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A Slimy Amphibian

A Pedestrians Lust- Excerpt

A trip to the zoo as a mind reader is a very interesting (and very depressing) thing indeed, but nowhere near as interesting as a trip to my place of work was, and much more humane. We humans basically all look the same. This is despite the fact that billions of years of evolution in the occipital lobe, the fusiform face area, the superior temporal sulcus, the amygdala, and the anterior/inferior cortex has given us the ability to distinguish at an extraordinary (but not inhuman!) rate between faces. It is also despite our propensity to distinguish ourselves on the basis of random physical characteristics like the woolliness of our hair or the thickness of our eyelids or the darkness of our skin (something I once did all too often). We take a pretty homogeneous form. If you sit, cross legged, in a shopping mall with your back against the wall and facing the space between the shops you will see a stream of small spindly bipedal stick light appendages moving at similar places in the same way and in both directions.

The human brain is similarly similar. We quite literally see the world through the same light, a thing we rely heavily on to interpret the world around us, along with sound. If you tell a human that they must lose two of their five senses, you will almost universally get a response telling you to take the tongue and the nose and leave the rest intact. When, however, you ask what it is like to see the world through the eyes of a dog - you would be just as accurate asking what it is like to smell the world through their nose. What does it mean to see the world through the eyes of a bat? It means nothing. It's nonsense. It's crap. Even our terminology belies our commonality. Despite this, when you can pry into the minds of others, you realise the hopeless and stunning diversity in worldviews that the human experience presents. That is until you are plunged into what was my place of work, and you sit down for a party meeting.

The career politician is a slimy amphibian, and if anyone should know it is me. Not because I was one, though I was. The slimy amphibians is not aware that it is a slimy amphibian. It wakes up (not necessarily in the morning) and does what it is programmed to do, blissfully unaware of the terminology that our zoologists assign to it. It's webbed toes climb the greasy (or slimy) pole and it pays little attention as to why. Sitting in on the board meeting I moved between minds like a salamander moves between water and land; that is to say without noticing all that much difference between them. Thoughts turn to second homes, skiing vacations and school fees, business deals and backhand business abound as does jealousy. One man greedily eyes another's watch with what can only be described as lust. No one stretches far beyond their bubble, throughout the room prosecco and preschool precede and poverty. For people that were supposed to be public servants this is a very private group of minds. An agenda is raised and a decision is made. Hours, days, weeks of pondering tie themselves together and emerge with new resolution. They solidify and take a form all too familiar. An author's hesitation gives way to resolve. The option to turn back is there and yet he also knows he will not take it. These lines are set in ink on paper and the moment reverberates through time. Time reverberates through the moment. All decisions have a history, but oh how quickly are to forget we forget our past. We fancy ourselves the author of our future. We believe we can decide. The author is a fool. He believes himself to be giving shape to language and yet cannot see how language gives shape to him.

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