An editorial by Dr. Francis Niemann, as provided by J. Rohr
Photograph by Dawn Vogel
Damnation through salvation. The concept isn’t new. As St. Bernard of Clairvaux observed, “L’enfer est plein de bonnes volontés et désirs.” Or, in a more familiar fashion, the path to hell is paved with good intentions. Consequently, the promise of a better tomorrow may be exactly what undoes the world.
I don’t mean to be pessimistic. However, there are those who’ve espoused the notion my picture appears in the dictionary next to the definition of cynic. I laugh whenever someone mentions as much to me because I know that most people don’t understand the true nature of cynicism. It’s bred from failed romanticism: the constant ability to perceive how the world could be soured by the recognition of what humanity chooses instead. Naturally, people with a contrary perspective immediately call up a litany of meaningless examples. For instance, only the ignorant believe Pasteur’s hunt for disease occurred without any flagrant self aggrandizement; and additionally, it was Koch, not Pasteur, who humbly proved that specific, individual germs kill people. The fact of the matter is that while there are those who do well for humanity, they rarely act altruistically, and they pale in comparison to the majority.
In 1997, I developed an edible compound which contained a range of nutritional benefits. The intention was to devise a low-cost, nutrient-rich supplement. It did not sell very well until my business partner decided to deep fry the compound in bar form. Like overheated miso, deep frying killed off roughly 70 percent of the bar’s beneficial elements. Thus, a supposedly healthy alternative to cheese sticks made it into the market. Invariably, people tend to choose what they want over what they need, and they will utilize an extensive array of twisted reasoning to make it seem as if want is need.
Still, I made a lot of money off that endeavor. Yet, feeling a bit disgusted over exactly how I made it, I decided to put that money to good use. Thus, the International Center for Advancement was born. In the beginning, we boasted to be on the verge of radical technological advances, but then, after only three years, the doors closed. The closure stirred little outside interest, though a small group of scientists persistently wished to know what happened. For the last decade, I’ve been trying to avoid answering that question. But on the eve of Professor Pavel Sobakevich’s impending announcement, I feel the need to speak.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2013 collection.
Dr. Francis Niemann is best known as the inventor of Altee Snacks, the fun fried way to stay healthy. He graduated from Stanford, though the university does not like to acknowledge any association with him. Once highly respected, his work to prevent technological advancements has made him a pariah in the scientific community. Dr. Niemann is currently touring the globe to promote his theory of balanced dependence.
J. Rohr has a taste for history and midnight barbeques. Internationally published, his work has appeared in places such as Jupiter, Annalemma, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia. Having recently finished a novella entitled Home Sweet Homicide: a tale of reasonable madness, he is operating the blog www.honestyisnotcontagious.com to deal with some of the more corrosive aspects of everyday life.
Dawn Vogel has been published as a short fiction author and an editor of both fiction and non-fiction. Although art is not her strongest suit, she’s happy to contribute occasional art to Mad Scientist Journal. By day, she edits reports for historians and archaeologists. In her alleged spare time, she runs a craft business and tries to find time for writing. She lives in Seattle with her awesome husband (and fellow author), Jeremy Zimmerman, and their herd of cats. For more of Dawn’s work visit http://historythatneverwas.com/Follow us online: