In the Realm of Possibility lived a little Kernel named Doubt. Nobody really liked Doubt because he was always causing trouble. Whether it was breaking up relationships, ending careers or just causing general unease, doubt was always being naughty, but the worst thing Doubt did, yes the worst thing by far, was when he committed murder.
Doubt didn’t mean to cause trouble; he just did what came naturally. He didn’t have a tactic or plan of action. He didn’t set out to hurt anyone. In fact, Doubt often wondered why bad things happened when he was around. It seemed that his mere presence made the optimistic people in the Realm of Possibility lose perspective and start wondering. He didn’t have to say a word.
Oh, but when he did start talking, things went from bad to worse.
You could ask Joy what it was like to listen to Doubt, but she was no longer around. The people of Possibility missed Joy’s laughter and love, but what they missed most was her happiness. When Doubt killed Joy, he changed the very fiber of the realm.
The things that made Joy Joy were also what killed her. The people of the Realm of Possibility thought that if only Joy had turned away when Doubt started talking, she would still be with them. But Joy couldn’t do that. She always wanted to help, to make others as happy as she was. So when Doubt started asking questions, she tried to answer, never knowing the answers were going to be the end of her, and that they would plunge the realm into sadness.
The first question of, “Why are you happy all the time?” was innocent enough.
Joy gladly replied, “Because the world is beautiful, the people are safe and secure, and life is good.”
“What about Mary and Sam? They’re no longer together. Their world fell apart.”
Joy paused a minute before answering, thinking about the couple who had recently broken apart. “They will find their way. Maybe not together, but the world is full of happiness. We just have to be open to new things.”
Doubt shook his head. “Sometimes people can’t cope. I’ve seen them do terrible things to themselves and each other. How do you account for that?”
The thought of her selfish sister touching the inhabitants of Possibility made Joy weep. “Sometimes Despair reaches them before I can.” Joy answered. “She causes misery wherever she goes.”
“So life isn’t always good for people, but still, you’re always happy?” Doubt asked.
Joy hung her head as shame overcame her. She had never thought of it that way, but Doubt was right. How could she sit above the world, where nothing touched her, and talk about life being good, when those below were sad and upset. What right did she have to be happy when they were not?
While thoughts such as these swirled through her brain, Joy’s heart withered, until finally, her light went out, the last spark dying in sadness.
It took a while for the realm to figure out what happened. When they did, they went to the zenith to have a word with the Wise, but this time, it wasn’t enough. The Wise didn’t know how to fix things. He couldn’t bring Joy back.
He told them that they could still be happy, that it was possible to make things better again, but they didn’t believe him. Because, you see, in the absence of Joy, even the smallest Doubt is too much, and the people in the Realm of Possibility were lost.