Counting Sacrifices

Article by Thomas Davidsmeier

My bees died. They were alive at Christmas, but dead by New Year’s. It wasn’t the trendy Colony Collapse Disorder where they all leave and the hive is empty. No, it was a winter kill.  They all died right there, in the hive, heads down in their comb desperately looking for honey that was only a few inches away.

Looking at my dead bee civilization, I was struck by how similar this experience was to something that I thought was impossible to imagine.

John C. Wright’s Count to Infinity is an amazing book that explores ideas and events beyond the scope of any book I’ve ever even heard of.

War tearing apart a galaxy far, far away?

Try two galaxies fighting a war with each other that rip them apart.

Men who live for thousands of years and fight duels with swords over and over because there can be only one?

Try men who live for billions of years and fight duels with unimaginably powerful weapons because there can be only one.

The fate of the world hanging in the balance?

Try the fate of all creation past and present, all who have ever lived and died, hanging in the balance.

At one point, a character realizes that civilizations have been being born, growing, doing their great work, and then dying, all for that character’s benefit. And, that character hasn’t been aware of them at all, like a person is unaware of the cells in their body that live and die for their benefit.

It was this image that my bees made real to me. My bees lived, worked, and died for their queen. And indirectly, they lived, worked, and died for me. But, like the character in Count to Infinity, I’m forced to admit that I never really knew them. Their sacrifice was one of lessers dying in service of their betters.

This happens often in stories, and John C. Wright is one of the first authors to offer an in story attempt to explain why it was happening in Count to Infinity. But, what happens in Count to Infinity that is even more emphatically superversive, is the sacrifice of a better for a lesser.

I can’t imagine dying to save my bees. I can’t imagine leaving my lofty throne as their keeper and letting my life be taken to save theirs. And yet, that is exactly the idea that is at the heart of the Universe, both the fictional one of Count to Infinity, and the real one.

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him… …For it pleased the Father… …by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” – Colossians 1:16, 19a, 20


Thomas Davidsmeier first novel, Blessings and Trials, will be released by Superversive Press this Easter.