I was trying to explain some things about Earth to an alien yesterday. He is from some far-flung planet in a nebula that I couldn’t pronounce, but I liked him nonetheless. When he tries to speak his name, I have to go to the bathroom…so I call him Ted. He’s OK with that. He’s a no-BS kinda guy that has a childlike curiosity. That incessant “why” thing, unlike a child however, soon gave way to “well, that clearly doesn’t make any sense”. When I tried to elucidate on war for instance…well, he just didn’t get it. My constant use of the phrase “just human nature” seemed lost on him. Well, that would make a great deal of sense. He isn’t human. It was much like the old adage of trying to explain what a banana tastes like to someone that has never indulged, and without using the word “banana”. Some things are like that…can’t be explained to an objective viewpoint. Or so I thought. I liked the guy, as I said, but he did have an attitude. A superior one too. He didn’t understand a great bit of human behaviour…and most of what he didn’t get, he merely dismissed as error. Well, maybe he was right. I dunno. He also went on and on about the “infield fly rule” , and designated hitters, saying they both were quite unfair. I dunno about that either. I’m not a big baseball fan.
I like clean things. Houses. Cars. Garages. Toasters. You know…the sparkle of material that says to you…”you don’t have to worry about me…I don’t need washed or polished or straightened or maintained. You can just give me an admiring glance on your way to more important matters”. This was one of the things I was trying to explain to my visitor. He got that bit. It made sense to him…and he asked if it went beyond the material. Did I, for example enjoy the cleanliness of my own philosophy, or emotion? Did I routinely remove clutter build-up from around ethics and lower-level animal reactions that I owned, as well as vacuuming out my car? Well that seemed a dumb query at first. But as often as it does…from the mouths of babes, comes such a self-defining wringer.
Yes, had to be my response. We are constantly, as humans clinging to this whirling rock, reexamining our view of things. We are influenced by all that we encounter…in one way or another. And we can grow and mature in this fashion. He liked that. So do I. It happens all the time. Not as much as maybe it should, as he observed, but it is a part of our experience that I depend on and yet hadn’t given much thought to, until he plotted it out through his quizzing.
So this led to news. I don’t remember just how. One of those meandering conversations that ends up somewhere you don’t expect. Anyway, he did something very distasteful. He insisted that I turn on a TV. Well, rather than go through how I had matured and come to understand that there was no good to come of it…I relented and did as he asked. He wanted to skip quickly past all the childish entertainments and commercialism(whew), and go directly to the news channels.
Why…he posed…did humans create turmoil and then tell everyone about it sitting in chairs in suits and dresses? Wouldn’t it be better for our species if these horrible people were isolated and kept off of our televisions? Then few of these horrible things they are bragging about could happen.
Well, I had to laugh before I explained the idea behind journalism to him. “No, no”, I stated. “These people and the TV companies they work for, don’t commit these atrocities…they merely tell us about them when they happen…it’s their job…they are paid to do this”.
Then came the childlike “why”. Why would we want to know about this sort of thing?…and was I sure these well-dressed humans weren’t in some way responsible for all the carnage they spoke about?
Well, on my way to explaining about human nature one more time I sashayed down the “judaism” path, as I am wont to do when explaining things to those that don’t hold my views. He was intrigued. “So, it is your contention that this cult, this tribe, have been responsible for continuing to further the negative side of this “human nature” that you speak of?” he asked. I had to agree with that. “Let me check your facts and suspicions with my database”. he suggested. In seconds he announced that I was correct in my view of their role in history and in the present. And much more of which I wasn’t cognizant.
“So…would you like me to get rid of them?” he queried rather matter-of-factly. “Wha…?” I answered. “Get rid of them…kill them…make them all die in their tracks”. he said, looking at me with those piercing alien eyes. “You mean ALL of them? Instantly? You can do that?” I said(even though understanding he was an extraterrestrial, I wasn’t prepared for powers like that…although in retrospect, it shouldn’t have surprised me).
“Of course” he answered. Well, I had to think about that for a few seconds before I asked, “but you mean ALL jewish women and children and those that have denounced their own culture would die as well?”
“All means all…clean is clean” he quipped. I barely had to think before I hurried the answer “No, I don’t think so…that would make me as monstrous as they are”.
Geeze…what a Tuesday.