tries to spread it across the world through diplomacy. Eventually, they clash with a conflicting ideology, which would lead to the conquering country invading the defending country to win over its constituents and spread its ideals. And so it was for many years it seems, as these conflicts happened all the time. Until, of course, the crises that halted everything else.
The day the energy ran out.
Just like Father said, I was Filed Right! And sure enough, my purity score was in the 80s…but so what?! I went Right! Oh this truly is the best feeling ever.
Now I must wait and see if Mikal will be joining me. He has to! He’s one of the purest boys in our whole annex! He’s always helping people and doing everything he can to be as pure as possible.
I wonder what job I’ll take, now that I’m Right. There’s so many exciting things I could be, I just can’t decide on one! Maybe I’ll join the theater. I think I would love a life on stage! Or maybe I’ll be a teacher, I could help our kids appreciate how wonderful our community is! Oh, there are so many options I just don’t know what to do with myself.
I hope Mikal joins me soon!!
Here we are again. I presume most of that didn’t make sense to you either.
Well, here ya go.
When Earth was finally stripped of her last little bits of natural resources, people descended into havoc. There was a several year period where folks reverted to their animal instincts, completely shedding cultural “sophistication” and acting like beasts. Quite literally. And it wasn’t even due to the fact that we’d run out of oil. It was simply because we did nothing to prepare ourselves for the inevitable shortage. The masses looked to global leaders as enemies, power hungry sociopaths who controlled the industry so they could line their pockets.
The social collapse wasn’t based on lack of oil. It was based on revenge. Revenge on those who said we would never see this day, that by the time oil ran out we’d be using something else for our energy. No, the collapse wasn’t driven by the knowledge that there’s no more fuel.
It was driven by hatred and malice for the leaders they trusted.
I hate this place.
Mother told me I’m being too harsh. I know better. This place was created out of fire and brimstone, I’m sure of it. Where else on this God forsaken planet can I go? It’s as if the entire world is brainless.
The Filing was yesterday. I went Left.
At first, I was numb. I’ve spent sixteen years doing everything I was told to do. My entire life, meaninglessly spent in an attempt to appease others. How could the city do this to me? How could they assign me to a life of servitude and labor after all the sacrifices I’ve made?
I hate this world we live in. With every fiber within me, I hate it. I have to act. Something must be done to change things for those like me. I am not a bad person, and I do not foster the malice with which I’ve been branded.
I simply cannot allow this to happen
I don’t know what I’m going to tell Estella.
We were both so sure of ourselves. What am I going to do when we’re separated? I cannot stand the thought of it. We love each other so, so much. How could this have happened? How could they strip us apart, like we’re…subhuman? I hate the Filing. I said it in my last entry, and I’ll say it again. I hate it with everything in me. Someone has to do something.
Our entire childhood has been spent together. The image still burns my mind; her, silently walking to the front of that massive, ornate room. The rest of us, the ones whose names had yet to be called, all sitting in silence as we waited for her to be Filed. My heart warmed as the Panelist shouted “Right”!
I knew I would be standing with her shortly. I knew I would be Filed Right, along with her and the rest of the Pure. I can still see her, slowly turning around as she looked for me in the mass of motionless, sitting bodies still waiting to be called. I can still see her as she was ushered through the doors to wait with the others.
Now, two tortuous days later, I find myself locked in my room with a heart filled with hatred. I refuse to leave, refuse to report to the Overseers in charge of introducing me to my new, pathetic life. Mother tells me that these thoughts are exactly what have put me in this predicament to begin with. But these thoughts are foreign to me. I’ve always kept a Pure heart…always did the right thing. Who is anyone else to say I did good acts solely for the sake of appearance. My intentions were never misguided. I don’t care what they say.
I must face Estella before I leave. I just don’t know how.
God give me strength. I’m going to need it.
The plot thickens!
Forgive me- you must excuse my whimsical recounts of these sad, passion-infused diary posts. I find it hard to entertain myself after reading such depressing recollections of heartbreak, injustice, and the like. Not to mention the fact that there are millions of other stories just like the one you’re reading. Not because people during this time and age enjoyed keeping diaries, mind you. On the contrary, most people hated keeping one. Unfortunately for them, maintaining a daily journal was a requirement passed down by the Four Founders I mentioned. In an attempt to instill a more accurate view of ones self-awareness, it was law for all citizens to write about their days, thoughts, desires, dislikes, etc. Perhaps even more annoying to most, they were required to read said journal entries often – the intent being that any opportunity to observe your own thoughts from a third person perspective, you learn more accurately who you truly are. Thus, obviously, giving you a better idea of how you can change and become the model human that the Founders thought you should be.
Oh, idealism. Isn’t it wonderful?
Anyway, back to our two lovebirds. I presume by now that you’ve picked up on whose diaries we’ve been reading. Estella, our (sometimes too) bubbly, kind-hearted damsel; and Mikal, her perhaps not-so-self aware love interest. It would be quite a warming tale to be perfectly honest, were it not for a society structured to destroy any hope of them having a life together. I suppose the lingering question at the moment is pretty simple: did that structure succeed in keeping them apart? Oh, the tingle and excitement of uncertainty…don’t you just love it?!
I know I do.
Oh, what shall I do?!
There must have been a mistake. I cannot accept this. Mikal has been Filed left! I shan’t see him again, and my heart aches when I think of it. All this time we’ve spent in anticipation, patiently waiting for the day when we would be Filed together. How could this have happened? He is pure! More so than me, I know it!
I asked Father what could be done. He says there is nothing we can do to change the decision. Mikal will live a life of production and servitude. It isn’t fair! He always did what was right. Always! How can they possibly say he was not pure enough? He was more genuine than any of the others. And there are so many who were Filed right who are surely less so than my Mikal.
Oh, I know not what to do. My heart yearns for him. The constant pain I feel when he occupies my thoughts is just unbearable.
What can I do?
Almost makes you feel sorry for the girl, huh?
Funny thing, love. It’s different in everyone’s eyes, wouldn’t you say? After all, are we sure our good friend Mikal here was intent on the benevolence of his little fling with Estella? Or did he just play the game the right way so he could land the beautiful girl? Is that love? Surely something sinister had to be going on under the hood for him to be Filed left, right? If the higher ups had all that science stuff going on, isolating all those “good” and “bad” chemicals, could one really argue the result?
That’s a load of questions, I know. I just can’t help but find myself asking them as I read through these diaries. I often ask myself where the line should be drawn, in fact.
Who’s to say what’s good and bad anyway?
A curious thing happened today.
I was visited by a Younger who had just completed his Filing. He has graduated from his childish status and was Filed Left to become a Contributor. I recall him approaching me this morning, slowly opening the door to my office as he peered inside with a strange glint in his eye. It was most odd. But he excitedly sat down and actually thanked me for my duties of being an Overseer. He told me he appreciated the Filing and that he now understood why he was Filed Left. He told me our process has opened his eyes, and made him realize what true “purity” is.
It is strange. I cannot recall a time before when a child who was filed Left showed such gratitude. Without fail, my experience with those who are Left has been one of contempt. After all, the process is designed precisely for that very reason. They are bad people, therefore their response when being Filed Left is that of contempt and resentment. Those who instead appreciate our process, and are good, would see their Filing as a lesson, and would respond positively – which is precisely why they are Filed Right to begin with. Isn’t it clear that one’s internal thought process and response to adversity defines one’s true moral value?
The Bad deserve to be Contributors. This is known. They should produce consumables and services for the Good, until it is they who grow to be Good. But it is for this that I am at an impasse. This newly Filed Contributor has shown the trait of one that is good. Has our process failed? Have we condemned someone who is Good? He is the only positive thinker in a group that has never failed to foster anger, remorse, and contempt.
What can I do with this Mikal?
That’s all I have to say at the moment. Because to be perfectly honest, my mind is sort of bamboozled. Okay, so let’s get this straight. That was the journal entry of one of the Overseers that make the rules in this place, I’m assuming. Sounds like our boy is making some moves, huh? Isn’t it cool to be able to just sit back and observe as people’s sly little manipulations play out in front of you? Because I’m guessing Mikal’s a smart dude. And I’m guessing he knows that his only ticket to the girl is gaming the system. So sure, why not pretend that you’re a changed man? I mean Hell, he must’ve done a bang-up job if that Overseer dude wrote that wonderful little entry about him, right?
Yeah, I’m thinking Mikal knows how to play. Which again, makes me wonder what his intentions were with our girl in the first place, but I digress. Maybe its possible to simultaneously be good at the game and be able to love after all.
….or is it? I don’t know.
She’s going to be mine. I cannot stand the thought of Donavan having her. I must find a way to convince them that I have become Good. That I’m pure.
Today I spoke with the Overseer. I told him how much I appreciated this process, and for opening my eyes. It was something I believe none have done before me. I must do what is necessary to convince them that I am good. The rest just complain, they sit back and they plot their ways of how to break their system. They always fail. They never succeed. It is so much easier, to me, to navigate this system and act the way I am expected so I can turn my misfortune into opportunity. Yes, I will use their system against them. I will make it my own, and through my efforts return to my love…my Estella.
Well well well, what have we here? Does he love her? What do you think? She’s going to be mine. Sort of an odd term to use, right? Almost sounds like he views her as property. Property he doesn’t want to share, as it seems.
So, here’s what I wonder: does Mikal love Estella? How does he even define it? If Estella’s future was brighter, hypothetically, with someone else, shouldn’t that be a good thing? Because when you love someone, its unconditional. You want them to be happy don’t you? Or is love only present when it serves our own ends?
Its a question that could persist forever. And truthfully one for which I doubt we will ever have a really good answer. Because no one wants to admit these things, for some reason, but they’re true. I think its safe to say that Mikal is only going to “love” Estella if she loves him back. Which clearly she does, based on previous readings.
Either way, he’s a sneaky little bugger isn’t he? Manipulating the manipulators.
Good for him.
Days and days of work. Raw hands, tattered hair, and dry, cracking skin.
I find pause in my attempts to deceive my arbitrators. My plan to prove my purity has gone awry. The Overseer of my block is not content with the work that we are doing, and he takes out his frustrations on us frequently. The project with which we are tasked, of course, is that of building their monument. A monument that is dedicated to our Founders. Once complete, it shall overlook the entire community.
The hand that feeds, indeed. For that is how they view themselves. If only they knew how brittle their structure truly is. Recently I’ve made attempts to speak reason to those I know I can trust. Oliver, the bread makers son, agrees that we are living as livestock. He sees our rulers chains for what they are. He knows, as I do, that this way of life cannot go on. We must change this. For there is no greater sin than that of idle hands. This is what must be done. There is no longer a choice. For me. For you. For them.
For my Estella.
Sounds like our guy is falling a little deeper into the depths of depravity, no? Openly acknowledging his attempts of deceit and manipulation? Ballsy move, if you ask me. What if these Overseer people busted his door down and found his journal? He’d be screwed, right? Not that he’s given them reason to, I imagine, but still. You never know.
Anyway! I suppose I should eventually fill you in on a little more background here. Because according to what I’ve dug up, Mikal ends up causing quite a stink. It’s funny, don’t you think? It’s like…you look back at history, and the people we tend to remember are the annoying ones who didn’t wanna follow the rules anymore. Those guys who just got pushed a liiiiiittle bit too far, and then bam. They snap and end up changing everything.
Weird how the world works, no?
I must say, I now understand why Mikal was Filed to the Left.
Today the Overseer collected all of the town’s new Files, and took us into a room in the Capitol Building where much was revealed. He explained the process of deceit, and how those who are Filed left falsify their behaviors to project the image they believe others desire. It was a taxing day for me mentally, as I never imagined the mind of someone such as my Mikal to be so sinister. He always seemed so…good. Could it truly be that his behavior was not aligned with his intentions?
It is a worrisome thought, and one not without grave consequences. For if it is true, I shall find myself partial to Donovan, which will surely break Mikal’s heart were he to ever learn of my affection. After all, Donovan has been adamant about striking a relation with me and was awarded an honorable position after being filed Right with the Office of Entertainment. The union would be a logical one.
I must think on this for some time, I’m afraid. The thought that my Mikal is capable of such evil is vastly disheartening, yet I cannot turn on him just yet. I must consider the validity of the Overseer’s methods of determining his true character.
Mikals love is complicated, to be sure.
They’re funny things, these journals. The goal was to obtain the unfiltered thoughts of what’s going on in the heads of individuals. What resulted is a treasure trove of deep seeded, unabridged thought. It really helped those pulling the strings, as being able to purloin entries at will gave them a very accurate picture of public perception.
….oops. Did I just give away a much bigger plot? Forgive me. One story at a time.
It’s the gray area that I’m most concerned with. Why does Estella think Mikal is evil simply for being deceptive? After all, he only wants to return to a life with the one person he truly loves. Is his manipulation indicative of malice? I think not. Sure, misleading others to obtain things we want is an unavoidable component of the human condition that many people frown upon – but in this case, he just wants a life with his love.
Is that evil?
Pain. It’s all I feel. It’s the only thing that keeps me going in this life of Left. Every day I wonder what Estella is doing. Every day I yearn to convince the Overseers that my mind is pure. But how can I? How can I, when they say they have the tools to look into my thoughts? To measure chemicals and observe reactions. It’s a system I cannot overcome. How can they possibly know what I think? Their faith in this technology will be my undoing.
And yet I cannot concede. My life has but one purpose; I must be with my Estella. My love for her shall never cease. I must find a way to break the chains that bind me, to free myself from this lifetime of servitude.
And so I shall.
You know, I generally try to maintain a neutral feeling when I sift through these journal entries. Helps keep me sane, ya know? But I have to admit, I’m sort of feeling for Mikal. It sounds like he played his cards just a bit too poorly and ended up getting the shit end of the stick.
Maybe he doesn’t see the good in other men. Maybe he views the world as a blank canvas that’s just waiting to be painted on, and whoever paints the best wins. Is this how life is supposed to be? A constant attempt of trying to outdo the other guy so we can parade our marketability? Depth is a dwindling trait, indeed. But I choose to believe that life is more than that. It’s the experience of experiences; the short window where we get to cram in as much happiness as we can. Because ultimately that should be the goal in all endeavors. To generate happiness. Everything we produce, everything we create, everything we imagine…should be conceptualized to further and better the lives of us as biological organisms. Create happiness. That is the key to life.
Oh, and yes, I know that was a rant.
I miss him. I miss him so, so much. Earlier today I took a walk along the river and sat at the spot Mikal and I used to catch fish. I recall the time he brought me there for an actual picnic…where we could eat outside without worry of the Overseers finding us.
He set it all up, the crazy boy. We snuck out after curfew and he had everything all planned out. There was even a stocked basket waiting for us when we got to our spot.
And yet I’m now told that Mikal was fostering sadistic thoughts toward me the whole time, and that’s why he was Filed left. They tell me he doesn’t truly care for me, that he merely pretends so he can have me. It just cannot be! He always respected me.
Father is pressuring me to obtain a husband. He clearly favors Donovan. I shan’t argue, but I wish so, so deeply that my Mikal would be the one I wed.
I miss him so much.
Oh, Estella. In spite of my usually whimsical self, I feel for that girl. Imagine it. The one person you love more than anything in the world, stripped from you without pause or cause for concern. Just like that – gone. Not even a goodbye. Now, I say imagine it….but can you really? Truly consider this: who is the one person on the planet you most assuredly could not fathom life without? Think of their name. Think of their face, greeting you with a warm mug of coffee as you waltz into the kitchen after a hot, fresh shower. Think of their smile as they tell you to have a good day, and the image in your head as you think of them while you’re gone.
And then imagine life without them.
I don’t know what’s good. I couldn’t tell you what’s evil. What I do know, however, through my time sifting through your historical records – is that humans have a grand capacity to feel. Now you might be questioning what I mean by that. But I would urge you to instead focus on that statement. What do you think constitutes good and evil? Is it our actions? Or rather, our intentions? Because the two most certainly do not correlate often.
You see, we all justify our actions, as good or bad as they may be. We all have a story we tell ourselves as we lay our heads down which allows us to purge our guilt and remorse from our thoughts. None of us would ever admit to being evil, would we? Of course not. That wouldn’t bode well for our facade, after all.
And as we all know, that’s what matters….right?
He came into my office again today.
This Mikal, I am sure we have failed him. His attitude deviates so much from that of his peers. He displays behaviors clearly indicative of one who should have been Filed Right. Upon entering, he promptly informed me that the quartermaster of his block was not rationing food properly. At first, I was admittedly tired of the accusation as I assumed it was a ploy to obtain more rations. But what struck me was the fact that once leveled, he was afforded less than before, were he not to bring the mishap to my attention.
Why did he do this? The commissary’s oversight was to his benefit. There was nothing to be gained for his exposure of this error. It is most puzzling. I find myself tempted to submit a revaluation request to this ward’s Governor. I believe our system has failed us, and if we are to accept this society in which we live, we must act when we see egregious errors such as this.
There is much to consider.
Seems like Mikal is getting hotter. Sounds to me like he’s playing the game the right way. Even in the midst of all the labor, the hovels, the dregs of society that he’s forced to associate with…it sounds like our boy is maintaining a pretty convincing image out there. Exactly what he needs to convince the Overseers to give him a second look.
Does that make him fake? Does that make him a sell out? I would say no. I mean who actually wants to manufacture gadgets and serve salads all day to people who think they’re better than they are? I most definitely don’t blame the guy for scheming his way out.
And yet, there are those who would say Mikal is a bad person for doing so. That he’s bad for taking advantage of those not willing to modify their image in the aim of bettering his own position. So, my friend (surely I can call you that by now, right?), what do you think? Is it immoral to desire a better position in life, if it’s at the expense of another? If, of course, that person would do the same to you, given they have the capacity. Is it bad to exploit opportunities when others overlook them?
Personally, I believe there is one constant in this torrential equation of morality: that of Estella. She is the only relevant variable amidst all of this, in Mikal’s eyes. Call it Good or call it Evil, but one things for damn sure.
The kid is passionate.
I’ve decided to go through with the wedding ceremony. With Donovan.
Father tells me that there is no better match for me. That Donovan is in a highly respected position, and is of Pure thought. And while that may be so, I dearly miss my Mikal. They continue to tell me that he misled me, that he only wanted to control me, but I cannot cleanse him from my mind. Mikal and I were friends. We loved one another dearly. I remember, as a child, imagining the day when we would join hands in our own wedding ceremonies.
But now that image is gone. I am left with but one option; that of Donovan. He is a sweet boy, and there are no doubts to his intentions. But there is so much missing, so much more that I long for that my Mikal could provide. We had adventures! We took risks. Walks, runs. There was no obstacle we could not overcome. Until the Filing. That awful Filing.
Oh, Mikal…how I miss you.
All these changes of perspectives keep confusing me. One second I pick up an entry from our girl, the next I’m reading something scribbled by our man. And then there’s a random Overseer entry sprinkled in every now and then. It’s hard to keep up, dammit!
Breathe. I should’ve known that this wouldn’t be easy. That I’d be spending all sorts of time trying to catalogue my thoughts and organize these events. Because it’s not easy, you see. No, not easy at all. As a matter of fact it’s taken quite some time in the warehouse of my fragmented mind to put together these entries in such a timely fashion. And I’m not even kidding. Can you imagine how difficult it would be if you stumbled upon a chest full of single journal pages, no order whatsoever and then to read them, file them by writer and then put them in chronological order?! It’s hard!
Breathe. Phew. Alas…such is the struggle of a story teller, you see. It is the mining of thoughts from the deepest chasms of twisted and tormented minds. The perpetual search for the innermost truths, and the endeavor to expose them in the brightest, most radiant light imaginable.
That is the story of Mikal and Estella.
Because at the end of the day, who are we? Or better yet, what are we? Complex, certainly. We are our thoughts. That is our genuine self. And ironically, the only person who ever knows one’s thoughts…is one’s very own self. Sounds lonely, don’t you think? You will be the only individual who ever truly, viscerally knows you.
And for these two, their thoughts drift to each other even in the most unlikely of circumstances.
That is what it means to be truly, in love.
I’ve done it.
I’ve been called the Office of the Overseers.They intend to evaluate me for the first Refiling ever. This is my chance. This is my opportunity to return to Estellla. The others have told me how misguided it was to conform to their system, to show appreciation for the hardened conditions we are put under. But I have resisted. I have maintained my strength. My Love. The desire to share my life with that of Estella.I have made history. And I’ve done it for the heart of my one true love. I knew I was capable. I knew it. I just had to persevere. I had to be patient. Now, all my work and sacrifice has paid off. I have controlled my inner thoughts to fool the technology of the Overseers. Now I can take my place on the Right, which has been justifiably earned.
I have outsmarted them, and it is a grand feeling. Tomorrow cannot come too soon.
Well I’ll be damned, he did it!
Now I’m sure there’s a lot of other stuff that transpired to prove to the higher ups that this guy wasn’t fit to be filed Left, but I suppose the beauty of partial journal entries is that you don’t have to read through all that junk to get to the good stuff. Point is, he did it! Good for him. He manipulated his way out of that horrible life and launched himself into life that he dreamed of.
Or did he?
Blast it. I need to dig through more of this junk. You ancients really should have worked harder on your record-keeping.
My God, what do I do?
Mikal has returned!! My wedding ceremony with Donovan has already been completed and consecrated. How is this possible? All those things they told me about Mikal were untrue? He was pure this whole time? I knew it! But Donovan…I know he loves me. He is such a gentle, respected man. But surely he understands the matter. What am I to do? There is no route available to me which does not end in heartbreak!
I shall consider this heavily. Much is at stake; I do not intend for my own desires to hurt others.
Seems our girl is in a bit of a pickle, wouldn’t you say? This is tough. What would you do? Mikal, the guy she’s spent pretty much her whole childhood life with, dealt with Hell and deceived his way out the bad hand that society had dealt him. Seemed to me he loved her quite a bit, from what I’ve read at least. Then there’s the other guy. The safe pick. The guy with the clean record, who has all the right connections and can undoubtedly provide a very comfortable life.
So which is it? Do we go Right or do we go Left? Do we attempt to break the system and rekindle a fiery love or do we simply let the cards fall as they will?
I suppose the ramifications must be considered first. You see, this society that these people created was intended to work seamlessly.These kinds of scenarios should have been ironed out, during the original Filing. A mistake has never been made. And yet now, on the dawn of the very first hiccup this Utopia has ever gurgled, we must consider the most profound decision one can make: who’s heart shall I tear apart?
One will see Good, another will see Evil, indeed.