by their fruits ye shall know them
An inexpensive item that helped Edward in his social work was a megalith, carved in the shape of a head, purchased from De Silvestri’s Novelties and Gifts in Times Square for $18.95. It had a tiny tape recorder inside capable of recording a short message, such as are sometimes found in greeting cards, and a pressure sensor at the base.
Edward purchased the head on a vacation to New York City thinking it would be useful in his intergalactic social work someday and kept it in the trunk of his spaceship.
One day he traveled to Deneb 86-C, a moon upon which a race of echinoderms had recently achieved civilization. He learned that they worshiped the Great Living Sea that Birthed All Things and had endured ten billion generations of savage war. He had an idea. He learned enough of their language to record upon the recording device “Yes” in their language.
Deep in a cave on the planet he placed the Impressive Stone Head. He told the echinoderms that when they felt they had sinned against the Living Sea (which they did through warfare and cannibalism of their offspring) they should take a boulder to the head and leave it and ask if they were forgiven.
The Impressive Stone Head taught the creatures to forgive themselves.
Years later when they got access to his files they complained. “The voice of the Great Living Sea that Birthed All Things is a novelty that you purchased in Times Square for $18.95.”
Edward said “Who is to say that the Great Living Sea cannot speak through a novelty that can be purchased for $18.95”
They said “But it always says yes. It is a trick.”
Edward said “Who is to say that the Great Living Sea cannot speak through a trick?”