Monday, October 10, 2011

A Martian Visit

Imagine, for a second, that you are someone else. This person you've become does not think like you, does not accept the things you've been trained to accept.

Imagine that all you care about is what is. Imagine, instead of proclaiming what ought to be, and defying reality, come whatever may, you only proclaimed what is, and you only cared for what is.

If there is a Power, you would acknowledge that power. If there were no such thing as a soul, you would not pretend there was. If the sky were blue, you would say so, unashamed. Your belief would be like water, forming around the nooks and crannies of reality. I understand if you have a hard time imagining this; it's not an easy thing for hominids to do.

Now, imagine you, as water to reality's cup, did not grow up in America. Imagine you didn't grow up anywhere in the world. Imagine you grew up on Mars. A Martian ape. Isn't that something? What would you, the Martian ape think of these things you hold dear to your heart? Things like equality. Why, the Martian ape would laugh. Equality? There is no equality. People are not equal. What does equal even mean? Must all people occupy the same space at the same time, possess the same physiology, same mind, same everything? Does equality only extend for people, or does it extend to other things, organisms, cells, minerals, atoms? If equality is something we must achieve, can anything exist any differently than anything else? If it can't, how can that produce anything but nothing? People, creatures, minerals, atoms, quarks, these are human concepts, each possessing a level lower than our understanding. If these are to all be truly equal, what is there to be? Everything has parts, has elements, if these parts, and parts of parts are to be Truly Equal, then there can be nothing. The only solution is obliteration. How absurd! You Earthlings have some funny notions.

What about freedom? What does freedom mean? Well, you, the Martian ape, sees this one simply. An object is said to be free if it has the capability to move, and it only has the capability to move if it actually is in motion. Consider, you say, an axle of a cart. This axle is said to be free if if can turn freely. But, say one were to apply friction brakes to the axle, it would not be free to turn, unless a force of sufficient magnitude were applied to it. Consider that all things, even things in a vacuum, will slow down. Friction is everywhere. Thus, something is "free" only if sufficient power is applied to it to make it move, whether this takes a modicum or an abundance of power to accomplish. Freedom is not a state of being, it's merely a lack of restraint, a lack of friction, combined with some motive for power. But it is not the strategic application of restraint, coupled with a similarly strategic application of power, you think, that the Earth apes desire. It's the complete, unfettered destruction of all restraints. You consider that a system of bodies, each perfectly unrestrained, will affect each other, until no motive power existed within any of them. How, with no restraint, entropy's reaping would be swift and complete. The only result of perfect freedom is perfect stillness.

Perhaps democracy will catch your attention. What is democracy? Well, it's the idea that an equilibrium can be achieve if everything is equal and free. Yes, you cry! An equilibrium of a perfectly still nothing! This is the only result, the only end! Perfect Equality can only result in nothing, and Perfect Freedom can only result in stillness, and that is what you will get! You can't believe what you're hearing. The Earthlings must be mad. Perhaps it is the air, perhaps the high nitrogen content keeps the Earth apes in a perpetual mild high. What else could explain this madness?

It suddenly occurs to you that the constant state of chaos on their planet, restrained only by the frail elements of concentrated power that still exist there, are a direct result of these ideas. You also realize why these ideas become popular: They promise power to the apes. It's well known on Mars that apes crave power; that is why power is kept from them, instead locked away, and used only by the strongest, smartest, most rational ape. If all apes played the game, seeking power, all the time, it might not look like Earth, you think, but it could not possibly look better than Earth. 

The Earth apes cry for "freedom" and they really want an opportunity for power. They cry "equality" in the hopes that some other ape will be stripped of their power, allowing them to move in and occupy the vacuum. You realize that this means war. Eternal war. The Hell?

It takes you a while to realize that simple Martian expression of disbelief is actually a double entendre in context.

You begin to understand why any resistance on Mars is crushed ruthlessly and brutally. You used to think it was regrettable, such savagery. Martian apes hanging publicly in the streets for their crimes. Surely a civilized people would be more discreet! You comprehend now, that if that were not done, if the search for power were not met with vicious brutality, that soon, apes would disguise their lust with the favored axioms of Earth, and the result would only be war. You now realize why Martian conquest is brutal and relentless. Why those who resist are systematically slaughtered to the last ape. Were they not, they might come to believe that their resistance was not just possible, but justified. That peace and progress are not just acceptable losses, but suitable sacrifices, for the goal of their individual power, dressed in a suitable euphemism. (You briefly reflect on how, to an Earthling, "progress" means precisely the opposite of what it does to a Martian.) And if the Emperor left those lands unconquered? They might grow fat, with hidden tendrils of power, and it might be uncontrolled, untrained, vicious lust that rang victorious in that final war, as happened so many times in the great Earth wars that by the end, they were wars of Vice against Vice. No, truly it is better to pursue the swiftest, most final victory.

You're a Martian ape, alone on Earth. One of a handful of tourists that comes each year (Martians do not find Earth to be a particularly pleasant place). You realize that everyone around you, though they are apes, just like you, are completely, totally evil. You realize that even though they do not think of themselves as evil, and even though they think of you as evil, objectively, it is they that are evil, and you who is not. Because they do not wish to fill the cup. They do not bow to reality. They act only on vices disguised, through generations of practice, as virtues. You are one ape, of a handful, in a sea of apes on this blue planet, who is not evil.

The next day you book your return flight to Mars. 

1 comment:


    Source for friction in a vacuum.