NEANDERVILLE — Weary of what they called the “scourge” of the corporeal body, with its endless maintenance, multiple deficiencies, not-infrequent ugliness and planned obsolescence, Tribe Guru Astrid and Mystic Bob today jointly called on Dwellers to invest their energies in developing an evolutionary strategy that will lead to a self-sustaining mind.
The result, they said, likely would be a highly intelligent plant.
“Let’s face it,” Astrid said, “when you boil identity down, an individual is only the mind. The rest is just a support system. And frankly, ours suck.”
“The body taketh way more than it giveth,” said Bob. “The one exception is sex, but let’s face it, sex is at best but a fleeting footnote in the totality of human experience. Not sure why everyone gets so wigged out about it.”
“For the record, plants do have sex,” Astrid said. “They just need bees to facilitate it. Minor point. So what does the Assembly think?”
Assembly president Vlad agreed with Astrid and Bob’s conclusions, and then proceeded to enumerate some of the demands, deficiencies and potential hazards of the human body:
“Digestion, indigestion, flatulence, defecation, excretion, secretion, indiscretion, constipation, the runs, acne, ulcers, anorexia, obesity, cancer, osteoarthritis, dehydration, puberty, dementia, infection, thinning, graying, balding, wrinkling, insomnia, apnea, shin splints, athlete’s foot, tennis elbow, so-called funny bones, the even more inexplicably named pins-and-needles, allergies, migraines, myopia, tinnitus, hypertension, perspiration and dyslexia. And that’s just the short list.”
“You forgot dandruff,” said tribe shrink Sig. “Debilitating to self-esteem.”
“A plant, on the other hand,” Vlad said, “needs only water, soil and sun to thrive.”
“Mushrooms don’t even need sun,” said Tribe jester Griff.
“Like you’d want to be a mushroom?” said Astrid.
“Psilocybin would be cool.”
Astrid rejected the argument that all plants also have challenges, notably insects, drought, blight and any number of animal herbivores, starting with rabbits and deer.
“Not the Great Basin bristlecone pine,” said Astrid. “It resists everything. And it lives to 5,000 years, not 33 if you’re lucky.”
“But does it possess intelligence?” Sig wondered.
“In five millennia, it’s never once had to hunt or gather, delouse, evade a saber-tooth tiger, or share a stinky cave with 100 others,” Astrid said. “What do you think?”
“I’m in,” said Vlad, and a majority of his fellow Dwellers agreed.
How exactly to transform from mammal to conifer, however, remains an enormous and perhaps insurmountable — if worthy — challenge, the Tribe agreed.
Dwellers then sat down to a meal of venison and grapes. Hunger called them, as it does several times each and every day.
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