Let’s Play By D.I. Jolly

“If life is just God and the devil playing chess, and we’re all pawns, then who are the other pieces?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, only half the pieces on a chess board are pawns. So, who are the king and queen, who are the knights, the bishops and the castles?”

“Uummmm, I think you’re taking this metaphor a bit too seriously.”

“Am I? Or are you not taking it seriously enough. I mean, in chess if you get a pawn across the board it can become a different more powerful piece. Maybe that’s a way of saying it’s possible to become more than what you started as. What if those pieces are the innovators, the drivers of industry and change? Da Vinci could have been a Knight thinking in new and different directions. Dr King and Gandhi bishops driving the world to change. Justinian a King in the true sense, leading people into a new world.”

“Wait, who?”

“A Roman emperor, amazing man, had the Hagia Sophia built. Changed the world through personal drive.”

The table fell into a comfortable silence as both men thought about it, looking at the old metaphor through new eyes. After a while his friend broke the silence.

“I think the thing that bothers me most about this idea isn’t that it implies the existence of God and the devil, it’s that for a game to truly have meaning someone has to be able to win. And if you factor in God and the devil, and the original confrontation where Lucifer announced that he was more powerful than God, then, if he could win, that, that would prove him right and God wrong.”

“Well, unless this is just the test, Lucifer announces his belief in himself, God challenges him to a chess game to see if he’s right.”

Silence hit them again but this time it seemed to bring a coldness with it.

“But that would mean, that all of existence as we know it, all life as we know it really is a just chess game and … that it doesn’t matter who wins because once the game is over… it’s all over.”

Another cold shiver hit them both and they looked away from each other, suddenly feeling uneasy and unsure of their place in the universe. Time slipped by as they sat motionless, both desperately trying not to think, then suddenly he rose, walked across the room and started setting up an old chessboard his grandfather had given him.

“What are you doing?”

“The way I figure it is, as long as a chess game is being played then the chess game can’t be over and that will at least give us that much time.”

“That’s ridiculous!”

“Yes, yes it is.”

He smiled at his friend who stared at him for a moment, then smiled himself.

“Shall we get a drink after this?”

“I think I’d like that.”