Posted by: xeper | August 30, 2008

The Price of A Voice – The Duckling and The Boot

He suddenly asked me: “You know why I talk to you?”. Everything one does should have a reason, of course, but I was taken by surprise; while not the most subtle person I know, Hotep wasn’t always that direct. “Because you’re different.. because you’re different. And I wonder what you had to pay to hold onto your difference.” It wasn’t the first time someone told me I’m “different”, but no one had mentioned a price I had to pay.. not that clearly anyway.

“I’m different, too.. and that’s why I live in a traveling island. An island that might decide to dissolve overnight back into the River, and I’d be gone forever. This is why I talk to you. So when I’m gone, part of me would live on in you.”  Was he planning to leave Alberraao? Or was he just preparing for the eventual? I tried to read between the lines. “And because you’re different, I know you can pay the price of carrying me inside you. Whatever truth you may hear in my words, you will defend it and live it. Most others would let themselves trapped into Conformity. And those cannot pay the price of difference. Even when Truth stares them in the face, they look at Her in horror and hold on more tightly to their comrades in Conformity. For Conformity is a much bigger island than Alberraao; it’s a whole continent, where Truth often gets lost, and where she is treated as the foreigner she really is there. Why would they listen to Her? it might make them.. DIFFERENT!!” And he surprised me with a mocking face showing utmost horror. Philosophers can be hilarious at the least expected times. They’re.. “different”, indeed, and I smiled secretly to myself as I continued listening to him.

“You know, Conformity to the uneducated is like a Mother to the child. First, you’re part of her, then the umbilical cord is cut, yet she remains the warm refuge, safe from anything on earth, tough at times, but safe most of the time. She’s a continent of inexhaustible resources, and, above all, she knows everything. It’s her job as a mother to be omnipotent and to know everything, isn’t it?” He stops for a second, his mind probably reliving things that used to be. “But then the day comes,” he resumed, “when you ask your mother something but she can’t do it, or when you realize she has no more answers for your questions. That’s when you graduate your first school. That’s when you understand people have limits.” And he smiled, a tear in his eye, and finished: “Even your Mother. God-given and divine as she may be.”

“Eventually, people graduate the Mother, hatching from her shell into the vast unknown world, like a newly-hatched duckling, and just like the newly-hatched duckling would follow the first dog or even boot it sees after hatching, most people newly hatched away from their mothers will adopt the first object that gives them a reassuring feeling; their peers, society at large, warm familiar supposedly-know-it-all Mother Conformity.”


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  1. Very true.. it’s truely “DIFFERENT!!” 😉

  2. Thank you Wessam, I am glad you liked it 🙂

  3. What happens to people who graduate or dropout prematurely from their mother’s haven without receiving the preparatory initiation into the world of conformity? Would they slide into the realm of “different”? Or maybe into the black hole of “dysfunctional” since they most likely never got answers, are not familiar with conformity, and additionally not aware that there could be some other “truth”.

    Do you think there are other groups besides conformists, truth seekers/speakers and dysfunctionals? And if so how do all of these groups interact?

  4. @Zakhak: I think the normal graduation people get is dropping out prematurely, and it is the reason people seek Conformity; it is safe and warm and there is always at least one person who is really sure of him/herself and very confident of all the answers they have, like the mother that suddenly stopped being so.
    I guess if people grow up in conditions where they do not lose faith in their parents too soon, they wont need Conformity. Since they would have had the time to grow up to rely on themselves. I am no child psychologist but I think it is worth studying.
    So, I am postulating, you slide into the realm of Different in two cases: either the Mother keeps fulfilling her omnipotent/omniscient functions long enough for you not to ever need society and Conformity, and you get labeled as “eccentric”, OR you dropout (yes, you are indeed more exact, you dropout) — you dropout from the Mother then seek social Conformity, but then you see through that too and dropout from that too before it imprints its ways on you. Here, you become a “Rebel”, often eccentric too, but you are perceived as a Rebel, therefore as a potential threat!

    So, to sum up and answer your question, there are two main groups:
    – The Conformists
    – The Different

    And the Different people are categorized as:
    – The Just Eccentric
    – The Dysfunctional
    – The Rebels
    – Others I may not have captured here

    So it seems not all the Different are Truth Seekers (which Conformists prefer to view as simple mischievous Rebels). The Just Eccentric range from the hilarious friend to artists big and small etc, but they tend to be able to integrate among Conformists, who use them as benchmarks; the Eccentrics draw the line where Conformists should not go. Some Eccentrics are unable to integrate. Those are the dysfunctional, and these are usually the result of a too idealistic upbringing that totally shielded them from society, or have faced circumstances too harsh for their comprehension, and remain “afraid” from everything (can be seen as too aggressive or too shy etc). Then us; the social Rebels/Revolutionaries; the Truth-Seekers.

    Truth-Seekers view others as Talking Land (a notion I should be writing about soon); more like puppets or parrots than real humans. They see Eccentrics as a relief from Conformity, and the applause Eccentrics get by their semi-integration in society Truth-Seekers consider applause for themselves; for the Different. They may go into dysfunctional when daily life becomes too much for them to bear. They may fall into the trap of creating their own factions of Conformity of Difference.

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