Copyright © 2000
Robert G. Ferrell
The Social Perspective Vortex
In the beginning, God created chaos, which later changed its named to The
Universe due to bad press. The Universe was a weird place, chock full of
huge balls of smelly gas and chunks of rock flying every which way, which
made just crossing the galactic lane a hazardous undertaking. Eventually
most of the hoohah died down and all the balls flew away, leaving only a
small one, exceptionally wet and sticky.
This ball got named the Earth for no readily perceivable reason, and it
was soon absolutely overrun with little crawling things and bits of green
fluff. Some of the crawly things developed legs, then discovered that
they were pretty good at balancing on only two of them. Most of them were
satisfied with this achievement, and went back to munching forest fruits.
A few malcontents, however, went off by themselves and started setting
fire to things, grunting a lot, and hitting each other with bits of the
landscape, in a complex series of rituals that came to be known as
Civilization. This new Civilization thing was pretty good for the
grunting fire-starters, and with it they soon drove everything in the
vicinity into virtual slavery to their increasingly incomprehensible whims.
Some of the first civilized groups of grunters were handicapped by
names that sounded like someone suffering from croup, but even this didn't
slow them down for long.
The grunters learned to make little marks in wax, on stone, and on mats
of pulverized or pressed vegetation using tree pus applied with bird
feathers or whittled-down plant stems. This bizarre practice was
eventually called writing, and the grunters were insufferably proud of
themselves for coming up with it. Grunting became even more popular and
widespread, now that there was a way of keeping a permanent record of it.
Every time a particularly clever grunter discovered a new way of killing
everything, he could pass that valuable knowledge on to all the other grunters without
getting a sore throat.
So the grunters bred like rabbits (well, in fact better than rabbits,
since rabbits had to worry about well-read grunters killing them in large
numbers) and kept thinking up new ways to make everything on the planet,
even at times themselves, miserable. After a while the grunters began to
call themselves the Human Race, as though anyone else cared. They
convinced each other that they were the most important things in Chaos, I
mean The Universe, and that God had outdone Himself in cleverness
and good taste in creating them. And so they killed a lot more stuff, to
celebrate their great goodness. This sort of thing went on for many
thousands of years, to the inestimable detriment of everything in the
The next time you start to feel too proud of yourself and your species,
remember how you got here.