I started out dreaming of revenge against my enemies. But then I realized that my enemies were just pawns, enmeshed themselves in a larger system over which they had no control. It was really the system I wanted to destroy.
But I knew from reading history that every time anyone has destroyed such a system, one very like it has sprung up in its place. It seemed that crafting such systems was inherent to the human condition. I realized I would need to destroy all of humanity to get my revenge in full.
But humans are just responding, mechanistically, to drives instilled in them by evolutionary pressures. With humanity gone, these same pressures would simply drive another species into its eco-niche, and all my work would be for naught. True revenge would involve the elimination of all life on earth.
But, although this was clearly necessary, I wasn’t sure if it would be sufficient. Life, we have already established, was merely responding to the pressures of its environment, after all; isn’t the environment—not just life, but the oceans, the weather, the tectonic forces—really to blame? I quickly sketched out a plan to destroy the Earth itself. (Jumping right to this step would be a two birds with one stone situation.)
But what a tragedy it would be if even this, my life’s work should prove to have been in vain! For there are other planets in our galaxy, let alone the rest of the universe, that are theoretically capable of creating and supporting life. What if one of them went ahead and undid all my efforts? Surely as a simple defensive measure I would have to destroy the universe.
This seemed a daunting task! Yet when I looked into it, I found that the second law of thermodynamics was already busy doing just that! While I’d been looking elsewhere, it had been ensuring that the universe was steadily increasing in entropy, leaking heat at every turn until eventually there would be nothing but heat left.
This was a very cunning plan, I had to acknowledge, but it had one weakness. By inexorably frog-marching the whole universe to an equilibrium of heat, the second law had surely crippled its foe, but it had hardly destroyed it. Imagine if my enemies, and the system they lived in, and the life that built that system, and the planet that nurtured that life, and the universe that birthed that planet, all got to spend eternity basking in the warm glow of each other’s heat! That would never do!
And yet, it seemed to make sense to let the second law do the heavy lifting, while I bided my time and perfected my plans.
So now I play the waiting game, until the moment when the universe is dissipated into nothing but heat; and then I will strike!
Revenge is a dish best served cold.