I wonder about a lot of things. I wonder why the alien came. I wonder why some people trust him and some don’t. I wonder a lot about why I don’t fly more. But these days, I probably wonder most about the net-sitters. Are they . . . OK?
First, you need to know that I’m not human. My people live on a world with much higher mass than your earth and, so, much higher gravity. Because of this we stay close to the ground. In fact, we never leave it. Even very short falls would be deadly, and any sort of jumping is stressful at best and more likely hazardous. We don’t look much like you either. We have 6 limbs that to you would look like a cross between a human arm and an elephant’s foreleg. And we walk using all of them.
So, back to what I wonder about. Starting with the alien. The alien looks just like us, but he came to our planet via a space ship. He says he’s ‘related.’ He says he came because our people were meant to fly. He says he came to help us. He can fly – he showed us.
I want to fly. Or at least I thought I did. OK, really I do but I also like the ground. A lot. The ground is safe, reliable, and easy (given the situation of my species you will understand why we like staying on the ground). And, by definition, I can’t fly and stay on the ground at the same time. That would be nice though.
But flying is awesome. It’s truly wonderful. To be free of the limitations of gravity and mass. To see things from a completely different perspective. It’s hard to describe. And we couldn’t do it, until the alien came.
He said we were meant to fly and only couldn’t because we had given something up to stay close to the ground. He said we could have it back and fly.
But here’s were it first got really weird. He said that he was in some way the same as us, the same ‘species.’ And that this ability was in him but no longer in us. “If you will eat a piece of my body, which I will sacrifice for you, you will regain what you lost and be able to fly again.” “Won’t this hurt you?” we asked. “Yes. But it will also benefit me. I want everyone to see that I am good and speak the truth. Those who take what is in me will demonstrate this.”
Very weird. He claimed to be one of us but it was quite clear in some ways he was not. He didn’t act very much like any of us. And this isn’t something any of us would have ever made up! We like the ground. Flying is all well and good as a concept, but the actual event has all sorts of problems associated with it. It’s just . . . well . . . disruptive.
But the alien setup a place where he would give part of himself to anyone who wanted it and wanted to fly. He put his name on the place. The closest I can translate it would be ‘the alien’s flying show.’ Clearly he wanted to draw us to him as well as teach us to fly. Clearly he wanted to be known.
He said that anyone who wanted to go there and take a piece of the alien would be able to fly forever. He said that! Forever. He said “I will set you free from your slavery to the ground.”
Reactions were, of course, various. And I won’t catalog all of them here. I wanted to fly. So I went to him. I took my piece of the painful sacrifice he gave me from his own body.
And I flew. Glorious.
Then I quickly learned about ‘the net.’ I put this in quotes because we didn’t have any such concept or idea in our language. The closest we had before the alien came would have been ‘the barrier’ – this being something we put up to keep people away from something harmful to them. The net was very much what you call a net – it was a device the alien had put up in the place were he was, ‘the aliens flying show,’ to catch any of us who stopped flying.
Now you may think, as I did previously, why the heck would anyone STOP flying once they were able to? Oh, let me tell you. The reasons are too many to count. That is exactly why the thing I wonder about second most is why I don’t fly more. But that isn’t my story today. Suffice it to say, the net gets used! I am very grateful for the net. It is wonderful. BUT, it isn’t as wonderful as flying.
And so, the thing I wonder most about – the net-sitters. First, the show isn’t all there is! No, according to the alien there is more. According to him one day he will take all those ‘who are his’ and move us to a new world where there is no gravity. Nothing to make us fall! No need for the net. But there is much discussion among us non-aliens about what it means to be his. Are we his if we are ‘in’ the show? Is it possible some people sneaked into the show without taking the sacrifice the alien offered? Of all the folks ‘in the show’ are all of us really his? What about the net-sitters?
You see, one philosophy of flying that has gained some traction is that even after taking a piece of the alien we are destined to fail at flying. And the alien knows this and only cares about saving us. So, while sitting in the net all the time is really lame (all acknowledge this), the net-sitters are OK. They are his and will go with him to the new world.
Others have said that we are doomed every time we stop flying and fall into the net. We are only ‘his’ when we are flying. And it is those who are flying when he leaves to the new world that will go with him, not those sitting in the net. This view has become less and less common recently with the previous one being predominant. “The alien loves me so much that whether I fly or not doesn’t really matter – he will still take me with him – I will be OK.”
But I wonder. I remember what he said “I want everyone to see that I am good and speak the truth. Those who take what is in me will demonstrate this.” Do we demonstrate the alien’s goodness and truthfulness when we are sitting in the net? And the name of the place; it is his name. Is this place for me? Or is it for him? Is this a place only to save us or is it a place to demonstrate the beauty and truthfulness and power of the alien? If it is the latter, the only way one can stay sitting in the net is if we don’t care about the one who gave us back the ability the fly. We don’t care about the one who sacrificed for us. If we care about him, I’ve got to think that every time we find ourselves in the net (by our own choice) we will get back up and fly using the ability that he gave us to show that he is good and true and powerful. I am starting to think that the only way to be a net-sitter is to be self-obsessed and the way to truly fly even in this world is to be obsessed with him. And can one be self-obsessed and ‘his’?
So, I really wonder about the net-sitters.