The perfect suicide | Technology
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Throwing his darts with singular skill, one of the patrons of the Wandering Tavern said:
—The history of humanity could be told using the evolution of throwing weapons and throwing instruments, such as the slingshot, the stolic or the bow, as the common thread.
“Very true,” agreed another of those present, “but it must be said that these weapons have an important limitation: with the notable exception of the boomerang, they cannot be used properly against oneself and, therefore, they are not useful for suicide. The legendary cowboy from the Wild West, to avoid being tortured by the Apaches, he could shoot himself in the temple with his Colt 45; the tiger hunter about to be hunted had the recourse of putting the barrel of his rifle in his mouth and blowing his brains out; the disgraced samurai performed harakiri with his sharp ceremonial tanto… But a desperate archer could not take his own life with his emblematic weapon.
“A pity,” interjected a third, “because, as Zen archery teaches us, the expert archer becomes one with the arrow he shoots, taking one’s life with the bow would be the fullest and most perfect form of suicide.”
“It would be and it is,” added the tavern keeper from behind the bar, “because, although it is not easy to commit suicide with a bow and arrow, it is not impossible either, and in my long wandering through space I have known three cases worthy of mention.
“The first of these self-immolated archers was very accurate. He shot with such precision that, when he decided to leave this cruel world, he traveled to the planet Pilas, where the wind does not blow and the earth does not tremble, and shot an arrow towards the zenith. So exactly did the arrow stick to the vertical that, after exhausting his momentum and reaching the point of maximum height, he retraced the path traveled by gravity and went to stick himself in the head of the suicide.
“The second archer was very fast: an Arthurian hexapod who ran so fast that, in full run, his lower limbs looked like a dozen instead of half. He shot the last of his arrows horizontally, then ran after it, caught up with it, passed it, got in his way, and caught it in his heart.
“The third goalkeeper was very strong. He landed his starship on a solitary planetoid with low gravity and uneven surface, and, drawing his mighty bow to full for the first and last time, he fired at his distant enemy, which was himself. The arrow circled the small planet and struck deadly in its back.
The texts in this series are brief narrative approaches to that “great game” of science, technique and technology -three inseparable threads of the same braid- that is transforming the world faster and faster and in which we all must participate as players, if we do not want to be mere toys.
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