Difference between revisions of "Essay:Human Chauvinism"
(b a c k g r o u n d)
Revision as of 23:18, 4 December 2019
The Discerning Eye
Hello there! Kam leitte yu? I’m glad you could find time in your busy schedule to come by. Sit down. Make yourself comfortable. I have much to pontificate about! Don’t expect to get a word in; I fully intend to be as glib and outrageous as I please. You shouldn’t take it personally either; what I’m about to try to explain to you is too important for me to mince my words.
Exploring the infinite possibilities of the universe is an exciting adventure, and I commend anyone who does so, but experience takes far more than merely doing. You need the discerning eye. You need to notice things, give them what recognition they deserve, and have the faculties to be able to do so. It’s something so taken for granted it’s rarely mentioned, but believe me, it’s important. I’ve met numbskulls who’ve travelled the universe without discovering so much as a novelty, yet my daughter could tell you a riveting story about a sunny afternoon in her back garden.
That’s why I need to talk to you. To make sure your head’s on the right way. A host of worlds, cultures and lives lie before you, but you gain nothing by presence alone. Noticing – now that’s true exploration! There’s just as much to find in the intricate structure of a thistle as there is in the great arc of the cosmos. It’s just a question of the right tools – and the right imagination!
The paradox of the discerning eye is that you need to know what you’re looking for in order to notice it. Without knowing the signs, the greatest and most astounding form of life in the universe could be sitting right in front of you and you might not even know it! It sounds like an exaggeration, but that’s because you’re assuming whatever I’m talking about looks like you, or something you’ve seen before. Believe me, it won’t.
The imagination is like a great fire. It needs fuel to burn brightly. You don’t like that example? Well, let’s say it’s a potter than. It needs something to work on. Above all it needs something malleable. And that’s where we get to the meat of what I’m trying to say. For, in this task of opening the imagination to what might be out there, we have a terrible enemy… the human chauvinists! They seek to dumb our perceptions of the universe by stuffing our heads with uninspired wool, feeding us the same old things we know already over and over again. Ossifying our imaginations into the same old repetitive, human-centric flow. What’s worse, they reproduce! No sooner is one’s mind filled with wool, than one begins spreading it to everyone else around, not out of malice, but simply a lack of awareness that there’s anything wrong.
There are many other types of chauvinist than the human-centric variety, but you can just ignore them. A chauvinist is simply a person biased in favour of their own group, particularly in their superiority over others. The term is named after a man called Nicolas Chauvin. It’s just the kind of attitude I’d expect from a Frenchman.
What was it I was saying? Ah yes. Our weapons in this fight are twofold; for defence we have the ability to identify the signs of a chauvinist’s craft, for offence we have the imagination to realise that so much more is possible, and that nothing is quite what it seems. Here we have our advantage. Once freed, the imagination cannot be so easily returned to the chauvinist box.
I take it upon myself to ensure that you are suitably prepared for the journey of discovery on which you will soon embark. I’d give some dramatic warning about how the things I shall tell you will change how you see the world forever, but frankly I don’t care. You have no right to choose your own ignorance. And if you already know what I’m about to tell you? Well, you’re still here, aren’t you?