(In)visible Disabilities and Machine Bodies in NieR: Automata:- Plato 1728′s plight in a posthumanist light

In [Jacques] Derrida’s terms, it is the blind, the disabled, who “see” the truth of vision. It is the blind who most readily understand that the core fantasy of humanism’s trope of vision is to think that perpetual space is organized around and for the looking subject; that the pure point of the eye (as agent of ratio and logos) exhausts the field of the visible; that the “invisible” is only — indeed, merely — that which has not yet been seen by a subject who is, in principle, capable of seeing all.

— Cary Wolfe, What is Posthumanism? (132)

Embedded and embedding narrative frames assume precisely this self-referential form of form by marking the virtual edges of narrative structure.

— Bruce Clarke, Posthuman Metamorphosis: Narrative and Systems, (94)

Upon Playing NieR:Automata’s DLC, which focused on the machine individual, Plato 1728, I felt that the narrative was engaged with the powerful aspect of disability. It allows the player to take control of a robot who is considered “defective” and does things poorly. Plato 1728 believes that he does poorly in everything, he cannot fight well as when he does his body betrays him, nuts and bolts come off and oil spills. He cannot hold a weapon. Yet, he tries his hardest hoping that he will be accepted and appreciated.

This does not happen.

What you experience in the gameplay is a first person perspective of what it feels like to be disabled and ostracised for said-disabilities. The game poignantly attempts to show the player the censor and the frustration, alongside the mental trauma, a person with aa disability can face in a ableist society. It does this brilliantly by showing this efficiency prone behaviour and ableism in the lifeforms that invaded Earth. Though they are aliens they have adopted many human like aspects. The other machines tease and ridicule Plato 1728 to the point that he feels alone all the time. No one desires to be his friend and no one seems to care about him.

Plato 1728 is a horrible dilemma. He was built to be a weapon but he has not of the proclivities and qualities of a weapon. Rather he mentions he abhors violence. Yet, as he is built to fight, he must continue to do so. The machines are all living workaholic existences in which their daily routine is comprised of sparring and maintaining, and building other machines for war alongside taking care of the factory. Some of the machines obviously have consciousness and existential thoughts but this gets stampeded over the nuts and bolts of what they assembly is comprised of.

We, as the players, are put in the position to play as Plato 1728. It is something that overwhelms us. It is designed to show how inhumane and cruel the machine life routine is. Operating Plato 1728 you notice he glitches and seizes up at times and he cannot move at all. There are system errors shown about as you and Plato 1728 desperately attempt to keep himself composed. Then we are presented with the motor function test. We are in the position of Plato 1728 giving this test. Plato 1728 actually does well. You can, even with his body glitching, get 17-10 rings, which are the objectives of the motor examination. However, then multiple rings come on and off and go away easily and we are given a body that wasn’t either designed to move fast or we do not know how.

This a crucial part of the narrative. After basically failing the test three times, with an “exceedingly poor” grade, we as players are made to ruminate why the motor function examination suddenly became what it was. Why did the runs suddenly come and go off in such a manner. Why were these tests designed like this. The players are also made to wonder if we were in control of 2B, 9S or A2 would be able to pass a motor examination like this? We probably could. However, in the base game when you start out with a mission directly with tutorials just being on-screen commands you may falter. The prologue is also designed to be 35-40 minutes gameplay that any newcomer can exceedingly fail in as well.

It is not also a question of machine lifeforms themselves. Before coming to Plato 1728′s narrative, we must finish three coliseums. One coliseum is devoted entirely of machines and you must make 9S choose a machine to battle with. Depending on your level, you get a selection of machines. The thing is you upgrade or you choose a machine based on which level in the coliseum you are, what your skill level is and what the skill level of the machine is — they are all interconnected factors that help you win the tournament in the coliseum.

Plato 1728, though saying he is a “defective” model, was able to get many rings. It is not his fault the test is designed such a frustrating way that failure seems to be the only option. Even with his disability Plato 1728 tried and succeeded a lot. However, due to the assessment requirements not being met, Plato 1728 is branded as a failure.

Subsequently, this branding of failure persist. When we are doing combat training we, the players in control of Plato 1728, are shocked when a punch makes Plato 1728 lose both his arms! We can try to evade and move about and do what we can to keep the clock running but Plato 1728 fails. It is not that he is intending to do nothing. He is intending to fight but his body is having issues and no one seems to care and no one seems to assist him with his bodily issues. He is branded a failure. This is not only a desecration of justice but a desecration of life and the game wants you, the player, to feel it, as a machine with disability.

Plato 1728 then decides, in his loneliness and ostracism, to take care of a doll. The factory is attacked, either by the player as playing one of the protagonists’ androids, and Plato 1728 helplessly watch as the doll he cherished goes up in flames. Feeling traumatised and grief beyond anything, all his pent up sadness came up and he started anyone and anything. When his rage is exhausted, his companions trap him and dispose of him. When we re-enter the factory as another machine, the player sees that some people are shocked that Plato 1728 have had so much power in him that they didn’t realise. Some don’t wish to go into battle, afraid at seeing the destruction that Plato 1728 wrought, some are still thinking he is “useless” and that his model should be stopped while others mourn his downfall and are ashamed at their own behaviours surrounding him.

In fact, the machine the player is operating comments at his terminal as he has to input data on Plato 1728 goes on to say something like oh yeah, the guy who lost it.

Plato 1728′s consciousness and soul are still alive even if his body is gone. Though he wishes he could have a body again. He comments that the coliseum people are all selfish. The ones were machine are fighting to become stronger, the one where machines are trying to live by rules and the ones where machines are enslaved to be gladiators for android amusement. He says that is he really the crazy one?

Due to the doll seemingly being the cause of Plato 1728′s madness, dolls when found, are destroyed in the factory now. The players are then shown a psychedelic, gothic music video of a random machine destroying dolls and in the end Plato 1728′s soul reaches out attempting to stop the machine to destroy the doll that looks like 2B but he fails and the 2B doll is symbolically destroyed.

In my own reading of this DLC and the NieR:Automata game, I found aspects of posthumanism and transhumanism at a clash. My intentions to summarise the events of the DLC is to provide some of my own critical understanding of the game. In the base game, Pascal, 2B and A2 herald empathy and mostly posthumanist aspects in their characteristics. Though Route A follows more of a transhumanist path the characters present show some posthumanist nuances. In the game, the transhumanist agents are 9S and initially, Adam and Eve.

Transhumanism believes in the augmentation of the human body. It believes that human limits can be “corrected” and transcended. The body is to be a workshop and that workshop perfects upon the body into an ideal type of unit or anatomy in execution. Posthumanism is different; in fact, posthumanism believes more in the imperfections of humans and it rejects the humanist model of ideal human saying there can be no ideal. It considers the value of all living life forms and the systems that interconnect them. It also shows that human bodies can inherently and environmentally differ from each other and that is a good thing. Posthumanism also does not advocate anthropomorphism.

Bruce Clarke in his book Posthuman Metamorphosis: Narrative and Systems talks about humans as quasi-subjects and quasi-objects. This means they are neither completely subjective markers nor markers of objectification. Humans interact and they are heavily affected and influence by how, what and why they interact with (Clarke 44-45). Clarke also states that humans are biotic creatures and there can be abiotic organisms (Clarke 17). Biotic organism are organisms who can perform autopoiesis. Autopoiesis is the ability of the body;s various parts to organise itself, to keep its integrity but also to allow certain things to change, an example of human genome which does not change but phenotypical components such as hair and eye colour changing. The organisation of autopoietic structures is recursive; unique in its context. Non Autopoietic structures can exist within autopoietic creatures. Clarke states that non-living, non autopoietic organisms are called abiotic. He also states that there are metabiotic structures as well for example consciousness and social and psychical systems that make up society, an example would be media is an abiotic system that influences metabiotic structures like society and biotic humans.

I talk about autopoiesis and abiotic, biotic and metabiotic structures because these are crucial elements to understand posthumanism. Posthumanism plays a large role in NieR:Automata not only in its embedded narrative style as Clarke would state it, but also as Wolfe would state, it attempts to broaden the self-reflexive criticism of disciplines themselves. Wolfe states that disciplines can keep their integrity, as in autopoiesis, but must understand that there is a multidisciplinary promise to every discipline and that disciplines can evolve. Wolfe follows the second system theory to a bit in that the observer(s) are also scrutinised and called into question or positionality as much as the observation (Wolfe 121). There is a difference to Wolfe between the accurate and the specific (Wolfe 115). Wolfe critiques that disciplines are important that they are specific and not necessarily always accurate as in the universalising way (Wolfe 115-117). Things have context and that context must be taken into consideration. This is important as NieR:Automata also looks a lot on the context of the situation via both its posthumanist narrative style into bioethics and but also through disability studies and trans-species disciplinary actions (Wolfe 141).

Wolfe uses the life of Temple Grandin to talk about the trans-species understanding in that Grandin’s understanding of things in pictures, this hypervisuality within her autistic self which she has to then add language to is both thinking in pictures and allows prosthetics become one with her which are both ahuman or considered nonhuman traits. However her approach has “canonical expression” which includes Renaissance theory of perspective, to Freud’s parsing of the evolutionary sensorium in Civilisation and Its Discontents, through Sartre’s discussion of the Gaze, to Foucault’s panopticon,  and finally to the various modes of electronic surveillance culture.” (Wolfe 130) Wolfe further postulates that there is obviously different ways to thinking that humans have but can be excised (140). He also quotes Derrida’s concept of knowing invisibility as another kind of spatialisation (Wolfe 133).

The reason I have talked about this is that in the gameplay of NieR’s DLC our narrative focus on Plato 1728 shows many ways of understanding content. The language is not always constructed verbally. The players must level up, become fit and then fight battles in coliseums with different storylines and tangents, and rules and regulations. Plato 1728′s story origins begin with the machine spear which decodes some fragments of his story and this is later extrapolated in the DLC. Plato 1728 is sensitive and kind, communal and intelligent. He has almost all of the understanding of family and familial connections as once stated by 21O independently in the Data Freak quests that androids seemingly lack. Plato 1728 intelligence is differently abled but not all inferior to others and it is not to be taken lightly. When Plato 1728 in grief attacks in a berserk way he is only doing something normal in his condition though normative regulations deemed this to be the progression of him as a failure.

Plato 1728 is not a failure as he understands that there is lack of justice, a seduction by rules and power in the coliseums and in life in Earth in general. A feeling and understanding he also shares with Emil. Emil is attacked by 9S is losing his mind. Emil calls 9S his “cherished companion” who still must be “punished” because he has done something wrong, obviously, from stealing from him. The player as 9S can defeat Emil in which, in this first form, states that in the end power dominates so much and he says, with reluctance, that 9S can use his room whichever way he prefers. Though, Emil just accedes only because he doesn’t understand what purpose 9S has to do this to him. In a similar way, Plato 1728 does not understand why his companion easily disposed of him instead of coming to his aid.

NieR: Automata uses a very embedded narrative. It uses a verbal embedding, which is a narrative that is horizontal and epistemic (Clarke 100) meaning it uses people in the same timeline such as Emil and 9S battling out within the same time period and context to say some of its story. Then it also has a modal embedding, which is ontological and vertical. That as Clarke expertly puts:

“here the same or different narrators are transported to and thus reframed within different storyworlds — for instance modal borders are crossed in the transit “through the looking glass” from waking to dream worlds, from the present to the past or future, or from physical space to cyberspace.”

(Clarke 100)

When we play as 9S or 2B or A2 we experience the story differently. Swords and hacking tell the story differently. Then there is Route C and D than changes a lot of the narrative setting and climate. The narratives are something, as Clarke puts it, stretching and meets at different viewpoints and that it what makes narratives embedded and autopoietic. They are framed to form something that has integrity but is also perpetuated amongst different disciplines. The modal embedding also goes to mathematics modular group, with the j variant, the function of complex numbers which satisfies a growth condition in the upper plane of a graph and shows the connection between monster group and modular group. 1728 is a number that is the cube of 12 and also part of the j variant. The monster group, or Friendly Giant, being the largest sporadic group in mathematics. The name is embedded into the narrative of NieR Automata thus disciplines evolving, looking at the observer and the observation, keeping the integrity but also going beyond.

Additionally, many side quests and even the birth of Adam and Eve is a fusion between modal and verbal embedded storytelling. We can see this in both 2B and 9S routes where picture books also tell the story of machines getting consciousness and an identity. Also, we see machines having sex or attempting to in the chasm. It is as if they don’t wish anything to be ex nihilo but to have origin, purpose and an evolution in connectivity. 9S’s trauma is also reflected in quests done for Resistance members when they lose their loved ones. Though 9S’s actions are more severe and a disruption to not only his life but others.

Going back to Temple Grandin, 9S is someone who espouses humanism and transhumanism a lot. Even when he hears machine talk he keeps on repeating to 2B they meant nothing. He even says that after he is traumatised and going insane. In the Forest, Resource Unit he hears the machine begging him for an explanation to the violence and asking him to just kill them but he almost takes sadomasochistic satisfaction in torturing them and being in denial. To him, only androids can have life. As Wolfe also states that the sciences Cartesian duality of consciousness and cognition is pretty ingrained (Wolfe 116) and 9S is a proof of that. He has selective empathy and he cannot see anyone not abdroid-like to be human. Pascal is an exception because 2B and he had visited him and 9S is just in denial as well to consider Pascal completely living even as there is something disturbing is seeing his memory being wiped.

9S in Route A ending is accepting of his data being embedded in machines, in a way Plato 1728 was alright in loving a doll. Yet in Route C/D 9S is disgusted to know that their black box does contain the machines’ cores as well. He is angered to know that within him is embedded, in the flesh so to speak, the narrative of machines. This is why it was ironic when sometime ago he told to Pascal that he didn’t have a heart seeing their autopoietic structures are similar in detail.

Similarly, Adam and Eve killed the aliens feeling they were too “plant-like.” This alone becomes at first their justification. They so are obsessed in bettering themselves in some mythical ideal way that they wish to even dissect humans to achieve this goal. It is noteworthy, that 9S is selectively horrified by this yet he too decides to dissect machines or remnants of YoRHa later on. N2, the machine in the tower, programmed to fight the enemy, felt they must keep the androids alive and manipulated the coding of machine s which help make machines like Adam and Eve and Pascal. Though, they didn’t really know if such machinations would bring forth what it did thus they are killed by their own transhumanist consciousness in a way.

Empathy is not relinquished by A2 or 2B. Like Plato 1728 who signifies that invisibility, as in his own thoughts and emotions and different abledness, is a form of spatialisation, we can see that in these individuals as well. A2 opens up to Pascal and shows him kindness and empathy. She starts treating him as an equal and is heartbroken to erase his memories. When she fights Emils and tries to help Emil she actually calls him “kid” and wishes to protect him. 2B hearing machines feels terrible about injuring and killing them. That is why Route A ending was also a trans-species ending where 2B understands and accepts the machines’ souls and consciousness. It takes almost death for 9S to do this in Route C/D and he also falls like an angel from heaven. A hero who becomes a brutal villain due to trauma, idealism and grief. A2 already accepts this as in a way her ending shows her need to reunite with her old comrades, Pascal and the village’s lost children.

The True Ending, reaches out and embeds both the old beginnings and a prospect of evolution. This is semiotically and semantically shown with the Pods but also the different endings that were possible showing that the future, open but still with some integrity and organisation, is not set in stone but growing and evolving. Plato 1728 also sends the player a mail thanking them for reading about his life and looking at it. This brings back the posthumanist term of the observer being observed and visa versa.

In conclusion, The transhumanist and posthumanist conjugate with trans-species elements and disability studies in NieR:Automata. This is done expertly through various intermeshed narratives. The game attempts to make players embed both storytelling and the codex for change within them. Thus it generates new knowledges and a sense of hope even when the story and game ends. It is interesting to play a game as such that takes into context and spatialization/specialisation that individuals do not need to look human and androids can very well be more than standard AI and machines can evolve into their own beings.

Sources:

Clarke, Bruce, Posthuman Metamorphosis: Narrative and Systems (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008).

Wolfe, Cary What is Posthumanism? (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001)

erasing pain

my heart has swallowed a large pitcher of sadness
pre-summer days quote in heat
and sigh in zephyrs like commas
in a run on sentence —

building up my bones like a house
or a locomotive; both nano and steam
evaporates through the lines
of osmotic transcendence

quiet was the night
adjusting the windows
as the rains come hot and sleek
like predators hunting for water
and my eyes thirst dryness
like a line smoothed by clay
my mouth antagonises me in silence
but I don’t turn the page —

what is a lost cause? I think trust
or trust blindly? a thrusting motion
reminds you of juvenile dreams and
naive conceptions — love sings over the hills
canopied by clouds and conceived heaven
love sings over the earth
only the desert welcomes the monsoon

if my heart was paper, would it be easier to write the codes?
to relearn myself in small accents like apostrophes and periods?

would it have been easier to write down some commandments
that never altered; set ink as stone and made it roll so it
gathered no heresy of moss? — shanties of sand come climb
and crumble but never swayed the reign of those staunch routines

automaton of apathy; pincushioned by wavy joints of empathy
never fully light or fully darkness: just a fruit with many seeds
like a rose with many thorns. Beauty is a trait that can defy kindness.
Why should I javelin throw my self when others watch the macabre
in a seated box in the opera of their own lives?

hearing something like rain fall down like it has pockets to fill
feeling partly tired and partly smarting from a wound
there is no chime that elopes with the blow to the heart

knowing the quiet I trace it like a scar,
a skin that should be immaculate
I sigh, whimper and whisper

the wall is broken; pain can’t keep me down.—

intimacy-issues

I am fond of long goodbyes
as though they were a long banquet
not equivalent to the portrayal of the last meal  because there was no betrayal for coins —-
no deceptive kiss on the cheek

I love the drippingness of sweet words
Hopes that could leap out and embrace
A resolution to a conversation that may have gone wrong; ebbed and flow bile in stead of black humours. The miasma of it churning out may be placated by the salts and coals and waters of a peaceable parting. A promising of next time affairs being gently etched and understandingly bitter but less acerbic in the end.

The sly judas is anti-intimacy
not everyone favours the long kiss
brevity is wit right or so they think
a peck on the cheek is fine; two makes the sweet couplet. But a pentameter is not necessarily short…. a sonnet requires the taste of stanzas. While I wait to encholate on the compositions of tongues and fingertips I get a spurt of half-line codes. Deception becomes the  perception. A perfunctory peck becomes as tragic as silver coins. Time is money. People have other things to do.

While I who wanted a banquet
Satiate with a diet of shorter, odder meals — I must patiently wait to meet my parallel, my paradox, eating to wait whilst everyone on queue perhaps ponders on the delicacies of mastication.—-

Not everyone will like you — Medium

via Not everyone will like you — Medium.

One day, you find a yellow orchid in your room

But you don’t like orchids

A week later, the orchid starts flourishing

But you still don’t like orchids

Two weeks later you notice a golden reflection on its surface

You start disliking the orchid a little less

A month later, you bow to the orchid

For despite your dislike the orchid kept flourishing

And just like the orchid not everyone is going to like you

But as you continue flourishing many will admire you

I really loved this poem I saw in the Blogging platform Medium. I mean this was one of the best pieces I read today (though I didn’t read much today or any day, my reading is as daft and dry as  an iguana in a snowman outfit). I really know this does feel true. Not being liked is a case that is  considered quite important — two other stories seem to capture my attention focusing on likeability a) Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and maker of Facebook, has willingly become homeless to prove a point for likeability (he did it to have solidarity with homeless people) and b) NHS gets both critical feedback and admiration after Justin Bieber endorses for it. The second story has probably more to do with national health care than likeability but the NHS is a subject of much talked about criticism. If you ever lived in the UK or visited it for a long period of time you will know funding the NHS is a mammoth issue. And funding on it depends on likeability to an extent (I can be wrong but I feel rather than know it to be that way).  Zuckerberg’s act followed his own criticism. Some of it is unfair. Others like the one by Mike Goldsmith, actually shows a better response:

Mark Zuckerberg making himself homeless is like a bulldog making himself a vegetarian. Selling stock ,buying a tent and deciding to camp out is not being homeless. Being homeless is when you lose everything, not give it up. It’s when you are forced to face the harshest elements of life by circumstance , not by choice. Camping out on a sidewalk, eating in a soup kitchen by choice isone thing but doing it as your only means of survival,that’s quite something else

I am sure Mark means well, but if he really wants to do something he should abandon these optics and do something that will really make a difference. With his resources he should do something to address the circumstances that put most of his new found friends on the street in the first place. He has the means to create and fund opportunities that would help a lot of people find new meaning and purpose. He could be a force behind new sources of rehab, retraining and jobs. Unfortunately, this “Look at me” optic is not the way to go.

So mark, If you really want to help, get off the street and actually do something that will make a difference. Stop acting like the lost little boy with to many toys and act more like the captain of innovation that you are….

That does make sense actually. We do get derailed to actually want “likeability” and this actually affects who we are. Like many people don’t talk about their editing processes feeling that likeability is focused on some template of genius. And that is true, we are all inculcated to believe the genius requires no effort. And for a while  I believed that too. Actually, the genius might need more effort in many things and that, with her/his innate vision, is genius is usually born and borne. I will readily admit that I had to read the comments’ sections and also the main article to get the gist of what was happening in the Bieber article (the article by Williams is a bit vague if you ask me because I didn’t read the title properly but I also feel it paces on ambiguous  terms without announcing its ambiguity because it probably doesn’t know what to think about itself; it is a bit divided and that is fine). However, most people won’t mention that for likeability. I am not always going to put likeability in parenthesis because likeability and “likeability” are both concrete and also elusive phenomenon. Everyday likeability and the major form of “likeability” (as a collective or pouring into theme) is faced by all of us. We may not know it but many or some of our actions are based on likeability and “likeability” — though it is true that some social etiquette and politeness should be taught many people overburden themselves with it all the time leading to overall ungratefulness. And this is where “likeability” and likeability actually does fail.

Jonathan Franzen wrote an article of being liked saying it was for cowards. The article also mentions Donald Trump but it was written in 2011 (Trump’s recent comments are more on the extreme scale than on any likeability or “likeability” scale: that is another topic. It is one thing to be disliked by going your own way and another to be disliked for racism, totalitarianism, extremism, plutocracy and oligarchic need for control in human interests which become reduced and violated as your own interests), so, it is more on how consumer culture is based on wanting to be liked more and it has nothing to do with love. Love is an adaptation, poetry in progress and motion, love is also constructive criticism, helping you reach great heights — liking is more about satiating some immediate need and moving on. Though that is important too the main thing I gleaned and developed my own way from this article is that you can’t have either/or: one extreme corrupts the balance you have for yourself. We must do things we like but we must also be challenged and become finer, polished beings, so we require that love too, tough or soft, it’s a need and ultimately a want for us as humans.

As some short stories on depression show in Medium that liking, even for a gift, after a point fails. I put in part of the story down below:

“Karen! Guess what?” he asks excitedly.

I look at him to acknowledge his question.

“I got you an iPhone 5 instead of 4!”

I consider this. I consider him –– his face lit up in excitement and anticipation of my reaction. I feel nothing.

“Pretty cool, right?” he says as he hands me the box.

I take the box from him and shimmy it open to reveal the iPhone nestled in itspackaging. As I lift it from its shell and examine the polished design, I think about how I should be grateful.

“Thank you, daddy,” I say because it is the right thing to say. But I still feel nothing. It takes a Herculean effort to force the corners of my mouth up.

Thoughts wander aimlessly through my mind. I think about how my dad is trying so hard to make me happy. I think about how disappointed my lack of reaction must be. I think about how if I felt any emotion, I would feel guilty for being unable to show him happiness. Guilty for not having accepted his gift with more grace and grandeur.

The pain in this piece is obvious. After a point likeability can fail. To a person suffering depression liking, likeability and “likeability” fails big time. Because there are times, like when is depressed or suffering from depression, no gift can really cheer you up.

Well, likeability and “likeability” in themselves can be complicated issues but no matter how complicated the complex in you has a greater chance fate and faith to win. Because we were all made to be uniques in and with and within a collective. So, we are born into a middle-ground many a times. Unless, you truly want extremity or it is dished out on via circumstances, I don’t think you have to worry on it being your identity too much though another reality is it is hard not to worry too much either. We just have to find frequencies that work for us.

The orchid at the beginning of the poem may have blossomed elsewhere or change its pot and dirt; but as long as its reached this state it’s fine even if no one admired it immediately for it or at all. The thing is some honest things won’t be admired either but you can choose if that is something you can live without being appreciated for: whether you can or cannot doesn’t also determine your worth; you may be living a different life and may have different needs. When I was younger I read the dialogue between Jane Eyre and Helen Burns pertaining to this likeability and “likeability” (the novel itself tracing a lot around it) — I suspected that Burns was wrong when she thought Eyre’s humiliation publicly in their boarding school should not matter as long as God still loved her. I wasn’t wrong in thinking Helen Burns was wrong but I was wrong in thinking she totally was. Burns is not totally wrong. To her, this sort of humiliation did not matter, she was older than Eyre and probably had faced this form of torment previously, she has known that people can be stupid and hypocritical and cruel. But she is wrong to seem desensitised to it and not understanding Jane Eyre’s younger self’s need of acceptance and also how justice needed to be served there which only honesty and truth could help prevail in it. Yet, at the same time Jane Eyre should know that getting their aproval should not be her end goal. Both have right arguments in that debate. It was the frequency, the extent of each voice in it, that needed to be understood and possess a corrected pitch.

I would like to conclude with someone’s poem, who is at the moment, my favourite poet on the internet:

If there’s a tic in your toc

It wasn’t me – I am afraid

Of its –  r.a.p.i.d.n.e.s.s

Especially when running

So very – f.u.c.k.i.n.g – late

This poem by Mari Sanchez Cayuso is called Time. Someone in the comments stated that the use of expletives helps the piece. I agreed. If Mari was only vouching for likeability and “likeability” alone she may have exempted from it (though the young adult phenomenon of doing anything one wants is actually more with the grain than against it – that is also a separate topic; I just hinted on it). Yet, this piece is  hers and honesty and truth on her conditions and beings is always why I loved and liked Mari’s poems. I guess, in her own way, she has shown a great balance in her for both things.

Slights or the inconveniences of childhood

There is something about a “slight” — you know a slight happens because it was always sideways aggression. It has been around and you sort of meandered into it. I have faced this gesture before, this action: in all explicitness, it is both “gesture” and “action”, both nonverbal and verbal. Slights are gestures as in they are meant to gesticulate a form of forced negativity. An action as it is subconsciously present and soon consciously put into a form of practice. I had understood I had been slighted by a bunch of undergraduate students at a party. And I know why this had happened. It happened for many reasons: one is considering intelligence, the other is social magnetism and the other is a perceived insult.

To talk on “considering intelligence” is to extrapolate on ideas about how odd you may think another person’s “nerdiness” or “geekiness” is. If you have perceived intelligent you may easily ostracised or rather a good talker in conversations. Now, I am not being egotistical but being considered nerdy or geeky can be a considerable threat to people who are still learning to learn their own skins and flesh. And being able to communicate ideas effectively is also considered a big deal. Especially if you are a migrant, especially if you are there to help make a framework of privilege, when that is defied people are automatically threatened.

I am South Asian. I have an americanised accent. I am a geek and nerd who is comfortable around strangers in a party and able to talk to them. Without the drink. I can act zany and be in tune with who I am. Also, I am much older but I apparently never look that age.

This is perceived threatening to people. I am an odd creature. I am like a somnambulist in a crowd of dreamers.

And so they decided to ask me multiple times to come to a club with them. I agreed.

When the time came they left without me.

And then when I just said “hi” on facebook they proudly stated they went.

It was a slight if not fully intended. It just was in their minds. They didn’t like me. I am good as a theory (they wanted me to hook up with a dude, I specifically said “are you trying to ship me with him?” they said “yes”) but I am not palatable as a praxis (seeing me with a bar with them).

I write this because you may be slighted not because you are an undesirable but rather you may have traits that are desirable to a certain point. People, I was told, liked to bold, chivalric and interesting without having to giggle, drink and play the clown. However, this doesn’t happen easily rather it takes a lot of few to get down to it. So, if anyone defies this logic it is a threat to a person’s way to function through that precarious position of partying and socialising.

I did not write them to elevate my status or condescend anyone. I wrote it as I was once bullied so much it was good to know that exclusion, as in social exclusion, is not really someone’s fault. After all a collective is not an individual’s choice. It is the choice of the collective. So, many a times, you are not responsible at all for being not accepted. It just happens.

without the drink

 

trickling down, a droplet of absurdity
parenthesis entity — that is me
I am a creature sublime to oddities
artefacts can behold me and I beholden
the seas of chaos, calamity and serenity;

surprised aren’t you when my mouth glides
on tongue and I produce a kiss of words
in sobriety, I mated with soberness and it was
sombre, there is a seriousness in the sexiness
of some abstinence and some less inhibitions (a hybrid)
I am caught in tongues, who are not carcera to cheeks

it feels in the midst of conversations I am the phantom
I do not glow with the iridescence of being high
yet I am a novelty of loosened limbs and tongue
without the bottle — I am still an engaged firefly of sorts

trying to talk to everyone … —

getting comfortable in things not spoken or a) rambling on about current feelings b) trying to incorporate something ontologically philosophical in them

it is strange what you may feel; you are intimate with the non-intimate passive-aggression,
I guess this is how bullied will always feel like — that you feel for something that may not
matter in the long run; you feel abused because it is strange…how people hate, how people
can learn to hate…it makes you think…should hate be a form of ambition for them?

you are not alone in the pub. Yet you are one of the few who don’t drink, that is actually not
an outsider thing to do, remember that, you could be designated walker and driver for all that
is mentioned and shared. You have to adhere to what you believe and your beliefs, religious or secular, they matter. Seeing people get drunk with talk is sweet wine for the one who is warmed
by interaction…yet, a small voice says, are you the odd one out? Not for drinking, not for skins,
it’s just you with your eccentric way of saying things — even if your accent is as perfect. Maybe,
it’s just you…have fun…your small confidences light others’ too as Williamson once said. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful, as she said, powerful more than we can measure and sometimes our light, our power, threatens others, who have only lived with their inadequacies, not their light, they fear
to be liberated for that would be the responsible thing to do than sulking in one’s own shame and fears. You don’t have to be responsible for them either, don’t fall into the trap that you need to be loved by everyone…what should you gain from love from people who may not know love? If they willing to learn, teach, but it is also mostly self-taught, so you cannot patronise either. One of those pretty sacred things, nothing profane or impure nor pure in being superiority complex can really reach it…hang around the sun, the moon, the clouds, the stars and any meteors and odd curvatures of light…you will reach places…

and the places you reached, will not have people who hurt you
and the places you reached, will not chart all the editions of yourself you did not want
and the places you reached, will polish you with all the organic you needed sans plastics
you will have yourself in footnotes and bibliographies of nostalgia and you know what
it’s perfectly sane to carry on your past, but it is insane to let it rupture you completely.
You should rupture to regenerate not to lose yourself and feel lost…what can you feel with
putting yourself feeling lost? Is it always the feeling you need? Your destination may be unambiguous
but need not be undefined as in the now-present, feeling a bit sure but having immediate purpose is a good destination for now.

if you feel you have lost enough, then you have, you won’t lose more
the universe does not keep random quotas of punishing you nor does it keep
an incensed brow to spit on your happiness, your sadness may be meant to be fuel for later happinesses or awarenesses, your happinesses may lead to some sadnesses too, however,
not all the time. Your emotions have too much meaning for a simple x and y graph with the vectors all
aligned — you can be good at the things needed to be good at if you try as talent is a cultivated institution as well, not to feel all is haplessly cornered and squared into genetics. Even if you suffer from a condition know that the condition can be transmuted and put into what you are learning or wanting to learn  — it is perfect way to be an original without feeling the need to try too hard. Hard enough and soft enough.—

I  rambled on and may keep on rambling on. For rambling on sometimes is needed. We are too immured at times to the feelings of non-confessions, non-pathologies, isolated simplicities of being a “normal product” — even if normal may just be a few gestures, a few vowels, not all, to the consonant to each person’s abecedarian inclinations and formations.

We must remember we are uniquely shaped even by the same experiences.—