Boring? Not us!

Voice Card  -  Volume 18  -  John Card Number 13  -  Wed, Feb 6, 1991 1:35 AM

This is a response to VC 18 Drury 5 ("Gobs and Gobs?")...

[Also see VC 18 Larry 1]

Drury and Larry:

I was rather surprised to hear both of you advocate what seems so be some kind of caste system of personalities. Most people fall into the lower caste: poor boring sots who are somehow unable to process stimuli and grow or change in any significant way. Then there is the elite upper caste: people who keep the child inside alive, vibrant interesting people with alert inquiring minds. Coincidentally, WE happen to fall into the upper caste.

Actually, I'm not at all sure that you're wrong. As long as you are both good enough to include me in the "better" class of people, I won't kick TOO hard.

But I'm suspicious of divisions like this. We all have acquaintances who we find dull (and often they find us dull as well). So, quite naturally, we keep a mutual distance and as a result we never really get to know these people on an intimate level. The only people we really do get to know are our close friends who, by definition, are not boring to us.

Every now and then, however, some unusual circumstance may thrust us into close proximity with someone "from the other side" just long enough to be surprised. This has happened to me on more than one occasion. Even the most obtuse, close-minded bore can suddenly open his mouth and say something INTERESTING, maybe even something MOVING or PROFOUND.

Granted, it doesn't happen every day. In fact, there's something almost miraculous in such moments. But when these miracles burst upon me from the most unexpected directions I am invariably humbled. Who am I to dismiss another human being? If I EVER close my mind to the possibility of change in a fellow creature then which of us is the greater dullard?

The truth is that behind EVERY pair of eyes is a universe as strange and vast as the one we ourselves inhabit. Whenever I leave my hermitage and wander for a time in the crowds of a big city, I am overwhelmed by this multitude of other universes, EACH one containing at least one idea or song or experience that has never occurred before and never will again.

In fact I think that the reason so many of us hide this strangeness so much of the time, is that we are AFRAID of just how different we really are from each other. We take great comfort in uniforms and congregations and a common language. These things are a refuge from a universe vast and strange beyond our wildest dreams.

And it is also true that all of us, from the most cosmopolitan sophisticate to rudest country bumpkin, have much in common. We are buffeted by approximately the same desires, fettered by the same needs, and subject to the same fate. Since we are all faced by the same set of insoluble problems, and since we are all dwarfed by the same cosmic backdrop, no one us can claim to be significantly elevated from his fellows. Perhaps some ants see themselves as more witty than other ants, but to us they are all just ants.