Crash. Something had happened. A man found himself looking at the world in amazement. It was the same old place that he had always known, and yet something was completely different. It all struck him as extraordinarily ordinary.

Looking around, he saw funny little creatures, looking much like himself. At least he assumed so, although he could not know for sure. All he could see of his own being was a torso and a few limbs attached to it. From that observation, he drew the conclusion that the rest of his body, where his eyes were supposedly located, looked similar to that of the other creatures.

What struck him most was everyone’s obsession with what was called “The Tools”. These were mysterious objects located at the end of the creatures’ limbs. Everyone seemed to possess them, although the appearance and functions varied greatly. Some were robust, others fragile. Some were gross, others delicate. Some were suited for large constructions, others for detailed decorations. But regardless of form and function, they keept everyone very busy.

When asking about The Tools, he was told that they had been developed and refined over the ages and passed down from the creatures’ ancestors. He was told that his purpose in life was to make use of them. He was told to get busy. So he started to look around.

It was all quite impressive. He could see traces from the tools everywhere. There were houses in which the creatures could sleep, protected from the outside world. There were roads enabling efficient transport. There were bridges for moving across rivers. It did not seem to have a stop. More stable bridges were constructed. Better houses were built, enabling more creatures to come into the world. With that, more Tools came into being. Eventually, the need for new constructions diminished. But the number of creatures and Tools kept growing.

There were attempts to coordinate and control efforts, but mostly each individual created whatever came to mind at each moment. Some built colossal sculptures and palaces that had to be protected by constructing advanced defense systems. Others focused on refining and streamlining methods of construction. Tools that could create new tools were invented to increase output. And so the output was increased. Exponentially. The man was now uneasy. He witnessed the world being paved with good intentions that had unintended consequences.

The man looked down at his own body and suddenly realized that he had a set of tools himself. What surprised him was that the tools he possessed were in a constant process of creation. He had been building various constructions his entire life. And he had not even been aware that he had been doing it.

At this point, he was reduced to a mere observer as his limbs and Tools were swiftly finishing the object that he was apparently building. As soon as the construction was finished he eagerly examined it. What he had built was a huge colored lens. As he looked through it, the world appeared colored and obscured. And yet, strangely familiar. Then he saw that right next to the lens, there were a whole range of differently colored glasses and lenses. He was stunned. He thought he had been merely observing the world and the folly of everyone around him. Now he was confronted with the realization that he was partaking in the process. And not only that, but his vision of the world had been obscured and distorted by his own creations.

A panic started creeping up his neck. Was he looking through a lens right now? Had he ever seen the world without the distortion of his self-created lenses? How would he ever know? Could he even stop himself from building another lens? He was just about to give up. Give in. Let it all go. His gaze fell down to the ground in hopelessness. Then it dawned on him.

On the ground were shattered pieces of colored glass. He immediately recognised that what had previously crashed was the lens he had been wearing. What had made his experience so vivid was the falling away of the obscuring glass.

He looked down at the Tools. He could now see that they were in fact not attached to his body. He saw small wiggly things at the end of his limbs holding the Tools. The Tools were not part of him. They were not forcing him to do anything. They were simply available to him. He let go.

As he relaxed his hands, the Tools stopped. Everything became quiet. The silence was serene. From this silence, a deep gratitude emerged. He saw that without the Tools that had been passed down to him from his ancestors, he would not have been here. And without the silence, he would not have had a reason to.