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Saturday, September 21, 2002

Planet Misanthropia

Andrew* coincidentally posted a journal entry very related to my last one at nearly the same time.

And here are some followup thoughts sent in an email last night:

Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2002 12:21:36 -0700 (PDT)
From: Simon Funk

> I react your letter as a call for help, though I am
> not confident that that is what it is.

No, not really--not in the way you mean it. I'm not asking for anything different from the people I know -- I'm asking for a different world! And I have a lifetime of practice at having a bleak outlook, so I'm fairly immune to it, down deep. Perhaps I revel in the dark ironies and dismal truths simply because there are no comparable positive extremes right now to stir the emotions. Or perhaps it brings out the world in brighter relief against such a background. Perhaps it is like a taste for spicy foods.

The entry was biased and unbalanced in that I didn't speak of any of the positives which do exist. Surely I could speak all day of the good in people I know (though perhaps only for a few minutes of the good in people in general :). I am not blind to that; it is equally part of my model. But, subtly, that was my point--that all of the good I see in people is built upon the rules of a universe that is not mine, built upon premises, desires, and protocols which are all foreign to me, which simply can't be rectified with my own mental space.

So that is the irony of it, the palpable fact that pokes and prods at me regularly, that I bear witness to all of these positives in this other universe for which I seek analogues in mine. To really grok what I'm saying here, you have to accept for the sake of argument that I am, effectively, a space alien stranded here on earth (cliche as that might be). Imagine from that perspective just for a moment and I think you'll get a better sense of where I'm at. Imagine you were stranded on the planet of Borzabda-ka-ak-shhhhhh, and think of what your journal would sound like: "Today, I finally found an ak-zee pod which may be willing and able to manufacture a sutable core for my makeshift engines. At this rate I don't know if I'll get off this planet before I die, but I have to keep trying. In the meantime, I've been painting some [pic enclosed], and tried my hand at writing a few songs [not 'till I get a little better!]. I've stopped jumping off the dbeh'r cliff since the winds are down and I almost couldn't stay aloft last time, and besides it's just not as fun as it was when it was new and exciting. The Borzabdians continue to be a fairly nice race, though their minds work so differently I don't think they'll ever truly accept me, nor will I likely ever relate to their rituals and customs. One who I thought I knew fairly well gave me a zubrek-eb-eb worm as a gift on my neg-neg day (the semi-annual aniversary of my first ride on a neg-neg--don't ask), which promptly ate all of my rations and left me starving for nearly a week until my next yigzy plant bloomed. Apparently, that's what zubreks do. I'm quite unsure how to interpret the gift. I get no end of subtle to overt pressure from the Borzabs to 'stop being so stubborn and just engage my rugnia' but of course I no more have a rugnia than they have amygdalae. I don't think a Borzab could ever truly grok my situation here, short of getting stranded on earth. And even then, the depth of it probably wouldn't sink in until it had lived through an entire mating cycle there--though I'm told a Borzab would flat out die under such circumstances, so perhaps it's simply impossible for them to understand. Ah well, enough bitching. My last coat of nuri blood is dry and I should paint the next layer before the suns go down. Signing off..."

A positive outlook under such circumstances would allow you to find the best in your fellow Borzabdians, yadda yadaa, but nothing will change that you're stranded there alone. You might eventually grok the function of the rugnia, and even be able to fake it, and even enjoy it at some level, but ultimately you're just faking it, and that's that. So you poke a hole in your nuri's blue side, and paint another blue sky, and then the smoke trail of the escape pod, and then your best rendition of a lone human female walking toward you from the wreckage. Damn if only your nuri could bleed flesh tones--the women always come out looking a little green.


It's an age-old rant. Really I'm sorry to bore you with it.


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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com