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Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Homo Novus

Normally, I've tried to avoid blatant reposting of other people's blog content, but the following little speculation from "graphic novel" writer Warren Ellis ("Transmetropolitan", "Planetary" & "Global Frequency" among many others) is such an insightful explanation for the behavior of "those crazy kids today" that it bears repeating.

Just forget for a moment that he's writing this as if it's a room full of superpowered mutant teenagers he's talking to, and the main argument actually does make a lot of sense.

You're not different.

The world has spent forty years telling you you're different. Some of your own teachers have doubtless told you that you're different, with the best of intentions. But you are not different.

You are new.

Yes, you are mutants. But so are the Basque people of Spain. Did you know that? They have a gene that protects them against heart disease. It is a gene that no other people have. That, by definition, makes them mutants.

Do people without that gene go to the Basque region with pitchforks and torches? Do people seek to outlaw them? Have people, in fact, designed and constructed giant robots to hunt and kill the Basque populace? No. They are simply part of the human genestream.

The genestream is the human torpedo, fired out of Africa at the dawn of intelligent life. Think of it as a contrail, shooting out of the past and roaring into the future. It curls around the world, thickening as it gathers pace. The African human is part of the genestream. The Ainu, the Inuit, the Caucasian, the Sumerian. The Basque. All of these are part of the human genestream, powering forward into future time. And at the front of the genestream is us. The human warhead of the evolutionary missile.

Some people have called us Homo Superior, which is supposed to mean superior human, superhuman.

That's crap.

Our genus is in fact Homo Novus. We are, quite simply,
New Humans.

You are not different. You are simply new.

The people who don't like you have a name, too. Neophobes. Those who fear and hate the new. And I bring good news. Neophobes die early. It's true. A recent scientific study shows that neophobes experience such stress when in the presence of the new that it signficantly shortens their lifespans. By hating you, they're killing themselves.

By now, I'm sure most of you have spotted the fatal flaw in my Basque analogy. The Basques look like every other standard-issue human on the face of the planet, and you don't. Many of you, I'm glad to say, do not look like standard-issue Homo Sapiens. And that, you believe, is why the outside world does not accept you.

I have good news on that score, too. I'm just a little ray of sunshine today, aren't I?

All you have to do is look out the window. Look at your human peers, the teens and twentysomethings. They're twisting themselves into something other than standard-issue human. They're changing themselves, with piercings and brandings, and implantations and surgeries. There's a surging body modification movement full of people sinking feathers into their backs with hooks to make wings, and splitting their tongues in two, and connecting extra arms to their nervous systems.

Do you know why they're doing that? Because they want to be you. They want to be new humans. They are testing the absolute boundaries of their own bodies because they want to become what you are naturally.

There's a word for them, too. Neophiles. People who embrace the new. And they live longer.

You think you're never going to be accepted? Look out the window. The current generation of the previous model of human is cutting itself to bits to try and be mutants. They want to be you because you break all the rules they hate just by existing.

Every last one of you is a subversive icon. Every last one of you is a genetic superstar. You are the genestream A-list, blasting the world into the future.

And everywhere you go, you make the world new again.

(C) Warren Ellis 2003 All Rights Reserved

Posted byCOMTE on 11:03 AM

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