The Genie

You’re relaxing one Saturday afternoon, just minding your own business, when a genie pops out of your sink. He doesn’t grant you three wishes. Not even two. You have one wish. What do you choose? Good grades, new clothes, free college? I would be tempted to ask for world peace, but I would hesitate.

I would ask the genie to never grant a wish again.

Why? When I could’ve asked for anything, why did I request the end of this genie’s wish-granting career? Simply because I don’t believe any human being should have that power. I would feel spoiled and entitled for getting whatever I wanted, even if that meant good for everyone. But what would make my wish better than someone else’s? Subjectively, I would be making the best decision. But things like genie wishes are all relative. Most things are relative, I feel. However, what if somebody’s subjective view of right was to wish harm upon humanity? It would conflict with my personal vision. What is right and what is wrong? Is there an objective standard, and if there is, what is based on? Why? Both myself and the evildoer are of equal worth as human beings. So, if my wish to grant world peace was granted, wouldn’t I be getting special treatment? Life doesn’t work that way. Nobody should just get what they want, because what’s good for one person may not be good for another. World peace is a very general request. What if “peace” was just a tense, false sense of calm about to explode into a bloodbath? I didn’t specify, and I couldn’t. All the nuances would be too much to fathom on the spot.

But what if I’d asked for something smaller, like free college? Well, where would that money come from? Wouldn’t I be placing myself ahead of some other well-meaning student? My blessing is another’s curse. Even the smallest of wishes–something like a new plastic trinket–could disrupt the natural flow of life. You spent time thinking about the trinket, and it drifted you to another thought. If you hadn’t gotten the trinket, what would you have thought of? What if that thought could’ve led to something wonderfully inspiring? The ripple effect is real. Free wishes throw things off. The raw truth of reality is that nothing is ever without cost. There’s always some price, no matter how small.

How did this genie get power anyways? Did it appear out of nowhere? It had to have some origin. Who made it this way? Even if there was no maker, there had to have been some force. Everything is guided by something, even if that something is just the very general idea of fate. But who gave fate its power? And who gave fate’s master its power? It becomes like a reverse Russian nesting doll, each power having originated from another even more powerful. Imagine the paradox of opening something small and finding something bigger. We get into the complexities of time, origin, meaning, order, flow–reality.

Or maybe I’m just overthinking fairy tales.


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