The philosopher came closer and sat on the black rock. “I think I can help you” he said. Cerberus stopped crying. He raised his middle head so as to better listen to what a philosopher would say about all this. He had to find a solution quickly. It had been centuries since he decided to do something about his life and he wouldn’t wait.
He would not use eternity as an excuse anymore. It was about time he took the big step. He wanted to live in a sunnier place. He hated Haros and all that bragging about his stupid boat and those names he and his Siren friends called him all the time. Of course, Hades was the best place for you if you were a monstrous dog with three heads, huge teeth and red eyes. It was actually the only place where you could find a permanent and well paid job without having to live in a cage, being whipped all the time or jumping through flames before a cheering crowd. Being the chief guard of Hade’s Gates was nice for the first five centuries. Then, Cerberus had had it.
He was so tired of the darkness and dead people. He was fed up with their anger, their fears, regrets and oh dear gods, all those unfulfilled missions.
They were all convinced they had left behind unfinished stuff and insisted on going back, fulfill them and then die. That was definitely the worst part of his job. He spent most of his working hours trying to keep dead humans inside Hade’s Gates.
It was inconceivable for the dead those days to accept that life didn’t necessarily have to mean anything. It was impossible to make them understand that it was absolutely okay to be born, live and die without doing anything remarkable in between. Just live with no miracles or uniqueness involved, just plain good biology. It was completely beyond his comprehension why humans would believe that crap, why there had to be something more to them, an inner light, a higher purpose, a meaning.
He certainly had underestimated Hybris. She had done an excellent job. Her priests had filled those poor people’s minds with lots of flattering stuff to help them cope with their unimportant, ugly lives and make money for the temple. It worked very well for the people and the temple.
The whole conception was so simple and yet dam clever. If someone convinces you that the universe has a plan just for you, you feel unique. You feel important. It made people get up in the morning because they now knew, that life would soon reveal their purpose. They only had to have their eyes, ears and hearts open to recognize the signs and most importantly, they had to be thankful every single day for everything life had given - or not given -them.
From that moment on, it was like a virus infection. Once you heard those words, you were instantly turned to a happy moron. You saw signs and meanings and messages from the gods all over the place and if kicked in the butt you were thankful for maybe this was a sign too.
Cerberus knew from the beginning that humans were badly fooled. After all he was immortal and had to live in the dark for an eternity. What kind of higher purpose would that be? And on top of it, he had to cope with hundreds dying every day complaining about their unfulfilled missions or surely having missed the signs, all ending up shouting and trying to escape from Hade’s Gates. And as the chief Guard of the Gates, Cerberus had to protect Hades image too.
He tried logic once “just because your parents abandoned you in the jungle, it doesn’t mean that you should become the Lord of the Jungle. Oh, and apes don’t always eat bananas”. Then he tried lies and even flattery “this is the most suitable place for your own personal mission. You know… the one the universe has just for you? You must certainly be the Messiah of Hades. Just wait for the signs and you will believe me”. Nothing worked. Someone already tricked by flattery isn’t easy to trick again unless you give him something a lot bigger. If one’s mind is already near the sun, being promised the moon is of no interest at all. You have to blow one’s mind sometimes.
The philosopher lit his pipe and exhaled a large cloud of smoke and then started making smoke rings looking very thoughtful. Cerberus tried not to keep his hopes high. One of the things he learned after dealing with dead philosophers all this time, was that whenever a philosopher doesn´t feel the need to grab his last chance for philosophy right away, then it is possible that he has nothing philosophic to say and most probably never had.
- The problem is, that you don´t value your existence enough.
- And how is that?
- You see our existence is a lot more than the things we already know my dear Cerberus. There are things beyond me and you. Beyond life and existence. Just waiting to be revealed.
- Oh? And what more would there be beyond life, death, Hades and the gods?
- I’m not talking about the present necessarily.
- Okay, you are telling me that there is life after eternity?
- I’m not talking about life after eternity. It's all about your life during eternity.
- What about it?
- Our life you see, has a higher purpose. The universe has a special plan just...
- ...for me?
- And I suppose I have to keep my eyes, ears and heart open to recognize the signs?
- That's the spirit. And don't forget to be thankful...
- Oh, yes. That too. And your purpose in life? Has the universe revealed it for you?
- Well, that's what I wanted to talk to you about in the first place. I need a favor. Tell me, are you acquainted with the philosophical term “unfulfilled missions”?
Inspired by: Atheist Ethicist :D